National Infant Immunization Week

April 22-29 is National Infant Immunization Week! The purpose of this annual observance is to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunizations. Join the Barry-Eaton District Health Department and communities around the nation, in recognizing National Infant Immunization week and celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting the health of our children, families, and communities.

Infants in the U.S. are protected against 14 preventable diseases when fully immunized. Vaccines for infants are especially important because some of the diseases they protect against can be especially dangerous for children under the age of two. It is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening disease. Vaccines help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.

Vaccine prevented diseases may seem like threats from the past, however, children can still get and spread these diseases. The U.S. is seeing the return of vaccine preventable diseases, such as measles, whooping cough, and mumps, that had once been considered eliminated. It is extremely important that all infants are vaccinated on time. It is the responsibility of parents, physicians, and public health providers to make sure that all children are up to date on vaccinations. Parents should talk with their provider to ensure that their baby is up to date on vaccinations. If parents cannot afford immunizations for their child or have further questions they can call the BEDHD Immunization clinic at 269-798-4133 in Barry County or 517-541-2630 for Eaton County. More information on vaccinations can be found at ivaccinate.org.

Article posted on April 18th 2017. - Article Permalink

Get Involved in National Healthcare Decisions Day April 16th

ERMC, along with other national, state and community organizations, is leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making — an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

NHDD organizers are asking interested organizations and individuals throughout the country to help raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning on this special day — and throughout the year. To help realize this goal, they have created a Web site with information and tools for the public to talk about future healthcare decisions and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living wills) in accordance with their applicable state laws.

The Web site (NHDD.org) also includes tips on how advocates can raise awareness in their communities. In addition to signing up your organization to participate, here are some of the ways ERMC members can help this important cause:

  • First and foremost, lead by example...be sure you have thoughtfully considered and made your own healthcare decisions known.
  • Next, make sure everyone in your organization is informed about NHDD (including staff, board of directors, volunteers and others) and ask for their involvement to promote NHDD in your community. (Suggestion: Have staff wear a button that says "Ask Me About Advance Directives!")
  • Provide a link on your organizational Web site to NHDD.org. It features a variety of information for the public and providers on advance care planning.
  • Set up an exhibit about NHDD at your main entrance and offer information about advance care planning as people come by.
  • Distribute NHDD promotional materials and advance care planning educational brochures at upcoming community events or health fairs.
  • Partner with your community library to set up a display highlighting books about advance healthcare decision-making and use NHDD promotional resources.
  • Partner with local retail businesses by asking them to place a promotional flyer about NHDD in every bag.
  • Distribute flyers about NHDD in local physician offices and other strategic locations such as elevators in public buildings.
  • Encourage your state leaders to establish a state-sanctioned, secure on-line advance directive registry.
  • Contact local media (newspapers, TV, and radio) and encourage them to write a piece about NHDD and advance healthcare planning.

Although several states have engaged in advance directives awareness events and numerous organizations have devoted substantial time and money to improving education about advance healthcare planning, only a small minority of Americans has executed an advance directive. NHDD seeks to address this issue by focusing attention on advance healthcare planning from a variety of directions simultaneously.

Organizations and coalitions interested in participating are encouraged to sign up at the NHDD Web site. State coordinators are also being recruited to develop statewide networks and outreach activities. For details, visit NHDD.org.

-From the Michigan Health & Hospital Association

Article posted on April 14th 2017. - Article Permalink

Severe Weather Awareness Week-Weather Safety

Michigan's Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 16-22, 2017. This observance directs the public's focus to the extreme weather events that occur in the State of Michigan. It also serves as a reminder for everyone to know what to do to stay safe during severe weather.

In Michigan, two of the biggest non-winter weather threats are thunderstorms and tornadoes. Between 1959 and 2015, there were 108 deaths caused by lightning in Michigan. That makes it the 14th most dangerous state for lightning deaths. Additionally, Michigan averages 15 tornadoes per year. Other severe weather threats that Michigan faces are windstorms and floods.

Knowing what to do before severe weather happens is key to safety. "To be ready for severe weather, everyone should have an emergency kit and family communication plan," said Clarissa Boggs-Blake, emergency preparedness coordinator at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department. Information on how to prepare these can be found at https://www.ready.gov/.

Knowing the difference between a weather "watch" and a weather "warning" is also important. A watch means that conditions are right for a severe weather event to possibly occur; a warning means that the event has happened or will happen very soon. When there is a watch or a warning, weather or local news radio or local television should be monitored for storm information. When a weather warning occurs, the following steps should be taken:

Thunderstorm Warning

  • When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors! Take shelter immediately inside a building and away from windows or in hard-topped vehicle.
  • Unplug (before the storm, if possible) and don't use electronics plugged into the wall. Also avoid using household plumbing (sinks, showers, toilets, washers, etc.), as it can conduct electricity.
  • (If outside during a storm with no nearby shelter) Find a low place if in an open area or take shelter under a thick growth of small trees if in a forested area. Head directly to land if on open water.
  • Do not touch metal objects.

Tornado Warning

  • If a Tornado is Around, Get Low to the Ground!
  • Go immediately inside the nearest sturdy building (not a trailer or mobile home/office). Go to the lowest area of the building, preferably to a basement. If there is no basement, go to an interior room of the building (put as many walls as possible between you and the tornado).
  • (If in a car or outside with no nearby shelter) Buckle up and drive to the nearest shelter if it is safe; otherwise, stay buckled up in a parked vehicle or find and lie in a low area and cover your head. Avoid going under overpasses and bridges.

Flood Warning

  • Move to high ground, or evacuate if directed to by emergency officials.
  • Avoid coming into contact with flood water, as it can be charged with electric current or carry harmful germs.
  • Turn Around; Don't Drown! Never walk or drive through flood water-six inches of moving water can knock a person down, and two feet can sweep a car away.

Windstorm Warning

  • Go indoors and away from windows.
  • Avoid areas that a falling tree could hit.
  • Turn off appliances powered by natural gas.

After a Severe Weather Event:

  • Avoid downed power lines, utility poles, and trees.
  • Avoid coming into contact with standing water-it could be electrically charged or carry harmful germs.
  • (If power is lost) Never use a charcoal grill or a generator indoors or in a garage. The carbon monoxide that these give off can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • (If power is lost) Follow the FDA's instructions to ensure food safety: http://bit.ly/2nPwtg6.

For more information on staying safe during severe weather events, visit www.ready.gov.

Article posted on April 11th 2017. - Article Permalink

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