CCHD’s Immunizations Clinic will be closed for training on the afternoon of Thursday, June 20, 2013, and all day on Friday, June 21, 2013. Regular immunization hours will resume on Tuesday, June 25. Click here to view regular Immunization Clinic hours.closed, immunization, Training
FREE nutrition education classes will be held each Tuesday from 12pm to 1pm at CCHD beginning June 18 and running through July 16.
These classes will teach participants more about:
- nutritious foods
- how to plan meals
- shopping for you and your family
- safe food preparation and storage
Complete each class and receive a certificate and free cookbook!
Visit www.buyeatlivebetter.org to register or learn more.budget, cooking, food, healthy, nutrition, shopping
Did you know…men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death.
Men’s Health Month is celebrated all through the month of June and aims at promoting awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month is a great time for men to visit their health care provider or local clinic for a routine checkup. CCHD offers several programs and resources that can help men get and stay healthy.
- Cancer Control - offers free or low cost cancer screenings to eligible men
- Tobacco Use Prevention – can help men quit using tobacco products and offers education on how to keep boys from beginning to use tobacco
- Immunizations – offers vaccinations to prevent many communicable diseases such as Hepatitis A and B, shingles, and influenza
- Health Promotion and Wellness - can give tips on how men can stay healthy at work and home by eating healthy and incorporating physical activity into their everyday lives
Visit www.cchdmt.org to learn more about the many ways that CCHD can help keep you or the men in your life healthy this June!cancer, exercise, health, immunization, men's health, nurtition, physical activity, prevention, tobacco, vaccination, wellness
The Cascade City-County Health Department (CCHD) is excited to announce that it is collaborating with the Downtown Great Falls Association to make the first three Alive @ Five events of 2013 tobacco free.
Alive @ Five is held in downtown Great Falls every Thursday from June through August and kicks off this year on June 6th. This fun event invites the public to enjoy live music, food, vendors, and games. It is free to attend and usually goes from 5pm to 9pm. Tobacco free events of this type were inspired by other Montana communities eliminating tobacco use in order to create healthy environments for public summer activities.
Alive @ Five is a family friendly, and it’s important to provide families with an enjoyable and healthy atmosphere. CCHD Tobacco Prevention Specialist Teddy Nault shares his excitement when he states, “Health begins where we eat, work, and play. By making the first three Alive @ Five events tobacco free we are taking a step forward in making this summer event not only fun, but healthy too!”
CCHD is excited to be a part of Alive @ Five and encourages the public to attend this event. The CCHD Tobacco Use Prevention Program will be present at the event on June 6th to answer questions by event goers.alive @ five, free, nonsmoking, tobacco
Most of us are familiar with the idea that wild animals like bats and raccoons carry rabies, but did you know that, unless properly protected, our pets can be carriers too? Unless pets are vaccinated for rabies, they risk becoming infected and, in turn, infecting human and other animals with the disease.
There is often no way to tell is an animal has been infected with rabies, so the best way to avoid infection is to avoid exposure. Besides vaccinating our pets, there are other steps we can take to keep ourselves and our pets safe and healthy.
- Maintain control of your pets to reduce exposure to wildlife.
- Spay or neuter to decrease the number of stray animals.
- Report any stray or ill wild animals to Animal Control.
- Never feed or handle wild animals, especially bats.
- Bat-proof your house – close outside openings larger than 3/8 inch in walls, roofs, and floors with caulking, steel wool, or expandable foam, and put screens on all doors, windows, and chimneys.
- Watch for abnormal wild animal behavior; if you see an animal acting strangely, leave it alone and call law enforcement or CCHD.
Since it’s often impossible to tell if an animal has rabies, it’s imperative to treat every encounter with an unfamiliar animal, wild or domestic, with caution. If you have been bitten by an animal, contact your physician and report the incident to CCHD or Animal Control immediately.
