Where we live matters to our health – according to a new report released this week. The 2012 County Health Rankings analyzes the health of nearly every county in the nation.
Out of Florida’s 67 counties, Sarasota ranked as the 3rd healthiest, while Glades County, just an hour and a half east of Sarasota, ranked 58th.
HealthyState.org held a contest calling on listeners to nominate people in their communities who inspire them to be healthy. Below is the winner for Southwest Florida.
Ferd DeSantis is a fighter in every sense of the word. The Fort Myers man has a third-degree black belt in multiple styles of martial arts. He regularly works out at the gym and trains with other fighters.
He’s also 85 years old. READ MORE
This time of year an army of workers converge on Florida’s citrus groves. They race through the trees, picking oranges and grapefruit that will make it into people’s morning glass of juice. Workers get paid by the box and don’t want to miss a second.
But their encounters with thorny branches can come at a price to their eyes. Many leave the groves with scratched corneas and other injuries. READ MORE
Fall ushers in the beginning of flu season – which is also known as the ‘flu shot season.’
It’s hard to tell whether an easy or difficult flu season lies ahead. Most people get sick in December and January. However, public health officials are urging everyone to take protective action now.
Director of the Lee County Health Department Dr. Judith Hartner says the most effective way people can protect themselves from the flu by getting an annual flu shot.
“In years past, we just talked about people who were older than 65 or people with chronic disease,” said Hartner.
“But children can be very susceptible to influenza, pregnant woman… So if you’re six months or older, we recommend getting a flu shot.”
Less than half of Americans get the vaccine. Some believe getting the shot will give them the flu. Hartner says that’s a common misconception, because the viruses in the vaccine are not living.
According to Florida’s Department of Health, Lee and Collier Counties have the highest rate of deaths from falls in the state.
More than 130 people in Lee and 87 people in Collier died from falls in 2009, the most recent numbers available.
According to Lee Memorial Health System, falls are the number one cause of trauma death in Lee County – especially among seniors.
Trauma Prevention Educator at Lee Memorial Mark Tesoro says it’s hard to pinpoint why those number are so high in the area.
“Most people primarily think falls are a balance and strength issue, but there are a number of different factors when it comes to falls,” said Tesoro.
“There are vision issues, medication issues, footwear issues, lighting issues – all kinds of environmental issues…. That’s why it’s been difficult in trying to figure out why it’s occurring.”
Tesoro says falls are not a normal, natural part of aging and can be prevented.
He recommends clearing walkways and hallways, getting vision checked, and exercising regularly.
Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition will host free fall-risk assessments and health screenings on September 23 at Lake Kennedy Senior Center in Cape Coral.
A new treatment that was tested at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa became available this week for patients with metastasized melanoma.
Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and can quickly spread to other parts of the body. Once that happens, the median survival rate is six to 12 months.
But, a new drug tested at Moffitt offers hope for extending life. Moffitt researcher Dr. Jeffrey Webber said it works by targeting and turning off a protein inside the tumor that makes it grow.
“What this drug does is give you a quick hit on the tumor, that is it gives a quick amount of shrinkage of the tumor and the hope is that you can add to it other drugs that will maintain shrinkage over the long term and prolong survival and give you a hope of curing these patients,” he said.
According to Webber, 50 percent of patients enrolled in the research trial benefitted from the drug, which is administered in pill form, twice a day. Webber says the side effects are quite moderate. Moffitt is one of three centers in the United States that ran trails that led to FDA approval.