Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Free clinical breast exams offered by Family Health staff at Mobile area Walmarts in October

Family Health staff members pose for photos during a breast cancer awareness event
last year at the Women's Center in Mobile. Free clinical breast exams are being offered
during October by Family Health staff at area Walmart locations.

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile County Health Department’s Mobile Unit will be at three Walmart locations during October offering free clinical breast examinations to those without insurance and the underinsured between the ages of 40 and 64. The medical clinic on wheels features two state-of-the-art exam rooms.

Along with breast examinations, some participants may be eligible to enroll in a program known as Wise Woman to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This service is free and will provide medical screenings to evaluate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
The American Cancer Society and Walmart have partnered with the Mobile County Health Department’s Family Health division in October to promote breast cancer awareness and health education. 

Here are the dates and locations for the free clinical breast exam clinics held at area Walmart locations:

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9, Walmart parking lot, 7855 Moffett Road, Semmes.
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 20, Tillman’s Corner Walmart parking lot, 5245 Rangeline Road South.
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 23, Walmart parking lot, 6350 Cottage Hill Road, Mobile.

Monday, October 6, 2014

MCHD rabies clinics planned on Saturdays in October for dogs, cats and ferrets

MOBILE, Ala. -- Every month, the Mobile County Health Department’s veterinarian provides hundreds of residents with low-cost vaccines for their dogs, cats and ferrets at a variety of locations.

Here’s a list of the weekend rabies clinics planned for Saturdays in October in Mobile County:
  • 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11, Pet Supplies Plus, 803 Hillcrest Road, Mobile
  • 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Oct. 18, City of Mobile Animal Shelter, 855 Owens St.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Oct. 25, City of Mobile Animal Shelter
There is an $8 charge, per pet, at St. Elmo Feed and Seed and a $10 charge, per pet, at all other locations for rabies vaccines, health officials said. Only cash payments are accepted.

Between October 2013 and September 2014, the Mobile County Health Department Rabies Officer provided 2,250 rabies vaccines to domesticated pets. The state of Alabama tasks local Health Department’s with providing rabies vaccinations to pet owners.

About Rabies
Exposure to rabies may be minimized by eliminating all stray cats and dogs; having pet dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated; staying away from wild animals, especially those acting abnormally; and not keeping exotic or wild animals as pets, health officials said.

Not all woodland creatures are kind: Second raccoon found with rabies in Baldwin County

MOBILE, Ala. -- Local public health officials are urging people to take basic, but extremely important, precautions in the Foley area against rabies. The warning follows the confirmation of a second positive raccoon found during the past two weeks.

Baldwin County is considered to be endemic, which means that rabies is regularly present, but the close proximity of two recent positives in a short period of time has increased public health concerns. The biggest concern is that a rabid raccoon may come into contact with humans, their pets or livestock. Raccoons are the primary carriers for rabies, but the virus can infect other animals such as dogs, cats, foxes, coyotes and skunks.

“The concern with the second positive in such a small geographical area means that it increases potential exposure to humans and domestic animals, especially in densely populated areas," said state Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Dee W. Jones. “It is not uncommon to get clusters of rabies infections within an endemic area, and such occurrences are not indicative of rabies becoming more prevalent, widespread or more dangerous.”
To avoid possible exposure to rabies, take the following precautions:
·         Don't allow pets to run loose. Confine them in a fenced-in area or with a leash.
·         Don't leave uneaten pet food or scraps around your house.
·         Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
·         Don’t go near domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
·         Tell children not to go near wild animals regardless of its behavior.
·         Tell children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal.

A person who is bitten or scratched by an animal should wash the wounds immediately with mild soap and water, apply first aid, and seek medical attention. Bites should be reported to the county health department as soon as possible.  Rabies is preventable in humans exposed to a positive animal if special medical treatment is provided in a timely manner.

Vaccinating domesticated animals reduces the risk of exposure to rabies. Rabies vaccination not only protects the animals from rabies, it helps protect the owners, family members, and other pets as well.

Alabama state law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets must be kept current with rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. 
For more information, contact the Alabama Department of Public Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease, Division of Epidemiology, at 1-800-338-8734 or the Baldwin County Health Department at (251) 972-6834.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mobile County Health Department staff "rolling up their sleeves" for the flu vaccine in October

Mobile County Health Department nurse Becky Dixon gives a shot to a staff
member of the Vector Control Department on Oct. 3, 2014. MCHD encourages
everyone who can to get the flu shot early in the season. 

