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Lyndonville wins county’s best-tasting water contest

Posted 11 June 2019 at 7:23 am

Press Release, Nola Goodrich-Kreese, public health educator for Orleans County Public Health Department

Photo by Tom Rivers: Nola Goodrich-Kresse and Marlowe Thompson, public health educators, ran the best-tasting water contest at the Albion Strawberry Festival. People tried samples of water from Albion, Holley and Lyndonville.

ALBION – It was a close contest this year with the winner receiving 39 percent of the 126 votes for Orleans County’s Best Tasting Tap Water Contest.

Congratulations to Lyndonville Municipal Water System for winning the 29th annual contest. For those who tasted the water, Albion was sample “A,” Holley was “B” and Lyndonville was “C”.

We appreciate our municipal water systems for providing safe and healthy water to all of our communities. Lyndonville will now advance to the regional contest later this summer.

Now that summer is almost here it is important to remember to stay hydrated – drink water whether you are thirsty or not. Increased heat and activity outdoors brings certain risks with it, particularly dehydration and heat-related illnesses.

Some people are more susceptible than others are to dehydration and heat related illnesses. They include infants, children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.

Dehydration is “the excessive (too much) loss of water from the body.” The more physical activity that you engage in, the more water you are likely to lose.

Possible signs of dehydration:

• Dry mouth and fatigue.

• If you are mildly dehydrated, you might experience muscular pain or pain in the lower back region.

• Dark yellowish urine is also a good indicator that dehydration is setting in.

• Severe dehydration can cause dizziness, confusion, accelerated heartbeat and eventually, kidney failure.

There are ways you can prevent dehydration from occurring. The most obvious way to prevent dehydration is by drinking a sufficient amount of water to replace the fluids you lose throughout the day.

The best way to figure your ideal daily water needs is to take your body weight and divide it in half. This is the number of ounces of fluid you should be consuming on a daily basis through beverages and foods. For example, a person who weighs 160 pounds should be consuming no less than eight 10-ounce glasses (80 ounces) of water each day. You should drink more than this during extreme heat and/or if you are engaging in physical activity.

Consider these suggestions for keeping yourself well hydrated:

• Foods with high water content can help you meet your fluid needs. Some examples include soups, stews, citrus fruits, grapes and melons.

• Low-fat and fat-free milk, 100 percent fruit juice and decaffeinated tea and coffee can also count toward your minimum eight glasses of fluid a day.

• Develop a habit of staying hydrated. Drink a glass of water when you wake up, one between and at each meal, and one at bedtime to make eight. Remember you need more during hot days or when engaging in physical activity.

• Keep re-fillable bottles of water in your car, backpack or desk.

As the summer continues remember to drink plenty of water and take breaks in the shade especially when out working, playing, exercising and at the various festivals and fairs this year.

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Health officials urge precautions from ticks, which can cause Lyme disease

Posted 26 May 2019 at 8:36 am

Press Release, Genesee and Orleans public health departments

Springtime in New York is a much welcomed season. The trees are blooming, colorful flowers are sprouting up, and the days are getting longer. This is also a time when animals and insects make their return from the cold winter months. As many of us will be outdoors enjoying the warm months to come, it is important to be educated on ticks and Lyme disease to protect you, your family, and your pets from this harmful illness.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. In the United States, infected ticks can be found in the Northeast, including New York State; in the upper Midwest; and along the Northwest coast. Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They will cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs; but cannot jump or fly.

They also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of woods and around old stone walls. Young deer ticks, called nymphs, are active from mid-May to mid-August and are about the size of poppy seeds. Adult ticks, which are approximately the size of sesame seeds, are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November. Both nymphs and adults can transmit Lyme disease.

Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but prefer hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. If you find a tick on yourself or your pet it is important to remove it promptly. Although not all ticks are infected, your risk of acquiring Lyme disease is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours after attachment. Brenden Bedard, Director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans Counties, provides instructions on how to properly remove a tick.

“It is important to use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.”

Early diagnosis (within 3 to 30 days) and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help to prevent late Lyme disease. Although Lyme disease is rarely life-threatening, delayed treatment can result in more severe disease. People who notice a characteristic rash or other possible symptoms, should consult their healthcare provider.

