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Protecting Your Health in Erie, PA | Erie County Medical Society


The Erie County Medical Society is a voluntary, non-profit professional organization of physicians, both MD and DO, in Erie, PA, founded in 1828. Our mission is to advance the standards of medical care, to uphold the ethics of the medical profession, and to serve the public with important and reliable health information.



4:44 AM
September 7th, 2019

Halloween Safety from American Academy of Pediatrics



  1. Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  2. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  3. Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  4. When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  5. If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  6. Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as "one size fits all," or "no need to see an eye specialist," obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  7. Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.


  1. Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  2. Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest. 
  3. Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.


  1. To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. 
  2. Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. 
  3. Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps. 
  4. Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater. 


  1. A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. 
  2. Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  3. If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  4. Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  5. Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
  6. Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going. 
  7. Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  8. Carry a cell phone for quick communication. 
  9. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. 
  10. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic. 
  11. Never cut across yards or use alleys. 
  12. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
  13. Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will! 
  14. Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.


  1. A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats. 
  2. Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  3. Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. 
  4. Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween. 

©2017 American Academy of Pediatrics

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COVID-19 Vaccines on the Horizon

Learn about the COVID-19 Vaccines on the Hori ...See More

COVID-19 Vaccines on the Horizon

COVID-19 Vaccines on the Horizon

June 15, 2020




Is the day at hand when COVID-19 will be a preventable disease? Is a vaccine possible? Is it achievable in the foreseeable future? We endeavor here to shed some light on these questions.



Vaccine Testing


New vaccines pass through several phases. Preclinical testing consists in inoculating animals with the vaccine to determine if it produces an immune response. Phase 1 Safety trials consist of using on a small number of people to determine safety and dosage and to confirm stimulation of immunity. Phase 2 Expandedtrials involve hundreds of people divided into different groups to determine if the vaccine acts differentially. Phase 3 Efficacy trials involve thousands of people to compare the vaccine to an inactive placebo. Approvalis granted by regulators based on the vaccine’s performance in these trials. However, Emergency Use Authorization may be granted before final approval in extenuating circumstances. [1]


To reduce delays, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has indicated that manufacturers will begin producing COVID-19 vaccine in anticipation of approval so that if a product gets the okay for usage, distribution can begin quickly. [2]



Number of Vaccines


Scientists worldwide are working on vaccine development. There may currently be more than 140 COVID-10 vaccines in progress, according to the World Health Organization. Here are some of the vaccine candidates farthest along in their development. [1]




This is a promising candidate being developed by Moderna. The Phase 1 trial involved 45 people divided into groups that received doses of 25, 100, and 250 micrograms. According to Moderna, all subjects developed antibodies, but the eight who received 25 or 100 micrograms developed more COVID-19 antibodies than people who actually recovered from the disease. The data has not been peer-reviewed or journal-published. As of this writing, this vaccine is in Phase 2 trials. [3]




The AZD1222 vaccine was developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, for production by Astra Zeneca. It is based on a chimpanzee adenovirus. It would be administered in one dose and would not replicate. The vaccine is reported to have performed well in a Phase 1 trial with 320 people. It is currently in Phase 2/3 trials in England and Brazil. [4]




Ad5-nCoV vaccine is the product of a collaboration between a Chinese biologics company and Canada’s Precision NanoSystems. It utilizes a platform the Chinese company developed for its vaccine against Ebola. When the vaccine’s Phase 1 trial on 108 subjects was published in The Lancet, it became the first clinical study of a vaccine to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Ad5-nCoV was found to be tolerable and immunogenic at 28 days post-vaccination and is now in Phase 2. [5]




NVX‑CoV2373 is a vaccine developed by Novavax using its proprietary nanoparticle technology carrying fragments of corona virus proteins along with its proprietary adjuvant Matrix-MTM, which stimulates higher levels of neutralizing antibodies. Phase 1 has enrolled 130 healthy subjects at two sites in Australia to assess doses of 5 and 25 micrograms, with and without Matrix-M. It is currently in Phase 1/2. [6]




CoronaVac is an inactivated virus vaccine created by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech. Phase 1 testing has included 143 volunteers while Phase 2 has had 600 volunteers. The Phase 2 trial has shown neutralizing antibodies produced 14 days after vaccination and a seroconversion rate of 90%. Phase 3 clinical studies are projected in collaboration with Instituto Butantan in Brazil. [7]


Sinopharm Vaccine


The state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm has produced an inactivated virus vaccine initially tested in 96 subjects in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial during which it reportedly evidenced a good safety profile. The current Phase 2 trial focuses on the vaccination procedure. [8]


These last two vaccines, CoronaVac and Sinopharm Vaccine, are based on an existing whole-virus technology. The advantage is that, as such, they are more familiar to produce. The disadvantage is that they may require multiple doses or act more slowly to produce immunity.


It is important that one or more of these vaccines succeed in order to produce individual as well as herd immunity to end the threat of COVID-19. Hopefully it will soon join polio, smallpox, and other diseases that have been eradicated.


Thomas Falasca, DO






[1] Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker, New York Times,

By Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer June 10, 2020


[2] Medscape Medical News

Fauci: US Poised to Produce a COVID-19 Vaccine

Gregory Twachtman

May 12, 2020


[3] Medscape, First COVID-19 Vaccine Tested on Humans Shows Early Promise,

Ralph Ellis May 18, 2020


[4] AstraZeneca advances response to global COVID-19 challenge as it receives first commitments for Oxford’s potential new vaccine, Adrian Kemp 



[5] CanSino Publishes Phase I Data for COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate, Moves into Phase II

Published: May 22, 2020 By Alex Keown


[6] Novavax Initiates Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine, Novavax Press release, GAITHERSBURG, Md., May 25, 2020


[7] Sinovac Announces Positive Preliminary Results of Phase I/II Clinical Trials for Inactivated Vaccine Candidate Against COVID-19, June 13, 2020 01:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time



27 APRIL 2020 NEWS, China approves clinical trials of third Covid-19 vaccine candidate


Vaping and Lung Damage

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have warned  ...See More

Vaping and Lung Damage


Vaping and Lung Damage


On September 6, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a clear warning about lung toxicity related to e cigarette use. They along with state and local health departments are investigating the cause or causes of this potentially life-threatening disease. The investigation stems from a study of 53 patients from the states of Illinois and Wisconsin who presented to the hospital with lung and gastrointestinal symptoms. A third of those patients required mechanical ventilation and one death were reported in this study. The median age was 19 years.


E-cigarette, or more colloquially vaping, usage especially among adolescents has increased exponentially. Recent studies from Monitoring the Future, a 44 year old study, show that the increased prevalence of vaping represents the largest increase in risky behaviors since the initiation of monitoring.  Although used as a means to transition from cigarettes, use of the nicotine still carries with it the risk of addiction.


Investigations into the cause of lung toxicity are ongoing, but there are several clues at this juncture. The presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) usage by users and use of black market devices and flavorants appear to be the focus of current investigations. More information will be forthcoming. For now, despite the use as a means of tobacco cessation, it is wise to avoid vaping until investigators have clarified more clearly the cause or causes of lung toxicity. At the same time it is important to continue to remain tobacco-free given the heart, lung and stroke risks which are clearly present.


Jeff McGovern, MD

Jeffrey McGovern, MD, FCCP, FAASM

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