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health & wellness

275 attend For Women Only event, raising $5K for Orleans County cancer patients

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2017 at 11:02 am

Provided photos

LYNDONVILLE – The 21st annual For Women Only event last week attracted a crowd of 275 people and raised $5,000 to support cancer patients in Orleans County.

The top photo shows Jessica Salamone, a certified genetic counselor from Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic.

Salamone worked at the University of Rochester Medical Center for 10 years, providing genetic counseling to patients in a variety of settings including reproductive, pediatric and cancer genetics. She is an adjunct faculty member at Rochester Institute of Technology, teaching medical genetics and introductory genetic counseling.

Amy Murray, an ovarian cancer survivor, shared her story and related to women to “listen to their bodies.” If something doesn’t seem right, Murray urged the women to have it checked out. She just had a check-up the day before the event and is cancer free.

Cancer survivors were recognized at the event for their strength, courage, hope and inspiration.

The event included vendors and a Chinese Auction. The money raised from For Women Only goes to Orleans Community Health for the cancer services program, which assists women who are unable to afford screening due to insufficient or no insurance.

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Health director warns of health risks from flooding

Posted 3 May 2017 at 11:21 pm

Mold growth, bacterial contamination among the threats to public health

Health Advisory by Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator/Public Information Officer for Orleans County Public Health

Because of the recent rainstorms and high water levels of Lake Ontario and surrounding creeks and rivers, Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, advises residents of the steps they can take to prevent health risks linked with home flooding.

“Flooded homes and basements can present a number of health risks if not addressed adequately,” Pettit said. “Problems connected with home flooding include bacterial and viral contamination from sewage backup and mold growth from left over moisture. These problems can lead to human infection and illnesses.”

Flooding may cause wastewater to back up into homes that have private septic systems. Once the water recedes, a high water table may still prevent these systems from working properly for some time.

Residents with municipal sewer systems may also experience sewage back-up. Sewage back-up can be caused by surging floodwater overwhelming older systems or power outages during a storm surge.  Sewage contains bacteria, viruses, and other germs that can cause disease.

The most common signs and symptoms after exposure to raw sewage are stomach and bowel distress (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) and skin problems such as rashes and sores. Individuals who experience nausea, diarrhea or vomiting after exposure to sewage should contact their primary care providers.

“Wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup if sewage has backed up into your home,” advises Sarah Balduf, Environmental Director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.  “Remove and discard contaminated household goods such as wall coverings, rugs, cloth and drywall that cannot be disinfected,” Balduf said. “Be sure to thoroughly disinfect all contaminated surfaces that come in contact with food and children’s play areas. Disinfect non-porous surfaces with a solution of three tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water (or one cup bleach to five gallons water). Never mix bleach with ammonia cleaners.”

Individuals with open cuts or sores should try to avoid contact with sewage-contaminated floodwater. If accidentally exposed, keep skin (especially any cuts or sores) as clean as possible by washing with soap and clean water. Apply antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile bandage to reduce the risk of infection.

If you have deep cuts and/or puncture wounds and have not had a tetanus vaccination within the past 10 years, or are unsure of the date of the last tetanus shot, get a tetanus booster.

For additional information on managing sewage back-ups, click here.

Mold will grow in flooded homes and buildings that do not dry out quickly. People living or working in buildings with wet carpets, walls, mattresses or furniture may develop health problems such as allergies, asthma and sneezing.

Persons at highest risk are those with allergies, asthma, chronic respiratory diseases, infants, pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems.  For information on preventing and managing mold, click here.

For information on drinking and food guidance after a flood, click here.

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5 locations open for drug take-back day on Saturday

Posted 25 April 2017 at 7:20 am

Press Release, Sheriff Randall Bower

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office will once again participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative.

Sheriff Randall Bower is pleased to announce that the Sheriff’s Office will again participate in this nationwide undertaking, which takes place on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This is a collaborative effort with the U.S. Department of Justice – Drug Enforcement Administration, the Orleans County Health Department, and the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse (GCASA).

This initiative will allow the public to safely dispose of unused prescription medication, sharps and pet medications. The goal of this event is to provide a safe disposal method that will prevent the contamination of the water supply and most importantly decrease the likelihood of theft and abuse of prescription medications.

Upon completion of this event all collected medication will be destroyed in the presence of law enforcement officers at a designated incineration facility.

This is a great opportunity for the public to surrender unwanted and/or expired medications for safe and proper disposal. Events such as these have dramatically reduced the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, as well as increasing awareness of this critical public health issue.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Jail Superintendent Scott Wilson at 585-589-4310.

