Category Archives: Advice

Image

How to file a claim with TWIA or TX FAIR Plan

lgSlide1_1

Residents urged to submit storm damage reports

PRESS RELEASE

Brazoria County Office of Emergency Management is asking residents who suffered damage to their homes from the storm on October 31, 2015 to please register with the United Way of Brazoria County by calling 979-849-9402 or email: PIO@brazoria-county.com.

Please provide the following information when calling or emailing your damage reports: Name, address, email and damages to property.

United Way will be available to collect damage information during normal business hours Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This information will help to determine if Brazoria County will qualify for Individual Assistance from FEMA. Please submit your property damage information by Friday, November 6, 2015.

If residents are displaced due to the storm damage and have immediate needs contact the American Red Cross Disaster Assistance hotline at 866-526-8300.

Bubblegum and Band-aids

By David A. Watson, Ph.D.

IMG_9314Recently, I was talking to Pediatrician Dr. Debbie Gant, a very good friend and a person who I respect in this community. Since we share we share the same concerns about parents choosing not to vaccine their kids, I decided to speak up. While I am not a clinician, I spent a good deal of my career developing vaccines; specifically, the pneumonia vaccine, in a huge study for the VA Administration here in Houston, as well as the pediatric Hib (Hemophilous influnzeae type b) vaccine.

Specifically, Dr. Gant and I are troubled that parents think that they know better than the experts regarding what is best for their children. I would like offer, with all due respect to them, my opinion on this. Make no mistake, Dr. Gant and I both are grateful to modern medicine, antibiotics (that taste good so kids will swallow them up!) and vaccines. Sure, they hurt our little ones, and okay, they need a band-aid after they get an immunization. But I, for one, (the father of four kids, by the way) am very grateful!

Certainly we both believe that you should have some choice about how you raise your children. That is, we don’t think Texas should go to lengths that California, for example, has gone to. In my opinion, however, there some things that you should consider before deciding what to do:

  1. It is a myth that mercury (themerosol), added to a vaccine as a preservative (i.e. to prevent bacterial and fungal growth, which would be bad, of course), causes autism. Here is a website that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established to answer questions about this ingredient.The scientific paper published was showed to be a fraud. In fact, the physician who published it was barred from the practice of medicine in England;
  2. The widespread availability of antibiotics and vaccines has all but defeated serious infectious diseases of childhood, in the developed world, at least. In fact, stimulation of immunity among a large of population so as to prevent person to person spent is called “herd immunity.” No longer do we experience unacceptable mortality numbers of children to measles, diphtheria, rubella, or a host of other nasty vaccine-preventable diseases. Of course, better nutrition and clean water matter helped a great deal, but within just the past 50 years (certainly within the lifespan of many individuals still alive today), antimicrobial usage has become common and vaccination of children is nearly universal. Herd immunity is very important to those kids with weakened immune systems (i.e. cancer, HIV). Do want we really want to say to these children, “Sorry for your lack of immunity?”
  3. Is it true that vaccines cause horrible side effects on previous healthy kids? That’s why the FDA supervises large scale clinical trials to see if the vaccines are safe. This is the same as for other drugs. In my opinion, parents have to place their trust in the FDA; that they have the best interest of your child and indeed, that the vaccine will prevent your child from those dreaded diseases. Is it possible that these pharmaceutical corporations will sweep adverse efforts of their vaccines under the table? Again, I suppose so, but it would not be in their best interest to produce vaccines that were faulty or doesn’t work as advertised.

A world free from serious infections of childhood is a wonderful utopian vision; the reality, however, is that any declaration of victory over them is almost certainly premature. I say this since somewhere along the way to being eradicated from the planet, the microbes rebelled. They started becoming resistant to the miracle antibiotics discovered not so very long ago. How did this happen, and what can be done? First, some information and then, some bad and good news.

Microbes, or germs if you prefer, are actually a very heterogeneous group of living organisms, really sharing little more than small size. Viruses are generally the most common causes of infection, and while such infections may lead to considerable misery, they are often self-limited (although not always, as in the case of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus-HIV). They are usually extremely small; so tiny, in fact, that most cannot be seen using a light microscope and are parasites that carry miniscule amounts of genetic information. Viruses are very different from bacteria, the other major culprit in infectious disease processes. Bacteria are much larger, and can be visualized using most microscopes. The great majority of antibiotic compounds have been developed for use against bacteria (although a small number of antiviral drugs are now available).

Resistance to antibiotics by microbes, mostly bacteria (but also by HIV against antiviral drugs), has resulted simply because bacteria follow the dictates of nature. That is, the appearance of large concentrations of antibiotics in the environment has presented what biologists call “selection pressure.” The microbes either adapt or die.

