DRWMAG.COM 44 #357 • JANUARY 2019 • 30TH ANNIVERSARY Small children look up to teenagers with awe. So who better than teens to teach kids about water safety? That’s the premise of SPUD (Students Pre- venting Unintentional Drowning), a new after-school project created by the Florida Department of Health in Broward County. More than 300 teens at eight high schools have volunteered to act as “water safety ambassadors” during this school year and are learning about drowning prevention. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional death among children under age 5 in Broward County. The best protections are for an adult to watch children exclusively every minute they are around water, and to set up “layers of protection” such as pool fences, locking gates, door alarms, and rescue tools. Swimming lessons for children and adults also help. “Every drowning is a tragedy that could be prevented,” says Dr. Paula Thaqi, Director of DOH-Broward. “The SPUD program is an innovative way to educate our teenagers, as well as the small children and their parents.” The teens are spending months creating new safety messages that reso- nate with kids. In the process, they learn a lot about water safety they can share with their families, friends, and schoolmates. As the school year progresses, SPUD teens will make presen- tations to younger students. The high schools where SPUD is active are Piper in Sunrise, Blanche Ely in Pompano Beach, Miramar, Stra- nahan in Fort Lauderdale, Coconut Creek, Coral Glades in Coral Springs, BoydAnderson in Lauderdale Lakes, and Deerfield Beach. The DOH-Broward Drowning Prevention Program focuses on chil- dren age 4 and under, ages when kids are fascinated by water and most at risk. In 2017, eight children under age 5 lost their lives to water. Risks are elevated in Broward, with 125,000 backyard pools and miles of waterways. The main messages to kids are: Don’t go near the water without an adult; learn to swim; and get help immediately if someone is in trouble around water. The main messages to adults are:Assign an adult “water watcher” with a cell phone (ideally a strong swimmer) to watch kids every second they are in or near water; learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to swim; and set up protective barriers around water. For more information, call 954.467.4700 ext. 5695 or email cassie.mcgovern@flhealth.gov. HEPATITIS A South Florida and the rest of the nation are experiencing a jump in cases of hepatitisA, a vaccine-preventable virus that can be contagious and can cause liver damage if left untreated. The primary mode of hepatitis A transmission is person-to-person, through fecal-oral route. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, nausea, jaun- dice, and dark urine. The Department recommends everyone get vaccinated, es- pecially children under age 1, people experiencing homeless- ness, men who have sex with men, travelers, people with chronic liver disease, and anyone having contact with a person who has the virus. Another good method of prevention is frequently washing your hands and the surfaces you touch, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers. To help reduce the spread, DOH-Broward is offering free hepatitis A vaccine at the Fort Lauderdale Health Center, 2421 SW 6 Ave., Fort Lau- derdale, FL 33315. No appointment is necessary. For more information, vist www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/hepatitis. BY BOB LAMENDOLA FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH IN BROWARD PICTURED Students Prevent Unintentional Drowning (SPUD) volunteer Kimaria Clark shows off her SPUD t-shirt. A new teen-driven drowning prevention program, plus free Hepatitis A vaccines FL DEPT. OF HEALTH (954) 559-0700 BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE REMOVAL BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE BEE REMOVAL REMOVAL Tropical Apiaries Inc. NOBEES.COM FreeConsultations&Estimates Licensed&Insured•#JE164268 TIP#22 Swarmingseason hasended–it’stime tofixcracksandholes beforenextspring.