Smoke from Wildfires Can Cause Health Concerns

With the local wildfire season now active, health officials encourage potentially affected Wyoming residents to be mindful of the potential health effects caused by wildfire smoke.

“Obviously, everyone knows to avoid flames when near a blaze,” said Dr. Tracy Murphy, Wyoming Department of Health state epidemiologist. “But that’s not the only danger. Wildfire smoke can hurt your eyes, aggravate respiratory problems and worsen the symptoms of heart or lung disease.”

“Everyone should use common sense when their local air is smoky and avoid heavy outdoor exercise,” Murphy said. “Those at-risk should be especially careful in limiting their smoke exposure.”

Murphy said people who have pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions, including allergies, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are especially susceptible to wildfire smoke’s ill effects. Older adults are more likely to be affected because they are more likely to have heart or lung disease, and children are vulnerable because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.

Murphy said people staying indoors because of wildfire smoke should keep indoor air as clean as possible and offered the following suggestions:

*Try to keep windows and doors closed.

* Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean if you run an air conditioner.

* Seek shelter elsewhere if you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed.

*When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces or gas stoves.

*Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home.

*Do not smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.

 

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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

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Are your pre-teens and teens up to date on their immunizations? We might forget that after children receive their kindergarten shots that are required for school registration that booster shots are still necessary. Parents can do a number of things to ensure a healthy future for their child. One of the most important actions parents can take is to make sure their children are up to date on their vaccines. Following the recommended immunization schedule provides the best protection from serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.

Preteens and teens need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine, quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, and HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine to protect against serious diseases. A yearly flu vaccine is also recommended for all children 6 months and older. Preteens and teens need vaccines because they are at greater risk for certain diseases like meningitis, septicemia (blood infection), and the cancers caused by HPV infection. By making sure vaccines are up to date, parents can send their preteens and teens to middle school and high school – and also off to college – with protection from vaccine-preventable diseases. Being vaccinated not only helps protect adolescents from getting certain diseases like the flu and whooping cough (pertussis), it also helps stop the spread of these diseases to others in their family, classroom and community. This is especially important to help protect babies too young to be fully vaccinated, people age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer, heart disease or other health conditions.

Check out our Immunization Schedules page for an easy to read, updated vaccination schedule for pre-teens and teens.

Vaccine Information

HPV is cancer prevention.

  • HPV is short for human papillomavirus. HPV is a life-saving vaccine that protects against cervical and anal cancers and other diseases caused by HPV. Preteens and teens need the HPV vaccine now to prevent HPV cancers later.
  • About 79 million people in the U. S., most in their teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV.
  • HPV vaccine is recommended by CDC and major medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and) and other medical societies, for 11 or 12 year olds, for protection from HPV infection and HPV-related disease. For teens who have not started the series at 11 or 12 years, it’s not too late and can still be beneficial to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
  • HPV vaccine works best when it is given to boys and girls at age 11 or 12 years. Also preteens need to complete the HPV vaccines series prior to any exposure to HPV. That’s why HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years—the idea is true prevention.
  • Either HPV vaccine (Cervarix® or Gardasil®) can be given to girls or young women. Only one HPV vaccine (Gardasil®) can be given to boys and young men.
  • The HPV vaccine has a very good safety record. More than 67 million doses have been distributed, and vaccine safety studies continue to show that HPV vaccines are safe.
  • Take advantage of any visit to the doctor – checkups, sick visits, even physicals for sports or college – to ask the doctor about what shots your preteens and teens need.
  • For more information about HPV and HPV vaccine: www.cdc.gov/hpv

Influenza: Get the flu vaccine every year.  

  • The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine, which protects against different strains of seasonal influenza.
  • Everyone 6 months and older – including preteens and teens – should get a flu vaccine every year, both to protect themselves and to help keep illness from spreading.
  • Children under the age of 9 may require more than one dose. Talk to your child’s health care professional to find out if they need more than one dose.
  • Flu vaccine protects against flu and the other health problems flu can cause, like dehydration (loss of body fluids), which can make asthma or diabetes worse, or even pneumonia.
  • Children should get the flu vaccine every year as soon as it’s available, usually in the fall. It is very important for children with chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes to get the flu shot, but the flu can be serious for even healthy children.
  • Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Annual flu vaccination should begin by September or as soon as vaccine is available, and continue throughout the flu season. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May. Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January, February or later.
  • It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop for protection against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses.
  • Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.
  • A 2013 study by CDC flu experts estimated that cumulatively over six flu seasons, from 2005 to 2011, flu vaccination averted approximately 13.6 million illnesses, 5.8 million medical visits, and approximately 112,900 flu-related hospitalizations in the U. S.

For more information: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/vaccines/flu.html

Tdap: Help keep whooping cough from spreading.

