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December 8-14 is National Influenza Vaccination Week
Representatives from the Deaf Action Center (DAC) in Abilene will be at the health department on Thursday, December 12 at 11a.m. to talk about their services. The DAC serves people who are deaf and hard of hearing with a comprehensive range of services. They will educate and train people in coping and communication strategies, assistive devices and Relay Texas Service and more. DAC assists the hard of hearing, deaf, deaf/blind, vision impaired, speech impaired and mobility impaired, in receiving free communication devices from the State of Texas. Come and learn about the services that DAC offers. Hearing Loss Resource Specialist and Deafness Resource Specialists Programs are funded by DARS office for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS).
The week of Dec. 8-14 is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), a national observance that was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as fostering greater use of flu vaccine after the holiday season into January and beyond; to observe NIVW, parents will receive hand sanitizer and wipes wipes during the month of December while supplies last.
The health department wants to encourage residents to use preventive actions:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, to avoid spreading germs.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Get vaccinated for the flu
We will administer the seasonal flu vaccine on Wednesdays during regular immunization clinic. Normally, immunization clinic is held every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. with the second Wednesday of each month until 6 p.m., but due to holidays and staff trainings, we will not have immunization clinic on December 11, 25 and January 1. We will have late clinic on the 4th of December due to closure on the 11th.
The health department will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 24, through Thursday, Dec. 26 for the Christmas holidays.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department is urging people to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus, a mosquito borne illness. People should use insect repellent when outdoors and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn.
Humans can contract West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. Infected mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and mammals. The virus can cause serious illness or death. West Nile neuroinvasive disease symptoms include stiff neck, visual problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures. The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness.
People with the milder form of illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill when they become infected with the virus. If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider.
To reduce exposure to West Nile virus:
Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside and follow the instructions on the label. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Regularly drain standing water, including water collects in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. ·
Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
What Is Pertussis or Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious disease marked by severe coughing. It is named after the "whoop" sound children and adults sometimes make when they try to breathe in during or after a severe coughing spell.
What are the Symptoms?
Whooping cough usually starts with cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, fever, and a mild cough. These symptoms can last up to 2 weeks and are followed by increasingly severe coughing spells. Fever, if present, is usually mild.
During a classic coughing spell:
signature "whoop" is heard as the patient struggles to breathe
coughs usually produce a thick, productive mucus
vomiting may occur
lips and nails may turn blue due to lack of oxygen
patient is left exhausted after the coughing spell
Mild pertussis disease is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of a cold. Usually a prolonged cough is present, but without the "whoop."
Milder symptoms usually affect all age groups, but are increasing among school children.
The coughing attacks may last for many months in the "classic illness" or just a few days in the mild form of the disease.
Symptoms appear between 6 to 21 days (average 7-10) after exposure to the bacteria.
What are Some Potential Complications?
Young infants are at highest risk for pertussis-related complications, including seizures, encephalopathy (swelling of the brain), otitis media (severe ear infection), anorexia (severe restriction of food intake) and dehydration.
In adolescents and adults, whooping cough can cause severe coughing that can make it hard to breathe, eat, or sleep, and can result in cracked ribs, pneumonia, or hospitalization.
How is it Spread?
Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria that is found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person, and is spread through close contact when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs.
It is most contagious during the first 2 to 3 weeks of infection, often before the beginning of severe coughing spells.
Vaccine protection against whooping cough does not last forever. The vaccination most people received as children wears off, typically by adolescence. Therefore, adolescents and adults are at risk for whooping cough and can spread the infection to infants and young children in the household.
Who Gets It?
Whooping cough (pertussis) can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at highest risk of life-threatening consequences.
Recent outbreaks have shown that adolescents and adults carry the disease, which in its milder form is hard to recognize. Undiagnosed mild disease contributes to the spread of the illness among infants and young children.
Persons with mild whooping cough can transmit the illness to un-immunized and partially immunized infants and young children who are more susceptible to severe illness and complications, such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and seizures.
Anyone - particularly infants and young children - who is un-immunized is at a higher risk for severe whooping cough.
How Do You Treat It?
Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics and patients are advised to take all prescribed medication and avoid contact with anyone, particularly small infants and children.
Ask your health care provider for treatment options if you think you or your child may have whooping cough.
How Do You Prevent It?
While there is no lifelong protection against whooping cough, immunization is the best preventive measure. There is a vaccine to help protect you and your child against whooping cough.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department administers the Tdap vaccine, which protect a person from the whooping cough on Wednesdays from 8-11:30 & 1-4:30, second Wednesday of each month until 6 p.m. Click on Immunization tab for more information on immunizations.
Consult your health care provider to be sure you and your family have been vaccinated.
Please refer to the Center for Disease Control website at cdc.gov or pertussis.com for more information.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age.