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

Stay safe and healthy when you cool off in the water this summer

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It’s finally warming up outside, and as school ends and summer begins, you may be thinking about taking the kids to the pool, water park, lake or beach. Before you go, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe from drowning – and from possibly getting sick.

Let’s start with drowning. What the most important thing to do to help keep people and children safe?

Ten people drown in the U.S. every day, and many are children. From 2011 through 2015, drowning was the second-leading cause of injury death for Idaho kids aged 1 to 9, exceeded only by motor vehicle accident fatalities. The most important thing to do is to simply pay attention. Continue reading

Join us May 11 to raise awareness and erase mental health stigma

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When it comes to mental health, many people confuse feeling bad with being bad. Mental illness is not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.

Many factors out of one’s control influence whether someone develops a mental health condition: genetics, environment and lifestyle. Being a victim of a crime or having a stressful work or home life can make some people more susceptible.

Yet even though most people with mental illness can be successfully treated and live productive lives, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services or treatment get the help that can make a difference.

One reason: Stigma. The isolation, blame, fear and secrecy that is often associated with mental illness can discourage people from reaching out, getting the needed support and getting healthy. Continue reading

Best way to stay safe around canals? Stay away

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Across the state, Idaho is experiencing record spring run-off from a historic winter season snowpack, causing rivers and streams to run fast and full. To help water managers reduce the risk of flooding, many irrigation canals have opened early. So, it’s a good time to talk about canal safety and drowning prevention.

What’s the best way to stay safe around irrigation canals?

That’s simple: Stay away. Never, ever swim or play in a canal. And that message is not just for children, it’s for adults too. Both children and adults drown each year in Idaho canals, and records from the Idaho Care Line show that more children drown in canals than any other body of water in Idaho annually. In fact, Idaho has the nation’s second highest unintentional drowning rate for children aged 1-to-5. Continue reading

Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected abuse or neglect (It’s the law!)

041117ChildAbuseKeeping children safe is one of our primary goals at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so it’s a good time talk about what you should do if you think a child might be neglected or abused.

If you suspect a child is abused or neglected, what should you do?

We hope you’ll care enough to call 1-855-552-KIDS. If you even suspect that a child is being mistreated, you are required by law to call and report it. Your call is confidential, and you don’t have to prove neglect or abuse. That’s the job of law enforcement and social workers. You just need to let us know you think there might be an issue, so our child protection staff can start looking into it. Continue reading

Children act fast, but so do poisons

Most poisoning emergencies are unexpected and happen quickly in our homes. A majority of non-fatal poisonings involve children younger than six. And for adults, poisoning is the No. 1 cause of injury death in the United States. This week is National Poison Prevention Week, so it’s a good time to think about what you would do in a poisoning emergency.

Are young children most at risk for a poisoning accident?

In 2016, poisoning was the third leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among all Idahoans, with children younger than 6 being most at risk. It is extremely important for parents of small children to keep medications, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, cosmetics and other potentially poisonous items out of their reach. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center, which receives all of Idaho’s poison emergency calls, had more than 13,000 calls in 2016 from Idaho residents. And the majority of those calls were from parents of children ages 6 and younger.  Continue reading

Rotavirus disease can be serious for babies and young children

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