We celebrate Labor Day every year with barbecues and picnics, rarely remembering that the holiday was born in the midst of tremendous labor struggles to improve working conditions. In the last century, 16-hour workdays and 6- and 7-day workweeks led to terribly high injury rates in the nation's mines and mills. Thousands upon thousands of workers died, caught in the grinding machinery of our growing industries. Today, despite improvements, thousands of workers still die in what has been described as a form of war on the American workforce. This commentary reminds us of the historical toll in lives and limbs that workers have paid to provide us with our modern prosperity. It also reminds us that the continuing toll is far too high and that workers who died and continue to die in order to produce our wealth deserve to be remembered and honored on this national holiday. (+info)
Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter among attendees of the Washington County Fair-New York, 1999.
September 3, 1999, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) received reports of at least 10 children hospitalized with bloody diarrhea or Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection in counties near Albany, New York. All of the children had attended the Washington County Fair, which was held August 23-29, 1999; approximately 108,000 persons attended the fair during that week. Subsequently, fair attendees infected with Campylobacter jejuni also were identified. An ongoing investigation includes heightened case-finding efforts, epidemiologic and laboratory studies, and an environmental investigation of the Washington County fairgrounds. This report presents the preliminary findings implicating contaminated well water. (+info)
When throughout the year is coronary death most likely to occur? A 12-year population-based analysis of more than 220 000 cases.
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that there is an increase in cardiac events in the morning. Fewer data relate cardiac events to months of the year and season. METHODS AND RESULTS: We analyzed all monthly death certificate data from Los Angeles County, California, for death caused by coronary artery disease from 1985 through 1996 (n=222 265). The mean number of deaths was highest in December at 1808 and January at 1925; the lowest rates were in June, July, August, and September at 1402, 1424, 1418, and 1371, respectively. December and January had significantly higher rates than would be expected from a uniform distribution of monthly deaths (P=0.00001). The percent of yearly coronary deaths was defined by the quadratic U-shaped equation [percent=13.1198-1.5238(month)+0. 0952(month(2)), where January=1, February=2, etc]. When monthly deaths were plotted by year, there was a decrease from 1985 through 1996. Monthly mortality correlated inversely with temperature. During the months with the highest frequency of death (December, January), however, there was an increase in deaths that peaked around the holiday season and then fell, which could not be explained solely on the basis of the daily temperature change. CONCLUSIONS: Even in the mild climate of Los Angeles County, there are seasonal variations in the development of coronary artery death, with approximately 33% more deaths occurring in December and January than in June through September. Although cooler temperatures may play a role, other factors such as overindulgence or the stress of the holidays might also contribute to excess deaths during these peak times. (+info)
A hazard of Christmas: Bird Fancier's Lung and the Christmas tree.
A lady with alveolitis due to her budgerigar developed recurrent symptoms when exposed to allergen left on her artificial Christmas tree. (+info)
A prospective study of holiday weight gain.
BACKGROUND: It is commonly asserted that the average American gains 5 lb (2.3 kg) or more over the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, yet few data support this statement. METHODS: To estimate actual holiday-related weight variation, we measured body weight in a convenience sample of 195 adults. The subjects were weighed four times at intervals of six to eight weeks, so that weight change was determined for three periods: preholiday (from late September or early October to mid-November), holiday (from mid-November to early or mid-January), and postholiday (from early or mid-January to late February or early March). A final measurement of body weight was obtained in 165 subjects the following September or October. Data on other vital signs and self-reported health measures were obtained from the patients in order to mask the main outcome of interest. RESULTS: The mean (+/-SD) weight increased significantly during the holiday period (gain, 0.37+/-1.52 kg; P<0.001), but not during the preholiday period (gain, 0.18+/-1.49 kg; P=0.09) or the postholiday period (loss, 0.07+/-1.14 kg; P=0.36). As compared with their weight in late September or early October, the study subjects had an average net weight gain of 0.48+/-2.22 kg in late February or March (P=0.003). Between February or March and the next September or early October, there was no significant additional change in weight (gain, 0.21 kg+/-2.3 kg; P=0.13) for the 165 participants who returned for follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The average holiday weight gain is less than commonly asserted. Since this gain is not reversed during the spring or summer months, the net 0.48-kg weight gain in the fall and winter probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood. (+info)
The effects of successful intervention on quality of life in patients with varying degrees of lower-limb ischaemia.
OBJECTIVES: to assess the quality of life after successful intervention among patients with varying degrees of lower-limb ischaemia in comparison with healthy controls and the respondents>> degree of sense of coherence. MATERIALS AND METHODS: one hundred and twelve patients and 102 healthy controls were assessed for quality of life (Nottingham Health Profile) and sense of coherence. MAIN RESULTS: successful angioplasty or surgical intervention led to an improved quality of life at 6 months, in particular with regard to pain, sleep, physical mobility, hobbies and holiday and to a level similar to healthy controls in sleep, social isolation, paid employment and family relationships. It remained at a significantly lower level than that of healthy controls with regard to pain, emotional reactions, physical mobility, energy, housework, hobbies, holidays, sex and social life. Critical ischaemia patients did not reach the same level of quality of life as the claudicants or the healthy controls. CONCLUSION: successful treatment for chronic limb ischaemia improved the quality of life significantly, more so in claudicants than in patients with critical ischaemia. The degree to which the quality of life improved was associated with the patients>> sense of coherence and their ankle pressure. (+info)
Poison exposure in children before Passover.
BACKGROUND: Extensive cleaning of homes in Israel before Passover may result in increased exposure of children to cleaning substances. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the potential danger of Passover cleaning to children, and to study the risk factors in order to identify areas for prevention. METHODS: All cases of poison exposure in Jewish and Arab children under the age of 15 years reported to the Israel Poison Information Center during 1990-95 (n = 5,583) were analyzed for the 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after Passover. Poison exposures in Jewish children < 15 years old were studied in seven pediatric emergency rooms for the 2 weeks before and 6 weeks after Passover (n = 123). RESULTS: The IPIC data showed a highly significant 38% increase in the average weekly poison exposure rate for the 2 weeks before Passover compared with the remaining 10 weeks. Data recorded by the pediatric emergency rooms showed a twofold increase in cleaning substance poisoning during the 2 weeks before Passover compared with the following 6 weeks. The rise in exposures to cleaning substances was observed among children from secular, religious and ultra-orthodox families. In these exposures, the substance was found in open containers in 70% of cases. CONCLUSIONS: The extensive cleaning of homes among Jewish families in preparation for Passover poses the danger to young children of cleaning substance poisoning. Increasing public awareness, closer observation of children, and keeping these substances in closed containers should increase children's safety during this annual cleaning. (+info)
Relationship between suicide and holidays.
Employing the vital statistics from January 1, 1979 to December 31, 1994 in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, we investigated the relationship between suicide (ICD 9 code, El15) and days of the week. In one day 1.97 males and 0.98 females committed suicide on average. On Saturdays the number of suicides per day was the smallest. On Mondays it was the highest. When the days were classified into (1) a holiday, (2) the day before a holiday, (3) the day after a holiday (4) the day both before and after a holiday and (5) others, the rate of suicide was the lowest in the days before a holiday. In the days after a holiday, however, the rate was the highest. The same tendency was also noted when the subjects were classified into several subgroups from the viewpoint of ages, seasons or calendar years. The time relation of holidays seemed to have something to do with the intention to commit suicide. (+info)