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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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November 21, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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November 21, 2001
 

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6A w . day, No . 200 Health News l With the flu season well on its way, the latest cases of an- thrax in postal workers, and concerns about bioterrorism, people are increasingly con- cerned about how to distin- guish diseases such as an- thrax from the common cold or flu. In general, the public should be well informed about agents of bioterrorism, as well as be prepared for any emergency. The Plumas County Public Health Agency has been up- dated daily with the latest in- formation and recommenda- tions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the California Department of Health Services (CDHS), and others. The following are an- swers to frequently asked questions: Q: How do I know my flu symptoms are not an- thrax? A: Many illnesses begin with "'flu-like" symptoms that in- clude fever, lack of energy, muscle aches, sore throat, dry cough and a runny nose. If you have the flu, the fever and body aches can last for 3-5 days, but the cough and fatigue can last for two weeks or more. With inhaled an- thrax, the initial symptoms mimic the flu. These symp- toms progress, in several hours to days, into severe breathing problems, menin- gitis and shock. Q: Can I get screened or tested to find out if I've been exposed to anthrax? A: The only way exposure can be determined is through a public health investigation. There is no test a doctor can do that tells you whether you've been exposed to or carry anthrax. The nasal swabs and environmental tests reported in the media are not used to determine whether tor not an individual needs treatment. They only determine the extent of expo- sure in a given location, once an investigation has deter- mined the credible existence of anthrax in a particular lo- cation. Q: How do I know if there has been bioterrorism in my community? A: The chances of citizens be- ing exposed to bioterrorism, including anthrax, in Plumas County are low to none. Local law enforcement works with a local bioterrorism response team to follow protocol estab- lished from the recommen- dations fof the FBI, CDC, and CDHS. Since so many hoaxes have occurred all across the na- tion, law enforcement and lo- cal res p se teams follow a specific pro- col to determine whether a threat (suspicious letter, package or other item) is credible. To date, there have been no credible threats in all of California. Only credible threats will be tested for disease-causing agents. If a suspicious item is deemed a credible threat, samples will then be collected for testing. Local testing is confn'med at state laboratories, and the CDC conducts the definitive testing for major threat agents. Q: Should I ask my doctor for antibiotics to protect me from possible diseases caused by bioterrorism? A: No. The California Med- ical Association (CMA) re- cently distributed a letter to all physicians advising against this. The letter advis- es that many different biolog- ical or chemical agents could be used in an attack. So, the course of trefitment needs to be specific to each agent. An- ticipating which medications to keep on hand is practically impossible. The letter also warns that unnecessary use of antibi- otics is not recommended. Overuse and misuse of an- tibiotics through self-medica- tion can create bacteria that are resistant to treatment. So when you actually get sick and need the medicine, it may not work. Antibiotics can also cause serious side ef- fects, especially in children, teens, and pregnant or nurs- ing women. The letter em- phasizes that antibiotic use must be necessary and specif- ic. Q: What can I do to protect my family from a possible biological disaster? A: As the normal cold and flu season approaches, do not as- sume you are the victim of a biowarfare agent. You are more likely to be hit by light- ning than be a victim of a bioterrorist attack. However, if you hear re- ports that a biological agent may have just been released, get indoors right away and Medications you stay indoors. Shut all win- take (for diabetes, dows and doors, turn off the sure, etc.) air conditioning system or Pain any fans. For a biowarfare ers suchas aerosol to make you sick, it Medicine for must find its way to your stomach upset lungs. A physical barrier, Chargedcellphone such as a surgical mask that Duct tape fits snugly over your mouth Matches and and nose, would help screen out small particles. Anyone with about biowarfare Q: How can I be better pre- call the Plumas pared for any disaster? lic Health Agency A: General emergency pre- the Day at paredness is a good idea. 1-800-801-63, . Stock the following items in a Other large, plastic bin or your sources for pantry cabinet to be prepared businesses seeking anytime an emergency aris- formation include: es: ters for Disease Water and dry/canned goods to last your family a 1-800-311-3435; the week Governer's Office Flashlights, battery-pow- gency ServiceS, ered radios (and TV, if you ; have one) and lots of batter- Department of ies Human Warm blankets/throws (pc, . lar-fleece blankets provide warmth without mudh bulk) I m By Marian Uddell Chester Editor Talcum powder sprinkled through the office door mail slot was not thought to be very funny by the Chester Public Utility District's man- ager, Bob Merrifield. Merrifield asked for, and got, more patrols from the Plumas County SherifFs De- partment and the California Highway Patrol for all Chester water well sites. The regular monthly meet- ing of the utility district board members brought agreement with Merrifield and Portola's city administra- tor, Jim Murphy, that cau- tion is worth considering in light of recent events locally and nationally. An anthrax scare at the Chester post office Nov. 1 was cause to worry for postal em- ployees and local residents. An intrusion at Portola's mil- lion.gallon water tank Nov. 5 prompted the city council to warn 50 residents not to drink their water. Chester's utility board chairman, Tonu Plakk, said that Portola's problem was worth emphasizing security at Chester's water facilities. Currently, the district wells all have fencing with barbed wire, which Portola's tank did not have. Ladders to water tanks are off the ground and have locked cages that are difficult to ac- cess. Merrifield and the board agreed anyone determined to break into the wells could find a way. Merrifield said that, in the past, he had seen footprints on one tank's outer walls, suggesting that some- one had used the tank to rap- pel from. Portola's city council or- dered fencing for the tank, which didn't have any, and security systems installed on all three Portola sites. The Chester utility board directed Merrifield to check on alarm systems for Chester's wellhead buildings. Become a teacher. Like the teachers before you, you imagine a finer world and want to be a part of creating it. There is no better way to do so than by becoming a California teacher. With a shortage of qualified teachers, talented candidates are needed to work with our most valuable resource -- our children. Incentives are available to help, such as bonuses, home loan assistance, student loan forgiveness and tax credits. Call 1-ggg-CALTEACH or visit www.calteach.comJad for complete information on how you can become a leader in California's teaching profession --- and start building the world you imagine. All Transfer Sites Thursday & Friday Trash Will Be Picked Up On Friday. Feather River Disposal, Inc. Serving Quincy, Greenville & Chester~Lake Almanor U M#rA~i~t kk EPHC kkkkkdkdkdkkk to all the sponsors of our "swinging into action to help support our local hospital, clinics and emergency services" Corporate sponsors: Gold Mountain Dr. John Foley Tahoe Forest Hospital UC Davis Health System Tee Sponsors: Edge Consulting Plumas Bank Portola Reporter/Ptumas-Lassen Connection Graeagle Land & Water Dairyland Health Systems Folchi Logging & Construction Map, Architecture & Planning Sierra Aggregates Coyote Bar & Grill David Heaslett Law Office Nancy Heaslett interiors Marcia White Big Fish Creations Les Schwab Coates Tire Center Whitehawk Ranch, Men's Golf Association James & Emma Lou Scott Mike & Pamela Burke Kehoe Pharmacy, Portola David & Virginia Luhring 126th Medical Company Air Ambulance VALIC-American General Financial Advisors Foundation is 501(c) 3 nonprofit foundation "to solicit and administer fuods and properties to used to support and promote the health care and activities of Eastern Plumas Health Care, a California health care district." llv llv llv IW' IW'pv IV llv IV llv IV llV