Author: Rebekah Johnson

Wyoming Department of Health: Keep Poison Help Number Handy

News from the Wyoming Department of Health

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Contact: Kim Deti, Wyoming Department of Health

Phone: 307-777-6001

Contact: Wyoming Poison Center

Phone: 303-520-9591 or email denverhealthmedia@dhha.org

 

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.

 

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Wyoming Seeing High Level of Influenza Activity

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.

January is National Radon Month

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.

Job Opening!

Public Health is looking for an experienced Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator for Lincoln County

Take advantage of a work environment with independence and a supportive team focused on making a difference to the health and well-being of families in the community.

The Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator works to prevent, respond to, and rapidly recover from public health threats.   This position works closely with the Wyoming Department of Health – Public Health Emergency Preparedness Unit and Lincoln County Public Health.

Preference will be given to applicant with work experience in public health, public administration, emergency preparedness, Incident Command System, health education, health administration, biology, epidemiology, microbiology, or closely related field.

Applications may be accessed online at lcwy.org.  Submit resumes to Lincoln County Public Health Office in Afton or Kemmerer, Wyoming: 421 Jefferson, Suite #401 Afton, WY. 83110 or Kemmerer- office at 925 Sage Ave., Suite #106 Kemmerer, WY. 83101. Position will be open until filled.

 

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.