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Department of Health Newsroom 2011

December 16, 2011: Awards Ceremony Honors Winners of County Youth Anti-Tobacco Multimedia Contest
December 14, 2011: County Health Department Renews Local WIC Program
December 12, 2011: St. Louis Rams Help to “Clear the Air”
December 6, 2011: Winners of Saint Louis County’s “Recycling Becomes Me Student Essay Contest” to Receive $500 Scholarships
December 1, 2011: Free Smoking Cessation Program for Employers in Saint Louis County
November 7, 2011: New County Animal Shelter to Open Wednesday
November 1, 2011: Saint Louis County Continues to Assist Investigation into E. coli Outbreak
October 27, 2011: Saint Louis Youth Fight Back Against Tobacco Industry
October 26, 2011: Saint Louis County Investigating Possible E. coli Outbreak
September 27, 2011: County Health Department Urges All Residents to Get Vaccinated against the Seasonal Flu
September 8, 2011: Probable West Nile Virus Case in Saint Louis County Shows Mosquito Season Isn’t Over
September 7, 2011: DOH Launches County-Wide Youth Anti-Tobacco Effort with Multi-Media Contest, Rally
August 31, 2011: County Health Department Urges Caution during Extreme Heat Advisory that Will Affect Start of Holiday Weekend
August 24, 2011: County Health Department Urges Caution during Extreme Heat
August 10, 2011: Fifth Heat Related Death Reported in Saint Louis County
August 3, 2011: “No Flu For You” Vaccination Campaign Launches
August 2, 2011: Heat Cited in Fourth Death in Saint Louis County
July 15, 2011: County to Operate Five Cooling Centers
June 23, 2011: Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Saint Louis County
June 6, 2011: County Health Department Urges Caution during Extreme Heat
May 31, 2011: Community Partners, Youth Announce Plans to Fight Tobacco in St. Louis on World No Tobacco Day
May 2, 2011: Rockwood School District Achieves “Gold Standard” Tobacco Policy
April 28, 2011: Health Department Offers Free Tetanus Shots for Tornado Victims and Relief Workers
April 20, 2011: Public Space Recycling Comes to Saint Louis County
April 6, 2011: National Public Health Week 2011
March 30, 2011: Health Department Offers Information about Bats
February 10, 2011: The St. Louis Blues and Scottrade Center Join Effort to Help St. Louis “Live Smoke-Free”
January 31, 2011: Winter Storm Requires Awareness of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Safe Food Handling


Awards Ceremony Honors Winners of County Youth Anti-Tobacco Multimedia Contest
Saint Louis County Students Recognized for Their Efforts to Fight Back Against Big Tobacco


(December 16, 2011) – Last night at the JC Penney Auditorium on the UMSL campus, the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) honored students for their efforts to spread the word about the harmful effects of tobacco at the O2 Awards. The awards ceremony was the culmination of this fall’s multimedia contest, which invited students across Saint Louis County to submit entries that “Share the Truth about Tobacco” through video, photography, digital art or poetry/lyrics.


The contest was the creation of the DOH Let’s Face It youth initiative, called AirO2Dynamic, in an effort to get youth engaged in fighting tobacco marketing. A recent report from the Federal Trade Commission shows that tobacco companies spend nearly $10 billion annually advertising their products in the United States, particularly to young people. The youth leaders of AirO2Dynamic, from schools around the county, wanted to challenge all local youth to creatively express anti-tobacco messages.


“The AirO2Dynamic program is youth-led and youth-driven,” said County Executive Charlie Dooley. “This effort demonstrates that these young men and women have a powerful voice, and when they come together they have the ability to make a difference and fight back against big tobacco.”


In Missouri, smoking related illness costs $2.13 billion every year. Missouri has one of the highest death rates from tobacco-related illnesses in the country, and the St. Louis region is one of the worst in the country for asthma. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke can trigger severe asthma attacks.


“Empowering teens to create a tobacco-free next generation is an important way we can reduce tobacco’s negative effect on our state and the St. Louis area,” said Dr. Dolores Gunn, DOH Director. “The best method to fight tobacco use is to make sure young people never start. This contest is an example of how reaching young people early can positively influence their health for years to come.”


Entries for the multimedia contest were accepted Sept. 8 through Nov. 7, 2011. More than 50 submissions were received from students from 21 different schools across Saint Louis County. Entrants ranged in grade levels from 6th to 12th grade.


“It’s amazing to see the response from our area’s youth to the AirO2Dynamic multimedia contest,” said Dooley. “Their enthusiasm gives us confidence that tomorrow’s leaders will be able to say no to tobacco and help Saint Louis become a healthier place for everyone.”


Entries were judged by a panel of area professionals in each category. First-place winners received an iPad, second-place received an iPod nano, and third-place received a digital camcorder.


Digital Art

  1. Allison Tielking – Villa Duchesne
  2. Stephanie Behrens – Villa Duchesne
  3. David Streid – Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Poetry/Lyrics

  1. Nichol Sistrunk – Jennings Senior High School
  2. Victor Jordan – McCluer High School
  3. Allison Tielking – Villa Duchesne

Video

  1. Justin Jones – Riverview Gardens High School
  2. Vernell Futrell – Riverview Gardens High School
  3. Anthony Pawnell – Hazelwood East High School

Photography

  1. Carrie Lee – Pattonville High School
  2. Kevin Murillo – Pattonville High School
  3. Jesse Eberenz – Pattonville High School

About Let’s Face It

Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of Saint Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it smoke-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in Saint Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.letsfaceitstl.com.



County Health Department Renews Local WIC Program


(December 14, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health has signed a contract with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to continue local WIC services through federal fiscal year 2012.


“WIC” is shorthand for the federally-sponsored “Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.” The program serves nearly half of all infants born in the United States as well as their mothers. Under the terms of the new contract, Saint Louis County will be able to serve up to 9,509 WIC-eligible people every month.


The WIC program provides nutritious supplemental foods and individualized nutrition education and counseling for at-risk pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to five (5) years of age. Last year in Saint Louis County, the WIC program issued checks for 109,653 packages of food.


WIC also makes critical referrals as needed to other health care and public assistance programs. In addition, it provides breast feeding education and sponsors support groups open to residents of Saint Louis County.


Eligibility for WIC services is based on income, family size, and nutritional risk. A family of three (3) would qualify if their annual earnings were $34,281 or less, whereas a family of eight (8) could earn up to $69,616 annually and still qualify. Pregnant women are counted as two family members.


