Thanksgiving is also National Family Health History Day – Do you know the medical history of your relatives?

family-photo-827763_640When the U.S. Surgeon General declared in 2004 that National Family Health History Day would fall on Thanksgiving each year, he was acknowledging the importance of knowing your family health history. You and your family share genes, culture, behaviors, and environments – all of which can have an impact on your health. When you know that information and share it with your doctor, he or she can make more informed choices for how to personalize your health screenings and treatment. Thanksgiving can be a great time to talk with your family about how your health is related, so you can give your doctor the best information possible. Continue reading

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Are your children current on their immunizations?

This week is National Infant Immunization Week and it’s also World Immunization Week, so it’s a good time to talk about the importance of protecting infants in Idaho and around the world from vaccine-preventable diseases.

This week, the focus is on infants. Why infants specifically instead of all children?

While it’s important that all children have received the recommended vaccinations, giving babies the recommended immunizations by the time they are 2 is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, including whooping cough and measles. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor to make sure their babies’ immunizations are up-to-date.

Some parents may not trust that vaccines are safe, so they may not immunize their children. What would you say to those parents?  

We know that parents want to do what’s best for their children, and if they have concerns about the safety or necessity of a particular vaccine, they should talk to their children’s doctors about that. Generally, vaccines are very safe, and they are monitored continuously to make sure they stay that way.  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

Central District Health Department WIC program earns national-level kudos

CDHD AwardWeb

From left: Lorraine Fortunati, Laurie Valdez, and Cindy Galloway from Central District Health receive the Loving Support Gold Premier Award of Excellence from Idaho WIC staff Cristi Litzsinger, Kris Spain, and Mimi Fetzer. 

The Idaho WIC program would like to congratulate Central District Health Department and its Peer Counseling Program, which recently was awarded the Loving Support Gold Premiere Award of Excellence.

The award was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to recognize and celebrate local WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding programs and support services. The intent is to provide models and motivate other local agencies and clinics to strengthen their breastfeeding promotions and support activities and ultimately increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among WIC participants. Idaho WIC employees from the Department of Health and Welfare presented the award to the health district last week.

“Peer counselors are key to Idaho WIC’s breastfeeding success and continue to provide mother-to-mother breastfeeding support to WIC participants,” said Cristi Litzsinger, Idaho WIC program manager. “It’s exciting that the program at Central District Health has received this national recognition. We are thrilled to be continually recognized for our efforts in supporting breastfeeding.” Continue reading

There are many things adults want to give to loved ones – illness is not one of them

You want to pass on certain things like family traditions, a grandmother’s quilt or dad’s love of books – but no one wants to pass on a serious illness. Take charge of your health and help protect those around you by asking about vaccines at your next doctor’s visit.

Vaccinating our children is fairly commonplace in the United States. But many adults don’t know which vaccines they need, and even fewer are fully vaccinated. Each year, tens of thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. In 2014, only 28 percent of adults ages 60 and older had received a shingles vaccine and only 20 percent of adults older than 19 had received a Tdap vaccine.

Vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, and they can also make your family members sick. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines so you don’t spread the infection to them. Babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick.

Continue reading