The month of August is Medic Alert Awareness Month. For over 60 years, the MedicAlert Foundation International (MAFI) has customized jewelry for people who suffer from life threatening medical conditions. Dr. Marion Collins established MAFI after his daughter, Linda, nearly died of a severe allergic reaction during a simple non-life-threatening medical procedure. Soon after, the Collins’ family came up with the idea of inscribing Linda’s medical condition on a bracelet, rather than attaching a note to her coat everywhere she went without her parents. Today, these medical alert bracelets, necklaces, and shoe tags help save millions of lives across the world annually. This month is dedicated to educating everyone about these medical alert bracelets to prevent another situation like Linda’s from occurring.
August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) awareness month. Organizations like Cure SMA work diligently to educate the public about this genetically-passed disease that is the leading cause of death of infants up to 2 years of age. 1 in 50 Americans, despite gender or race, can be a carrier of this recessive gene. Being informed and spreading knowledge on the probability, risks, and effects of this disease is helpful in family planning and the pursuit of finding a cure.
Earlier this summer, I shared important information on how to prepare in case of a hurricane. I would like to revisit that topic in relation to another type of weather emergency with the potential to affect residents of the Coastal Bend: flooding. Given our community’s proximity to the Texas coast, many residents may already be aware that flooding can occur near the water or in other low-lying areas. However, as illustrated by the recent flood events, flooding is a possibility even in those areas not typically at risk for this type of weather disaster. With this in mind, I would like to share some of the necessary steps you can take to ensure your family is safe and prepared in case of a flood.
As one of the nation’s leading disaster relief organizations, the American Red Cross responds to thousands of disasters each year. While many might associate the organization’s outreach efforts with major catastrophic events such as hurricanes and wildfires, the American Red Cross reports that home fires represent approximately 90 percent of its disaster response efforts. In fact, home fires represent one of the biggest disaster threats to families in the United States. Fires kill more Americans each year than all-natural disasters combined, and affect people from all backgrounds and geographic locations. Given these startling statistics, the American Red Cross suggests tips, aimed at reducing deaths and injuries resulting from home fires by 25%. As such, I would like to share some simple steps you can take to protect your family and home in the event of a home fire.
This year, the month of July has been designated as National Parks & Recreation Month. It is important to recognize the importance of parks and recreation in establishing and maintaining quality of life and in contributing to the physical, economic, and environmental well-being of communities. In the United States, the month of July has been recognized as National Parks & Recreation Month since 1985. During this month, individuals and organizations work together to promote the benefits of local parks and recreation centers to communities and encourage people to get outside, explore local parks, and enjoy outdoor activities.
July is designated as National Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. According to the American Cancer Society, individuals with a high level of exposure to UV rays from the sun have an increased risk of skin cancer, which is the most prevalent type of cancer in the country. It is important to note that despite these statistics, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer and can be avoided by reducing one’s exposure to UV radiation. As such, I would like to share some important information on the necessary precautions to take in order to safeguard against the damaging effects of UV radiation this summer as recommended by the United State Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
July is designated as Beach Safety & Rip Current Awareness Month. During July we use this month to bring attention to rip currents and safety at the beach. I would like to take this opportunity to educate and spread awareness for beach safety.
According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rips currents are channelized currents of water flowing from shores. These currents are very powerful and typically form at breaks in sandbars, jetties, and piers. Rip currents are dangerous because they pull people away from the shore and from moment to moment the speeds of the currents can change quickly. On average, rip current speeds are approximately 1-2 feet per second but can be as fast as 8 feet per second. Being aware of rip currents and looking for clues in the water can be lifesaving. Some tips to look for rip currents are to look for a channel of churning and choppy water and breaks in the wave patterns, or a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving seaward. However, all of these clues or none of them may be visible. If you get caught in a rip current here are some steps to take:
• Don’t fight the current,
• Swim out of the current, or parallel to the shore, then towards the shore
• If you can’t escape, float or tread water
• And if you need help, yell and wave for assistance
The most important thing you can do is to watch the Flag Warning System. The flags displayed are red flags, yellow flags, green flags, blue flags, and orange flags. Red flags indicate extremely hazardous conditions, and suggest to avoid the water. Yellow flags indicate the conditions are moderately hazardous, which typically means swimmers can swim but should proceed with caution. Green flags mean water conditions are safe, but as always, be prepared for changing conditions. Blue flags mean that marine life may be present and could pose a threat to swimmers. Finally, orange flags indicate there is an environmental threat in the air or water that can be hazardous to beachgoers. For example, there may be high bacteria levels, or poor air or water quality.
It is important to understand the dangers at the beach and how to protect your family. For more information about rip currents, please visit the National Weather Services. For more information and educational material, you may also visit the United States Lifesaving Association. To learn more about the Beach Flag Warning System visit Corpus Christi Beach Flag Warning System. For daily updates on the flag warning system visit: https://www.facebook.com/CCBeaches/. You can also get daily beach cast updates from the National Weather Service.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns, or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.
In this week’s article I would like to remind everyone of the importance of being prepared for the upcoming storm and hurricane season. When storms and hurricanes make landfall, they can affect the lives of thousands of Texans along the coast and across the state. As storm and hurricane season continues, being prepared, being aware of hazards, and having a plan for evacuation can be lifesaving.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and will conclude on November 30. I am revisiting this topic because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted, due to multiple climate factors, that this hurricane season will most likely have an above-normal activity. According to the NOAA’S Climate Prediction Center, the outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal Season. The climate Prediction Center is forecasting between 13 to 19 named storms, with about 6 to 10 hurricanes, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes. On average, there are about 12 named storms in a hurricane season.
The month of June is designated as National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. This awareness month began to educate communities about PTSD and provide support and resources to those individuals living with this condition. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents or serious accidents. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. These symptoms can be severe and can last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life. An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD. (more…)