Currently, there are four (4) WIC sites in Saint Louis County, including a new location at 244 Mayfair Plaza Shopping Center in Florissant (63033). For additional information about the WIC program, please call the Saint Louis County Department of Health at (314) 679-7900, or visit:


www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness



St. Louis Rams Help to “Clear the Air”
Rams Join Saint Louis County Department of Health’s
“Let’s Face It” Campaign to Help Residents Live Healthier, Breathe Easier


(December 12, 2011) – The St. Louis Rams are stepping up to tackle a tough opponent of the St. Louis community – tobacco. With St. Louis and Missouri facing some of the highest smoking rates in the nation, the Rams are partnering with the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s (DOH) “Let’s Face It” tobacco reduction campaign to help clear the air.


The partnership officially launches tomorrow, with offensive tackle Rodger Saffold visiting students at Brittany Woods Middle School to encourage them to never start smoking.


“Studies show that most adults who smoke today began the habit as teenagers,” said Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer, St. Louis Rams. “So, it’s important that we get to youth early about the dangers of smoking and the health implications.”


During this Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the tobacco reduction message will be also carried through the Edward Jones Dome with high-visibility message placement focused on the importance of clean air and protection from second-hand smoke.


St. Louis County was selected for a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant not only to curb high smoking rates, but to help combat the serious health risks of second-hand smoke exposure. Every year, 1,150 Missourians die from second-hand smoke related illness. Many of those who are exposed are vulnerable populations, such as children or employees who must work in environments that aren’t smoke-free.


On Jan. 2, 2011, the Clean Indoor Air ordinance eliminated smoking in most public establishments. But, non-smoking employees who work in businesses with exemptions still face a dangerous level of exposure to second-hand smoke.


“If as a community, we are going to place an emphasis on better health, we have got to eliminate involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke. There is no safe amount,” said Dr. Dolores Gunn, DOH director. “The consequences are very real. They are physical, economic, and social, and as the Department of Health, our perspective is that everyone who wants to protect their health should have that opportunity.”


The “Let’s Face It” campaign was launched on Jan. 2, 2011, in conjunction with the new Clean Indoor Air Ordinance. The campaign has been working throughout the year to further tobacco reduction efforts through cessation, prevention, and sensitizing the public to the dangers of second-hand smoke.


For more information about the campaign, visit


www.LetsFaceItSTL.com


About Let’s Face It

Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of St. Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it smoke-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in St. Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.letsfaceitstl.com.



Winners of Saint Louis County’s “Recycling Becomes Me Student Essay Contest” to Receive $500 Scholarships


(December 6, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is sponsoring the “Recycling Becomes Me Student Essay Contest.” Winners will receive a $500 scholarship from Curbside Value Partnership.


The recycling-themed contest is an opportunity for students to write about how they’ve made recycling a regular part of their lives. It is open to any Saint Louis County students in grades 10 through 12. Essays should be no more than 1,000 words in length and must be submitted no later than January 20, 2012. Essays can include pictures.


Contest entries should be e-mailed to Gloria Cohen, Environmental Representative, at gcohen@stlouisco.com. Winners will be announced on January 31, 2012. Educators, school counsellors, and students can find contest details at:


www.RecyclingBecomesMe.com/contests.asp


People may also contact Gloria Cohen by phone at 314-615-8957 for more information.


The Recycling Becomes Me Initiative is Saint Louis County’s first-ever countywide recycling education campaign. It was launched to illustrate how residents can personalize recycling and make it part of their everyday lives. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.RecyclingBecomesMe.com or explore its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RecyclingBecomesMe.


Curbside Value Partnership is a national 501(c)(3) organization designed to grow participation in curbside recycling programs nationwide. The program is currently funded by members of the Aluminum Association (Alcoa, ARCO Aluminum and Novelis) and Can Manufacturers Institute (Ball Corporation, BWAY Corporation, Crown Holdings Inc., Impress USA, Metal Container Corporation, Sonoco-Phoenix Inc, Rexam, Silgan Containers Corporation and the Van Can Company) as well as Coca-Cola Recycling. For more information, visit www.RecycleCurbside.org.



Free Smoking Cessation Program for Employers in Saint Louis County


(December 1, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health’s Let’s Face It Initiative is offering a free smoking cessation program to employers in St. Louis County for workers who want to quit smoking.


The eight-session program includes a trained facilitator, all program materials, and free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) gum and patches. Participating companies are asked to provide a meeting location for the weekly sessions and make their employees aware of the program.


During the past year, this free smoking cessation program has already been conducted at more than 50 companies in St. Louis County, assisting more than 600 employees to quit smoking.


Employers wishing to learn more about this free program and to find out if they are eligible to participate should contact Keith Street, Health Education Coordinator, at 314-615-0513, or by e-mail at kstreet@stlouisco.com, no later than December 21st, 2011.


This free program is funded by a federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant, known locally as the Let’s Face It initiative. The Let’s Face It Initiative is designed to reduce tobacco use in St. Louis County by promoting and providing resources to help smokers quit and clear the air of second-hand smoke.


To learn more about CPPW’s local Let’s Face It initiative, please visit:


www.LetsFaceItSTL.com


About Let’s Face It

Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of St. Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it smoke-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in St. Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.letsfaceitstl.com.



New County Animal Shelter to Open Wednesday


(November 7, 2011) – The new Saint Louis County Animal Care and Control Adoption Center will open to the public on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 with expanded space for additional animals, exercise areas, and longer hours.


“This state-of-the-art facility will offer the best possible treatment for the animals in our care,” said County Executive Charlie A. Dooley during ribbon-cutting ceremonies Monday for the new building at 10521 Baur Boulevard in Olivette. The $4.5 million building will replace the county’s two existing shelters.


The facility will also have newly extended business hours to provide improved service to the public at no additional operating costs. The facilities hours will be:


Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Phone: 314-615-0650


“This new center will double the space for cats and dogs and will highlight our program for offering spayed and neutered pets for adoption,” said Saint Louis County Health Department Director Dr. Dolores Gunn. The department is responsible for the animal care and control program which handles about 9,000 animals annually.


“The animals in our shelter deserve a second chance,” Gunn said. “Many are purebred dogs that come from homes where the owner could no longer care for the animal. All these animals want is a loving home.”


The center was built using existing funds and did not require a tax increase or bond issue, Dooley noted. “The project is in keeping with St. Louis County’s commitment to design, build, and operate a facility that will provide for the humane treatment of animals in its care and promote pet adoption in the community.”


The center includes:


  • separate areas for dog and cat adoptions
  • meet-and-greet rooms for potential adopters to interact with pets
  • a state-of-the-art veterinary suite for spay/neuter surgeries
  • separate areas for quarantined and aggressive animals
  • an outdoor play/training area

  • The new shelter will also help the county in continuing to expand its partnerships with the Humane Society of Missouri and the Animal Protective Association.


    The general contractor on the project was HOF Construction Co.


