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Long Island winters can be icy, snowy, freezing cold or … almost warm. While most would vote for the “almost warm” option, it is too early to guess what the winter of 2017-2018 holds in store. When enjoying the gladness of the season, it is prudent to be prepared.

Staying Safe and Warm

Every year we here about lives tragically lost due to fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Below are some sobering statistics:

    More than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters.
  • More than 6,000 Americans receive hospital emergency room care annually for burn injuries associated with room heaters.
  • More than 400 people die each year from unintentional, non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning. While trying to stay warm, be safe. Protect yourself and your family from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.
  • Make sure your furnace has been inspected and serviced within the last 12 months.
  • If you use a portable space heaters plug them directly into an outlet and keep them three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • If the power goes out and you plan to use a portable generator, read the directions carefully. Portable power generators produce an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas called carbon monoxide. When the power goes off, keep those portable generators outdoors, at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Learn more by watching this video from the National Fire Protection Association. Video

Ice and Snow

Care should be taken when doing strenuous exercise – snow removal, chopping ice, trying to get a car out of a snow drift. Listen to your body and take a break. Of course, if you have chest pains or other symptoms that may indicate heart problems, call 911 for immediate assistance.


If you haven’t already done so, it’s not too late to get your flu shot. Immunization is available at your provider’s office, the corner drugstore and other locations on the island. Be smart, don’t take the chance, get vaccinated and avoid getting sick. If you do experience flu-like symptoms, visit your health care provider promptly. Antiviral medications may be appropriate for you and can reduce flu symptoms and duration of illness.

Emergency Preparedness

Persons living in Suffolk County with serious medical issues, who would be unable to be evacuated in an emergency should be registered on the Joint Emergency Evacuation Program (JEEP) and Special Needs registry. An abundance of information on this service is available at: SuffolkJointEmergencyEvacuationProgram


December 1 is World Aids Day!

HIV disease continues to be a serious health issue for parts of the world. Worldwide, there were about 2.1 million new cases of HIV in 2015. About 36.7 million people are living with HIV around the world, and as of June 2016, 17 million people living with HIV were receiving medicines to treat HIV, called antiretroviral therapy (ART). An estimated 1.1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2015.

December 3-9 is National Influenza Vaccination Week!

The National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national awareness week focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination.

December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month

The holiday season is upon us with friends and family celebrating together, so let’s keep it safe and welcome in the holidays and New Year with good health and good eye care as well.

  1. Choose toys and age-appropriate gifts for children:
    • Avoid toys with sharp objects or edges.
    • Avoid darts, pellet guns and other firearms as gifts, especially to children. Remember to avoid toys that can be choking hazards especially for children under the age of three.
    • Avoid hard candy for young children.
    • Remember to avoid toys with strings longer than 12 inches for children less than three years old as it can be a strangulation hazard.
    • Avoid slingshots or other projectile type of types.
    • Avoid toys with magnets for young children.
    • Give children under 10 only toys with batteries and compartments that can only be opened by an adult (such as a screw sealed battery chamber) and don’t let them play with batteries. Plug-in toys should be only for older children.
    • Buy durable toys that will not break or shatter into pieces or release toxic substances.
    • Observe video game age-ratings. They are there for a reason.
    • Read all warning labels carefully on toys and decorations.
    • Remember to supervise your children at all times
  2. Keep decorations safe by being careful when decorating trees, hanging glass ornaments higher up where children cannot reach them, using only safe electrical lights that do not have damaged wiring and candle/fire safety. Avoid fire hazards (open flames, heaters).
  3. Remember food allergies and other allergies before baking, making or purchasing gifts.