For more information on rabies and prevention, visit the following links:
- CCHD’s Environmental Health Division
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- MT Department of Public Health and Human Services
- MSU Agricultural Extension Service, “Coping with Bats in Montana Homes”
The constant buzzing in your ears and itching bites often make mosquitoes hard to ignore – and that just may be a good thing! As we head into summer, we should enjoy the outdoors, but remember to protect ourselves from mosquitoes. Infected mosquitoes spread West Nile Virus (WNV), which can be serious, life-altering, and even fatal. Mosquitoes that carry WNV do show up in Montana, and since it’s impossible to tell whether a mosquito carries the virus or not, bite prevention is your best protection.
How can you prevent mosquitoes and bites? Follow the 4 Ds!
- DEET- Apply repellent that includes DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing. These are the three most effective insect repellents. Permethrin may be used on clothing, but can be very toxic, so use it with extreme caution. Do not spray aerosols on your face – spray it into your hands and rub on your face.
- Dusk and Dawn – This is when mosquitoes are most active. Try to avoid outdoor activities during these times.
- Drain Standing Water – Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Drain such areas around your home (gutters, pools, tires, buckets, water bowls, etc.).
- Dress Appropriately – Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
Fortunately, most people that become infected with WNV will show no symptoms. Those that do have symptoms may experience:
- Headache or body aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin rash
In few individuals (about 1 in 150), other more serious symptoms may also include:
- Tremors or convulsions
- Muscle weakness
- Vision loss
- Numbness or paralysis
If you develop any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately!
Enjoy your time outside this summer, and make sure you don’t carry anything back inside – protect yourself from mosquitoes! Find out more about the prevention, transmission, and treatment of WNV by downloading our printable fact sheet.
Find out what is being done locally to prevent and control mosquito populations: www.cascademosquito.org.mosquitoes, prevention, west nile virus
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. Although it initially resembles an ordinary cold, pertussis may eventually turn more serious and can even be fatal, especially in infants.
Initially, pertussis may not be easily recognized, but the early symptoms include:
- runny nose
- low-grade fever (usually minimal throughout the course of the illness)
- mild, occasional cough
- apnea – a pause in breathing (in infants)
After a week or two, the cough will most likely become more severe. Fits of numerous rapid coughs followed by a “whoop” sound are the most commonly recognized symptom of pertussis. Click here to hear what whooping cough sounds like. These coughing fits may be followed by vomiting and exhaustion.
Pertussis is present in Montana, and to date 294 cases have been reported in the state.
Pertussis can be prevented, and vaccination is the best way to do this. Vaccines for pertussis are available for infants, children, teens, and adults. DTaP and Tdap vaccines both protect against pertussis. DTaP is for children younger than 7 years of age, and Tdap is given to older children and adults. Children should get five doses of DTaP, one dose at each of the following ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 12-15 months
- 4-6 years
Vaccine protection for pertussis does fade over time; the majority of Montana’s 2013 pertussis cases have been reported in school age children. Adolescents 11-18 years of age (preferably 11-12 years old) and adults 19-64 years of age should receive a single dose of Tdap. Infants are particularly susceptible to pertussis, so it is especially important for anyone that has close contact with an infant to be fully immunized against pertussis.
Pertussis is a serious disease, but it can be prevented. Call a CCHD Public Health Nurse at 454-6950 or visit CCHD’s Immunizations program to learn more about pertussis and vaccination. You can also visit www.cdc.gov/pertussis/ or download our printable fact sheet.immunization, Pertussis, prevention, vaccination, whooping cough
Posted on May 31st, 2013adminEnvironmental Health, General News, Health Warnings, Prevention Services
With the recent tragedy regarding a young woman contracting Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) the Cascade City-County Health Department (CCHD) wants to remind residents that there are steps they can take to protect themselves against infection from Hantavirus.
“Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by Hantavirus. It is a very serious illness that is present in the environment and we want to make sure all residents know the steps they can take to reduce their chances of contracting this illness,” said Alicia M. Thompson, Health Officer. “For your safety, take all recommended steps to control rodent populations and clean up rodent waste properly. If you have been around rodents and start to exhibit illness symptoms it is crucial to seek medical care immediately and let your provider know you have been exposed to rodent waste.”