    More information about the county’s animal control program can be found at:


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/AnimalandMosquitoControl



    Saint Louis County Continues to Assist Investigation into E. coli Outbreak


    (November 1, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is continuing to assist with the investigation into the recent outbreak of E. coli infections in Saint Louis County and the surrounding region. As of now, a source has not yet been identified.


    “We are still interviewing those affected, inspecting food samples, and submitting specimens to the state health lab for analysis; however, at this time, we still do not know the source of the bacteria,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “None of the food samples we have collected have tested positive for E. coli.”


    As of yesterday, there are 26 probable or confirmed cases in Missouri, 20 of which have occurred in Saint Louis County. Of those 26, 19 have been hospitalized (17 in Saint Louis County).*


    Throughout the investigation, the county health department has been working closely with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (the lead agency), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other local health departments in the Saint Louis area. In addition, assistance is being provided by the Food and Drug Administration.


    The health department is asking local physicians to consider E. coli whenever evaluating any child, infant, or adult who has bloody diarrhea, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and cramps. If E. coli is suspected, patients should be directed to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.


    E. Coli is a very serious disease that can be life threatening,” said Dr. Gunn. “Parents should be particularly vigilant if their children have bloody diarrhea, and any child with bloody diarrhea should be taken immediately to a hospital emergency room.”


    Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, some can make you sick, causing diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses.


    E.Coli is spread most often through the consumption of contaminated food, the consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk, the consumption of water that has not been disinfected, contact with cattle, or contact with the feces of infected people.


    Here are three steps people can take to reduce the risk of exposure to E. coli:


  • WASH YOUR HANDS thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing
        or eating food.
  • COOK meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked
        to a temperature of at least 160°F/70°C.
  • PREVENT cross contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters,
        cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

  • For more information about E. coli, visit the following CDC website:


    http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/ecoli_o157h7/


    *Please note: Prior releases used a summary of suspected, probable, and confirmed cases. Today’s tally
        only includes probable and confirmed cases.



    Saint Louis Youth Fight Back Against Tobacco Industry
    Public Awareness Efforts Create Mystery, Interest at Local Schools


    (October 27, 2011) – As part of Red Ribbon Week, a national drug prevention observance held Oct. 23-30 this year, students in St. Louis County focused on the “horror” of tobacco using a public awareness stunt well-timed for Halloween.


    Without warning or explanation to students, grim reapers began appearing in the halls of 11 St. Louis County high schools. The mystery grew throughout the week, with 26 new grim reapers appearing each day. Today, it was revealed that the 26 grim reapers represent the number of Missourians who die every day from tobacco use, and their appearance was orchestrated by AirO2Dynamic, the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s (DOH) youth anti-tobacco initiative, as part of the Let’s Face It program.


    “It was cool to see everyone trying to figure out what the grim reapers meant,” said Kendric Carlock, a junior at Jennings High School and AirO2Dynamic member. “We wanted to get people talking and wondering so by the time we told them what it meant, they were really paying attention. We’ve got to be creative and make sure our message is heard over the tobacco industry’s.”


    The students of AirO2Dynamic wanted to use the opportunity of Red Ribbon Week to reach out to other youth about the dangers of tobacco. They feel that teens talking to other teens is more effective, and important, in light of the billions of dollars spent by the tobacco industry to market its products.


    Let’s Face It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant to reduce tobacco use in St. Louis County, as the St. Louis area and Missouri has some of the highest smoking rates in the nation. DOH has awarded CPPW funds to a number of area organizations to support a community-wide tobacco reduction effort. Midwest Center for Media Literacy (MWCML), a grantee, is working with youth to help them understand how perceptions about tobacco are shaped by the media – and how to harness the power of the media in a positive way.


    “Tobacco companies understand how powerful the media can be in shaping attitudes and behaviors, and put enormous marketing budgets behind that,” said Edie Barnard, Executive Director of the MWCML. “Advocacy efforts like those of AirO2Dynamic can be very effective at countering that.”


    “Data tells us that many adult smokers started as teens,” said DOH Director Dr. Dolores Gunn. “Prevention is key in our effort to reduce tobacco use in the community, and the teens of AirO2Dynamic are setting the example and doing the important work of connecting with other teens and sharing anti-tobacco values.”


    Schools that are participating in the grim reaper project this week include:


  • Riverview Gardens High School
  • Webster Groves High School
  • Jennings High School
  • Nerinx Hall High School
  • North County Tech
  • Eureka High School
  • University City High School
  • Parkway South High School
  • Normandy High School
  • Villa Duschene High School
  • Hancock Place High School

  • Currently, AirO2Dynamic is also sponsoring a multi-media contest for middle and high school students that aims to put a powerful voice behind a youth-led local anti-tobacco movement.


    Middle and high school students are encouraged to enter the “Share the Truth about Tobacco” contest by submitting entries in the following categories:


  • Video
  • Photography
  • Digital Art
  • Poetry/Lyrics

  • More information about the contest, how to enter, and prizes is available at http://youth.letsfaceitstl.com/multimedia-contest/.


    About Let’s Face It

    Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of St. Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it smoke-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in St. Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.letsfaceitstl.com.



    Saint Louis County Investigating Possible E. coli Outbreak


    (October 26, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is reporting an outbreak of shiga toxin producing E. coli. Fourteen cases have been reported so far this week.


    E. Coli is a very serious disease that can be life threatening,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the Health Department. “Parents should be particularly vigilant if their children have bloody diarrhea,” Dr. Gunn said. “Any child with bloody diarrhea should be taken immediately to a hospital emergency room.”


    The health department is asking local physicians to consider E.coli when evaluating any child, infant, or adult who has bloody diarrhea, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and cramps. If E. coli is suspected, patients should be directed to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.


    The health department is conducting an investigation to determine the source of the outbreak, but at this time, no specific source has been identified.


    Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, some can make you sick, causing diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses.


    E.Coli is spread most often through the consumption of contaminated food, the consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk, the consumption of water that has not been disinfected, contact with cattle, or contact with the feces of infected people.


    Here are three steps people can take to reduce the risk of exposure to E. coli:


  • WASH YOUR HANDS thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or     eating food.
  • COOK meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked to a     temperature of at least 160°F/70˚C.
  • PREVENT cross contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting     boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

  • For more information about E. coli, visit the following CDC website:


    http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/ecoli_o157h7/



    County Health Department Urges All Residents to Get Vaccinated against the Seasonal Flu


    (September 27, 2011) – Flu season has arrived and the Saint Louis County Department of Health is urging all residents six months of age and older be vaccinated against the seasonal flu.


    Earlier today, County Executive Charlie A. Dooley and Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health, were both vaccinated against the seasonal flu at an event highlighting the importance and ease of being vaccinated.


    “It’s not just about protecting yourself. If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread the flu to others,” said Dr. Gunn.


