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Tag Archive | "Kent County Health Department"

Community health forum


March 27 6-8 p.m. at Metro Health in Cedar Springs

N-Kent-County-logo

The Kent County Health Department needs your help! The Health Department is currently conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment to identify strengths, weaknesses, and the health concerns of several communities within Kent County. Our Cedar Springs area meeting takes place on March 27, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Metro Health, on White Creek (near Save A Lot) in Cedar Springs, and is currently lacking in participation. We need your help to spread the word! The community health forum is open to men, women, and children alike; every person in attendance will receive a meal and be entered into a drawing for one of several $25.00 Meijer gift cards.

This community health forum is crucial to the success and health improvement of Cedar Springs.  We encourage you to participate and hope that you’ll tell others within your organization, social circles, etc.  The greater the participation we see within the community the better we can assess health and work to improve.

To Sign-Up For One Of Our Forums, Please Follow The Directions Below:

1. Visit Our Website:  www.KentCountyCHNA.org

2. Select The ‘Meetings’ Tab.

3. Scroll Down The Page To Find A Meeting Near You.

4. When You’ve Found Your Community Meeting, Scroll To The Bottom Of The Page.

5. Select The Link “RSVP To A Meeting Near You” and complete the survey.

 

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Stomach illness on the rise in Kent County


 

GRAND RAPIDS – Reports of stomach illness to the Kent County Health Department have health officials reminding everyone to practice good hygiene to prevent the further spread of sickness. For the week ending March 8, 2014, gastrointestinal illness (vomiting and/or diarrhea) complaints are being reported to local medical emergency departments at a rate that is higher (16.9%) than the four year average for this time of year (14.9%).

Communicable Disease staff at KCHD has been in contact with local emergency departments as well as people impacted by the illness. The increase also prompted an alert, sent to food establishments, to be diligent regarding the health and hygiene of their food employees; to use proper cleaning procedures and reinforce proper protocol if someone on their staff or in their facility is ill. If you work in the food service industry, in a cafeteria, or in a restaurant, and you are ill, stay home until you recover. The Michigan Food Code requires food employees to be symptom-free from diarrhea or vomiting for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to work.

Many of the complaints exhibit symptoms consistent with norovirus infection, a highly contagious, easily transmitted illness.

“If you or someone in your family is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, avoid contact with those who are not ill,” said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “Although a surface may not be visibly soiled, the virus can live on this surface for long periods of time if not properly cleaned.”

If possible, infected individuals should use one bathroom while uninfected individuals use another. The infected person should use disposable paper towel to dry their hands after washing, to prevent the virus from spreading.

Be sure to clean that bathroom (and any other potentially contaminated areas) with a chlorine bleach solution, mixing ¼ cup of bleach with one gallon of water.

Other tips:

1. Wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and before, during and after preparing food:

• Rub your hands together to lather the soap, and be sure to really scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

• Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

• Rinse your hands well under running water.

• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dry them.

• After drying, use another clean paper towel to open the door, and then dispose of it.

2. If you have been suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, remain at home until symptoms subside.

3. Don’t prepare food for anyone else until you haven’t had symptoms for 24 hours or more.

4. If sharing food, don’t use bare hands when handling foods, and use utensils to transfer food from container to plate.

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Fifth Flu-Related Death Reported in Kent County


GRAND RAPIDS – The Kent County Health Department received notification today of a fifth flu-related death: a man from Kent County over the age of 50. The initial test confirms the man was suffering from Influenza A/H1N1, the predominant strain people have been catching this season. The health department has no medical history on the man, so it is unclear if there were any known underlying medical conditions in this case.

“Health care providers report a leveling-off of cases of flu-like illness in recent weeks, but we still need to practice prevention,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department.

“In some years, we see flu season peaks as late as March. If you are suffering from the symptoms, consider seeking help from a health care provider, and stay home until you recover.” Kent County had five known flurelated deaths in the 2009-2010 season, the initial year that the H1N1 strain was circulating. There were no deaths reported in Kent County in 2012-2013.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10 – 14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot. Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10 – 14 days before their immunity develops.

Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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H1N1 detected in three recent deaths


 

From the Kent County Health Department

Testing has confirmed three recent deaths in people over the age of 50 in Kent County who were suffering from influenza A (H1N1) virus. Two of the individuals also had other known medical complications; we do not have a medical history yet on the third person. There are over 400 reported flu cases in Kent County so far this season, and of those reported, at least 26 people have been hospitalized.

“In two of these cases, we are certain there were additional underlying medical conditions,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “We have seen, in other parts of the state, healthy young adults are becoming extremely ill from H1N1, as well as several deaths.”

