It seems as if this year’s long, widespread flu season should be coming to an end, but parents—especially those with younger children—should stay diligent when it comes to spotting influenza symptoms. There could be a second wave of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the CDC’s most recent weekly report, the organization says that though the overall percentage of influenza activity is decreasing, the proportion of influenza B viruses is increasing, and there were more reports of the influenza B than influenza A during week 11 of this year. For the majority of the flu season, which began in October 2017, most cases reported were influenza A, but in the past week, 59 percent of all confirmed cases were influenza B.
What does all that mean? Parents should be aware that even if their kids were diagnosed with influenza A, they could still get sick with the influenza B virus. “We know that illness associated with influenza B can be just as severe as illness associated with influenza A,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told CNN. “We also know that influenza B tends to be more severe for younger children.”
The possibility of another round of the flu isn’t good news, but it’s also not that surprising. “We often see a wave of influenza B during seasons when influenza A H3N2 was the predominant virus earlier in the season,” Nordlund told the network. “Unfortunately, we don’t know what the influenza B wave will look like.”
The CDC reports that there have been 133 pediatric deaths as a result of this year’s flu season, with five deaths reported in the past week alone. Young children—as well as older adults and pregnant women—are at a higher risk for contracting the flu. According to the CDC’s website, annual vaccinations are the best way to prevent the flu and the “potentially severe complications” the virus causes in children.
Leaves, sticks, and debris can become a problem for your rain gutters. Rain gutters typically allow the removal of water away from your home or building. In this instance, the blockage within the rain gutter allowed water to overflow and deposit near the front door of the unit. If left untended, the backup within the gutter would allow the water to impact the structure and possibly cause water damage inside the home. Water damage and mold growth inside your home can be prevented by regular maintenance of the rain gutters during this El Nino rainy season.
Do your best to observe the signs of a failing rain gutter and prevent water damage:
Since the well began leaking Oct. 23, thousands of people in the Porter Ranch area say they have suffered headaches, nosebleeds, nausea and other symptoms from the escaping gas. The smell comes from an additive called mercaptan that is used to warn people of leaking natural gas, which is ordinarily odorless.
Southern California Gas Co. is paying to relocate those who say they are being sickened.
On Oct. 23, gas company employees noticed a leak out of the ground near a well called SS-25. It was late afternoon, so they decided to come back in the morning to fix it.
The next day, however, their efforts were unsuccessful. Gas was now billowing downhill into Porter Ranch, an upscale community on the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley. Customers were beginning to complain about the smell.
Gas leaks are not uncommon, and it took a couple weeks for this one to become news. When Anderle heard about it, in early November, she pulled up the well record on a state website. The file dates back to when the well was drilled in 1953. As she looked it over, she zeroed in on a piece of equipment 8,451 feet underground called a sub-surface safety valve.
If it were working properly, the gas company would be able to shut down the well. The fact that SoCalGas hadn’t meant, to her, that it must be broken. The records indicated that it had not been inspected since 1976.
SS-25 was cemented only from the bottom up to a depth of 6,600 feet. The rest — more than a mile of steel pipe — was left exposed to the rock formation. At the top, the 7-inch casing is surrounded by an 11¾-inch surface casing, which is cemented to the rock. But a new well also would have a layer of cement between those casings to provide greater strength and protection from corrosion.
Gas is now leaking through a hole in the 7-inch casing at 470 feet down to the bottom of the outer casing at 990 feet, and out through the rock to the surface.
The corporate culture of SoCalGas is nothing if not deliberate. And so, in 2014, the company proposed a methodical effort to check each well for corrosion. It would take about seven years and cost tens of millions of dollars. The plan was part of a request to the Public Utilities Commission to increase customers’ monthly gas bills by 5.5 percent. The alternative was to fix leaks only as they occurred, which one executive warned could be dangerous and lead to “major situational or media incidents.”
The SoCalGas plan went well beyond the requirements imposed by the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermic Resources, or DOGGR. Steve Bohlen, the outgoing head of DOGGR, has said several times that it does not appear that Southern California Gas violated any regulations.
Gas has now been spewing out of the ground at Aliso Canyon for two months. The gas company expects it to continue for up to another three months. Methane is a potent contributor to climate change. By one estimate, the leak is producing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the tailpipes of 2.3 million cars.
The Aliso Canyon leak has increased the state’s methane emissions by 21 percent. As of now, 2.3 percent of the state’s entire carbon footprint is coming from one hole in the ground above Porter Ranch.
“This is an environmental disaster,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who stopped by Porter Ranch Community School in November, just before flying to Paris for the United Nations climate change conference. “It’s devastating. It makes you question the long-term sustainability of a carbon-based power system.”
