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Department of Health Newsroom 2008


December 11, 2001: It's not too late to get a flu shot! County Health Department, Visiting Nurse Association team up to provide shots.
November 28, 2001: World AIDS Day - Face of AIDS is changing in County.
November 16, 2001: DOH promotes one-time cat neutering service by area veterinarians.
November 8, 2001: DOH reports rabid bat in Warson Woods near school athletic fields where children were playing.
November 6, 2001: DOH celebrates Home Care Month, offers flu shots to homebound.
October 23, 2001: Halloween safety tips.
October 19, 2001: DOH participates in National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 22-26, 2001.
October 5, 2001: West Nile Virus confirmed in area birds.
October 2, 2001: County Health Department offers family mental health services to residents.
September 27, 2001: Flu immunizations for high risk patients available in October.
September 20, 2001: Neighborhood Preservation Program helps preserve property values.
September 17, 2001: Two free events will enable County residents to properly manage household chemicals.
September 7, 2001: Recycling collection at County Fair and Air Show hits three year high.
August 22, 2001: Health Department reports two more rabid bats.
August 16, 2001: Health Department reports fifth rabid bat of season.
August 10, 2001: Health Department reports fourth rabid bat of season.
August 9, 2001: DOH issues reminder on childhood immunizations: new requirements for varicella (chickenpox).
August 8, 2001: County requires lead screening before kindergarten. DOH offers screening, education.
July 5, 2001: Adopt a stray on a summer day.
July 5, 2001: Health Department reports third rabid bat of season.
June 29, 2001: Keep pets safe from fireworks.
June 19, 2001: Tips for keeping summer food safe.
June 15, 2001: New services added at Saint Louis County Health Centers.
June 11, 2001: Are we ready for the heat?
June 11, 2001: "Safety Street" event at health centers offers children free bicycle helmets.
May 14, 2001: County Health Department reports second rabid bat of season.
May 4, 2001: Special students "supervise" new construction.
April 25, 2001: County Health Department reports first rabid bat of season .
April 20, 2001: DOH offers mental health services.
April 2, 2001: Saint Louis County DOH highlights impact of public health on citizens' lives.
April 2, 2001:Health Department teams up with Head Start to teach children how to prevent spread of illness through handwashing.
March 20, 2001: Daily DOH pollen and mold counts now available on line or by phone.
March 5, 2001: March is National Nutrition Month.
Feb. 7, 2001: Tips on using child safety seats.
Feb. 7, 2001: February is National Children's Dental Month.
Jan 31, 2001: Poster/slogan contest, mall events feature tobacco prevention for kids.
Jan. 24, 2001: WIC gives mothers & babies a healthy start.
Jan. 10, 2001: January 24 is School Nurses Day.


It's Not Too Late To Get A Flu Shot!
County Health Department, Visiting Nurse Association Team Up To Provide Shots.

December 11, 2001. There's still time to get a flu shot, local health officials say. Starting in early October, the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) joined with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of St. Louis to provide flu clinics for area residents. Because of early delays in vaccine distribution, not everyone could be vaccinated in October and November, normally considered the optimal period for vaccination. Vaccine is currently plentiful, so anyone who is not yet immunized - including high-risk individuals and healthy adults - should get their flu shots now.


Flu shots will be given at Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer, on Tuesday December 11 from 8:30 to 3:30. Shots are also available at the VNA office at 9426 Manchester Road from 8:30 to 4:15 Monday through Friday: call 918-7171 x 1248. The cost of a flu shot is $15; but individuals with Medicare Part B will have no out-of-pocket expense.


The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) now recommends flu vaccinations for anyone 50 or over. Everyone age 65 and over is considered to be at high risk for complications from the flu. Individuals with chronic illnesses - including cancer, suppressed immune systems, and asthma - are also considered high risk. Health care workers, household members and others in close contact with high-risk individuals should also be immunized.


To date, influenza activity in the United States remains limited with only a small number of isolated outbreaks reported. There are no recorded cases of influenza so far this season in Saint Louis County. Influenza has peaked in January or later in 15 of the past 19 influenza seasons. Even when influenza is occurring in a community, individual patients who have not yet been exposed, especially the elderly and those with risk conditions, can benefit from vaccination.


Influenza strains expected to be prevalent this year include A/New Caledonia, A/Moscow and B/Sichuan.


CONTACT: Steve Fine, Director
Division of Public Health and Ancillary Services
(314) 615-6445 (Pager: 314-430-2671)
Susan Pettit, Visiting Nurse Association, 314-918-7171 x 1202


World AIDS Day
Face of AIDS is Changing in Saint Louis County.

November 28, 2001. Statistics for Saint Louis County show the pattern shifting slightly, to more white males than black males being newly diagnosed with HIV. So far in 2001 (year to date through November 1) there have been 53 HIV cases (37 males and 16 females) recorded in Saint Louis County. The majority of males (21) have been white, while the majority of females (11) are black. Most are in the 20 to 49 age range, but increasing numbers of teenagers are also being diagnosed. Many people diagnosed in their early 20's were actually infected as teenagers. Year to date there are 44 AIDS cases in Saint Louis County, with all but four of those being males. Of the 40 males, 24 are black and 16 white, ranging in age from 30 to 49.


The fourteenth annual World AIDS Day will be observed around the world on December 1. World AIDS Day aims to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS both globally and in the United States. This year's World AIDS Day theme is "I Care ... Do You? Youth and AIDS in the 21st Century."


Approximately one in every 100 adults worldwide is infected with HIV. In the United States 800,000 to 900,000 people are now living with HIV or AIDS, with 40,000 newly infected each year. Around the world more than 36 million people are estimated to be living with HIV or AIDS today, and 9 out of 10 of them do not know they are infected.


In Saint Louis County alone, over 2,000 people are now living with HIV or AIDS. A total of 1,403 people in St. Louis County have been diagnosed with AIDS since 1982, and 612 diagnosed with HIV since 1987. Predominant modes of transmission include heterosexual contact, intravenous (IV) drug use, and men having sex with men.


In 2000 the total number of HIV cases in Saint Louis County was 64, with 45 males and 19 females, the majority African American between the ages of 20 and 39. Total number of AIDS cases in 2000 was 58, with 44 males and 13 females, predominantly African American.


The Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) offers free HIV/AIDS testing at DOH health centers. Times and locations are Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm at the John C. Murphy Health Center, located at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley; and every 1st, 3rd and 5th Wednesday from 11am to 7pm at the South County Health Center, located at 4580 South Lindbergh. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are accepted. Please call 314 522-6410 x 6143. A DOH infectious disease physician offers care services at the John C. Murphy clinic on Thursday mornings from 8 am to noon. DOH connects all positive HIV patients to the Ryan White program for assistance with health insurance for care and medications.


People living in the St. Louis area may also call the Metro St. Louis AIDS Program at 314-612-5188 for confidential anonymous AIDS/HIV testing.


Contact: Marian Phillips, Supervisor, HIV Department
314-522-6410 x 6009


DOH Promotes One-time Cat Neutering Service By Area Veterinarians.

This is an online promotion of a useful metropolitan public health service not directly sponsored by the Department of Health.