Collection locations on Saturday include:

• Orleans County Public Safety Building, 13925 State Route 31, Albion

• Holley Fire Department, 7 Thomas Street, Holley

• Kendall Fire Department, 1879 Kendall Rd., Kendall

• Lyndonville Fire Department, 148 N. Main Street, Lyndonville

• Medina Fire Department, 600 Main Street, Medina

Special thanks to the Holley, Medina, Lyndonville and Kendall fire departments for providing space in their facilities for this event.

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‘Run for Wayne’ honors memory of Albion music teacher

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2017 at 5:12 pm

Wayne Burlison continues to inspire community

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Lisa Burlison, wife of the late Wayne Burlison, welcomes runners and other participants in the third annual Run for Wayne today. She is joined by the couple’s son, Adam, and family friend Marsha Rivers and the Rev. Randy LeBaron, pastor of the Albion Free Methodist Church.

Rivers encouraged Burlison to sign up for his first race. He went on the run marathons and help start the Albion Running Club.

Burlison died at age 36 from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

Adam Burlison gets ready to cut the string holding the balloons. Mark Moore, the race director, is at right.

The race started at 12:01 p.m. on Clarendon Road by the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School, where Mr. Burlison was a band teacher.

“Run for Wayne” started at 12:01 in recognition of Hebrews 12:1 as one of Burlison’s favorite Bible verses. The verse states: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

There where about 75 runners and walkers in the race today. Proceeds are being used towards a second memorial scholarship in Burlison’s memory, as well as to help develop a running/walking trail at Bullard Park.

Mary Martin, left, finishes the race with her friend Sarah Meister. Martin, 21, was one of Burlison’s students.

“He taught me how to play the jazz drums and got me into running,” Martin said.

Ed Russell, 75, of East Amherst is close to the finish line. Russell ran a 5K in the morning in Williamsville, “Run Forest Run!”

Last year Russell ran 185 races. He wants to run at least 100 this year.

Evan Steier of Albion had the fastest time overall in the Run for Wayne at 19:12. Lindon Morici of Albion was the fastest woman at 20:17 for the 3.17-mile course, which is slightly longer than a 5K. The 3.17-mile course represents the 3 months and 17 days that Burlison lived his diagnosis of Stage 4 colon cancer.

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Orleans drops in latest county health rankings

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 9:44 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Some kids shoot baskets on a warm March 24, 2015 at the basketball courts in Lyndonville.

Orleans County ranks 48th in overall health outcomes out of 62 counties in New York.

The county had been gradually moving up in the county rankings, from 52nd in 2013, to 49th in 2014, to 47th in 2015 and then 44th last year.

The report for “Health Outcomes” measures rates of premature death, low-birthweight babies and days of poor physical and mental health, as well as percentages of residents considered in poor or fair health (14 percent in Orleans, which is better than state average of 16 percent).

However, Orleans ranks 58th worst overall for premature death. It is 42nd for quality of life, the two factors that make up the ranking for health outcomes.

Saratoga County was the top-ranked county for health outcomes with the Bronx rated 62nd, the worst.

The County Health Rankings are compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The County Health Rankings are a snapshot of the health of each county. The rankings for New York State are out of the 62 counties. There are five main categories and the factors that make up each category are measured and ranked.

Health Outcomes measures “Today’s Health” and includes length of life, premature death, sickness, mental health and low birth weight.

• “Health Factors” looks at tomorrow’s health and includes health behaviors: adult smoking, adult obesity, food environment index, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted disease and teen births.

Orleans ranked 55th in Health Factors and exceeded state averages for adult smoking (18 percent vs. 15 percent), adult obesity (29 percent vs. 25 percent), excessive drinking (19 percent vs. 18 percent), and teen births (29 per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19, compared to 21 in NY).

• “Clinical Care” considers uninsured, primary care physicians, dentists, mental health providers, preventable hospital stays, diabetic monitoring, and mammography screening.

Orleans rated 60th in this category, nearly the worst in the state despite having a better rate on uninsured, 9 percent, versus 10 percent state-wide. Orleans does poorly in the report with 1 primary physician for every 10,500 people, compared to 1,200:1 statewide, and one dentist for every 4,620 people, compared to 1,270:1 in the state.

Orleans also has 1 mental health provider for every 2,190 people, compared to a 420:1 ratio in the state.

