Friday, January 12, 2018

Hepatitis A: What You Should Know

Hepatitis A, a highly contagious infection that affects the liver, has been cropping up more in the news over the last few years, but many may not know much about the disease. The effects of this viral infection can vary, from a mild sickness that lasts a few weeks, to a much more severe illness lasting multiple months. Most people recover completely without any lasting issues, but while rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A is spread when a person accidentally ingests the virus, which is present in the fecal matter of an infected person.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A may start appearing roughly 2 to 4 weeks after exposure, but can appear as late as 7 weeks later. These symptoms include: Fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, or who has symptoms such as jaundice, should seek medical care.

Groups at higher risk for infection include people who have direct contact with an infected person, drug users, men who have sex with men, and people who travel to countries where Hepatitis A is common. Hepatitis A can spread quickly among homeless populations where people have less access to medical care, may be less likely to seek medical care, and may have fewer resources.

People who identify themselves as being in one of these high-risk groups, and who have not been previously vaccinated should get the Hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccine is a 2-shot series, effective if given within two weeks of exposure. Your pharmacy may be able to provide the vaccine, but you should call first to find out for certain. 


Friday, November 17, 2017

Free Healthy Homes Class for Professionals & Residents

Learn how to identify, address and prevent housing-related health risks like mold, indoor air pollution, rodents and more.

When: Thursdays in February from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This class has four sessions for a total of eight hours. Light snacks will be served.

Where: Thurston County Public Health at 
412 Lilly Rd. NE Olympia 98506 (across from Providence St. Peter Hospital and served by Intercity Transit bus routes # 60, 62A and 62B)

In this class you will: 
  • Learn how healthy homes principles help keep the structure of a home in good condition.
  • Learn how housing conditions impact health.
  • Learn to identify, address and prevent housing-related health risks.
  • Gain useful knowledge that you can apply to your daily life.
  • Earn a certificate of completion.

Who should take this class: 
  • Renters, homeowners, landlords, parents, college students. Anyone who's interested!
  • Licensed contractors & home improvement service companies - ask about how to get on the Healthy Homes Program vendor list!
  • Social workers, home caregivers, medical & public health professionals. This class is great for professional development.

Register today! HealthyHomes@co.thurston.wa.us (360) 867-2674  TDD 711 or 1-800-833-6388

Friday, September 29, 2017

Keep up with the latest lake advisories

Do you have a favorite lake in Thurston County? Do you live on or near one of them? Do you like to visit Thurston County's beautiful lakes for fishing, boating, swimming, or dog-walking? If yes, you should know how to get up-to-date information on toxic algae blooms and other important advisories.

Here are the best ways to get the info:

For questions or to report an algae bloom or swimming-related illness call: (360) 867-2626


What you should know about Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Since the school year began about a month ago, there has been five reported cases of pertussis in Thurston County.
While typically a relatively mild illness for older children and adults, pertussis can be life threatening for infants and young children, and dangerous for pregnant women.

Pertussis is spread through the air and by secretions of the nose and throat in the same manner as a cold. The illness starts with mild cold symptoms, followed in 4 to 5 days by a cough. The cough can become severe, causing children to vomit or have difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing causes the characteristic “whoop” sound in children with severe illness. Most children are immunized during infancy and preschool years and are protected while they are the most vulnerable. Immunity wanes over time leaving older children and adults susceptible to the illness.

Pertussis containing vaccine is available for older children and adults. The recommendation is that all individuals 11 years of age and older receive one dose of Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine. Vaccine for children is available from their health care provider and most pharmacies will vaccinate older children and adults.

The three most important ways to prevent the spread of pertussis as well as many other illnesses are:
     1. Frequent hand washing.
     2. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
     3. You and your child stay home when ill.


If you or your child has a severe or persistent cough, or one that lasts longer than a week, please see your family health care provider for an evaluation. If you have questions, please contact your healthcare provider or school nurse.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Healthy Water for a Healthy Community

In 2007, water quality concerns in Henderson Inlet triggered the formation of the Henderson Shellfish Protection District Septic Maintenance Program. Fecal coliform bacteria was found in the water and shellfish grown in Henderson Inlet at levels that could make people sick. The shellfish protection district created programs to educate the public, inventory local septic systems and help county staff make sure that all septic systems in the area are taken care of and that failing systems are fixed. The program is funded by a charge to people who live in the Henderson Shellfish Protection Area. This program is one of several water quality improvement projects undertaken by community partners.

Has this program worked?
Yes! Hundreds of acres of shellfish growing area have been reopened because of water quality improvements. Over 86% of the septic systems in Henderson are current with inspections and maintenance. This is one of the highest success rates in the Puget Sound area.

The work continues…
The success of the past 10 years needs to be sustained as our population continues to grow and change. Our region is known for its access to beautiful waterways, mountains, and streams. Henderson Shellfish Protection Area is an example of teamwork in the community working to keep our citizens, our precious resources and our economy healthy.

Proposed changes to the program
  • The program currently requires that high risk septic systems be dye traced every six years. The new proposal changes this to every nine years. A review of the data shows that the county could reduce the frequency of dye traces and still protect public health.
  • The proposal adds a $10 charge on properties that have more than one septic system. This charge helps pay for the time needed to review records and oversee the monitoring and maintenance of these additional systems.
  • Increase charges $2/year for low and $6/year for high risk systems. This extra money will help reduce dependency on grants so that grants can be used in other high priority areas in the county.
  • Strengthen water quality monitoring through a Pollution and Identification Correction or PIC program. Adding PIC allows the county to respond to complaints and further investigate documented water quality problems in streams or shellfish monitoring stations.

On September 12 at 5:30 p.m. the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing to review and receive testimony on the ordinance to re-enact rates and charges for this program. Come and give us your feedback, share your concerns and have your questions answered! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

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