Hantavirus is carried by infected deer mice and can be passed on through their urine, saliva, or droppings. The percentage of infected deer mice is highly dependent on environmental factors and can vary greatly between seasons. Cascade County had two cases in 2012, and there have been two cases in Montana so far in 2013. It is possible that other infections could occur if people don’t take steps to protect themselves. Common tasks such as sweeping and moving boxes can disturb areas that have dried saliva, urine, or droppings from infected deer mice. As infected material is moved around, tiny particles with the virus in them get kicked up into the air. It is these tiny particles that can make you sick when they are inhaled or get into your eyes, mouth, or broken skin.
Symptoms can begin one to six weeks after being exposed to the virus. The illness typically starts with 3-5 days of “flu-like” symptoms including fever, sore muscles, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Within a few days the illness rapidly progresses to severe shortness of breath.
Early diagnosis of Hantavirus and immediate medical care increase the likelihood of a full recovery. Individuals exposed to rodents or their waste who experience symptoms should immediately seek medical treatment and notify their provider that they have been around rodents or rodent wastes. Providing this information to your provider will help him or her to look closely for any rodent-carried disease, such as Hantavirus.
The best way to prevent Hantavirus transmission is by controlling rodent populations in areas where you live and work.
- Seal up cracks and gaps in buildings that are larger than 1/4 inch, including window and door sills, under sinks around the pipes, in foundations, attics, and any rodent entry hole.
- Trap indoor rats and mice with snap traps, and remove rodent food sources.
- Keep food (including pet food) in rodent-proof containers.
If you find places where rodents have nested, or if you find rodent droppings or waste, follow these steps to help prevent exposure to Hantavirus while cleaning:
- Wear rubber or plastic gloves.
- Thoroughly spray/soak area with a disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water to reduce dry dusty conditions in the area being cleaned (visit http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/cleaning/index.html or call 454-6950 and ask for a Public Health Nurse for specific mixing instructions).
- Wipe or mop the area with a sponge or paper towel (throw away items after use).
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after removing gloves.
- Never sweep or vacuum in these areas as this can stir up dust and aerosolize the droppings.
More information on Hantavirus and its prevention can be found on our printable fact sheet or by calling 454-6950 and asking to speak with a Public Health Nurse.cleaning, hantavirus, mice, mouse, prevention
Posted on May 29th, 2013adminUncategorized
Health Ranking Measure Health Risks, Healthy Lifestyle Trends
Like any community, Cascade County faces public health issues such as obesity, substance abuse, and barriers to accessing care. However, knowing these challenges, and putting numbers to them, helps health professionals, citizens, and decision makers better tackle them, says Cascade County Health Officer Alicia M. Thompson. She goes on to say that a new set of national rankings provides some hard numbers to issues health officials have identified as key challenges. The rankings “help reinforce our priorities and sets direction that helps with our planning.”
The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report examines the health and well-being of people living in nearly every county in the United States. Data in the rankings allows counties to see what is making residents sick or healthy and how they compare to other counties in their state. The rankings are prepared each year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The rankings show the 26 percent of Cascade County adults are obese and that 24 are physically inactive. These numbers compare closely to rates statewide, Thompson said. But they are still higher than desired. “We know that overweight and obesity are problems nationwide, and this shows our area reflects the same trend,” she said. “But, more importantly, it indicates this is an area to focus on.”
The rankings show 18 percent of county residents smoke and 17 percent indulge in excessive drinking. These also are similar to state averages. The report also indicates 19 percent of families in the county are uninsured, compared to 21 percent statewide, and that the county ranks poorly when it comes to numbers of primary physicians versus potential patients.
“All these factors provide additional evidence to situations we suspected are a problem here,” Thompson said. “Hopefully, the rankings data will help inform and educate us a little more about what we face and what we can do.” The county, via its community health needs assessment and health improvement planning efforts, has identified three key priorities, all of which touch on areas mentioned in the rankings.
These priorities include:
- Improving access to care.
- Reducing substance use and abuse.
- Reducing obesity and overweight.
“The interesting thing about these priorities and community health in general is how all these factors are connected,” Thompson said.
