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...

Transylvania Public Health Provides Access to Breast Cancer Screenings

Transylvania Public Health will be putting the spotlight on breast cancer throughout October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, celebrating the lives of the many women who survived and remembering those lost. According to the State Center for Health Statistics, 9,772 women in N.C. will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 1,391 will die of the disease, making breast cancer the second leading cause of death among women. However, early detection and prompt treatment of breast cancer can save lives: 96 percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer free after five years. Transylvania Public Health encourages all women to take charge of their health by having regular screening tests for breast cancer, which check a woman’s breasts for cancer before any noticeable signs or symptoms are present. There are three main tests used to screen for breast cancer. A breast self-exam is when you check your own breasts and underarms for lumps, swelling, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any changes in the color or texture of the skin. A clinical breast exam is a breast exam by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to carefully feel for lumps or other changes in the entire breast area, often done during an annual checkup. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast tissue. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it could be found using the other...

Keep Your Guard Up Against Mosquitos

Even though summer is winding down, it’s still important to defend yourself and your family against mosquito bites. Mosquitos are more than annoying: they can carry and transmit diseases to people such as La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. These mosquito-borne diseases are most common in late summer and early fall. Protect yourself from mosquitos by wearing insect repellant. When used as directed, insect repellent is the best way to guard against from mosquito bites, and it is safe even for children and pregnant women. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer lasting protection. When the weather permits, limit your exposed skin by wearing long sleeves, pants, socks and hats. Consider permethrin-treated clothes and outdoor gear, which contain an insecticide/repellant that lasts through multiple washings. To keep mosquitos out of your home, make sure screens on windows and doors are in good repair and use them consistently. You can also take action to eliminate the source of the mosquitos. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, so the best way to control a mosquito problem is to locate and remove the standing water source. Most adult mosquitoes only live about 2-3 weeks. Once the breeding source has been eliminated, it is only a matter of time before the adult mosquitoes die. Mosquito breeding sources can include anything that can hold one-quarter of an inch of water. Eliminate them by regularly emptying, inverting, or removing the source. Empty standing water from containers. Keep wading pools empty and stored on their side when they aren’t...

“Precious Cargo” Campaign Works to Reduce Heatstroke Deaths

A simple piece of paper might help reduce heatstroke deaths: that’s the hope of some groups here in Transylvania County. Back in June, Chris Biecker, director of Moody-Connolly Funeral Home and chairman of the Transylvania County Board of Health, and his wife Suzy created tags warning “Precious Cargo: Don’t Forget Me!” with an image of a baby on one side and a pet’s paw print on the other that are designed to hang from the rearview mirror of vehicles to increase driver awareness of the dangers of hot cars. Printing was provided by CopyWorks of Brevard. Then Biecker got the Transylvania County Department of Public Health, the Brevard Police Department and the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Department on board to support the campaign. “I see this as community-level advocacy for our most vulnerable children,” Biecker said. An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the U.S. since 1998 and 13 have died so far this year. More than half of these heat stroke deaths occurred because a caregiver left the child in the car unintentionally, but another 20 percent happen because the child was intentionally left in the car. About 30 percent of deaths occur because the child got in the car without anyone knowing and couldn’t get out. When the outside temperature is in the 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. But heatstroke can take place when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees, and cracking the windows or not parking in direct sunlight does not make a car significantly cooler. Heatstroke is most...

WIC Helps Local Families Access Healthy Foods

Low-income families can get help putting healthy food on their tables through the Transylvania County WIC Program. Because good nutrition is so important for young children—even before birth—WIC helps families make healthy eating choices, stretch their grocery budgets and find other community resources to meet the nutritional needs of women who are pregnant, recently gave birth or are breastfeeding, as well as infants and children up to age 5. Eligible families can receive vouchers for fruits and vegetables; dairy sources such as milk, cheese, tofu and yogurt; juice; whole-grain cereal, bread, brown rice and tortillas; protein sources such as eggs, peanut butter, beans, peas and lentils; and infant formula. But WIC participants get more than just food. They also receive one-on-one education and counseling with a nutrition professional that help families learn how to buy and use healthier foods, as well as support with breastfeeding and even healthcare referrals. “WIC is so much more than people realize,” said WIC Director Beth Hyatt. “The nutrition education and healthy foods that WIC provides really give children a healthy start in life, which is so important.” WIC Income Guidelines (effective June 1, 2015 ) Family Size Annual Income Monthly Income 1 $21,775 $1,815 2 $29,471 $2,456 3 $37,167 $3,098 4 $44,863 $3,739 5 $52,559 $4,380 Statewide, WIC serves an average of 270,000 participants each month, and studies show that WIC works. Good nutrition reduces the risk for health problems and problems in school. Children who participate in WIC are more likely to receive regular preventive health services and are better immunized than children who did not participate in WIC. For pregnant women,...