May 4 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: May 4

Asthma in U.S. Now at Highest Levels

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics finds that asthma prevalence in the U.S. increased from 7.3% in 2001 to 8.4% in 2010, when 25.7 million persons had asthma. Those are the highest levels of the condition ever reported in the U.S.

Additional findings include:

  • For the period 2008–2010, asthma prevalence was higher among children than adults, and among multiple-race, black, American Indians or Alaska Natives, than whites.
  • For the period 2007–2009, blacks had higher rates for asthma emergency room visits and hospitalizations than whites, and a higher asthma death rate. Compared with adults, children had higher rates for asthma primary care and emergency room rates, similar hospitalization rates, and lower death rates.

May is Asthma Awareness Month. Read more.

CDC Issues Guidance on Helmet Protection during a Tornado

The Centers for Disease Control has released a statement that says that the agency does not have research on the effectiveness of a helmet to prevent head injuries during a tornado, but acknowledges that head injuries are common causes of death during tornadoes and that people may decide to use helmets to protect their heads.

However, the agency points out that the time to react when a tornado is imminent may be very short, so people who opt for helmets should know where they are as part of a preparedness plan, and not use them as an alternative to getting to a shelter.

Read more on preparedness.

Social Media Use on the Rise at State and Local Health Departments

The Nation’s Health, a newspaper published by the American Public Health Association, has released a new survey of 200 local and state health departments that found that 56 percent of state and 53 percent of local health departments used Facebook to communicate, an increase from earlier surveys. About 180 departments use Twitter accounts.

Read more on state and local health departments.

Tags: Public health, Emergency preparedness and response, Public health agencies, Asthma, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disasters, News roundups, Preparedness