The UAB Department of Occupational Health & Safety's mission is to ensure that our customers have a safe workplace by providing them with the service and knowledge necessary to protect themselves, the UAB community, and the environment.

Fight the Bite: Avoiding Vector-Borne Disease

mosquito image
public domain mark image by James Gathany
As we enjoy the outdoors, it's important to remember to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and ticks that may spread the viruses or bacteria that cause serious illness such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or chikungunya.

Along with the continued risk of contracting diseases already established in the U.S., newly-identified vector-borne diseases and expanding geographical regions of transmission highlight the importance of protecting yourself, whether you travel into your backyard or abroad.

Fortunately, we can all take steps such as:
  • use an effective insect repellent on skin and clothing
  • wear long sleeves and long pants (when it's not too hot)
  • take care of our yards to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs
  • reduce brush, tall grasses, leaf litter, and harborage where ticks may like to hang out
Specific types of viruses and bacteria transmitted in this manner are described on the CDC Division of Vector-Borne Diseases website.

The CDC also provides educational information on approved repellents and other methods for preventing tick and mosquito bites.

OH&S Safety Short: Fight the Bite

Extreme Heat! Be Prepared!

image of a glass of water
cc icon attribution small 2.0cc icon noncomm small-2.0image by Joost Nelissen
Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.

Temperatures are rising across the country and many cities are feeling the heat of 100 degrees or more. With the addition of humidity, some areas will begin to experience extreme heat. During extreme heat, it is important to stay cool.

Extreme heat causes more deaths than hurricanes, tornados, floods and earthquakes combined. Heat related illnesses occur when the body is not able to compensate and properly cool itself. The great news is extreme heat is preventable by following a few tips:

  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperatures.
  • Do not leave children or pets in the car unattended at any time.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Weather strip doors and windows to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sunshine with drapes, shades or awnings.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Stay indoors. If you do not have air conditioning, visit a cooling station such as your local library or shopping mall.
  • Wear light weight and light colored clothing with sunscreen to reduce exposure to the sun.
  • Pace yourself in your outside activities. Reschedule if needed.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.

For more information on beating the heat visit:

Fireworks Safety for the Fourth

Each Fourth of July, many celebrate the holiday with barbeque, parties, boating, and generally having fun. It is, after all, a celebration of the country's independence. After the sun has set and the day's parties are winding down, another round of celebration cranks up by shooting off fireworks.

Enjoy the celebration of our country's independence but do so safely and responsibly. The misuse of fireworks account for a significant number of emergency room visits. Make sure you are around to see them this year and in the future.

View the Fireworks Safety Checklist