What to do with medical waste?



Prescription Medications

Perhaps a family member has been ill recently, or maybe it’s just been a long time since you cleaned out your medicine cabinet. If you are like most people, you have unwanted or expired prescription medications in your home. So, what do you do with them?

Rule 1: Don’t flush it!
Rule 2: Don’t trash it!
Rule 3: Drop it off!
There are several convenient locations throughout Thurston County. Please do not put sharps (needles) in the drop boxes.
Sharps
Sharps are used in the home by people with chronic illness.
What should I do with my sharps?
Never flush them down the toilet or place them loose into the trash. Follow these safe disposal tips:

  • Place sharps in a manufactured sharps container (available at pharmacies, medical supply stores, and medical providers) or an empty, sturdy plastic bottle with a tight fitting lid. Two-liter pop, bleach or laundry detergent bottles work well. Water bottles (made of a weaker plastic) aren’t a good choice.

  • When your container is full, secure the lid tightly. 
  • If you are using an empty plastic bottle, tape the lid for added security and write the words “sharps waste” in large letters on the bottle with a permanent marker.

  • Place the sharps container in with your trash, never with your recyclables. As an alternative, sharps can also be taken to HazoHouse.


Other Sharps Disposal Options
Some companies offer the convenience of home sharps container mailback services. The following websites provide details on starting a mailback service.

Flu update 10/30/13


Maine CDC issued a health alert about the beginning of flu season in Maine on Oct. 28. The health alert is available at: http://go.usa.gov/W2jz

Maine reported sporadic flu activity for the week ending Oct. 26. Weekly updates are available online:

Prevention and Treatment

Take everyday preventive measures against the flu:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, but especially after coughing and sneezing. Alcohol-based hand gels can also be used.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes. Germs can spread this way.
  • Get vaccinated against the flu. To find locations where vaccine is available, contact your health care provider or pharmacy, call 211, or visit www.211maine.org or www.flu.gov
  • Consult your health care provider about getting a pneumococcal vaccine for anyone who is younger than 5, between ages 5 and 64 with high risk conditions, or age 65 and older.
  • Avoid contact with sick people. If you are at very high risk for complications, you may want to avoid large crowds.

If you have the flu:
  • Stay home if you are sick, until you are fever-free for a full 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue. Throw the tissue away.
  • Although most people can stay home to recover without seeing a health care provider, it is possible for healthy people to develop severe illness from the flu. Anyone with the flu should seek medical attention for:
  • Dehydration
  • Trouble breathing
  • Getting better, then suddenly getting a lot worse
  • Any major change in condition

Guidance

US CDC has published a summary of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the 2013-2014 flu season at http://go.usa.gov/jdfB

US CDC has an influenza app for clinicians and health care providers to make it easy to access the latest guidelines and information. For more information about the app, go to http://go.usa.gov/43nR

The Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) for this coming season’s vaccines are available at http://go.usa.gov/jdAC

For more information, visit www.maineflu.gov.

New Post on Eat Move Sleep Blog

Yesterday, the Dan's Plan blog Eat Move Sleep published a blog post I wrote about sleep, artificial light, your brain, and a free computer program called f.lux that can help us live healthier lives.  Head over to Eat Move Sleep to read it.

Infections are scarier than any Halloween costume, but not if you’re prepared

We don’t want you to be frightened on Halloween — except for the costumes. The Get Ready campaign can’t prevent Michael Myers or Hannibal Lector from showing up on your doorstep, but we can help prevent you from catching infectious diseases.
 
If you’re not careful, you might be at greater risk of catching infectious diseases such as the flu on Halloween. But fear not — you can help keep those scary viruses and bacteria away if you follow three easy steps:
  • Get your flu shot: Halloween falls right in the middle of flu season, which can make you really sick. Flu viruses can spread when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes —and with 41 million trick-or-treaters in the U.S., there’s a lot of people who could infect you.

