Access and Answers to Mental Health Services: Community Forum Planned for Oct. 17

Transylvania County is working to support the physical, emotional, and social well-being of all its residents. One part of this is ensuring that people know when and how to access mental health care for themselves and their loved ones. “Access & Answers: A Community Forum on Mental Health Services in Transylvania County” will be held on Monday, Oct. 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Rogow Room at Transylvania County Library. All community members are invited to come learn how to get support for themselves and the people they love. The forum will begin with a panel of representatives from the regional care manager Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, RHA Mobile Crisis, Meridian Behavioral Health Services, Mission Health, Blue Ridge Community Health, private practitioners, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Transylvania Advocates. These representatives will share information about what services their agencies offer in Transylvania County, how people can contact these agencies to request services, and when people should reach out to them and seek support. After the presentation, these and other local mental health and behavioral health providers will be available to talk with attendees, to share additional information and answer questions about their services. Thanks to sponsorships from Hendersonville Pediatrics, SAFE, and United Way, light refreshments will be provided. The forum is being coordinated by Transylvania County, Transylvania Public Health, and Smoky Mountain LME/MCO. For more information, contact Tara Rybka at (828) 884-313 ext.241 or...
Healthy Smiles Receives Delta Dental Grant

Healthy Smiles Receives Delta Dental Grant

Transylvania Public Health received a $2,500 grant from the Delta Dental Foundation to support its Healthy Smiles dental program for children in Transylvania County. The Healthy Smiles dental hygienist provides age-appropriate dental health education, screenings for dental decay and supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss for children in all county preschools and day cares and all kindergarten and 3rd grade students in Transylvania County Schools. When needed, she refers children to dental care and helps coordinate appointments. Healthy Smiles is a collaboration with Transylvania Public Health, the NC Oral Health Section, local dental practices, regional hospitals, childcare centers, preschools and elementary schools. “We appreciate the support of Delta Dental in our efforts to address preventative dental care in our youngest children,” said Transylvania County Health Director, Elaine Russell. “Transylvania County has focused on improving dental health for the past few years, and we are making progress in this population. For instance, we have seen the average number of decayed, missing, or filled teeth among kindergarteners decrease by almost 10% since 2009. However, we still have work ahead of us to achieve the Healthy North Carolina 2020 target, and this grant allows us to continue important efforts in an area that’s often overlooked.” The Delta Dental Foundation focuses on ensuring that children and adults in North Carolina receive high-quality oral health education and dental care. The Transylvania Public Health grant is one of 17 grants totaling $40,000 awarded to North Carolina nonprofits providing oral health programs. Grant recipients were selected based on criteria that included the number of at-risk children served, the uniqueness of the program, the level...
Public Health Emergency Exercise To Be Held Feb. 24

Public Health Emergency Exercise To Be Held Feb. 24

Transylvania Public Health and several partner agencies will be conducting a full-scale public health emergency preparedness exercise at the Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Activities Center on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (This exercise was originally planned for Jan. 26; it was rescheduled due to inclement weather.) This exercise will allow public health staff and emergency responders to practice the roles they would play during a public health emergency and assess current plans and capabilities to ensure that they would be able to meet the community’s needs. This particular exercise will simulate an incident that requires the distribution and dispensing of medications from the Strategic National Stockpile. The exercise will begin at 9:00 a.m. and is expected to conclude by 2:00 p.m. Residents should expect to see an unusual amount of activity in and around the Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Activities Center and Transylvania Regional Hospital, including the presence of emergency vehicles on the day of the exercise. Residents should not be alarmed by these activities; they are necessary to allow staff to practice the roles they would play in an actual emergency. Partner agencies include Transylvania County Emergency Medical Services, Transylvania County Communications, Transylvania County Emergency Management, Transylvania County Fire Marshal, Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, Transylvania County Parks and Recreation, Transylvania County Administration, Brevard Police Department, Brevard Fire Department, North Carolina Forest Service, Transylvania Regional Hospital and American Red Cross. For more information regarding this exercise, please contact Transylvania Public Health’s Preparedness Coordinator, Anita Glance, at anita.glance@transylvaniacounty.org or (828) 884-3135 ext....
CDC Issues Travel Advisory Due to Zika Virus in the Americas

