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

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

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

IDHW Division of Public Health among 11 awarded national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board

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We’re pleased and excited to be recognized for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement in public health. The accreditation process helps to ensure that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of all Idaho residents. With accreditation, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s Division of Public Health continues to promote and protect the health and safety of all Idahoans — thanks to our fantastic IDHW employees, our community partners, our state legislators and citizens across the state for helping achieve this milestone!

PHABAlexandria, VA, June 14, 2017 — A national program to improve and protect the health of the public continued its nationwide expansion this week as 11 more governmental public health departments — including the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s Division of Public Health — achieved five-year accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The decisions bring another 19.7 million people into a rapidly growing network of communities served by health departments that meet rigorous national standards for delivering quality programs and services.  Continue reading

Rabies: What to do when you wake up and there’s a bat in the room (after you scream!)

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As people head out to enjoy the outdoors this summer or stay outside later with daylight savings time, it’s a good time to talk about how to avoid being exposed to rabies, which is a fatal disease caused by a virus. While many people still associate contracting rabies with domestic dog bites, since 1960 the majority of all rabid animal cases in the U.S. have been with wild animals and bats.

Why is rabies so scary?

Because it is 100 percent fatal for people and animals who do not get timely medical attention. A couple of people in the United States die each year from it, usually because they’ve been bitten or scratched by an animal and didn’t seek medical attention soon after. Continue reading