The Suffolk County Board of Health this week said it will suggest legislation to ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone younger than 19 years old, over concerns that the caffeine levels can be hazardous — or even deadly — to children.
The county decision was unanimous, according to Newsday, and the board is expected to draft a letter calling of the ban that is will sent to the Suffolk Legislature as well as the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
While a spokesman for the American Beverage Association told Newsday the drinks, which include the highly popular Red Bull, are safe and that they are not marketed to children.
But the county said they can cause rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure, which can pose major threats to a child's health.
The county is no stranger to banning unhealthy substances. Suffolk recently banned the sale of bath salts and synthetic marijuana often sold as "Spice."
Fire Departments Help in Nassau
Most of Suffolk County's 109 fire departments have helped out their brethren in Long Beach, Island Park, and Lido Beach over the past month, sending firefighters in 24-hour shifts to help fire departments that been working non-stop since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area a month ago.
"Unlike Suffolk County, where we had damage but didn't lose trucks or fire houses, these guys actually lost houses and equipment," said Greg James, chief fire coordinator with Suffolk County Fire Rescue Emergency Services. "And then of course, a lot of firemen had their own homes destroyed."
Suffolk County FRES coordinated with all departments, ensuring that different parts of the county were helping out on different days. This way, neighboring districts of those up in Nassau could be on call if an extra truck or engine was needed in the case of an emergency.
James said about 15 firefighters from Suffolk were sent each day to lend a hand.
Health Department: Not Too Late for Flu Shots
If you haven't had a chance to get your flu shots this year, Suffolk's Department of Health Services says you don't need to worry — there's still time.
“Influenza is a serious disease that should be treated as such,” Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said in a statement. “Most people who become infected with the flu will suffer with fever, congestion, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches over the course of a week or two and will eventually recover completely. However, some are at greater risk for serious complications that can lead to hospitalization or even death."
The flu season, which peaks in January, can last into May. So far, New York State has seen a steep jump in flu cases this year, the department said.