Deal with Ebola in balanced way
Following the first reported case of Ebola on U.S. soil a few short weeks ago, the deadly virus now has become a household word in our country. Since then, it’s of little wonder that the American public is fearful, if not on the verge of panic in some communities.
Missteps by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to properly deal with the outbreak here in the states and the rapidly spreading epidemic in Sierra Leone and Liberia have done little to instill necessary confidence.
The fact that state and national politicians attempt to use the disease for political gain, calling for bans on international travel to South Africa, and President Barack Obama’s positioning political crony Ronald Klain his “Ebola Czar,” have only fueled the fright.
Let’s take a deep breath and put things into perspective: With a population of more than 300 million in our country and only four confirmed cases with a single death attributed to it, Ebola pales as a potential killer of Americans in comparison to other viral and bacterial monsters such as seasonal influenza or streptococcus.
That isn’t to say Ebola isn’t serious. It is. But it should be dealt with in a calm, calculated and competent manner, not with hysteria and hyperbole.
Ebola is not an airborne disease. It can be contracted only through direct contact with bodily fluids and secretions of an infected person or animal.
Of the three Americans who have tested positive for Ebola, two were health care workers treating the victim who succumbed to it after contracting the disease while in Liberia.
Political posturing on the part of our elected leaders by calling for the closure of our too-porous borders to travelers to and from West Africa is naive at best. The shrinking of the world because of international travel makes this an ill-conceived measure of protection.
Too, relying on airport screening based on simple questions about possible exposure to the disease will work no better.
And Obama’s naming of an Ebola Czar with no medical, military or logistical expertise is disheartening.
So what is a nation to do to better protect itself from the threat and fear of potential illness or death in these times?
Here’s a suggestion: Get yourself a flu shot and avoid 24-hour cable news programs for a while. Both will do you a world of good.
Darts and Laurels
A laurel to Holly Davis and breast cancer survivors everywhere! Think pink!
A dart to inappropriate teacher-student (aka adult-child) relationships. Sorry, but no excuse.
A laurel to the Johnson County Extension Office — hard workers with our local communities in mind!
A dart to delayed property tax bills — uncertainity can breed worry.
A laurel to freedom of speech and the right to vote — cast your ballot on Nov. 4!
Political change begins with voters
Recent — and frequent — visits from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Secretry of State Alison Lundergan Grimes serve as reminders of the heated contest between the two as Grimes battles to take McConnell’s seat in Washington. No doubt about it, this is one race to keep an eye on and one that not only Kentuckians are interested in, but others across the nation, as well.
As Alison’s team continues to chant “Thirty years is long enough,” McConnell’s points to the incumbent senator’s many years of experience in the nation’s capital as an advantage.
As vocal as both McConnell and Grimes are as they battle for the coveted seat, locally things have been quite the opposite.
With former sheriff Bill Witten vying to regain control of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and current Sheriff Dwayne Price vowing to stay put, one would expect a little more chatter between the two. On the same hand, the several who have come forth to attempt to wrangle the city mayor’s office from incumbent Bob Porter have also been fairly quiet although we did receive a complaint earlier this week regarding some shady political sign switching.
All in all, it appears to be a clean race this election year with mud-slinging put aside and each candidate running on his or her own merit.
For those of you who are unclear on the issues or who just have not yet had the opportunity to speak with local candidates, show up at the public forum scheduled for this coming Monday on the BSCTC Mayo campus. Each candidate will speak and, time allowing, audience members will be able to ask a question or two.
Most importantly, however, in the short time remaining before the Nov. 4 election, make a point to become familiar with each and every candidate in each and every race. Discern the ones that speak for you and show your support by visiting the polls on election day. Every vote does count — male and female, young and old, conservative and liberal — from the local arena to the state level and on up to Washington.
If you feel things need to change, let our elected officials know how you feel at the polls.
Darts and Laurels
A laurel to emergency workers and volunteers who participate in continued training to keep citizens safe!
A dart to delays in setting up the new county animal shelter, even though they are unavoidable.
A laurel to citizens who stand up for themselves — voting on issues that affect many is the American way!
A dart to having to kiss a pig — (or not? They are pretty cute!)
A laurel to continued student learning during snow days (though students may view this as a ‘dart’).
Educate yourself about breast cancer
The Kentucky Standard
Your bra is not giving you breast cancer.
Your deodorant is not giving you breast cancer.
Coffee is not giving you breast cancer.
Mammograms are not giving you breast cancer.
In a large percentage of cases, your genes aren’t even giving you breast cancer.
As with anything that escalates to the level of attention breast cancer has received, there are several myths about the disease. There are posts all over social media and even reports on mainstream media that do nothing but incite fear over incorrect information.
That being the case, it’s tough to sort facts from fiction. But there are facts that you should know about breast cancer.
• First, it is something you should be aware of, not just in October — even though the month is designated for that purpose.
• It is killing the women of the world by the thousands.
• This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 232,670 new cases of female breast cancer diagnosed in the United State alone — and 2,360 male diagnoses. Of those, 40,000 women and 430 men will die from the disease. To put that in perspective, the population of Nelson County is roughly 44,540. So breast cancer will kill almost as many people in the country as live in the county.
• One in eight women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Think about your family — your mother, sisters, grandmothers, cousins, aunts and close friends. Are there at least eight of them? If so, consider that one of them will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point. And the risk increases with age.
• Studies indicate that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of developing breast cancer and women who are overweight or obese have an increased risk. For this reason, we should all be mindful of what we put in our bodies and how healthy our behaviors are. You are your own best health advocate.
• Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will somehow lead to a woman’s death is about 3 percent.
• Death rates from breast cancer are decreasing, likely the result of increased technology, improved treatment, increased awareness and earlier detection.
• There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
While breast cancer will kill 40,430 Americans this year, almost 3 million have come face to face with the beast that is breast cancer and have lived through it.
That’s not to degrade or speak ill of those who have succumbed to the disease. Their struggles and the toll taken on their families is just as much a reality and required just as much strength. But it is a fact to be proud of, nonetheless. That is the fact that proves that breast cancer awareness is saving lives.
The reason almost 3 million people have gone on to earn the title “Survivor” is because we are educating ourselves about cancer prevention and because now, more than ever before, we understand the importance of self-exams and preventive screenings.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women 40 or older have a mammogram every year. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years as part of a regular health exam. Doctors also recommend monthly self-exams.
Take care of and educate yourself. The life that knowledge and action saves may be your own.