The local impact also has been severe. About 30,000 people live in Porter Ranch, a bedroom community of gated developments with 4,000-square-foot homes that sell for $1 million or more. The neighborhood offers good schools, clean air and a sense of security. All of that has been disrupted. Many residents have experienced headaches, nosebleeds, nausea or other symptoms. Some 2,000 families have been moved to hotels or short-term rentals to escape the gas.
is also known as methanethiol and is a harmless but pungent-smelling gas which has been described as having the stench of rotting cabbages or smelly socks.
It is often added to natural gas, which is colourless and odourless, to make it easier to detect.
The gas is an organic substance, made of carbon, hydrogen and sulphur, and is found naturally in living organisms, including the human body where it is a waste product of normal metabolism. It is one of the chemicals responsible for the foul smell of bad breath and flatulence.
People who have eaten asparagus can experience the distinctive smell of mercaptan in their urine within 30 minutes of consuming the vegetable, which contains substances that are quickly broken down to methanethiol. However, not everyone is able to smell mercaptan in their urine as a genetic mutation in some people means they are immune to the odour.
The great advantage of mercaptan for industrial purposes is that it can be detected by most people in extremely small quantities, less than one part per million. This makes it an ideal additive to odourless gases, and, like natural gas, it is flammable.
What benzene is
Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable.
Benzene evaporates into the air very quickly. Its vapor is heavier than air and may sink into low-lying areas.
Benzene dissolves only slightly in water and will float on top of water.
Where benzene is found and how it is used
Benzene is formed from both natural processes and human activities.
Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.
Benzene is widely used in the United States. It ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume.
Some industries use benzene to make other chemicals that are used to make plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is also used to make some types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.
How you could be exposed to benzene
Outdoor air contains low levels of benzene from tobacco smoke, gas stations, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions.
Indoor air generally contains levels of benzene higher than those in outdoor air. The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents.
The air around hazardous waste sites or gas stations can contain higher levels of benzene than in other areas.
Benzene leaks from underground storage tanks or from hazardous waste sites containing benzene can contaminate well water.
People working in industries that make or use benzene may be exposed to the highest levels of it.
A major source of benzene exposure is tobacco smoke.
More than 300,000 women get breast implants every year in the U.S. A Shalimar, Florida, woman has a warning for them.
She says her implants nearly killed her. You may have seen some of the articles popping up on Facebook and various websites, linking mold in saline implants to a host of health problems. Anne Ziegenhorn says they are frighteningly accurate.
If Ziegenhorn had known the price she’d pay for beauty, she would have run the other way. She said, “It’s not a story a multi-billion dollar industry wants to get out.”
Anne keeps a video on her phone of the saline breast implants covered with mold, that were removed from her body after a two-year nightmare.
“I felt like that was it, I was gonna die, and the doctors were gonna let me die,” Ziegenhorn said.
It started in 2011. The woman who was a picture of health suddenly started gaining weight, losing her vision and experiencing burning, unrelenting pain. She had sores all over her body. Her thinking was so cloudy she thought she might have Alzheimer’s. She was misdiagnosed with everything from lupus to arthritis to thyroid problems. She said, “Silicone sickness in and of itself is one entity. And then you add the mold to it that we had, and then you’ve got two illnesses going on.”
The diagnosis that Anne believes saved her life came from Dr. Susan Kolb, author of “The naked truth about breast implants.” Dr. Kolb said.
My experience in doing this for 30 years is that eventually everybody will become ill from their breast implants, unless they die sooner from something else.
Dr. Kolb says she’s seeing lots of women with mold in their saline implants, often from defective valves. She says some patients also have detoxification problems, that make them particularly sensitive to the silicone shells of the implants. She says in 25-30 percent of the population, the reactions are debilitating. The doctor is not anti-implants, she has them herself. But she believes for safety, women need to get their implants replaced every eight to fifteen years. Amanda Gilcrease is a patient who had her implants removed. She said, “All the neurological symptoms… the burning, numbing, stabbing, shooting, electrical shocking pains throughout my body went away immediately.”
Through Dr. Kolb, Anne Ziegenhorn met other women suffering the same frightening symptoms. They formed “The Implant Truth Survivors Committee” to educate women and doctors, and to force the FDA to listen. She said, “I literally willed myself to live and willed myself to get this message out here This is my purpose, this is why I’m here.”
Channel 3 called the FDA to see if they’re getting any reports of illnesses from mold in saline implants or from the silicone shells. Their spokesperson said he’s not familiar with any such reports. The agency does say that most women will eventually need to have their implants replaced.
1. Fix any roof leaks before it rains. This is a sure way to prevent water damage to the attic, insulation, and ceilings within your home.
