This is Public Health

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.


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.

The current poster child for global warming is a polar bear, sitting on a melting iceberg. Some health officials argue the symbol should, instead, be a child. That’s because emerging science shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it’s portrayed as a health issue, rather than an environmental problem.

“This is a new topic for public health,” Luber says. “This is emerging largely as a result that the scientific evidence around climate change has evolved to the point that public health feels confident engaging the science; that this is a credible threat.”

Check out the full article from NPR here.

Check out this important article from the Alexandria Town Talk:

“West Nile peaked in Louisiana in 2002, when there were 328 reported cases of people in the state becoming ill. That number steadily dropped until last year, when there were only 12 reported cases.As of Friday, there were 176 reported cases in the state of people becoming ill from West Nile this year, including 10 deaths. In Region 6, which covers Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes, there were 16 cases with two deaths.”

Click here to read the full story.


Did you know that flip-flops have been shown to cause our poor feet more pain than they’re worth? From lack of arch support, caustic plastic straps rubbing between your toes and thin soles, the list goes on and on. So treat your feet right this summer!

Check out this great CNN article to learn more about how to pamper your weary soles.


With 241 cases of West Nile virus and four related deaths reported so far this year, the United States is experiencing the biggest spike in the mosquito-borne illness since 2004, health officials report. Eighty percent of these infections have occurred in three states — Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma — which have seen earlier activity than usual. Overall, 42 states had detected West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes as of July 31, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC officials recommend several important protective measures to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Click here to read the full list.

The Fit NOLA Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana Project, led by the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), in partnership with the City of New Orleans Health Department, is slated to receive a total of $2.2 million in funding from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and pledged matching funds from community partner organizations to increase use of neighborhood parks and access to healthy foods in three underserved neighborhoods. The project will work to transform policies, systems and the environment in parks and surrounding neighborhoods to address barriers to both physical activity and access to healthy food.

The Fit NOLA Project will work to create innovative linkages between community health clinics, parks, and farmers markets in the St. Roch, Gert Town, and Hoffman Triangle-Central City neighborhoods, with a goal of connecting  approximately 64,000 residents with new opportunities for family-oriented physical activities, nutritious foods, and community centered health clinics that support and promote better nutrition and increased physical activity to improve long-term, community health outcomes.

Click here to read the full story.


Louisiana is well known for hot summers and stifling humidity. In some areas, temperatures can even reach triple digits during peak daylight hours. So as you head outdoors to enjoy local summertime festivities, be sure to drink plenty of water, keep alcohol intake to a minimum, avoid leaving pets and loved ones in parked vehicles, and watch out for signs of heat-related illness: light-headedness, nausea and confusion. Click here for more ways to safely beat the heat.

Chilling out

Hot weather isn’t just uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous. Excessive heat – when the temperature is at least 10 degrees hotter than average for that region - causes more deaths than any other type of weather. The Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana offers tips to prepare for and stay safe during excessive heat: discuss the importance of heat safety with your family, know who in your neighborhood is at risk (the elderly, young, sick, and overweight), stay well-hydrated, wear light clothing and avoid extreme temperature changes. Read more.

young woman drinking with waterglass

In the heat of summer, staying properly hydrated is extremely important. Thirst is your body’s way of telling you that you are already dehydrated, and headaches, dizziness, and muscle cramps are even more serious signs. You can avoid dehydration by drinking fluids before, during, and after outdoor activity. Water should always be your go-to drink of choice, and eating fruits and vegetables can also help. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol can actually dehydrate your body. Read more.