    Every flu season, the vaccine contains several different strains of the flu virus. This year’s vaccine contains three flu strains, based on what flu experts expect to be the most likely strains encountered.


    Depending on the severity of the outbreak, between 15 and 60 million Americans are infected by seasonal flu each flu season. Over 200,000 people are hospitalized every year due to flu-related complications and around 36,000 of them die.


    Residents wanting a flu vaccination are able to call the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Hotline to find out where to go for seasonal flu vaccinations. They can also visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s Flu website:



    1-877-588-4FLU (4358)
    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com


    Other standard precautions being urged by the County Health Department are:


  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to maintain a distance of three feet between you and others.
  • Stay home when you are sick or think you may be getting sick.


  • Probable West Nile Virus Case in Saint Louis County Shows Mosquito Season Isn’t Over


    (September 8, 2011) – Despite the recent mild weather, a probable case of West Nile Virus that struck a twelve-year-old Wellston male is a reminder that the mosquito season still has several weeks to go, according to the Saint Louis County Department of Health. The youth, who was hospitalized briefly, has resumed normal activities after suffering WNV-type symptoms.


    The Wellston case is the first in the county this year. One case was reported in 2010.


    “Even though serious West Nile Virus cases in humans are rare, it is important to minimize our exposure,” said Health Department Director Dr. Dolores J. Gunn. “We can do this by eliminating opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply and protect ourselves by using repellants.”


    Steps residents can take to reduce the opportunities for mosquitoes to flourish include:


  •  
  • At least once a week, drain water from garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, pet dishes, and other objects that collect water. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
  •  
  • Keep gutters cleaned out, and repair any tears in door and window screens.
  •  
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and light colors outdoors.
  •  
  • Spray clothing with repellents containing DEET or picaridin, making sure to follow the directions on the label.
  •  
  • Look for products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) to place in birdbaths or ponds, to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
  •  
  • Flexible drainage pipe is commonly used to drain water from downspouts. A big drawback is that it holds water and breeds mosquitoes if not properly sloped when installed.

    The Health Department routinely collects mosquito samples to test and help determine where to focus control efforts. Vector Control monitors and treats standing water in public areas as part of its preventative larviciding program. To find out where the county will be spraying, call 615-4-BUG (615-4284) for the nightly mosquito-spraying schedule.


    For more information on mosquito prevention, contact the County Vector Control office at 314-727-3097, or visit the Health Department’s website: www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness



    DOH Launches County-Wide Youth Anti-Tobacco Effort with Multi-Media Contest, Rally
    Youth Will Deliver Tobacco-Free Messages Through Creative Outlets; Prizes Offered


    (September 7, 2011) –Today at a school assembly at McCluer South-Berkeley High, the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH), along with community partners Better Family Life, the St. Louis Blues, and the St. Louis Cardinals, launched its effort to put a powerful voice behind a youth-led local anti-tobacco movement – named AirO2Dynamic by the youth themselves.


    Announced today was a multi-media contest to get youth engaged in fighting tobacco marketing. A recent report from the Federal Trade Commission shows that tobacco companies still spend nearly $10 billion annually advertising their products in the U.S. The youth leaders of AirO2Dynamic, from schools around the county, wanted to challenge all local youth to creatively express anti-tobacco messages.


    Middle and high school-aged youth throughout St. Louis County are encouraged to “Share the Truth about Tobacco” by submitting entries in the following categories:


  •  
  • Video
  •  
  • Photography
  •  
  • Digital Art
  •  
  • Poetry/Lyrics

    Entries are being accepted Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, 2011. First-place winners will receive an iPad, second-place will receive an iPod nano, and third-place will receive a digital camcorder. Winners will be announced in two age groups: middle school and high school. Full contest rules are available at youth.letsfaceitstl.com.


    Better Family Life is a DOH Communities Putting Prevent to Work (CPPW) grantee, and has been focusing its tobacco reduction efforts in the Ferguson-Florissant school district.


    “We know that by working directly with youth during those critical teen years we can help them make decisions that will positively impact their health for a lifetime,” said Scott Emerson, Program Coordinator Better Family Life.


    St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan

    “Each one of us can tell a story about how tobacco has impacted our lives negatively,” said Jackman. “But you can make the decision now that tobacco is not ever going to have control over you.”


    “St. Louis is where I grew up, it’s where I’ve made my home, and it’s a place I really care about,” said McClellan, a Florissant native. “You may not realize it, but your choice not to use tobacco makes our community better. You have a very important part to play in keeping St. Louis strong, healthy, and tobacco-free.”


    Dr. Dolores Gunn, DOH Director, hopes to see many youth engaged in the multi-media contest, and spreading the tobacco-free influence among their peers. “The AirO2Dynamic program is youth-led and youth-driven – and that is why I am so proud of this effort,” Gunn said. “Youth don’t have multi-billion dollar budgets to counter tobacco marketing, but they do have some very powerful tools – choice and a voice.”


    Following the submission deadline of Oct. 31, entries will be judged by a panel. Prizes will be awarded, and the award-winning entries released later this year.


    About Let’s Face It

    Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of St. Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it smoke-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in St. Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.letsfaceitstl.com.



    County Health Department Urges Caution during Extreme Heat Advisory that Will Affect Start of Holiday Weekend


    (August 31, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is cautioning residents that outdoor plans for the start of the holiday weekend will likely be affected by a heat advisory in effect from Wednesday through 7:00 p.m. Saturday. The heat index during this period is expected to reach 100 to 105 degrees each afternoon and early evening.


    The health department is strongly urging caution and common sense during this and all periods of extreme heat. So far this year, the health department has reported five heat-related deaths along with 337 people admitted or treated and released for heat exhaustion.


    “We experience heat waves almost every summer and it’s important to take the usual precautions whenever this happens,” said Dr. Dolores Gunn, director of the Health Department.


    Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Health Department recommends the following:


    Square

    Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

    Square

    Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.

    Square

    Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.

    Square

    Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.

    Square

    Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.

    Square

    Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.

    Square

    Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!


    Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. Here are some tips for protecting pets during hot weather:


    Square

    Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it’s clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. You can also spray your pet with water to cool them off.

    Square

    Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work or you can fasten a sunroom screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade too.

    Square

    Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle. Internal vehicle temperatures can reach 150 degrees.


    If unable to keep a residence cool and there is a need to find a cooling center, residents are urged to call the United Way of Greater Saint Louis by dialing 211 from a home landline phone, or by dialing 1-800-427-4626 from any type of phone.


    For more information, please visit:


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/HeatSafetyTips



    County Health Department Urges Caution during Extreme Heat


    (August 24, 2011) – After a brief respite from the excessive heat last month, the St. Louis area is once again facing a heat advisory until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday. The Saint Louis County Department of Health has reported five heat-related deaths so far this summer with 332 people admitted or treated and released for heat exhaustion.


