In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.
These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.
In today’s edition - Wednesday, October 27 - the 12th Annual Worcester Women's Leadership Conference is at the DCU Center on Thursday, Worcester wins a prize for its culture of health, Worcester is among 34 cyber aware communities recognized by the state, upcoming groundbreaking on improvements at Hope Cemetery and tips on home solutions for earaches and when to seek medical help.
The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts the 12th annual Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference on Thursday, October 28, starting at 7:30 AM at the DCU Center. The all-day event is a signature event of the Worcester Chamber and the largest women’s leadership conference in Central Massachusetts.
Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, will appear as the keynote speaker of the morning session of the event. She joined the Mavericks in March 2018 after a 36-year career at AT&T.
The afternoon keynote speaker is Michelle Poler, a social entrepreneur and author of "Hello, Fears: Crush Your Comfort Zone and Become Who You’re Meant to Be." She is the Founder of Hello Fears, a social movement empowering millions to step outside of the comfort zone and tap into their full potential.
Worcester is one of 10 winners of the 2020-2021 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s [RWJF] Culture of Health Prize award. The Prize honors and elevates communities for working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity.
RWJF says Worcester's recognition comes from pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. The programs RWJF recognized as rooted in effective equity-based programming and policy development include:
Worcester will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities including Addison, Ill.; Alamosa County, Colo.; Chickaloon Native Village; Drew, Miss.; Howard County,Md.; National City, Calif.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Rocky Mount, N.C., and Thunder Valley Community—Oglala Lakota Nation (Oceti Sakowin Territory).
During a virtual event on Tuesday, October 26, Governor Charlie Baker 34 municipalities and public school districts from across Massachusetts as Cyber Aware Communities based on their performance in this year’s round of the Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program.
The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security [EOTSS] Office of Municipal and School Technology [OMST] manages the Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program. Its funded by Baker’s General Governmental Bond Bill, signed into law in August 2020, to invest in the Commonwealth’s cybersecurity posture and IT infrastructure modernization initiatives.
The City of Worcester and the towns of Dudley and Sutton were those recognized in Worcester County.
The City of Worcester and the Department of Public Works and Parks will host a groundbreaking for improvements at Hope Cemetery, 119 Webster St., Friday, Oct. 29, 4 PM.
Improvements at the cemetery, established in 1852, include renovations to the front and rear entrances and include new flag poles at the front entrance, signage, gates and gating systems, lighting and security systems.
The retaining wall at the firefighter’s monument in the cemetery will also see repairs.
With the onset of cold and flu season, many face another often painful problem, especially children: earaches.
“Ear infections can be very painful,” said Dr. Vincent Meoli, regional medical director of American Family Care (AFC) in Worcester. “They occur when a small tube, called the eustachian tube, becomes swollen or blocked, allowing fluid to build up in the middle ear behind the eardrum. This provides a perfect setting for a bacterial or viral infection. While there are several things that can cause the eustachian tube to become blocked, such as allergies, smoking and changes in air pressure, what we see most at this time of year are ear infections caused by colds, flu and sinus infections.”
Ear infections are most common in infants and young children because their eustachian tubes are shorter and narrower than an adults. Mild infections tend to clear up on their own within a few days.
“At home comfort measures include over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and decongestants,” said Dr. Meoli. “Follow dosage instructions on the package, and note that you should never give a child aspirin because of the risk of a rare condition called Reye’s syndrome, which can cause swelling in the brain or liver. Warm compresses can also provide relief when used on the affected ear and gargling with warm salt water can be helpful for older children and adults. Avoid smoke and try to keep the head upright as much as possible to encourage draining.”
Signs it’s time to seek medical attention for ear pain include fluids leaking from the ear, intense pain that is not affected by over-the-counter pain medication, loss of hearing in an ear or significant fever. Seek medical attention for a temperature above 100.4º F in an infant younger than three months, or a temperature of 104º F in a child of any age.
“When you see a health care provider for ear pain, they will look inside your ear and talk to you about your other symptoms and overall health to try and determine if the infection is bacterial or viral,” said Dr. Meoli. “Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, but they are ineffective against viral infections.”
While cold weather can cause ear pain, it can’t cause an ear infection. Ears are particularly vulnerable to exposure, which can lead to pain and even frostbite when temps are below freezing. And because the nerves inside the ear are also unprotected, exposure to cold can quickly result in ear pain or worsen the pain of an established ear infection. “When you will be out in the cold, be sure to protect your ears with a hat, scarf or earmuffs,” said Dr. Meoli.
The AFC staff in Worcester offers convenient, walk-in care seven days a week for patients of all ages, including colds, flu, infections, diagnostic rapid tests and antibody tests for COVID-19, physicals, on-site x-rays, care for minor bone breaks, burns and stitches for cuts and lacerations. Online check-in and current wait times are available at AFCUrgentCareWorcester.com.
Lead image: Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall (above left) and Michelle Poler (above right)/Courtesy: Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce