On Wellness in WV

The CDC recently sent out some tips for back to school:

Heading back to school is an exciting time of year for students and families. As students go back to school, it is important that they eat healthy and stay active, are up to date on their immunizations, and know the signs of bullying for a healthier and safer school year.

  • Eat healthy and stay active- Our children spend the vast majority of their day at school, so it’s a place that can have a big impact in all aspects of their lives. Schools can help students learn about the importance of eating healthier and being more physically active, which can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases. Prevention works. The health of students—what they eat and how much physical activity they get—is linked to their academic success.  Early research is also starting to show that healthy school lunches may help to lower obesity rates. Health and academics are linked – so time spent for health is also time spent for learning. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents limit their intake of solid fats, cholesterol, sodium, added sugars, and refined grains. Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function. Young people aged 6-17 should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Research shows that physical activity can help cognitive skills, attitudes, concentration, attention and improve classroom behavior – so students are ready to learn. 
  • Get vaccinated- Getting your children and teens ready to go back to school is the perfect time to make sure they are up-to-date with their immunizations. Vaccination protects students from diseases and keeps them healthy. The recommended immunizations for children birth through 6 years old can be found here Adobe PDF file, and the recommended immunizations for preteens and teens 7-18 years old can be found here Adobe PDF file.  If you don’t have health insurance, or if it does not cover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children program may be able to help.
  • Heads Up: Concussions- Each year, U.S. emergency departments treat an estimated 173,285 sports– and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, including concussions, among children and teens, from birth to 19 years. (MMWR October 2011) A concussion is a type of TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults. Concussion symptoms may appear mild, but the injury can lead to problems affecting how a person thinks, learns, acts, and/or feels. Concussions can occur outside of sports or during any sport or recreation activity, so all parents need to learn the signs and know what to do if a concussion occurs with the ABC’s of concussions: Assess the situation, Be alert for signs and symptoms, and Contact a healthcare professional.
  • Bullying- Bullying Adobe PDF file is a form of youth violence and can result in physical injury and social and emotional distress. In 2011, 20% of high school students reported being bullied on school property and 16% reported being bullied electronically through technology, also known as electronic aggression (bullying that occurs through e-mail, a chat room, instant messaging, a website, text messaging, or videos or pictures posted on websites or sent through cell phones) or cyberbullying. Victimized youth are at increased risk for mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, psychosomatic complaints such as headaches, and poor school adjustment. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood. The ultimate goal is to stop bullying before it starts. Some school-based prevention methods include a whole school anti-bullying policy, promoting cooperation, improving supervision of students, and using school rules and behavior management techniques in the classroom and throughout the school to detect and address bullying and providing consequences for bulling.

For more tips on heading back to school, please visit our CDC Features page.

Tri-County Health Clinic in Rock Cave from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 27 and 28. For an appointment, call 304-924-6262.

The mammograms are billed to private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP) or through special grant funds from the West Virginia affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No woman over 40 is turned away due to lack of funding.  A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/JULY/Bonnie%E2%80%99s-Bus-to-offer-mammograms-in-Buckeye,-Mill

The newly remodeled Rite Aid will be offering free health screenings this weekend as part of its grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 17.

The store features increased staffing for customer service, an enhanced selection of wellness products and resources, and advanced clinical services including a private pharmacist consultation room at most locations. Wellness Stores are Rite Aid’s latest store design format and are part of the drugstore chain’s continued commitment to providing services, products, and resources to help customers and their families lead healthier lives.

To celebrate the grand opening, Rite Aid is offering free health screenings and product samples. Nurses and our licensed pharmacists will be on hand to provide free services designed to help local residents get and stay well including:

* Total cholesterol testing

* Blood pressure readings

* Memory impairment screenings

* COPD screenings

* Blood glucose testing

Visitors can also sample organic, gluten-free or natural food products and pick up other product samples and coupons.

WHEN:           Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon to 4 p.m.

