You can count on the US Census 2020!

The 2020 Census is less than three months away. Counting everyone who lives in the United States is a huge undertaking—and the City of Lexington needs everyone’s help to ensure a complete and accurate count. Getting an accurate count in our local communities is vital to our area’s future. Results of the 2020 Census will be used to determine the number of seats our state will hold in the U.S. House of Representatives. In our region alone, the Census will provide job opportunities for thousands of citizens.

The data will also be used by federal organizations to determine how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated by state, local, and federal lawmakers every year for the next ten years. Census data is critical for public services like hospitals and healthcare clinics, schools, and education programs—roads, bridges, and emergency response.

Please visit WeCountLex or U.S. Census 2020 to learn more!

Fight the flu this holiday season

This holiday season, give the gift of good health: a flu shot to avoid getting (and spreading) the flu! Flu season is ramping up in Lexington with 13 confirmed cases and countless others that don’t get officially reported.

“A seasonal flu shot is recommended to all people ages 6 months and older and is the best way to avoid getting the flu,” LFCHD spokesperson Kevin Hall said.

Last year, Lexington had 5 deaths from flu-related causes and 506 confirmed cases of the flu, which only represents a small fraction since most flu cases are not lab-confirmed). The CDC estimates as many as 25 percent of the population gets the flu annually.

Flu shots are available 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday in the Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike. No appointment is necessary. The cost of a flu shot varies based on insurance, so call 859-288-2483 for details. Medicaid/Medicare, cash, checks, credit cards and most insurance plans are accepted.

December holiday food safety tips

The following food safety tips will allow you to prepare, serve and enjoy a safe holiday meal:

  • Wash hands Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water following restroom use, before preparing foods, after handling raw meat and before eating.
  • Clean – Wash and sanitize food-contact surfaces often. To sanitize utensils, immerse for 30 seconds in clean, hot water at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or immerse for at least one minute in a solution containing one teaspoon of 5.25 percent household bleach per gallon of water. Bacteria can spread and get onto cutting boards, knives and counter tops. Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing.
  • 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.
  • 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: 145 degrees F for 15 seconds
  • Other products: 145 degrees F for 15 seconds
  • Reheating leftovers: 165 degrees F for 15 seconds
  • Transport safely – Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Leftovers should be cooled and maintained within four hours at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or frozen at zero degrees or lower.
  • When in doubt, throw it out – If you are unsure of how long a particular food item has been left out at room temperature, the best thing to do is discard the item.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department wishes you safe and happy holidays this December. For more information about food safety, please contact the Division of Environmental Health and Protection at (859) 231-9791.

You’ll be thankful for these Thanksgiving tips

The following food safety tips will allow you to prepare, serve and enjoy a safe holiday meal:

  • Wash hands – Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water following restroom use, before preparing foods, after handling raw meat and before eating.
  • Clean – Wash and sanitize food-contact surfaces often. To sanitize utensils, immerse for 30 seconds in clean, hot water at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or immerse for at least one minute in a solution containing one teaspoon of 5.25 percent household bleach per gallon of water. Bacteria can spread and get onto cutting boards, knives and counter tops. Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing.
  • Thaw properly – Proper methods for thawing a turkey include thawing in a refrigerator with a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or less (allow 3-4 days for thawing); placing under cool running water at a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit or less; or thawing in microwave and cooking the turkey immediately.
  • Take temperatures – Cook turkey at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked, hot foods should be kept at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Be sure to use a food thermometer to check temperatures.
  • Keep it cold – Cold foods should be kept at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or less. After the turkey is served, immediately slice and refrigerate on shallow platters. Use refrigerated turkey and stuffing within three to four days. Use gravy within one to two days. If freezing leftovers, use within two to six months for best quality.
  • Transport safely – Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Reheat – Leftover turkey and stuffing should be stored separately in shallow dishes or platters. Rapidly reheat leftovers to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When in doubt, throw it out – If you are unsure of how long a particular food item has been left out at room temperature, the best thing to do is discard the item.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department wishes you a safe and happy holiday. For more information about food safety, please contact the Division of Environmental Health and Protection at (859) 231-9791.

Free naloxone kits and community training to be held Nov. 19

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 classes are scheduled for 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room at the health department’s main building, 650 Newtown Pike. Participants must complete a 10-15-minute training to receive a free naloxone kit, followed by time for paperwork and a Q&A. Participants only have to attend one of the sessions.

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 are available to the community through a partnership between the health department and a grant from the City of Lexington. The purchase of naloxone was supported by the First Responders and Community Partners Overdose Prevention Project awarded to Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.   

Mayor Linda Gorton
Devine Carama
Commissioner of Social Services Chris Ford
Josh Nadzam

Health department to spray for mosquitoes Oct. 10

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reporting a probable case of West Nile Virus in a human. As a result, the health department will conduct mosquito-spraying activities in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning in portions of the 40502, 40507 and 40508 ZIP codes. The route will focus on the downtown areas between Euclid Avenue and Main Street, including Woodland Park. This is the first reported probable human case of West Nile Virus in Fayette County this year.

