An estimated 200 people live in woods in Charlotte County. Executive Director of the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition, Connie Thrasher, says that can be tough – especially in the summer time.
“oh my gosh – have you ever camped in the summer – not in Florida.”
So Thrasher says for the last 3 years the Coalition has handed out large sturdy rectangular mosquito nets that can be draped over polls or tree limbs – or placed inside a tent.
“actually the first time we got them it was the suggestion of a homeless person who was very savvy and went on the computer and found a source for them – and we’ve used that source - he said it is just awful to be living outside with the mosquitoes – it’s beyond comprehension”
The fifty nets were donated to the Homeless Coalition – they cost about 17 dollars each. Thrasher says going to a homeless shelter in Charlotte County is not an option – because there aren’t any.
Blood centers across the state are racing to fill their supplies as the long holiday weekend approaches. And places like Lee Memorial need all types. Actually…the need for blood has even forced blood center officials to lower restrictions in some cases. Community Relations Coordinator for Lee’s Blood center Nancy Hendrick says people that were once turned down are now accepted.
“A lot of people were told 20 years ago they can’t donate because they were on high blood pressure pills. You can donate if you are on high blood pressure pills as long as you are stable. You can donate blood if you are cholesterol medication you can donate. If you’re diabetic you can donate. If you are on an aspirin a day you can donate. If you’re on depression medication you can donate. They have opened the window a lot to allow more people to donate who are on a multitude of medication.”
Hendrick says it usually takes about ten minutes to determine if someone qualifies to give blood. She says one condition that can commonly lead to disqualification is low levels of iron. To find one of the many locations where Lee Memorial and Naples Community Blood Centers will collect blood call 334-5333…that’s 334-5-triple three.
Places like Lee Memorial and Naples Community Blood Centers want to increase their supplies before the holiday. Blood Centers are in need of blood especially with the Fourth of July holiday coming up. But they are also advising people to increase their iron levels so they don’t have to be turned away. Lee Memorial Blood center spokeswoman Nancy Hendrick says turning people away because they have low iron levels is the biggest challenge for blood centers.
"The way society is running everybody’s running so fast…they’re so busy, we don’t eat right, we don’t sleep enough…and that deters from your iron levels. You have to have a certain iron level to be able to donate. So we try to tell people all the time to eat iron rich foods, drink plenty of fluids, get enough sleep and they should be ok."
Hendrick says it usually takes about ten minutes to know if someone does not qualify to give blood. To find one of the many locations where Lee Memorial and Naples Community Blood Centers will collect blood call 334-5333…that’s 334-5-triple three.
A smoky haze continues to blanket southwest Florida from the more than dozen wildfires that have broken out in Charlotte, Lee and Hendry Counties since Monday.
Health officials are reminding residents that with this much smoke in the air even people who don’t normally have respiratory issues might have symptoms like sore throats, or itchy eyes. And that you don’t even need to be that close to fires to have symptoms.
Spokeswoman for the Collier County Health Department - Deb Millsap – says people with pre-existing respiratory issues should try and stay inside until smoke diminishes…and use their A/C at home and in car.
“If they do already have things like asthma, or respiratory problems or even chronic heart disease, then monitor their symptoms. If they’re having unusual amounts of wheezing and shortness of breath then they definitely should call their physician if they feel at all uncomfortable.”
Millsap says symptoms might appear as long as 48 hours after smoke exposure – and that smoke can last for days after a fire’s been extinguished.
For more information check out the American Lung Association’s website at LungUsa.Org.
Nearly five million Americans are living with congestive heart failure. According to the American Heart Association there is no cure. But a new therapy using stem cells derived from a patient's own blood is challenging that prognosis. Others question the therapy. WGCU's Valerie Alker has this report on a medical practice in Bonita Springs that's sending patients halfway around the world for a desperate shot at living a longer, better life.
The League of Women voters in Collier County believes preparing for a flu pandemic is more than just a health issue.
The group met Monday with county officials as well as a hospital official, the Red Cross, and emergency management. The topic was the impact of a flu pandemic on southwest Florida and the nation as a whole. The league’s Ann Campbell, says the point of the meeting was to determine how to help homeland security when dealing with a pandemic.
“It could be a hurricane…it could be terrorism, but the flu pandemic is something that brings every county agency into play. So we thought that would be a good way to demonstrate the county’s ability to prepare for homeland security.”
Campbell says the county health department is already working to get the word out about issues with a pandemic. She adds, one of the biggest lessons learned at the meeting was the widespread effect a pandemic would have on the community as well as the economy.
U.S. Speed skater Bonnie Blair was in Fort Myers Wednesday talking about her experience with a rather embarrassing affliction. Her visit is part of a national public education campaign called “What’s Happening Down There?: Breaking the Ice about stress urinary incontinence. WGCU’s Amy Tardif has more.
Today is World AIDS Day. December 1st is dedicated to raising awareness of the global pandemic caused by the HIV infection. World-wide AIDS has killed 25 million people. And despite recent improved access to care and treatment the virus claimed an estimated 3.1 million lives last year. In Florida thousands of people are infected with HIV. Scott Tims is the HIV/ AIDS Coordinator for the Collier County Health Department – he says outreach is the key to fighting the epidemic.
“I think in Collier County we have a huge racial and ethnic disparity. We have one in fifty-five Blacks, one in 366 Hispanics and 1 in 1140 Whites who are infected with the disease. So of course because we know we have higher infection rates in Black and Hispanic Communities we tend to go to those communities more often.”
Kim says there are 12 hundred reported cases of HIV in Collier
This year’s theme for World AIDS Day – is Stop Aids/Keep the Promise. A remembrance – featuring art-work by Collier County teens will be held tonight from 6:00 to 8:30 at the River Park Community Center in Naples.
According to an email being sent to many newsrooms, smokeless tobacco is being used in Switzerland to help smokers kick the habit. It goes on to say it’s 98 safer percent than cigarettes. But according to the American Cancer Society – dipping and chewing are deadly. Melissa Peacock is the Patient Services Representative for Southwest Florida.
“43 The amount of nicotine in smokeless tobacco is two or three times the amount delivered by a cigarette. People who dip or chew eight to ten times a day receive the same amount of nicotine as a smoker who smokes 30 to 40 cigs a day.”
The American Cancer Society was behind passage of an amendment in Florida last week requiring the state to spend more money on anti-tobacco programs. It also has a toll free 24-7 number for tobacco users to call for peer counseling – 1-877-yes-quit.
The American Cancer Society’s annual “Great American Smokeout” is tomorrow – the day smoker’s are urged to give up their habit for a day – and see how it goes. But many younger people – while eschewing cigarettes are taking up smokeless tobacco. And that’s not good. Melissa Peacock is with the American Cancer Society in Southwest Florida.
“its direct absorption in the mouth which cause sores and white patches which often lead to cancers of the mouth – and also increase risk of cancer to tharnyx, larynx and esophagus – not to speak of other social things like chronic bad breath, stained fillings, gum disease – gum recession tooth loss decay.”
Currently about 21 percent of Americans still use tobacco – down from a high of 42 percent in 1966. Recently the number of smokers who’ve quit has leveled off. But help is available. The American Cancer Society’s 24-7 toll free number is 1-877-now-quit.
“There are people out there that do drink five and ten cups of decaf coffee a day. So that amount of caffeine can add up even to be the same as say as a pill of no-doze or equivalent to one, or two or maybe three cups of regular coffee depending on the strength of the caffeine in those coffees.”