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Department of Public Health Newsroom 2016

November 16, 2016: County Public Health Department to Host Another Free Influenza Vaccination Clinic for Children

Free Clinics to Be Held at Each Saint Louis County Community Health Center

October 12, 2016: County Health Department Urges Precautions to Stop the Spread of Shigella
September 22, 2016: County Executive and Public Health Department Urge All Residents to Get Vaccinated against Seasonal Flu
September 13, 2016: St. Louis County Secures $4.7 Million Federal Grant to Fund Youth Violence Prevention and Mental Health Programs

Will Consult with Partners In Promise Zone to Determine How Money is Spent

June 28, 2016: First Heat-Related Death Reported in St. Louis County
February 24, 2016: Saint Louis County Department of Public Health Releases Report Detailing Heroin-Related Deaths in St. Louis County
February 10, 2016: Saint Louis County Department of Public Health Encourages Residents to Think of Heart Health this Valentine’s Day

February is American Heart Month

January 28, 2016: County Department of Public Health Extends Deadline for Free Well Water Testing for Victims of Recent Floods

Deadline Extended to February 22nd, 2016

January 19, 2016: County Public Health Department Urges Caution during Cold Winter Weather


County Public Health Department to Host Another Free Influenza
Vaccination Clinic for Children
Free Clinics to Be Held at Each Saint Louis County Community Health Center

(November 16, 2016) –The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is hosting free Influenza Vaccination Clinics for children ages 2 through 18. The seasonal flu vaccine offers protection against different flu types. “Getting the influenza vaccination is the best way protect children and their families from seasonal flu”, said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. 

The location, date, and hours of operation for each free influenza clinic is provided below:

  • South County Health Center
    Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016
    Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    Address: 4580 S Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63127

  • North Central Community Health Center
    Date: Saturday, December 3, 2016
    Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m
    Address: 4000 Jennings Station Road, Pine Lawn, MO 63121

  • John C. Murphy Health Center
    Date: Saturday, December 10, 2016
    Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m
    Address: 6121 North Hanley Road, Berkeley, MO 63134

Certain children will not be able to receive the influenza vaccination at these clinics:

  • Children who have taken influenza-antiviral drugs 48 hours prior to the vaccination date.
  • Children who are allergic to eggs.
  • Children ages 2 to 4 who have asthma or a history of wheezing in the past 12 months.
  • Children who have chronic health issues.

If your children have any of the conditions listed above, please talk to your health care provider about other vaccination options and ways to protect your children during the flu season.

Others interested in being vaccinated are urged to visit the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health’s Flu Website to find out where they can go for seasonal flu vaccinations:

www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com

Other standard precautions being urged by the health department are:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to maintain a distance of three feet between you and others.
  • Stay home when you are sick or think you may be getting sick.

If you think you may have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider.  Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit:

www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm


County Health Department Urges Precautions to Stop the Spread of Shigella

(October 12, 2016) – St. Louis County is currently experiencing an increase in Shigella cases in daycare and school age children. Shigellosis is a bacterial infection. The primary symptom is diarrhea, but other symptoms can include stomach cramping, nausea, fever, and vomiting.

Shigellosis is very infectious and is easily transmitted from person to person. For this reason, the department is strongly urging residents to take preventative steps to stop the spread of the disease. “All of us can play an important role is preventing the spread of shigellosis,” said Dr. Faisal Kahn, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “We urge parents, daycare providers, education institutions, the medical community, and the general public to follow all the basic precautions needed to stop more infections from occurring.”

The department is recommending residents immediately take the following basic precautions to stop the spread of shigellosis in the community:

  • The most effective method to stop the spread of Shigella is with proper hand washing.
  • Parents should make sure children with diarrhea do not attend school or daycare.
  • Schools, daycares, restaurants, and healthcare facilities should exclude individuals with diarrhea from attendance or work, and those individuals diagnosed with Shigella will remain excluded until released back to work or attendance by the local department of health.
  • Every effort should be made to maintain the highest level of sanitation in each center by reinforcing the need for frequent hand washing and for the careful attention to disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
  • If a person has been ill, he or she should refrain from recreational water venues for one week after all symptoms resolve.
  • If a healthcare provider suspects a diagnosis of shigellosis, it should be reported immediately to the Saint Louis County Department of Health by calling 314-615-1630 so that measures to prevent the spread can be rapidly undertaken.