    The health department is strongly urging caution and common sense during this period of extreme heat.


    “Saint Louis experiences heat waves almost every year and it is important to observe common sense precautions whenever this happens,” said Dr. Dolores Gunn, director of the Health Department.


    Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Health Department recommends the following:


    Square

    Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

    Square

    Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.

    Square

    Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.

    Square

    Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.

    Square

    Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.

    Square

    Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.

    Square

    Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!


    Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. Here are some tips for protecting pets during hot weather:


    Square

    Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it’s clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. You can also spray your pet with water to cool them off.

    Square

    Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work or you can fasten a sunroom screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade too.

    Square

    Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle. Internal vehicle temperatures can reach 150 degrees.


    For more information about extreme heat, visit


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/HeatSafetyTips



    Fifth Heat Related Death Reported in Saint Louis County


    (August 10, 2011) – An 80-year-old Brentwood woman, who was last seen by neighbors on July 29, is the fifth apparent heat related death this summer, according to the Saint Louis County Medical Examiner.


    Brentwood Police reported that the temperature in the victim’s home in the 8100 block of Manchester Road was measured at 95.6 degrees. A single window unit air conditioner was not operating and all windows and doors were closed.


    The victim was discovered on Aug. 2 and her death was classified by the medical examiner as caused by an underlying illness exacerbated by hyperthermia.



    “No Flu For You” Vaccination Campaign Launches


    (August 3, 2011) – The “No Flu For You” campaign, aimed at promoting influenza vaccinations, particularly among healthcare workers, launched this week. The campaign’s new web site – www.NoFluForYou.com – offers information and strategies for those who want to promote flu vaccinations in their workplaces. It is the campaign’s first step in encouraging health care workers to get vaccinated against influenza every year.


    The evidence-based public health campaign is a joint effort by the Saint Louis County Department of Health and the Heartland Center for Public Health Preparedness at Saint Louis University's School of Public Health to increase the vaccination rate among healthcare workers during the upcoming flu season.


    A recent survey conducted jointly by the two organizations found that approximately one third of the non-hospital based healthcare workers who responded to the study do not get annual flu shots. Despite overwhelming evidence that the flu vaccine is safe and effective, the survey found that these healthcare workers had doubts that kept them from getting vaccinated. The campaign launched this week aims to educate healthcare workers in order to dispel such myths.


    “We think it’s vital that health care workers, because they have contact with so many people who are already sick, get vaccinated for the upcoming flu season,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Communicable Disease Control Services division at the health department. “People go to medical providers to get well, not to become even more ill,” Dr. Khan said.



    Heat Cited in Fourth Death in Saint Louis County


    (August 2, 2011) – A 73-yearl-old Ferguson woman is the fourth apparent heat-related death in Saint Louis County this year, according to the Saint Louis County Medical Examiner.


    The latest victim, who lived on Wayside in Ferguson, was discovered July 28 but the medical examiner’s office said she may have been dead for as long as two weeks. The windows were shut and the air conditioner was not on. The medical examiner classified the death as “probable hyperthermia.”


    Three other victims, also North County residents, have died of heat-related causes this year.


    No other details about the latest victim are available.



    County to Operate Five Cooling Centers


    (July 15, 2011) – Five Saint Louis County cooling centers will be opened during the hot weather forecast for Saturday and into next week. Three centers will be opened by the Saint Louis County Parks Department and the Department of Health’s two community health centers will be available during regular business hours.


    The three cooling centers in county parks will be open beginning Saturday and will remain open through Thursday, and the two health centers will be available beginning Monday.


    The three cooling centers being opened by the Saint Louis County Parks Department are located as follows:


    Affton Community Center

    9801 Mackenzie Road, 63123

    Noon – 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

    8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday


    North County Recreation Complex (Veteran’s Memorial Park)

    2577 Redman Road, 63136

    8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday

    Noon – 6 p.m. Sunday

    8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday


    St. Vincent’s Community Center

    7335 St. Charles Rock Road, 63133

    9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday

    Noon – 6 p.m. Sunday

    9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday


    The locations and addresses for the two county health centers are:

     

    North County Community Health Center

    4000 Jennings Station Road, 63121

    8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday

    8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday


    South County Health Center

    4580 South Lindbergh Blvd., 63127

    8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday

    8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday


    For a complete list of area cooling centers, visit:


    http://stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/HeatSafetyTips


    Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Health Department recommends the following:


    Square

    Turn on the air conditioning to cool the air.

    Square

    Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

    Square

    Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.

    Square

    Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.

    Square

    Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.

    Square

    Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.

    Square

    Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.

    Square

    Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!


    Operation Weather Survival, a public and private collaboration, manages a network of cooling centers around the region. People needing a cool place to go are urged to visit a one. To find a cooling center, call the United Way from a residential home at 211, or from any phone at 1-800-427-4626.


    Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. Here are some tips for protecting pets during hot weather:


    Square

    Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it’s clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. You can also spray your pet with water to cool them off.

    Square

    Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work or you can fasten a sunroom screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade too.



    Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Saint Louis County


    (June 23, 2011) – Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been discovered in communities ranging from Lemay to Florissant, although no human cases have been reported, according to the Saint Louis County Department of Health.


    Positive results have also been reported in mosquitoes in Mehlville, Richmond Heights, Clayton, Hanley Hills and Manchester.


    The Health Department routinely collects mosquito samples to test and help determine where to focus control efforts. Vector Control monitors and treats standing water in public areas as part of its preventative larviciding program. To find out where the county will be spraying, call 615-4-BUG (615-4284) for the nightly mosquito-spraying schedule.


    “Positive mosquito tests are a reminder that preventative measures are important,” said Saint Louis County Health Department Director Dr. Dolores J. Gunn. “Even though serious West Nile Virus cases in humans are rare, it is important to minimize our exposure. We can do this by eliminating opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply, and protect ourselves by using repellants,” Dr. Gunn said.


    Here are steps residents can take to reduce the opportunities for mosquitoes to flourish:


    Square

    At least once a week, drain water from garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, pet dishes, and other objects that collect water. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.

    Square

    Keep gutters cleaned out, and repair any tears in door and window screens.

    Square

    Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and light colors outdoors.

    Square

    Spray clothing with repellents containing DEET or picaridin, making sure to follow the directions on the label.

    Square

    Look for products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) to place in birdbaths or ponds, to prevent mosquitoes from developing.

    Square

    Flexible drainage pipe is commonly used to drain water from downspouts. A big drawback is that it holds water and breeds mosquitoes if not properly sloped when installed.


    For more information on mosquito prevention, contact the County Vector Control office at 314-727-3097 or visit the Health Department’s website at: http://stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness.



