Safety tips will help during holiday and summer picnics

One out of every six people get sick from a foodborne illness each year, and a few extra precautions can help keep your summer meals, cookouts and picnics illness-free this year.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department wants to increase awareness of food safety as people head into the summer picnic season. The following food safety guidelines can help you prevent the spread of food-borne illness from picnic meals shared with family and friends:

  • Keep hands clean. Wash hands before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, between handling raw and ready-to-eat items and after handling pets. Wash with hot soapy water and dry with paper towels.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces often. To sanitize surfaces, use a solution of regular household bleach and warm water. Add about 1 tablespoon of bleach to 2 gallons of water for the right concentration. Sanitize by first washing and rinsing the surface and then immerse, spray or swab with the bleach solution.
  • Separate – don’t cross-contaminate. Separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods. Use different cutting boards or wash, rinse and sanitize after contact with raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never use the same plate for holding raw meat and transporting cooked meat.
  • Be sure to wash all produce thoroughly before use. Thoroughly clean the outer surface before slicing and keep work surface and utensils clean and sanitized. Handle all cut melons carefully, including cantaloupe and watermelon. Promptly refrigerate sliced melon at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Follow the cooking guidelines listed below for proper meat preparation. Cook food to the proper internal temperature. Always check the internal temperature of cooked foods with a metal-stemmed thermometer and cook another 15 seconds after the thermometer indicates it has reached the proper temperature.

 Ground beef: 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds

Poultry and stuffed meats: 165 degrees F for 15 seconds

Pork products: 150 degrees F for 15 seconds

Other products: 140 degrees F for 15 seconds

Reheating leftovers: 165 degrees F for 15 seconds

  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Leftovers should be cooled and maintained within two hours at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or frozen at zero degrees or lower. When you are unsure how long leftover food has been out of proper serving temperature, a good rule of thumb to follow is “when in doubt, throw it out!”

Get vaccination, wash your hands to prevent hepatitis A

A case of hepatitis A has been confirmed at Millcreek Elementary School. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is working closely with Fayette County Public Schools. Letters have been sent home to the parents with kids in the classroom.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can easily be passed from person to person and can be spread through close contact with someone infected with it. Washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before making food and drinks can help stop the spread of hepatitis A.

The best prevention is with a hepatitis A vaccination. Starting in the 2018-19 school year, Kentucky students will be required to have the vaccination. Please check with your medical provider to see if your child has been vaccinated.

Health department to hold annual rabies clinic May 10 at Castlewood Park

Lexington pet owners can get a low-cost rabies shot at a new location this year.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s annual Rabies Vaccination Clinic will be held 6-9 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at Castlewood Park, 201 Castlewood Drive. Vaccinations will cost just $3. All cats must be in a carrier, and all dogs must be on leashes. In the event of inclement weather, the clinic date is subject to change. The health department will provide updated information at www.lexingtonhealthdepartment.org and on its Twitter account at twitter.com/LFCHD.

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 shot 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 345 rabies shots during the May 2017 clinic. The LFCHD Rabies Control Program received 740 animal bite reports last year, with LFCHD staff making sure each animal was up to date on all rabies vaccination shots.

The clinic also provides pet owners with the opportunity to purchase an animal license for $8 if the animal has been spayed or neutered. A license costs $40 if the animal has not been fixed or the owner has no proof of alteration. Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control, the Lexington Humane Society, the Lexington-Fayette County Division of Parks and Recreation Department, Gainesway Small Animal Clinic and MedVet Medical and Cancer Center for Pets are also sponsoring the clinic.

For more information on the annual Rabies Clinic, call the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health at (859) 231-9791. Be sure to like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

LFCHD, community partners reveal city’s health assessment and improvement plan

Every five years, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD) in partnership with the Lexington Community Health Improvement Partnership (LEX-CHIP) engages the community in a health assessment and planning process for the purpose of improving health in the Lexington-Fayette County community.

This document has been created to share the process and results of the Community Health Assessment (CHA) and to address the priority issues it identified. Goals, objectives, and strategies for each of the priority issues are outlined in this document. The purpose of the plan is to detail how community partners will collectively and collaboratively work together to improve the health and well-being of our community.

Through the development of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), an overarching theme arose. The theme “Rise Up Lex” was born. It is the hope of LEXCHIP that this theme will become a motto for both LEXCHIP and the community of Lexington. From this theme, the action teams LexBeWell, LexWork, and LexBeSafe were formed. The groups strive to focus on the vision that Lexington will be a community that is safe and healthy for all.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, in partnership with the Lexington Community Health Improvement Partnership (LEX-CHIP), is proud to share the document here: Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan.

The document takes a look at current health trends through multiple sets of lenses. It uses the information to inform decision-making for community engagement and partnerships to improve the overall health of the community.

Health department offering free Narcan kits in community class April 30

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is hosting a free community training on naloxone, which will include providing free kits containing the overdose-reversing medication.

The class is scheduled for 4:30-6 p.m. Monday, April 30 at the health department’s main building, 650 Newtown Pike. Participants must complete a 10-15-minute training to receive a free naloxone kit. The kits are only available to those 18 years of age and older; a photo ID is required. A limited number of Narcan kits will be available, so it will be on a first-come, first-served basis, with four sessions of up to 50 people per class for a total of 200 kits.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, blocks opiate receptors in the brain, works in 1-3 minutes and lasts 30-90 minutes. It can cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and disorientation, but there is no risk for abuse or addiction. If given in a timely manner, the antidote can prevent deaths from overdoses due to opioid drugs, such as oxycodone or heroin. 