    If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccination yet, you can find a place nearby to get your flu shot online via HealthMap. Just plug in your location and find a place that can give you the immunization you need.

    Getting vaccinated against infectious diseases is really important, no matter how old you are. Check out our Get Ready fact sheets for kids (English or Spanish), teens (English or Spanish) and adults (English or Spanish) for more info.
  • Wash your hands, cover your cough: Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or into your upper sleeve or elbow if you don’t have one. And before you eat any of your treats, make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

    You might be touching candy bowls, pumpkins or even your best friend’s costumes. Make sure you’re not spreading germs when you do.
     
  • Be careful with candy: Those wrappers are on your favorite treats to keep you safe! If you see a piece of candy that isn’t wrapped, stay away from it. Who knows where it’s been? Someone may have gotten some dangerous germs onto it.

    Also, if your friend is eating something that looks really delicious, don’t ask for a bite. Get your own! Your trick-or-treat buddy might not be as safe as you are, so avoid sharing food.
Dress up in your meanest, creepiest costumes — but infectious diseases are not only scary; they can be deadly. A few safety precautions can keep them away so you can have a night of spooky fun.
 

Waiting "Patiently"

If you are waiting "Patiently" for your S is for Stitch Kit
the last of them are waiting for the mailman and will be 
in the mail this afternoon.. Everyone should have them by late 
this week. So sorry for the delay.Three distributors, several
 other websites and a train derailment all added to everything
 going a little slower that I would like. Now for the fun
part, posting all those cute little embroidered blocks.
I will start posting Saturday, November 2nd
Here is another sneak peek of our up coming sew along.
I am so sorry but I do not have kits for this project.
I am using Moda's Midwinter Reds. If you have or 
can find a Layer Cake that would do the trick.
You will also need 1/2 yard of a cream solid
Countdown to Christmas begins November 1

Do you know how to prevent infections?

Last week was International Infection Prevention Week, sponsored by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Observed annually around the word, the event highlights the importance of preventing infections in patients. According to the association, one in 20 hospitalized patients will get a health care-associated infection as a result of care received in the hospital. To safeguard yourself and people you care about, the association recommends that patients clean their hands, cover their coughs, ask their health care providers to clean their hands and to speak up if they have any questions about their care.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology has launched a new campaign for consumers, called Infection Prevention and You, to remind them to do their part in preventing infections. The campaign includes a new infographic that consumers and health care providers can share.

Preventing infections is also important beyond the hospital. Whether it’s at home, at work, at school or in your community, there are things that you can do to stay healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccines as an important way to ward off infections, particularly during flu season. It’s always better to prevent a disease than treat it, and staying up to date on your vaccines is one of the best ways to do so. Not only will this keep you healthy, it will prevent the spread of disease to those around you. Check out the Get Ready campaign’s fact sheet about why vaccines are important.

CDC also recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces often. This should be done on a regular basis, but if someone at home is sick, you should clean more often.

Be a part of International Infection Prevention Week by sharing resources for children, consumers and health professionals.

Madeleine McCann: No Stone Unturned?

Same article without highlights here.
Madeleine clues hidden for 5 years

The new prime suspect was first singled out by detectives in 2008. Their findings were suppressed. Insight reports
The Sunday Times Insight team
27 October 2013

THE critical new evidence at the centre of Scotland Yard’s search for Madeleine McCann was kept secret for five years after it was presented to her parents by ex-MI5 investigators.

The evidence was in fact taken from an intelligence report produced for Gerry and Kate McCann by a firm of former spies in 2008.

It contained crucial E-Fits of a man seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance, which have only this month become public after he was identified as the prime suspect by Scotland Yard.

A team of hand-picked former MI5 agents had been hired by the McCanns to chase a much-needed breakthrough in the search for their missing daughter Madeleine.

10 months after the three-year-old had disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, and the McCanns were beginning to despair over the handling of the local police investigation. They were relying on the new team to bring fresh hope.