Overwhelmingly, they die. A few survive, not because they choose to, but simply due to the randomness of mutations (changes) in their genetic information. These mutant forms proliferate and are no longer vulnerable to the drug. This is not the only mechanism of development of resistance, but it serves to illustrate the resilience of bacteria.

Where have the antibiotics come from and why has there been such an increase in resistance over the past decade? The blame is ours. Antibiotic usage has climbed steadily for two decades. Very often antibiotics are prescribed for what are in reality viral infections, against which antibiotics are not effective. The bad news is that superbugs are beginning to show up that defy treatment with almost every available antibiotic. We may see a time when we are again no better off than the pre-antibiotic era with regard to certain types of bacteria. The good news is that when antibiotics are used with greater restraint, there is apparently a return to lower levels of resistance.

So, I’m thankful for liquid antibiotics that taste like bubblegum because it made convincing our 12 year-old to take her medicine when she was small almost as easy as giving candy to a baby; that our nine year-old set up a howl that filled the doctor’s office one day over an inoculation because it means vaccination is a part of his young life that my wife and I take for granted; that our five year-old underwent surgery because it meant his inflamed ear canals could properly drain a chronic infection; and, that our two year-old had to wear band-aids on both of his chubby little thighs for a day following a round of vaccinations because it means he won’t be one of the thousands of kids who used to fall victim to acquired mental retardation resulting from complications of bacterial meningitis.

Wal-Mart Food Bank Bags Continue to Arouse Suspicion

The Pearland resident who first noticed something amiss with the Food Bank donation bags at Wal-Mart on Main St. investigated further. This time, she PURCHASED 2 of the bags Wal-Mart had pre-assembled and stapled shut. There was no content information, just a total price.

Normally, these Pearland Food Bank purchases remain unopened and are left for Wal-Mart to distribute.

She said that every item, in BOTH bags, was either EXPIRED or NO LONGER A PRODUCT SOLD IN THE STORE.

Worried, she also stopped by Kroger.

Their donation bags, while left at the store, had an itemized receipt attached.

PLEASE BEWARE if you plan to donate. Donations are accepted directly to the Pearland food banks via the Pearland Neighborhood Center (http://www.pnctexas.com/) and Christian Helping Hands (http://www.christianhelpinghands.org/).

Alligator Safety!

10647202_10155352446695313_3865711289051254328_nWe received a report of an alligator sighting at Centennial Park, 3219 McLean Road. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife, the gator could stay in this area for a few days or even a few weeks. This sighting is not unusual, as the Spring and Summer months are when alligators begin moving to breed and find new habitats.

We’d like to remind our park visitors to maintain a healthy distance AND a healthy respect for wildlife in the community.

Alligators have inhabited Texas’ marshes, swamps, rivers, ponds and lakes for years across the state and in the Pearland area. They are an important part of Texas’ natural history, as well as an integral component of freshwater ecosystems. As Texas residents expand their homes and businesses, encounters between these normally shy reptiles and people are increasing.

Pearland residents should be watchful of alligators, snakes and other wildlife along the City’s many natural waterways and at City parks and follow posted signage and abide by these alligator guidelines:

  • Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators.
  • Never feed or entice alligators, it is dangerous and illegal.
  • Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn when they are feeding. Therefore, swim only during daylight hours.
  • Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Dogs are more susceptible to being targeted by an alligator than people, because they resemble natural prey. Keep your pet on a leash and in control when walking around the water.
  •   If you hear an alligator hiss, it is a warning that you are too close

To report a nuisance alligators, citizens should contact their local  Texas Parks and Wildlife Division (TPWD) game warden at 281.842.8100. Citizens may also contact City of Pearland Animal Control at 281.652.1970 for alligators under 6 feet in length on private property such as swimming pools or in roadways.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Division alligator safety tips

Busy is a Sickness

By Scott Dannemiller

I’m busy.

I don’t know about you, but anytime I am asked, “How’s it going?”, I never just say “fine” anymore. Instead, my stock response is always some degree of frazzled. The scale ranges from “busy” to “crazy busy” to “nutballs.”

 

Read more…

Heavy Fog & Driver Inattention Contribute to Multiple Accidents

54db92c801f75.imageTwo accidents within a span of minutes led to the temporary closure of Broadway (FM 518) at Austin St. in Pearland Wednesday morning (Feb. 11).

There were a total of seven vehicles involved in the early morning crashes. Only minor injuries were reported.

According to Pearland Police Dept., heavy fog, along with driver inattention, were contributing factors.

The Dept. would like to remind drivers to slow down, increase following distance, and avoid distractions during their daily commute, especially during fog and other inclement weather.