November 16, 2001. Selected veterinarians have agreed to neuter a limited number of male cats on December 1 and 2 for a NICKEL ( that's 5 cents, folks). This is available to all on a first come basis by appointment only.


(You must call first to assure space)


St. Louis Pet Clinic, 2245 S. Grand 314-773-6400
Banfield Brentwood Promenade 314-963-9805
Webster Groves Animal Hospital 314-968-4310
Noahs Ark, 4224 Telegraph 314-894--5333
Clarkson/Wilson Vet Clinic, Clarkson/Wilson 636-530-1808
Normandy Animal Hospital, 7626 Florissant Rd 314-383-4677

The service is sponsored by SMART (St. Louis Metropolitan Area Responsibility Team), a collaborative effort of regional animal agencies promoting responsible pet ownership. Spaying and neutering pets is an important way to help reduce the number of stray animals in the St. Louis region.


For information on adoptable pets please check www.stlouispets.com or call Saint Louis County Department of Health, Animal Control Office, at 314-726-6655 (south) or 314-831-6500 (north).




County Health Department Reports Rabid Bat In Warson Woods Near School Athletic Fields Where Children Were Playing.

November 8, 2001. Saint Louis County Department of Health reports that a bat found Saturday afternoon November 3 in Warson Woods has tested positive for rabies. The red bat was found alive on a fence near athletic fields at St. Genevieve DeBois School at 1575 N. Woodlawn, where children were playing soccer.


A police officer on the scene contained the bat in a cup. Initial reports indicate there were no exposures to any of the children or parents at the sporting event.


"We need to talk to anyone who was on the school sports fields Saturday afternoon November third before 4:30 PM who was bitten by a bat," said Dan Knox, DVM, manager of animal control.


Representatives of the school are making contact with the coaches of the teams present on the field to determine if anyone was actually bitten by the bat. They will also be alert to any other bats observed to be unable to fly and will properly secure them with a trash container over the bat until authorities arrive.


Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is most often fatal. Prompt post-exposure medical treatment is crucial for anyone who may have been scratched or bitten by a rabid animal. For questions, or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control at 314-726-6655 (south and west county) or 314-831-6500 (north county).


Since rabies can be readily passed from wild animals to domestic pets, our first line of defense is to make sure all cats and dogs are properly vaccinated, as required by county law. Dr. Knox stresses the importance of having pets vaccinated against rabies. "People should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets," he said. He noted that dogs and cats - even indoor cats - need rabies protection.


This makes a total of twelve rabid bats this year in St. Louis County.


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control
Phone: 314-727-7017
Pager: 314-430-6208


SAINT LOUIS COUNTY CELEBRATES
HOME CARE MONTH.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT WILL OFFER FLU SHOTS
TO HOMEBOUND RESIDENTS.

November 6, 2001. The Saint Louis County Department of Health joins home care providers throughout the United States in celebrating National Home Care Month. The theme this November is "Home Care: The Heart of American Health Care."


Sponsored by the National Association for Home Care, the month-long celebration pays tribute to the dedicated home care professionals who enable elderly, disabled and chronically ill individuals to live in their own homes. As America's elderly population continues to grow, home health care will play a pivotal role in health care delivery in our nation's future.


America is growing older and living longer. Americans, led by the baby boom generation, are benefiting from medical advances that are extending their lives well into their 80s, 90s, and 100s. But with extended life comes an increase in chronic disease and illnesses.


"The vast majority of people faced with disability or illness would obviously prefer to remain at home instead of in a hospital or institution," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, director of Saint Louis County Department of Health. "Home care professionals provide the high quality health care and the close, personal contact that allows that to happen."


With flu season approaching, the health department's home care agency will provide flu shots to homebound persons. There is no out of pocket charge to homebound residents with Medicare Part B. Flu shots are $15 for homebound persons or their direct care givers who do not have Medicare Part B.


For more information on the county's home health service, or to request flu shots, county residents may call (314) 615-1787. "We have just received vaccine," Dr. Meeks said, "so visits can be scheduled now for homebound county residents who want flu shots."


The Department of Health is also joining with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) to provide flu clinics for high-risk individuals at various community sites. The cost of a flu shot is $15; but individuals with Medicare Part B will have no out-of-pocket expense. For recorded information about times and locations please call 314-644-4FLU (644-4358).


Everyone age 65 and over is considered to be at high risk for complications of influenza. Individuals age eighteen and older who have chronic illnesses - including cancer, suppressed immune systems, and asthma - are also considered high risk. Health care workers (in nursing homes, for example) as well as household members and others in close contact with high-risk individuals are also given priority in receiving vaccine.


Flu strains expected to be prevalent this year include A/Panama, A/New Caledonia, and B/Yamanashi.


FACTS ABOUT HOME CARE
  • Every eight seconds, a baby boomer in America turns 50.
  • In less than 10 years when baby boomers begin to retire, one out of every five Americans will be over the age of 65.
  • By 2040, the number of Americans over the age of 80 will triple to 26.2 million.
  • Nurses, therapists, and home care aides provide high quality health care services at home to the young, the old and the disabled.
  • Home care is an extremely cost-effective means of providing high quality health care and supportive services in the dignity and comfort of a patient's home.
  • Home care can often delay or remove the need for more costly institutional care such as hospitalization or nursing home admissions.
  • Home health care allows patients to return home from the hospital sooner by providing skilled nursing; physical, speech pathology and ongoing occupational therapy; and home care aide services, which support and advance a patient's recovery process.
  • Home care services can be paid for through private insurance, directly out-of-pocket by patients and/or family members, or as is more often the case, by Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Home care emphasizes the importance of loving and caring families and communities by involving family members in the delivery of treatment and patient education.
  • As a greater number of Americans require such services, more and more nurses, therapists and home care aides will be needed to provide them.
  • Helpful web sites:
    · www.nahc.org
    · www.stlouisco.com/doh/
Contact: Alice Mitchell, Program Manager
Home Health Care, 314-615-1787


HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS.

October 23, 2001. As in years past, and with a need for heightened awareness this year, health officials suggest that parents carefully supervise their children's Halloween activities. The Saint Louis County Department of Health recommends the following precautions, to help ensure a safe and healthy Halloween.


  • Check for costume safety: can the child see? Is the costume snagging on objects or causing the child to trip?
  • Children should not go out "trick-or-treating" alone.
  • An adult should accompany children.
  • Even with supervision, children should visit only familiar neighbors, friends or relatives.
  • "Treats" should be commercially prepared and individually packaged.
  • Parents should check, before any treats are consumed, to make sure they are sealed and wrappers are intact.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

At school parties or functions, food should be limited to commercially prepared, individually packaged treats. Foods prepared at home should not be brought into the classroom for sharing. Distribution and handling of food should be limited to responsible adults.


And don't forget basic hygiene. Careful hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating or handling food, is the simplest and most effective way to help prevent the spread of disease.


Contact: Steve Fine, Director
Division of Public Health and Ancillary Services
(314) 615-6445   (Pager: 314-430-2671)


Saint Louis County Department of Health Participates in National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 22-26, 2001.

