Fireworks safety tips

Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths. Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Diabetes program earns national accreditation

LFCHD’s “Healthy Living with Diabetes” program received national accreditation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators. This will allow people with diabetes in Fayette County to received increased access to quality diabetes education services. The application process took more than a year to complete national standards.

Congratulations to Melissa Smith, Nancy Hiner, Laura Martinez, Carol Hisle, Tara Mason and Tami Ross for this exciting honor!

Find out more:

New cases of mumps reported in Lexington

Mumps has recently been identified as the cause of illness in two Fayette County residents. These are the first laboratory-confirmed cases of mumps in the community this year.

Mumps is a rare but contagious disease spread through coughing and sneezing. Mumps usually causes the following symptoms for about 7-10 days: swollen glands in the cheek and jaw area, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. If you or someone in your family has these symptoms, please contact your medical provider and stay home from work/school and other people for five days after the start of the symptoms.

The best way to protect against mumps is to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, also called the MMR shot. Doctors recommend that all children get two doses of the MMR vaccine, one at ages 12-15 months, the next at 4-6 years. Check with your doctor’s office about the MMR vaccine. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has some MMR vaccine available for those who qualify through the Vaccines for Children Program. Please call the Public Health Clinic at 859-288-2483 to find out if you qualify.

Proper hygiene can also help prevent the spread of mumps. Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

For additional information, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD or on Instagram @lexpublichealth.

Reginald Thomas named 2017 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Board of Health selected Kentucky State Sen. Reginald Thomas as the 2017 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero. The award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents. The winner is announced each April as part of National Public Health Week (April 3-9, 2017).

Thomas, who represents part of Fayette County in the state senate, is a public health advocate through his actions statewide, including co-sponsoring legislation to teach high school students CPR, supporting rights of breastfeeding mothers and protecting children and adults against abuse, neglect and exploitation. He has supported bills offering better services for autistic individuals, gaining rights for child care centers to administer epinephrine injections for allergic reactions and removing barriers to colorectal screenings.

Thomas has also worked closely with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department for information to help shape statutes and regulations to improve the health and well-being of Kentuckians.

He is an active community member in Lexington, serving or having served on the boards of the Lexington Actors Guild, the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Kentucky Conference of Community and Justice, Bluegrass Community and Technical College and Commerce Lexington. He is a graduate of Bryan Station High School, Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. He and his late wife Lynda have three children and one granddaughter.

Thomas “is a selfless advocate of protecting and prospering the health and well-being for all members of Lexington and Fayette County,” states the award nomination. “He is a true champion for public health.”

Thomas will be recognized at the April 27 Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council meeting. He will also be honored at the May 8 Board of Health meeting held at 5:45 p.m. at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike.

Previously known as the Public Health Hero Award, the Board of Health renamed the award in 2016 in memory of the late Dr. Rice C. Leach, Lexington’s former Commissioner of Health who spent more than 50 years as a public health physician. Leach died April 1, 2016.

Past winners include Dr. Susan Pollack and Marian F. Guinn (2015), the Rev. Willis Polk and baby Health Service (2014), Anita Courtney and Teens Against Tobacco Use (2013); Vickie Blevins and Jay McChord (2012); Jill Chenault-Wilson and Dr. Malkanthie McCormick (2011); Dr. Jay Perman (2010); the Lexington Lions Club (2009); Dr. David Stevens and the late Dr. Doane Fischer (2008); Dr. Ellen Hahn, Mary Alice Pratt and Therese Moseley (2007); Dr. Andrew Moore and Rosa Martin (2006); Jan Brucato and Dragana Zaimovic (2005); and Dr. John Michael Moore, Ellen Parks and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (2004). Dr. Robert Lam received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

Be sure to listen to our Healthy Times radio interview with Reggie Thomas to hear more from the 2017 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero!

Health department mosquito control program to focus on education, trapping

This summer, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department plans to control mosquito populations in the community by bringing increased focus to eliminating standing water and preventing mosquito larvae from hatching. At the same time, the department will use mosquito trapping to identify areas where spraying for adult mosquitos would be most useful.

The health department has surveyed Lexington neighborhoods to identify and treat large areas of standing water that can serve as prime locations for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Elimination of standing water is the ultimate goal, but in places where puddles exist, the water can be treated to kill mosquito larvae with a chemical called a larvicide.

“We are increasing activities to kill mosquito larvae in areas where standing water cannot be drained,” said Luke Mathis, Environmental Health and Preparedness team leader at LFCHD.  “Targeting immature mosquitoes is a more effective control strategy as it stops mosquitoes from developing into adults that can feed on humans and transmit mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and West Nile.”

The health department will no longer conduct routine mosquito spraying for adult mosquitoes throughout the city on a regular cycle. Instead, mosquito traps will be placed in potential problem areas. If a certain threshold of mosquito activity is reached, the department will conduct targeted spraying in the appropriate areas. Those areas will be announced via the health department’s website, www.lexingtonhealthdepartment.org, and social media pages.

For spraying, the health department uses Duet, an EPA-approved agent that features a component that stimulates resting mosquitoes in trees and foliage, causing them to fly into the air and come into contact with the spray’s mosquito-killing agent, sumithrin. Duet has been rigorously tested for human and animal safety and is registered for outdoor residential and recreational areas.

Lexington residents can also take steps at home to fight mosquitoes:

Mosquito-proof your home and yard. Fix or install window and door screens. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing waterCover or eliminate empty containers with standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items such as tires, buckets, barrels and cans. Refresh the water in your pet’s water dishes and birdbaths at least every five to seven days.

Be aware of peak mosquito activity times. The twilight hours around dusk and dawn are times of peak mosquito activity. Use insect repellent when outdoors especially during peak activity times, including early morning hours. Look for EPA-labeled repellents containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin (KBR3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Apply repellent according to label instructions. When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent helps prevent bites.

“The battle against mosquitoes starts at every residence in Fayette County,” Mathis said. “By eliminating standing water, even something as small a capful of rain in your yard, you can remove areas for mosquitoes to lay eggs. It’s important for people to walk around their homes to see what they can do to help curb the mosquito population.”

To report a standing water problem in your neighborhood, please call the health department’s Environmental Health section at (859) 231-9791. For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

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.

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.

Pet Sounds: LFCHD gives 345 low-cost rabies shots!

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s gave 345 rabies shots at its annual Rabies Vaccination Clinic held May 18 at Valley Park, 2077 Cambridge Drive.

Rabies, a viral disease of humans, pets and wild animals, is transmitted from animals to humans by the saliva of a rabid animal, usually from a bite.

Rabies vaccinations typically cost about $20, making this clinic a great value to pet owners. “A rabies shots gives protection to the pet as well as its owner and the other people of Lexington, said Luke Mathis, LFCHD Environmental Health team leader and one of the event’s organizers. “We’re pleased to provide this useful public health service as we help Lexington be well.”

State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets maintain a current rabies vaccination. The health department gave 313 rabies shots during the May 2016 clinic. The LFCHD Rabies Control Program received 711 animal bite reports last year, with LFCHD staff making sure each animal was up to date on all rabies vaccination shots.

Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control, the Lexington Humane Society, the Lexington-Fayette County Division of Parks and Recreation Department and the Cardinal Valley Park Activity Board also sponsored the clinic.