Signs and symptoms of early Lyme disease include: Red bullseye skin rash, called erythema migrans, facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes.

As Lyme disease progresses more severe symptoms like arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling may develop months-to-years post tick bite in 60 percent of persons who are not given antibiotic treatment. It is important to keep in mind that getting Lyme disease once does not provide protection against getting Lyme in the future, if you are bitten again at a different time you can get Lyme disease again. If you develop any of these symptoms you should call your doctor right away to inquire about getting tested and treated.

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid areas where deer ticks live, especially wooded, bushy areas with long grass. You can decrease your risk of getting Lyme disease with some simple precautions:

Cover up. When in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into your socks, a long- sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. Keep your dog on a leash.

Use insect repellents. Apply insect repellent with a 20 percent or higher concentration of DEET to your skin. Parents should apply repellant to their children, avoiding their hands, eyes and mouth. Keep in mind that chemical repellents can be toxic, so follow directions carefully. Wear clothing treated with 0.5% permethrin. Re-treat clothing annually according to label instructions.

Do your best to tick-proof your yard. Clear brush and leaves where ticks live. Mow your lawn regularly. Stack wood neatly in dry, sunny areas to discourage rodents that carry ticks.

Check your clothing, yourself, your children and your pets for ticks. Be especially watchful after spending time in wooded or grassy areas. It is helpful to shower as soon as you come indoors. Ticks often remain on your skin for hours before attaching themselves. Showering and using a washcloth might remove unattached ticks. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, dry them completely and then dry for 10 minutes on high heat.

Bedard also mentions the importance of taking this education with you when you travel.

“When people are on vacation, they may not realize the area they are traveling to could have a high prevalence of deer ticks, which may lead to Lyme disease,” he said. “Make sure you are well prepared by researching the area ahead of time and bringing a tick removal kit with you.”

For more information on Lyme disease, please click here.

For Women Only event is empowering for cancer survivors

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Lisa Franclemont, standing, with the Cancer Services Program of Genesee County, talks with Jill Smith, and Olga Edwards, peer advocates at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia. The ladies had a table at For Women Only where women could choose a colored stone which represented the type of cancer they had. They then placed the stone in a jar in honor of a loved one.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 May 2019 at 8:24 pm

Cindy Perry, director of health, education and wellness at Community Partners, welcomes guests to For Women Only Wednesday night at White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville.

LYNDONVILLE – This was a night to celebrate and be inspired, Cindy Perry said, as she welcomed the crowd to the 23rd annual For Women Only Wednesday at the White Birch Golf Course.

“Some of you attend this event every year. Some have been to multiple events, and some may be attending for the first time, but most of you have been touched by cancer,” Perry said.

In her own life, Perry said she had skin cancer and lost her aunt to lung cancer during the past year.

The evening’s message was, “Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean ‘me first,’ it means ‘me also,’” Perry said.

Jeanne Crane, who worked at Medina Memorial Hospital for 33 years as risk manager and infection control nurse, has been to many of the annual events.

“This is a wonderful event, and it sells out every year,” Crane said. “What I like is it is based on survivors.”

Cindy Baldwin also called For Women Only an “excellent event.”

“I love the baskets, but I come in general to support anyone who has had cancer, including my father,” she said.

Dawn Meland has attended every For Women Only since it started. She has been a member of the hospital’s Twig Association since 1972 and on the Hospital Foundation Board since its inception.

“Anything that’s for women and supports the hospital, I’m all for it,” Meland said. “The event is expanded every year.”

Guest speakers were Mercedes Wilson, a Medina native and resident of Lockport.

“It is so important to advocate for ourselves as women,” said Wilson, who shared her story of being newly divorced with two children, when at age 28 she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.

Doctors had found a lump during an examination in her early 20s.

“It was still there at age 27, but I was told it wasn’t a big deal,” Wilson said. “Then a new doctor insisted I get it checked.”

The Lawn Chair Ladies from Kendall entertained at the 23rd annual For Women Only Wednesday night. Kim Corcoran, front left, is the leader of the group.

It was cancer for Wilson and it was being sped up by her birth control.

When doctors asked her for her family’s cancer history, she didn’t know. After a successful operation, 16 rounds of chemo and 45 radiation treatments, she founded For our Daughters, an organization dedicated to educating young women about learning their family’s medical history and being proactive about speaking up when something isn’t quite right with their bodies.