But within months the relationship had soured. A report produced by the investigators was deemed “hypercritical” of the McCanns and their friends, and the authors were threatened with legal action if it was made public. Its contents remained secret until Scotland Yard detectives conducting a fresh review of the case contacted the authors and asked for a copy.

They found that it contained new evidence about a key suspect seen carrying a child away from the McCanns’ holiday apartment on the night Madeleine disappeared.

This sighting is now considered the main lead in the investigation and E-Fits of the suspect, taken from the report, were the centrepiece of a Crimewatch appeal that attracted more than 2,400 calls from the public this month.

One of the investigators whose work was sidelined said last week he was “utterly stunned” when he watched the programme and saw the evidence his team had passed to the McCanns five years ago presented as a breakthrough.

The team of investigators from the security firm Oakley International were hired by the McCanns’ Find Madeleine fund, which bankrolled private investigations into the girl’s disappearance. They were led by Henri Exton, MI5’s former undercover operations chief.

Their report, seen by The Sunday Times, focused on a sighting by an Irish family of a man carrying a child at about 10pm on May 3, 2007, when Madeleine went missing.

An earlier sighting by one of the McCanns’ friends was dismissed as less credible after “serious inconsistencies” were found in her evidence. The report also raised questions about “anomalies” in the statements given by the McCanns and their friends.

Exton confirmed last week that the fund had silenced his investigators for years after they handed over their controversial findings. He said: “A letter came from their lawyers binding us to the confidentiality of the report.”

He claimed the legal threat had prevented him from handing over the report to Scotland Yard’s fresh investigation, until detectives had obtained written permission from the fund.

A source close to the fund said the report was considered “hypercritical of the people involved” and “would have been completely distracting” if it became public.

Kate and Gerry McCann: now officially not suspects, say the Portuguese authorities. Oakley’s six-month investigation included placing undercover agents inside the Ocean Club where the family stayed, lie detector tests, covert surveillance and a forensic re-examination of all existing evidence.

It was immediately clear that two sightings of vital importance had been reported to the police. Two men were seen carrying children near the apartments between 9pm, when Madeleine was last seen by Gerry, and 10pm, when Kate discovered her missing.

The first man was seen at 9.15pm by Jane Tanner, a friend of the McCanns, who had been dining with them at the tapas bar in the resort. She saw a man carrying a girl just yards from the apartment as she went to check on her children.

The second sighting was by Martin Smith and his family from Ireland, who saw a man carrying a child near the apartment just before 10pm.

The earlier Tanner sighting had always been treated as the most significant, but the Oakley team controversially poured cold water on her account.

Instead, they focused on the Smith sighting, travelling to Ireland to interview the family and produce E-Fits of the man they saw. Their report said the Smiths were “helpful and sincere” and concluded: “The Smith sighting is credible evidence of a sighting of Maddie and more credible than Jane Tanner’s sighting”. The evidence had been “neglected for too long” and an “overemphasis placed on Tanner”.

The new focus shifted the believed timeline of the abduction back by 45 minutes.

The pictures of a man who may have taken Madeleine were drawn up in 2008 The pictures of a man who may have taken Madeleine were drawn up in 2008. The report, delivered to the McCanns in November 2008, recommended that the revised timeline should be the basis for future investigations and that the Smith E-Fits should be released without delay.

The potential abductor seen by the Smiths is now the prime suspect in Scotland Yard’s investigation, after detectives established that the man seen earlier by Tanner was almost certainly a father carrying his child home from a nearby night creche. The Smith E-Fits were the centrepiece of the Crimewatch appeal.

One of the Oakley investigators said last week: “I was absolutely stunned when I watched the programme . . . It most certainly wasn’t a new timeline and it certainly isn’t a new revelation. It is absolute nonsense to suggest either of those things . . . And those E-Fits you saw on Crimewatch are ours,” he said.