  • Tdap vaccine is a booster recommended at age 11 or 12 to protect against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough). It is also recommended for any teens (13 to 18 years old) who haven’t had this shot yet.
  • The Tdap vaccine takes the place of what used to be called the tetanus booster.
  • If your child has not received any or all of the DTaP vaccine series, or if you don’t know if your child has received these shots, your child needs a single dose of Tdap when they are 7 to 10 years old. Talk to your health care professional to find out if they need additional catch-up vaccines.
  • Tdap vaccine is especially important for older children and adults who will have close contact with newborn babies or infants younger than 1 year.
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are all caused by bacteria.
    • Both diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person.
    • Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches or wounds.
  • Data show that more than 48,000 cases of pertussis occurred in 2012, a nearly 60-year high. While overall reporting of pertussis declined during 2013, 13 states and Washington, D.C. reported an increase in pertussis cases compared with the same time during 2012.
  • CDC’s current estimate is that Tdap vaccination protects about 65 out of 100 adolescents who receive it.
  • Tdap is an effective vaccine, but it does not protect as well as we would like and may only protect against whooping cough for a few years.

Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine: Protection against meningococcal disease.

  • The meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) is recommended for all preteens at age 11 or 12 for protection against some of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. The two most severe and common illnesses caused by meningococcal disease are meningitis (an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord) and septicemia (a bloodstream infection).
  • Meningitis can be very serious, even fatal.
  • A second shot is recommended for teens at age 16 to continue providing protection when their risk for meningococcal disease is highest.
  • Teens who didn’t receive meningococcal conjugate vaccine for the first time until age 13 through 15 years will also need a second dose at 16.
  • Older teens who haven’t received any meningococcal conjugate vaccine shots should get one as soon as possible.
  • If your teenager missed getting the vaccine altogether, ask his or her health care professional about getting it now, especially if your teenager is about to move into a college dorm or military barracks.

For more information about the meningococcal conjugate vaccine: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/vaccines/mcv.html


So inform yourself during this back to school season and make the best choice for your children’s health. Lincoln County Public Health carries all recommended and required vaccines for school children. Give us a call at 885-9598 (Afton) or 877-3780 (Kemmerer) to ask questions or make an appointment for your child.


 

All the information and infographics in this blog post are courtesy of the National Public Health Information Coalition and by the Center for Disease Control.

World Hepatitis Day

Did you know that worldwide approximately 240 million people have chronic Hepatitis B? The infection causes an estimated 780,000 deaths worldwide every year. Hepatitis B is spread via bodily fluids and can be prevented with a series of three vaccines.

July 28th is World Hepatitis Awareness Day. Visit the CDC’s website for information on the disease, how it is spread, screening for the disease (especially screening of pregnant women in order to prevent perinatal transmission), and how effective the vaccine is.

Public Health in both Afton and Kemmerer offer the Hepatitis B vaccine for children and adults. We carry the Wyoming Department of Health’s Vaccines for Children program vaccine available to all Wyoming resident children ages 0 to 18 years regardless of insurance status. The vaccine itself is free of charge and can be obtained for an administration fee of $10  per dose (fee is negotiable in cases of economic hardship). It is a required vaccination for children to attend school in Wyoming. We also carry Hepatitis B vaccine for adults. If you are a Wyoming resident aged 19 years or older and are uninsured or have an insurance that does not cover immunizations, you are eligible for the Wyoming Department of Health’s Vaccines for Uninsured Adults program. We can give that vaccine to you for an administration fee of $15 (fee is negotiable in cases of economic hardship). If you are an adult aged 19 years and older who has insurance that covers vaccines, we can provide the Hepatitis B vaccines series for $45 per shot (the entire 3 shot series costs $135). We are able to bill: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Medicaid, EBMS, First Health Network, CIGNA, United Healthcare, and WinHealth. Our offices also provides screening for Hepatitis B in the form of a blood draw that is sent to the Wyoming Health Department lab that will test for immunity/exposure to Hepatitis B. The cost for those titers is $45. To make an appointment for vaccines or titers, call Afton at 885-9598 or Kemmerer at 877-3780.

Poison Control Services for Wyoming

News from the Wyoming Department of Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Contact: Kim Deti
Phone: 307-777-6420

Poison Control Services Continue for Wyoming with New Vendor

Services for state residents who have critical questions about potential poisoning incidents are continuing without interruption as a new vendor takes over services for Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).

“If you or someone else you are with may have been poisoned, you can continue to call 800-222-1222 and should do so immediately,” said Andy Gienapp, Office of Emergency Medical Services manager with WDH. All calls are free and private and services are available 24 hour a day, every day.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, with most deaths due to drug and medicine misuse and abuse. In Wyoming, poisonings are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related hospitalizations and the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths.

Gienapp said almost anything can be poisonous if used the wrong way, in the wrong amount, or by the wrong person or pet.

“Poison control center hotlines offer expert advice quickly on medicines, household products and chemicals, foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care items, bites and stings, mushrooms and plants, and fumes and gases,” he said.

The Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center began providing poison control hotline services for Wyoming under a contract with WDH on July 1. For several years previously, poison control had been provided by the Nebraska Regional Poison Center.

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Public Health Kemmerer Job Opening

Public Health Administrative Assistant

Lincoln County Public Health is looking for an experienced Administrative Assistant to join their small team and be an integral part in making a difference to the health and well-being of the families in the community.  Available for immediate start at 40 hrs. per week.