    County Health Department Urges Caution during Extreme Heat


    (June 6, 2011) – Summer may not officially be here for another two weeks, but the St. Louis area is experiencing its first heat wave this season with 17 people treated for heat exhaustion over the weekend, according to the Saint Louis County Department of Health. Five people were admitted to area hospitals and 12 were treated and released.


    The health department is strongly urging caution and common sense during periods of extreme heat this summer. The area is under a heat advisory until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.


    “Saint Louis experiences heat waves almost every year and it is important to observe common sense precautions whenever this happens,” said Dr. Dolores Gunn, Director of the Health Department.


    Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Health Department recommends the following:


    Square

    Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

    Square

    Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.

    Square

    Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.

    Square

    Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.

    Square

    Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.

    Square

    Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.

    Square

    Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.

    Square

    Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!


    If a person is unable to keep his or her residence cool and needs to find a cooling center, that person is urged to call the United Way of Greater Saint Louis by dialing 211 from his or her home landline phone, or by dialing 1-800-427-4626 from any other type of phone.


    Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. Here are some tips for protecting pets during hot weather:


    Square

    Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it’s clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. You can also spray your pet with water to cool them off.

    Square

    Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work or you can fasten a sunroom screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade too.

    Square

    Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle. Internal vehicle temperatures can reach 150 degrees.


    The Saint Louis County Department of Health is a member of Operation Weather Survival – a network of public and private organizations that collaborate, coordinate resources, and help educate the public to prevent illness, injury, and death caused by extreme hot or cold weather. More information about Operation Weather Survival can be found at:


    www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=operationweathersurvivalnew2



    Community Partners, Youth Announce Plans to Fight Tobacco in St. Louis on
    World No Tobacco Day


    (May 31, 2011) – For the first time, community partners of the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s Let’s Face It campaign came together on World No Tobacco Day to discuss their efforts to reach young people in St. Louis with an anti-tobacco message.


    Groups such as Better Family Life, Midwest Center for Media Literacy, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA), the Rockwood School District, and SIDS Resources are working directly with teens on tobacco education, counter-marketing, and peer communication strategies to prevent and reduce tobacco use among youth. They were joined at the event by other Let’s Face It community partners as a show of the broad community-wide effort to fight tobacco in St. Louis.


    “One of the most effective ways to fight tobacco use is to make sure people never start,” said Dan Duncan, director of community services, NCADA-St. Louis Area. “Reaching people when they are young means they will be able to preserve many years of better health, and it also means that they can begin influencing peers and family members at an early age.”


    To show how St. Louis is responding locally to an increasingly serious global problem, the community partners, joined by other youth organizations and local teens, gathered on the steps of the World Trade Center building in Clayton to read and sign the St. Louis No-Tobacco Treaty. The treaty is a commitment to live tobacco-free, and to encourage this behavior by others.


    “These are the faces of change in St. Louis,” said Dr. Dolores Gunn, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “The impact of tobacco in our community is serious and irrefutable. Connecting with teens and enlisting them to create a tobacco-free next generation is an important way we can reduce tobacco’s physical, financial, and emotional consequences.”


    “World No Tobacco Day” was created in 1987 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw global attention to the negative health effects of tobacco use. It is observed around the world on May 31. According to the WHO, tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. It kills more than five million people a year – an average of one person every six seconds – and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.


    In Missouri, smoking related illness costs run $2.13 billion every year. Missouri has one of the highest death rates from tobacco-related illnesses in the country, and the St. Louis region is one of the worst in the country for asthma.


    In January 2011, the Saint Louis County Department of Health launched the Let’s Face It initiative to reduce the impact of tobacco in St. Louis. The initiative is a long-term commitment to changing the culture of St. Louis to put a greater emphasis on good health through the reduction of tobacco. The primary goals of the campaign are to:


     
  • Connect with youth to make sure they never start smoking;
  •  
  • Provide resources, tools, and encouragement to those who want to quit by providing smoking
  • cessation;
  •  
  • Provide further education on the impact and danger of second-hand smoke and exposure.
  •  
  • Engage residents and businesses to act as positive forces in moving toward a tobacco-free
  • environment.

  • About Let’s Face It

    Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of St. Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it tobacco-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in St. Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.LetsFaceItSTL.com.



    Rockwood School District Achieves “Gold Standard” Tobacco Policy
    St. Louis Blues Player and Eureka High School Alumnus Offers Congratulations


    (May 2, 2011) – This evening, a St. Louis Blues player will pay a visit to the Rockwood School District – and it won’t be pretty.


    Cam Janssen 'Tobacco-fied'

    As part of the evening’s celebration for achieving the “Gold Standard” in school tobacco prevention policy, Cam Janssen, Blues right wing, will congratulate Rockwood School District students, teachers, and administrators in an event at his alma mater, Eureka High School. Janssen had his photo “tobacco-fied” to demonstrate the physical consequences of tobacco use.


    “Our hockey season might be over, but we still have to face one of the toughest opponents in our community – tobacco,” said Janssen. “I’m looking forward to spending time talking to young people about what an important part they can play in local efforts to make the St. Louis community healthier and tobacco-free.”


    Janssen is attending the event as part of the St. Louis Blues partnership with the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s Let’s Face It campaign.


    Last fall, the health department’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program released a report prepared by the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Washington University that scored the tobacco policies then in place at the 23 public school districts in St. Louis County. The Rockwood district, which has approximately 22,300 students, quickly committed itself to do something about the low score it received. When the health department announced the opportunity for grants through the CPPW program, Rockwood decided to proceed on a dual track — getting the Gold Standard process started, while also applying for a grant to engage students in tobacco counter-marketing efforts.


    The Gold Standard school tobacco control policy is a 40-point index based on empirical literature and the expertise of a national advisory panel. The Saint Louis County Department of Health has been encouraging all area schools to adopt the Gold Standard policy because it comprehensively addresses the tobacco-free environment, including enforcement, prevention and treatment services, and policy organization.


    “Though our event tonight is fun, the message is serious,” said Ken McManus, director of prevention services for the Rockwood School District. “We have put strong policies in place to help ensure our kids never start using tobacco, and are involving them directly in our anti-tobacco efforts. This is part of the responsibility we have to help our students achieve their full potential – both inside and outside the classroom.”


    Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the county health department, applauded the efforts of the Rockwood School District.


    Said Gunn, “In the effort to change the culture around tobacco in St. Louis County, the Department of Health can’t work alone. All of us – schools, students, residents, businesses – have an important part to play in improving our community, and I am extremely proud of the Rockwood School district and its student leaders.”


    In January, the health department launched its Let’s Face It initiative to coincide with the effective date of the new, voter-approved Indoor Clean Air Ordinance. The primary goals of the initiative are to:


     
  • Connect with youth to make sure they never start smoking;
  •  
  • Educate the general public about the impact and danger of second-hand smoke;
  •  
  • Provide resources, tools, and encouragement to smokers who want to quit.