Arctic Air Mass Bringing Sub-Freezing Weather Wednesday

An Arctic air mass entering the region Wednesday has the potential to cause up to 12 hours of sub-freezing weather through Thursday morning.

The primary danger from freezing weather is to People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants (the 4 P’s). Residents should take steps to protect their family, pets and property from the impact of freezing temperatures. Recommended actions to do so are listed here:

PROTECT PEOPLE

Keep warm, stay inside if possible.

If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.

Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.

Observe heater safety:

Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.

Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.

Never leave children unattended near a space heater.

PROTECT PETS

Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.

Keep adequate food and water available.

PROTECT PIPES

Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.

Wrap exposed faucets and pipes – including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.

PROTECT PLANTS

Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.

For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.

It is also recommended that you prepare your car for winter. Have your car serviced and add antifreeze as needed.

Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.

Residents should monitor local media and the National Weather Service for updated forecast information. Local road condition updates are available from Houston TranStar and road condition information throughout the state is available from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Guest Editorial: Prescription for a Safe Holiday Season

Written by: Dannielle Meyer, Brazoria County Community Coalition Coordinator, BACODA

As you prepare for your holiday celebrations, there is so much to do. As you make your lists, and check them twice, there’s one important detail that you may not think of addressing: Where are you keeping your medicine?

It’s certainly not the first thing you may think of while cooking with family or trimming the tree, but your holiday cheer could be ruined if you need to rush a child to the ER after they’ve eaten Grandma’s medicine. And remember those painkillers you got after your root canal last year? Those might be a source of temptation for a curious teenager or someone struggling with an addiction. More than 50% of prescription drug abusers got the drugs from family or friends for free, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Keep your family safe this holiday season with these simple tips:

  1. Remove your medications from the medicine cabinet and lock them out of sight in a secure location.
  2. While you are moving your medications, do an inventory and check for prescriptions that have expired or are no longer needed.  These medications can be safely disposed of through the Brazoria County Prescription Drug Return Program. Prescription Drug Drop Boxes are available at the Police Departments in Alvin, Angleton, Clute, Freeport, Lake Jackson, and Sweeny. The Drop Boxes are located in the lobby. All pills and patches are accepted. This service is provided to the community for free and no questions asked.
  3. Inform your guests about the need for storing medicine safely with children around and offer a secure, out of reach place to keep them during their stay.
  4. Just in case, have the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ number programmed into your phone, 1-800-222-1222.

This year, Brazoria County has made great strides in preventing prescription drug abuse. Six permanent prescription drug drop boxes are in place across the county, and since February, 1,017.8 pounds of drugs have been collected. On behalf of the Brazoria County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, we thank you for protecting our youth, our community, and our environment by ridding your homes of unneeded medications.

Lake Jackson Chief of Police Rick Park emphasized the importance of the Drop Boxes, saying, “The Lake Jackson Police Department Prescription Drop Box provides our citizens with a safe means to dispose of medications which might otherwise find their way into the hands of our children, or end up in our wastewater systems or landfills. The simple existence of a “no questions asked” location for disposal of these potentially dangerous substances has been quite successful in encouraging the public to partner with us in making a safer environment for everyone. It’s a win-win situation for our agency and the community we serve.”

For more information on prescription drug disposal or preventing prescription drug abuse, contact Brazoria County Community Coalition at coalitions@bacoda.org or visit www.bacoda.org.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives, May be Free for Pearland Residents

FireSadly, one homeowner lost his home to a fire early Tuesday morning (Nov. 25) in The Lakes of Savannah subdivision in Rosharon. The good news was that he was alerted to the impending flames by his smoke alarms and was able to climb out a window to safety.

Since the end of September, Pearland Fire Department has been participating in the “We’re Out to Alarm Texas” program, which provides free fire safety inspections and smoke alarms to residents based on their financial or physical need.

Fire Chief Vance Riley said that turnout has been low. “People are proud,” he said. “We need to make sure that people know there’s no shame in asking us to come out. This could save lives. This is what we’re here for.”

Riley says that they started out with about 150 alarms that were provided to them by the program, which is co-sponsored by the City of Pearland and the Insurance Council of Texas.

“When we do go out to a home, we do a survey to see where the alarms need to be placed, such as near sleeping areas,” said Riley. “We then install sometimes four or five alarms throughout the house.”

Pearland Fire Department’s participation in the program is ongoing. “If we run out of smoke alarms, I’ll go buy more myself if I have to,” Riley said. “If someone needs these alarms, we’ll find a way to get them.”

This is especially important in the winter months, when unchecked heaters are run and fireplaces are lit.

Pearland residents who are interested in the We’re Out to Alarm Texas program or who would like a free home fire safety inspection may visit PearlandTX.gov/SmokeAlarm or call 281-997-4650.