Time to check immunization records as kids head back to school

This month is National Immunization Awareness Month. As summer is winding down and kids are getting ready to go back to school, be sure to check immunization requirements, especially for kindergartners and seventh graders. It’s also a good time to check records for everyone in your family. Getting immunized is a safe and important step to protecting our families and ourselves against serious and even deadly diseases throughout our lives.

What vaccines do we need, and when?

Check with your doctor, or visit www.immunizeidaho.com for immunization schedules for all age groups, including adults. Remember that immunizations not only protect the people who receive the vaccines, they also help protect those not able to be vaccinated because they have weakened immune systems, as well as those who are most vulnerable for serious complications, such as infants and young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions.  Continue reading

Central District Health Department WIC program earns national-level kudos

CDHD AwardWeb

From left: Lorraine Fortunati, Laurie Valdez, and Cindy Galloway from Central District Health receive the Loving Support Gold Premier Award of Excellence from Idaho WIC staff Cristi Litzsinger, Kris Spain, and Mimi Fetzer. 

The Idaho WIC program would like to congratulate Central District Health Department and its Peer Counseling Program, which recently was awarded the Loving Support Gold Premiere Award of Excellence.

The award was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to recognize and celebrate local WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding programs and support services. The intent is to provide models and motivate other local agencies and clinics to strengthen their breastfeeding promotions and support activities and ultimately increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among WIC participants. Idaho WIC employees from the Department of Health and Welfare presented the award to the health district last week.

“Peer counselors are key to Idaho WIC’s breastfeeding success and continue to provide mother-to-mother breastfeeding support to WIC participants,” said Cristi Litzsinger, Idaho WIC program manager. “It’s exciting that the program at Central District Health has received this national recognition. We are thrilled to be continually recognized for our efforts in supporting breastfeeding.” Continue reading

Elmore County reports first human case of West Nile Virus infection this summer

Idaho’s first 2016 human case of West Nile virus (WNV) infection was confirmed in an Elmore County woman in southern Idaho. The woman, in her 30s, is recovering at home from West Nile fever.

Besides the Elmore County human infection, eight other Idaho counties have detected WNV in mosquitoes since June 28th. An infection of a horse from Payette County also was reported this week.

“West Nile activity has ramped up significantly during the last few weeks across southern Idaho, so people are strongly encouraged to fight the bite of mosquitoes to protect themselves and their families,” says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian. “This is a good warning for all of us to take protective measures, including wearing insect repellent and reducing mosquito habitat around our homes.” Continue reading

There are many things adults want to give to loved ones – illness is not one of them

You want to pass on certain things like family traditions, a grandmother’s quilt or dad’s love of books – but no one wants to pass on a serious illness. Take charge of your health and help protect those around you by asking about vaccines at your next doctor’s visit.

Vaccinating our children is fairly commonplace in the United States. But many adults don’t know which vaccines they need, and even fewer are fully vaccinated. Each year, tens of thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. In 2014, only 28 percent of adults ages 60 and older had received a shingles vaccine and only 20 percent of adults older than 19 had received a Tdap vaccine.

Vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, and they can also make your family members sick. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines so you don’t spread the infection to them. Babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick.

Continue reading

Idaho traveler tests positive for Zika virus infection

A north Idaho woman over the age of 60 who recently traveled to Mexico is confirmed to have been infected with Zika virus, which can cause severe birth defects if infection occurs in pregnant women. This is the first reported case of Zika virus infection in the state, with Idaho becoming the 47th state to report a travel-related Zika virus infection this year.  The woman reportedly had symptoms, but did not require hospitalization.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is most commonly spread through the bite of the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which are not found in Idaho. Because of this, there is no danger to the general public of the virus circulating through casual contact. Continue reading

West Nile virus discovered in Ada County

Ada County became the fifth Idaho county in southwest Idaho to discover West Nile virus in mosquito pool testing this summer, providing a good reminder for people to “fight the bite” to stay healthy.

Besides the recent positive test in Ada County, the four other Idaho counties with confirmed WNV activity include Canyon, Gem, Payette and Owyhee counties. No human cases have been reported so far this year, but last year 13 human cases of West Nile infection were reported, with five people suffering from potentially serious neuroinvasive infections. A total of 15 Idaho counties detected WNV activity during 2015.

WNV is usually contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito; it is not spread from person-to-person through casual contact. Symptoms of infection often include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back. In some cases the virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over the age of 50. Continue reading

Wildfire Smoke Begins Impacting Air Quality

Smoke from several Idaho wildfires is impacting air quality for residents of southern and central Idaho.

Smoke from the 10,000 acre Pioneer Fire north of Idaho City, is causing intermittent levels of “Unhealthy” to “Very Unhealthy” air for Idaho City and nearby communities, with smoke drifting down into the Treasure and Magic Valleys causing air quality in the “Moderate” category. The Comet Fire north of Salmon also is producing air quality in the “Moderate” category for Salmon area residents.

Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, and heart disease are more sensitive to poor air quality and may want to take precautions when air quality is moderate or worse. People who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. Continue reading