Take the Community Needs Survey to help shape Lexington’s future

What are the biggest health needs for Lexington?

Help shape this city’s future by letting us know the top issues for health and well-being for you and your family! If you live or work in Fayette County and are 18 years or older, please take our survey before Dec. 16: https://tiny.lfchd.org/CHA.

The online survey is currently available in English. Hard copies in English, Spanish, French and Swahili are available at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike, and all Lexington Public Library branches. Other languages can be provided by request; please contact Christy Nentwick at 859-288-2352 or LEX-CHIP@LFCHD.org for more information.

You can see our previous Community Health Assessment Plan at https://www.lfchd.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/CHA-CHIP-2017.pdf to help you learn more about how this information is put into practice!

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 flu shots available by same-day appointment in Public Health Clinic

Flu shots are available for free all season by same-day appointment Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at LFCHD’s Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike. Please call 859-288-2483 to make an appointment; walk-ins will not be accepted in the Public Health Clinic.

“An annual flu shot is the best way to fight the flu each fall and winter,” LFCHD spokesperson Kevin Hall said. “The flu shot remains important this year as we remain in the COVID-19 pandemic. It can help reduce the overall impact on respiratory illnesses on the population, which will lessen the burden on our healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to helping prevent you from getting sick with flu, a flu shot can reduce the severity of your illness if you do get flu and reduce your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization.

The seasonal flu shot is recommended for all people ages 6 months and older and is especially important for people at the highest risk of serious complications from the flu: infants and young children, pregnant women, anyone with underlying medical conditions and adults 50 and older.

General information about monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

To help update the community during a current outbreak in the United States, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has created a page with general information about monkeypox, including updates on vaccine clinics. It can be found here: Monkeypox General Information.

Schedule kids’ 2022-23 back-to-school immunizations today

As Fayette County students prepare to head back to school, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is making sure they have plenty of opportunities to get their required vaccinations.

To beat the back-to-school rush, the health department will be offering immunizations by same-day appointment at the Public Health Clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. To schedule an appointment or for more information about the immunizations, please call (859) 288-2483.

Participants must be 18 years or younger and be uninsured or underinsured. Medicaid is accepted. Immunization records must be brought to the appointment, and physicals will not be provided. A legal guardian must be present.

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.

Fayette County students who are new to the school district or are entering kindergarten are required to bring a Kentucky immunization certificate in order to enroll. Sixth-grade students and 16-year-olds are also required to have certain boosters and must bring an up-to-date immunization certificate. Please call the health department’s school health division at (859) 288-2314 for more information.

Board of Health selects Jackson as chair for 2022-23

The Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health elected Dr. Rodney A. Jackson as chair for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which began July 1.

Dr. Rodney Jackson

Dr. Jackson is a board-certified, practicing pediatric dentist in Lexington. He started his practice, Pediatric Dentistry of Hamburg, 19 years ago, and currently has locations in Lexington, Georgetown and Frankfort. A native of Wheelwright, Ky., he obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, a Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and completed his pediatric dental residency at UK. He and his wife have two sons. 

Dr. Jackson joined the Board of Health in 2017 and has served as the chair of the Nominating Committee for the last three years. 

Dr. Jackson replaces Michael Friesen, who will continue to serve on the Board of Health.

Leah Mason, JD, will serve as vice-chair for 2022-23. Other Board of Health members include: Jack Cornett, Dr. Lee Dossett, Dr. Hartley Feld, Dr. Maria de Lourdes Gomez, Mayor Linda Gorton, Dr. Gregory Hood, Majd Jabbour, Councilmember Jennifer Reynolds, Dr. Elizabeth Riley and Dr. Jason Zimmerman. Commissioner of Social Services Kacy Allen-Bryant is an official representative of the mayor but is a non-voting member.

The Board of Health meets the second Monday of every month at 5:45 p.m. at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for ages 6 months-5 years available June 29

(En español) Starting Wednesday, June 29, the Moderna vaccine for ages 6 months-5 years will be available for free by same-day appointment in our Public Health Clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. Call 859-288-2483 to schedule your same-day appointment every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday! A legal guardian MUST be present at the time of the shot. To complete the series, a second dose will be given after four weeks; you must call to schedule at that time.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is the best way to reduce the negative impact of this pandemic in all age groups. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 13.5 million children in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, and although most children experience mild symptoms, more than 42,000 have been hospitalized in the U.S. and at least 1,240 children aged 18 and younger have died.

The AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group. Parents are strongly encouraged to have their infants and young children vaccinated with either vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is widely available throughout Lexington and can be found at www.vaccines.gov/search.

The AAP shares this about side effects: “The same side effects that we see with routine childhood vaccines have been seen in the studies of these vaccines. They are things like soreness and redness where the shot goes in. Some babies and children don’t feel well later in the day of the shot or on the next day. A small number of vaccinated children get fever—and very few get high fever. Usually, it lasts only a day or two. Thousands of children were in the studies, and there were no children with serious allergic reactions, heart inflammation or other serious problems related to the vaccines that may worry (caregivers).”

Learn more about the vaccine in this FAQ from the American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/covid-vaccines-for-kids-6-months-and-older-faqs-for-families.aspx.

COVID-19 vaccines for ages 5 and older are also free by same-day appointment Monday, Wednesday and Thursday by calling 859-288-2483.

Stay safe during summer heat!

Be sure to follow these summer safety tips during the heat:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. You will need to drink more fluids than your thirst level indicates. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or drinks with large amounts of sugar because they cause you to lose more fluid.
  • Wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or greater and applied 30 minutes before going outdoors. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that will provide shade and keep your head cool.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be outside, try to plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you.
  • Monitor those at high risk, including infants and children up to 4 years of age, people 65 and older, people who are overweight, people who overexert during work or exercise and people who are ill or on certain medications for blood pressure diuretics. Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need much more frequent watching.

Signs of heat-related illnesses include an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; muscle cramps; tiredness and unconsciousness. If someone starts to experience these symptoms, seek medical help immediately and move them to a shady spot, if outdoors, and begin cooling them using whatever methods are available. Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.

Fight the Bite: Eliminate mosquitoes this summer

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. This includes free mosquito larvicide, available by visiting the Environmental Health office on the second floor of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Supplies are limited. Educational materials will be provided.

The department will also 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.lfchd.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 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 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.

COVID-19 booster for ages 5-11 years

Booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are now available for everyone ages 5-11 years! The CDC recommends that ages 5-11 receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial vaccination series. Since the pandemic began, more than 4.8 million children ages 5-11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 across the U.S., 15,000 have been hospitalized and, tragically, over 180 have died. As cases increase across the country, a booster dose will safely help restore and enhance protection against severe disease.

The CDC is also strengthening its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after their first. Over the past month, the U.S. has seen steady increases in cases, with a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans. While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Whether it’s your first dose in the series, or one of the recommended boosters, now is the time to get one! COVID-19 vaccines, including first and second doses and all appropriate boosters, are available for FREE by same-day appointment every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in our Public Health Clinic by calling 859-288-2483.

You can also help slow the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Wearing a well-fitted mask/face-covering in crowded public areas.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, especially those with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, muscle/body aches, loss of taste/smell, nausea, etc.);
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.