2. Gutters and downspouts should be clean and free of debris. Also look for any breaks and make sure the gutters are tight against the roofline. Moving water away from the home with rain gutters and downspouts will help prevent water from damaging your home.
3. Buy a generator. This standby generator will help provide light and possibly heat during a power outage.
4. Install a sump pump for areas below grade. Moving water from low lying areas will prevent ponding and potential water damage to your home.
5. Exterior surfaces of the home should be touched up, sealed, or painted. Seal up any holes from cables and other wires that penetrate exterior walls to prevent water damage.
6. Examine your windows. Look for holes in the seals and caulk the openings. Check and recaulk as needed.
7. Check balcony and deck slopes. Look for holes, loose, and degrading layers of building materials on the surface of patios or decks.
8. Call an exterminator to prevent pests from intruding during the rain.
9. Store emergency repair materials (sandbags, heavy plastic sheeting) in a safe dry place.
10. Vechile – Maintain tires and fill up your gas tank.
11. Buy new windshield wipers. This will help you drive safely during the heavy rains.
12. How old is your car’s battery? At three years, have it checked by a trusted mechanic.
13. Drainage. Prepare your yard by sloping landscape away from your home. Note new drainage patterns if you have recently changed to an environmentally friendly yard.
14. Automatic Timers: Turn off your system.
15. Loosen compacted soil: Ground that has been allowed to dry out will repel water initially. Make sure soil levels are below the stucco line of your home to prevent water damage.
16. Have your trees checked: With the drought taking a toll on all trees, now is the time to bring in a certified arborist — not a simple tree cutter — to do a health check and risk assessment.
17. Secure your yard: Reinforce your fencing if needed. Store or tie down anything that might blow and cause damage in high wind.
18. Have materials on hand to divert water: Sandbags, concrete edgers and straw-waddle tubing can effectively channel water away from structures to drainage areas.
19. Secure important documents in the cloud or on a thumb drive.
20. Put together preparedness and disaster supply kits for your home and car. FEMA, the California Department of Water Resources and the Auto Club are just three of many organizations that list important things to have on hand. For more information, go to www.floodprepareCA.com (California Department of Water Resources), www.ladbs.org (Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety “Homeowners Guide for Flood, Debris Flow and Erosion Control”), www.ready.gov (National Weather Service) and www.aaa.com (Automobile Club of Southern California).
21. Prepare now: Experts agree that the toughest time to find solutions to rain-related issues is during a rainstorm.
Food and water to last you and your family 72 hours
First aid supplies
Any medical supplies you might need, like medications and spare eyeglasses.
You should also include a flashlight with extra batteries in your emergency kit in case you lose power during a winter storm.
You can find most things you’d want in an emergency kit around your home. Take a minute to gather them together to store in a safe place, so that you’re ready for any emergency.
2. Create a Plan
Creating an emergency plan for you, your family, or your business can help you better react to and recover from any emergency. Making a plan isn’t hard. By taking a few simple steps, you can be better prepared for life’s emergencies.
Talk to your family about how they would react to an emergency, for example an earthquake or a mudslide:
Do you know what kinds of emergencies you might face at your home, school, or workplace?
How will you know when there is an emergency in your area? What if you’re not at home?
How will you get in touch with each other? Remember: cell phone service might be down, so think of a few different options.
How will you let family and friends out of state know you’re okay?
If you are separated during an emergency, how will your family reunite? Where will they reunite?
How will you begin to recover? Do you have copies of important legal and vital documents stored somewhere safe?
Once you’ve started the conversation, get started on the plan. Use one of the easy, helpful templates from Ready.gov to get stared or create a customized plan using the Prepare LA Now web app.
3. Get Sandbags
Visit any neighborhood LAFD fire station to pick up sandbags. You can find your nearest fire station at the Los Angeles Fire Department website.
Some fire stations also have sand available. For a list of stations with sand, click here.
Not sure what to do with those sandbags once you’ve picked them up? Learn how to properly fill and place a sandbag from the pros.
Get pets prepared with these simple tips:
Make sure that your pets have current City of Los Angeles Licenses. You can get a new license or renew your dog’s license online! Click here to get started.
Micro-chip your pets, and verify information at least once a year! You can get your pets micro-chipped at any of the six L.A. City shelters (no appointments necessary).
Remember to include pet food, water, leashes, medications, and treats in your emergency kit.
Keep copies of your pets vital documents, and include the pets in your emergency plans.
Your companion animals should have up-to-date vaccinations.
5. Get Prepared
Now is the time to get your home ready for wet winter weather. Here are some tips to get started:
Walk around your home and look for anything that might cause problems during a storm. Is your roof showing signs of leaking? Are your gutters overflowing with leaves? Does water drain off your property? Once you’ve identified potential issues, you can start addressing them.