The detailed images of the face of the man seen by the Smith family were never released by the McCanns. But an artist’s impression of the man seen earlier by Tanner was widely promoted, even though the face had to be left blank because she had only seen him fleetingly and from a distance.

Various others images of lone men spotted hanging around the resort at other times were also released.

Nor were the Smith E-Fits included in Kate McCann’s 2011 book, Madeleine, which contained a whole section on eight “key sightings” and identified those of the Smiths and Tanner as most “crucial”. Descriptions of all seven other sightings were accompanied by an E-Fit or artist’s impression. The Smiths’ were the only exception. So why was such a “crucial” piece of evidence kept under lock and key?

The relationship between the fund and Oakley was already souring by the time the report was submitted — and its findings could only have made matters worse.

As well as questioning parts of the McCanns’ evidence, it contained sensitive information about Madeleine’s sleeping patterns and raised the highly sensitive possibility that she could have died in an accident after leaving the apartment herself from one of two unsecured doors.

There was also an uncomfortable complication with Smith’s account. He had originally told the police that he had “recognised something” about the way Gerry McCann carried one of his children which reminded him of the man he had seen in Praia da Luz.

Smith has since stressed that he does not believe the man he saw was Gerry, and Scotland Yard do not consider this a possibility. Last week the McCanns were told officially by the Portuguese authorities that they are not suspects.

The McCanns were also understandably wary of Oakley after allegations that the chairman, Kevin Halligen, failed to pass on money paid by the fund to Exton’s team. Halligen denies this. He was later convicted of fraud in an unrelated case in the US.

The McCann fund source said the Oakley report was passed on to new private investigators after the contract ended, but that the firm’s work was considered “contaminated” by the financial dispute.

He said the fund wanted to continue to pursue information about the man seen by Tanner, and it would have been too expensive to investigate both sightings in full — so the Smith E-Fits were not publicised. It was also considered necessary to threaten legal action against the authors.

“[The report] was hypercritical of the people involved . . . It just wouldn’t be conducive to the investigation to have that report publicly declared because . . . the newspapers would have been all over it. And it would have been completely distracting,” said the source.

A statement released by the Find Madeleine fund said that “all information privately gathered during the search for Madeleine has been fully acted upon where necessary” and had been passed to Scotland Yard.

It continued: “Throughout the investigation, the Find Madeleine fund’s sole priority has been, and remains, to find Madeleine and bring her home as swiftly as possible.”

Insight: Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert
Source Sunday Times (paywall)

Madeleine McCann: No Stone Unturned? (Plain Text)


Madeleine clues hidden for 5 years

The new prime suspect was first singled out by detectives in 2008. Their findings were suppressed. Insight reports
The Sunday Times Insight team
27 October 2013

THE critical new evidence at the centre of Scotland Yard’s search for Madeleine McCann was kept secret for five years after it was presented to her parents by ex-MI5 investigators.

The evidence was in fact taken from an intelligence report produced for Gerry and Kate McCann by a firm of former spies in 2008.

It contained crucial E-Fits of a man seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance, which have only this month become public after he was identified as the prime suspect by Scotland Yard.

A team of hand-picked former MI5 agents had been hired by the McCanns to chase a much-needed breakthrough in the search for their missing daughter Madeleine.

10 months after the three-year-old had disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, and the McCanns were beginning to despair over the handling of the local police investigation. They were relying on the new team to bring fresh hope.

But within months the relationship had soured. A report produced by the investigators was deemed “hypercritical” of the McCanns and their friends, and the authors were threatened with legal action if it was made public. Its contents remained secret until Scotland Yard detectives conducting a fresh review of the case contacted the authors and asked for a copy.

They found that it contained new evidence about a key suspect seen carrying a child away from the McCanns’ holiday apartment on the night Madeleine disappeared.

