Have you heard of the CodeRED system? It is a mass-notification system that can notify residents by phone, text, email, and through a smartphone app. If you have a landline, your phone number is updated in the system every November. If you don’t have a landline, would like to update information, or to receive emergency notifications by other means, fill out this form. This system is only used for emergency communications.
News from the Wyoming Department of Health
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Contact: Kim Deti, Wyoming Department of Health
Contact: Wyoming Poison Center
Wyoming Department of Health: Keep Poison Help Number Handy
Keeping the Wyoming Poison Center number handy can help families stay safe and prevent poison-related tragedies, according to a Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) representative.
Wyoming Poison Center help can be reached by calling 1-800-222-1222. “We want people to keep this number visible in their homes and workplaces and to also consider programming it into their phones,” said Andy Gienapp, WDH Office of Emergency Medical Services manager.
Shireen Banerji, Wyoming Poison Center clinical manager, said “Poisonings can happen anywhere, anytime to anyone. We assume most poisonings happen to children who accidentally swallow something, and, yes, there are plenty of those situations. But adults can be poisoned at home or work by chemicals, pesticides, cleaners, bites and stings, medications and food.”
“Poison prevention requires vigilance from all members in the household and extended family, including babysitters, nannies and teachers,” Banerji said.
The Wyoming Poison Center handled more than 5,000 cases in 2016.
The WDH Office of Emergency Medical Services supports funding for Wyoming Poison Center services. The center is part of the Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center (RMPDC), located in Denver.
Gienapp noted poisonings are the leading cause of death by injury. Related facts include:
- Most poisoning deaths are due to misuse and abuse of licit and illicit drugs.
- In 2015, about 57 percent of all exposure cases involved pharmaceuticals. Other exposures were to household products, plants, mushrooms, pesticides, animal bites and stings, carbon monoxide and many other types of non- pharmaceutical substances.
- Ingestion was the exposure route in almost 84 percent of 2015 cases. People were also exposed through the lungs, skin, eyes and other routes.
For additional poisoning prevention tips and resources, visit the Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center website at www.rmpdc.org.
With flu activity reports showing a high level of illness, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is reminding residents of the common-sense steps they can take to avoid spreading influenza or becoming ill with the disease.
“Reports have been showing high levels of activity across the state for the last few weeks. We don’t know whether we’ve yet reached the peak of activity,” said Clay Van Houten, interim state epidemiologist with WDH.
Influenza is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.
“Influenza should not be overlooked as a serious threat. Our public health laboratory testing is showing that H3N2 is the flu strain circulating around the state and nation,” Van Houten said. “This is concerning because we tend to see more hospitalizations and deaths reported during seasons when this type of flu is dominant, especially among young children and older adults.”
Common-sense measures can help slow or prevent influenza’s spread. “Covering your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when you sneeze and cough; frequently washing your hands; and staying home from work, school, day care and errands when you are ill can help,” Van Houten said.
“Vaccines are the most important tool available to help prevent influenza and we know this season’s vaccine includes the strain circulating in Wyoming,” he said. Flu shots are still available in many locations; WDH recommends the vaccine annually for nearly everyone over the age of six months.
Van Houten reminded residents it takes about two weeks for flu vaccines to offer protection. “If you’re exposed to the virus in the meantime, you may still become ill,” he said.
Doctors may recommend prescription antiviral medications to help treat influenza.These medications may be especially helpful for persons at higher risk for flu complications such as young children, adults 65 andr older, persons with chronic medical conditions, persons with challenged immune systems, women who are pregnant or soon after delivery, persons less than 19 years of age who are on long-term aspirin therapy for other conditions, those who are extremely overweight, and residents of nursing homes or other chronic-care facilities.
“For antiviral medications to be a good option, it is important to seek medical care quickly once you start to become ill,” Van Houten advised.
Van Houten said residents who become ill should get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol or tobacco. “You may also take over-the-counter medications to relieve your symptoms, but should avoid giving products containing aspirin to children or teens with flu-like symptoms,” he said.
You can’t see, smell or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year. In fact, the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon.
Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.
Visit the Wyoming Department of Health’s radon information website to learn about radon, health risks associated with radon, and how to obtain a radon testing kit.
Public Health is now offering rapid strep testing in both Afton and Kemmerer locations. Tests are $20. Call for an appointment or to check nurse availability for walk ins.
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