DOH-Collier News

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Welcome to Health Connection!

Stephanie Vick, M.S., B.S.N., R.N. - AdministratorIt is our pleasure to bring you another edition of "Health Connection”, the Florida Department of Health–Collier County's quarterly newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

On September 23, 2014 I was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, as recommended by the Surgeon General, to the position of Administrator. I am honored and pleased to have been selected as the new Administrator for Florida Department of Health–Collier County. I am looking forward to working with staff and community partners to promote and protect the good health of our residents.

As always, our health department continues to serve you as it has in the past – with the health of the residents of Collier County as our priority. If you need information or assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours in Health,

Stephanie Vick, M.S., B.S.N., RN
Administrator, Florida Department of Health–Collier County (DOH-Collier)

Public Health Update: First Imported Case of Ebola Confirmed in the U.S.

On September 30, 2014 the first imported case of Ebola was confirmed in Dallas, Texas. It should be noted that the patient did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the U.S. on September 20, 2014. The person fell ill on September 24, 2014 and sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on September 26, 2014. After developing symptoms consistent with Ebola, the patient was admitted to the hospital on September 28, 2014 and tested for Ebola per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids of an ill person or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated. In the past decade, the United States had 5 imported cases of viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola. None resulted in any transmission in the United States.

One of the core essential functions of public health is surveillance and containment of communicable diseases. The Epidemiology Program at the Florida Department of Health in Collier County receives guidance from our state office which follows recommendations from the CDC when providing guidance to local health care providers for management of patients with Ebola Virus Disease or other emerging infectious diseases. Please be assured that we are working with the safety of our clients in mind.

Health Threats Almost as Scary as Ebola....

Ebola, a serious, often fatal disease, spread by contact with blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, has been making national and international headlines. While Ebola is a very serious illness, the below health threats are more common in the United States than Ebola: 

Obesity

It is old news at this point, but more than one-third of all adults in the United States are obese. Obesity can increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health issues. Recent research shows obesity may also be a risk factor for cancer. Researchers suggest that losing just five to ten percent of your current weight can have health benefits. For a person weighing 200 pounds, that is only 10-20 pounds! It is also stressed that a healthy diet with with least 150 minutes of exercise every week can go a long way to improving your health.

Mosquito Viruses

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquitoes caused 207 million cases of illness in 2012. Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile and other viruses.  You can protect yourself from mosquito borne illness. When outdoors, use mosquito repellant and cover your skin by wearing long sleeves and pants. Also, use air conditioning or windows with screens to keep cool in the summer while keeping mosquitoes out.

Vehicle Safety

According to research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for young drivers in the United States. Young drivers are at greater risk for a number of reasons, including: poor hazard detection, drug and/or alcohol use, night driving, passenger distraction, or not using seat belts. Young drivers are also more likely to take risks behind the wheel and see those risks as being less dangerous.

It is recommended that parents supervise their teens and practice driving with them. Parents are also encouraged to set clear and reasonable rules of the road. By working with teens, parents can improve the safety for everyone on the road.

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotics have been, for almost a century, the medicines that make us "better". Today, they are also found in our meat and poultry and it is estimated that healthcare providers prescribe 250 million courses of antibiotics annually. Because we use antibiotics on a regular basis, bacteria has adapted and can resist medication thus making it more difficult to treat. Over 2 million Americans become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria yearly, ranging from skin infections to mutated strains of sexually transmitted diseases.

The good news? There are steps that can be taken to stem the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Patients and physicians should openly discuss the best ways to treat illness together. Remember: Viruses, like the common cold and flu, cannot be treated by antibiotics, only illness caused by bacteria.

Luckily, these health threats are all things that we can help prevent.

The Importance of Adult Immunization

Adult VaccinationParents research vaccines for their children, often keeping a careful record to make sure their child is up-to-date on all of his or her shots. Yet, adults generally do not feel the need to keep up with their recommended vaccines. Adult vaccination remains very low and far from targets set by "Healthy People 2020". Adult vaccination is necessary to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases and their consequences, in both adults and children. The Community Preventive Services Task Force at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that healthcare providers integrate immunization needs assessment and offer vaccination as part of routine clinical practice for adult patients.

Florida Department of Health–Collier County, Naples campus, offers both daily appointments and a walk-in clinic for adult immunization (insurance or self-pay) in the Adult Health Clinic. The available vaccines are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Twinrix (Combination Hepatitis A/B), Human Papillomavirus (HPV; 19-26 men and women), Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Pneumovax (Pneumonia), Tetanus, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap), Varicella (Chickenpox), Zoster (Shingles), and post and pre-exposure Rabies vaccines. For those vaccines not covered by insurance there may be Vaccine Patient Assistance Programs available as long as financial eligibility is met.

Call (239) 252-8207 to make an appointment, or walk-in to the Florida Department of Health–Collier County location in Naples at 3339 East Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL 34112 Monday through Friday, 8am-3pm.

Is This Vaccine on the "To-Do" List?

Teens

As you ensure your children are protected and up-to-date on all their vaccinations, please make note of an important vaccine for a disease that you may not be aware of – meningococcal disease.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that includes meningitis, swelling of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord; bacteremia, a severe blood infection; and pneumonia, a lung infection.

It can be spread through coughs sneezes and the exchange of respiratory droplets such as saliva. As a result, individuals can catch the disease through common, everyday activities that children and adolescents are known to do: sharing water bottles, sharing cups and utensils, kissing, and generally being close together such as being in cramped locker rooms and taking long bus trips.  Meningococcal disease can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to those of common viral illnesses, such as the flu.

The disease is rare, but it is very serious. It develops quickly and can take the life of an otherwise healthy child in as little as 24 hours after symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Although most people exposed to the meningococcal bacteria do not become seriously ill, some people may develop a sudden fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck or a rash.  Complications include coma, shock, and death.  Up to 25 percent of patients who recover may have chronic damage to the nervous system. Brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities occur in up to 20 percent of survivors.

How to protect against meningococcal disease?

There is a vaccine available to help protect your children from catching meningococcal disease. Health officials recommend vaccinating children aged 11 through 18 years.  A single dose of the vaccine should be given at age 11 or 12 years, with a second dose at age 16 years for children who receive the first dose before age 16 years.

For more information regarding the pediatric meningococcal vaccine please contact the Florida Department of Health–Collier County Immunizations at (239) 252-8595.

It's Baaaaaaack....Flu Season!

Flu Season SignNow that children are back in school and the leaves are changing in the north, another season is just around the corner: flu season. By getting a flu vaccine now for yourself and your entire family, you can prevent flu-related illness, missed school, and missed work.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization or even death. Furthermore, it is important to stress that anyone can get the flu. Even healthy people can get very sick and spread the flu to friends and loved ones.

It is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response; it is important to get vaccinated now so you will be protected all season long. Each year the vaccine protects against three or four viruses research suggests will be most common during flu season. This year's vaccine contains A/California, A/Texas, B/Massachusetts for the trivalent flu vaccine. The quadrivalent vaccine includes A/California, A/Texas, B/Massachusetts as well as B/Brisbane. The vaccine can be administered several different ways: it can be given by injection or a "flu shot”, by an intradermal shot, which is just under the skin, or by nasal-spray vaccine. Check with your healthcare provider to find out which type is best for you and your family.

For questions regarding the flu vaccine or to check the availability of the flu vaccine for your family, please call the Florida Department of Health–Collier County Flu Hotline at (239) 252-8212.

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