NEW! LFCHD alerts parents to new pertussis cases in Lexington school
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is continuing to work closely with Fayette County Public Schools following three new confirmed case of pertussis, or whooping cough, at Clays Mill Elementary School. There are now five total confirmed cases, following previous reports from Jan. 20 and Jan. 31.
Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages but can be most serious in infants and those with chronic diseases.
The health department is recommending preventive antibiotics for high-risk students who were exposed to pertussis. This includes students with a chronic illness or weakened immune system and those who live in households with the following: a family member with a chronic illness or weakened immune system, a baby or a pregnant woman.
Any school-age children with symptoms of pertussis should stay home from school and visit their health care provider for evaluation, even if they have previously been vaccinated. If found to have probable or confirmed pertussis, they should remain out of school until completion of their antibiotics. For more information about pertussis, call 859-231-9791.
The early symptoms are similar to a common cold: runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and coughing. After 1-2 weeks, the cough often gets worse, changing from a dry, hacking cough to bursts of uncontrollable, sometimes violent, coughing. During a coughing episode, it might be temporarily impossible to take a breath because of the intensity and repetition of the coughs. When finally able to breathe, the person might take a sudden gasp of air, which can cause a “whooping” sound. Vomiting and exhaustion can often follow a coughing spell.
The vaccine against pertussis is routine and required for school-age kids. One dose of the booster vaccine, called Tdap, is recommended for ages 11 and above for protection. Teenagers and adults who have never received the Tdap vaccine should check with their primary care provider or call the health department at 859-288-2483 to check availability. Although the vaccine is effective, immunity tends to decrease over time, making the booster important for older children and adults.
Closing school to prevent the spread of pertussis is not recommended because of the length of time needed – six weeks – for this strategy to be effective. For additional information, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, on Twitter at @LFCHD or Instagram at @lexpublichealth.
NEW! Needle Exchange program
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s needle-exchange program is expanding hours to 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fridays at 650 Newtown Pike in the Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room. The free, anonymous and confidential program is designed to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis in Lexington. Used needles must be brought in to receive clean needles. Click here to find out more about the program.
In addition to free needles, the program will offer testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, educational materials and a safe disposal of dirty needles. Referrals and counseling can be made available for those who test positive for HIV or who are seeking drug treatment or other health and social services. On-site treatment referrals to rehabilitation is available from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
NEW! Flu shots available
The health department will offer flu shots 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Friday at its Public Health Clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. No appointment is necessary, and the cost for a flu shot is $30. Medicaid/Medicare, cash, checks, credit cards and some insurances are accepted. For more information about the flu, call the Public Health Clinic at 859-288-2483 option 2.
NEW! Board selects Dr. Kraig Humbaugh as new Commissioner of Health
We are excited to announce the hiring of Lexington’s next Commissioner of Health: Dr. Kraig Humbaugh!
“I am honored to serve and look forward to working with the Board of Health, the hard-working team at the health department and the community to make Lexington a healthier place to live, work and visit,” Dr. Humbaugh said. “It’s important that we build on Dr. (Rice) Leach’s legacy and the already strong foundation that the health department has in the community.”
Read the full press release here.
NEW! Now offering family planning
Our Public Health Clinic provides family planning services. Services are confidential and are available for uninsured and underinsured. Same day appointments and limited walk-in availability! Clinic hours are Monday, Wednesday & Thursday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information call 859-288-2483 option 2.
Presumptive eligibility is a process that offers prenatal care services to pregnant women while their Medicaid applications are pending. The goal is to offer health care to women early in their pregnancies so they stay healthy and have healthy babies.
Family planning offers confidential services to men and women, providing services including birth control, pregnancy testing and counseling, Pap testing, pelvic exams and education and counseling.