For our Daughters began visiting young girls in middle and high schools all over Western New York, Medina High School being one of the first.

“This year, we will reach 2,700 young women,” Wilson said.

Wilson stressed that a diagnosis of cancer does not mean your life is over.

“So many times I thought my life was over,” she said. “Since then, I’ve had twins, become a writer and have a television show which has reached more than 30 million people.”

The second speaker was Leslie Allen, 63, of Albion, also a cancer survivor.  In November 2016, she and her best friend Terry went for the annual mammogram, just like they always did.

Jessica Downey, prevention educator with Community Partners at Orleans Community Health, mingles with the crowd at For Women Only Wednesday night at White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville.

Only this time, things were not the same.

“I was called back for a diagnostic visit,” Allen said. “The next evening the doctor called and confirmed what I didn’t want to hear. I had a tumor, but it was small.”

A friend in the medical field recommended a doctor in Rochester.

“I called my mom,” Allen said. “She and dad have faith to move mountains, and I grabbed on to that faith with both horns.”

She had to wait six more weeks until her surgery. Her surgeon was all business when they met. Because the tumor was small, they chose a lumpectomy.

“I went Christmas shopping and came home filled with hope for the next year,” Allen said.

She met with an oncologist who decided on radiation treatment.

“I started my treatment on a cold February morning,” Allen said. “They gave me a poncho to put on, and there was a card on it which said it was made by students at Albion High School.”

Allen considered that a good omen, and as soon as she was able, she contacted the teacher of those students and visited their class to tell them how protected she felt wearing that smock.

Allen has now been cancer free for two years, five months and four days, the told the women.

“No matter what live throws at me, I will continue to handle it with grace and hope,” she said.

At the conclusion of the evening, Jessica Downey, who works for the Cancer Services Program in Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming and Niagara counties, asked for a moment of silence for those who have been lost to cancer.

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Oak Orchard Health receives $900K grant to expand mental health services in Brockport

Posted 16 May 2019 at 2:19 pm

Press Release, Oak Orchard Health

BROCKPORT – Oak Orchard Health has been awarded $921,864 by the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System in response to a proposal submitted to the FLPPS System Transformation Fund.

This grant will fund the development of a collaboration between Oak Orchard Health, the Brockport Central School District, The College at Brockport, and University of Rochester – Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. James Goetz, long-time OOH pediatrician, provided the vision behind this collaboration. For quite some time, he has been concerned about the lack of behavioral health services on the western side of Monroe County.

“For some time those of us caring for children have become alarmed at the increase in mental health and behavioral health problems in children and adolescents,” Goetz said. “Our goal is to establish a first class behavioral health program that addresses prevention, early detection and treatment of mental health and behavioral health conditions in children and adolescents.  This grant is a giant step forward in this effort.”

Over the past 14 months Oak Orchard Health, with its newly established Behavioral Health Department, has led a coalition including the Brockport Central School System, the SUNY College at Brockport, and the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Rochester to address this issue.

OOH provides a model of care that integrates patient-centered primary care, behavioral health, dental and vision services – treating the whole patient and focusing on wellness and prevention. OOH believes that offering behavioral health services in the comfort and familiarity of a child’s own doctor’s office will break down the barriers to care and will treat the child holistically.

“The intent is to provide easy access to behavioral health care provided by a team of health care professionals who know the child – who know the family – and can help them on a road to wellness,” said Mary Ann Pettibon, oak Orchard Health CEO.

Staff will begin planning for the program immediately.

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Twigs need more volunteers so the organization can keep serving Medina hospital

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 8 May 2019 at 11:24 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Sandy Vaughn and Sharon Keirn receive service awards from Twig president Jeanne Crane at their annual banquet Monday at Zambistro’s. Vaughn received a 100-hour bar, while Keirn was presented with a 2,000-hour bar.

MEDINA – Medina Memorial Hospital’s Association of Twigs held their annual dinner meeting Monday at Zambistro’s Restaurant in Medina.

President Jeanne Crane welcomed guests and stressed the need for more volunteers for the Greeter Desk and Reception Desk.

The Twigs which once numbered more than 300 members now has 65, who are determined to keep the group going.