The successful candidate would be a reliable self-starter who is able to work autonomously, has initiative and takes pride in their work.  Applicants must possess excellent public relation and computer skills.  In this role you would be required to complete the following tasks:

  • Open and close the office
  • Answer phones and client inquiries,
  • Administrative support to manager and staff, keep calendar current
  • Prepare and file clinic records, archive records as needed
  • Maintain inventories, assist manager with supply and vaccine orders.
  • Extensive knowledge in computer, with strong writing skills
  • Experience with Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid billing

This challenging position would suit a candidate with a flexible, positive outlook. Must be self-motivated with great communication skills (both verbal and written), have an eye for detail, be well organized, having a willingness to learn, professional approach, and is looking to kick start their career in a medical office environment.  Interested applicants can obtain an employment application from the Lincoln County website at http://www.lcwy.org/jobs/documents/Application%20for%20Employment.pdf

Please submit application to Lincoln County Public Health either in person at 925 Sage Ave, Ste 106 in Kemmerer or by mail to the same address. It can also be faxed to 307-828-3114.

Give us a call at 307-885-9598 or 307-877-3780 if you have any questions.

Healthier You Tip #10

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It is tick season once again! Check out CDC’s web site for information about ticks and how to avoid contact with ticks.

 

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It’s also not too early to start thinking about canning season.  The CDC has information on safe home canning.  Refresh your memory about canning here by using proper techniques and materials.

Free Hepatitis A Vaccine

Are you 19 or older?

Are you uninsured or does your insurance not cover vaccines?

If so, you qualify for a free dose of Hepatitis A vaccine from the Public Health offices in Afton and Kemmerer. Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food and drinking water contaminated by the Hepatitis A virus. It can be easily passed onto others in the same household. Hepatitis A can cause a flu like illness, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes or dark urine), severe stomach pains and diarrhea. People with Hepatitis A often have to be hospitalized and adults can often be too ill to work for up to a month. People with Hepatitis A can also die from the virus. If you’ve never been vaccinated for Hepatitis A or if you are a traveler and want to reduce your chances of contracting it in the places where you are traveling, consider getting the vaccination. It is a two dose series, spaced 6 months apart. Just one dose of Hepatitis A can provide a significant amount of protection against the virus.

If you would like to be vaccinated for free against Hepatitis A, contact the Public Health offices in Afton (307-885-9598) or Kemmerer (307-877-3780) to set up an appointment or to learn more about the vaccine.

2015 Immunizations Schedules

The CDC’s immunization schedules for children and adults for 2015 have been released and are available in a colorful, easy to read, downloadable format on the Immunization Schedules page. Check them out right here.

If you need a refresher on Lincoln County Public Health’s immunizations program for children and adults, prices, insurance billing policy, and how to access immunization records, visit our Vaccinations page.

With the current outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases occurring in the country right now, it is more important than ever to educate yourselves on the efficacy and safety of vaccines as well as familiarize yourself with the schedules healthcare providers recommend for fully protecting your child (or children) and yourselves from these harmful and potentially deadly diseases. Please visit CDC.gov for more information about vaccines and vaccine safety and for consistently updated information on the current measles outbreak.

HPV Vaccines Available

Are you a female aged 19 to 26, or a male 19-21? Are you uninsured or underinsured*? If so, you are eligible to receive the vaccine for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) at the Public Health offices in Kemmerer and Afton. The Wyoming State Health Department’s Immunization Program has supplied our offices with reduced cost vaccine for adults aged 19 and older who are uninsured or underinsured. If you are eligible for this vaccine, we can start the HPV series vaccine for you at no cost for the month of January. The vaccine is given as a series of three shots spaced over 6 months.

Human Papillomavirus is a common virus. Each year in the United States about 17,500 women and 9300 men are affected by HPV related cancers. Many of these can be prevented with the vaccine. HPV can cause anal and mouth/throat cancer in both men and women, cancer of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women, and cancer of the penis in men. HPV is passed via skin to skin sexual contact. HPV is so common, almost all sexually active people will get some form of it in their lives. The body’s immune system can and does fight off HPV but in some cases it does not. These are the cases that can cause cancer and genital warts. The vaccine helps to prevent those cancers and other health issues that may be caused by HPV, including genital warts.

It is recommended that girls ages 11-26 and boys ages 11 through 21 (though the vaccine may be given at age 9) receive the series prior to sexual activity so the body has time to develop an immune response. Public Health offices in Kemmerer and Afton also carries the HPV vaccine for this age group. If your child is: aged 18 years or younger, Medicaid eligible, uninsured, underinsured, American Indian/Alaskan Native, they are able to receive the HPV vaccine in our offices for a $10 per dose administration fee (the fee can also be waived for those who cannot afford to pay it).

Call the Kemmerer office at 307-877-3780 or the Afton office at 307-885-9598 to make an appointment or to ask any questions you may have about the HPV vaccine. You can also email us at phnkemmerer@wyo.gov or phnafton@wyo.gov.


* Underinsured people are defined as people who have health insurance but that insurance does not cover vaccines. This definition does not include people who simply have high deductibles.