WHERE:        6401 Sissonville Drive in Charleston, WV – (304) 984-9597

On Thursday at 1 p.m., WV FREE, a pro-choice org, created a “Twitter Storm” to address WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s proposed regulations on abortion providers, which they believe is politically motivated. WV FREE organized a flurry of tweets, demanding the AG remove his target from clinics

From the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy:

As states prepare for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) next year, West Virginia could take advantage of one of the Act’s lesser-known provisions to extend Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage to public employees. According to a report released today by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, such a move could save the state and its public employees tens of millions of dollars while providing more comprehensive health coverage to thousands of children.

Until the ACA was passed, children of state and local employees covered by public employees’ insurance were prohibited from enrolling in CHIP. Now at least seven states have allowed their public employees to enroll their children in CHIP, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont.

In its report “West Virginia Should Extend CHIP Coverage to Public Employees,” the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy estimates that nearly 9,000 children under the age of 19 currently enrolled in the Public Employees’ Insurance Agency (PEIA) may qualify to enroll in CHIP. Depending on how many families move their children from PEIA to CHIP, state and local budgets could save up to $6.7 million a year while the families themselves could save $4.7 million.

“In an era of budget cuts where every dollar matters, West Virginia stands to save millions in state and local funds by allowing public employees to enroll their children into CHIP. Thousands of working West Virginia families will benefit from lower-cost, comprehensive health insurance for their children. It’s a win-win,” explained Brandon Merritt, Health Policy Analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

Governor Tomblin can request federal approval to implement this change which would save the state, and local governments, and their public employees tens of millions of dollars over the next decade. It would help state and local governments balance their budgets and put more money into the pockets of thousands of West Virginia families while improving access to health care for thousands of children in low-income families.

The full report is available here.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Over the past 25 years, there have been advancements in diagnosis and treatment for many kinds of cancer. However, until recently the same was not true for lung cancer.

“Until five years ago, I would have said we had made no progress in improving the survival of patients with lung cancer. But in the last five years we have made progress in improving outcomes and survival,” John Parker, M.D., pulmonology specialist at Ruby Memorial Hospital, said.

Effective screening has played a critical role in catching lung cancer in early stages. Dr. Parker, who is also a member of the Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Comprehensive Lung Cancer Program at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said early detection has led to a 20 percent increase in survivability.

For full WVU release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/AUG/Screening-program-helps-detect-lung-cancer-earlier

Reactions to Smoking Ban Study

My recent story Study says smoking bans beneficial to state received some feedback. Some positive, some not so positive. Basically, a recent study said that indoor smoking bans have been good for West Virginia businesses, despite them being hotly contested at first.

Here’s some emails I received:

Linda Bricker, VA: I AM SOOOOOO ALLERGIC TO CIGARETTE SMOKE. When I go to other states it shocks me to go into a smoking restaurant.  My hair dresser and her clan smoke in a back room and in alley and the place smells bad to me.  I am grateful for smoking laws and the fact that the smoking bullys haven’t gotten any of them changed back despite the whining about “no one will come in and drink, gamble eat” etc.  PS I am nurse for VA and so many of our vets were given cigarettes while in service they are all dying now.”

Sarah Blyler, Fayetteville, WV: With regard to the following article:  Study says smoking bans beneficial to state Monday, 12 August 2013. I searched and found only 2 pieces of potential “news” in this sentimental and opinionated rehash. One:  “West Virginia counties with indoor smoking bans showed a 1 percent increase in restaurant employment as compared to those counties where smoking was allowed. The remaining eight states saw no significant association between smoke-free laws and employment or sales in restaurants and bars.”  Seriously, right now?…you wrote an article based on this?…Do you understand the term, “statistically insignificant”? Two:  “…smoking causes some $2.4 billion in total economic loss in West Virginia annually.”  Again, this may well be another re-hash, but it is completely unsubstantiated within the context of this article.   What about all of the bar/restaurants that closed in WV as a result of same smoke-free laws? This article’s only possible purpose would have to be a fluffy confirmation that infringing on smokers’ rights is somehow justified.  Since we are so very limited in the ‘news’ available in the valley, please at least have the decency to minimally appear to imagine that there are actually two sides to the issue. “

Christina Mickey, WV (Smoke Free Initiative of WV): Thanks for reporting on the latest study on economic impact of smoke free laws in WV.   Kanawha Charleston was in the for front in 2007 when it amended it’s regulation to expand protection to most workplaces and joined many other capitol cities across the nation going smoke free. Before 2007, WV had many smaller rural counties already laying a strong foundation for other counties to expand protection. Today, 24 WV counties eliminate smoking in all workplaces and public places, with 14 of those counties boosting some of the highest protection level in the nation from secondhand exposure in workplace and public place.  Let me know if you ever need any information or questions about smoke free laws in WV and the nation.”