October 19, 2001. Up to 76% of housing in St. Louis County may contain lead. Despite efforts at education and prevention, children in the Saint Louis County area continue to be poisoned by lead from peeling lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust and other sources in their homes. To draw attention to the problem, Saint Louis County Department of Health is participating in National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 22-26 by hosting an informational display in the lobby of the World Trade Center in Clayton, located at 121 South Meramec.


Nationally, almost one million preschool age children have enough lead in their blood to harm them, according to Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director. This includes approximately 1,115 children in Saint Louis County. The Department of Health encourages all physicians to screen children who are less than six years old for lead poisoning. Children could be at risk if they reside in older homes built prior to 1978.


"Saint Louis County Department of Health has been working in lead poisoning prevention for more than 20 years," said Dr. Meeks. For more information on lead poison prevention, please call 314-615-LEAD (615-5323) or visit our web site at www.stlouisco.com/doh/


Contact: Brenda Quarles, Program Manager,
Lead Poison Prevention, 314-615-5323


West Nile Virus Confirmed In Area Birds.

October 5, 2001. The first bird cases of West Nile virus in the St. Louis metropolitan area have been confirmed here. Health officials today received notification that five American crows - all found in the central corridor - tested positive for the virus. Notification came from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the USGS Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin where the testing is done.


Humans cannot be infected by a diseased bird - the only way to get West Nile virus is through a mosquito bite. People can reduce their chance of exposure by taking preventive steps, such as eliminating all standing water in gutters and birdbaths, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and using insect repellents when mosquitoes are active (follow product instructions carefully). Dead birds should be discarded safely, using gloves or covering the hands with a plastic trash bag.


The dead birds were found between September 15 and September 29. Two were found in Richmond Heights, one in Warson Woods, one in Ladue, and one in the city of St. Louis. There are no human cases of the disease in our area.


A "West Nile Virus Work Group" convened here early last month in anticipation of the virus reaching our area. The group is comprised of health officials from, Saint Louis County, St. Louis City, Jefferson, Franklin and St. Charles Counties, and the state of Missouri. Public health agencies are prepared to continue surveillance and step up prevention efforts through the remainder of the fall and again next spring and summer.


"With the cooler temperatures, mosquito activity is waning," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director of Health. "We believe the risk to public health is minimal," Dr. Meeks assured. She added that Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) is continuing surveillance through the end of October and will be well prepared to continue the program next mosquito season.


For more information, see the DOH web site,www.stlouisco.com, the St. Charles web site at www.scchealth.org/docs/wnv/index.html, or the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/2001spotlight.htm.


View the DOH West Nile Virus Fact Sheet.


CONTACT: Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager,
Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630

Joan Bradford, Manager
Vector Control, 314-725-9312


County Health Department Offers Family Mental Health Services To Residents.

October 2, 2001. October is "National Depression and Mental Health Awareness" month, and a good time to consider the importance of our psychological well being.


Saint Louis County Department of Health offers a range of family mental health services. "We provide comprehensive outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families who live in Saint Louis County," said Gregg Robinson, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist & Area Manager - Family Mental Health. "Our staff is composed of clinical social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists." All staff members are licensed in their respective disciplines. A sliding fee scale is available and insurance is accepted.


Services include mental health evaluation of children, adolescents and adults, psychological testing/evaluation, and psychiatric services including medication therapy and management. Individual, family and group therapy sessions are available. Parent education and programs for community groups are offered, as well as mental health consultation for schools, agencies and other professionals. And a new program for smoking cessation is being planned.


To schedule an appointment, please contact one of these Saint Louis County Department of Health office locations for Family Mental Health:


  • North County Center, 21 Village Square, Hazelwood, MO 63042; Phone (314) 615-7471
  • Central County Center, 111 South Meramec, Clayton, MO 63105; Phone (314) 615-1760
  • South County Center, Keller Plaza, 4548 Lemay Ferry Rd., St. Louis, MO 63129; Phone (314) 615-4072
  • West County Center, 78 Clarkson-Wilson Centre, Chesterfield, MO 63017; Phone (314) 615-0950.

For more information, please contact Dr. Gregg Robinson, Clinical Psychologist & Area Manager - Family Mental Health, Saint Louis County Department of Health, at (314) 615-1760. Or, visit the county's web page at https://stlouisco.com/doh and click on "Family Mental Health."


CONTACT: Dr. Gregg Robinson, Clinical Psychologist & Area Manager - Family Mental Health, (314) 615-1760


Flu Immunizations for High Risk Patients Available
in October.
Healthy Adults Can Get Shots in November

September 27, 2001. Local health officials, following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announce that high-risk individuals will be the first to receive their flu shots again this year. Healthy adults are asked to wait until November to be immunized. Shots will be available at various community sites. For recorded information about times and locations, please call 314-644-4FLU (644-4358).


Starting October 9, the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) is joining with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of St. Louis to provide flu clinics for high-risk individuals age nine and older. The cost of a flu shot is $15, but individuals with Medicare Part B will have no out-of-pocket expense.


Everyone age 65 and over is considered to be at high risk. Individuals with chronic illnesses - including cancer, suppressed immune systems, and asthma - are also considered high risk. Health care workers (in nursing homes, for example) as well as household members and others in close contact with high-risk individuals are also given priority in receiving vaccine.


Influenza strains expected to be prevalent this year include A/New Caledonia, A/Moscow and B/Sichuan.


View the Visiting Nurse Association - Community Flu Clinics Schedule.

Contact: Steve Fine, Director
Division of Public Health and Ancillary Services
(314) 615-6445    (Pager: 314-430-2671)


Neighborhood Preservation Program Helps Preserve Property Values.

September 20, 2001. A home is the single biggest investment most people ever make. Routine preventive maintenance can help protect that investment, especially as property ages. More than 72% of homes in unincorporated Saint Louis County are over 20 years old and 57% are over 25 years old. The County's Neighborhood Preservation Program is designed to work with residents to preserve property values and protect public health through proactive code enforcement.


Here's how it works. Inspectors from the Department of Health check neighborhoods in unincorporated County areas, making visual inspections to spot and eliminate code violations before they become major health or safety hazards. If violations are found, residents are notified and given time to make repairs. When violations are corrected by the date indicated on the citation notice, the case is closed. More time may be granted if, for example, bad weather prevents making repairs. As a last resort, if violations continue, a court date will be set to review the case and a summons sent to the owner. Violators are subject to court fees and fines for failure to abate property maintenance violations.


Some of the more common violations cited include litter, rubbish, high grass or weeds, derelict vehicles, peeling paint, deteriorated gutters and downspouts, cracked or broken windows, deteriorated siding, cracked sidewalks or driveways, fences or garages in disrepair, and missing street numbers.


To report a problem in your neighborhood, please call 314-615-7333 (north of highway 40) or 314-615-4151 (south of 40). Persons registering complaints should give the address of the property and the nature of the problem, and any additional details they can provide (for example, if the property is occupied by an owner or a tenant). Anonymous complaints are accepted. Callers may also request copies of a free brochure outlining the program.


Residents may also register their concerns by email through the County web page, www.stlouisco.com. Click on "Contact us" to send your email. Neighborhood Preservation staff will gladly attend neighborhood association meetings, and visit with subdivision groups to explain the program and help find solutions to neighborhood maintenance problems.


