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The week of December 5th is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW)! This national observance seeks to promote the protection the flu vaccine provides.
Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department (SNCHD) urges everyone six months old and older to get vaccinated against the flu. It is particularly important for pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions, because people in those groups are at a greater risk of severe complications if they do get the flu. Flu vaccine is available at the SNCHD on Wednesdays from 8-11:30 and 1-4:30. If you have questions about the flu vaccine, please call the SNCHD at 325-235-5463.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department has received new grant funding for sexually transmitted disease services through the Texas Infertility Prevention Project (TIPP), so now the health department will be able to screen, test and treat clients for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. HIV testing is available with clients referred elsewhere for treatment, if needed. Testing will be provided for a minimal fee of $10 per visit, with no charge for medication to treat chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Testing will be provided upon request if possible, otherwise an appointment will be schedule.
This service is greatly needed in our community and this grant will allow clients a way to get tested without going to the emergency room, waiting for an appointment with their physician, or having to go out of town to receive services.
There are no income guidelines to meet or scrutiny about insurances to use these services. To obtain an appointment please call 325-235-5463 Monday-Thursday from 8:30-11:30 and 1-4:30.
When opening a retail food establishment, you must have a certified food manager certificate, before applying for a permit. And employees who are preparing foods and cooking must have a food handlers certificate within 60 days of employment.
At least one person must have a food handlers certificate before applying for a temporary food establishment permit.
Family Planning Services Available
Family Planning services available through Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department include pap smears, breasts exams, pregnancy testing, methods of birth control; depo provera (the shot), condoms and spermicides, IUDs (intrauterine device), birth control pills, Nuva Ring and Nexplanon (hormonal implant). Testing/treatment for STDs for FP clients is available. Clients must be able to still have children. Medicaid and the Texas Women’s Health Program are accepted. For adolescents/minors parental involvement is encouraged but parental consent is not required for Family Planning services. Hours are Monday thru Thursday 8:30 to 11:30 and 1:00 to 4:30. Please call ahead for an appointment 325-235-2869.
Bed Bug Information
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs should not be considered as a medical or public health hazard. Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
- the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
- a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea -- a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
Black Mold Information
What Is Pertussis or Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious disease marked by severe coughing. It is named after the "whoop" sound children and adults sometimes make when they try to breathe in during or after a severe coughing spell.
What are the Symptoms?
Whooping cough usually starts with cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, fever, and a mild cough. These symptoms can last up to 2 weeks and are followed by increasingly severe coughing spells. Fever, if present, is usually mild.
During a classic coughing spell:
signature "whoop" is heard as the patient struggles to breathe
coughs usually produce a thick, productive mucus
vomiting may occur
lips and nails may turn blue due to lack of oxygen
patient is left exhausted after the coughing spell
Mild pertussis disease is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of a cold. Usually a prolonged cough is present, but without the "whoop."
Milder symptoms usually affect all age groups, but are increasing among school children.
The coughing attacks may last for many months in the "classic illness" or just a few days in the mild form of the disease.
Symptoms appear between 6 to 21 days (average 7-10) after exposure to the bacteria.
What are Some Potential Complications?
Young infants are at highest risk for pertussis-related complications, including seizures, encephalopathy (swelling of the brain), otitis media (severe ear infection), anorexia (severe restriction of food intake) and dehydration.
In adolescents and adults, whooping cough can cause severe coughing that can make it hard to breathe, eat, or sleep, and can result in cracked ribs, pneumonia, or hospitalization.
How is it Spread?
Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria that is found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person, and is spread through close contact when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs.
It is most contagious during the first 2 to 3 weeks of infection, often before the beginning of severe coughing spells.
Vaccine protection against whooping cough does not last forever. The vaccination most people received as children wears off, typically by adolescence. Therefore, adolescents and adults are at risk for whooping cough and can spread the infection to infants and young children in the household.
Who Gets It?
Whooping cough (pertussis) can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at highest risk of life-threatening consequences.
Recent outbreaks have shown that adolescents and adults carry the disease, which in its milder form is hard to recognize. Undiagnosed mild disease contributes to the spread of the illness among infants and young children.
Persons with mild whooping cough can transmit the illness to un-immunized and partially immunized infants and young children who are more susceptible to severe illness and complications, such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and seizures.
Anyone - particularly infants and young children - who is un-immunized is at a higher risk for severe whooping cough.
How Do You Treat It?
Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics and patients are advised to take all prescribed medication and avoid contact with anyone, particularly small infants and children.
Ask your health care provider for treatment options if you think you or your child may have whooping cough.
How Do You Prevent It?
While there is no lifelong protection against whooping cough, immunization is the best preventive measure. There is a vaccine to help protect you and your child against whooping cough.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department administers the Tdap vaccine to the uninsured, which protect a person from the whooping cough on Wednesdays from 8-11:30 & 1-4:30, second Wednesday of each month until 6 p.m. Click on Immunization tab for more information on immunizations.
Consult your health care provider to be sure you and your family have been vaccinated.
Please refer to the Center for Disease Control website at cdc.gov or pertussis.com for more information.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age.