Dec 02

Handwashing Awareness Week, December 4-10, 2022

Posted on December 2, 2022 at 3:21 PM by Kiah Weston

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The Henry and Stark County Health Departments announce that December 4-10, 2022 has been proclaimed National Handwashing Week.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Handwashing is one of the most important means to prevent the spread of infection."  

RaeAnn Tucker, Health Department Director of Health Promotion states, "What people need to remember, especially while mitigating the effects of Covid-19 and the cold and flu season; is that simple and consistent handwashing promotion and awareness is important for infection prevention, food safety, school health, personal health and disease prevention."

To put this in greater perspective one should consider these startling statistics:
* 2/3 of adults in the US wash hands after using the bathroom.
* 1 in 4 adults do not wash hands after changing diapers.
* Less than 1/2 of Americans was hands after cleaning up after pets.
* 1 in 3 wash hands after sneezing/coughing.
* Less than 1 in 5 people wash hands after touching money.
* 1 in 3 E. coli occurrences is caused from not washing hands before handling food. 

 The Health Department staff notes that there are many critical times to wash your hands.  A few examples are before eating, after the toilet, during food preparation, after handling animals, upon arriving home, after changing diapers, leaving the hospital or physician's office and any time you think your hands are dirty.  Use soap, running water, and scrub all surfaces of your hands for 20 seconds and dry with a paper towel.  If a sink and soap are not available, use a alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

In addition, the Health Department reminds individuals to practice infection preventative measures; mask when in public, observe social distances, clean hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth when coughing, and contain the spread of the infection by staying home when you are ill.

For more information, call the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us On Twitter and Instagram.


Dec 02

National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 5-9, 2022

Posted on December 2, 2022 at 3:19 PM by Kiah Weston

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The Henry and Stark County Health Departments and their First Choice Healthcare Clinics in Kewanee and Colona announce that December 5-9, 2022 has been proclaimed National Influenza Vaccination Week.  National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is an annual observance in December to remind everyone 6 months and older that there’s still time to get vaccinated against flu to be protected during the upcoming season. Therefore, we want to remind area residents that our First Choice Healthcare Clinics in Kewanee and Colona still have flu vaccine available for anyone wanting this year's flu shot.

Flu vaccinations are available to the general public, while supplies last. Flu vaccine is available for all ages: infants; children and adults.  All payer sources will be accepted to cover the cost of vaccination including: Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, CHIP State insurance; cash and credit card.  

Flu shots may be administered at “No-Charge” to those who have Medicare Part-B and some insurance plans which are accepted.  You must, however, bring your Medicare and/or Insurance card with you in order to receive the shots.  The cost of this year’s flu shot, for those paying cash, is $30.

RaeAnn Tucker, Health Department Director of Health Promotion states, “Vaccination is particularly important for people who are most vulnerable to developing serious flu complications, including people with certain chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, last flu season 9 out of 10 adults hospitalized for flu had at least one reported underlying medical condition.”

Tucker adds, “This year that message is more important than ever, especially given the possibility that both flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will spread this winter. This could place a tremendous burden on the health care system and result in many more illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths than during a regular flu season — especially among people managing chronic conditions because many of them also are at higher risk from COVID-19. The good news is that there is a flu vaccine that is tried and true; proven to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalizations and death.”

There’s so much that’s beyond control this winter season. But we do have the power to get a flu shot to protect ourselves and our families from flu and its complications. 

In addition, the Health Department reminds individuals that you may practice infection preventative measures like masking when in crowded public indoor settings, observing social distances, cleaning hands frequently, covering your nose and mouth when coughing, and containing the spread of the infection by staying home when you are ill.

For more information, call the First Choice Healthcare Clinic nearest you Kewanee (309) 852-5272 or Colona (309) 792-4011 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us On Twitter and Instagram.


Nov 23

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on November 23, 2022 at 10:53 AM by Kiah Weston

The Henry and Stark County Health Department announces that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide. In fact, lung cancer is responsible for more deaths in this country than the next three most common causes of cancer death combined – colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer. 

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Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Other risk factors for lung cancer include being exposed to secondhand smoke, having a family history of lung cancer, being treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest, exposure to asbestos, chromium, nickel, arsenic, soot, or tar in the workplace, and exposure to radon. When smoking is combined with other risk factors, the risk of lung cancer is increased.

Therefore, it’s always important to remind area residents about the Health Departments’ Illinois Tobacco-Free Communities Grant activities.  

In both Henry and Stark County our staff works continually to enforce, educate and encourage compliance with the Illinois Smoke-Free Act. The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, including offices, theaters, museums, libraries, educational institutions, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers and retail stores, restaurants, bars, private clubs and gaming facilities.

    The Smoke Free Illinois Act requires that all business owners:

     *Do not permit smoking within 15 feet of entrances, exits, windows, that open and ventilation intakes.

     *Post “No Smoking” signs at each entrance.

     *Remove ashtrays from areas where smoking is prohibited.

The Health Department notes that failure to comply with the Smoke Free Illinois Act can result in fines.

Tucker notes, “The Health Department in coordination with the State of Illinois has taken these important steps to protect its residents, workers and visitors from the harmful and hazardous effects of smoking and secondhand smoke.”  

Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.

For more information about the Health Department’s Illinois Tobacco-Free activities, or for “No Smoking” signs for your business,  call (309) 852-0197 Extension 249 or  Find Us On Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter or Instagram.