Contact: John Thro, Neighborhood Preservation Supervisor, 314-615-5089


Two Free Events Will Enable County Residents to Properly Manage Household Chemicals.
Events on Oct. 6 and Oct. 20 provide opportunities for properly managing unwanted household chemicals.

September 17, 2001. Ever wonder what to do with leftover paint, pool chemicals, pesticides, motor oil, and paint thinner? On October 6 and October 20, the Saint Louis County Department of Health will offer residents of Saint Louis County opportunities to properly manage these products and other unwanted household hazardous waste.


These events are free to all Saint Louis County residents and will be held at the following locations:


  • Saturday, October 6 (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) Westfield Shoppingtown South County
    Behind Dillards on Lemay Ferry Road near South Lindbergh and Lemay Ferry.
  • Saturday, October 20 (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) St. Louis Community College
    Florissant Valley on Pershall Road near I-270 and West Florissant exit.

Since 1998, more than 14,365 families have brought 1,026,436 pounds (513 tons) of household chemicals to County-sponsored collection events.


"If not properly managed, unwanted household chemicals can be dangerous to individuals as well as our environment," said Jacquelynn Meeks, DrPH, Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. "By participating in these events, residents keep their homes and the environment safe from potential harm."


Below are listings of materials residents can and cannot bring to the events:


Accepted Materials:
Fluorescent tubes Gas cylinders Pool chemicals, acids, and lye
Paints, stains and varnishes Aerosols Anti-freeze, transmission and brake fluids
Wood preservatives Gasoline and other fuels Used motor oil and filters
Pesticides, herbicides and poisons Solvents, thinners and strippers Household and lead acid batteries
Driveway sealant Caulks and spackling Liquid mercury and mercury devices (such as batteries, thermometers and switches)
Items should be brought in their original containers, grouped together in boxes with similar products.

Unaccepted Materials:
Explosives, ammunition and dynamite Radioactive waste Smoke detectors
Medical waste Vehicle tires or other bulky waste Household trash
No business or commercial waste is allowed.

The events are open only to residents of Saint Louis County. Proof of residency (such as a driver's license or tax statement) may be required. As demonstrated by the success of past collection events, residents should be prepared to wait in line to drop off materials.


"We hold these events to help residents properly dispose of their unwanted household chemicals, and to raise awareness about the importance of properly managing these materials," said Laura Yates, Program Coordinator. "We encourage everyone to recycle these materials, but the best and easiest way to reduce leftovers is to avoid having excess materials in the first place. We should all buy only what we need and use products up entirely."


For more information, call the Saint Louis County Department of Health Recycling Hotline at 314-286-9200.


Contact: Laura Yates, 314-615-8959
Saint Louis County Department of Health
Kelly Hahn, 314-991-4641
The Vandiver Group


Recycling Collection at County Fair and Air Show Hits Three Year High.
More than 4,000 pounds of plastic, aluminum and cardboard were collected

September 7, 2001 - This past holiday weekend, the Saint Louis County Department of Health saved approximately 4,000 pounds of aluminum cans, PET plastic beverage bottles and corrugated cardboard from going to the landfill. That's enough material to fill a backyard swimming pool!


At the Saint Louis County Fair and Air Show, the Department of Health set up collection bins for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. "This is the third year we have collected recyclables at the Fair and Air Show," said Jacquelynn Meeks, DrPH, Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. "Each year the amount collected has increased, which makes us think the message about the importance of recycling is getting to the public. Our hope is that making it easy for visitors to recycle at events like this one will lead them to recycle at home and in the office."


Recycling conserves landfill space and natural resources. This weekend's collection effort saved 60 cubic yards of landfill space. Once recycled, the aluminum is melted down and processed into cans and other aluminum products, such as awnings and house siding. The plastic bottles will be manufactured into carpet, clothing and strapping. The cardboard is reduced to a paper pulp and then made into other paper products, such as boxes and packaging.


Special events like the County Fair and Air Show offer excellent opportunities to draw the public's attention to how easy and important it is to recycle. "In the spirit of expanding special event recycling, the recycling bins used at the County Fair and Air Show will be reused at the World Golf Championships - American Express Championship in a partnership with the Parkway School District," said Meeks. Players and spectators will be able to recycle their cans and plastic bottles at the tournament at Bellerive County Club. Anyone wanting assistance planning a recyclables collection at a special event in Saint Louis County should call the Department of Health at 314-615-8958.


Funding for this collection effort was provided by Saint Louis County landfill surcharge funds.


Contact: Lora Mather, Saint Louis County
Department of Health
314-615-6878
Kelly Hahn, The Vandiver Group
314-991-4641


County Health Department Reports Two More Rabid Bats.

August 22, 2001. Saint Louis County Department of Health reports two more rabid bats, making a total of seven this season. Results received on August 20 showed that a bat in Ballwin and one in Kirkwood tested positive for rabies.


The bat in Ballwin was found by two dogs on Brittney Circle Court. The dogs have received rabies boosters. The bat in Kirkwood was found in a driveway on Heather Brook, with two children and the family cat nearby. The cat has received a rabies booster. The Kirkwood family had read of recent cases of rabid bats and took appropriate actions. There were no human exposures.


Dan Knox, DVM, manager of animal control, stresses the importance of having pets vaccinated against rabies. "People should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets," Dr. Knox said. He noted that dogs and cats - even indoor cats - need rabies protection.


Since rabies can be readily passed from wild animals to domestic pets, our first line of defense is to make sure all cats and dogs are properly vaccinated, as required by County law. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is almost always fatal. For questions or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control at (314) 726-6655 (South and West County) or (314) 831-6500 (North County).


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control
Phone: (314) 727-7017   Pager: (314) 430-6208


County Health Department Reports Fifth Rabid Bat Of Season.

August 16, 2001. Saint Louis County Department of Health reports a rabid bat in Pasadena Hills in north county. Results received on August 14 showed that the bat tested positive for rabies. This is the fifth rabid bat this season in Saint Louis County.


The bat was found in a bedroom where children had been sleeping. Health officials are conferring with the family regarding post-exposure rabies immunizations. A pet dog in the household had previously been vaccinated against rabies, and will receive a booster.


Dan Knox, DVM, manager of animal control, stresses the importance of having pets vaccinated against rabies. "People should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets," Dr. Knox said. He noted that dogs and cats - even indoor cats - need rabies protection.


Since rabies can be readily passed from wild animals to domestic pets, our first line of defense is to make sure all cats and dogs are properly vaccinated, as required by County law. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is most often fatal. For questions or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control at (314) 726-6655 (south and west county) or (314) 831-6500 (north county).


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control
Phone: (314) 727-7017    Pager: (314) 430-6208


County Health Department Reports Fourth Rabid Bat Of Season.

August 10, 2001. Animal control officers for the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) picked up a rabid bat on August 6th at Bent Oak Lane in Kirkwood (Timberlake Apartments). Results received on August 8th showed the bat tested positive for rabies. There were no known human exposures. This is the fourth rabid bat this season in Saint Louis County.