For more information about shigellosis, please visit:

www.cdc.gov/shigella/index.html


County Executive and Public Health Department Urge All Residents to Get Vaccinated against Seasonal Flu

(September 22, 2016) – Influenza season has arrived and both County Executive Steve Stenger and the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health are urging all county residents six months of age and older to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.

“This isn’t just about protecting yourself,” said County Executive Stenger. “If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread the illness to others.”

“Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” Public Health Department Director Dr. Faisal Khan said. “Even if you encounter a flu strain not included in the vaccine, having been vaccinated will help decrease severity of your symptoms and the duration of your illness.”

Every year, seasonal influenza vaccine offers protection against different influenza types, based on recommendations from experts around the world who determine which types are most likely to be circulating in the fall. Vaccines available for the 2016-2017 influenza season include:

  • Trivalent influenza vaccines will contain the three vaccine virus strains below:
    • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)–like virus,
    • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)–like virus and
    • B/Brisbane/60/2008–like virus (Victoria lineage).
  • Quadrivalent influenza vaccines will include the strains listed above and an additional vaccine virus strain:
    • B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).

Because of its low effectiveness during the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 influenza seasons, for the 2016- 2017 influenza season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the nasal spray flu vaccine (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine) not be used.

Other CDC recommendations for the 2016-2017 influenza season are:

  • Persons with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive influenza vaccine. Any licensed and recommended influenza vaccine (i.e., any ageappropriate IIV or RIV3) that is otherwise appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status may be used.
  • Persons who report having had reactions to egg involving symptoms other than hives, or who required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention, may similarly receive any licensed and recommended influenza vaccine (i.e., any age-appropriate IIV or RIV3) that is appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status. The selected vaccine should be administered in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices). Vaccine administration should be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.
  • A previous severe allergic reaction to influenza vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of being responsible for the reaction, is a contraindication to future receipt of the vaccine.

Depending on the severity of the outbreak, between 15 and 60 million Americans are infected by seasonal flu each flu season. Over 200,000 people are hospitalized every year due to flu-related complications and around 36,000 of them die.

Persons interested in being vaccinated are urged to visit the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health’s Flu Website to find out where they can go for seasonal flu vaccinations:

www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com

Standard precautions being urged by the health department are:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to maintain a distance of three feet between you and others.
  • Stay home when you are sick or think you may be getting sick.

If you think you may have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider for possible treatment – especially if you have a fever of 100° F or higher. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit:

www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm


St. Louis County Secures $4.7 Million Federal Grant to Fund Youth Violence Prevention and Mental Health Programs
Will Consult with Partners In Promise Zone to Determine How Money is Spent

(September 13, 2016) – A $4.7 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has been awarded to the St. Louis County Department of Public Health in partnership with the St. Louis City Department of Health and other community partners. This five-year grant serves to fund efforts that will include providing trauma-related services, violence prevention programs, and peer-to-peer youth programs. The programs will be focused in the federally designated Promise Zone located in North St. Louis County and North St. Louis.

“This grant represents an important step toward fulfilling key priorities of my administration, among them investing in our youth and supporting the safety and health of our residents” County Executive Steve Stenger said.

“This grant, officially named Project CATALYST (Community Action for Trauma-informed Access, Leadership, Youth Support and Training) will be implemented with the help of many community partners, and extensive input from residents within the Promise Zone.

Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health said the department’s grant application was supported by many partners. They include: the St. Louis County Executive’s Office, St. Louis regional Promise Zone, Regional Health Commission, the Missouri Department of Mental Health, the St. Louis Health Department, Saint Louis Mental Health Board, the UMSL National Child Traumatic Stress Network, several St. Louis County school districts, Forward through Ferguson, and the Ferguson City Council.

“Public health problems don’t recognize geographical boundaries,” said Khan. “This is why St. Louis County is proud to take the lead and work with a wide range of partners in this regional effort to fundamentally address such issues. We will be holding a series of discussions to determine what specific services this grant will support and where those services are needed most.”

The Promise Zone includes portions of 26 St. Louis County municipalities and parts of unincorporated north St. Louis County. The Promise Zone is bounded on the east by the Mississippi River and runs south to include North St. Louis southward to Carr Square. The federal Promise Zone designation gives the area preferential consideration in the awarding of federal grants.


