Sep 26

Contraception Day is September 26!

Posted on September 26, 2022 at 12:20 PM by Kiah Weston

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments and their First Choice Healthcare Clinics in Kewanee and Colona note that September 26th has been designated World Contraception Day

The primary goal of World Contraception Day campaign centers around a vision where every pregnancy is wanted. Launched in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. 

With this in mind, we believe World Contraception Day is also an opportune time to remind area residents that our First Choice Healthcare Clinics offer confidential services:
~ Free Condoms
~ STD Testing for Males and Females
~ Treatment of STDs
~ Contraceptive Supplies
~ Preventative immunizations against such STDs as Hepatitis B and HPV ~ Counseling, Education, and Referral 
~ Expedited Partner Treatment

"Though the subjects of Contraception, Condoms and STDs may not be comfortable healthcare issues to discuss; we want people to remember we are a source of confidential education, prevention, testing and treatment.   And we are literally just a phone call away.  People should know we offer the tools and services people need to stay healthy."

First Choice Healthcare accepts medicaid payments, insurance, and cash payment.  A sliding fee scale, based on the client's income, has been established to assist low-income families to obtain services.  In addition, grant funds are available for those who meet certain eligibility requirements.

For more information or to schedule an appointment call our First Choice Healthcare locations at (309) 852-5272 KEWANEE or (309) 792-4011 COLONA.  You may also find us on Facebook at First Choice Healthcare or Follow Us on Twitter and Instagram.

Jul 22

Heat Safety

Posted on July 22, 2022 at 8:02 AM by Kiah Weston

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments and their First Choice Healthcare Clinics in Kewanee and Colona remind area residents of the importance of staying safe in this summer’s heat.  RaeAnn Tucker, Health Department Director of Health Promotion states, "Summer’s warmth, enjoyed by so many people, can be dangerous when the temperature climbs above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  In addition to making one feel fatigued and uncomfortable, unchecked exposure to excessive heat can lead to serious illness and even death."

Tucker adds, "During hot and humid weather the body's ability to cool itself is affected.  When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and heat-related illnesses may develop.

Heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to more serious heat stroke.  Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention."

Heat Cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.  Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and gently massage the area.  Give an electrolyte-containing fluid, such as a commercial sports drink, fruit juice or milk. Water may also be given. Do not give the person salt tablets.

Heat Exhaustion is a more severe condition. Heat exhaustion often affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers and factory workers. It also affects those wearing heavy clothing in a hot, humid environment.  Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.  Move the person to a cooler environment with circulating air. Remove or loosen as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet clothes or towels to the skin. Fanning or spraying the person with water also can help. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of a cool fluid such as a commercial sports drink or fruit juice to restore fluids and electrolytes. Milk or water may also be given. Give about 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body’s systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning.   Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures.  Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.  If someone you know exhibits signs of heat stroke, emergency assistance is essential.  

Everyone is affected by extreme heat; however, those people at higher risk of a heat-related illness include: older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic heart/lung problems, people with disabilities, overweight persons, those who work in hot settings, users of some medications, and people who are isolated that don't know when or how to cool off or when to call for help.

To avoid heat related illness remember:

* Avoid outdoor activities from noon to 4pm.

* Use fans or air-conditioners liberally or visit air-conditioned places (shopping malls, libraries, theatres).

* Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.

* Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

* Eat small meals and eat more often.

* Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

* Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

* Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors and use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.

* Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

* Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

For more information on heat safety and other summer survival strategies, find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us On Twitter and Instagram. 

Jul 22

Swimming Safety

Posted on July 22, 2022 at 7:59 AM by Kiah Weston

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments and their First Choice Healthcare locations in Kewanee and Colona note that, according to a report from the Home Safety Council, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury and related death.  Drowning incidents may involve any source of standing water, including swimming pools, spas, buckets, bathtubs and toilets.

"Drowning is a sudden and silent danger," notes the Home Safety Council.  "Since drowning victims do not make any noise once in distress, constant supervision around any body of water is critical and the best method of prevention."

The Health Department urges families to take the following basic safety precautions around water outdoors and in-home.

* Always practice constant adult supervision around any body of water.  Older children should not be left in charge of younger children in the pool area.

* Install four-sided fencing that isolates the pool from the home.  Four-sided pool fencing is proven to be an effective drowning prevention intervention.  While many communities have codes or regulations that require some form of pool fencing, there is not a consistent national standard.

* Pool fencing should be a least five feet high and have self-locking and self-closing gates.

* Position gate latches out of the reach of young children.

* Never prop the gate open or disable the latch.

* Clear debris, clutter and pool toys from the pool deck and adjoining pathways to prevent falls.

* Keep a cordless, water-resistant telephone in the pool area and post emergency numbers near the pool area.

* Enroll non-swimmers in swimming lessons taught by a qualified instructor.  Pediatricians recommend that children ages 5 and older learn how to swim.

* Never swim alone.  Even adults should always swim with a buddy.

* Learn and practice the basic lifesaving techniques, including First Aid and CPR.  Insist that anyone who care for your children learn CPR.  The Henry and Stark County Health Departments offer monthly CPR classes.  Call the Department for more information.

* Keep poolside rescue equipment close to the pool area.

* Post emergency numbers and CPR instructions prominently near the pool area.

The Health Department encourages everyone to follow these important water safety guidelines to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe summer swimming season.