This bat was in direct contact with the resident's cat, which previously had rabies immunizations. A booster has been given with the recommendation to strictly observe the cat for 45 days at the home of the owner. Dan Knox, DVM, manager of animal control, stresses the importance of having pets vaccinated against rabies. "People should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets," Dr. Knox said. He noted that dogs and cats - even indoor cats - need rabies protection.


Health officials caution children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. Rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.


Dr. Knox points out that 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, the disease can quickly spread to other members of the colony. This is why we must be sure to have pets vaccinated, and warn children not to touch any unknown animals.


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control
Phone (314) 727-7017   Pager: (314) 430-6208


Saint Louis County Department of Health Issues Reminder on Childhood Immunizations:
New Requirements for Varicella (Chickenpox) Immunizations.

August 9, 2001 As of July 30, under Missouri law, a child needs to be immunized against chickenpox before enrolling in a daycare facility (Preschool Varicella Requirement). Immunization is one of the most effective ways of preventing disease, but some childhood illnesses that could be prevented by immunization are still with us. Approximately 3.5 million cases of varicella (chickenpox) occur each year. By the time a child is a year old, he or she should have received a varicella (chickenpox) vaccination.


Children need 80 percent of their vaccinations in the first two years of life. General guidelines for immunization in the first two years of life are as follows:


  • Diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTP): Four vaccinations - at 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months.
  • Polio: Three vaccinations - at 2, 4, and 6 to 18 months.
  • Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR): One vaccination - at 12 to 15 months.
  • Chickenpox: One vaccination - at 12 to 18 months.
  • Hepatitis B: Three vaccinations - at 0 to 2 months, 1 to 4 months, and 6 to 18 months.
  • H.influenzae type b (Hib): Three to four vaccinations at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months.

Saint Louis County Department of Health provides childhood immunizations at no cost to County residents at the DOH health centers. For more information, please call Saint Louis County Department of Health at (314) 615-1630.


Contact: Steve Fine, Director
Division of Public Health and Ancillary Services
(314) 615-6445

 
Saint Louis County Requires Screening for Lead Poisoning Before Kindergarten.
Department of Health Offers Screening, Education.

August 9, 2001. All children entering Kindergarten in St. Louis County public schools are required to provide proof of screening for lead poisoning. Walk-in blood lead tests are available at Saint Louis County Health Centers: call 314-615-LEAD for times and locations. Physicians, parents and school districts have been informed of the requirement. Health officials encourage physicians to test children who are less than six years old for lead poisoning.


Nationally, almost one million preschool age children have enough lead in their blood to harm them. This includes approximately 1,121 children in Saint Louis County. In 1999 8,743 county children were screened for lead poisoning. In 2000 this increased by 62% with over 12,000 tested. According to Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director, this success is due in large part to the recently passed County Lead Ordinance, which has helped the Department of Health proactively identify kids at risk before they enter their formative education years.


In years past, lead screening efforts in the County included going door to door. However, DOH achieved greater results by working with physicians, and through outreach, education, and screening at clinics, daycare centers, health fairs, and in public and private schools. Physicians interning with the health department are developing an educational format for doctors to teach doctors about lead poisoning.


Lead poisoning affects virtually every system in the body, and often occurs with no distinctive symptoms. Lead can damage a child's central nervous system, kidneys, and reproductive system and, at higher levels, can cause coma, convulsions, and death. Even low levels of lead are harmful and are associated with decreased intelligence, behavioral disorders, and delayed physical and mental development. Early testing allows for identification and treatment before permanent damage occurs.


All children could be at risk, especially those who reside in homes built prior to 1978. Living in a newer home doesn't guarantee an environment free of lead hazards. Children may be exposed while visiting older homes or buildings. Toys or other household furnishings could be coated with lead based paints. Rehab projects and occupational sources from adults in the household are other possible areas of concern.


Saint Louis County Department of Health has been working in lead poisoning prevention for more than 20 years. The department currently plans to expand efforts to the "weekend warriors" in our community, to make them aware of the issues concerning lead poisoning during remodeling, repair and renovation of older homes. The Department of Health has conducted 975 environmental lead inspections in Saint Louis County so far this year. For more information on lead poisoning prevention, please visit our web site at www.stlouisco.com/doh/ or call (314) 615-LEAD (615-5323).


Contact: Shirley Scatcherd, RN
Lead Poisoning Prevention (314) 615-1734


ADOPT A STRAY ON A SUMMER DAY

WHAT: Hundreds of pets will be available for adoption
WHEN: Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
WHERE: Queeny Park, Weidman Road,
In the (AIR CONDITIONED) Big Arena

This event is the result of a great cooperative regional effort. It is sponsored by SMART (St. Louis Metropolitan Animal Responsibility Team), the Saint Louis County Department of Health, the Saint Louis County Parks Department, the City of St. Louis, and many other area animal agencies.


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control
(314) 727-7017 Pager 430-6208


County Health Department Reports Third Rabid Bat Of Season

July 5, 2001. Animal control officers for the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) picked up a rabid bat June 28 on Laclede Station Road in Webster Groves. It was sent for testing on June 29. Results received on July 2 showed the bat tested positive for rabies. There were no known human or animal exposures. This is the third rabid bat this season in St. Louis County.


Dan Knox, DVM, manager of animal control, stresses the importance of cautioning children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. He explains that the disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.


"People should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets," Dr. Knox said. He noted that dogs and cats - even indoor cats - need rabies protection.


Dr. Knox points out that most bats don't carry rabies, and in fact they perform a beneficial service by eating large quantities of insects. But if one bat in a colony contracts rabies, the disease can quickly spread to other members of the colony. This is why we must be sure to have pets vaccinated, and warn children not to touch any unknown animals.


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control
Phone: 314-727-7017
Pager: 314-430-6208


Keep Pets Safe from Fireworks

June 29, 2001. Over the July 4 holiday, the animal control office of Saint Louis County Department of Health issues this reminder.


"Animals can become frightened and run off because of the fireworks," said Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control. "We would like pet owners to be aware of the potential dangers for pets and the community. Animals that normally do not leave their yard will do anything to get away from fireworks and the noise they create."


Dr. Knox suggests that people leave their pets at home when viewing fireworks. He adds that "it is critical to make sure that all pets (dogs and cats) always have a collar and identification tags."


Here are some tips to help keep pets - and people - safer:


  • Consider asking your veterinarian to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet.
  • Keep pets in a safe area inside the house, preferably the basement, with the radio playing soothing music.
  • Try not to leave the pet for extended periods of time.
  • Keep identification tags on your pet, in the event that the animal does escape in fear.

Animals bite because they are frightened or injured. During the July 4 holiday, it is common for animals to run off and become disoriented, injured or need to be rescued by an animal control officer. Animals that run during this time of the year are usually very frightened and confused and they can pose a serious public health threat.


Here's another piece of summertime advice: do NOT leave pets in vehicles ... even for only a few minutes. It can get very hot in a short time and animals can suffer heat stroke. For more information on responsible pet ownership, please call (314) 726-6655.


Photo opportunity: Dog in a parked car.

Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control
(314) 727-7017    Pager: 430-6208


Tips For Keeping Summer Food Safe

June 19, 2001. Picnics, barbecues, camping and eating outdoors can add to the enjoyment of summer holidays. But if food isn't handled correctly, foodborne illness can ruin the fun! Here are a few tips from Saint Louis County Department of Health for keeping summer food safe.