• “Social and Economic Factors” includes high school graduation, some college, unemployment, children in poverty, social associations, children in single-parent households, violent crime and injury deaths.

Orleans ranked 51st. Its unemployment rate, 6.5 percent, topped the state average of 5.3 percent. The county has 23 percent of children in poverty, above the 22 percent rate statewide. There are 39 percent of children in single-family households in Orleans, which tops the 35 percent average statewide.

• Orleans does its best in the category measuring “Physical Environment.” That includes air pollution, drinking water violations, severe housing problems, driving alone to work, and long commute – driving alone.

Orleans is ranked 22nd overall for this category. It didn’t have any drinking water violations and its percentage of residents facing severe housig problems, 15 percent, is better than the state average of 24 percent.

The county exceeds the state average for percentage of people driving alone to work, 83 percent compared to 53 percent statewide.

This year’s Rankings also introduce a new measure focused on young people, those 16 to 24, who are not in school or working. About 4.9 million young people in the U.S. — 1 out of 8 — fall into this category. Rates of youth disconnection are higher in rural counties (21.6 percent), particularly those in the South and West, than in urban ones (13.7 percent).

“Young adults who are not in school or working represent untapped potential in our communities and our nation that we can’t afford to waste,” said Paul Pettit. “Communities addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and education can make a difference creating opportunities for all youth and young adults. The County Health Rankings are an important springboard for conversations on how to do just that.”

To see the report on Orleans, click here.

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Oak Orchard Health takes down house, awaits expansion in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2017 at 8:57 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: A green house next to the former Off-Track Betting parlor in Albion was knocked down on Monday. The house is at 321 West Avenue.

ALBION – Oak Orchard Health is taking a step forward with its plans to expand in Albion. The healthcare provider on Monday knocked down a house at 321 West Ave. Oak Orchard, which owns a healthcare center next door, acquired the OTB site and the house last year.

Oak Orchard is planning an expansion in Albion, and is working to secure funding for the project, said Jim Cummings, Oak Orchard CEO.

Oak Orchard Health would like to expand healthcare services in Orleans County, including dental and possibly vision and behavioral health, after acquiring the sites on Route 31 in Albion.

For now, Oak Orchard will have the debris from the house removed, and then will have the site backfilled and seeded, Cummings said.

The former OTB site will be used for Oak Orchard’s maintenance shop and for storage.

“We are presently working with our architect to design the combined expansion and renovation project that we hope to develop,” Cummings said. “As with most significant projects of this type we are also working to develop funding and the timing of the project will obviously be tied to the acquisition of this funding.”

Here is how the house looked last October. The former OTB parlor is in back.

Oak Orchard is a Federally Qualified Health Center. The organization celebrated its 50th anniversary in the community last year. Oak Orchard was originally founded by the University of Rochester in 1966 to provide health care for migrant farmworkers. Oak Orchard has expanded to an integrated health center with services for all community members. Oak Orchard has sites in Albion, Lyndonville, Brockport, Warsaw and Hornell, as well as a mobile dental unit.

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Lobby gets an upgrade at Medina Memorial Hospital

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2017 at 10:20 am

MEDINA – The lobby at Medina Memorial Hospital is getting its first overhaul since the early 1990s.

The front desk is now enclosed and has been moved down the hall to be closer to a new entrance near the emergency room.

Some of the hospital’s maintenance staff is pictured by the lobby, including from right to left: Doug Fuller, maintenance mechanic; Tim Bisher, maintenance mechanic; Joe Barnes, maintenance helper; and Tyler Fuller, maintenance helper. Jim Buckman, not pictured, is head of the group.

The hospital’s maintenance crew put up the new wall with framing, drywall, steel studs and electrical.

Anthony Drisdom, supervisor of registration and also a financial counselor, takes a call at the switchboard. Drisdom used to have an office away from the lobby, but now he is upfront to meet with patients in his role as a financial counselor.

The hospital received a $272,000 grant for the lobby renovations, which are ongoing.

Additional work includes the new entrance, which will be at the left side of the taped off area. The current entrance will remain open during the day, but will be closed at night with patients using the new entrance by the ER. Paul Lamparelli of Cheektowaga is the contractor for that project.

Takeform Architectural Graphics will be adding graphics and signage.

Cindy Perry, director of Outreach, Education and Marketing for Community Partners for Orleans Community Health, stands in the lobby, where the hospital will remove the carpet and replace it with tiled flooring. The lobby will also be getting new countertops.

The changes in the lobby will improve security, streamline the registration process, and create a more positive and calming experience for ER patients, Perry said.