From left, Sandy Vaughn and Peggy Silkowski receive recognition at the Twig banquet from Carol Shafer, head of the Greeter Desk at Medina Memorial Hospital.

During their decades of supporting the hospital, they have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for hospital renovations and equipment. The majority of their money was earned from their Twig-run gift shop, which had to be closed two years ago because of lack of volunteers.

That lack of volunteers was reiterated by Carol Shafer, who heads the Greeter Desk, and Janet Blount, who heads the Reception Desk.

The Greeter Desk registers visitors to the hospital, while the Reception Desk signs in patients coming in for tests and blood work.

Currently, the Greeter Desk has 14 volunteers on the list, but three are either sick or haven’t returned from the South, Shafer said. And one has asked to be removed from the schedule.

“With only 10 active volunteers, it is almost impossible to maintain a schedule of 10 shifts (two a day for five days a week),” Shafer said.

Shafer recognized Sandra Vaughn and Peggy Silkowski for their volunteer hours.

Janet Blount, who heads the Reception Desk, echoed the need for volunteers.

“This year has been a real struggle,” Blount said. “We’ve only had three consistent workers.”

She said she doesn’t know what she would have done without Diane Kujawa, Anne Ortwein and Susan Weese. Kujawa volunteered 625 hours last year; Ortwein, 310; and Weese, 184.

“There has to be someone willing to step up and give Carol Shafer and myself someone to call upon,” Blount said.

She welcomed a new volunteer, Rosemary Eden, who joined in January.

“We are already calling on her, above and beyond,” Blount said.

Of the original 11 branches of Twig, only two continue to meet. Laurel is the only one with monthly meetings six times a year. Honeysuckle meets several times a year for dinner out.

Laurel Twig makes and fills about 60 Christmas stockings each year for patients and long-term care residents.

Honeysuckle has been donating a champagne brunch and fiesta party to be auctioned off at the hospital Foundation’s Treasure Island in November. Their funds are earned by selling popcorn in the hospital lobby each Friday. They also help several other organizations at the Billy Martin Circus in January, which this year earned them $1,700.

Dona Masters reports to Twig members at their annual banquet on Honeysuckle Twig’s successful projects during the year, selling popcorn in the hospital lobby and helping with the Billy Martin Circus.

Mary Williams, a 47-year employee of the hospital and vice president of human resources at Orleans Community Health, gave an update on the hospital. They will be celebrating Hospital Week with various activities each day. Williams also reported on the closing of the Gift Shop, which had been open occasionally by Rosenkrans Pharmacy. When asked what the hospital was going to do with the space, she said with security becoming such an important issue, it could be used for a security office.

Several Twig members were recognized for their hours of volunteerism. Diane Kujawa and Sharon Keirn received a 2,000-hour bar, Tish McAdoo and JoAnne Sellers earned a 1,000-hour bar and Sandra Vaughn got her 100-hour bar.

Crane ended the evening by urging everyone to think of a new volunteer.

“It really is so rewarding,” she said.

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Medina native who fought breast cancer at 28 will headline For Women Only

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 May 2019 at 7:46 am

23rd annual event on May 15 is sold out

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Tammi Pritchard, left, an employee at Medina Memorial Hospital, and Cindy Perry, director of Outreach, Education and Wellness for Community Partners, are planning the 23rd annual For Women Only May 15 at White Birch in Lyndonville. Pritchard holds one of the many baskets which will be raffled off, while Perry has two of the tickets for the event, which always is sold out.

LYNDONVILLE – The 23rd annual For Women Only to benefit cancer services is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting. The event is already sold out.

Scheduled May 15 at the White Birch Golf Course with the theme “Stories Behind the Mask,” the event this year will feature a Medina native as guest speaker.

Mercedes Wilson

“We are excited about having Mercedes, because she’s local,” said Cindy Perry, director of Outreach, Education and Wellness at Community Partners, speaking about Mercedes Holloway Wilson.

At 28, Wilson, the mother of four children, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.

Wilson said she has always had the desire to help women reach their full potential, but after her cancer diagnosis she seized the opportunity to educate women about her story and help them become advocates for their own health and wellness. She is the founder and executive director of “For Our Daughters.”

