It’s National Poison Prevention Week: Tips to protect your children from a poisoning emergency

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Most poisoning emergencies are unexpected and happen quickly in our homes. A majority of non-fatal poisonings involve children younger than 6. And for adults, poisoning is the No. 1 cause of injury death in the United States. This week is National Poison Prevention Week, so it’s a good time to think about what you would do in a poisoning emergency.

Are young children most at risk for a poisoning accident?

In 2017, poisoning was the second-leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among all Idahoans, with children younger than 6 being most at risk. It is extremely important for parents of small children to keep potentially poisonous items out of their reach. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center, which receives all of Idaho’s poison emergency calls, had more than 14,000 calls in 2018 from Idaho residents. Most of those calls were from parents of children ages 6 and younger.

What are the most dangerous poisons for children?

The leading causes of poisoning for Idaho children are things we commonly have in our homes and include household cleaning supplies; cosmetics and personal care products; aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen; vitamins/supplements; and toys and other foreign objects children can swallow. In 2018, the poison center received 833 calls related to children younger than 6 and household cleaning supplies, with liquid dishwasher detergents at the top of the list. The center received 751 calls for cosmetic/personal care product exposure. Continue reading

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It’s time to talk to your doctor about colorectal cancer

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March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to figure out when you should be screened. Getting screened for colorectal cancer is something Idahoans age 50 and older should consider because it is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among adults in Idaho. In fact, 3 in 60 Idaho adults will develop colon cancer and, sadly, one of those three people will die.

Who should be screened?

It is recommended that everyone should get screened starting at age 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you should talk to your medical provider about getting screened earlier. All Idaho adults should get into the habit of regular screenings.

Why is screening so important?

As with all cancers, the key is early detection — your chances of beating the disease and surviving are better if it is found early. You don’t have to have a family history of colon cancer to be at risk. Colorectal cancer can begin anywhere in the large intestine as pre-cancerous polyps, with no symptoms.

Is a colonoscopy the only reliable test you can do?

Several different kinds of tests are available, including those that can be done annually from the comfort of your home. There are advantages and disadvantages for each one, so you should talk to your doctor about which is right for you. It’s also important to know that preventing colon cancer or finding it early doesn’t have to be expensive. Simple, affordable tests are available, and most health insurance plans cover the life-saving, preventative tests. Continue reading

It’s American Heart Month. Do you know your heart health?

February is the month of the heart, in more ways than you might think. Matters of the heart are celebrated on Valentine’s Day, but also throughout the month because it’s American Heart Month. So it’s a good time to talk to your medical provider about your blood pressure and cholesterol so you determine your risk for developing heart disease. Nationally, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. In Idaho, it is the second leading cause of death for women, after cancer, and the leading cause of death for men.

Heart disease, as we all know, can lead to heart attack. Can you remind us about the symptoms of a heart attack?

Not everyone who has a heart attack will have all of these signs. In fact, men and women often have different symptoms. The most common signs of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, pain or discomfort in the upper body, trouble breathing, feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting, stomach ache or heartburn, feeling light-headed or unusually tired, and breaking out in a cold sweat. If you have any of these symptoms and think you might be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately and get to a hospital. Continue reading

Gov. Little signs bill expanding access to lifesaving drug for opioid overdose victims

Boise – Gov. Brad Little signed House Bill 12 into law today during a bill signing ceremony to highlight the benefits of a medication called naloxone in saving the lives of people experiencing opioid overdose. He also reminded Idahoans of his forthcoming executive order to address opioid addiction in Idaho.

“My administration is fully committed to fighting the scourge of opioid abuse head on,” Gov. Little said. “We look forward to coordinating with all public and private entities to reverse this epidemic.”

There were 116 known opioid overdose deaths in Idaho in 2017, up from 44 just more than a decade ago – a 163 percent increase.

If an individual has an opioid overdose, a quick administration of naloxone can reverse the overdose and bring the patient back to life. A study found when access to naloxone is enhanced there is a 9 to 11 percent decrease in opioid-related deaths. Continue reading

Measles outbreaks highlight need to be vaccinated

measles-infographicMeasles is one of the most highly contagious diseases in the world, and it is literally just a state away. Washington is reporting an outbreak, and cases of the dangerous disease have been reported in Oregon. Knowing this, it’s very important to make sure your measles vaccination is up to date.

What is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones?

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease. Getting an MMR immunization, which protects you against measles, mumps, and rubella, is the best way to protect yourself and your family, as well as your friends and community.

Who should get the vaccine?

You should talk to your medical provider about whether your family members already are immune or need to be vaccinated. Otherwise, all children should get one dose of vaccine when they are 12-15 months old and a second dose when they are 4 to 6 years old before they begin school. All school-aged children and students entering college should have received two doses of the MMR vaccine. And adults born after 1956 who are not sure they had measles or if they were vaccinated should receive at least one dose of the vaccine.

Adult healthcare workers and international travelers should receive two doses. Babies may receive the vaccine as early as 6 months if they are traveling internationally. Continue reading

Cervical cancer screenings prevent cancer – every woman should be screened regularly

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All women, especially those over the age of 30, are at risk for developing cervical cancer, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s also the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening. Regular screenings are the most effective way to find the disease early and treat it. Unfortunately, Idaho has the lowest rate for cervical screening in the United States – we are 50th in the nation. We can do better!

Who is most at risk?

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. HPV is so common that most people get it at some time in their lives. For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer.

Other factors increasing the risk of cervical cancer are not getting screened, being HIV positive, and smoking. Smoking doubles a woman’s risk of getting cervical cancer.

What are the most common symptoms?

It usually causes no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. That’s why regular screening is so important. Continue reading

February food stamps benefits to be issued in January

Because of the federal government shutdown, the Department of Health and Welfare will be issuing February benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Sunday, Jan. 20.

All households approved and re-evaluated by Tuesday, Jan. 15, will receive their February food stamps on Jan. 20. Households that complete a re-evaluation and are approved after Jan. 15 for February will receive their benefits on their regular issuance date. The department is continuing to accept and process applications normally through January and February and doesn’t anticipate any delays in SNAP issuance.

Everyone who is eligible for SNAP benefits in February will receive their benefits. However, households that receive their February benefits in January will not receive an additional issuance in February. Recipients are encouraged to budget their food stamps to last until they receive their March benefits.

“This is a fluid time for federal government services,” said Julie Hammon, administrator of the Division of Welfare. “Until we know more, please consider a donation to your local food banks and pantries – February will be tough month for many because of the length of time between benefits.”

Letters to recipients were sent by first class mail on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Department staff also have been communicating with grocery stores and other community partners on the schedule change.

If recipients have questions about the early issuance or SNAP benefits in general, they can call the Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 in Idaho or the Self-Reliance call center at 1-877-456-1233.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is administered in the Division of Welfare in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Benefits are paid entirely with federal funds. Learn more about the program here.

Media Contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Manager
(208) 334-0668 or Niki.Forbing-Orr@dhw.idaho.gov