In late December, the CDC issued an advisory, noting an increase in severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults due to H1N1 this year.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. The CDC recently reported that the influenza vaccination prevented approximately 6.6 million illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations last year. It is critically important that people get a flu shot now. It takes 10—14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot.

Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10–14 days before their immunity develops. Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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Flu cases rising in Kent County


 

 

Flu cases are rising in Kent County, and the Kent County Health Department urges parents to make sure their family is protected against the flu by getting vaccinated.

The KCHD said that we have not yet reached the peak of flu season, and the number of cases continues to rise. There are 324 reported flu cases in Kent County as of January 7; epidemiologists estimate only 8 percent of cases get reported, so the actual number could be more than 2800.

“Many adults have this misconception that the flu vaccine is just for kids, the elderly, or people who have medical conditions,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Even healthy adults need protection. The CDC reports an increase in severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults due to influenza A (H1N1) this year. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age.” The vaccine can take ten days to two weeks to become effective. Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). The KCHD says that if you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine is $25 for injectable three strain vaccine, $29 for preservative free three strain vaccine, $30 for preservative free four strain vaccine or $33 for FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine).

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com.

Flu information is also available on an information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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WIC Program is in operation


The Kent County Health Department said WIC is still operating.

The Kent County Health Department said WIC is still operating.

Government shutdown has threatened funding, but remains in place until further notice 

from the Kent County Health Department

Some federal offices and programs are immediately feeling the brunt of the government shutdown. While federal spending has been cut for USDA programs, the Kent County Health Department would like to assure clients of the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that the funding is in place in Michigan until further notice.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has stated that by using 2013 “spend forward funding” and reallocation funds from USDA, WIC should be able to sustain both administrative and food costs for four or five weeks.

“We are receiving many calls from mothers who are confused and concerned about program cuts,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “We are still accepting appointments with clients and potential clients. Vendors are still able to accept WIC EBT (Bridge) cards for client purchases until further notice.”

“While it is unclear at this time how long this shutdown will remain in effect, or what will happen after four weeks, Kent County Health Department remains committed to keeping our clients updated on this situation,” London added.

 

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Flu vaccinations at Health Department


Injections and mist protect against seasonal flu

_HEA-Flu-Vaccination_US_Navy

From the Kent County Health Department

 

Flu season is fast approaching. While Kent County has not had any cases reported at this time, now is the time to schedule an appointment to get immunized. The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine is $25 for injectable three strain vaccine, $29 for preservative free three strain vaccine, $30 for preservative free four strain vaccine or $33 for FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine).

“Last season, there was a steep increase in the number of confirmed flu cases in Kent County, in comparison with the 2011-2012 season,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Last season’s flu packed quite a punch for those who caught it. KCHD received dozens of calls from people looking to get vaccinated in December and January.” Since it can take about two weeks to become effective, now is the time to think about vaccinations. The flu can have serious complications for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people with already-weakened immune systems. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age to protect against flu viruses.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. It impacts schools and workplaces, but it can be prevented.

The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, it can be deadly. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Not everyone with flu will experience all of the symptoms.

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted.

To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at 742-4FLU (358).

Posted in Featured, HealthComments (1)

Health Department reminds adults to “Rethink Drinks”


Effort focuses on community awareness

 

The Kent County Health Department is continuing to work in partnership with Network180 to reduce adult heavy drinking. The partnership is entering its second year of the campaign to inform adults about the harmful effects and risky behaviors associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The campaign is hitting the road… in more ways than one.

Year two of the campaign has included bus boards on The Rapid, billboards, Johnny Ads and drink coasters distributed to bars and restaurants throughout Kent County, advertising at Fifth Third Ballpark, an end-of-season agreement with the West Michigan Whitecaps, and outreach at local schools and colleges.

“Alcohol abuse and heavy drinking can be a problem for all populations in West Michigan, especially this time of year,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “There are many short and long-term problems associated with heavy drinking, from risky behaviors to obesity and organ damage. Encouraging healthy behavior in places where alcohol is consumed helps us reach those most at-risk.”

Adult heavy drinking is a major public health concern. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Assessment in 2008, 18 percent of those who were surveyed between the ages of 18-64 admitted to binge drinking in the past month. Binge drinking is higher among men (20.8 percent) and in residents between the ages of 25-34. The assessment also found 22.7 percent of adults in a higher income tax bracket ($75,000/year) admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days. Many people do not realize the long-term harm they are doing to their bodies when they engage in heavy drinking.

