97 MDG Tips of the Week

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Gail Fancher
  • 97th Medical Group Public Health
Handwashing: A simple way to stay healthy 

Several infectious diseases such as the common cold, flu, and infectious diarrhea can be spread through hand-to-hand contact. Hand washing doesn't take much time or effort but it offers great rewards in terms of preventing illness. Adopting this simple habit can play a major role in protecting your health. 

Preventing Hearing loss 

You can prevent abnormal hearing loss by wearing hearing protection in hazardous noise areas. Hazardous noise areas can be found in workplaces and in our homes. You can determine if hearing protection is needed in an area by using the "3 Foot Rule". If you have to shout at a distance of three feet to be heard by someone, you are in a hazardous noise area and hearing protection should be worn. 

Heat Stress 

As we head into another summer, it is important to take precautions against heat stress. Heat stress is decreased by reducing the workload and by introducing any measure which will protect the individual from the hot environment. Resistance is increased by replenishing water and salt losses from the body as they occur and by the maintenance of the optimum physical condition of people. 

Occupational Health (Ergonomics) 

Ergonomics involves designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. In your work center, make sure your desk and chair are at optimum heights for work and safety. If your chair is too low, you may experience increased pain and tension in your shoulder area. For those who use computers on a daily basis for extended hours, make sure that your wrists are always above the keyboard and your mouse is positioned closely. 

Traveling Abroad 

In you plan on traveling outside the United States, there may be some regional health issues you should be familiar with before you leave. You can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/travel or www.travel.state.gov for more information and safe traveling tips. Active duty military members, their dependents, and DoD employees may contact military Public Health at (580) 481-5488. All non-military individuals may contact the Jackson County Health Department at (580) 482-7308. 

Insect Repellent and the West Nile Virus 

Oklahoma has many outdoor recreational activities to offer such as camping, hiking, and fishing. Insect repellents can help reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry viruses such as West Nile virus that can cause serious illness and even death. Using insect repellent allows you to continue to play and work outdoors with a reduced risk of mosquito bites. Wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt also reduce your exposure by decreasing the amount of exposed skin. 


Thousands of rabies infections occur each year. Any mammal can become infected by the rabies virus and develop symptoms, including humans. Animal bites are the most common cause of rabies infections. Infected bats, monkeys, raccoons, foxes, skunks, cattle, wolves, dogs, and cats provide the greatest risk to humans. It is best to avoid stray animals; they may seem friendly but may bite or scratch you and expose you to rabies. 

Hearing Protection 

As we approach the warmer months, you may find yourself mowing the lawn or weed eating. Don't forget your hearing protection; it's imperative to protect what you have. Once you have lost it, it will not return. If you are an active duty member working in an industrial shop, stop by Public Health. We will be happy to provide you with earplugs for you to utilize on the job. If you are not active duty, don't worry. You too can invest is something so simple that can potentially impact the rest of your life. Earplugs can be purchased and drug stores, Wal-Mart, and even convenience stores for as little as 50 cents. For active duty members in industrial shops, stop by Public Health M-F 0730-1630 and request of set of earplugs.

Stress Management 

Are you stressed? Are relatives coming into town for a visit? Perhaps you just need someone to talk to. As an active duty member there are several venues you can utilize: Chaplain, Mental Health, Airmen and Family Readiness Center. Military One Source can also be used by contacting (800) 342-9647 to get a referral to an outside agency. The important thing to remember is to seek help. Whether you are returning from a deployment or going through some turmoil in your life, there are resources available for you. Remember you are valuable to us and to the mission here at Altus AFB.

Ways to stay illness free and healthy

-Wash your hands

-Wear clean and dry clothing

- Shower/bathe daily

- Keep good oral hygiene

- Maintain fitness

Stray Animals/Rabies Prevention

-Avoid stray, wild or unknown animals when at all possible

-If you are bitten or scratched by any animals, seek medical attention immediately

-All military personnel with animal bites should be seen and treated at Jackson County Memorial Hospital

Proper Cooking Temperatures

Foodborne illnesses cause millions of people to get sick each year. Cooking foods at the proper temperatures will reduce your risk. The temperatures below are a great rule to follow when cooking:
Minimum Internal Temperatures of foods

-Steaks, Roasts and Fish - 145 F

-Pork, Ground Beef and Egg Dishes - 160 F

-Chicken Breasts or other Poultry - 165 F