For example, beyond lack of insurance, our area faces a physician shortage that affects people’s access to care. “We have people on Medicaid, so they have insurance. But they can’t get a regular physician because doctors can’t take on new patients,” Thompson said. “Without a regular doctor who gets to know you and follow your health, you’re less apt to get the health screenings you need, or to learn that you need to exercise more and lose weight,” she said. “You’re also less apt to get help quitting smoking or dealing with a drinking problem.”
At the same time, attracting and retaining physicians and other young professionals here might be easier if the community was more vibrant. “We have people who come here and leave after a few years,” Thompson said. “But they may be more likely to stay if we promoted recreational activities more, as some Montana communities have done, and do more to make this a place where people want to stay and raise families.” Along those lines, more opportunities to bike and walk around town would be a plus. “People want to be able to bike safely from home to the park with their kids,” she said. ” That, in turn, helps people stay more physically fit, too. And recreation gives people a healthy alternative to smoking or using alcohol.”
Thompson pointed to the Get Fit Great Falls coalition as an example of how a community can work together to improve community prosperity and wellness. The program has developed a “workplace wellness kit” that provides businesses with information on how to provide healthier foods at events an in the office, encourage fitness breaks instead of coffee breaks, and start their own walking programs. “It makes the workplace more welcoming and supportive and helps keep people healthy,” she said.
Tobacco prevention programs have had great success along the same lines, making events more pleasant such as the smoke-free Alive @ 5 concerts and the Young Lungs at Play program in city parks. “There are great ideas from all sectors of the community, and we should be looking at other ways we can work together to make the community healthier and stronger,” Thompson said.
Cascade County’s second Community Health Needs Assessment will be released in the near future, and the information from the rankings will be extremely beneficial to help provide additional information. These two important pieces of information can be used together to help ensure that the true needs of the community are identified. Thompson encouraged people to review the health rankings on the City-County Health Department website.
This year, 46 out of Montana’s 56 counties were ranked in the County Health Rankings report. Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourney, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the rankings “can be put to use right away by leaders in government, business, health care, and every citizen motivated to work together to create a culture of health in their community.”
The rankings for Cascade County and other Montana counties can be viewed at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
The Cascade City-County Health Department (CCHD) wants to remind people to exercise caution around wild animals, especially bats. “Bats are beneficial in many ways, including insect control, but are also known to be carriers of rabies in Montana,” says Alex Dachs, Environmental Health Sanitarian for CCHD. He goes on to add that “as more people attend summer camps, recreate outside, and open their houses to the warmer air of summer, the possibility of coming into contact with bats increases. We just want to remind people of the steps they can take to protect themselves and their families.”
Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks an individual’s nervous system, so it is imperative that people understand the importance of protecting themselves. Here are some preventative steps that can be taken to make sure that contact with wild animals is limited and outdoor time is safe and enjoyable.
- Enjoy wild animals (racoons, bats, foxes) from afar. Never handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
- Bat-proof your house. Close all outside openings larger than 3/8″ in the walls, roof, and floors. Put screens on all windows, doors, and chimneys to prevent bats from entering structures where they might come into contact with people and pets. For more tips and information, visit www.cchdmt.org.
- Vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies and make sure they have a current rabies certificate. Cats are especially susceptible to rabies exposure from bats because cats catch more bats more often than dogs do.
- If you find a dead bat or other animal, don’t touch or handle it and make sure you dispose of it properly. Without touching the animal, use a scoop or shovel to pick it up and place it in a plastic garbage bag. The bag containing the remains can then be placed in an outside garbage can.
- If a bat has made its way into your home, use caution and call animal control. It is important that the bat is captured, sent in, and tested for rabies.
- Healthy bats will naturally be drawn to areas like the eaves of a house, under a porch overhang, or hidden behind shutters or gutters; seeing them in one of those areas is not necessarily cause for concern.
If you have been bitten by an animal, please contact your physician, report to a local Emergency Department, or contact CCHD at 454-6950 to ensure that you receive proper treatment.
For more information please visit our website at www.cchdmt.org or call CCHD at 454-6950 and ask to speak with an Environmental Health Sanitarian.bats, cats, dogs, pets, prevention, rabies