This year’s featured cancer survivor will be another local woman, Leslie Allen.

For Women Only features hors ‘d oeuvres, desserts, raffles and entertainment by the Kendall Lawnchair Ladies.

Many big-ticket items have been donated for the raffles, including a kayak package, overnight stay and play at Batavia Downs, a bike and helmet, wine tasting for 10, season’s passes to the White Birch and luggage. Donations of items and baskets are still welcome.

There will also be a jewelry vendor, chocolate tasting, a free hot/cold mask for everyone, a massage therapist and financial advice for women by Julianna Duda.

One thing about this event, said Perry, is that all the money stays in the area to help people with cancer and provide mammograms to uninsured or under-insured individuals.

Local health departments promote National Infant Immunization Week

Posted 30 April 2019 at 2:28 pm

‘Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death,’ – Paul Pettit, Public Health director for Genesee and Orleans counties

Press Release, Public Health Departments in Orleans and Genesee

National Infant Immunization Week ((April 27 to May 4) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this significant observance! Paul Pettit, Public Health Director of Genesee and Orleans counties, proclaims the many benefits and accomplishments vaccines have on our communities.

“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death,” he said. “When you get vaccinated, you not only protect yourself but you also help protect the people around you who might be too young or too sick to get vaccinated themselves. This is called ‘community immunity’ or ‘herd immunity.’ If enough people stop getting vaccinated, more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, will occur.”

Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines. Giving babies the recommended vaccinations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor to ensure that their baby is up-to-date on vaccinations. It is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they encounter potentially life-threatening diseases.

The recent outbreak of measles in our country has reached the highest number of cases since the disease was eliminated in 2000.  Most recent data shows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 695 cases of measles from 22 states. The return of the disease occurs when an unvaccinated traveler visits a country where there is widespread measles transmission, gets infected with measles, and returns to the United States and exposes people in a community who are not vaccinated. Once measles enters an under-vaccinated community, it becomes difficult to control the spread of the disease. When measles enters a highly vaccinated community, outbreaks either don’t happen or are usually small. This is why taking proper precautions and receiving the vaccine is so important to the health of our community.

Below is a summary of the vaccines children should receive by 2 years of age:

  1. The Varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox. Symptoms of chickenpox include rash, tiredness, headache, and fever. Complications of the disease include infected blisters, bleeding disorders, encephalitis (brain swelling), and pneumonia (infection in the lungs). Children need 2 doses of chickenpox vaccine. CDC recommends children receive the first dose between 12–15 months and the second between 4–6 years.
  2. The DTaP vaccine combines protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Symptoms of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis include sore throat, mild fever, weakness, and swollen glands in neck. Complications of these diseases include swelling of the heart muscle, heart failure, coma, paralysis, death. Children need 5 doses of DTaP vaccine. CDC recommends infants receive the first dose at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third at 6 months, the fourth between 15–18 months, and the fifth between 4–6 years.
  3. The Hib vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenzae disease. Symptoms of Haemophilus influenzae include fever and chills, headache, nausea, excessive tiredness, and altered mental status. Complications of these infections may include loss of limbs, brain damage, or hearing loss. Children need 3-4 doses of the Hib vaccine. CDC recommends infants receive the first dose at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third at 6 months (if needed), and the last shot between 12–15 months.
  4. The Hepatitis A vaccine protects against the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Symptoms of HAV typically do not appear until 4 weeks after exposure or may not occur at all. Symptoms that may appear include fever, dark urine, abdominal pain, nausea, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin). Complications of the disease include liver failure, arthralgia (joint pain), kidney, pancreatic, and blood disorders. Children need two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. CDC recommends babies receive the first dose when the child turns 1 and the second should be given 6-12 months later.
  5. The Hepatitis B vaccine protects against a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Symptoms of HBV are fever, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and jaundice. Complications of HBV can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. Children need 3-4 doses of the HBV vaccine. CDC recommends infants receive the first dose at birth, the second dose is given at 1-2 months, the third at 4 months (if needed), and the last is given at 6-18 months.
  6. The Influenza (Flu) vaccine protects against flu virus. Symptoms of flu include fevers, chills, coughing, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, and muscle or body aches. Complications of flu may include sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain or muscles, organ failure, and even death. The influenza vaccine is started at 6 months and is needed every fall or winter for the rest of your life. CDC recommends children 6 months and older receive the vaccine once a year.
  7. The MMR vaccine combines protection against measles, mumps, and rubella. Symptoms of these diseases may include fever, headache, rashes, and eye irritation. Complications of measles, mumps, and rubella include deafness, brain damage, swelling of the spinal cord, infection of the lungs, and death. Children need 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. CDC recommends the first dose should be given between 12-15 months and the second dose between 4-6 years.
  8. The Polio vaccine protects against the infectious polio disease. Symptoms of the disease may include muscle and joint weakness and pain, sleep-related breathing disorders (such as sleep apnea), general fatigue (tiredness) and exhaustion with minimal activity, and muscle atrophy (muscle loss). Complications can include paresthesia (feelings of pins and needles in the legs), meningitis, paralysis, and death. Children need 4 doses of polio vaccine. CDC recommends the first dose should be given at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third between 6-18 months, and the fourth between 4-6 years.
  9. The Prevnar vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease. Symptoms include coughing, fevers and chills, difficulty breathing, and chest pains. Complications of this disease include brain damage, hearing loss, blood infection, and even death. Children need 4 doses of Prevnar. CDC recommends the first dose should be given at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third at 6 months, and the fourth between 12-15 months.
  10. The Rotavirus vaccine protects against the contagious rotavirus. Symptoms of rotavirus include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Complications of the disease include severe diarrhea and dehydration which can lead to death. Children need 2-3 doses of rotavirus vaccine. CDC recommends the first dose is given at 2 months, the second is given at 4 months, and the third is given at 6 months (if needed).