This sighting is now considered the main lead in the investigation and E-Fits of the suspect, taken from the report, were the centrepiece of a Crimewatch appeal that attracted more than 2,400 calls from the public this month.

One of the investigators whose work was sidelined said last week he was “utterly stunned” when he watched the programme and saw the evidence his team had passed to the McCanns five years ago presented as a breakthrough.

The team of investigators from the security firm Oakley International were hired by the McCanns’ Find Madeleine fund, which bankrolled private investigations into the girl’s disappearance. They were led by Henri Exton, MI5’s former undercover operations chief.

Their report, seen by The Sunday Times, focused on a sighting by an Irish family of a man carrying a child at about 10pm on May 3, 2007, when Madeleine went missing.

An earlier sighting by one of the McCanns’ friends was dismissed as less credible after “serious inconsistencies” were found in her evidence. The report also raised questions about “anomalies” in the statements given by the McCanns and their friends.

Exton confirmed last week that the fund had silenced his investigators for years after they handed over their controversial findings. He said: “A letter came from their lawyers binding us to the confidentiality of the report.”

He claimed the legal threat had prevented him from handing over the report to Scotland Yard’s fresh investigation, until detectives had obtained written permission from the fund.

A source close to the fund said the report was considered “hypercritical of the people involved” and “would have been completely distracting” if it became public.

Kate and Gerry McCann: now officially not suspects, say the Portuguese authorities. Oakley’s six-month investigation included placing undercover agents inside the Ocean Club where the family stayed, lie detector tests, covert surveillance and a forensic re-examination of all existing evidence.

It was immediately clear that two sightings of vital importance had been reported to the police. Two men were seen carrying children near the apartments between 9pm, when Madeleine was last seen by Gerry, and 10pm, when Kate discovered her missing.

The first man was seen at 9.15pm by Jane Tanner, a friend of the McCanns, who had been dining with them at the tapas bar in the resort. She saw a man carrying a girl just yards from the apartment as she went to check on her children.

The second sighting was by Martin Smith and his family from Ireland, who saw a man carrying a child near the apartment just before 10pm.

The earlier Tanner sighting had always been treated as the most significant, but the Oakley team controversially poured cold water on her account.

Instead, they focused on the Smith sighting, travelling to Ireland to interview the family and produce E-Fits of the man they saw. Their report said the Smiths were “helpful and sincere” and concluded: “The Smith sighting is credible evidence of a sighting of Maddie and more credible than Jane Tanner’s sighting”. The evidence had been “neglected for too long” and an “overemphasis placed on Tanner”.

The new focus shifted the believed timeline of the abduction back by 45 minutes.

The pictures of a man who may have taken Madeleine were drawn up in 2008The pictures of a man who may have taken Madeleine were drawn up in 2008 (Adrian Sheratt) The report, delivered to the McCanns in November 2008, recommended that the revised timeline should be the basis for future investigations and that the Smith E-Fits should be released without delay.

The potential abductor seen by the Smiths is now the prime suspect in Scotland Yard’s investigation, after detectives established that the man seen earlier by Tanner was almost certainly a father carrying his child home from a nearby night creche. The Smith E-Fits were the centrepiece of the Crimewatch appeal.

One of the Oakley investigators said last week: “I was absolutely stunned when I watched the programme . . . It most certainly wasn’t a new timeline and it certainly isn’t a new revelation. It is absolute nonsense to suggest either of those things . . . And those E-Fits you saw on Crimewatch are ours,” he said.

The detailed images of the face of the man seen by the Smith family were never released by the McCanns. But an artist’s impression of the man seen earlier by Tanner was widely promoted, even though the face had to be left blank because she had only seen him fleetingly and from a distance.

Various others images of lone men spotted hanging around the resort at other times were also released.

Nor were the Smith E-Fits included in Kate McCann’s 2011 book, Madeleine, which contained a whole section on eight “key sightings” and identified those of the Smiths and Tanner as most “crucial”. Descriptions of all seven other sightings were accompanied by an E-Fit or artist’s impression. The Smiths’ were the only exception. So why was such a “crucial” piece of evidence kept under lock and key?

