Crisis Text Line Available in Wyoming – News from the Wyoming Department of Health

A newly available statewide Crisis Text Line will provide anonymous, continuous crisis support to Wyoming residents who may be in crisis and at risk of suicide.

Promoted by the Wyoming Department of Health, Grace For 2 Brothers Foun­dation, and the Prevention Management Organization, Crisis Text Line ena­bles anyone with a mobile phone with SMS capability to access free support by texting WYO to 741-741.

“Many of our Wyoming neighbors who struggle sometimes with depression, bullying, substance abuse, relationship problems and suicidal thoughts feel they have no one to turn to,” said Rhianna Brand, director of operations for Grace For 2 Brothers Foundation, a Cheyenne-based nonprofit focused on sui­cide prevention.

Brand noted that text messages offer a discreet, familiar and accessible form of communication available to most people.

Mikki Munson, community prevention specialist with the Prevention Manage­ment Organization, said the text line’s trained specialists with extensive train­ing in crisis intervention provide emotional support to anyone in crisis, as well as safety planning and referrals.

“This partnership with the Crisis Text Line will connect someone in crisis to a counselor in their most critical time of need,” Munson said.  Munson also not­ed the anonymous data collected by the Crisis Text Line will help Wyoming work to improve prevention efforts and mental health resources.

By: Kim Deti

Skin Cancer Prevention Needed in Sunny Wyoming – News from the Wyo. Dept. of Health

Skin cancer is a common, significant concern for residents of sunny Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).


Morgan Powell, Integrated Cancer Services outreach coordi­nator with WDH, said skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.


“Risk factors for skin cancer include a light skin tone, eye color or hair color; tanning, a history of sunburns, particularly during childhood; a personal or family history of skin cancer; sun exposure during work or play; and certain types of moles,” Powell said.


“We recommend wearing sunscreen with at least a 15 SPF, staying out of the sun during the middle of the day, and covering up when out in the sun as good ways to reduce your skin cancer risk,” Powell said.


Powell noted there are several skin cancer warning signs. “When looking over the skin look for spots that are asymmetrical, have border irregularity, color variations and diameters of 6 millimeters or more,” she explained. “This is also known as the ABCD’s of skin cancer.”


“Of the three types of skin cancer, basal and squamous cell carcinoma are more common than melanoma and are highly treatable if caught early,” Powell said. “Melanoma is less common, but is a much faster growing type of cancer.” According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, melano­ma affects roughly 130 people in Wyoming each year.


“Skin cancer is dangerous because it can be so easy to miss,” Powell said. “When it’s missed it can spread to other parts of the body, which makes it much more difficult to treat.”


“It may be summer now, and is certainly an important time to protect yourself from skin cancer. However, it’s a year round concern in Wyoming. Snow can reflect 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays,” Powell said. “Sunburns can also be a risk on cloudy or cool days because clouds block only about 20 percent of UV rays.”

# written by Kim Deti

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

Hepatitis is most often caused by one of several viruses. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Unlike Hepatitis A, which does not cause a long-term infection, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can cause chronic, life-long infections. More than 5 million Americans are living with chronic Hepatitis B or chronic Hepatitis C, but most do not know they are infected.

Chronic hepatitis can cause serious liver problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.  People with chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C have the greatest risk of liver cancer. In fact, more than 60 percent of liver cancer cases are associated with Hepatitis B or C.

About two in three people with Hepatitis B do not know they are infected and the most commonly affected people in the US are Asian Americans (1 in 12). About 50 percent of people with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected and three in four people with Hepatitis C were born from 1945-1965. The CDC encourages those in high risk groups to get tested for hepatitis.

For a limited time, Public Health has state supplied Hepatitis A and B vaccines for $20 per dose. If you are: age 19 and older and a Wyoming resident, we can immunize you for a reduced cost. Call our offices to schedule an appointment for your vaccinations. We can also draw blood to test for immunity if you are not sure if you have had the vaccine series before or if you think you may have been exposed to Hepatitis. Give us a call to schedule an appointment for a blood draw.

School Readiness!

Do you have a kiddo heading into school? The staff of Wyoming Kids First have put together a Star Valley School Readiness Resource Handbook for you. In it, you will find:

  1. what to look for children entering kindergarten to do
  2. what adults can do to help children be successful
  3. information on community resources

If you’re interested, please download a PDF copy of the guide here: School Readiness Companion Guide (1)

Another thing to keep in mind before registering your little ones for school is to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. Public Health can help with that. If you would like to bring your records in for us to make you an official school required immunization record, if your kiddos need another set of shots to be ready for entering kindergarten, or if you aren’t sure if they need more shots and would like to bring us your records to help determine what they may or may not need, please give our offices a call: 885-9598 (Afton) or 877-3780 (Kemmerer). Let us help safeguard your kids from vaccine preventable diseases and prepare them for a healthy, happy time in school.

Records & Release of Information

Just a reminder: if you are in need of immunization records (or any record that can be considered Protected Health Information) from our office, according to HIPAA law, we must have you fill out a consent form in order for us to release that information via either a hard copy print out of the record or via phone. We cannot verbally give out information over the phone unless we have a consent form filled out. This form can be obtained here and returned to us either via fax, email (visit our contact page for that information for both offices), or drop by our offices during business hours. The form must be filled out completely, with the information of the person whose record/information is being requested and the drivers license number for either the parent/guardian or requester. All people aged 18 and over can request their own records. We cannot tell you over the phone what immunizations are needed without a copy of this consent either. If you need your records entered into the Wyoming Immunization Registry, you can bring records into our offices, fill out a consent, and we can enter and print copies for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Plague confirmed in Park County cats

Three Park County cats have recently been confirmed as infected with plague, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH). No human cases have been identified.

All three cats lived in Cody, off the South Fork Road. The illness was confirmed in the first pet by the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory in Laramie on April 12, with confirmation of the third on April 20.

“Plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly for pets and for peo­ple if not treated promptly with antibiotics,” said Dr. Karl Musgrave, state public health veterinarian with WDH.
“The disease can be transmitted to humans from ill animals and by fleas com­ing from infected animals. We want people to know of the potential threat in the area the cats were from as well as across the state. Dogs can also become ill and transmit the disease.”

“While the disease is rare in humans, it’s safe to assume that the risk for plague exists all around Wyoming,” Musgrave said. Six human cases of plague have been confirmed in Wyoming since 1978 with the last one reported in 2008. There are an average of seven human cases across the nation each year.

Precautions Musgrave recommends to help prevent plague infections include:

  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to rodents
  • Avoid contact with rodent carcasses
  • Avoid areas with unexplained rodent die-offs
  • Use insect repellent on boots and pants when in areas that might have fleas
  • Use flea repellent on pets, and properly dispose of rodents pets may bring home

Plague symptoms in animals can include enlarged lymph glands; swelling in the neck, face or around the ears; fever; chills; lack of energy; coughing; vom­iting; diarrhea and dehydration. Ill animals should be taken to a veterinarian.

Plague symptoms in people can include fever, swollen and tender lymph glands, extreme exhaustion, headache, chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. People who are ill should seek professional medical attention.

More information about plague is available online from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

Just a Reminder…

If you are pregnant and need assistance in obtaining medical services, our Public Health nurses have the ability to assist you in signing up for the Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women program. This is a Medicaid option designed to improve pregnant women’s access to outpatient services while their eligibility to Medicaid is determined. We can also assist you in the application process for Medicaid. We have paper applications to Medicaid in our offices if you don’t want to use the website to apply. If you need help with Medicaid, give us a call in either our Afton or Kemmerer offices.