MOBILE, Ala. -- We're rolling up our sleeves to beat the flu here at the Mobile County Health Department. Staff members are giving and receiving flu shots. It's another way the staff is working to prevent, protect and promote the health of everyone in Mobile County.

The Mobile County Health Department is now offering the 2014-2015 seasonal flu vaccine to those age 6 months and older without an appointment Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Health Department’s Immunization Clinic, 251 N. Bayou St.

The shots also are available by appointment at MCHD’s outlying Family Health centers. Appointments can be made by calling 251-690-8889. The shots are $15 each, payable in the exact amount by cash or credit card, or by using Medicaid or Medicare Part B, or private insurance that covers the cost.

The 2014-2015 flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine that contains killed viruses and is given with a needle. It contains three seasonal influenza viruses that are grown in eggs. Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe influenza and their close contacts, health care personnel and close contacts of children younger than 6 months and people age 65. Pregnant women also should get vaccinated for the flu, health officials said. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following people should not be
vaccinated without consulting a physician:
• People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
• People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination
• People who developed Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine
• People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever.
Dr. Bernard Eichold, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises people to take the following precautions to prevent the spread of colds and flu this season:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. No tissue? Cough and sneeze into your upper arm or sleeve.
• Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
• Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

USA and Family Health physician Dr. William Green interviewed about the ebola outbreak

Dr. William Green speaks with the media about the ebola virus on Oct. 2, 2014,
at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile, Ala. An infectious 
disease specialist, Dr. Green also treats Family Health patients at the
Mobile County Health Department.

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dr. William Kevin Green talked about the ebola outbreak that reached the United States this week during a news conference on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 at the University of South Alabama Medical Center. An infectious disease specialist with the University of South Alabama, Dr. Green also treats patients at Family Health, the primary care division of the Mobile County Health Department.

Local new agencies are reporting today that four close relatives of an Ebola patient hospitalized in Dallas have been formally told to stay home and not have visitors to help prevent spread of the disease. The Texas Department of State Health Services on Thursday announced the legal order for the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, who recently flew to Dallas from Liberia, according to the Associated Press.

Duncan has been hospitalized since Sunday. Health experts on Tuesday diagnosed him with Ebola, which can be deadly. Dallas County Health and Human Services officials previously told the four individuals, whose names weren’t released, to stay home. A public health control order is needed to ensure compliance. The orders were hand-delivered Wednesday night.

The four, who have not shown symptoms, must stay home until at least Oct. 19 when the Ebola incubation period has passed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Family Health: Reach out and read event teaches the importance of going to the doctor

Pediatric patients at the Mobile County Health Department's Family Health clinic
listened on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, as staff member Denise Peel read "Nicky
Goes To The Doctor" by Richard Scarry during a Reach Out and Read event.

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dozens of Mobile County Health Department pediatric patients gathered Tuesday morning for a reading event that featured Nicky the rabbit visiting his favorite physician in Richard Scarry’s book “Nicky Goes To The Doctor.”

Denise Peele, a member of MCHD’s human resources department, grinned as she described the ways Nicky’s doctor, a friendly brown rabbit with floppy ears, measured his height, listened to his heart and checked his vision. When she was finished, children took home a copy of the book and a healthy snack of apples, bananas and bottle of water.

 “We want to remind parents and caregivers that reading to children is one of the most important things you can do to foster an early love of learning,” said Dr. Bernard Eichold, Health Officer for the Mobile County. “That’s why our pediatric clinics take part in the Reach Out and Read initiative every year.”

Throughout the year, children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years seen at MCHD pediatric clinics receive new books during regular checkups as part of the Reach Out and Read-Alabama initiative. This year, copies of the book will be distributed by pediatric healthcare providers statewide who will also talk to parents about the importance of annual well-child visits.

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, national nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. The model includes providing a new, age-appropriate book for each child to take home from every checkup from 6 months through 5 years of age.

Along with the free book for every child, health providers also offer guidance to parents about the importance of reading out loud with their children daily. Research shows that families served by Reach Out and Read do read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills and a six-month developmental edge
Nationwide, Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses serve nearly 4 million children and their families annually at 4,688 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics, and health centers in all 50 states, targeting those centers which serve children at socioeconomic risk. The 67 Reach Out and Read programs in Alabama serve a total of 129,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers annually.

“Scheduled well-child visits help us make sure our youngest patients are developing as they should,” Eichold said. “The book brings that message home in a fun way that even young children can understand.”