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Comanche County Health Department
Current Topics of Interest

Influenza (Flu)AD-Flu Vaccine Bottle.gif

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.   The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.  For more information see the following sites:  

Severe Weather Alerts
Severe weather impacts every part of the country. One of the best ways to prepare is to know the hazards for our area. The Ready - Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed website is a great place to start - www.Ready.gov/.  CDC also gives some suggestions: Preparing for Spring.

OSDH Warns to Protect Health and Property During Wildfire SeasonFire Prevention
Aside from property damage, wildfires may also cause health concerns for those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis or chronic heart disease. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) recommends limiting outdoor activity for people living in close proximity to a fire-stricken area to avoid inhalation of smoke, ashes and other pollutants. Children and older adults have an increased risk of suffering complications from smoke caused by a wildfire as it often contains a mix of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation, building materials and other pollutants.

OSDH Emergency Manager Darrell Eberly encourages families to have a plan for evacuation in the event they are forced to leave their homes quickly. “Wildfires can occur anywhere,” said Eberly. “They can start in remote areas, or even in your own backyard.”

In effort to protect homes and property, OSDH encourages homeowners to make a few minor adjustments to prevent the risk of fire. This becomes increasingly important as a growing number of housing additions are being developed near wooded areas. Homeowners are encouraged to trim all branches that overhang the house. Branches around the chimney and driveway should be trimmed within 15 feet. Lower branches should be pruned 6-10 feet up to prevent ground fires from spreading to the top. Other tips to protect a home from wildfire include:

  • When temperatures are above freezing, place a hose (at least 100-feet long) on a rack and attach it to an outdoor faucet.
  • Remove leaves and other debris from the roof and gutters.
  • Avoid placing firewood piles too close to the home.
  • Plant low-flammable plants in areas next to the home. Avoid coniferous plants when possible.
  • Install a metal shield between the home and an attached wood fence.

For more information about preparing for a wildfire or other event, visit Ready.gov and CDC.gov.

Mosquito Information

West Nile Virus

CDD - MosquitoWest Nile virus (WNV) is a reportable disease in Oklahoma. Cases and deaths for 2016 have been confirmed in Oklahoma.  Persons are at greatest risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes from July through October in our state. Persons of any age can become ill after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but those over the age of 50 are at greater risk of developing serious illness involving the nervous system. Over 80% of people infected with the virus never become ill. If people do become ill, most cases are mild with symptoms such as a fever, headache, tiredness and body aches that go away on their own. Some people may develop a rash on the trunk of the body. In more severe cases, persons can develop meningitis or other neurologic disease.

There are over 60 species of mosquitoes in Oklahoma, some of which may carry disease.  The species differ in how they look. They also differ in how they act, such as how aggressive they are when they bite, where they breed, and when they are the most active.  The mosquito population boom that has resulted from the excessive recent rainfall does not foretell a more severe WNV season.  The type of mosquitoes that hatch after severe flooding are primarily the species of mosquitoes classified as “nuisance mosquitoes”. They bite aggressively and cause lots of itchy bites, but they are not typically involved with transmission of diseases.  Floodwater mosquito populations tend to die out 3 weeks after the rains stop and the sun dries out affected low lying areas.  The following are links for more information regarding mosquitoes:

Zika Virus

The Acute Disease Service (ADS) of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received confirmation that Oklahoma residents have acquired Zika during international travel to countries experiencing local transmission of the virus. 

    • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
    • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.  More information from CDC
    • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
    • Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States.  Learn More

Zika is a reportable disease in Oklahoma as an “unusual disease or syndrome”.  Zika is a mosquitoborne viral disease.  Outbreaks of Zika virus have been reported in multiple countries including tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, and Brazil. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).   Since that time, local transmission has been identified in numerous countries and territories in the Americas.  Specific areas where Zika virus is spreading are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time.  Visit the CDC Zika Travel Information to find where Zika is occurring. 

Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus.  Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.  Zika virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti, and might be spread by Aedes albopictus mosquitoes as well.  These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue and chikungunya.  They most frequently bite during the daytime, both indoors and outdoors.  They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon.  Transmission has also been found through blood transfusion, sexual transmission, and perinatal (mother-to-fetus) transmission.  For these updates and more information regarding Zika see the CDC link or the OSDH Link.

Chase Morris Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act
Senate Bill 239, the Chase Morris Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act goes into effect July 1. Under the new law, every coach associated with an athletic activity must complete the sudden cardiac arrest training course from Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) approved providers. In addition, a student participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity and the student’s parent or guardian will need to review and sign the Athlete/Parent/Guardian Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symptoms and Warning Signs Information Sheet developed by the OSDH and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). OSDH-Chase Morris

The full bill, overview of the legislation, direct links to the Athlete/Parent/Guardian Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symptoms and Warning Signs Information Sheet and links to approved provider Sudden Cardiac Arrest training courses can be found below.

Approved Providers for Sudden Cardiac Arrest training courses for coaches

Provider: National Federation of High Schools
Course: Sudden Cardiac Arrest
http://nfhslearn.com/courses/61032

Provider: Sports Safety International
Course: CardiacWise 2.0
http://www.sportsafetyinternational.org/cardiacwise/

E-Cigarettes & Other Vapor Products

_Ecig.jpgE-cigarettes and vapor products have become increasingly popular and accessible in Oklahoma, which has raised many questions about these currently unregulated products. These links provide information about the public health perspective regarding e-cigarettes and resources to support state agencies in implementing the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products in state property.

Frequently Asked Questions About E-Cigarettes (PDF)
OSDH Tobacco Prevention Program
Smoking and Tobacco Use - CDC

 

 

 

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