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Health News and Alerts
"THE LAST OF US"-FACT OR FICTION?
The answer? 100% Fiction. Many of you probably watched the HBO series "The Last of Us", about a fungus that blooms when global temperatures drop and infect and takeover humans. And why not? Fungi are alive all around us. The truth is, fungi CAN cause illness in humans, but not to the extent in the show. Check out this short video from PBS featuring our newest Board of Health member Dr. Shira Doron to learn more!
The CDC has released a new set of guidelines for COVID vaccination. See below for a brief overview and visit the website for complete information.
The virus that causes COVID-19 has changed over time. The different versions of the virus that have developed over time are called variants. The first COVID-19 vaccines are called “monovalent” because they were designed to protect against the original variant of virus that causes COVID-19. However, two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, have developed updated COVID-19 vaccines. The updated vaccines are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the current Omicron variant.
Recommendation for Everyone Aged 6 Years and Older
- Everyone 6 years and older should get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve received any original COVID-19 vaccines.
People Who May Get Additional Updated COVID-19 Boosters
Some people may get optional additional COVID-19 boosters:
- People aged 65 years and older may get 1 additional updated COVID-19 booster dose 4 or more months after the 1st updated COVID-19 vaccine.
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get 1 additional updated COVID-19 booster dose 2 or more months after the 1st updated COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about additional updated booster doses.
When Are You Up to Date?
1) Everyone aged 6 years and older
- You are up to date when you get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
2) Children aged 6 months—5 years who got the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
You are up to date if you are:
- Aged 6 Months—4 years and you get 3 COVID-19 vaccine doses, including at least 1 updated COVID-19 dose.
- Aged 5 years and you get at least 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine dose.
3) Children aged 6 months—5 years who got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
- You are up to date when you get 2 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses, including at least 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine dose.
4) People who are unable or choose not to get a recommended mRNA vaccine
- You are up to date when you get the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine doses approved for your age group.
CPR: Why you should get certified.
CPR. We've seen it on TV or in the movies, and most of us have some idea of what CPR looks like. But until recently, most people have never seen CPR used in real life. On January 2, 2023, millions of Americans watched Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin collapse mid-game after suffering a cardiac arrest. Thankfully, he had a quick thinking coach and a nearby AED, but CPR was also key to his survival that day.
Each year, 350,000 people experience cardiac arrest OUTSIDE the hospital and when that happens, when delivered immediately, CPR can double, or even triple, someone’s chances of survival. Although 65% of people in the United States say they’ve received CPR training at some point in their lives, only 18% of people are up to date on their training. And CPR has changed a LOT over the past few years. So why don’t more Americans learn how to do it?
Most people say access, time and cost are the main barriers but if you can get certified, it’s worth it. You may never need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you devoted just two hours of your time to learning. We’ve listed ways to access classes and how to find free or reduced cost classes below.
WHAT IS CPR?
CPR stands for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, they experience a sudden loss of heart activity due to an irregular heart rhythm. Breathing stops and oxygen is not reaching the brain. Cardiac arrest is an “ELECTRICAL” problem. Only an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) can fix this by delivering an electrical shock to the heart, but CPR is the placeholder that helps blood circulate to the brain until an AED can be used. Cardiac arrest is NOT a heart attack. When someone is in cardiac arrest, they are unconscious and not breathing.
CPR can be delivered two ways: either WITH or WITHOUT rescue breathing. Bystander CPR is delivered WITHOUT rescue breathing and is very easy to learn. Most people can get certified in under two hours! And, most bystander CPR classes include AED training. Using an AED is very easy and even children can learn how. Chances are, you have an AED located somewhere in your workplace or at a venue where your child plays sports. When CPR and an AED are used on someone in cardiac arrest before emergency help arrives, it greatly increases the chance for survival.
WHERE TO GET CERTIFIED
Getting CPR certified is easier than ever, and can even be done virtually!
Red Cross (Includes online only option)
First Aid For Free (Includes online only option)
Testing Wastewater for Norovirus, Otherwise Known as the “Stomach Bug”
Cambridge-based company Biobot Analytics has been testing wastewater to measure levels of COVID-19 in Massachusetts since 2020 and this data has been a valuable measuring tool used by Federal, State and Local health departments to assess risk and spread. This Spring, Biobot Analytics will also start testing for norovirus, otherwise known as the “stomach bug”.
Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness. Although it has similar symptoms, norovirus is NOT “food poisoning “, which is caused by eating food that contains certain types of bacteria or viruses. Norovirus is caused when infected people spread the virus to others through direct contact, such as by caring for them or sharing food or eating utensils with them. Food, water, and surfaces contaminated with norovirus can also cause outbreaks. Norovirus is highly contagious and hard to eliminate. Click here for more info on how to properly clean and disinfect to prevent infection.
The most common symptoms of norovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain.
Prevention is key, and monitoring for any increased levels in wastewater can help stop or slow down an outbreak. According to the CDC, annually norovirus causes:
- 109,000 hospitalizations
- 465,000 emergency department visits, mostly in young children
- 2,270,000 outpatient clinic visits annually, mostly in young children
- 19 to 21 million illnesses
In addition to letting residents know to be more cautious, a sudden spike could indicate the need for some detective work to identify a food related outbreak that needs to be addressed.
Currently, Wellesley data are being collected as part of the southern grouping of the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resource Agency).
For more information about norovirus, including how it’s spread, prevention and more, visit the CDC website.