The website www.rethinkdrinks.com includes:

· How to determine if your alcohol consumption is a risk to your health;

· How much alcohol is in a drink;

· How many calories are in a drink;

· Online calculator to assist in determining your blood alcohol content.

This partnership between the Kent County Health Department and Network180 is supported by a grant from the Behavioral Health and Departmental Disabilities Administration/Bureau of Substances Abuse & Addiction Services.

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What you should know after two produce recalls


From the Kent County Health Department

The Cilantro was sold to distributors in Michigan on August 3, 2013. The product was also shipped to retail stores in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Cilantro, which was distributed through Meijer and Ben B Schwartz and Sons in Michigan the week of August 5-9, could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  The Cilantro has a Buurma Farms twist-tie on it.

The Cilantro was sold to distributors in Michigan on August 3, 2013. The product was also shipped to retail stores in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Cilantro, which was distributed through Meijer and Ben B Schwartz and Sons in Michigan the week of August 5-9, could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The Cilantro has a Buurma Farms twist-tie on it.

The Kent County Health Department wants consumers to know the symptoms of illness from the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This comes after a second recall in West Michigan from potentially contaminated produce. This week, Buurma Farms, Inc., recalled fresh cilantro, sold in Meijer Stores in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Heeren Brothers Produce recalled cantaloupe sold in small, independent stores, due to possible listeria contamination.

The health department recommends those who may have eaten either of the recalled items to contact a health care provider if they notice symptoms of illness in the coming weeks, especially those who may already be at high risk for illness. The Listeria bacteria can cause the infection Listeriosis in some people, and can be fatal in high-risk populations. Listeriosis infection has an incubation period that ranges from three days to ten weeks.

Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea, stomach cramping or vomiting. If you start to notice these symptoms and believe you may have eaten any potentially contaminated produce in these recalls, contact your health care provider immediately. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can cause a variety of health complications for the fetus, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Other symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Even though Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics, it has a high death rate among the food-borne infections.

“There have been no complaints of illness received from either the cantaloupe or cilantro recalls this summer,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of Kent County. “Still, it is a concern, as the incubation period is so lengthy. We are especially concerned about people who are vulnerable to illness: newborns, older adults, those with compromised immune systems, and women who are pregnant.”

If you believe you have the produce that has been recalled, you should throw it away immediately.

Here is a link to the FDA recall, which includes a list of stores (mainly Meijer Stores) that have recalled cilantro: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm365422.htm.

More information on Listeriosis can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/.

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Heeren Brothers recalls cantaloupe


Heeren Brothers Produce is recalling approximately 5,400 cantaloupes because of a possible health risk to consumers.

The produce, which was distributed to small, independent grocers in Michigan July 23-26, has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and should be discarded and not consumed. The cantaloupes are Athena Cantaloupes, but have no stickers or other markings that identify them as such.

The Kent County Health Department is recommending those who may have eaten the cantaloupe to contact a health care provider if they notice symptoms of illness in the coming weeks, especially those who may already be at high risk for illness. The FDA tested the cantaloupe and says it found the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause the infection Listeriosis in some people. Listeriosis can be fatal in high-risk populations.

The Kent County Health Department has not received any complaints of illness due to the cantaloupe recall as of August 6. “Listeriosis infection has an incubation period that ranges from three days to ten weeks,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of Kent County. “We are concerned about people who are vulnerable to illness: newborns, older adults, those with compromised immune systems, and women who are pregnant.”

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness that causes about 1600 infections annually in the United States. Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea, stomach cramping or vomiting. If you start to notice these symptoms and believe you may have eaten a potentially contaminated cantaloupe, contact your health care provider immediately. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can cause a variety of health complications for the fetus, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Other symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Even though Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics, it has a high death rate among the food-borne infections.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly or others with weak immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

After receiving notice from the FDA, Heeren Brothers Produce immediately alerted retailers and requested that they remove the produce from their shelves. Heeren Brothers Produce has also contacted the supplier of the cantaloupes. The source of the potential issue is still under investigation. Heeren Brothers Produce is cooperating fully with the FDA.

Consumers who have questions may contact Heeren Brothers Produce at 616.452.2101 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here are tips from the FDA regarding melon safety:

Consumers and food preparers should wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any whole melon, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew.

Scrub the surface of melons, such as cantaloupes, with a clean produce brush under running water and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting. Sanitize your scrub brush after each use, to avoid transferring bacteria between melons.

Promptly consume cut melon or refrigerate promptly. Keep your cut melon refrigerated at, or less than 40 degrees F (32-34 degrees F is best), for no more than 7 days. Discard cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.

More information on Listeriosis can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/.

 

 

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