Health & Wellness
Medical, Well-Being, Safety, & Nutrition

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Vaping / E-Cigarettes

Investigations & Advisories

Due to a sudden rise in health complications detected among e-cigarette users, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other state health departments recently issued reports and advisories to alert consumers of ongoing research as well as potential health hazards.

From CDC:
"CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use. This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a cause, but all reported cases have a history of using e-cigarette products." (source)

Corresponding article from the CDC:
See also:
Comments? or Questions?

Immunization Awareness

August 2019

We all need shots (vaccines) to help protect us from serious diseases. This protection is called immunization. It's important to know which vaccinations you need and when to get them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year. Other types of shots work best at specific ages or life stages.
You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases like measles, whooping cough, shingles, and pneumonia with vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure that everyone in your family gets the shots they need.

Local & State Information

Orange County, NY
New York State Department of Health


From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
From Medline Plus
From the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Vaccine Misconceptions
Evaluating Health Information
These sites can help you determine the reliability of online health-related information.

At the Library

You can access books and other resources related to vaccines and immunizations through the RCLS library system. Use the Library Catalog to search for these and other titles. You can also call or ask a Reference Librarian for help - (845)341-5461 or online

Books + DVD
The Fever Of 1721 : The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine And American Politics - Stephen Coss Between Hope And Fear : A History Of Vaccines And Human Immunity - Michael S. Kinch The Vaccine Race : Science, Politics, And The Human Costs Of Defeating Disease - Meredith Wadman Vaccines : What Everyone Needs To Know - Kristen A. Feemster The Health Of Nations : The Campaign To End Polio And Eradicate Epidemic Diseases - Karen Bartlett Calling The Shots : Why Parents Reject Vaccines - Jennifer A. Reich The Vaccine War -  Palfreman, Jon

Disclaimer: The information provided by Middletown Thrall Library does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?


July 2019

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, often caused by a virus. The most common types of hepatitis in the United States are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis can also be caused by drug toxicity or alcohol use. Chronic forms of hepatitis can cause liver damage, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Hepatitis is a communicable disease. The viruses are spread in different ways; eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with infected fecal matter, and by contact with infected blood and other body fluids. This can occur through the sharing of contaminated needles and syringes, or through sexual contact with an infected partner.

In the United States, up to 75% of people with Hepatitis C were born between 1945 and 1965.(1) Most do not know they are infected with the hepatitis C virus. That is why it is important to get tested.

Vaccinations are available for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C.

The Orange County Department of Health offers Hepatitis A & B vaccines for adults and children. Please call (845) 360-6587 to schedule an appointment and obtain fees.

Hudson Valley Community Services offers Hepatitis C testing and assistance with obtaining care and treatment. Call (845) 704-7752.

The New York State Department of Health website contains information on hepatitis vaccinations, testing, and treatment or call The NYS Hepatitis C Information Line at 1-800-522-5006.


Find out more about hepatitis, hepatitis prevention, and treatment:


At the Library

You can access books and other resources about hepatitis through the RCLS library system.

Use the Library Catalog to search for these and other titles. You can also call or ask a Reference Librarian for help - (845)341-5461 or online:

Hepatitis - Petra Miller Understanding Hepatitis: An Introduction for Patients and Caregivers - Naheed Ali Hepatitis C: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families - Paul J. Thuluvath What You Must Know about Liver Disease: A Practical Guide to Using Conventional and Complementary Treatments - Rich Snyder

*Please remember to respect your own and others' privacy when using social media. Consult your health care provider before following any health care advice.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Middletown Thrall Library does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.

(1). Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers (1945-1965)

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?

National Safety Month

June 2019

Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. This June, we encourage you to learn more about important safety issues like preventing poisonings, transportation safety, and slips, trips, and falls.

Poisonings: Nine out of 10 poisonings happen right at home. You can be poisoned by many things, like cleaning products or another person's medicine.

Transportation safety: Doing other activities while driving - like texting or eating - distracts you and increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 6 crashes where someone is injured involves distracted driving.

Slips, trips, and falls: More than 1 in 4 older adults fall each year. Many falls lead to broken bones or head injuries.


You can make a difference! Find out ways to help reduce the risk of these safety issues.


Slips & Falls

Transportation Safety

At the Library

You can access books and other resources related to safety through the RCLS library system. Use the Library Catalog to search for these and other titles. Call or ask a Reference Librarian for help (845)341-5461:


Better Balance for Life: Banish the Fear of Falling with Simple Activities Added to Your Everyday Routine - Carol Clements A field guide to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac: prevention and remedies - Susan Hauser Exercises for better balance: the stand strong workout for fall prevention and longevity - William Smith Aging safely in your home - Yvonne Poulin



The information provided by Middletown Thrall Library does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?

Skin Cancer Prevention

May 2019

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotches or spots on your skin. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented!

Take simple steps today to protect your skin:


Find out more about skin cancer, skin cancer prevention, and treatment:


At the Library

You can access books and other resources about skin cancer through the RCLS library system. Use the Library Catalog to search for these and other titles. Call or ask a Reference Librarian for help (845)341-5461:

100 Questions & Answers about Melanoma & Other Skin Cancers - Edward F. McClay Battling Melanoma: One Couple's Struggle from Diagnosis to Cure - Claudia Maria Cornwall A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer - Mary Elizabeth Williams

*Please remember to respect your own and others' privacy when using social media. Consult your health care provider before following any health care advice.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Middletown Thrall Library does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?

Alcohol Awareness

April 2019

Drinking too much alcohol increases people's risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer.

If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
What is considered one drink?

What is a Standard Drink (infographic from NIH)
(Image source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)

If you are concerned about your drinking, or have a family member of friend who is struggling with alcohol, these organizations can help:


Find out more about alcohol, alcohol use disorders, and treatment:

Learn about the effects of alcohol at different life-stages:


At the Library

You can access books and other resources about alcohol and alcohol use disorders through the RCLS library system. Use the Library Catalog to search for these and other titles. Call or ask a Reference Librarian for help (845)341-5461:

Alcohol: A History - Roderick Phillips Alcoholism Sourcebook - The Recovery Book - Al J. Mooney Alive again : recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction - Howard C. Samuels Bill W. : a biography of Alcoholics Anonymous cofounder Bill Wilson - Francis Hartigan Drink: the Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol - Ann Dowsett Johnston

*Please remember to respect your own and others' privacy when using social media. Consult your healthcare provider before following any health care advice.


The information provided by Middletown Thrall Library does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?

Colorectal Cancer Awareness

March 2019

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the large intestine and rectum, also called the colon) is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancers that affect both men and women.

Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most common in people ages 50 and older.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer - that's why it's so important to get screened.

Most insurance plans and Medicare help pay for colon cancer screening for those aged 50 years or older. Contact your insurer for further information. If you have Medicare coverage, visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

You may be eligible for free or low-cost colon cancer screening through the New York State Cancer Services Program. To get more information or to be connected to a Cancer Services Program near you, please call 1-866-442-CANCER or visit the Cancer Services Program website. People over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you smoke, are African American, or have a family history of colorectal cancer.

Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:


Many organizations and agencies provide online resources that can help you learn more about colorectal cancer, its causes, prevention, detection, treatments, and screening.


