It’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month – Idaho moms set a great example


Idaho’s breastfeeding rate is one of the highest in the nation, and that’s something we like to celebrate this month during National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Breast milk offers the most optimal form of nutrition, and we’d like to keep encouraging new moms to consider breastfeeding their babies.     Continue reading


Update: 1st West Nile virus human case in Idaho this season confirmed in Canyon County

Fightthebite2WNVLogo2007The first positive human case of mosquito-borne West Nile virus (WNV) in Idaho this season has been confirmed in Canyon County by Southwest District Health officials in a male in his 50s who resides in Canyon County but may have been exposed in Adams County. Both counties have previously reported WNV-positive pools of mosquitoes this season.

The individual reported mosquito bites before the onset of his illness in mid-July, according to public health officials. His symptoms included high fever, severe headaches, rash, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea.  Continue reading

The health threat of Idaho wildfire smoke: Tips to protect you and your family

SmokeBoise1Wildfire season has arrived, and with it, the smoky air that can make it difficult to breathe is already occurring in some parts of Idaho. Air quality is a big deal this time of year, and it changes depending on where the wildfires are and which way the wind is blowing. It often feels like there’s no escape from the smoke, which can cause irritating symptoms for healthy people and more serious health issues for people with heart and lung disease. So, it’s important to protect yourself and your family from smoky air whenever possible. Continue reading

The harvest has started, so it’s time for some home-canning safety reminders


Based on the photos that are turning up in some of our social media feeds, many Idahoans are already starting to harvest produce from gardens. Canning is a great way to preserve it and share it with family and friends, but it can be risky if it’s not done correctly. If you plan to can your harvest and share it with family and friends, it’s important to be knowledgeable about proper techniques so you can make sure your home-canned vegetables aren’t contaminated by the germ that causes botulism. Continue reading

Harmful Algal Blooms: When in doubt, stay out!

Central District Health and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued the first harmful algal bloom health advisory of the summer season on June 23 because of cyanobacterial blooms in Little Camas Reservoir. Most of the year, Idaho’s lakes and reservoirs are safe to enjoy. But when water temperatures increase and the right type of nutrients are available, some bodies of water can produce harmful algal blooms, which can be dangerous for humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife.

What is a harmful algal bloom?

They are bacteria (not algae) that can produce toxins. The blooms are also referred to as cyanobacterial blooms. When weather conditions are calm and there is an increase in water temperature and nutrients, they can rapidly increase in number and produce a bloom. Blooms can occur at any time, but they most often occur in late summer or early fall.

What do these blooms look like?

Harmful blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or red and may look like paint or anti-freeze floating on the water. As the bloom matures, it may look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of freshwater lakes and ponds. If you or pets or livestock swim in or drink from water that contains a bloom, the effects can be dangerous.

Continue reading

Elmore County cat recovering from plague infection

Laboratory tests indicate an Elmore County cat was infected with plague. The cat had recent contact with a rodent, which may have been a ground squirrel, or “whistle pig,” before becoming ill. The cat was treated promptly by a veterinarian and is recovering. No additional pets or people are ill.

While Idaho wildlife officials have not detected any ground squirrel die-offs in the state so far this year, the infected cat lives within an area of southern Idaho identified in previous years as a plague-affected area. This is a reminder that plague circulates in fleas, which can affect ground squirrels, voles, and mice, every year in Idaho.

“It is important to take precautions to avoid contact with ground squirrels and their fleas,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho State Public Health veterinarian. “Make sure your pets have proper flea control and keep them away from ground squirrel habitat, if possible.”  Continue reading