Health Report

Periodic articles of the town Health Officer

Sleep

Many people experience “problems” sleeping at some point in their lives, more often the older they get and when travelling across several time zones. My wife and I have experienced both recently. I’ll review the issues and some do’s or don’t solutions.

Radon

Radon is ubiquitous in our soils, gravels and rocks, but you can’t smell or taste it, even inside the house. It is a breakdown product from Uranium 236 and Radium 22, and is found all over Maine. Usually it is brought into a basement or house by air seeking the lower pressures there, through basement floor or walls, or up through fill or slabs from surrounding soil or rock. It also can contaminate water from drilled wells (not springs or other surface water), and thereby add to house contamination.

How To Break A Smoking Addiction And Live Longer

Last month I promised to write about how individuals and families can make their habits healthier, starting with one of the hardest but most important of all, stopping smoking. Everybody knows that smoking is expensive and bad in all kinds of ways, but most smokers find it extremely hard to stop! That’s because one’s body becomes both habituated and usually addicted to smoking and the nicotine it delivers. I base the following suggestions on decades of trying to help 1000s of smokers kick the habit.

Lyme Disease and Tick Bites

It is spring and the flowers, black flies and ticks are blooming! Flowers and black flies rarely cause significant health problems, but deer ticks can. They can transmit Lyme disease by transmitting Lyme bacteria when they attach to their victim. They can also transmit the rarer diseases called ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and, even more rarely, tularemia and Lyme variants, recently reported to cause a dementing illness especially in the elderly. Our region used to be on the edge of the deer tick/Lyme disease infestation area, which was the southern New England states and southern Maine.

How to break a smoking addiction

Everybody knows that smoking is bad in all kinds of ways, but most smokers have found that it is extremely hard to stop! That’s because one’s body becomes both habituated and usually addicted to smoking and the nicotine it delivers. And smoking has become financially very expensive as well. In this article, I want to offer suggestions, based on decades of trying to help 100s if not 1000s of smokers, about what strategies seem to help people kick the habit.

Distracted Driving

Let’s face it; we are all distracted drivers some of the time. I tie my tie or floss my teeth sometimes when I’m driving to work and I’ve seen others even reading newspapers! But the explosion in cell phone use has markedly increased the frequency and consequences of distracted driving.

Senior Driving

Nearly everybody over 45 has probably worried about a elderly parent or other loved one’s safety when driving. Crashes caused by older drivers are a significant public health issue, especially in Maine with its oldest median age of all the states, and its predominantly rural environment that lacks much public transportation.

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