Sharing experiences and information about an illness or condition can be helpful for some people. Online support communities created by trustworthy organizations can be sources of connection and support.*

Take a Quiz!

At the Library

*Please remember to respect your own and others' privacy when using social media. Consult your healthcare provider before following any health care advice.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Middletown Thrall Library does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?

American Heart Month

February 2019

February is American Heart Month! This is a timely opportunity to learn about the heart, the overall cardiovascular system, and related concepts.

The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart, blood, and blood vessels.

A heart attack usually occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked.1

There are several risk factors for a heart attack including:
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women? Men and women can experience the symptoms of a heart attack in different ways.

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack:
You should talk to your doctor about testing and "heart healthy care" such as stopping smoking, eating healthy foods, and getting regular exercise.

For More Information...

You can follow these links (or call listed phone numbers) below for more information:
Our library system also has resources to help you learn more about heart health. You can search the Library Catalog to find information on living a "heart healthy" lifestyle.

Here are some examples of library catalog searches you can conduct:

1 Mayo Clinic, "Heart Attack."

Disclaimer: The information provided by Middletown Thrall Library does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?

Cervical Health Awareness Month

January 2019

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month!

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, or the narrow passage at the lower portion of the uterus.

Each year, more than 13,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

To learn more about cervical cancer:
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that can affect both men and women. The virus spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.

About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don't know they are infected.

To learn more about HPV and the HPV vaccine:
Thrall's Health and Wellness Guide provides access to databases, online information, and resources in the library where you can learn more about cervical cancer and HPV.

(Thrall staff post: Victoria Braidotti)
Comments? or Questions?

The American Health Care Act

June 22, 2017

(updated June 26, 2017 and July 19, 2017 with new CBO Cost Estimates)

The latest Republican health care replacement proposals can now be reviewed online by following these links:
See also:

For Further Exploration...

Democrat Leadership Responses
Related News & Information
Comments? or Questions?

21st Century Cures Act

December 16, 2016

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act.


"No matter what corner of the country you live in, you or someone in your life has been touched by cancer, the opioid epidemic, devastating illnesses or serious mental health issues. The Cures Act makes significant investments in innovative technologies and research that could find a cure for Alzheimer's, end cancer as we know it, and help those who are seeking treatment for opioid addiction." (source)

You can read more about the 21st Century Cures Act by following this link.

Related information for further exploration:
Comments? or Questions?

New USDA Database

September 28, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established a new Branded Food Products Database:

"The database provides a transparent source of information that can assist health professionals identifying foods and portion size for people with food allergies, diabetes, kidney disease and other conditions. Common consumer health and nutrition Apps may also use the data as a resource to bring information to consumers on a phone or watch in real time while shopping or dining out. The Branded Food Products Database greatly expands and enhances, the USDA National Nutrient Database, which contained basic information on about 8,800 branded foods and has served as a main source of food composition data for government, researchers and the food industry. As information is added in the coming months, it is expected the new database will include up to 500,000 products with an expanded level of detail including serving size, servings per package and nutrients shown on the Nutrition Facts Panel or the Expanded Nutrition Facts Panel, plus weights and measures, ingredient list and sub-list, and a date stamp associated with current formulation of the product." (source)

To begin exploring the USDA Branded Food Products Database, please follow this link.

For more information on this development, please see USDA's Press Release:
Comments? or Questions?

Zika Virus

March 24, 2016

As the Zika virus is once again in the news, we have gathered some related Web resources below in hopes of helping you and your family learn more about the virus: See also these related articles from MedlinePlus:
Comments? or Questions?

October 9, 2015

2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded "with one half jointly to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites and the other half to Youyou Tu for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria" (source).

More information on the Prize and its winners from
Related News Coverage:
See also:
Comments? or Questions?

May 8, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Month 2015

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes mental health as follows:

"Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. " (source)

We invite you to explore the following resources so you can learn more about mental health topics...

Online Resources
Information in the Library Catalog:
Comments? or Questions?

2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

October 10, 2014

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser, and Edvard I. Moser "for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain":

"This year's Nobel Laureates have discovered a positioning system, an "inner GPS" in the brain that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function." (source)

For more about the award recipients and their research:

See also our other posts on the 2014 Nobel Prizes in...
Comments? or Questions?

Ebola Virus

News & Information

Updated: March 23, 2015

Recent news of the Ebola virus has lead to many questions and concerns worldwide.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine's definition helps to explain why this topic has received such attention:

"Ebola hemorrhagic fever is caused by a virus. It is a severe and often fatal disease. It can affect humans and other primates. Researchers believe that the virus first spreads from an infected animal to a human. It can then spread from human to human through direct contact with a patient's blood or secretions." (source)

For your convenience, we have assembled and categorized the following resources and websites so you can learn more about Ebola and related news/topics:

Health Information Sources
Consumer Information Sources
Government Information Sources
Library System Items
News Sources
Research & Science
Other Information
Comments? or Questions?


July 17, 2014

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has created a new website as part of a 2013 Presidential initiative to make more government information available to the public.

"[openFDA is] a new initiative designed to make it easier for web developers, researchers, and the public to access large, important public health datasets collected by the agency.

In alignment with the recent Presidential Executive Order on Open Data and the Department of Health and Human Services Health Data Initiative, openFDA will make the FDA's publicly available data accessible in a structured, computer readable format that will make it possible for technology specialists, such as mobile application creators, web developers, data visualization artists and researchers to quickly search, query, or pull massive amounts of public information instantaneously and directly from FDA datasets on an as needed basis." (source)

You can learn more about openFDA through these links:
Comments? or Questions?

First U.S. Physical Activity Report Card

April 30, 2014

Yesterday the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, a "coalition of national organizations that have come together to insure that efforts to promote physical activity in the American population," has published its first "U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth":

"The primary goal of the 2014 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth (the Report Card) is to assess levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviors in American children and youth, facilitators and barriers for physical activity, and related health outcomes. The Report Card is an authoritative, evidence-based document providing a comprehensive evaluation of the physical activity levels and the indicators influencing physical activity among children and youth in the United States (U.S.)." (source)

Here is the link to their full report (PDF).

An Executive Summary is also available.
Comments? or Questions?

National Nutrition Month

March 10, 2014

March is National Nutrition Month:

"National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits." (source)

On March 26, 2014, Thrall will host a free public event at the library in support of this national awareness month.

You can explore nutritional information in the library system catalog via these subject links:

You might also like to explore the Nutrition section in our Health guide.
Comments? or Questions?


October 10, 2013

The Internet is not a real doctor. Still, some people might be tempted to refer to health websites not for general informational purposes but rather in hopes of diagnosing themselves instead of consulting a professional medical practitioner (source).

Diagnosis without proper training can be dangerous.

One phenomenon in particular to be mindful of is "cyberchondria": this can be a scary situation where someone, in a good-hearted attempt to interpret symptoms through information found online, experiences heightened anxiety (and perhaps physically suffer as well) after concluding (often in error) that a serious health condition exists (source).

Now, it is important for everyone to take an active interest in their personal wellness and to become educated about health issues, especially so we can discuss medical matters more intelligently and completely with our doctors. That's a good thing!

And there are plenty of opportunities to do so right through our library's Health & Wellness information guide. Some examples include can be a great place for that general kind of informational activity!

