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Health Advisories and Current Information
This page will be updated periodically to provide information on current health issues in the community and locations on where to locate additional information on health concerns. Please feel free to contact the Harper County Health Department / Harper County Home Health Agency at 620-842-5132 if you have additional questions or concerns on these issues. You may also Email the Harper County Health Department questions or comments.

EBOLA UPDATE
 
In response to the recent events and growing concern regarding the presence of Ebola in West Africa and the United States, the Harper County Health Department has been reviewing information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local community health and medical partners for community preparedness planning in the event a potential case of Ebola develops in Harper County.

Ebola is a rare disease and is only transmitted by direct contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids, which include saliva, mucus, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine and semen. Symptoms of Ebola include: fever higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising. Only people who are exhibiting these symptoms AND meet one of the following criteria are at risk of having Ebola:

1. Have recently traveled to an affected area in Africa
2. Have had direct contact with a person who has recently traveled to Africa and is exhibiting Ebola symptoms

For statewide information and guidance on Ebola, visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at http://www.kdheks.gov.

For national information and guidance on Ebola, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov.

Locally, if you have recently traveled to the affected areas in Africa or believe you have been exposed to the Ebola virus, please call the Harper County Health Department at 620-842-5132, so that we may complete a risk assessment over the telephone and provide you with follow-up instructions. Please do not wait until you have symptoms to call if you meet one of the two criterion above.

Many of the symptoms of Ebola are similar to flu-like symptoms and health experts are urging people to get vaccinated for the flu, especially prior to the upcoming holiday season which is the busiest holiday travel time of the year. This would help to reduce influenza related illnesses and assist medical providers in diagnosis of true Ebola cases. The flu vaccine will not prevent Ebola but would help reduce the number of people who would present with flu-like symptoms. Obtaining a flu shot is one of the easiest ways to prevent at least one deadly disease, because flu can also be a killer. In an average year, 32,000 people in the United States die of influenza. We also encourage everyone to remember to utilize the basic practices to prevent infection including:

• Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and warm water
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick; keep your distance from others when you are sick
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
• Call your medical provider when you develop flu-like symptoms to obtain appropriate medical attention

For a good example of a log for checking your temperature, click here.

We have recently posted a sign on our door requesting that individuals who are experiencing a rash, fever or other flu-like symptoms to ring the doorbell so that we may assess your situation prior to entrance into our building to reduce the likelihood of spreading infectious diseases to other clients or personnel who utilize our facility. We do have a generic sign on the website that may be printed off for other agency/business use.  Click here for that sign.

Following these basic tips can help you and those around you stay healthy year-round. We are willing to schedule clinics to offer influenza vaccines and/or presentations on handwashing and infection control to groups/agencies/businesses in the Harper County community. Please contact our office at 620-842-5132 or check our website at www.harpercountyks.gov for additional information regarding health topics.

ENTEROVIRUS-D68

Enterovirus is a common virus that usually causes no symptoms or mild cold-like (respiratory) symptoms, especially in infants, children and teens. There has been a recent increase across the country in hospitalized children with severe respiratory symptoms.  Because of the increase in cases, specimens were tested at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found positive for a specific type of enterovirus, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).  More than half of the hospitalized children had a history of asthma or wheezing.  

You cannot tell if a child with a cold has enterovirus.  There are many viruses that cause cold-like symptoms and most of the time a body fights the mild infection successfully.  Seek medical care if you or a child under your care is having trouble breathing.  Children who have asthma should be monitored carefully.  

Enterovirus is spread through contact with nose and mouth secretions.  There is no specific treatment for enterovirus and other respiratory viruses other than managing symptoms (fever reducer, inhaler, etc.).

Prevent the spread of respiratory viruses by:
    Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers;
    Avoiding close contact, such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils, with people who are sick;
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Additional information on enterovirus and other diseases/illnesses may be found on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at http://www.kdheks.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov.

Health Insurance Coverage

The following resources are available for Health Insurance assistance in Kansas.  

For Children, Pregnant Women, Elderly, and Persons with Disabilities: Visit  www.kancare.ks.gov, request an application by phone: 1-800-792-4884, or pick up an application at the Harper County Health Department.

For the Health Insurance Marketplace:  Visit www.healthcare.gov, or call 1-800-318-2596 for more information.  

