Health department offers safety tips as temperature dips

During the cold weather, stay indoors whenever possible. However, if you must go outside, dress warmly in layered clothing, including a hat, scarf or knit mask to cover your face and mouth, sleeves that are snug at the wrist, mittens, a water-resistant coat and water-resistant boots. Avoid exertion, as cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. People with heart disease or high blood pressure should follow their doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other activities in the snow. When outside, avoid walking on ice, and keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible.

Be on the lookout for signs of hypothermia and frostbite, two common cold weather-related health problems. Warning signs of hypothermia, which is abnormally low body temperature, include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. If you detect symptoms of hypothermia, seek medical care immediately. Get the victim into a warm room and remove any wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first with an electric blanket, if available. Otherwise, use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothes, towels or sheets. Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not use alcoholic beverages.

Warning signs for frostbite, or an injury to the body caused by freezing, include redness or pain in any skin area, white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy and numbness. If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care immediately. Get the victim into a warm room, and immerse the affected area in warm – not hot – water. Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it, as this can cause more damage. Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove, fireplace or radiator for warming, as the frostbitten areas are numb and can be easily burned.

These procedures are not substitutes for medical care, and all emergencies should be reported to a physician or health care provider. To learn more about winter weather tips, visit the CDC’s website.

Hepatitis A: Get vaccination, wash your hands for prevention

(Updated Jan. 14, 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 3,570 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 22 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 102 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

 

2019: A New Year, A New You!

Start 2019 with better health! Let our experts help you eat better, exercise more, stop smoking and more! Call us at 859-288-2446 to learn how to be a healthier you in 2019. We have several FREE classes coming up in 2019, so check out our calendar on the home page for all the ways we can help you this year! You can learn more here: Community Health Equity and Education.

We also encourage you to engage with us on social media:

Flu shots available in Public Health Clinic

Flu shots are now available in our Public Health Clinic!

The health department offers flu shots 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday at its Public Health Clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. No appointment is necessary, and the cost for a flu shot is $30. A high-dose vaccine is available for $49 for ages 65 and older. Medicaid/Medicare, cash, checks, credit cards and most insurance plans are accepted.

“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 spokesman Kevin Hall said. Last flu season, Lexington had 27 deaths from flu-related causes.

For additional information about the 2018-19 flu season, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at and Instagram at @lexpublichealth. Flu information can also be found by calling the Public Health Clinic at 859-288-2483.

Protect your family this Thanksgiving with these tips!

As many prepare to share holiday meals with family and friends, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department recommends these safe food handling tips. Foods that have been sitting out for too long can be sources of bacteria that can potentially cause foodborne illness, which affects an average of 76 million people each year. Be wary of any foods — hot or cold — that have been left out for more than two hours. This so-called “danger zone” when food is between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees allows bacteria to multiply. Any perishable foods should be discarded after remaining for two hours at room temperature.

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.

Hepatitis A and Thanksgiving

Protect your family and friends this Thanksgiving: don’t prepare food if you are sick! Kentucky is in the middle of the nation’s worst hepatitis A outbreak, and it can be spread through handling food when sick. Be sure you’re also washing your hands frequently (especially after using the bathroom), and talk to your pharmacist or medical provider about getting the hepatitis A vaccine. You can also call us at 859-288-2483 to make an appointment – no walk-ins will be accepted.

 

National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day

Each November is designated National Diabetes Month. It’s a time to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. Here in Kentucky, 1 in 8 adults has diabetes, but many more have it and don’t know it. To learn if you or someone you know may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, take a simple 60-second, 7-question risk test here at the American Diabetes Association website.

You can also learn more in our Facebook Live broadcast!

November 14 is international World Diabetes Day. It’s the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight. Blue is the official color to bring awareness around the world on this day.

Click on the links below to find out more about some of our upcoming classes and support groups:

     

Don’t say ‘boo’ to these Halloween safety tips!

Halloween can be scary enough as is, so take steps to keep it from being even more frightening! Kids are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Make it easier for drivers to see your kids by giving your child a flashlight or glow stick, and attach reflective tags or wristbands to their costumes! Learn more from the CDC!

You can also use these suggestions for healthier snacks/treats for your visitors!

Annual free flu shot event returns Oct. 11, 2018

(Note: This event took place Oct. 11, 2018.) 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 12-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, at the health department’s main location, 650 Newtown Pike. There is no advance registration — just show up Oct. 11 for your shot!

“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. By holding it on our main health department building, we can better determine what works and what needs improvement on our home turf in the event of a true emergency.”

The seasonal flu shot is recommended for all people ages 6 months and older. Last year, Lexington had 27 deaths from flu-related causes and 744 confirmed cases. The health department provided 2,275 flu shots throughout the season, including 1,015 at last year’s free flu shot clinic.

“Lexington had 744 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.”

The health department stresses the importance of patience from patients at the free flu shot event Oct. 11. “It’s important for the public to be mindful of the parking lot, which we expect will be busy throughout the afternoon,” Hall said. “Keep an eye out for our staff members to help guide you where to park and how to enter and exit the building.”

Be sure to watch (and share!) this Facebook video about how you can be a real superhero by getting the flu shot!

For community members not able to get their flu shots at the special free event, the health department will offer flu shots 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike, starting Oct. 1. No appointment is necessary, and the cost for a regular flu shot is $30. A high-dose vaccine is available for $49 for ages 65 and older. Medicaid/Medicare, cash, checks, credit cards and most insurance plans are accepted.

New immunization requirements for 2018-19 school year

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 low-cost immunizations by 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 live in Fayette County, 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.

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 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.

New requirements: 2 doses hepatitis A (all students) and meningococcal booster (16 years and older).

Vaccinations required for Kentucky students: MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), hepatitis B, DTap, Varicella, polio, Tdap (11 years old), meningococcal ACWY (11 years old), and pneumococcal and Hib (pre-kindergarten)

 

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.