When you need definitive answers about your actual state of health, speaking with a professional physician can spare you the anxiety of "cyberchondria." A physician can help you interpret your symptoms and, later, prescribe treatments, as necessary, based on your specific health situation - something the Internet cannot assess on its own.

Here are some links for further exploration: P.S. Please also be aware of the fact that, when you search online for things like health products or medical terms, you might encounter any number of biased advertisements in search engine results, so please be careful and exercise critical thinking at all times!
Comments? or Questions?

The Affordable Care Act

September 5, 2013

Are you aware of - and ready for - the new health care laws which will soon go into effect?

To help you learn more about the Affordable Care Act and related topics, we updated our Health and Wellness guide to include the latest official government information on the Act.

Included in our guide are links to the Health Insurance Marketplace (, the New York Health Benefit Exchange, along with key sources including the IRS, Medicaid, Medicare, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

We have prepared this guide because this is NOT one of those topics you want to casually search for in your favorite search engine.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued alerts concerning potential scams attempting to take advantage of persons interested in the Affordable Care Act.

Please follow this link to visit our Consumer Information blog and to learn of potential Affordable Care Act scams.

If you want to begin learning about the Affordable Care Act and it means for you and your family, please follow this link instead.
Comments? or Questions?

Smart Snacks Standards

June 27, 2013

As required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued new nutritional standards for schools:
From the USDA:

Highlights of the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards include: (source)

For more information, please see:
Comments? or Questions?

Summer Safety Resources

(Originally Published June 13, 2013)

(links reviewed/updated June 2018)

June is National Safety Month.

The National Safety Council explains:

"NSM is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths." (source)

You can use the links below to explore safety topics in the library system catalog and online:

Library Catalog Topics

Online Resources
Comments? or Questions?

National Mental Health Awareness Month

May 6, 2013

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.

In support of this month, President Barack Obama has issued an official Proclamation:

"Today, tens of millions of Americans are living with the burden of a mental health problem. They shoulder conditions like depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder - debilitating illnesses that can strain every part of a person's life. And even though help is out there, less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive treatment. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, we shine a light on these issues, stand with men and women in need, and redouble our efforts to address mental health problems in America." (source - click for full text)

For further exploration...

You can explore mental health and wellness topics through the following resources:
Comments? or Questions?

Online Health Search Study

January 31, 2013

Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project published a new report on searching for health information online. They begin with this finding:

"One in three American adults have gone online to figure out a medical condition." (source)

You can read Pew's study through the following links:
It should be noted that Pew's report summary states:

This study was not designed to determine whether the Internet has had a good or bad influence on health care. (source)

That said, it is important to remember critical thinking is especially essential (and potentially life-saving) as you encounter information which can directly affect your well-being.

As you might already know, anyone can publish information online, and the quality, accuracy, and currency of that information can be questionable at best.

Add to that these considerations...
Which is to say, the Internet is no substitute for a real doctor, and you should always consult a qualified physician for health advice.

If you're not looking for health advice but are simply interested in learning more about a health topic, consider a more specialized search engine, such as MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

You can also explore health topics through Thrall's own Health & Wellness Information Guide and LightSwitch Search Tools service.

For further exploration:
Comments? or Questions?

West Nile Virus

August 28, 2012

West Nile Virus is once again making news. One bite from an WNV-infected mosquito can be dangerous or deadly.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers important information on the topic:
The U.S. National Library of Medicine also provides information on this topic:
Some recent local coverage on this topic is also available:
You can also click here to browse related library system items on this topic.
Comments? or Questions?

Supreme Court Opinion
on Health Care Law

June 28, 2012

The United States Supreme Court recently reviewed health care reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

Today the Supreme Court published their opinion:

For more information on this topic, please see:
New Coverage:

Related earlier posts in this blog:
Comments? or Questions?

Summer Safety Resources

Updated: July 11, 2019

(Original post: June 20, 2012)

Summer is finally here!

Before you jump into a pool, fire up the grill, or heed the call of the great outdoors, we encourage you to check out some of the summer safety resources below so you can maximize your summer fun in totally positive ways!

For even more summer information, please visit our Summer Fun & Facts guide.

Stay cool, be happy, and, above all, please stay safe!
Comments? or Questions?

Distracted Driving

June 11, 2012

(updated Sept. 1, 2015)

"Distracted driving" is when someone fails to pay complete attention when driving a vehicle.

Talking on a cell phone or texting while driving are prime examples, but anything causing you to take your eyes or mind off the road, if even for an instant, can lead to a "distracted driving situation."

"Distracted driving can be dangerous or deadly" seems like such an obvious thing to say - something every driver should understand and avoid - but statistics suggest otherwise:

"In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involvĀ­ing distracted drivers. This represents a 6.7 percent decrease in the number of fatalities recorded in 2012. Unfortunately, approximately 424,000 people were injured, which is an increase from the 421,000 people who were injured in 2012." (source)

To help you understand and avoid this situation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation have an entire website dedicated to this topic:
In addition to the expected caveats (i.e don't drive distracted!), they provide links to relevant state laws, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ), and a Facts and Statistics section.

Even more information is available at the following links:
Comments? or Questions?

Food Safety Modernization Act Updates

April 13, 2012

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted some updates concerning the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011:
Some background information on the Act:

"The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. Below is additional information on FSMA." (source)

For more information: See also our earlier blog post:
Comments? or Questions?

Supreme Court Reviews Health Care Law

March 27, 2012

Today U.S. Supreme Court continues its review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Information on these hearings can be found at the Supreme Court website:

"The Court heard arguments today, Monday, March 26, 2012, on the Anti-Injunction Act issue of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cases. (Dept. of H&HS v. Florida, 11-398)

The audio recording and unofficial transcript of the oral argument on the Anti-Injunction Act issue are available at this link.

The orders, briefs, and other information regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cases are available at this link. (source)

For more information on this topic, please see:
Comments? or Questions?

New Standards for School Meals

January 26, 2012

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just announced new standards for school meals as part of a national promotion of healthy eating:

"Today we celebrate an historic achievement on behalf of kids across America. We have accomplished a critical step on the road to deliver healthier, more nutritious food to our nation's schoolchildren. Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final rule that sets the standards for critical improvements to the child nutrition programs that serve millions of children across the country every day." (source)

You can read more about this from USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS):

For more realated information:
Comments? or Questions?

Sunscreen Update

June 28, 2011

The U.S. Food an Drug Administration (FDA) recently established new rules concerning information provided on sunscreen product labels.

According to the FDA:

"...sunscreen products meeting modern standards for effectiveness may be labeled with new information to help consumers find products that, when used with other sun protection measures, reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, as well as help prevent sunburn." (source)

For more information, please see their press release and these other FDA links:

Additional information on sunburn and sunscreens can be found at these links:
Comments? or Questions?

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

May 4, 2011

Since 1983, May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and the tradition continues through 2011 by proclamation the President of the United States.

According to the Proclamation, "National Physical Fitness and Sports Month shines a spotlight on the important role physical activity plays in our Nation's health and wellness."

Other fitness observances in May include:
Here are some fitness resources on the Web to check out:
Also check out these related library system resources...
and our earlier but relevant blog post on physical fitness and childhood obesity
Comments? or Questions?