Spraying will be done between 3-6 a.m. Thursday. For spraying to occur, the wind speed must be less than 10 mph, the temperature must be greater than 55o F and there can be no rain or dense fog. The mosquito spray used by the health department only affects adult mosquitoes that are in the air at the time of 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 water. Cover 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 health department also conducts surveys in neighborhoods around Lexington to identify standing water problems that can serve as a location for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Elimination of standing water is the ultimate goal, but in areas where standing water cannot be eliminated the water can be treated to kill mosquito larvae with a chemical called a larvicide.

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.

All health department services now at 650 Newtown Pike; clinic has new hours

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s services are now in one location: 650 Newtown Pike (the corner of Newtown Pike and Loudon Avenue).

The Public Health Clinic, including our WIC program, also has new hours:

  • 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday
  • 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday
  • 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday
  • 8-11:30 a.m. Thursday
  • 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday

To reach the Public Health Clinic, please call 859-288-2483. You can also learn more here: Public Health Clinic. En español: Clínica de Salud Pública.

First flu case confirmed in Lexington

Flu season has officially started in Lexington.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reporting the city’s first lab-confirmed case of the flu for the 2019-20 flu season. Information about the case cannot be provided because of federal privacy laws.

Last year, Lexington had 5 deaths from flu-related causes and 506 confirmed cases of the flu, which only represents a small fraction since most flu cases are not lab-confirmed). The CDC estimates as many as 25 percent of the population gets the flu annually.

“A seasonal flu shot is recommended to all people ages 6 months and older and is the best way to avoid getting the flu,” LFCHD spokesperson Kevin Hall said.

The health department is providing free flu shots to the community 1-7 p.m. Oct. 10 at Fayette Mall, near the interior entrance of Dillard’s, as part of its annual preparedness exercise.

Flu shots are also available 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday in the Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike, starting Sept. 30. No appointment is necessary. The cost of a flu shot varies based on insurance, so call 859-288-2483 for details. Medicaid/Medicare, cash, checks, credit cards and most insurance plans are accepted.

Free Flu Shots at the Mall, Y’all: annual event returns 10/10

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is once again giving you the chance to fight the flu for free.

The department’s annual free flu shot event will be held 1-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Fayette Mall, near the interior entrance of Dillard’s.

“An annual flu shot is the best way to fight the flu each fall and winter,” LFCHD spokesman Kevin Hall said. “The special clinic lets us test our emergency preparedness skills by giving a large amount of shots in a short amount of time.”

The seasonal flu shot is recommended for all people ages 6 months and older. Last flu season, Lexington had 5 deaths from flu-related causes and 506 confirmed cases. The health department provided 1,767 flu shots throughout the season, including 1,165 at last year’s free flu shot clinic.

“Lexington had 506 confirmed flu cases last year, but that represents a small fraction since most flu cases aren’t lab-confirmed,” Hall said. “The CDC estimates 5-20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year, costing an estimated $10.4 billion in medical expenses and $16.3 billion in lost earnings.”

For community members unable to get their flu shots at the special free event, the health department will offer flu shots 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday in the Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike, starting Oct. 1. No appointment is necessary. The cost of a flu shot varies based on insurance, so call 859-288-2483 for details. Medicaid/Medicare, cash, checks, credit cards and most insurance plans are accepted.

Hepatitis A: Get vaccination, wash your hands for prevention

(Updated Aug. 2, 2019) 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.

More than 4,790 cases have been reported across Kentucky since the fall of 2017, compared to around 20 cases that are typically recognized each year. There have been 59 deaths associated with hepatitis A in this outbreak. Though the outbreak was initially centered in the Louisville area, outbreak-related cases have now been reported in 110 counties across the state, including Fayette. Learn more about which counties have hepatitis A in this Kentucky hepatitis A report.

The best prevention is with a hepatitis A vaccination. The hepatitis A vaccine, given in two doses six months apart, is available from some medical providers and many pharmacies in Lexington and is covered by most insurance plans. The vaccine is also available at the health department’s Public Health Clinic by appointment. Call 859-288-2483 to check availability and to schedule an appointment. You can learn more in our Hep A Q&A!

Starting in the 2018-19 school year, Kentucky students are required to have the vaccination. Please check with your medical provider to see if your child has been vaccinated.

Good handwashing can also help control the spread of hepatitis A. Consistent and careful handwashing, including under the fingernails, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water can help stop the spread of the virus.

You can learn more about hepatitis A in this interview from Healthy Times, our radio show on Lexington Community Radio: hepatitis A interview.

Hepatitis FAQs

Please check out our new page with frequently asked questions about hepatitis A: hepatitis A FAQs.

Information for Providers

  • The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is urging providers to vaccinate all adult patients against hepatitis A, not just those in a high-risk category.
  • Consider providing Twinrix® to those who have previously not been vaccinated for hepatitis B.
  • Per Immunization Regulation 902 KAR 2:060, two doses of hepatitis A (HepA) vaccine will be required for all children aged 19 months through 18 years who attend daycare, primary and secondary school beginning on or after July 1, 2018 for the 2018‐2019 school year. Children aged 12 months through 18 months will require one dose of HepA vaccine. Providers should now catch‐up children aged two years and older to assure hepatitis A immunity.

Community Flyers

Click on a flyer below for a larger format to share:

Wash Your Hands

What You Should Know

High-Risk Groups