Veteran's Assistance
 
The Kansas Commission on Veteran's Affairs (VA) provides and opportunity for local veterans & families to meet with a VA Service Representative in the local community.  The Veteran's Service Representative for Harper County is available the first Thursday of every month from 10:30 am to 11:45 am.
   Tom Brady, Veteran's Service Representative, will be available on the first Thursday of every month beginning Thursday, September 4, 2014 from 10:30 am to 11:45 am.  Mr. Brady will be available at the Harper County Health Department. if you are interested in setting up an appointment to meet with Mr. Brady please contact the Harper County Health Department at 620-842-5132.

Severe Weather 
The following link is a resource provided by the National Weather Service.  This PDF includes county and state statistics and facts regarding 2013 tornadoes, numbers of tornadoes in each county for the last 60 years, and regional and specific severe storm reports.  It also contains guidance on forming your own plans for all different home types, and disaster and first aid kits for your home and vehicle.
   

Earthquake Safety
Recent earthquake activity has increased the importance for individuals, families, organizations, and communities to identify risks, make a plan, create a disaster kit, and become familiar with safety tips in the event of an earthquake. Federal, State and local emergency management experts agree that Drop, Cover and Hold On is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes:

DROP to the ground;
COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture:
HOLD ON until the shaking stops

DO NOT RUN OUT OF THE BUILDING DURING THE SHAKING AS OBJECTS MAY BE FALLING OFF THE BUILDING AND CAUSE SERIOUS INJURIES OR DEATH.  

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov;  http://www.shakeout.org; CDC and/or FEMA websites.  

Summer Insect Safety

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are encouraging everyone to “Fight the Bite,” and protect themselves from insect bites this summer.  Mosquitos and ticks, among other insects, can carry serious diseases such as West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.

 Strategies to reduce your risk of bites include: 

  1. Use an insect repellant with DEET.
  2. Dress Smartly.  Wear pants, long socks, and long sleeves when possible. 
  3. Eliminate standing water where mosquitos can breed.
  4. Avoid high grass and brush areas. 
  5. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming inside, and check skin for any ticks.

Measles  
Measles-Cases-300px.jpg
An outbreak of measles is occurring in the United States this year, including cases in Kansas. Measles is a respiratory disease that is very contagious. It causes fever, runny nose, cough, a rash all over the body, and can lead to complications such as ear infection, pneumonia, and even death. A vaccine to prevent the measles is available (MMR) and also protects against mumps and rubella. Outbreaks can occur when there are groups of people who remain unvaccinated. For more information visit CDC or call the Health Department at 620-842-5132.
measles-importation-infographic.jpg

Pertussis
Kansas is currently experiencing an outbreak of pertussis cases. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough is a serious respiratory illness. It is an infection that often mimics a common cold in the beginning, but can progress quickly, especially in young infants and children. Pertussis is also known as whooping cough. This is because patients often have violent, rapid coughing fits, leaving them to loudly inhale as they try to refill their lungs with air. View more information about Pertussis.

Pertussis is very contagious and spreads rapidly, usually before a patient’s cough even develops. A vaccine is available against pertussis. Children receive the vaccine in their normal childhood series of Diptheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (DTAP) shots, but are not fully protected until age five. Adults often pass the pertussis infection on to their children, since their immunity has waned from their own childhood immunizations.

A one-time booster of the pertussis vaccine (given in Tdap-Tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) is recommended for all adults who have contact with infants and children. This helps to protect the children who have not been able to be fully vaccinated. Parents can also help protect their children by getting them all their vaccines on time. Women are now recommended to get a Tdap booster in the third trimester of each pregnancy, to help pass immunity on to the baby. Please call 620-842-5132 if you are interested in this vaccine.


My Plate Nutrition Guide
If you ever had trouble remembering the order of food on the Food Pyramid, check out the new nutritional guide - My Plate - at ChooseMyPlate.gov.  Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, one fourth grains and one fourth protein.  We currently have a limited supply of colorful laminated My Plate placements for give away at the Anthony office upon request to promote healthy eating. 



Harper County, KS
201 N. Jennings Ave.
Anthony, KS  67003
Ph: 1-877-537-2110
Fx: 1-877-537-2110