Let me know your thoughts.

Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Mercer County offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women.

A service of WVU Healthcare and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, Bonnie’s Bus will be at Bluestone Health Center in Princeton from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14. For an appointment, call 304-431-5499.

The mammograms are billed to private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP) or through special grant funds from the West Virginia affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No woman over 40 is turned away due to lack of funding.  A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram.

(WVU Release)

Obesity in low-income preschoolers

The CDC came out with a recent report about obesity rates lowering in low-income preschoolers in many states. West Virginia has no change.

To view the report, click here:  http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/pdf/2013-08-vitalsigns.pdf#page=2

Nineteen states/territories reported decreases in obesity among low-income preschoolers. Twenty states and Puerto Rico held steady at their current rate, and obesity increased slightly in three states.  But 1 in 8 preschoolers in the nation.

The prevalence of obesity among low-income, preschool-aged children in West Virginia is 14%<15% in 2011, according to the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System.

 

 

The CDC recently released the online version of its 2014 edition of its Yellow Book, as per press release:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the online version of the 2014 edition of CDC Health Information for International Travel, commonly known as the “Yellow Book.” Nicknamed for its yellow cover, this is the ultimate guide for healthy international travel. The most recent version includes special guidance for people who will be living long-term in areas with malaria. The 2014 edition also expanded its chapter on select destinations, providing insiders’ knowledge and specific health risks about popular tourist destinations.

A team of almost 200 experts update this health guide every two years. The Yellow Book provides the latest official CDC recommendations to keep international travelers safe and healthy. It includes a complete catalog of travel-related diseases and up-to-date vaccine and booster recommendations. The information in the book does not just stop with infectious diseases; it also includes advice about preventing and treating common travel-related ailments such as altitude illness, motion sickness, and jet lag. The book offers useful tips on topics such as traveling with pets, packing a travel health kit, avoiding counterfeit medications in foreign countries, and getting travel health and evacuation insurance for emergencies. In addition, the Yellow Book provides advice for people traveling with young children, individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses, and those traveling for humanitarian aid work or study abroad.

 

“International travel can be an incredible experience, but it has its risks and the hazards are ever-changing. The Yellow Book clearly and comprehensively gives the most updated health-related precautions and information for traveling internationally,” said Dr. Gary Brunette, chief of CDC’s Travelers’ Health Branch. “By following CDC recommendations, international travelers can stay healthy and safe so they can take full advantage of their traveling experiences.”

The 2014 edition also includes the following new features:

  • An expanded destination-specific list of vaccine requirements and recommendations to help travelers prepare for their next trip
  • Updated malaria risk and prevention information, along with ten new country-specific malaria maps, showing travelers if they will be in an area with malaria and how best to prevent it
  • New sections on infectious diseases related to travel: Escherichia coli, Salmonellosis, Fascioliasis, and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
  • New select destinations: Jamaica, Thailand, Vietnam, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  • Updated disease risk maps to help travelers understand where important diseases occur

Popular features from previous editions remain in the 2014 edition, including information on cruise ship travel, food and water precautions, international adoptions, and recent immigrants returning home to visit family and friends.

For travelers who want to easily take the Yellow Book with them on the road, a new mobile app with the complete 2014 edition will be available for iOS and Android tablets and phones.

The Yellow Book is published in hard copy by Oxford University Press, and is available at bookstores, through Internet book sellers or by contacting Oxford. The content is also available at CDC’s Traveler’s Health website, www.cdc.gov/travel. The website lets travelers search by destination and find information about basic travel health preparations and what to do if they get sick or injured while traveling. It is updated as travel health threats emerge and new information becomes available.