It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you’re a woman over the age of 50, have you had a mammogram yet?

BreastCancer

As we near the end of October, I am issuing a challenge to the women of Idaho, who are notorious for not getting their mammograms: If you are over the age of 40, please talk to your healthcare provider about when you should start getting screened, and if you are over 50, just schedule it. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, so there is a good chance this disease will affect you or someone you love. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.

Why is breast cancer screening important?

Getting a mammogram at the appropriate time in your life is important because the earlier cancer is found, the earlier you can get treatment for it. If breast cancer is discovered before it spreads, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent on the national level. But for late-stage cases, the five-year survival rate drops to 24 percent. That’s why early detection is important.  Continue reading

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CO poisoning: You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but here’s how to prevent it

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With the onset of colder weather across Idaho, we’re going to be using heating systems, hot water heaters, car heaters, portable outdoor heaters and other gas, oil or wood-burning appliances that emit potentially deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Because carbon monoxide can build up in enclosed and even partially enclosed places, it’s a good time to talk about carbon monoxide poisoning and steps you can take to avoid it. Continue reading

#FightFlu Idaho, and get your annual flu shot now to protect yourself this season!

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As you may have heard, the last flu season was particularly severe, resulting in more than 80,000 deaths in the nation and 101 deaths in Idaho. The flu season here can last from October to May, and typically peaks in January or February. Getting vaccinated now is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from what can be a serious infection, even for otherwise healthy people. Continue reading

Reports of Shiga-toxin producing E. Coli (STEC) food poisoning on the rise in SW Idaho

FS__08_Under5_Kidney_Tips_1080x1080Today we’re talking about food poisoning, and a serious increase in STEC cases in Southwest Idaho – What the heck is STEC?

So, the past month was National Food Safety Month and coincidentally here in Southwest Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare along with our local public health district partners have had an unusually large number of reports about infections caused by Shiga-toxin producing E. Coli – or STEC for short –that has resulted in several hospitalizations of very young children, so now’s a good time to understand what STEC is, what to watch for and how to reduce the risk of infection to yourself or your children. Continue reading

Rock Your Role this week for suicide prevention

By Kim Kane
Suicide Prevention Program manger, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week and a great time to remember that we all have a role to play in preventing suicide!  Here are some things you can do to make a difference.

Take 5!  Visit www.take5tosavelives.org and complete the Take 5 Steps.  Through these steps you will,

  1. Learn suicide warning signs
  2. Learn what your role is in preventing suicide
  3. Practice self-care by making mental wellness a priority
  4. Know how to reach out; help is there and recovery is possible
  5. Spread the word for others to Take 5!

Reach out.  Research shows us that people we lose to suicide feel disconnected from others.  Suicide Prevention Week is a good time to think about those in our lives who might be feeling alone and reach out.  A simple text, call or email could make all the difference to someone feeling lonely.  Continue reading

Back to school shock and “Ewww!” – Coping with a case of head lice

hair_searchIf you’re a parent with a new kindergartener, pre-schooler or child care pupil this fall, you may not be ready for the shock and “Ewww!” that comes with the first time you receive a letter from the school or day care advising you that a child in your kid’s class has head lice. Or worse, a call from the school nurse advising that your child is being sent home due to a case of head lice. After you recover from the mortification, it’s important to remember head lice are not a health risk. Continue reading

DHW begins to collect reports on abortion complications

The Abortion Complications Reporting Act, Idaho Code Title 39 Chapter 95, requires every hospital, licensed health care facility, and individual medical practitioner to file a written report with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare if any woman comes under their care and reports any complication or requires medical treatment that is a direct or indirect result of an abortion (IC 39-9504(1)).

If a woman reports one of the items outlined here to her medical practitioner, and the item is an abnormal or deviant process or event arising from the performance or completion of an abortion based on the medical practitioner’s reasonable medical judgment, it must be reported using this form to the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics if the medical provider is one of the entities or medical practitioners subject to reporting under the act.

The report must be completed within 90 days from the last date of treatment or other care or consultation for the complication. The information will be kept confidential and used to prepare a comprehensive annual statistical report for the Idaho Legislature.