Friday, November 17, 2017

Free Healthy Homes Training

Thurston County’s Healthy Homes Program trains volunteers to provide free home visits to encourage behaviors and actions to promote healthy living spaces – such as preventing and addressing mold, creating healthy indoor air, reducing asthma triggers, reducing exposure to toxins, and more. We have a free volunteer training coming up in February! You can learn all about housing-related health risks and how to prevent, reduce, and address them. This training is fun and the knowledge gained is useful in our daily lives. This training is also open to those who want to take it for professional development.

When: Thursdays in February from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and two Saturdays – February 24 and March 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday sessions include lunch!

Where: Thurston County Public Health at 412 Lilly Rd. NE, Olympia, 98506; across from St. Peter’s Hospital. Intercity Transit bus routes # 60, 62A, and 62B serve the area. If transportation is an issue for anyone who is interested, please don’t let that stop you from applying. We are close to bus routes and there is a good chance that volunteers attending the training can carpool.

Who: This training is for people interested (or who work) in housing, public health, health education, children’s health, and giving back to the community. No prior experience is necessary; the training teaches all you need to know to conduct Healthy Homes Visits in pairs.

What volunteers do: Volunteers can conduct Healthy Homes Visits, participate in booths at community events, perform outreach, or work on special projects. They are notified of opportunities to volunteer and can sign up as their schedules allow. Healthy Homes Visits are free, voluntary, and completely confidential. We are invited to do the visit by the resident, where we perform a checklist and walk-through. Based on what we find we provide information, guidance, and resource lists to the residents to help them take the next steps.

Contact Information: (360) 867-2674 or HealthyHomes@co.thurston.wa.us

Links

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

Sign up for the new Thurston Home & Garden e-newsletter!


Receive tips about caring for your home, garden, and lawn in your inbox every two months! Thurston Home & Garden offers advice on improving indoor air quality, handling housing issues like mold, practical and useful solutions for a thriving lawn, and all sorts of tips and tricks for gardening without using toxic weed and bug killers. You can even send in your questions to be included in the Q&A section.

Each newsletter will include a list of upcoming local events related to home and garden topics!

Sign me up! Please include your first and last name and your email address.

Monday, June 19, 2017

AmeriCorps Position Open - Healthy Homes Project Lead

Help people make their home into a healthier space!


We are seeking a committed, passionate person to help lead our Healthy Homes Program! Thurston County Healthy Homes Program helps people reduce their exposure to toxics, asthma triggers, mold, and other housing-related health risks. Local residents invite trained volunteers into their homes to provide these optional Healthy Homes Visits.

The AmeriCorps member will serve in the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department. Eligible applicants must be between the ages of 18-25. Position begins September 1 and comes with a living stipend of $1,195 a month, a bus pass, student loan forbearance or deferment, eligibility for basic health insurance, and an AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,775 upon successful completion of the program.  To learn more about AmeriCorps visit the Washington Service Corps website.

The Healthy Homes Project Lead will:
- Organize and complete the Healthy Homes volunteer training.
- Conduct Healthy Homes Visits for local residents and childcare facilities.
- Provide follow-up contacts, and other program services.
- Manage program volunteers including recruitment, scheduling and tracking hours.
- Create partnerships with local healthcare providers.
- Develop volunteer support and recognition events.
- Develop creative and innovative program outreach activities to engage the community.
- Collect, track, and analyze program data to evaluate program effectiveness and impact.
- Prepare quarterly reports.
- Occasionally assist department education staff with other outreach and evaluation activities.

Traits of the ideal candidate:
- Will be enthusiastic and embrace challenges, be professional and friendly, demonstrate commitment to workplace collaboration, and have the ability to establish and maintain professional demeanor in stressful situations. 
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing with tact, diplomacy and clarity to multiple audiences.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality, and adherence to legal and ethical requirements.
- Ability to organize, prioritize and coordinate work, research and prepare reports.
- Must be able to comply with a smoke-free and drug-free work environment, and pass child safety screening.
- Two years of college level course work. Solid computer skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office.
- Must possess a current and valid Washington driver's license within two months.
- Must be between the ages 18-25.


Apply through the AmeriCorps website. This opportunity closes on July 17 at 8:00 am Pacific Time, and is contingent on funding. For more information please contact Elisa Sparkman, Healthy Homes Program Coordinator at (360) 867-2579, sparkme@co.thurston.wa.us.