Fake Medicine Alert

March 14, 2011

As more companies take to the Internet, consumers are experiencing both increased convenience - making purchases within a few "clicks" - and new concerns and potential problems with products purchased.

High among these "concerns" are the possibilities of encountering potentially inaccurate health information as well as buying "counterfeit medicine."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has this to say:

"Counterfeit medicine is fake medicine. It may be contaminated or contain the wrong or no active ingredient. They could have the right active ingredient but at the wrong dose. Counterfeit drugs are illegal and may be harmful to your health." (source)

The FDA provides further insight and advisores at these links:

Additional sources on this topic can be found at these websites:
Comments? or Questions?

American Heart Month

February 9, 2011

President Obama has issued a Presidential Proclamation to designate February as "American Heart Month":

"During American Heart Month, we honor the health professionals, researchers, and heart health ambassadors whose dedication enables countless Americans to live full and active lives. This month, let us rededicate ourselves to reducing the burden of heart disease by raising awareness, taking steps to improve our own heart health, and encouraging our colleagues, friends, and family to do the same." (source)

Additional information on heart health and awareness can be found at the following links:
Comments? or Questions?

New Food Safety Law

January 6, 2011

On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the "FDA Food Safety Modernization Act" into law.

What does the law entail, and what does it mean for you? The FDA Commissioner states:

The historic legislation the President [has signed] directs the Food and Drug Administration, working with a wide range of public and private partners, to build a new system of food safety oversight - one focused on applying, more comprehensively than ever, the best available science and good common sense to prevent the problems that can make people sick.   (source)

For more details on the Act, please see the following links:
For more information on the topic of food safety within the library system, please consider these linked searches:
Comments? or Questions?

Prepare to be Safe

December 28, 2010

Iowa University's Center for Food Security and Public Health has established a new website:
The website offers "a database of numerous resources to help citizens of rural agricultural communities - individuals, farmers and producers, businesses - prepare for and recover from a number of natural and man-made threats."

Topics include Natural Disasters, Winter Storms, Flu Prevention, General Preparedness, Power Outages, Emergency Supply Kits, and more.

For additional Internet and library resources on staying safe and preparing for emergencies, please check out these links:
Comments? or Questions?

World AIDS Day

November 30, 2010

Tomorrow, December 1st, is World AIDS Day, a day in which public awareness of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is promoted worldwide.

For a quick overview of what HIV / AIDS entails, please consider the following links:
For further information on HIV/AIDS, please see these links:
Comments? or Questions?

Bed Bugs Buzz

October 26, 2010

There's been quite a bit of buzz lately about bed bugs in New York.

What are they? What do they look like? Should you be concerned? What should you do if you see one (or more)?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a very informative page on the topic of bed bugs.

Additional information is available at these links:
Comments? or Questions?

Doctors and Companies

October 22, 2010

If you require medical attention, perhaps among the very last things you need to worry about is whether or not your doctor might be "under the influence" - not just physically but financially, in terms of possible corporate influence, as well.

Investigative journalists at at recently examined peculiar pecuniary relationships apparently shared between some pharmaceutical companies and physicians promoting specific prescriptions.

The results of ProPublica's findings have been published online:

"Dollars for Docs: What Drug Companies are Paying Your Doctor"

There is a database at that website that allows one to search for individual doctors to see how much money they have accepted from the seven companies that are now making this information public.

As ProPublica points out, "Receiving payments isn't necessarily wrong, but it does raise ethical issues."

Similar studies, abstracts, and related issues, some international in scope, can be found through the U.S. National Library of Medicine's website:

This issue relates to a broader topic known as medical ethics (or "bioethics").

You can explore this topic and related items in the library catalog by clicking here.

Additional online resources can be browsed in the Bioethics section of our Health and Wellness information guide.
Comments? or Questions?

New Website: CuidadoDeSalud.Gov

October 14, 2010

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a new website for Spanish-speaking persons.

HHS says of this "partner site of":

[This is] the first website in Spanish of its kind to help consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage.

You can read their full press release at this link, or click here to access CuidadoDeSalud.Gov.
Comments? or Questions?

PTSD & Returning Soldiers

September 16, 2010

PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) is a condition faced by many returning veterans who, after prolonged conflicts and exposure to the emotions and atrocities of war, face new personal challenges, along with their families, upon returning home.

These three titles in our collection examine PTSD related issues and, in their own ways, offer some guidance and hope to both soldiers who have returned and their loved ones:
Additional facts on returning soliders and stress can be found in:
For more on this topic, please click here for our Booklover's blog.
Comments? or Questions?


August 27, 2010

Salmonella is a word you were likely to have encountered more than a few times if you were following the news lately.

It sounds nasty, but what exactly is Salmonella?

According to the U.S. National Library's website:

Salmonella is the name of a group of bacteria. In the United States, it is the most common cause of foodborne illness. Salmonella occurs in raw poultry, eggs, beef, and sometimes on unwashed fruit and vegetables.

You can read's complete definition at this link and find some related articles at that same page.

You might wonder, "Can anything be done?" or "How can I avoid it?"

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) offer quite a bit of information on these questions and more:

For more information, check out these pages from CDC,, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and others:
See also these earlier blog posts: and this link to browse related items within the library system catalog.
Comments? or Questions?

July 22, 2010

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established a new website on health care and health insurance:

The website's Welcome page provides an overview of what you can find there:

It's a website designed to help you take control of your health care - by putting the power of information at your fingertips.

It's the first website to collect both public and private health insurance options across the nation in a single place... also includes: news, speeches, videos, fact sheets, a glossary of health care terms as well as sections for specific groups: Families and Children, Individuals, People with Disabilities, Seniors, Young Adults, Employers.

For related information on health care reform, please see:
Comments? or Questions?

Health Databases & Virtual Reference Updates

June 25, 2010

New York State's NOVEL databases have been updated:
In addition to those updates, Thrall has acquired two new Virtual Reference Library titles:
Unlike NYS Novel databases, which can change from year to year, titles in Thrall's Virtual Reference Library remain ours and available to you - either through our library's computers or at home through your own Internet connection.

Please click on any of the above titles of new database and virtual reference works to learn more about them.

When you get a chance, we also invite you to check out our Virtual Reference Library, which has grown considerably in recent months with many great reference works!
Comments? or Questions?

President Obama Signs Health Insurance Reform Bill

March 23, 2010

Today President Barack Obama signed the Health Insurance Reform Bill.

You can read more about the signing and learn more about the Bill at these links:
You might also want to see our previous post ("Health Care Reform: Final Legislation") for the complete text the Bill signed by President Obama.

While today's signing marks a major turning point in the health care reform effort, some additional activity will follow the signing, including Senate adjustments (i.e. "reconciliation") to the Bill that was passed.

The President is also expected to issue an Executive Order to clarify some language in the existing Bill.
Comments? or Questions?

Health Care Reform: Final Legislation

March 18, 2010

Details regarding the "final legislation" of health insurance reform is now available online at the following websites: also offers information and updates about recent health care reform efforts.
Comments? or Questions?

February 22, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama recently announced a new initiative to help address issues of childhood obesity and fitness.

