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, at the health department’s main location, 650 Newtown Pike
“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.”
(Updated Aug. 13) 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.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department encourages everyone get the hepatitis A vaccine, especially if you’re in a high-risk group:
- People who use illicit drugs in any way
- People who are homeless
- Men who have sex with men
- People who have direct contact with someone who has hepatitis
You can learn more about hepatitis A in this interview from Healthy Times, our radio show on Lexington Community Radio: hepatitis A interview.
What is hepatitis A and who is at highest risk?
- Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by a virus.
- High-risk groups include:
- People who have direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A
- People who use illicit drugs in any way
- People who are homeless
- Men who have sex with men
- People who travel to countries where hepatitis A is common
- People with blood clotting factor disorders such as hemophilia
Is there an outbreak of hepatitis A in Lexington?
- More than 1,340 cases have been reported across Kentucky since the fall of 2017, compared to around 20 cases that are typically recognized each year.
- Though the outbreak was initially centered in the Louisville area, outbreak-related cases have now been reported in 78 counties across the state, including Fayette. Learn more about which counties have hepatitis A in this Kentucky hepatitis A report.
How can you prevent getting hepatitis A?
- Vaccination is the best method of preventing the hepatitis A virus. The hepatitis A vaccination is available as a 2-dose series. The hepatitis A vaccine is also available in combination with hepatitis B in a vaccine called Twinrix® (hepatitis A/hepatitis B) as a 3-dose series. Talk with your healthcare provider about which vaccine best meets your needs.
- Always wash your hands, before eating and making food, and after using the restroom.
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.
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What You Should Know
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)
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.
Healthy food options will soon be a bit easier thanks to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the city’s two farmers’ markets.
Starting June 13, the health department will bring farmers from the Bluegrass Farmers’ Market and the Lexington Farmers’ Market together to give the community a chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. The LFCHD Community Farmers’ Market will begin with a grand-opening celebration 8 a.m.-2 p.m. June 13 at the health department’s two Lexington locations: 650 Newtown Pike (main location) and 2433 Regency Road (south location).
The remaining farmers’ markets will alternate locations throughout the summer and into September:
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. June 20, 650 Newtown Pike
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. June 27, 2433 Regency Road
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. July 11, 650 Newtown Pike
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. July 18, 2433 Regency Road
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. July 25, 650 Newtown Pike
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 1, 2433 Regency Road
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 8, 650 Newtown Pike
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 15, 2433 Regency Road
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 22, 650 Newtown Pike
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 29, 2433 Regency Road
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 5, 650 Newtown Pike
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 12, 2433 Regency Road
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 19, 650 Newtown Pike
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 26, 2433 Regency Road
“Public Health is about the prevention of diseases and the promotion of good health,” LFCHD spokesman Kevin Hall said. “By bringing both farmers’ markets together for our staff, clients and neighborhoods, we are able to give better access to fresh fruits and vegetables and help educate customers on how to use them to improve their diet. Our Community Farmers’ Market will let us continue to help Lexington be well.”
The 650 Newtown Pike location will offer a variety of items from 4-6 farmers, and the 2433 Regency Road location will feature 2-4 farmers. “Both sites are open to everyone, and we encourage Lexington residents to take part,” Hall said. “If you’ve never visited your health department, this is a good chance to see Public Health in action.”
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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
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!