“Ready access to naloxone at home or in the community can save lives,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh. “Knowing when and how to use Narcan in the event of an opioid overdose gives people a chance for recovery in the future.”

The health department provided 144 free Narcan kits during a community class in January. The kits are also available 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays as part of the health department’s needle-exchange in the Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room at 650 Newtown Pike.

The free naloxone kits are available to the community through partnerships between the health department, Drug Free Lex and the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, and a bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

The purchase of Narcan was supported by a grant 2014-PM-BX-0010 (Data-Driven Multidisciplinary Approaches to Reducing Prescription Abuse in Kentucky) awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice

Legends, LFCHD partner to strike out tobacco at ballpark

The Lexington Legends announced Tuesday that Whitaker Bank Ballpark will be 100 percent tobacco-free this season! The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is partnering with the organization to help educate fans on ways to stop tobacco use. Be sure to look for our information on the team’s schedule magnets being given away Opening Weekend at the ballpark!

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray also announced that all city-owned ballparks will be 100 percent tobacco-free.

Call us at 859-288-2446 to learn more on how we can help you or someone you know quit using tobacco in 2018!

Dr. Svetla Slavova named 2018 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Board of Health has selected Dr. Svetla Slavova as the 2018 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 2-8, 2018).

Dr. Slavova is an associate professor of Biostatistics at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, and a faculty member at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), a bona fide agent of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, housed within the College.

She has served as principal investigator and co-investigator on projects supporting reducing prescription drug abuse in Kentucky and quality improvement in the Kentucky Trauma Registry, among many other important grant-supported investigations. She is widely published on topics related to injury surveillance and public health and safety. Through her work at KIPRC, which combines academic investigation with practical public health initiatives, she has been active in helping Lexington and Kentucky be well for more than a decade.

Most recently, Dr. Slavova’s efforts helped the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department offer free naloxone kits as part of its needle-exchange program.

“As an expert in the field of drug overdose surveillance, Dr. Slavova has led the charge both nationally and locally for clear, actionable data on which to base sound public health policy and programs,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said. “She is acutely aware of the practical needs of communities affected by substance abuse and the realities we face. Through her work with KIPRC, we not only have a clearer picture of the community’s opioid epidemic, but we also have more tools for responding to this health threat. Dr. Slavova’s efforts have contributed to making available lifesaving naloxone kits for those at highest risk and their family and friends, which can prevent deaths and give people who have substance use disorders a chance to pursue recovery. She is truly worthy of being called a Public Health Hero.”

Dr. Slavova will be recognized at the April 9 Board of Health meeting held at 5:45 p.m. in Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room, 650 Newtown Pike. She will also be honored at the April 12 Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council meeting.

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 Reginald Thomas (2017), Dr. Rice C. Leach (2016), 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.

Health department provides 185 free flu shots

The community fought the flu this February with free flu shots.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department provided 185 free flu shots Feb. 13 at a special clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. “Flu season in Kentucky peaks in February and cases can extend into April and May,” LFCHD spokesperson Kevin Hall said. “It’s definitely not too late to get protection from the flu for your entire family.”

The seasonal flu shot is recommended for all people ages 6 months and older. There have been 565 confirmed flu cases in Lexington this season, including 13 deaths.

The health department previously provided 1,026 free flu shots in October at its annual clinic for the community.

Flu shots are regularly available 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday at the health department without an appointment for $30 ($49 for a high-dose vaccine for ages 65 and older). Medicaid/Medicare, cash, checks, credit cards and some insurances are accepted.

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. For questions about the flu shot, call the Public Health Clinic at 859-288-2483 option 2.

LFCHD seeking Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero nominations

It is time to nominate people for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero Award. The award, now in its 15th year, is for individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents.

Criteria for the selection of the award include:

  • Exemplary leadership and diligence in promoting public health;
  • Remarkable contributions and support in fostering public health programs; and
  • Work or actions that have impacted the community’s health in a positive way.

The Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health renamed the award in 2016 in honor of the late Dr. Rice C. Leach “so future generations will know what a true public health super hero is.” Leach, who served as Lexington’s Commissioner of Health for five years, died in April 2016 following a battle with cancer.

Past winners include Kentucky State Sen. Reginald Thomas (2017), Dr. Leach (2016), 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-Booth 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.

If you know of someone, please provide the following information:

  • Name, professional title and organization;
  • Phone number and e-mail address of nominee; and
  • Examples of why the person is worthy of the award. Descriptions should be no more than 200 words.
  • Your name and contact information

Nominations can be submitted here: Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero nomination.

The deadline for submitting candidates is 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb.28.

The Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health will make the final determination. The winner will receive special recognition from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. The awards are given each April as part of National Public Health Week.

 

Health department provides 144 free Narcan kits in 1st community class

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department provided 144 naloxone kits Tuesday at its first class to train the community on the overdose-reversing medication. Due to overwhelming demand, the health department plans to hold additional community classes to be announced soon.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, blocks opiate receptors in the brain, works in 1-3 minutes and lasts 30-90 minutes. It can cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and disorientation, but there is no risk for abuse or addiction. If given in a timely manner, the antidote can prevent deaths from overdoses due to opioid drugs, such as oxycodone or heroin.

“Ready access to naloxone at home or in the community can save lives,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh. “Knowing when and how to use Narcan gives people a chance for recovery in the future.”

The free naloxone kits were available to the community through a partnership between the health department, Drug Free Lex and the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, and a bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

The purchase of Narcan was supported by a grant 2014-PM-BX-0010 (Data-Driven Multidisciplinary Approaches to Reducing Prescription Abuse in Kentucky) awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. 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.