Flu deaths are on the rise across Idaho, with this year’s influenza season shaping up to be one of the most severe in recent memory.
“We are aware of 47 influenza-related deaths in Idaho so far this season, which includes 36 verified flu deaths and 11 current reports that are in the process of verification,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state influenza surveillance coordinator. “This is one of the most severe flu seasons in the state since 2000.” Continue reading
Department of Health and Welfare will kick off Health and Human Services Week with its budget presentations at 8 a.m. Monday in the meeting chambers of the Joint Appropriations-Finance Committee (JFAC) in the Idaho Statehouse. DHW leadership will present the governor’s budget recommendations for the department, starting with a department overview from DHW Director Richard Armstrong. Continue reading
During the legislative hearing today for the Idaho House and Senate Health and Welfare committees, a number of individuals voiced concerns about the performance of Idaho Medicaid’s contracted non-emergency medical transportation broker, Veyo, and their contracted drivers.
Veyo ensures that transportation is provided for Medicaid participants to medical appointments and other Medicaid benefits. Veyo centrally coordinates requests for transportation from Medicaid participants and assigns them to a network of transportation providers. Veyo took over the brokerage contract from American Medical Response in July of 2016. Medicaid’s responsibility is to monitor this contract and ensure that it is working as intended and with a high level of responsible service.
A change this big is never easy. Veyo and their provider network initially struggled with the switch. Medicaid responded by working closely with Veyo, transportation providers and community advocates to identify, target, and address areas for performance improvement. Continue reading
As if we don’t have enough to worry about with cold and flu viruses, we also have something called rotavirus disease to consider. It is easily spread among babies and young children, especially now, and it can be quite serious and even result in hospitalization. Western states, including Idaho, are seeing more cases of rotavirus disease right now, so it’s a good time to learn the symptoms and what can be done about it.
What are the symptoms?
It generally takes about two days for symptoms to develop. They include watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. The vomiting and diarrhea can last from three to eight days. Other symptoms can include a loss of appetite and dehydration. And even though now is a common time to become infected, it can be spread at any time of the year. Continue reading
Update (2:50 p.m.) : List of closed DHW offices now includes Mountain Home.
Because of severe weather conditions, DHW offices in Payette, Caldwell, Nampa, and Boise are closed. Normal business hours will resume Tuesday.
The holidays are tough for anyone who tries to eat a healthy diet, but it’s an especially difficult time for families living with diabetes. Tempting holiday treats show up at work, at school, and at home, as well as at parties. We also seem to eat out much more often at this time of year. But if you plan ahead, it’s possible to stick to your eating plan during holiday gatherings with family and friends.
How many Idahoans are dealing with diabetes?
7.6 percent of adults in Idaho had a diagnosis of diabetes in 2014, which is actually down from 2013, when 8.4 percent had received a diabetes diagnosis. So that’s great news! But it’s still the 6th overall leading cause of death in our state.
So if you’re going to a holiday party, are there some strategies you can use beforehand to stay on track?
These tips work well for everyone who is watching what they eat, including people who do not have diabetes. Before a party, plan ahead by checking with the host to see what food will be served. Eat a healthy snack before you go so you don’t overeat while you’re there. You can also make a nutritious dish to take so you know there will be at least one that will be relatively healthy. And throughout the holiday season, drink plenty of water and stick to your daily exercise plan. Even though you’re busy with holiday festivities and preparations, you should aim for about 2.5 hours of physical activity a week. Continue reading
Influenza (“Flu”) activity is currently low in the United States and Idaho, but is expected to increase in the coming weeks with holiday travel and family get-togethers just around the corner. We are already seeing some positive flu tests across the state.
“With the holidays approaching, this is the perfect time to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated against the flu,” says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, the state’s influenza surveillance coordinator. “We don’t want to see people’s holidays ruined because of flu illnesses that are easily preventable. A flu vaccination today offers protection throughout this year’s flu season.” Continue reading