The key to food protection is simple: keep hot food hot, and keep cold food cold! This limits the growth of dangerous bacteria. Experts have found that most cases of food poisoning are the result of food that was kept at the wrong temperature over an extended time.


Keeping food at the proper temperature and frequent hand-washing are two of the most important factors in preventing the spread of disease by food. Fortunately these are things we can control. (If soap and water aren't readily available, try using prepackaged towelettes, gels or waterless sanitizers.)


If you will be grilling meat, be sure to keep it cold, in a cooler with ice, until time to cook. Be careful not to cross-contaminate - don't let any food or utensil come in contact with raw meat.


Some foods travel better than others do. Try pre-packaged snacks, fresh or dried fruit, and peanut butter and jelly. For picnics or camping trips, pack non-perishable foods. Use condiments like mustard and pickles. Beware of deviled eggs or potato salad which can spoil quickly when not refrigerated.


Finally, when in doubt, throw it out! When it comes to food protection, it's better to be safe than sorry!


Contact: Barry Drucker, Public Health Sanitation Manager
314-615-8925



NEW SERVICES ADDED AT SAINT LOUIS COUNTY HEALTH CENTERS

June 15, 2001. Saint Louis County Department of Health announces a number of new services at the department's health centers. Programs were added or expanded after a community assessment helped to identify needs. Local and national trends were also considered. Innovation prompted some services to move outside the walls of the health centers, into schools, homeless shelters, and community sites.


New initiatives include Mature Adults Assessment, Teen Fitness, Sports Medicine, Smoking Cessation, Shelter Outreach, Hepatitis C, and Diabetes. Ongoing Preventive Screening and Core Public Health programs are being amplified. By identifying health factors that may be related, such as obesity and diabetes, clinicians can enhance patient care by linking patients to related services. By considering the patient's lifestyle and looking at the entire family, clinicians can coordinate comprehensive treatment and high quality care.


Locations and phone numbers for the three health centers are:
  • John C. Murphy Health Center at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley,
    (314) 522-6410;
  • Pine Lawn Health Center at 6150 Natural Bridge Road,
    (314) 389-4700; and
  • South County Health Center at 4580 South Lindbergh,
    (314) 842-1300.

Saint Louis County residents who do not have their own physician or primary health care provider may call the nearest health center for information. (Not all services are available at all locations.) Services are provided to County residents on a sliding fee scale, based on income. No one is turned away because of inability to pay.


Contact: Joan Bialczak, Director, Division of Health Services
(314) 615-6415


Are We Ready For The Heat?

June 11, 2001. With temperatures today in the 90s and dangerously hot weather in the forecast, health officials in the St. Louis area are reminding the community of ways to protect themselves in the extreme heat.


St. Louis residents should take things easy during the season's first hot days. The body generally needs a few days to adjust to the change in temperature. The elderly and others at high risk for heat illness should be especially cautious.


This is also a good time to set up a plan to check on elderly relatives and neighbors during extremely hot weather.


The Health Departments for St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County are offering a list of common sense tips for dealing with the heat. The health departments are all part of Operation Weather Survival, a network of public and private organizations that work together to prevent illness and death caused by extreme weather.


View the Hot Weather Tip Sheet.


Contacts:
Ellen Ellick
City of St. Louis
(314) 612-5143
Pager: (314) 902-2916
Steve Fine
St. Louis County
(314) 615-6445
Pager: (314) 430-2671


Got a Head? Wear a Helmet!
"Safety Street" Event at Health Centers
Offers Children Free Bicycle Helmets.

June 11, 2001. Saint Louis County Department of Health and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring a "SAFETY STREET" event on:


  • Tuesday, June 12 from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. at the John C. Murphy Health Center, located at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley.

  • Tuesday, June 19 from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. at the Pine Lawn Health Center, 6150 Natural Bridge Road.

A mock street will be set up to teach children first-hand the rules of the road for safe bicycling, rollerblading and skateboarding. Free bicycle helmets for children will be available, while supplies last.


Studies show that wearing a safety helmet can dramatically reduce head injuries. A new county ordinance will require helmets in unincorporated areas.


Health department staff, along with officers from the Saint Louis County Police Department, will properly fit each helmet for the child's safety. Children who already own helmets may bring their bikes and helmets to be checked for appropriate fit.


The event is free to county residents. For more information please call (314)389-4700.


Photo Opportunity:


  • Children learning the rules of the road in a mock city complete with traffic signals.
  • Kids getting their safety helmets fitted, and their bikes checked for safety.

Contact (Murphy Health Center):
Officer G.T. Templeton, (314) 522-6410 x 6222
Betsy Alexander, (314) 522-6410 x 6076

(Pine Lawn Health Center):
Officer Bryant, (314) 389-4700
Andrea Johnson, Manager (314) 389-4700



County Health Department Reports Second Rabid Bat Of Season.

May 14, 2001. Animal control officers for the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) picked up a live bat in the 100 block of Gray Avenue in Webster Groves. It was euthanized on May 4 and sent for testing. Results received on May 8 showed the bat tested positive for rabies. There were no known human or animal exposures. Three vaccinated cats in the household have received rabies boosters as a precaution.


Dan Knox, D.V.M., manager of animal control, stresses the importance of cautioning children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. He explains that the disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.


"People should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets," Dr. Knox said. "The three cats had been previously immunized for rabies, which is required between 12 and 16 weeks of age." He noted that even indoor cats need rabies protection.


Most bats don't carry rabies, and in fact they perform a beneficial service by eating large quantities of insects. But if one bat in a colony contracts rabies, the disease can quickly spread to other members of the colony. This is why we must be sure to have pets vaccinated, and warn children not to touch any unknown animals.


Contact: Dan Knox, D.V.M., Manager, Animal Control
Phone: 314-727-7017
Pager: 314-430-6208

Special Students "Supervise" New Construction:
Recycling Is Priority.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY:
  • WHO: Teams of community volunteers (and DOH staff)
  • WHAT: Habitat for Humanity puts up new houses, while Special School District students sort recyclable materials.
  • WHEN: Monday May 7, Wednesday May 9 and Friday May 11 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM
  • WHERE: Plymouth Avenue in Wellston (by old Wagner Electric site)

May 4, 2001. While Habitat for Humanity is busy building fifteen houses in fifteen days, Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) is pitching in to help reduce the waste generated in Habitat's "Blitz Build."


The DOH Waste Management/Recycling program is coordinating volunteers from the St. Louis County Special School District to recycle wood, cardboard, aluminum cans and other recyclable materials at the site. These 30 volunteers are from the Neuwoehner School located in Town and Country.


"We are delighted to be able to team up with this great project and send the recycling message at the same time," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director. "The students are doing a wonderful job of sorting the materials and making sure wastes are recycled properly." Recycling construction materials is one aspect of the sustainable building initiative that DOH supports.


The site is located near the old Wagner Electric property on Plymouth Avenue in Wellston. As a requirement for Habitat home ownership, the future homeowners must work 40-50 hours in the Habitat program. These future homeowners are also learning more about recycling.


