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Be aware of dangers of thirdhand smoke

Capt. Mayamona Aiken, U.S. Army Public Health Nursing, WBAMC

Have you ever noticed the smell of cigarette smoke in an area where no one appears to be smoking, or the lingering smell of cigarettes in a hotel room previously occupied by smokers? Cigarette smoke clings to hair, clothing, cushions, carpeting, furniture and toys after a cigarette is put out. It also clings to food and dust. This is referred to as "thirdhand smoke"-- leftover residue with the strong scent of smoke that remains on the surfaces of objects long after secondhand smoke has cleared.

Thirdhand smoke is considered a hazard because it contains toxic gases and chemicals (i.e. nicotine, tar, butane, paint thinners, arsenic, lead and carbon monoxide) that you cannot see. These chemicals pose a health risk because they combine with the air and other pollutants to make cancer-causing substances. They are absorbed through the skin by touching contaminated surfaces, inhaling dust or by ingestion (eating or drinking). Young children can get these chemicals on their hands especially if they are crawling or playing on the floor. People are also exposed through shared ventilation, air ducts and leaky walls in apartment buildings.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it can take two to three minutes for a smoker to stop exhaling the toxins of smoke after their last puff. Thirdhand smoke can remain on the smoker long enough to settle in places considered smoke-free. Studies have shown that it takes two hours for the air quality to return to normal after a single cigarette was smoked in a bedroom.

In addition, thirdhand smoke can accumulate. One study showed that thirdhand smoke contamination remained on surfaces to include house dust even after a home was vacant for two months and cleaned.

To reduce the hazard, many parents smoke when their children are out of the house. People turn on fans to ventilate the room or open a window in a car to get rid of the smoke. These actions do not protect people from thirdhand smoke. The only way to protect non-smoking family members completely is for all smokers to quit. Protect your loved ones and promote a healthier air space.

If you smoke, here are some tips to reduce thirdhand smoke contamination:

  • Get help with quitting smoking.
  • Wash your hands, change clothes and brush your teeth after smoking and before holding or feeding babies and young children.
  • Keep your home and car tobacco-free. Detoxify your home and car.
  • Open windows and doors to let in fresh air or use a high-quality indoor air purification system.
  • Do a thorough cleaning. Wash clothing, bedcovers, drapes and furnishings including windows, doors, walls, ceilings, kitchen cabinets, light fixtures, blinds and shades.
  • Steam clean carpets and upholstery with a cleaning agent, not just a deodorizer.
  • Remove smoke-filled wallpaper.
  • Replace all heating and air conditioning filters regularly.
  • Use several coats of non-toxic sealant and paint on walls to prevent odors and nicotine from leeching through the paint.
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OxyElite Pro: Statement/Information
Health Advisory for Acute Hepatitis & Liver Failure Due To Product Use

The Department of Defense is advising all Service members and their families to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance to stop using any dietary supplement labeled OxyElite Pro. The Department is participating in an investigation with the CDC, FDA, and Hawaii Department of Health on the acute hepatitis and liver failure of individuals who may have taken OxyElite Pro. As a precaution, the Department has ordered the removal of all OxyElite Pro products from bases.

Service members and their families who believe they have been harmed by the use of this product should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report any adverse events related to the use of OxyElite Pro to the FDA MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Reporting Program at www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm.

Helpful Links:

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Tele-Nurse program is closed

At midnight on Oct 7th the Tele-Nurse program was closed. Should patients desire medical advice, please either contact your primary care provider via www.relayhealth.com, www.tricareonline.com, call Central Appointments at 742-2273, or present to the Emergency Room. Please do not go to an Urgent Care clinic unless you have first received a referral from your primary care provider, or you may incur additional costs for the visit.

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HEDIS BRANCH-Temporary furlough directives until further notice.

1) Patients needing appointments for Cervical Preventive Screening, Diabetes A1C/LDL or Asthma Action Plan follow ups, need to call Central Appointment at 742-2273 to get scheduled with their Primary Care Provider.

2) Patients needing Diabetes teaching, Glucometer or Insulin teaching, or Asthma teaching will need to see their PCM and team nurse. Diabetic patients can be referred to CPT Jessen RD at 742-3517.

3) Patients needing a colorectal screening can be referred to Ms. Borecky for scheduling or procedures at 742-1552.

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Buffalo Soldier Gate

Photo by Gil Telles Jr.,
Fort Bliss Garrison Command Public Affairs

The Robert E. Lee gate into the installation has changed names. Drivers entering Fort Bliss from Airway Boulevard will now see new signs for the “Buffalo Soldiers” gate. The Buffalo Soldier Monument, a large bronze statue of a Soldier on horseback, is based on the painting "The Errand of Corporal Ross" by El Paso artist Bob Snead. It is adjacent to the gate. The new signs were installed Friday. The road signs from Airway Blvd. to Pleasonton Road will also change in the coming days.

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Regarding Express Scripts and Walgreens

Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, Walgreens will no longer participate as a provider in the Express Scripts pharmacy network.

The following are alternative locations to complete your pharmacy needs:

WBAMC News Links