This is Public Health

flu-shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today web published the September 2013 Influenza Update which provides useful information and resources for the 2013-2014 flu season.

Influenza (the 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 for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

The upcoming season’s flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the flu vaccine.

Click here to view the PDF 3-brief.

istock_000000245060xsmallA new law passed during the legislative session requires all public colleges in Louisiana to develop a smoke-free policy that will be effective as of 2014. The law also bans cigars, pipes, hookah-smoked products, and oral tobacco products on campuses.

Click here to read the full story from KATC-TV.

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The LSU AgCenter and Pennington Biomedical Research Center are embarking on an ambitious nutrition education program in West Carroll Parish. The program, called Healthy Communities, aims to improve the health profile of the West Carroll Parish population. The goals are to promote healthy eating and physical activity and provide access to healthful foods and recreational facilities, such as parks and trails.

Click here to read the full story from the News Star.

Mosquito Bite

“State health officials are reporting seven new West Nile cases, bringing this year’s total to eight.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says there were two neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, with one each from Calcasieu and Ouachita parishes. That’s the most serious type of the virus, infecting the brain and spinal cord and can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.

DHH also reports four West Nile fever cases, milder viral infections, with one each in Ascension and St. Tammany parishes and two cases in Lafayette Parish.

In addition, there was one asymptomatic case reported in St. Tammany Parish. The majority of people who contract West Nile will be asymptomatic, meaning they show no symptoms. Those cases are typically detected through blood donations or routine medical tests.”

Full story reported from AP/WWL-TV. Click here.

nutrition-label

Here’s a cool new tool to help keep you on track and healthy! Google recently revealed its new nutritional information search function, which makes it simple to look up the calories, protein, carbs, and other nutrients in nearly any food or dish.

Google tech wizards have added nutritional data to the Knowledge Graph, a feature of Google Search that enables users to get information instantly. It’s simple: You enter a question about the nutritional content of a food or drink (for example: “How many calories are in a banana?” or “How much sugar is in a cupcake?”) and hit search. The answer will show up in a box at the top of the results, with the option to change the serving size for even more accurate information. Below Google’s result, the standard search results page appears with links to other sources and websites if you’d like a second opinion. The Knowledge Graph data includes full nutritional information: Calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals like sodium and potassium.

Click here to read the full story and to check it out.

 mosquito

Louisiana has recorded its first case of the West Nile virus in a human for 2013, according to the state Department of Health and Hospitals. The case was confirmed in Caldwell Parish in the north central part of the state on July 22, and was determined to be a neuroinvasive case, the most dangerous form.

West Nile infections are characterized as neuroinvasive, West Nile fever or as asymptomatic. The neuroinvasive form occurs when the virus attacks nerve cells, and in older people may be very severe, with some cases resulting in brain damage or death, according to a health department news release.

Click here to read the full story from the Times-Picayune.

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Many students spend up to 9 hours a day at school and are inactive most of that time. To meet the national recommendation that youth be physically active for at least 60 minutes daily, physical activity breaks are needed throughout the school day. Currently less than 50% of children (6-11 years) and less than 10% of youth (12-19 years) meet this national physical activity recommendation. It is challenging, in part, to meet this recommendation when children and youth spend more than half of their time at school and schools are finding it increasingly challenging to provide physical activity opportunities, owing to inclement weather, facility restrictions, testing schedules or other instruction-time limitations.

With many benefits of physical activity, including increased concentration, increased test scores, increased positive attitude and attendance, and decreased disruptive behavior, LPHI’s School Health Connection program has, for a second year, continued to increase physical activity in schools by incorporating movement into the classroom with physical activity breaks. Physical activity breaks are bursts of physical activity that are integrated into the school day; composed of a series of simple, easy-to-learn movements; and designed to require minimal disruption of routine.

Click here to read the full story.

kids-medicine-safety

Are you giving your kids medicines that shouldn’t be used? It turns out that a lot of parents are. According to the latest University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, more than 40 percents of parents give young kids (under the age of four) medicine that they shouldn’t. Click here to read more.

Louisiana Map

Louisiana is one of the unhealthiest states in the country. According to the latest edition of America’s Health Rankings, Louisiana ranks 49 in overall health, ahead of only Mississippi.

Many Louisianians face barriers to accessing healthcare, which leads to poor health outcomes. Uninsured people are less likely to receive medical care and more likely to have poor health status. Health insurance facilitates entry into the healthcare system and can ultimately improve long-term population health outcomes.

When certain parts of the Affordable Care Act take effect later this year, there will be new ways for individuals, families and small businesses to access health insurance. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, individuals in every state will be able to shop for health insurance and compare plans through newly established “marketplaces,” comparative shopping tools not unlike many of the web-based travel sites all of us frequent for deals on everything from airline tickets to rental cars.

Click here to review the five ways the new healthcare law impacts Louisiana specifically (www.healthcare.gov).

Medical record

Residents of Louisiana and other Delta states face significant health challenges, particularly with obesity and diabetes, according to new data compiled by the Delta Regional Authority.

The authority recently introduced an online tool that allows residents and public health leaders to track regional health data to develop health solutions for the region served by the authority — Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missuori and Tennessee.

The authority’s Healthy Delta Research Database provides reports of health and other major community indicators broken down by state and parish or county.

Click here to find out more.