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Ortt praises Gillibrand opioid addiction proposal in U.S. Senate

Posted 14 April 2017 at 10:26 am

Press Release, State Sen. Robert Ortt

ALBANY – Members of the New York State Senate’s task force on heroin and opioid addiction applauded the actions of United States Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and John McCain (R-NY) on the introduction of legislation that would limit initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain to seven days.

This legislation, which was passed and signed into law in New York State in 2016, derived from the Senate’s task force hearings over the course of the previous two years.

State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) is a member of the task force in the State Senate for heroin and opioid addiction. Ortt and State Senators George Amedore, Terrence Murphy and Fred Akshar issued the following statement:

“We applaud the bipartisan actions of Senator Gillibrand and Senator McCain. The New York State Senate has been, and remains, leading the effort to curb the devastating scourge the heroin epidemic has caused in nearly every community within the Empire State. The seven-day limit of opioid prescriptions for acute pain was a cornerstone piece of legislation passed into law last year.

“We offer our strong support and partnership to help advance this important initiative on the federal level. When it comes to helping our most vulnerable neighbors who are battling the disease of addiction, we cannot allow partisan politics to prevent the passage of common sense policy that will ultimately save lives.”

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Gillibrand, McCain announce legislation to limit opioid prescriptions to 7 days

Posted 13 April 2017 at 10:35 am

Press Release, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) today announced bipartisan legislation to combat opioid addiction by limiting the supply of an initial opioid prescription for acute pain to seven days.

Many individuals become addicted to opioids after taking prescriptions for acute pain, such as a broken bone or wisdom tooth extraction. This federal legislation is modeled after laws in several states, including New York and Arizona.

“Our bipartisan bill would target one of the root causes of the opioid addiction crisis, which is the over-prescription of these powerful and addictive drugs for acute pain,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Too many lives have been destroyed, too many families have been torn apart, and too many communities all over New York are suffering because of this tragic epidemic. I am proud to join with Senator McCain in this urgent fight against the over-prescription of opioids, and I look forward to seeing it pass through the Senate as quickly as possible.”

“One of the main causes for the alarming increase in drug overdoses in the United States is the over-prescription of highly addictive opioids, which have increased by 300 percent over the last 15 years,” said Senator McCain.

Under current federal law, a medical professional must receive a license from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in order to be allowed to prescribe a schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance in the United States. This registration must be renewed every three years. This legislation would require medical professionals to certify, as part of their DEA registration, that they will not prescribe an opioid as an initial treatment for acute pain in an amount that exceeds a seven-day supply, and may not provide a refill.

This limit does not apply to the treatment of chronic pain, pain being treated as part of cancer care, hospice or other end of life care, or pain treated as part of palliative care.

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Public Health officials dedicated to helping U.S. become healthiest nation

Posted 10 April 2017 at 12:24 pm

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator/Public Information Officer for Orleans County Public Health

National Public Health Week was celebrated last week. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about what Public Health is and what it can do to help us become the healthiest nation.

Americans are living 20 years longer than their grandparents’ generation, largely thanks to the work of public health.  However, studies have shown people in other high-income countries are living longer and suffer fewer health issues than we do. We in public health are working toward overcoming challenge.

To address this challenge, the American Public Health Association created Generation Public Health to meet the goal of making the United States the Healthiest Nation in One Generation – by 2030. This is an opportunity for Public Health to encourage communities to make healthier choices in what we eat and do, as well as look at what impacts our health where we live, work and play. Together, we can be the generation that changes the course of health in America!

“The local Health Departments work diligently with community organizations, the New York State Health Department and our community partners to provide quality services and encourage residents to be pro-active in their health,” stated Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

Changing our health means ensuring conditions where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy.  We all have a role to play…where do you fit in?

• Build a nation of safe, healthy communities – support farmers markets and local businesses, especially those that value health, such as retailers that don’t sell tobacco.

• Help all young people graduate from high school – education is the leading indicator of good health, giving people access to better jobs, incomes and neighborhoods.

• Increase economic mobility.

• Achieve social justice and health equality.

• Give everyone a choice of safe, healthy food.

• Prepare for the health effects of climate change.

• Make the healthy choice the easy choice – avoid using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Eat healthy foods and increase your physical activity.

• Provide quality health care for everyone.

• Strengthen public health infrastructure and capacity.

Take time to talk with your family on how you can make healthier choices. Encourage one another and your local leaders to take the right steps to better health.

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