Quick Blips: August 2017

In collaboration with the Health Care Committee 

Sun Safety Tips 

Cover up with light colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. (2) Also apply sun screen with an SPF of 30 and reapply every two hours, whether you are swimming or not. (3) During your yearly wellness visit, ask your doctor to look at your skin for cancers. Common skin cancers include basal cell, squamous cell, and melanomas. Basal cell cancers are pearly, raised, and may crust and bleed. Squamous cell cancers manifest as red or pink scaly bumps. Melanomas begin as dark brown or flat brown spots. They may later change in shape or color or grow from a mole. 

[ (Gohara, Mona, MD and Perez, Maritza, MD. “Skin Cancer and Skin of Color.” Skin Cancer Foundation. <www.skincancer.org/prevention/skin-cancer-and-skin-of-color>. May 18, 2015.) [Submitted by Lynne James] 

When Is It Practical to Use a Nurse Practitioner? 

First the Nurse Practitioner must have an RN degree plus an advanced Master’s degree. Also, the Practitioner should have advanced clinical training, positive reviews from their peers, and meet national certification. They can access patients, diagnose illnesses, perform and order tests, prescribe care plans, write prescrip-tions, perform minor surgery, and operate a private service. 

It is practical to use them because of their experience and their ability to relate well with patients. They are easily accessible and can practice without supervision in Texas. Check with your insurance. 

(Budd, Ken. “A Practical Guide to Nurse Practi-tioners,” AARP Bulletin, July/August 2017. 

FDA’s Regulatory Shift for Nicotine 

“Cigarettes are the only legal product that, when used as indicated, will kill half of all term users.” Thirty-six million Americans smoke tobacco products. The FDA plans to prioritize limiting the amount of nicotine in tobacco products. Although nicotine is the addition factor, it is the tar and other toxins in the smoke that cause harm. 

(Lester Holt. NBC Nightly News. July 28, 2017. and “Harm Reduction. Action on Smoking and Health. 7.31.2017. <ash.org.uk>. 

New Research on Antibiotics 

Researches now say that a shorter course of antibiotics is better for the body. (Lester Holt. NBC Nightly News. July 27, 2017.) 

DNA Debate Looming 

Scientists have developed a process to modify human DNA with the purpose of eliminating some hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Critics argue that this process could create designer babies. They argue that it could be used for negative purposes as scientists play god or demon. [Lester Holt. NBC Nightly News. July 27, 2017.]

Smashing the Smishing Scams 

Look for suspicious charges on your monthly phone bill. Even if you never responded to a smishing text, it doesn't hurt to look at your itemized charges to see if there's anything that looks off. If it does, contact your phone provider right away to dispute the charges. Don't worry, they've heard it all before. Resist entering con-tests that ask you to provide your mobile number, as you’re set-ting yourself up for these kinds of scams. Similarly, don’t post your mobile phone number on social media or other public forums. 

When mobile shopping, stick with reputable retailers. When giving out financial information, like your credit card, always be sure to look for indicators that the site is secure, such as a little lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure”). On a related note, never tap on a link to a retailer to shop online -- just in case it's a scam. Instead, manually type in the store's URL (e.g. amazon.com) or use the store’s official app. 

(Saltzman, Marc. USA Today. July 4,2017. <www.usatoday.com>.

Smishing SMS Texts Are the Next ID SCAM 

Criminals are sending smishing texts to steal your identification. They send these legitimate looking phone texts just like scammers have been sending phishing e-mails to your computer account. The text appears to be from a bank, an Internet service provider, or a favorite store. The scam works because users tend to trust text messages. 

The criminals want to lure you into providing a login name, password, or credit card number by getting you to tap on a link that takes you to a website. * If you get a suspicious looking text (or email) on your phone and it asks you to urgently confirm information, it's not coming from a legitimate institution. Therefore, don't reply and don't tap on the link in the message. Simply delete it. Your bank, financial institution, ISP or favorite online retailer will never ask for sensitive info this way. When in doubt, contact the company yourself. Even though you might be tempted to hit Reply and tell them to leave you alone, you’re only confirming your phone number is valid, which might invite even more scams. 

(Saltzman, Marc. USA Today. July 4,2017. <www.usatoday.com>. 

Total Eclipse of the Heart 

The song is making a comeback because of the August 21 total solar eclipse. You will not be able to see the total eclipse in Texas, but eclipse en-thusiasts can head to Colorado or Kansas. The eclipse will enter the US in Oregon and exit in South Carolina. Wherever you are, do not look at the eclipse with unprotected eyes. There are only five brands of glasses that have the ISO certification that allow you to look at the solar eclipse. Avoid materials that do not have the certified markings. You may have your retina damaged, causing blindness. See the American Astrological Society at <eclipse.aas.org> for information on safety viewing. My father poked a tiny pin hole in a piece of cardboard. He held that up to the sun and turned around to view the shadow of the eclipse on a piece of paper. The shadow seemed inadequate, but I still have my eyesight (Hart). 

NASA will provide an interactive viewing map for the August 21 eclipse.