  • To learn more about the Let’s Face It initiative, please visit:


    www.LetsFaceItSTL.com


    To view the Public School District Baseline Policy Assessment, please visit:


    www.letsfaceitstl.com/wp-content/uploads/School_Baseline_Policy_Assessment.pdf


    To learn more about the new Indoor Clean Air Ordinance or about the Saint Louis County Department of Health, please visit:


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/IndoorCleanAirCode


    About Let’s Face It

    Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of St. Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it smoke-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in St. Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.LetsFaceItSTL.com.



    Health Department Offers Free Tetanus Shots for Tornado Victims and Relief Workers
    Free Well Water Testing Kits Available


    (April 28, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is offering free tetanus booster shots to those who have been exposed to the damage of homes and property caused by the tornado on April 22nd.


    “The tornadoes have left behind more than just damage and destruction. They have also increased the risk for tetanus,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “Fortunately, tetanus vaccine is readily available and should be considered by anyone involved in storm cleanup.”


    The health department recommends that cleanup workers be sure they are up to date on their tetanus shots before handling rusty nails and other metal lying on the ground. Tetanus booster shots are recommended for anyone who suffers an open wound or puncture wound during cleanup or who has not had a tetanus booster in the last ten years.


    Tetanus – also called Lockjaw – is caused by bacteria that can enter the body through cuts or breaks in the skin. Tetanus can also pose a threat in flooding situations when debris and contaminated water increase the risk should an open wound be exposed.


    Booster shots for tetanus are available at both North Central Community Health Center and South County Health Center.


    The South County Health Center is located at 4580 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills. Its hours on Monday and Tuesday are from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Individuals wanting additional information should call 314-615-0400.


    The North Central Community Health Center is located at 4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn. Its hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Wednesday and Thursday, its hours are 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For more information about that facility, individuals should call 314-679-7800.


    Before using any water from a well following a flood, it is important to make sure that the water has not been contaminated. DO NOT USE WELL WATER UNLESS YOU ARE SURE IT IS SAFE. Free well water testing kits for private wells will be available at the following County Health Department offices during the following days and hours for those residents who live in an area affected by any flooding:


    Saint Louis County Health Department – Main Office
    111 South Meramec Avenue
    Clayton, Missouri 63105
    Monday – Friday; 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
     
    Saint Louis County Health Department - North County Satellite Office
    Village Square Shopping Center
    21 Village Square Drive (off Dunn Road)
    Hazelwood, Missouri 63042
    Monday - Friday; 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
     
    Saint Louis County Health Department - South County Satellite Office
    Keller Plaza
    4562 Lemay Ferry Road
    Saint Louis, Missouri 63129
    Monday - Friday; 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
     
    Saint Louis County Health Department - West County Satellite Office
    Clarkson Wilson Centre
    78 Clarkson Centre (off Clarkson Road)
    Chesterfield, Missouri 63017
    Monday - Friday; 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
     

    For more information, please visit the Department of Health website at:




    Public Space Recycling Comes to Saint Louis County


    (April 20, 2011) – Saint Louis County’s commitment to recycling has expanded with the introduction of recycling bins in public areas at many county facilities. Visitors to county health centers, recreation complexes, and other locations will now be able to recycle items that previously were being thrown in the trash.


    Over the last year, the Saint Louis County Department of Health has worked to provide recycling bins in public spaces for visitors to use. The new green bins represent the face of recycling for county government and continue County Executive Charlie Dooley’s commitment to “greening” the county.


    “We have been asking our residents to recycle and it’s important they know that Saint Louis County government is committed to recycling as well,” said Mr. Dooley.


    Weekly recycling pickup was first added to the minimum level of trash service for one- and two-family homes in 2008. In April, 2010, when the contract for trash collection at county facilities was rebid, single-stream recycling was added to the contract, thus mirroring the residential program. The county is now recycling around 42% of all the waste generated at its facilities.


    One of the Health Department’s next goals is to capture recyclables generated outside the home. It is estimated that 30% of all beverage containers purchased and consumed away from home are discarded as trash if convenient recycling options are not available.


    “Public space recycling is important because it sends the message that recycling is always an option,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “Public space recycling also serves as a teaching tool that helps increase participation in all recycling programs.”


    Although most county facilities have already received the new green recycling bins, providing for outdoor public space recycling in county parks has presented some unique challenges, such as the potential for bin contamination and the higher costs of recycling collection in parks. However, a pilot program is planned for at least one park location this summer, and, if successful, public space recycling may eventually be expanded to include all outdoor areas in county parks.


    Plans to increase waste diversion in Saint Louis County began in 2005 when a goal was set to reach a 50% waste diversion rate by the year 2010. A 2009 interim report showed that the county is very close to that goal, with a countywide rate in 2009 of 47.6%. Complete data for 2010 is still being collected. The 2009 interim report is available at:


    www.RecycleSaintLouis.com


    Funding for the new public space recycling bins came from a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.



    National Public Health Week 2011
    Safety is NO Accident: Live Injury-Free


    (April 6, 2011) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health’s daily efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle reflect the values of National Public Health Week 2011 which runs from April 4th through April 10th.


    This year’s theme is “Safety is NO Accident: Live Injury-Free.” National Public Health Week is an annual event to raise awareness of the many public health efforts in local communities all across the nation.


    “Public health efforts play an important role in all of our lives, even when we are unaware of them,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the County Health Department.


    “From when you brush your teeth at the start of your day until you lay your head down on a pillow each evening, public health agencies are playing a role in keeping you and your family safe and healthy. That is something worth celebrating.”


    County Executive Charlie A. Dooley also praised the county’s public health efforts.


    “I am very proud of the efforts of the County Health Department,” said Mr. Dooley. “They consistently and effectively identify and address challenges to the public health in our community. Because of their efforts, Saint Louis County really is one of the best places to live, work, learn, and play.”


    On Tuesday, Mr. Dooley officially proclaimed the week National Public Health Week in Saint Louis County and asked that residents observe the week by encouraging family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and leaders to better understand the importance of public health in keeping Saint Louis County a great place to live.


    The Health Department is also using National Public Health Week as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of injury prevention as well as to highlight the many different programs it has to safeguard public health.


    Nationwide each year, nearly 150,000 people die from injuries, and almost 30 million people are injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room. Unintentional injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, poisonings, and burns, rank among the top 10 causes of death for people ages 1-44.


    The financial costs of injuries are staggering as well, accounting for 12 percent of annual medical care spending and totaling as much as $69 billion per year. However, simple actions such as wearing a seatbelt, properly installing smoke alarms, correctly installing and using child safety seats, wearing a safety helmet, and educating the community about violence can all serve to reduce the risk of injury.


    Among the many programs run by the Health Department to protect the public health are programs for milk testing, animal control, tobacco cessation, vital records management, disease tracking, emergency preparedness, air monitoring, immunizations, primary health clinics, recycling education, restaurant inspections, lead testing, and mosquito control.


    For more information about National Public Health Week, visit:



    For more information about the Saint Louis County Department of Health, visit:




    Health Department Offers Information about Bats


    (March 30, 2011) – Spring hasn’t quite arrived yet, but bats are awakening from hibernation and the Saint Louis County Department of Health is cautioning residents to avoid handling the animals, since some can carry rabies.


    Any county resident who encounters a live or dead bat in their home is urged to call the health department. Residents should not attempt to capture a live bat but should confine it to the room where it is discovered so animal control officers can collect it for possible rabies testing.


    Never release a bat found in a home if it was present while people were sleeping or in the same room with children or adults who, due to health or age, may not be able to describe the extent of their exposure.


    During business hours, residents should call 831-6500. After business hours, and on weekends and holidays, county residents should call Saint Louis County Police at 889-2341.


    Last year, 386 bats were tested and 12 had rabies, said Rebecca Smail, DOH Program Manager of Vector Control and Veterinary Services.


    Health officials urge people to be aware of and cautious around wildlife, especially bats, and to avoid direct contact with any animal that is behaving strangely. Children should be taught to stay a safe distance away from any unknown animals.


    Smail said people should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets. Because rabies can be readily passed from wild animals to domestic pets, the first line of defense is to make sure all cats and dogs are properly vaccinated, as required by county ordinances. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is almost always fatal.


    Most bats don't carry rabies, and in fact perform a beneficial service by eating large quantities of insects. But if one bat in a colony contracts rabies, chances are it will spread to other members of the colony.


    For more information about pet vaccinations, visit www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness and click on Animal Control.



    The St. Louis Blues and Scottrade Center Join Effort to Help St. Louis “Live Smoke-Free”
    Blues to Launch Promotional Partnership with Saint Louis County Department of Health’s
    “Let’s Face It” Campaign at the Sold-Out Game against Minnesota


    (February 10, 2011) – The St. Louis Blues and Scottrade Center are getting behind the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s (DOH) “Let’s Face It” tobacco cessation campaign and calling on St. Louis residents to join in as well. The organizations will unveil the first glimpse of the promotional partnership during tomorrow night’s game against the Minnesota Wild.


    The “Let’s Face It” campaign was launched on January 2, 2011, in conjunction with the new Clean Indoor Air Ordinance that eliminated smoking in most public establishments throughout St. Louis County.


    “On behalf of the entire Blues and Scottrade Center family, I can say with confidence that each of us is proud to join the ‘Let’s Face It’ effort,” said Blues President and CEO Michael McCarthy. “It is important to us that St. Louis continues to be a great place to live and a great place to visit. By facing the challenges of tobacco in our community together, we are helping to do just that.”


    Starting with tomorrow night’s hockey game, the Blues and Scottrade Center will begin reaching out to St. Louisans through high-visibility, in-arena opportunities, player involvement, and community outreach. Blues defenseman Eric Brewer will captain the “Let’s Face It” effort on behalf of his teammates. All-Star forward David Backes and defenseman Barret Jackman have joined in by each recording PSAs that will air on the Scottrade Center scoreboard throughout the rest of the Blues 2011 season.


    “Each one of us can tell a story about how tobacco has negatively affected our lives. In fact, tobacco is the toughest opponent we face,” said Brewer. “My wife and I just welcomed a baby girl and I want what’s best for her. I also want what’s best for the entire St. Louis community and being smoke-free is better for us all.”


    Hall of Famer and Blues legend Bernie Federko is also assisting in the effort. Federko will sign autographs for those who make a commitment to live tobacco-free. He will sign commitment cards from 6:00-6:45 p.m in the Scottrade Center concourse, near the Blue Note shop.


    “Let’s Face It” is not just about getting people to quit smoking,” said Dr. Dolores Gunn, director of the County Health Department. “We want the community to help us change the culture in the St. Louis area by placing a greater emphasis on health and vitality. Our partnership with the Blues and Scottrade Center is a vital part of our efforts to empower thousands of St. Louisans to act as well as motivate others to take action.”


    The “Let’s Face It” initiative represents DOH’s long-term commitment to changing the culture of St. Louis to one that puts a greater emphasis on good health. The four primary goals of the campaign are to:


     
  • Connect with youth to make sure they never start smoking;
  •  
  • Provide resources, tools, and encouragement to those who want to quit by providing smoking
  • cessation;
  •  
  • Provide further education on the impact and danger of second-hand smoke and exposure; and
  •  
  • Encourage and support comprehensive smoke-free laws and ordinances.

  • For more information about the campaign, visit www.letsfaceitSTL.com.



    Winter Storm Requires Awareness of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Safe Food Handling


    (January 31, 2011) – The expected severe winter weather poses other possible dangers besides snow-packed roads and slippery sidewalks. The Saint Louis County Department of Health is reminding residents that carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes.


    "Appliances that burn fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide,” said Saint Louis County Health Department Director Dr. Dolores J. Gunn.


    The health department is also urging residents to be careful handling food if there is a prolonged power outage.


    It’s important to know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. At moderate levels, you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. You can even die if these levels persist for a long time. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health.


     
  • DON’T idle the car in a garage -- even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build
  • up very quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
  •  
  • DON’T use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
  •  
  • DON’T ever use a charcoal grill indoors -- even in a fireplace.
  •  
  • DON'T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
  •  
  • DON’T use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws,
  • small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.

  • A power outage poses a threat for the storage and preparation of refrigerated and frozen food items. The refrigerator section will usually keep food at a safe temperature for about four hours if the door is not opened, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Youngsters should be told not to open refrigerator or freezer doors, according to the American Red Cross.


    “If food must be kept cold beyond these timeframes, our advice to residents during power outages is to pack perishable items into a cooler with ice”, said Dr. Gunn “Placing perishable items on ice significantly decreases the risk of bacterial growth that can lead to a host of foodborne illnesses if consumed”, said Gunn. “If this approach is taken, melted ice should be regularly drained from the cooler and replaced with additional ice in order to maintain the desired temperature.”


    The refrigerator section will usually keep food at a safe temperature for about four hours if the door is not opened, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Youngsters should be told not to open refrigerator or freezer doors, according to the American Red Cross.


    A full freezer will hold a safe temperature for up to 48 hours if the door is kept closed. A half full freezer will maintain a safe temperature for up to 24 hours if the door is kept closed.


    For additional information sign onto http://stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness.