Camp cooks: As summer heats up, protect yourself & your family from foodborne illness

ucm567102Summer in Idaho means sunshine, warm weather and long days, with lots of opportunities to cook and eat outdoors, whether you are backcountry camping, whitewater rafting or enjoying a family picnic in the local park. But as food heats up in the warm weather months, bacteria multiply faster, creating a risk of foodborne illness. So, we thought it was a good time to talk about safe food handling when cooking or eating outdoors. Continue reading

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1st West Nile virus infected mosquitoes in Idaho this season detected in Canyon County

Fightthebite2WNVLogo2007Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) were detected in Canyon County on June 12, 2018, prompting public health officials to remind people to take precautions to “Fight the Bite.” The positive mosquitoes, which are the first detected in the state this year, were collected by the Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District.

Last year, 13 counties across the state reported finding WNV-positive mosquito pools. Additionally, WNV infection was reported in 25 people, seven horses, three birds, and one llama. This first detection in 2018 occurred in western Idaho, an area where positive mosquitoes have been found almost every year since WNV was introduced in 2004.   Continue reading

Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease added to required Idaho newborn screenings starting July 1

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Effective July 1, Idaho medical providers will screen all newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) as part of the panel of required screenings in the state.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and can range from mild to very serious. The very serious heart defects are referred to as critical congenital heart disease, which includes a collection of defects that are present at birth and involve structural problems in the heart or problems with blood flow through the heart. Congenital heart defects account for up to 30 percent of infant deaths caused by birth defects. In Idaho, an estimated 55 babies are born each year with critical congenital heart disease.

Babies born with critical congenital heart disease may appear to be healthy at first, which means they may be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. These babies are at risk for having serious complications within those first few days or weeks and often require emergency care.

“Newborn screening helps give babies the best start in life,” said Jacquie Watson, Maternal and Child Health Section Manager in the Division of Public Health. “Early identification and treatment of these serious heart defects means that more babies will live to celebrate their first birthdays and will continue to thrive as they reach other important milestones.”  Continue reading

Idaho Suicide Prevention Program’s Kim Kane: “Trust your gut if you are concerned about someone or see signs.”

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KaneKimFrom Kim Kane, IDHW Idaho Suicide Prevention Program Manager:

Even for someone who has worked in the field of suicide prevention for many years, it has been distressing to absorb and process the news this week. Any life lost to suicide, whether in Idaho or nationally, is a tragedy.

But with two high-profile suicide deaths this week — fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain — and a new  report  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing rising suicide rates across the U.S. since 1999,  I encourage you to channel your grief – even if it’s for people you only knew from a television show or a brand name – into understanding more about what you can do to prevent suicide .   Continue reading

The flu season that was…was deadly – Plan to get your flu shot this fall

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Idaho has reported 101 flu-related deaths this season, making it the deadliest flu season in Idaho in several decades. Our state typically sees an average of 22 flu-related deaths each season, and the season lasts from October through May each year. Now that this season is over, I would like to encourage you to plan now for getting your annual flu vaccine in the fall. Public health officials in Idaho would love to see an increase in the 40-50 percent of Americans who get the flu vaccine each year.  Continue reading

Fight the Bite: Reduce your risk of West Nile virus by avoiding mosquito bites this summer

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Seems like it’s just starting to warm up and feel like spring, so is it mosquito season already?

Yes, local mosquito abatement districts are surveying and treating for mosquitoes already this year. We’ve had a lot of rain showers this spring and that means standing water is abundant, serving as prime egg laying areas for mosquitoes. Now is a good time to go over the precautions you should take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites and the potentially dangerous viruses they can bring. Continue reading

Second annual Idaho Breastfeeding Summit planned for June 28-29; register by June 7

By Mimi Fetzer, Idaho WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator
and board member of the Idaho Breastfeeding Coalition

A new partnership has been formed between the Idaho Breastfeeding Coalition and the Department of Health and Welfare’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program. I worked with Maternal and Child Health Section Manager Jacquie Watson to discuss ideas to increase collaboration between the Coalition and MCH. This enabled MCH and WIC to use their sections’ resources to better serve the breastfeeding population and has contributed to the expected success of the second Idaho Breastfeeding Summit in June 28-29.

The Coalition is in final preparations for the Summit, which will be held at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise.  Speakers and topics have been selected to build on the momentum of last year’s summit. You can see the agenda hereContinue reading