For more information or to volunteer, please call Habitat for Humanity at 314-371-0400.


Contact: Lora Mather, Waste Management Specialist
314-615-6878  Pager: 314-460-2896


County Health Department Reports First Rabid Bat Of Season.

April 25, 2001. Animal control officers for the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) picked up a bat on Saturday, April 21 in the 2400 block of Pocahontas Place in Rock Hill. Results received on April 24 showed the bat tested positive for rabies. The resident's fourteen-year-old son saw the bat, and took the right action by picking up his nine-week-old puppy to prevent any possible contact. There were no known direct human or animal exposures.


"This is the first rabid bat of the season in Saint Louis County," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, DOH director. "With warm weather, many people will be spending more time outdoors. Everyone should be aware of all wildlife, and be especially cautious of bats. They should avoid contact with any animal that is behaving strangely," she advised.


Dan Knox, D.V.M., manager of animal control, stresses the importance of cautioning children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. He explains that the disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.


"People should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets," Dr. Knox said. "The puppy in this case, at nine weeks, is not yet old enough for rabies immunizations. That is required between 12 and 16 weeks of age," he noted.


Most bats don't carry rabies, and in fact they perform a beneficial service by eating large quantities of insects. But if one bat in a colony contracts rabies, the disease can quickly spread to other members of the colony. This is why we must be sure to have pets vaccinated, and warn children not to touch any unknown animals.


Contact: Dan Knox, D.V.M., Manager, Animal Control
Phone: 314-727-7017,  Pager: 314-430-6208



Saint Louis County Department Of Health Offers
Mental Health Services.

April 20, 2001. "Saint Louis County Department of Health offers a number of mental health services at various county locations," said Rick Wolf, MSPH, Acting Director. The reminder comes with Public Health Month in April, and with Mental Health Month coming up in May.


"Our Family Mental Health program provides comprehensive outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families who reside in Saint Louis County," Wolf said.


The staff is composed of clinical social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. All staff members are licensed in their respective disciplines. A sliding fee scale is available and insurance is accepted.


To schedule an appointment, please contact one of the following Saint Louis County Department of Health office locations for Family Mental Health:


  • North County Center
    21 Village Square
    Hazelwood, MO 63042
    Phone: (314) 615-7471.
  • Central County Center
    111 South Meramec
    Clayton, MO 63105
    Phone: (314) 615-1760
  • South County Center, Keller Plaza
    4548 Lemay Ferry Rd.
    St. Louis, MO 63129
    Phone: (314) 615-4072
  • West County Center
    78 Clarkson-Wilson Centre
    Chesterfield, MO 63017
    Phone: (314) 615-0950

Contact: Dr. Gregg Robinson, Clinical Psychologist & Area Manager
Family Mental Health  (314) 615-1760



Saint Louis County Department of Health
Highlights Impact Of Public Health On Citizens' Lives.

April 2, 2001. The Saint Louis County Department of Health is reminding area citizens of the impact public health has on their everyday lives. The occasion for the reminder is Public Health Month in Missouri, which is celebrated in April. Buzz Westfall, Saint Louis County Executive, recently issued a proclamation declaring Public Health Month in Saint Louis County.


"While most people don't think about it, local public health services have an impact on almost everything we do in a day," said Rick Wolf, MSPH, Acting Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health.


"From giving immunizations for children and travelers, to inspecting your favorite restaurant for sanitation, providing you with a copy of your birth certificate, and testing the quality of milk, well water and air, public health touches all aspects of your health and safety."


The Missouri Public Health Association and the Saint Louis County Department of Health also are working with Head Start to teach children the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of disease. The Colgate Palmolive Company is also joining in that effort.


Contact: Mary Kay Wolf
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, 314-615-8338



Health Department Teams Up with Head Start to Teach
Children How To Prevent Spread Of Illness through Handwashing.

April 2, 2001. Question: What's the single most effective way to prevent the spread of illness? Answer: Handwashing! It's the number one way to control the spread of disease. Every child should know that you should wash your hands many times throughout the day. Yet too many children and adults simply don't take the time to protect themselves from illness by washing their hands.


That's why the Saint Louis County Department of Health, Head Start, and the Missouri Public Health Association are teaming up to teach children the importance of handwashing and how to wash their hands the right way. The effort is kicking off during April, Public Health Month.


"It's important for children to learn and practice good handwashing to protect them from the spread of disease, and to make handwashing a routine habit," said Rick Wolf, MSPH, Acting Director of Saint Louis County Department of Health.


"The results are clear. Good handwashing keeps children healthier," Wolf said. A handwashing program designed for children and later studied found that there were 25 percent fewer visits to physicians, 22 percent less absenteeism and 86 percent fewer medications taken than the previous year.


Public health professionals are visiting local Head Start sites across the state during April, to give children a program about handwashing, and let them practice washing their hands effectively. The Colgate-Palmolive Company is providing samples of SoftSoap for each site to use.


Contact: Mary Kay Wolf
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, 314-615-8338



Daily pollen and mold counts provided by County Health Department now available on line or by phone

March 20, 2001. The daily pollen and mold counts, which are provided by the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH), are now available on line.


"People who want to reduce their exposure to aeroallergens may find it useful to monitor the pollen and mold levels," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director. "For the first time, this information is now available on our web page, at https://stlouisco.com/doh/. The daily pollen count is also available by phone, as in years past. Call the Department of Health at 314-615-6825 for a recorded announcement. Pollen and mold counts are updated at 11:00 each weekday morning."


The daily pollen and mold counts reflect the seasonal variation throughout the entire St. Louis metropolitan area. Levels tend to rise in the spring, when warmer temperatures allow tree and grass pollens to flourish.


Pollen and mold have been implicated in asthma, allergic rhinitis and other respiratory diseases. About four percent of the United States population suffers from asthma, and each year four to six thousand Americans die from asthma.


Staff in the Environmental Health Laboratories measure and record airborne pollen and mold levels throughout the year. They collect aeroallergens, identify and count them under microscopic magnification. DOH makes the data available to news and weather reporters, as well as health organizations, such as the American Lung Association.


Photo Opportunity: See laboratory analysts counting microscopic samples of pollen.

CONTACT: Robert Nicolotti, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, 314-615-6830
Wayne Wilhelm, Laboratory Supervisor, 314-615-6833



March is National Nutrition Month

March 5, 2001. "Good nutrition is a cornerstone of good health," according to Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, director of Saint Louis County Department of Health. The reminder comes as the nation observes Nutrition Month in March.


The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program is a federally sponsored program which serves all residents of Saint Louis County, enabling high-risk pregnant women, postpartum women, infants and children through age four to receive free supplemental food.


"Good nutrition helps provide the best possible start in life and is a necessary ingredient for healthy mothers and children," said Dr. Livingston. DOH promotes this through nutrition programs and WIC sites where mothers and families can obtain nutrition education, guidance, breast-feeding education, and food instruments to supplement their diets with nutritious products such as milk, cheese, infant formula, iron-fortified cereal, and eggs.