As part of this effort, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of Education have collaborated with the First Lady on the creation of a new website:
Here is how they describe this website:
Let's Move will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.
The "Let's Move" website includes a blog, public service announcements, and sections such as "Helping Parents Make Healthy Family Choices," "Latest Nutrition Research and School Programs," and "What You Can Do in Your School and Community."

There is also a section with activities and resources especially for children.

For more about First Lady's efforts and the related task force, please see this link:
Additional information on childhood health, nutrition, obesity, physical and mental fitness, and related topics can be found in the library system catalog. Here are some subject search links you might want to explore:
Comments? or Questions?


February 8, 2010

People often claim "they are important," but, beyond such general and uninformative assertions, what exactly are vitamins and what do they do to the human body?

Vitamins, as defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, are "a group of substances essential for normal cell function, growth and development."

Each vitamin has a different role and its share of effects. Some assist in the formation of blood cells. Some vitamins affect skin, while others influence things like teeth and bones.

Vitamins can exist in various amounts in different kinds of food and beverages (such as Vitamin C in orange juice). Some artificial foods have vitamins added to them (or, as they say, "fortified").

Some vitamins are produced in the body under certain circumstances (as in the case of Vitamin D and human exposure to sunlight).

"Vitamin deficiencies" and other health issues can arise if there is a prolonged absence of a vitamin. In such cases, doctors might prescribe "dietary supplements," adjustments in eating patterns, and/or other treatments.

As with so many things in life, "too much" can be as bad as - or much worse than - "too little," and so the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia reminds each of us that it is essential to "ask your doctor what is best for you."

For more details about different vitamins and what they do, offers these articles:
Some other U.S. Government health websites offering related information:
You might also want to check out the Nutrition section of our Health and Wellness directory of websites.

Related materials in the local library system catalog can be explored by clicking these subject heading links:
Comments? or Questions?

Text4Baby Mobile Information Service

February 4, 2010

The National Healthy Mothers / Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) has established a new "mobile information service" in response to premature baby births.

The name of this service is Text4Baby, and HMHB states it "provides pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life."

You can read more about this effort at these links:
For related informational materials (books, DVDs, and more) in our library catalog, you can explore see these subject headings:
Comments? or Questions?

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
- Senate Health Care Bill

November 20, 2009

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3590), health care reform efforts were taken up by the U.S. Senate.

On November 18, 2009, Senator Harry Reid announced the Senate's proposed health care bill: You can track activities related to the Act at this link, which takes you to the Library of Congress Thomas server.

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office has published their analysis of the proposal: C-SPAN offers a video containing the Republican response to the Democrat plan as well as related videos from the Senate floor debate.

A statement concerning the Senate proposal is also available from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Please see the previous post in this blog for related information on health reform.
Comments? or Questions?

Affordable Health Care for America Act

October 29, 2009
(updated November 1, 2009)

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives version of proposed health reform legislation was announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The official name for the health reform bill is "The Affordable Health Care for America Act" (H.R. 3962).

You can read the full text of the Act (1,900+ pages) at this link:
Click here for H.R. 3962 on the Library of Congress THOMAS server, the official database of U.S. Congressional legislative bills and actions.

Some statements, press releases, and reviews concerning the Act:
Republican responses:
For related information please see these links:
Also check out these earlier Thrall blog posts:
Comments? or Questions?

Medicare Fraud & Medical Identity Theft

October 23, 2009

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have published new public awareness materials on the topics of Medicare fraud and medical identity theft.

Two websites contain this information: Along with tips on learning how to "deter, detect, and defend" against fraud and identity theft, contact information and news stories on recent crackdowns are also provided.

For more information on these websites, you can read the press release from HHS/DOJ:
Comments? or Questions?

Teen Drinking: Awareness & Prevention

September 11, 2009

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) initiated a new public awareness effort yesterday in hopes of helping teens avoid the perils of underage drinking as well as informing others how they can help in that cause.

In addition to a press release from the FTC, you can visit a new website to learn more about these effors:

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created a website just for teens called The Cool Spot (, and at that site teens can find facts about alcohol and read up on other issues often faced. is an older but still useful website that has links to related U.S. Government resources.

Additional materials (books, videos, etc.) on this topic are available throughout the library system:
Comments? or Questions?


August 17, 2009

You see the word on food product labels - "Antioxidants" - but what in the world are they?

The U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus service offers some insight into the word and related nutritional topics:
Additional websites and books on antioxidants can be found at these links:
You can also explore the Nutrition section of our Health & Wellness information guide for related information on food and nutrition.
Comments? or Questions?

Comparing Health Care Reform Proposals

July 31, 2009

For anyone interested in comparing health care reform proposal, the Kaiser Family Foundation has provided this website:

Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals

KFF describes this as follows:

"This interactive side-by-side compares the leading comprehensive reform proposals across a number of key characteristics and plan components. Included in this side-by-side are proposals for moving toward universal coverage that have been put forward by the President and Members of Congress. In an effort to capture the most important proposals, we have included those that have been formally introduced as legislation as well as those that have been offered as draft proposals or as policy options. This side-by-side offers a summary of the major components of these proposals; detailed descriptions of provisions relating to the Medicare and Medicaid programs can be found online. It will be regularly updated to reflect changes in the proposals and to incorporate major new proposals as they are announced."

See also our previous blog post for more on current efforts to reform the health care system.
Comments? or Questions?

Health Care Reform

June 25, 2009

President Obama's Administration and others in and beyond the U.S. Government are taking on the issue of reforming the health care system in the United States.

You can follow developing details, discussions, and debates at a new website:

Here you will find videos, articles, statements, and more from the U.S. Government.

Other U.S. Government websites offering information, news, policy positions, proposals, statistics, and more are:
News sites covering this topic in depth include:
Additional articles on issues and positions currently being debated are explored at these sites:
Comments? or Questions?

The Medpedia Project

May 18, 2009

The Medpedia Project is a collaborative effort to make health and medical information available to the public:

"In association with Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, Berkeley School of Public Health, University of Michigan Medical School and other leading global health organizations, Medpedia will be a commons for the gathering of the information and people critical to health care. Many organizations have united to support The Medpedia Project." (quoted from the "About the Medpedia Project").

While this is a "work-in-progress," already you can view a number of articles at their website.

For more information on Medpedia, check out their Press Release and "About" page.
Comments? or Questions?

Health Guide Updated

May 12, 2009

Our Health Information Guide has been thoroughly revised and expanded!

One half of the main menu is dedicated to highlighting print, reference, and electronic resources available at Thrall and within the larger library system.

The second half of the menu is a directory of websites on major health topics.

Included in the first half of the guide is a Health and Wellness Explorer, where you can either conduct special searches or click topical links for instant search results in the library catalog.

Live news feeds can be found in the News and Alternative Medicine sections.

Our Web Guides Search has also been incorporated into the main menu of the new Health guide, offering the option to search this guide or all web guides.

As with all our resource guides, the Health guide will be reviewed by staff and updated regularly.

We hope both staff and patrons find this new guide helpful!

Please click here to access our new Health Information Guide.
Comments? or Questions?

Swine Influenza Information

April 26, 2009

Information concerning Swine Influenza ("Swine Flu") can be found at the following websites:
Mexico's Presidential website contains information and updates as well (click here for Spanish/en Español).

Additional news sources can be found in these Google News searches:
Comments? or Questions?

