The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008

Menu

Protect yourself with a flu shot this year!

As summer ends and fall approaches, we begin to hear a lot about the seasonal flu and the importance of getting vaccinated. Influenza, also known as “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus, which affects the nose, throat and lungs. Every year in the United States more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several important steps can be taken to help prevent contracting and spreading the virus.

Individuals who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications should exercise particular caution during flu season. Children under age five, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities are especially susceptible to complications related to flu.

The best way to prevent getting the flu and spreading it to others is to get a vaccine. It’s best to get vaccinated as early as possible in the season as it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop after vaccination. For the 2017-2018 seasons, the CDC recommends using an injectable influenza vaccine. Two types of injectable vaccines will be available this flu season:

*  Trivalent flu vaccine: A three-component vaccination injected into the muscle of the arm. There are several trivalent shots that are appropriate for people 18 and older. High-dose trivalent shots are recommended for people over 65.

*  Quadrivalent flu vaccine: A four-component vaccination approved for use in different age groups. The intradermal quadrivalent flu shot uses a smaller needle and is injected into the skin instead of the muscle.

Besides vaccination, there are several other things you can do to minimize the risk of catching the virus and spreading it to others. Most viruses spread through direct contact, so it is extremely important to wash your hands regularly in warm, soapy water and avoid contact with face, mouth and eyes. When sneezing, always use a clean tissue and discard used ones, and if a tissue is not available, sneeze away from others.

Using natural methods to help prevent to the flu can also be effective. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids can help flush out the body. Getting fresh air can also help keep the body hydrated, especially during the cold months when central heat tends to dry out the skin. Exercising regularly and eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits can help increase blood flow and stimulate the body’s natural virus-killing cells.

The seasonal flu virus changes every season, so it is important to stay current with your vaccinations each year. Practicing good cleanliness habits and healthy routines can also help keep you and your loved ones healthy throughout flu season and all year long.

For information about scheduling a vaccine, please call one of our convenient locations listed below:

 

 

SEPT. 4, 2017

TALKING ABOUT POOR HEALTH AS AN OBSTACLE TO PROGRESS IN APPALACHIA, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

By Melissa Patrick
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- Appalachia faces many hurdles when it comes to economic development and creating a healthy workforce, including education barriers, addiction issues, stigma and overall poor health.

Those were the conclusions of a 13-member panel convened to discuss the findings of two new Appalachian Regional Commission reports that found Appalachian health continues to fall behind the rest of the nation, and how that affects economic development.

"Without a healthy workforce, the economic prospects in the region are greatly diminished," declared Julie Marshall, an ARC economist and a principal investigator for the "Health Disparities in Appalachia" report.

The second report, "Diseases of Despair," looked at deaths from overdose, suicide and alcohol-related liver diseases in Appalachian and found them to be 37 percent higher than the rest of the nation: Overdose deaths were 65 percent higher, suicide deaths were 20 percent higher, and alcoholic liver-disease deaths were 8 percent higher.

Michael Meit, lead author of the study, reminded the panel that it's important to look beyond poverty as the only reason for these high rates, pointing out that some Appalachian states, like Mississippi and Georgia, have high poverty levels, but lower death rates for these measures.

Meeting in Johnson City, Tenn., the panel said addiction -- to opioids, alcohol, methamphetamine and cocaine -- is a major workforce issue in the region.

Dan Eldridge, the mayor of surrounding Washington County, said he had recently talked to a company looking to bring more than 600 jobs to his area, and spent most of the time talking about the region's workforce. And when he asked why, they told him that among other things, one of their selection criteria was access to a drug-free workforce and "this region of the country does not have a good reputation."

Eldridge said he thought one contributor to the problem is that high-school students who aren't college-bound don't have any plans for the future, and their drug use seems to increase after they graduate.

Randy Wykoff, dean of the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, said it's time to bring people together from different sectors -- health-care providers, the criminal-justice system, advocacy groups and people with substance-use disorders -- to "rethink this whole thing." He said it's time to quit putting people in jails who need rehabilitation and treatment.

Successes and strategies

Eldridge said his county has a program that teaches employees how to recognize personal or work-related problems and encourages employers to implement employee-assistance programs to address them.

Mike Caudill, CEO of the Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp., a federally qualified health center in Whitesburg, Ky., pointed to its "Farmacy" program as one of their many successes.

The grant-funded program gives qualifying individuals a "prescription" for fresh fruits and vegetables at their local farmers' market. Caudill noted that one of their participants lowered his A1C, a test for blood sugar, from 14 to 6.2 in just eight months. A normal A1C is between 4 and 5.6.

"In the midst of all this bad news, somebody has to speak life into what is possible," said Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, a bipartisan effort to revitalize and diversify Eastern Kentucky's economy.

Arnett said technology can open doors for new economic opportunities, expand entrepreneurship, provide access to health-care specialists through telemedicine, and offer more opportunities for education and workforce training.

Other ideas to improve the workforce included creating multi-sector partnerships, involving community members in decision making, taking advantage of the region's high rate of social associations, including health considerations in all government policies, and better coordinating local educational systems with the region's workforce needs.

Written by Al Cross Posted at 9/02/2017 12:29:00 PM