The relationship between the fund and Oakley was already souring by the time the report was submitted — and its findings could only have made matters worse.

As well as questioning parts of the McCanns’ evidence, it contained sensitive information about Madeleine’s sleeping patterns and raised the highly sensitive possibility that she could have died in an accident after leaving the apartment herself from one of two unsecured doors.

There was also an uncomfortable complication with Smith’s account. He had originally told the police that he had “recognised something” about the way Gerry McCann carried one of his children which reminded him of the man he had seen in Praia da Luz.

Smith has since stressed that he does not believe the man he saw was Gerry, and Scotland Yard do not consider this a possibility. Last week the McCanns were told officially by the Portuguese authorities that they are not suspects.

The McCanns were also understandably wary of Oakley after allegations that the chairman, Kevin Halligen, failed to pass on money paid by the fund to Exton’s team. Halligen denies this. He was later convicted of fraud in an unrelated case in the US.

The McCann fund source said the Oakley report was passed on to new private investigators after the contract ended, but that the firm’s work was considered “contaminated” by the financial dispute.

He said the fund wanted to continue to pursue information about the man seen by Tanner, and it would have been too expensive to investigate both sightings in full — so the Smith E-Fits were not publicised. It was also considered necessary to threaten legal action against the authors.

“[The report] was hypercritical of the people involved . . . It just wouldn’t be conducive to the investigation to have that report publicly declared because . . . the newspapers would have been all over it. And it would have been completely distracting,” said the source.

A statement released by the Find Madeleine fund said that “all information privately gathered during the search for Madeleine has been fully acted upon where necessary” and had been passed to Scotland Yard.

It continued: “Throughout the investigation, the Find Madeleine fund’s sole priority has been, and remains, to find Madeleine and bring her home as swiftly as possible.”

Insight: Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert
Source Sunday Times (paywall)

Countdown to Christmas

Are you ready for another Sew Along. 
You will need to trust me on this one. 
It will be a bit of a secret at first. 
This is the color palette I am using. Reds, tans and creams.
 Here are your cutting instructions:
You will need to cut 24 sets like this.
1 light 2-1/4" square
4 light 1" squares
1 dark 1-1/2" square
4 dark 1-3/8" squares
You will need to cut a pile of 1-1/2" light solid and dark print strips
You will need to cut 156 - 2-1/2" light print squares
- - - - - - - - - - 
These are the cutting instructions to get started. 
Starting November 1st I will post the tutorial for 
the cute little 2" blocks we will be making.
Can you guess what they will be?

Health Advisory Lifted at Long Lake


The algae bloom on Long Lake (near Lacey) has dissipated and county health officials have lifted the toxic algae advisory.

Although the warning signs around the lake are removed, people and pets should avoid waters with visible algae. Not all algae blooms are toxic, but some can produce toxins that can harm the nervous system, the liver, the skin, the stomach, and intestines.

You can find a list of current toxic algae blooms on Thurston County Environmental Health's website

To learn more read our blog post, “Blue-green Algae Blooms.”

Health Advisories at Lawrence Lake & Lake St. Clair

Update: These health advisories have been lifted.


There are currently health advisories for blue-green algae toxin on Lawrence Lake and Lake St. Clair. 

When there is a toxic algae bloom, people are advised to:

  • Avoid recreational contact with the lake.
  •   Keep pets out of the water.  
  •   If fishing, catch and release is the safest practice.



Warning signs are posted at access points around the lakes and area home owners will be contacted. The Thurston County Health Department will monitor the lakes weekly until the advisory can be lifted. 

There is still a health advisory at Pattison Lake.
Health advisory at Long Lake has been lifted.

If you have questions, contact Cathy Hansen at (360) 867-2645 or Art Starry at (360) 867-2587.