Clinic Health Beat
Anxiety and Concern Are Natural to Feel Following Tragic Events*
Lane County Public Health officials have been working closely with state health officials and want community members to know Oregon is continuously monitoring radiation levels with a well-established process.
There have been no elevated radiation readings detected in Oregon and air samples remain normal. Given the current size of the radiation release and the distance from Oregon, health officials do not expect that to change. There is no recommendation for community members to take potassium iodide. The pills would provide no benefit and some people could have serious medical problems from the medications including heart arrhythmia, allergic reactions, kidney function problems, and adverse interaction between the potassium iodide and other medications.
"There is no expectation that much-diluted radiation would reach Oregon at any level that would pose a health concern," said Jeff Lang, Environmental Health Manager. "However, when events occur that we have little or no control over, or appear to threaten our sense of safety, it's common for us to experience increased levels of fear and anxiety."
According to Lane County Mental Health, common signs of increased anxiety include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
- Restlessness or a feeling of being "edgy"
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tiredness or trouble falling or staying asleep
Reducing emotional suffering, such as anxiety, is difficult and requires sustained effort. The use of community services and supports (WhiteBird Crisis Services, churches, temples, and mosques) can assist community members in managing these feelings.
Other steps community members can take:
- Allow time for plenty of rest, while sticking to a normal schedule.
- Eat well-balanced and regular meals (even if you don't feel like it).
- Exercise or regular physical activity.
- Use your support system of friends and family.
- Talk about your feelings, fears, hopes and dreams.
- Maintain a balanced sense of humor.
- Talk with a qualified mental health professional.
- Talk with your doctor about the various medication used to treat anxiety.
The Oregon Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program and Radiation Protection Services continue to closely monitor information on the radiation release reported in Japan after an explosion at a reactor site. The Oregon Public Health Division will also continue its monitoring work as the situation in Japan develops and changes.
The Oregon Health Authority - Public Health Division's new website contains up-to-date current hazard information. The 'Current Hazards' page web address is: public.health.oregon.gov/Preparedness/CurrentHazards/
Or call the Office of Environmental Public Health in the Public Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority: (877) 290-6767
Information is also available on the Lane County website at www.lanecounty.org under the Current Issues tab, click on "No Public Health Hazard from Radiation".