Protect your family from the West Nile Virus

If you watch the news at all, you probably have heard about all the West Nile cases popping up this summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. is on track for 2012 to be the worst year on record for cases of the West Nile Virus.

Dr. Lyle Peterson, director of the division of vector-borne infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control, told reporters, “We don’t really know why it’s worse this year than in previous years.” However he noted that the unseasonably hot weather from the mild winter and early spring and summer may play a role.

In order to protect yourself and your family, it is important that you be informed about West Nile Virus and what experts say you can do to keep your family safe.

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus is a flavivirus commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. The CDC believes the virus first made its way to the U.S. in 1999.

How Can I get WNV?

Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which may circulate the virus in their blood for a few days. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit West Nile virus to humans and animals while biting to take blood. The virus is located in the mosquito’s salivary glands. During blood feeding, the virus may be injected into the animal or human, where it may multiply, possibly causing illness.

What Are the Symptoms of WNV?

Most people infected with West Nile Virus will never show any symptoms. For those who do, the symptoms usually start to surface anywhere from 3 to 15 days after infection.

  • Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. People older than 50 are the most likely to develop severe illness.
  • Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people can become sick for several weeks.
  • No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

How can you prevent West Nile Virus?

According to the CDC, prevention measures consist of community-based mosquito control programs that are able to reduce populations and personal protection measures to reduce the likelihood of being bitten by infected mosquitoes.

The easiest and best way to stop the spread of West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Here are some ways you can do that.

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.

These tips and this information will help keep your family safe as summer winds down. So be safe and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: More Americans traveling this Labor Day weekend

Major Traffic Jam 1As the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day traditionally finds many of us celebrating with family picnics, ball games and vacations. In spite of soaring gas prices once again creeping near the $4 per gallon mark, a higher number of travelers are expected to be traveling during this long Labor Day weekend.

According to AAA, 33 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 2.9 percent increase from the 32.1 million people who traveled last year. 

Approximately 28.2 million people (85 percent of holiday travelers) will make their Labor Day holiday journey by automobile, considered the most convenient mode of travel for many Americans.  This is a 3.1 percent increase over the 27.3 million people who took to the nation’s roadways in 2011. The total number of 2012 Labor Day holiday travelers is expected to reach a new post-recession high. Continue reading “Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: More Americans traveling this Labor Day weekend”

Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: Magnetic balls dangerous to young children

A safety watchdog has filed suit against the manufacturers of magnetic balls, claiming they are dangerous to children. The Ohio product recall lawyers of Elk & Elk believe companies should not benefit from dangerous products.

In an effort to protect children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has sued two companies that manufacture high-powered magnetic balls.

The CPSC filed administrative complaints against Zen Magnets of Denver, CO, and Maxfield & Oberton Holdings of New York City alleging that the company’s products contain defects in the design, packaging, warnings and instructions which pose a substantial risk of injury.

Maxfield & Oberton is the manufacturer of the popular Buckyballs, the high-powered magnetic desktop toys for adults that many young children have swallowed. The tiny magnets can then cluster together and get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, causing blockage or infection or punching holes through the stomach or intestinal walls. Continue reading “Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: Magnetic balls dangerous to young children”

Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: FDA restricts use of Stryker brain stent

The FDA has restricted the use of the Wingspan brain stent after evidence surfaced that the device may increase the risk of stroke and death. The Ohio medical malpractice lawyers of Elk & Elk want to make you aware of the possible danger involved in using these stents.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is restricting use of a brain stent manufactured by Stryker that props open clogged brain arteries.

The Wingspan stent was approved by the FDA in 2005 for use in patients with plaque-filled arteries in the brain – a condition which can lead to strokes. After looking at data suggesting the stent can actually increase stroke and death in some patients, the FDA now says the device should only be used only for a small segment of patients who have experienced multiple strokes but have not had any stroke symptoms in the last week.

The Wingspan stent is made up of a small, mesh tube that is secured via an inflatable tube, promoting blood flow thorough the arteries to the brain. Continue reading “Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: FDA restricts use of Stryker brain stent”

Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: Parents must make sure kids are properly restrained

A new study found that most children are not properly restrained when they ride in vehicles. The Ohio personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk urge all parents to make sure that their children are properly restrained every time they ride in a vehicle.

One of the most important jobs for any parent is to keep their children safe. A study released this week said that many parents may be failing to do just that each time they get in a vehicle.

The study published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that the majority of U.S. kids do not sit safely in cars, either because they are not properly restrained in car seats or booster seats, or because they sit in the front seat.

Researchers at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, analyzed data from past studies that tracked children’s seating in cars at public sites such as restaurants, child care centers and gas stations. They observed nearly 22,000 children and found that only 3 percent of children ages 1-3 who were restrained were sititing in a proper, rear-facing car seat. And only 10 percent of 8- to 10-year-old children were properly restrained in a booster seat or car seat.

Some experts say confusion about child seat laws may be partially to blame. Child seat laws vary from state to state, and most state laws aren’t as strict as the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Under current Ohio law:

–          Infants should ride rear-facing in an infant-only or convertible seat until they are at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds.

–          Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat.

–          Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 57 inches tall, must use a booster seat

The latest AAP recommendations say that until age 2, children should sit in rear-facing seats, and children over 2 should sit in front-facing seats with harnesses until their weight and height exceeds the car seat’s capacity. Then, a booster seat should still be used until a child is 57 inches tall – the average height for an 11-year-old. They recommend that children shouldn’t sit in the front seat until they’re 13. Click here to read more from the AAP on child seat safety.

Common mistakes included that children over age 7 were seldom seated in a booster seat (only 2 percent of kids used a booster seat), and that by ages 8 to 10, 25 percent of kids were already sitting in the front seat.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children older than 3 and more than 140,000 children go to emergency rooms annually as a result of car accidents. But properly seating a child in a car seat or booster seat greatly reduces the risk of injury or death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years. According to researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for children 4 to 7 years, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts.

The personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk urge all parents, grandparents or anyone else who transports children to make sure that they follow all laws and guidelines for properly restraining children every time they get in the car. It is up to each parent to decide whether they want to just follow the restrictions enforced by law, or if they want to abide by the stricter suggestions from the AAP. Also, make sure you wear your seat belt every time you get in the car. This sets a good example for your children and shows that you are concerned about and value safety.

Don’t let your child become a statistic.