Choosing a protective mosquito repellent

InsectRepllentMosquitoes can transmit all kinds of diseases, including West Nile virus here in Idaho, and zika, dengue fever, and malaria in other parts of the country and world. Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid these diseases, but there is a lot of misinformation about insect repellents that causes people to be reluctant to use them or even to avoid them. So today, we’re going to talk about those insect repellents and how you should choose one that will give you and your family the best protection. Continue reading

IDHW’s “Live Better Idaho” website to be featured on Public Television’s “Informed” series

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The Department of Health and Welfare’s innovative and award-winning social and community service referral website, “Live Better Idaho,” will be featured in an upcoming segment of “Informed,”  a short-form documentary series that is distributed to Public Television stations in all 50 states and hosted by actor Rob Lowe. Continue reading

Heat-related illness prevention: Stay cool as summer gets hot

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We’ve already seen triple-digit high temperatures in portions of Idaho this summer and mid-July and August are traditionally the warmest months, so it’s a good time to remember how to avoid heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, and it’s important for us all to keep as cool as possible so we can stay healthy. Continue reading

Health & Welfare investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at Southwest Idaho Treatment Center

NAMPA – The Department of Health and Welfare is investigating allegations of physical and psychological abuse and neglect by staff members involving seven adult residents at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC) in Nampa.

SWITC’s mission is to provide assessment, training, and treatment to people with intellectual disabilities until they can be safely transitioned back into their communities. SWITC currently has 25 residents and 109 permanent and temporary employees.

“These actions go against everything we stand for and are being treated with the utmost urgency,” said DHW Director Russ Barron. “The safety of residents is our highest concern and priority, especially in this challenging environment. We follow procedures that ensure the safety and dignity of those in our care. I am extremely disappointed that some staff have not followed those procedures. They will be disciplined, including dismissal if the circumstances are warranted.” Continue reading

Safety 1st this July 4th!

5208It’s Independence Day, so it’s a good time to remind everyone of the potential danger posed by fireworks to people and property. We encourage everyone to celebrate July 4th, but to make sure that you do it in a way that is safe and legal. In just an instant, fireworks can start fires that cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage or can cause injuries ranging from minor burns to life-altering losses of eyes, fingers or limbs. Continue reading

Idaho WIC makes annual adjustment to income guidelines

Idaho’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will implement new income guidelines effective July 1, 2017, that raise household income eligibility limits to help offset cost of living increases. This is an annual adjustment.

To be eligible for the WIC program, an individual must be a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, a woman who has recently been pregnant, or an infant or child younger than 5 years old. In addition, the individual must live in Idaho, have a special need that can be helped by WIC foods and nutrition counseling, and have a low-to-moderate income.

To be eligible on the basis of income, an applicant’s gross income (e.g., before taxes are withheld) must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. For example, under the new guidelines a family of three can earn up to $37,777 annually; under the old guidelines a family of three could have earned up to $37,296 annually. Continue reading

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

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We all hear jokes about “senior moments,” like walking into a room and then promptly forgetting why. But Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is not the normal process of aging and really is nothing to laugh about. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month so it’s a good time to remind people that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in Idaho, increasing 41 percent in 2015 compared to 2014 and is higher than the national rate. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all dementias.

Tell us what Alzheimer’s actually is. It’s more than just memory loss, right?

That’s right. It is a progressive disease that starts with mild memory loss that could lead to a person not knowing how to speak or how to carry out their daily activities. It involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. Scientists are learning more every day, but they still don’t know what causes it. Continue reading