Background Kodiak, Alaska, is a fishing town on an island in the Gulf of Alaska that has a large influx of seasonal residents and visitors associated with fishing and tourism industries. The combination of unique local flora and a seasonal population can create problems with exposure to dangerous plants of the area which cause skin lesions ranging from mild contact dermatitis to severe phytophotodermatitis. The aim of this project was to educate the community about potentially dangerous plants in order to both decrease the incidence of encounters and to provide accurate information for the diagnosis and treatment of mild cases at home.
Methods An informational flyer was designed, including plant illustrations and descriptions along with local common names of the plants, which described the etiology of the lesions caused by each type of plant and what treatment should be used in each case. The flyer was given to local health clinics, the hospital, park headquarters, sporting goods stores, and local hiking clubs in order to ensure wide dispersion.
Summary Production and distribution of the attractive, readily accessible flyer outlining basic information about dangerous local plants was a successful way to educate the community, including seasonal residents and visitors, about a geographically specific health concern.
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