WIC services are not just for low-income families. Guidelines are based on income and family size. For example, a family of three earning up to $26,178 or a family of eight earning up to $53,003 annually, would qualify. Over 97,550 Saint Louis County residents were served at DOH WIC sites last year. WIC sites are located throughout the county. For more information about WIC or to schedule an appointment, please call (314) 615-0685.


Contact: Ruth Klover, Program Manager
Nutrition & WIC Services
(314) 615-8370

Tips on Using Child Safety Seats

February 7, 2001. February 11-17 is Child Passenger Safety Week. Saint Louis County Department of Health suggests the following tips for safe use of child safety seats.


  1. Use rear-facing child seats for children from birth to at least one year of age and at least 20 pounds.
  2. Use forward-facing child seats for children over 20 pounds and at least one year old to about 40 pounds and about age four.
  3. Use belt-positioning booster seats for children from about 40 pounds to about 80 pounds and 4'9" tall.
  4. Use seat belts for older children large enough for the belt to fit correctly: at least 4'9" tall and about 80 pounds.

Health officials stress that children should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with an air bag.


Contact: Mary Kay Wolf
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, 314-615-8338

February is National Children's Dental Month
Saint Louis County Outlines Dental Services Available to Residents

February 7, 2001. The mouth is a barometer of the entire body, reflecting the effects of stress, nutrition, reactions to medications, and other conditions. "Dental health can reveal a lot about a person's overall health," according to Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director, Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH).


During the month of February, the department provides planned presentations for County schools aimed at promoting and preserving good oral health. Dental providers show ways to enhance oral health through fun, interactive presentations. Improved self-care is emphasized, including brushing, flossing, appropriate use of fluorides, regular dental visits and good eating habits. This year the school program includes another enhancement to oral health: a campaign to prevent tobacco use among youth.


Although emphasized during February, preventive and educational programs are available year-round. Schools or other community agencies interested in scheduling a presentation may call DOH health centers located in South County (842-1300 X7901), North County (522-6410 X6022), or Pine Lawn (389-4700).


"DOH health centers offer a full range of dental services," Dr. Livingston said. "Our patients include adults and children above age three." Dental services are also offered as part of the department's Corrections Medicine.


General dentistry services provided by DOH include exams, x-rays, cleaning, fillings, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, preventive periodontal work, and some root canals. Specialty services such as orthodontics, oral surgery, dentures, partials, crowns or bridges are not provided.


Each DOH dental patient receives an individual treatment plan. Patients are instructed in the newest techniques of brushing (use a soft bristle brush) and flossing (just as important as brushing - maybe even more important!). Dietary advice and help for special problems are routinely given. For example, a patient who is undergoing radiation treatment for other problems may receive a prescription to help prevent cold sores.


Saint Louis County residents may call a location near them to inquire about eligibility requirements and sliding fee scales based on income and ability to pay.


Contact: Joan Bialczak
Director Division of Health Services, 615-6415

POSTER / SLOGAN CONTEST, MALL EVENTS
FEATURE TOBACCO PREVENTION FOR KIDS

January 31, 2001. A poster contest for Saint Louis County students in grades 1 through 12 will give kids a chance to show their creativity and win gift certificates at local malls. Contestants must draw an original anti-tobacco poster and create a slogan to go with it. Twelve winners will be selected. Each will receive a $35 gift certificate valid at any Westfield Shoppingtown. The top 12 winning entries will also be printed in a calendar for the 2001-2002 school year.


Westfield Shoppingtowns and Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) are co-sponsors of the contest. Kickoff events are scheduled from noon to 4 pm every Saturday in February at the following locations:


Saturday, Feb. 3 - Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood
Saturday, Feb. 10 - Westfield Shoppingtown South County
Saturday, Feb. 17 - Westfield Shoppingtown Northwest
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood

Kids and parents can pick up contest entry forms, and play a "Test Your Tobacco Knowledge" game. Giveaways will include stickers, pens, pencils, and educational materials.


"The purpose of the contest is for children to encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free," said Dr. Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director of DOH. "It's important for young people to learn about the health risks associated with tobacco products," she said. "We hope the contest will give them an opportunity to be creative and put an important message in a context that is meaningful to them."


Contest guidelines have also been provided to area schools. For more information please call 314-615-8941.


Contact: Joyce Theard
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, 314-615-8941

WIC GIVES MOTHERS & BABIES A HEALTHY START

January 24, 2001. Across the nation, the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) program serves nearly one out of every two infants born in the U.S., and their mothers. In Saint Louis County, the WIC program served 97,552 county residents last year, including 35,295 infants, 33,826 children and 28,431 prenatal and postpartum women.


WIC provides nutritious supplemental foods and individualized nutrition education and counseling for at-risk, pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children to age five. WIC makes critical referrals to other health care and public assistance programs as needed. Breast-feeding education and support groups are open to all residents of Saint Louis County.


"Our local WIC clinic staff offers top-notch nutrition services to our WIC families," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director of Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). "We know that WIC mothers, infants and children are getting a healthy start," said Dr. Livingston. WIC services are not just for low-income families, Dr. Livingston points out. "WIC is there to help anyone who meets the income guidelines, and is at medical or nutritional risk," she said.


Who is eligible for WIC services? Guidelines are based on income and family size. For example, a family of three earning up to $26,178 or a family of eight earning up to $53,003 annually, would qualify. Pregnant women are counted as two family members. Medical or nutritional eligibility is determined by the WIC nutrition staff.


"Our WIC office handles 200 calls a day from County residents," said Dr. Livingston, "including college students, single mothers, and families coping with layoffs, temporary unemployment or other cash flow problems. It can be hard meeting the cost of infant formula, which can cost as much as $3 to $6 per can. The high cost of home heating may pinch budgets even tighter this winter." In 2000, WIC provided over $5.5 million dollars in vouchers for nutritional supplemental food in Saint Louis County.


WIC has six sites located throughout Saint Louis County. For more information about WIC, please call the Department of Health at 314-615-0685 or check our web page.


WIC INCOME GUIDELINES
MISSOURI
April 1, 2000 - March 31, 2001

FAMILY SIZE ANNUAL MONTHLY WEEKLY
1 $15,448 $1,288 $298
2 20,813 1,735 401
3 26,178 2,182 504
4 31,543 2,629 607
5 36,908 3,076 710
6 42,273 3,523 813
7 47,638 3,970 917
8 53,003 4,417 1,020
Each additional      
family member +5,365 +448 +104

Pregnant women are counted as two family members.


Standards for participation in the WIC Program are the same for everyone regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.


Contact: Ruth Klover, Program Manager
Nutrition/WIC Services, 314-615-8370
Steve Fine, Director
Division of Public Health & Ancillary Services, 314-615-6445

January 24 is School Nurses Day

January 10, 2001. School Nurses Day is January 24, and Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) salutes school nurses for their dedication to the health needs of school children in Saint Louis County.


"A healthy child is a better learner," said Dr. Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director of DOH. "In addition," she observed, "school nurses share many of our public health goals. We especially appreciate their efforts in the area of health education, and we value their partnership in disease prevention."


Dr. Livingston noted that school nurses often link students and their families with public and private health care providers. Their important work, she said, helps to promote optimal health in the schools and the community.


Contact: Mary Kay Wolf
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, (314) 615-8338