April 16, 2009

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has announced a new website about health reform:

The HHS press release describes the websites, its intentions, along with a new publication (also available at the website): "HHS Issues Special Report on Health Reform and Launches New Web Site"

Their website includes videos, news, downloadable reports, and other information concerning health reform proposals and updates from President Obama's Administration.

Please click here to visit
Comments? or Questions?

Brain Awareness Week

March 11, 2009

March 16 to March 22, 2009, is the internationally recognized "Brain Awareness Week." During this time, various U.S. and international organizations and governmental agencies attempt to increase public awareness and appreciation of brain research.

U.S. Government Agencies have a press release concerning BAW: These agencies include:

Major examples of other organizations participating in this public education effort are:

You can explore related materials in the library system catalog by clicking on any of these subject searches:

Some other interesting websites about the brain are:
Comments? or Questions?

Food Safety at Home

February 9, 2009

The U.S. Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) offers a number of free "podcasts" (recorded broadcasts on the Internet) about food safety issues at home:

Food Safety at Home Podcasts

Topics include: "Power Outage in the Freezer," "Mail Order Food Safety," "Safe Use of Slow Cookers," "Keeping Food Safe on the Buffet Table," "Using Food Thermometers," "Taking the Mystery Out of Food Labels," "Teens Talk About Food Safety: School Lunches and After School Snacks," "Spoilage Bacteria," and "Safe Handling of Leftovers," among others.

The FSIS also offers some related videos (in English and some in Spanish):

Food Safety Videos & Public Service Announcements

Some of the video titles are: "Clean, Separate, Cook & Chill," "Food Safety During Power Outages," and "Is It Done Yet?"

For more information about food safety, you can click here to browse items available in our library system.

You might also want to check out one of the earliest posts in this blog: "Common Food and Safety Questions."
Comments? or Questions?

Obama Administration on Health Care

January 29, 2009

The newly renovated White House website provides some details concerning the Health Care agenda of President Obama's Administration.
Comments? or Questions?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

January 28, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a fact sheet concerning Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

You can read about it in this press release from the EPA: "New Resource to Help Older Adults Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning"

Here is the link to the related website: "Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning"

Several editions of the fact sheet are available in PDF format (free Adobe Reader software required to view) including a regular print, large print, and Spanish version.
Comments? or Questions?

FDA: Peanut Product Recalls

January 27, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently offers information and news updates concerning recent recalls involving certain peanut butter and peanut paste products.
Comments? or Questions?


October 1, 2008

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently upgraded its website.

Among the improvements listed by the HHS are: appearance, ease of use, accessibility, new interactivity, and increased consumer-friendliness and usability for health professionals.

You can read more about the upgrade in HHS' Press Release: "Improved Makes Health Information Quicker and Easier to Use"

The website is currently available in English and in Spanish (en Español).

For more health information, be sure to check out:
Comments? or Questions?

Food Storage

August 11, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a consumer guide about food storage.

Topics include: Storage Basics, Refrigeration Tips, Freezer Facts, If You Lose Electricity, and Tips for Non-Refrigerated Items.

Please click here to visit the FDA's "Are You Storing Food Safely?" website.
Comments? or Questions?

Dietary Supplements 101

August 11, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a guide covering the concept of "dietary supplements":

Please click here to view the "FDA 101: Dietary Supplements" website.

You can also click here to view related information available in the library system.
Comments? or Questions? Quit Smoking Guide

June 23, 2008

The Tobacco Control Research Branch of the U.S. National Cancer Institute has created a government information website called, an online educational resource to help you or someone you know quit smoking.

From their About Us page comes this decription:

" allows you to choose the help that best fits your needs. You can get immediate assistance in the form of: An online step-by-step cessation guide, local and state telephone quitlines, NCI's national telephone quitline, NCI's instant messaging service, publications, which may be downloaded, printed, or ordered."'s formal website description states an offering of "free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking."

Among many other things, provides a dictionary of smoking and related health terms to help you better understand the ideas and issues being explored at their website.

For more information about smoking, you can click here to review materials available in the library catalog or click here for our health and general databases, where you can search for articles, opinions, research, and reports on the topic of smoking and smokers' health issues.
Comments? or Questions?

Tomatoes & Salmonella

June 12, 2008

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a web guide concerning the recent national outbreak of salmonella in certain types of tomatoes.

Their guide contains information in the following categories: Update on the Outbreak, Sample of an Outbreak Traceback Investigation Diagram, Frequently Asked Questions, News Updates, Advice for Retailers, Restaurateurs and Food Service Operators, Consumer Health Information, What Is FDA Doing?, Information About Salmonella, How Do I Report a Tomato Complaint?

Click here to access their guide.

For more information and updates on this topic, you can also check out the FDA's original press release concerning the matter as well as the FDA's food recall pages.
Comments? or Questions?

Asthma Awareness Month

May 5, 2008

May is Asthma Awareness Month. May 6th has been designated as "World Asthma Day." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes asthmas as "a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for millions of Americans."

The EPA, along with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have created public information pages addressing various aspects of asthma: For more information on this topic, you can click here to browse related subtopics and titles available in the library catalog.
Comments? or Questions?

Traveler's Health

March 28, 2008

If you plan to do any traveling, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offer an easy and informative Traveler's Health website to help you become aware of potential health issues and any related advisories pertaining to your destination.

Topics covered at "Traveler's Health" include: news and health information for specific countries and destinations, vaccinations, diseases, mosquito and tick protection, safe food and water, illness and injury abroad, journals and articles related to travel health, travel medicine, yellow fever, a Yellow Book, avian influenza and travel, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) concerning travelers' health issues.

If you'd like to read up on the topics of health and travel, you can click here to explore some of the many related titles available in the library catalog.
Comments? or Questions?

FishWatch - Seafood Facts

March 26, 2008

The National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers a website called FishWatch - U.S. Seafood Facts.

Here's how they describe their website:

"FishWatch can help you make informed decisions about the seafood you eat by providing you with the most accurate and timely information available on the sustainability of U.S. seafood fisheries. FishWatch is brought to you by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. authority on marine fisheries science, conservation, and management."

For more information about seafood (including preparation and cooking recipes) you can click here to explore related titles in the library catalog.
Comments? or Questions?

Drug Information Portal

February 25, 2008

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced a new website: NLM Drug Information Portal.

NLM's description reads as follows: "The NLM Drug Information Portal gives the public, healthcare professionals, and researchers a gateway to current, accurate and understandable drug information from the National Library of Medicine and other key government agencies. More than 12,000 drug records are available for searching."

You can click here to read NLM's press release or click here to access the Drug Information Portal.
Comments? or Questions?

New York State Guides to HMOs and Health Insurers

January 4, 2008

The New York State Insurance Department offers an Interactive New York Consumer Guide to HMOs, which they say can help you find "easy-to-read tables comparing HMO performance, historical complaint data, HMO premiums and tips on how to choose an HMO."

In addition to the interactive web service, there is a downloadable version of the HMO guide as well as a "NY Consumer Guide to Health Insurers" that you can get from their website as well. Those documents are in the Adobe PDF format, which you can view by using the free Adobe Reader.
Comments? or Questions?

Space Food

December 3, 2007

If you ever wondered how astronauts eat in space and meet their daily nutritional needs, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has prepared a vertible smorgasbord of information to help satisfy your curiosities: Enjoy!
Comments? or Questions?

2008 National Health Observances

November 29, 2007

The U.S. National Health Information Center (NHIC) has published an updated list of national health observances for 2008.

Each month a number of important health topics are highlighted nationally in the U.S. to help raise public awareness. Different health organizations, institutes, and research centers provide information and news.

You can click the link above to view the list or here to learn more about past and current observances as well as to download PDF versions of the lists.
Comments? or Questions?


October 23, 2007

MRSA, which stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, has appeared in the news lately along with phrases such as "skin eating", "super bug," "staph infection," and "drug-resistant." The following websites offer a variety information on this topic:

If you have a library card, you can also log into Health and Wellness Resource Center in our databases page or any of the general article databases (Academic ASAP or MasterFile Premiere) to locate more articles on this topic.

If you have any questions or need more information, please call our Reference Department at 341-5461 or use our online Ask a Librarian service to ask us a question over the Internet.
Comments? or Questions?

Cholesterol Education Month

September 18, 2007

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), September 2007 is National Cholesterol Education Month.

To help you understand more about cholesterol, the NHLBI has prepared a "Cholesterol Month Kit 2007" that contains a guide to lowering cholesterol, progress charting, a goal worksheet, question and answers about the new food label, steps to help you reduce your risk "Heart Healthy" recipes, a resource list, as well as information for patients, the general public, and health care professionals.

For more information on this topic, check out these links:
Comments? or Questions?

Lead Poisoning

August 23, 2007

Lead poisoning reentered the public spotlight after recent toy recalls were announced. What exactly is lead poisoning? Here are some websites that explore the topic in depth:
Related information is available in the library catalog as well as our health databases.
Comments? or Questions?

Music and the Brain

August 2, 2007

Music lovers might especially enjoy this news coming from the Stanford University School of Medicine: "Music Moves Brain to Pay Attention, Stanford Study Finds"

Music's impact on the brain has been the subject of numerous books and studies over the years. Some of these studies are listed at this website.

Comparable studies and articles can be found in general research databases like MasterFile Premiere and Expanded Academic ASAP (using Basic Search) with music brain or music mind as your search terms.

This might be as good a time as any to remind members of the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) that Middletown Thrall Library has an extensive classical and jazz music CD collection at the library. Even more musical genres can be found and requested through the library catalog.

Thrall patrons with Internet access at home can also freely enjoy access to a great classical music, world music, and African American music.

If you're interested in learning how to play a musical instrument, you're also in luck! We have a number of self-paced musical courses you can check out at Thrall. They are maintained near the audio CD collection. Some of these courses come with instructional CDs. Books containing sheet music/guitar chords, lyrics, arias, and simplified versions of popular songs can also be found in our circulating collections. We also have musicals and music performances on VHS and DVD.

If you are a parent or guardian, you might also be interested in something called the "Mozart Effect" (this link will take you to related items in the library catalog).

The wonderful world of music is just a few steps or clicks away! Just come to the Reference Department, and we'll be happy to show you!
Comments? or Questions?

Nutrition Labels

July 23, 2007

Food nutrition labels are only informative if you know what they mean about the food you are considering to purchase. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers information to help consumers understand what these labels mean and how to use that information more effectively:
Additional information on nutrition is available in the library catalog as well as our health databases.
Comments? or Questions?

AIDS/HIV Glossary

July 23, 2007

News reports of AIDS/HIV often involve technical terminology that can make it difficult to understand. To help make this vital information more accessible to the public, the U.S. National Institutes of Health have prepared an AIDSinfo Glossary, which can be browsed or searched.

Here is the NIH's description of this resource: "The AIDSinfo Glossary is a comprehensive resource designed to help health professionals, researchers, and people living with HIV/AIDS and their families and friends to understand the complex web of HIV/AIDS terminology."

The glossary is also available as a single PDF (Portable Document Format) download (Adobe Reader Required) in either English or Spanish/Español.

Additional information regarding AIDS/HIV can be found in our Health web guide as well as within our library system and our article databases, especially the Health Reference Center.
Comments? or Questions?

Health Tools

June 30, 2007 offers a variety of "Health Tools" at their site.

Their tools include: Mom-to-Be Tools, Quit Smoking Tools, Calculators and Planning Tools, Food and Diet Tools, Immunizations and Screenings, Symptoms and Tests, Working With Your Health Care Provider, Test Your Women's Health Knowledge, State and Local Resources, Dictionaries and Journals.

Each section features tips, lists, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and more. For example, the Mom-to-Be Tools include: Baby Shopping List, Basal Body Temperature Chart, Childcare Checklist, Babysitter Checklist, Due Date Calculator, National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (Learn the Signs, Act Early), Ovulation Calculator, Pregnancy Quiz, Fish Facts, Food Don'ts, When to Call the Baby's Doctor.

A wealth of information on the topic of women's health is always available throughout our library system.
Comments? or Questions?

Health Effects of Climate Change

June 8, 2007

Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal published by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, has published an article entitled "Driven to Extremes: Health Effects of Climate Change."

The full article is freely available as a web page or a PDF file (Adobe Reader required).

See also our earlier blog post on Climate Change and Health Threats.
Comments? or Questions?

A Healthy and Happy Summer

June 5, 2007

Keep your summer happy and healthy by planning ahead and considering all the possibilities and potential areas of concern, whether you intend to travel or to stay home and enjoy the great outdoors. (formerly has assembled a nice collection of links to government agency web pages containing information and advisories on the topic of Recreation and Tourism.

Health and safety information in this collection includes: Beach Temperatures, Beach Water Quality, and Boating Safety. and (National Park Service) offers tips, photographic previews, and more if you're thinking about camping, fishing, biking, visiting historic or cultural sites, rock climbing, or going on a tour.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has some summer health and safety for men, women, and children. also has a page of summer safety information as does the U.S. Surgeon General: "Health Dozen List" for children.

Teens thinking about getting a summer job might want to check out OSHA's Teen Summer Job Safety website.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides A Primer on Summer Safety, which includes these areas of information: Sunburn, Bites From Mosquitoes and Ticks, Bee Stings, Heat Illness, Burns From Fireworks and Grills Foodborne Illness, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac, and Poisoning in Children.

Planning to barbecue? The New York State Department of Health offers Barbecue Food Safety Tips

How about swimming? The CDC provides a Healthy Swimming page for the public and for health professionals.

If summer camps or traveling are in your plans, our own Ready Reference Guide has links to websites about summer camps and travel sites.

Travelers might find the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Key Travel Tips useful.

With hotter days ahead, you might want to check out EPA's Extreme Heat page (includes "Prepare for Hot Weather Before It Happens" and "Stay Healthy During a Heat Event") as well as FEMA's "Are You Ready?" guide.

You can track local and global weather by following links on our recently revised News and Weather guide.

Have a great summer, and if you find yourself wondering what to do, consider attending our Alexander Hamilton historical exhibit (June 1 to June 30th at Thrall) or catch up on reading by finding out what other readers are currently enjoying or by going beyond the bestsellers!
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Childproofing Your Home

May 22, 2007

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a potentially helpful guide for parents and guardians: "Childproofing Your Home - 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children".

For more information about child safety, you can click here to view items in the library catalog or click here to visit the Health and Safety section of our Current Interests guide, which includes information about safety advisories and product recalls for food, toys, and more.
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Healthy Vision Month

May 18, 2007

The National Eye Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health have created a website in support of "Healthy Vision Month": Healthy Vision 2010.

This year's theme is Glaucoma Awareness. Also available at their website is information on examinations and prevention, eye diseases, injury and safety, and vision rehabilitation.

For more information on topics related to vision, try these searches in the library catalog or use our free Ask a Librarian service to ask us a question if you need more information:

The National Eye Institute also has some interesting information, including:
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5 Seconds

May 18, 2007

The popular but scientifically debatable so-called "5 Second Rule" suggests food on the floor can still be eaten if you pick it up within five seconds.

Students at Connecticut College made some news yesterday when they reported their findings after testing for the presence of bacteria after food was dropped on the floor for various durations.

You can read their press release here.

Wikipedia also has an article on the topic (as always, Wikipedia's disclaimers apply).
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May 8, 2007

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a consumer alert possibly of interest to anyone planning to spend a lot of time outdoors:

You can read their "Sunscreens and Sun-Protective Clothing" advisory here. In it they explain sun protection factors (SPF) and much more.

For more information about these and related concepts, you might want to check out our Health guide on the web or the Health and Wellness Resource Center database.

You can also try these related searches in our library catalog:
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Interactive Tutorials

May 3, 2007

The U.S. National Library of Medicine, in an arrangement with The Patient Education Institute is providing at NLM's MedlinePlus website access to an extensive selection of interactive tutorials.

Topics are arranged alphabetically in the following categories: Diseases and Conditions, Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, Surgery and Treatment Procedures, Prevention and Wellness.

To view the tutorials requires your computer to have a recent version of the free Adobe Flash plug-in installed.
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Egg Safety Guide

April 27, 2007

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has published a consumer food safety guide about eggs:

"Playing It Safe With Eggs: What Consumers Need to Know"

Their guide can also be downloaded as a PDF document (requires Adobe reader).
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School Nutrition Standards

April 26, 2007

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published a report relating to nutrition standards in schools:

"Nutrition Standards for Healthy Schools: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth" - at this link you can download their "Fact Sheet" and "Report Brief."
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April 23, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains an advisory website for medical professionals and the public called MedWatch, which they describe as an "Internet gateway for timely safety information on drugs and other medical products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."

Their website also has a form consumers can use to report problems experienced with FDA-regulated medical products.

To learn more about FDA's MedWatch service please click here.
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Emerging Drug Safety Podcasts

April 23, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced in this press release newly available podcasts relating to "emerging drug safety information."

If you are new to the concept of podcasting, the FDA has a page that explains the concept and what you need to download their broadcasts.

On their podcasts page are listed only a couple of entries so far. You can click the "More" link on their page to view more podcasts. You can also view podcasts by date or by topic by clicking on the "date" or "topic" links on that same page.

For more news and other information about medicine and related topics check out sites linked to in our Health Guide and the Health/Safety/Fitness section of our Current Interests and Events web guide.

Members of Thrall Library can freely access high-quality articles in our article databases, which include Health & Wellness Resource Center, Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence, and Virtual Reference Library: Health.

The library catalog also contains titles on the topic of medicine.
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Alcohol Awareness

April 20, 2007

April is "Alcohol Awareness Month." In support of this, Medline Plus, an information portal from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, has a collection of alcohol awareness resources.

Sections include "Alcohol: What You Don't Know Can Harm You," "Questions and Answers on Alcohol Consumption," "GetFit Glossary of Terms for Alcohol," News, Prevention and Screening, Health Check Tools, articles, statistics, and links to related issues.

There are related titles in the library catalog you might also consider if you want to research this topic further.

Our article databases include the Health and Wellness Resource Center and Opposing Viewpoints, both of which contain many informative full text articles on the topics. You can also try more general article databases such as Expanded Academic ASAP and MasterFile Premiere to access journal, newspaper, and magazine full text articles and abstracts.
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Bird Flu Vaccine

April 18, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has posted information regarding their approval of a bird flu vaccine: "FDA Approves First U.S. Vaccine for Humans Against the Avian Influenza Virus H5N1"
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Organic Foods: Safety and Nutrition

April 16, 2007

Mayo Clinic has posted an article about organic food: "Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?"

See also this blog post about organic foods.
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National Health Week

April 3, 2007

New York State Department of Health has published some information in the "Public Health Works!" section of their website about National Health Week.

Included here are information on how National Health Week began, as well as answers to questions such as "What is Public Health?" and "How is Public Health Different from Health Care?"
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Checklists for Health

April 2, 2007

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published checklists for men and women:

"New Checklists Help Men and Women Know Which Medical Tests Are Needed To Stay Healthy at Any Age".

Here are direct links to their checklists:
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Daily Health Tips

March 30, 2007

Daily HealthBeat Tips are published on the web by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Recently published tips include: "Tai chi and good nerves," "Low carbs," "Getting teens to quit," "The stages of grief," and "Kids, weight, and TV."
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Spinach Outbreak Report

March 30, 2007

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a report in conjunction with California's Department of Health Services (CDHS) regarding the e.coli spinach outbreak of 2007.

The report is hosted at California's DHS website on their Environmental Investigation Reports page. There are three reports provided in PDF format, with the most recent report dated March 2007.
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Common Food and Safety Questions

March 30, 2007

The U.S. Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) maintains a list of common questions concerning food safety.

On that page they provide answers to question like "How do bacteria spoil food?" and "Is it safe to refreeze food that has thawed completely?"

There are some related government documents and other items in the library catalog that might interest you as well.
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Food and Nutrition Research Briefs

March 30, 2007

Food and Nutrition Research Briefs are published by the Agricultural Research Service, USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). They are described as summaries of "results of food and nutrition research conducted by ARS scientists."

You can browse through their quarterly published newsletters and search to locate articles on related topics.

The January 2007 issue contains such articles as "Fish: Food For Your Brain," "Ground Beef Calculator Tallies Nutrients for You," and "Blueberry Compound Shows Cancer-Fighting Promise."

If you're interested in learning more about food and nutrition, click here to browse some titles available in the library catalog.
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Organic Foods

March 30, 2007

The National Organic Program website, part of, has information for consumers about organic food standards and labels on products. Fact Sheets are available in English and Spanish.

You may also be interested in books on organic food in the library system. Organic foods are currently classified in the catalog under "Natural Foods" in the Library of Congress subject headings, so you can follow that link once the catalog page appears to see what titles Thrall and other libraries own.
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Up in Smoke

March 29, 2007 is featuring a report on the negative effects of smoking on job performance. In the article "Job Performance Can Go Up in Smoke" smokers are said to "take more sick leave" and "perform more poorly."

Click here to read more about that study. also provides another link for more information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) on smoking and health.

Also worth noting: the CDC recently revised its Smoking & Tobacco Use web pages to provide easier access to related information.
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Climate Change and Health Threats

*March 28, 2007 featured an article of the health impact climate change might brings. Click here to read "Global Warming Poses Health Threats."

(* Post included here from an earlier listing in our Current Events guide.)
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Please note: This blog is for informational purposes only. Middletown Thrall Library does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, etc., you must consult your own physician or health care provider.

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