CDC Issues Travel Advisory Due to Zika Virus in the Americas

Despite the winter weather of the past week, it’s time to begin thinking about spring and summer travel plans—and ways to stay healthy and safe while traveling. One important step is to review travel alerts issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recently issued a Travel Alert Level 2 for regions and certain countries in Central and South America, advising people to “Practice Enhanced Precautions” due to ongoing Zika virus transmission. Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus disease. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites: Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535. (Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children ages two months and older.) Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear such as boots, pants, socks and tents. Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe illness requiring hospitalization is uncommon, and many infected people show no symptoms at all. However, Zika virus can also spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Until more is...
UPDATE: Public Health Emergency Exercise Rescheduled for February 24

UPDATE: Public Health Emergency Exercise Rescheduled for February 24

UPDATE: Based on the winter weather forecast for the coming days, the full-scale public health emergency preparedness exercise will be rescheduled for February 24. This decision is intended to keep everyone safe and prevent over-extending critical staff in the event of an adverse weather event this weekend.   ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Transylvania Public Health and several partner agencies will be conducting a full-scale public health emergency preparedness exercise at the Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Activities Center on Tuesday, Jan. 26. This exercise will allow public health staff and emergency responders to practice the roles that would be put into action during a high demand, high consequence public health emergency and assess current plans and capabilities to ensure that they would be able to meet the community’s needs in a real emergency. This particular exercise will simulate an incident that requires the distribution and dispensing of medications from the Strategic National Stockpile. The exercise will begin at 9:00 a.m. and is expected to conclude by 2:00 p.m. Residents should expect to see an unusual amount of activity in and around the Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Activities Center and Transylvania Regional Hospital, including the presence of emergency vehicles on the day of the exercise. Residents should not be alarmed by these activities; they are necessary to allow staff to practice the roles they would play in an actual emergency. As part of the exercise, staff and volunteers will work to demonstrate operational communications, coordination, public health and medical services capabilities associated with the dispensing of medical countermeasures. Exercise operations will include providing security at the scene, setting up and operating...
Public Health Employees Receive Statewide Recognition

Public Health Employees Receive Statewide Recognition

Public Health Employees Receive Statewide Recognition At their monthly meeting held on Tuesday, the Transylvania County Board of Health officially congratulated several Transylvania Public Health employees for awards received at two recent statewide conferences. The N.C. Public Health Association presented awards to a number of Transylvania Public Health employees at its 2015 Fall Educational Conference held September 16-18 in Winston-Salem. NCPHA is the leading professional association in the state for people dedicated to promoting and protecting the health and environment of all North Carolinians. Environmental Health Program Specialist Patricia Hawkins, REHS, received NCPHA’s Rankin Award for her work in environmental health. First presented in 1955 and named in honor of Dr. Watson Smith Rankin, this award is given annually to the person who has made an outstanding contribution to public health in North Carolina over a period of several years. Environmental Health Supervisor Jim Boyer, REHS, was identified as an NCPHA All-Star. This award is given each year to a handful of individuals throughout the state who epitomize public health within their agencies. NCPHA also recognized Transylvania Public Health for its “many, varied and dedicated efforts in the essential response to Ebola prevention.” Nursing Director Sharon Cameron, RN, Preparedness Coordinator Anita Glance, Communicable Disease Nurse Kathy Kelley, RN, and Clinical Nursing Supervisor Cathy Nicholson, RN, received certificates of appreciation for their communicable disease response efforts related to Ebola preparedness as well as last fall’s pertussis outbreak. Environmental Health Specialist Stacey Robbins, REHS, was also recognized with an appreciation plaque for her service as vice president of the Environmental Health Section of NCPHA for 2014-2015. In addition, the Transylvania County...