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System Safety, Health and Environment Resource Center (SSHERC)

June 2015 – National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month. The theme this year is "What I Live For." Nonmembers can download free safety promotional materials from the National Safety Council on its Safety Month webpage (external link). Posters, checklists and factsheets are available. NSC members also receive these materials and more.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week – June 21-27, 2015

Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year. Although most lightning occurs in the summer, people can be struck at any time of year. Lightning kills an average of 49 people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are severely injured. NOAA's Lightning Safety website (external link) will teach you how to stay safe and offers insight into the science of lightning.

West Nile Virus in Oklahoma

The recent flooding in Oklahoma has caused a bumper crop of mosquitos, some of which transmit West Nile virus. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the first cases for 2015 have been confirmed in Okfuskee and McIntosh counties. There have been no deaths.

Persons are at greatest risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes from July through October in our state. Persons of any age can become ill after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but those over the age of 50 are at greater risk of developing serious illness involving the nervous system.  

Over 80 percentof people infected with the virus never become ill. If people do become ill, most cases are mild with symptoms such as a fever, headache, tiredness and body aches that go away on their own. Some people may develop a rash on the trunk of the body. In more severe cases, persons can develop meningitis or other neurologic disease.

The OSDH advises use of insect repellents – particularly those containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD) or IR 3535 – when enjoying outdoor activities like gardening, yardwork, camping or other leisure activities.

The type of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile are most active during early morning and evening hours, so it is important to take mosquito bite precautions during that time of the day. It is also recommended to drain or treat standing water around your home with a mosquito larvacide to reduce mosquito breeding sites.

See the OSDH website (external link) for further information.