First Heat-Related Death Reported in St. Louis County

(June 28, 2016) – On June 24, 2016, an elderly St. Louis County woman died after experiencing heat-related illness. This is the first confirmed heat-related death in St. Louis County this summer, according to the medical examiner.

Extreme heat is expected to continue throughout the summer. In addition to the heat-related death, thirty-nine (39) patients have been treated for heat-related symptoms in St. Louis County this summer, including six (6) who were hospitalized.

Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health recommends the following:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.
  • Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.
  • Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.
  • Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.
  • Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!

If a person is unable to keep his or her residence cool and needs to find a cooling center, that person is urged to call the United Way of Greater Saint Louis by dialing 211 from his or her home landline phone, or by dialing 1-800-427-4626 from any other type of phone.

Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. Here are some tips for protecting pets during hot weather:

  • Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it’s clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. You can also spray your pet with water to cool them off.
  • Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work or you can fasten a sunroom screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade too.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle. Internal vehicle temperatures can reach 150 degrees.

For more information, please visit the department’s Hot Weather Safety Tips page at:

www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/HotWeatherSafetyTips


Saint Louis County Department of Public Health Releases Report Detailing Heroin-Related Deaths in St. Louis County

(February 24, 2016) – The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH) has released a report that details drug-poisoning deaths in St. Louis County from 2010 through 2014.

“The data is alarming,” said County Executive Steve Stenger. “There is a clear upward trend, which is why NOW is the time to act to reverse these numbers and we are doing just that.”

The report shows that the highest rate is found among young men aged 25 to 44 – a population whose heroin death rate is more than twice the county average.

Added Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the department, “This isn’t a problem taking place in one or two isolated parts of the county, but all over. Although some areas are more affected than others, heroin knows no boundaries of geography, race, or income level. The solution must be comprehensive.”

The report breaks out heroin-related deaths by county region and by zip code. Twenty-four of the county’s 48 zip codes have rates higher than the county as a whole, and 35 of the 48 have rates that are higher than the average in the Midwest.

Also included in the report is the DPH Action Plan to combat the problem of heroin use. It includes 8 action steps DPH is taking to address the issue – this report detailing the extent of the problem being part of one of those steps.

“We first need to make people aware of the extent of the problem, which this report is designed to do,” said Dr. Khan.

In addition to an informational campaign, the report’s Action Plan also calls for

  • the passage and implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program,
  • an expansion of the availability and use of NarcanTM during overdose interventions,
  • the promotion of drug take-back programs and events,
  • a promotion of prescriber guidelines to help avoid opiate abuse,
  • participation in and the promotion of community collaborations to increase opportunities for intervention,

The full report can be viewed at:

http://www.stlouisco.com/Portals/8/docs/Health/Health Data/Heroin Deaths Profile 22416 FINAL.pdf


Saint Louis County Department of Public Health Encourages Residents to Think of Heart Health this Valentine’s Day
February is American Heart Month

(February 10, 2016) – February is American Heart Month and the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is encouraging residents to do all they can do to keep their hearts strong and healthy this Valentine’s Day.

“Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide,” said County Executive Steve Stenger. “Everyone needs to be vigilant about working to reduce heart disease. We want to ensure we have healthy, engaged residents in St. Louis County.”

Added Faisal Khan, director of the county public health department, “Despite the stereotypes that still exist, heart disease can affect anyone – not just men. In fact, one in three women who die each year dies from either heart disease or a stroke, and it’s time to change that.”

Common symptoms for both men and women who are having a heart attack are chest pain, discomfort in the left arm, and shortness of breath. Women may also experience irregular back pain in the upper or lower back, jaw pain, neck, pain, and nausea.

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is encouraging everyone to educate themselves more on the issue by:

  • Finding out your heart numbers by seeing a doctor and having your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and glucose level checked.
  • Learning about the importance of making healthy food choices and staying active to keep your heart healthy.
  • Owning your lifestyle by choosing to stop smoking, lose weight, manage stress, and limit alcohol intake to promote the health of your heart.
  • Visiting www.cdc.gov/heartdisease to learn more about reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Around 80% of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes and the time to start is now.

For more information about the issue from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about American Heart Month, visit:

www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth


County Department of Public Health Extends Deadline for Free Well Water Testing for Victims of Recent Floods
Deadline Extended to February 22nd, 2016

(January 28, 2016) – The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is extending the deadline for free well water testing of private wells for St. Louis County residents who live in areas affected by recent flooding until February 22nd, 2016.

