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

Advertisements

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

cervicalawareness_earlydetection

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

 

High radon levels in Idaho can put your health at risk – order a test kit today

High radon levels have been found in homes in every Idaho county. Radon, which is odorless, tasteless, and invisible, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking, and is a serious health threat in Idaho. Nearly 40 percent of Idaho homes tested for radon have higher-than-recommended levels.

“Since we know radon causes lung cancer, we recommend that you test your home to learn if it has high levels of this harmful gas,” said Dr. Colby Adams, environmental health director for DHW’s Division of Public Health. “Testing a home for radon is easy and inexpensive. Home radon levels are higher during winter months, which is why January is National Radon Action Month and a good time to test. If testing reveals that your home has high radon levels, you can take steps to remove the gas and protect you and your family.” Continue reading

Have you tested your home for radon yet? If not, now is the time to do it!

Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers, and the only way to know it’s in your home is to test for it. It is an odorless, tasteless gas that has been found in 40 percent of the homes in Idaho that have been tested. It’s a very serious health issue in Idaho, and it causes more than 21,000 deaths a year in the United States.

How does radon get into homes?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium. It seeps from soil into homes and buildings through crawl spaces, and cracks and openings in foundations. It tends to build up the most in winter, when people have their homes closed up against the cold. That’s why now is a good time to test for it in the lowest level of your home where you spend time. Continue reading

Free DATA 2000 Waiver training available in two classes in January and February

Medication-assisted treatment is the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder. In Idaho, the two primary medications used in medication-assisted treatment are methadone and buprenorphine [suboxone].

To prescribe buprenorphine/suboxone, qualified physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners must complete a training and apply for a DATA 2000 Waiver, also called an X-license, to treat Opioid Use Disorder with approved products in any setting in which they are qualified to practice. This required training is currently being offered for free in Idaho. Continue reading