Public Health News Roundup: May 20
New NCHH, APHA Standards to Improve U.S. Housing Health
A new report from the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) establishes new standards to help improve housing for all Americans. The new National Healthy Housing Standard outlines a health-focused property maintenance policy for the nation’s 100 million existing homes—single family, multifamily, rental and owner occupied. Approximately 40 percent of metropolitan homes have one or more health and safety hazards, according to the NCHH, while the American Housing Survey determined that approximately 6.3 million housing units are considered to be substandard. “While we have made great strides in improving the quality of housing nationwide, too many Americans are left making the false choice between affordable or quality housing. Families deserve access to quality and affordable housing that allows them to put down roots in a community, build wealth, put kids through college and start businesses,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, in a release. Read more on housing.
Red Cross Campaign Will Work to Cut Drowning in Half in 50 U.S. Cities
As part of its celebration of 100 years of swimming safety education, the Red Cross is launching a new national campaign to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent in 50 U.S. cities. The 3-5 year campaign will target 50,000 people across 19 states. A new survey from the organization’s drowning prevention campaign found that while 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only about 56 percent of those people exhibited “water competency”—meaning that they could perform these five critical water safety skills:
- Step or jump into the water over your head
- Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute
- Turn around in a full circle and find an exit
- Swim 25 yards to the exit
- Exit from the water
“We're asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority this summer,” said Connie Harvey, director of the Red Cross Centennial Initiative. Read more on injury prevention.
CDC Releases Vaccine Schedule App for Clinicians, Health Care Professionals
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a new app that provides clinicians and other health care professionals access to the CDC’s latest recommended immunization schedules. The CDC Vaccine Schedules app replicates the appearance of the printed schedules that are reviewed and published each year, and includes information such as the correct vaccine and dosage. The schedules include:
- Child and adolescent schedules with immunization recommendations from birth through age 18
- Catch-up schedule for children 4 months through 18 years
- Adult schedule, including recommended vaccines for adults by age group and by medical condition
- Contraindications and precautions table, with all footnotes that apply to schedules
The app is available in the iTunes App Store and will be released for Android devices in a few months. Read more on vaccines.