“It is very important that any residents affected by the flood who use well water make sure that it hasn’t been contaminated,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “We hope to help with this by continuing to offer free well water testing to affected residents for another three weeks.”

Free well water testing kits for private wells are available for those residents who live in an area affected by the flood at the following County Public Health Department offices during the following days and hours:

Saint Louis County Health Department - Main Office
6121 North Hanley Road
Berkeley, Missouri 63134
Monday - Friday; 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Saint Louis County Health Department - South County Satellite Office
Keller Plaza
4562 Lemay Ferry Road
Saint Louis, Missouri 63129
Monday - Friday; 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Saint Louis County Health Department - West County Satellite Office
Clarkson Wilson Centre
78 Clarkson Centre (off Clarkson Road)
Chesterfield, Missouri 63017
Monday - Friday; 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

It is important that the instructions included with each well water testing kit be followed exactly. Suspect well water must be collected as directed, then returned to the County Public Health Department’s Main Office in Berkeley no later than 30 hours after collection. The department is only waiving the private drinking water testing fee through February 22nd, 2016.

Information about disinfecting contaminated wells and other water sources can be found at:

www.stlouisco.com/Portals/8/docs/Health/Emergency Preparedness/Water Source Safety.pdf

For more information about the free well water testing, visit:

www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/FreeWellWaterTesting

For more information about home cleanup following a flood, please visit the following website set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/cleanupwater.asp


County Public Health Department Urges Caution during Cold Winter Weather

(January 19, 2016) – The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is urging caution and common sense during the continuing period of extremely cold temperatures and snow expected in the St. Louis area over the next few days.

“St. Louis experiences cold weather almost every year, but the temperatures and wind chills over the next few days are expected to remain lower than normal. It’s important for everyone to observe common sense precautions until it passes,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the public health department.

The public health department recommends the following:

  • The elderly and very young should stay indoors as much as possible. Offer to shop for elderly friends and relatives. Just like in the summer with heat, it takes some time to get acclimated to cold weather.
  • While indoors, try to keep at least one room heated to 70 degrees. This is especially important for the elderly and small children to prevent hypothermia.
  • Wear layered clothing outdoors for better protection from the cold. Wear a cap to prevent rapid heat loss from an uncovered head. Cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite.
  • Check daily on elderly friends, relatives, and neighbors who live alone.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Eat high energy foods along with warm beverages and soup.
  • Sleep warm with extra blankets, a warm cap, socks, and layered clothing.
  • Avoid fatigue and exhaustion during cold weather. Overexertion, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, can strain your heart.
  • Carry extra clothing, blankets, and high energy snacks, such as cereal or candy bars, in your car for your protection if the car stalls. Keep the gas tank near full to prevent icing. Don't travel alone. Bring a fully charged cell phone in case you need to call for help.
  • Be careful when using fireplaces, stoves, or space heaters to stay warm. Carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires are very real winter hazards.
  • For information about emergency shelter, call the United Way at 211 from a residential phone or at 1-800-427-4626 from any other type of phone.

Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures drop this low. Here are some tips for protecting pets during cold weather:

  • Whenever possible, keep pets inside. Outdoors, pets can freeze, become lost, injured, or killed.
  • If pets must be outside, provide a flexible cover or wind break for dog house doors, face the door to the South, and use STRAW for bedding – not hay, towels, or blankets as these can become wet and make the space colder. (There is free straw available at the Saint Louis County Animal Shelter and a limited number of outdoor pet houses for people that cannot bring their pets indoors; residents can call or stop by 7 days a week to receive assistance for outdoor pets.)
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can easily become lost. Make sure your dog always wears ID tags.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your pet's legs and stomach when it comes in out of the sleet, snow, or ice. Pets can ingest salt, antifreeze, or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking its paws or body.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

For more information, please visit the department’s Cold Weather Precautions webpage at:

www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/ColdWeatherPrecautions

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is a member of Operation Weather Survival – a network of public and private organizations that collaborate, coordinate resources, and help educate the public to prevent illness, injury, and death caused by extreme hot or cold weather. More information about Operation Weather Survival can be found at:

www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=operationweathersurvivalnew2