Protecting your baby from vaccine-preventable diseases begins even before your baby is born. Brenden Bedard, Director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans Counties, educates on what vaccines mothers should get when they are pregnant.

“All pregnant women are recommended to receive the Tdap and influenza (flu) vaccine during each pregnancy,” he said. “The recommended time to get the Tdap shot is during the 27th through 36th week of pregnancy and the influenza shot can be given at any time during flu season, typically October through May. Pregnant women who receive these vaccines are also helping to protect their babies from diseases for the first several months after their birth, when they are too young to get vaccinated.”

In addition to mothers, it is also important for immediate family, such as spouses, grandparents, and anyone who will be in close contact with a new baby to receive the Tdap vaccine and the influenza vaccine during flu season.

While babies may experience some discomfort immediately after receiving vaccinations, it’s important to remember the pain is temporary, while the protection is long term. You work hard to help keep your baby safe and healthy!

For more information on infant immunizations, click here.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments participate in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. This federally-funded program will assist families who are uninsured or underinsured receive childhood vaccines at no cost. For more information, please contact your local health department.

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Health officials praise collaboration in Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department, speaks with the Leadership Orleans class on Thursday on GCASA in Albion. The day’s focus was on health services and needs in Orleans County.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 April 2019 at 5:44 pm

ALBION – Orleans County health care providers are working together to expand services to residents, the Leadership Orleans class was told on Thursday.

Paul Pettit, Public Health director in Genesee and Orleans counties, said Orleans continues to struggle with high rates of smoking and obesity.

The class of 26 members each month focuses on an aspect of the county. This month the group is taking a close look at healthcare in the county.

Paul Pettit, director of public health in Orleans and Genesee, went over the county’s latest standings in the annual County Health Rankings, which puts Orleans at 52nd out of 62 counties in the state for health outcomes. Orleans was 54th in health factors.

The county has a high rate of adult smoking (22 percent), adult obesity (36 percent) and a low access to clinical care for primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers, according to the report. (Click here for more on the report)

Healthcare agencies have been working together to improve access to care. For example, the county’s Mental Health Department has gone from providing mental health services at its office behind the County Administration Building to 15 sites in the county, including at the local school districts and the county jail. Mental Health also has a new partnership with Oak Orchard Health, where mental health staff work out of the Oak Orchard site in Albion.

“There’s synergy,” O’Brien told  Leadership Orleans. Human services “is 90 percent about relationships,” he said.

In rural counties, those relationships are even more critical, he said.

John Bennett, executive director of GCASA, speaks to Leadership Orleans. He said addiction is a very difficult illness to overcome.

O’Brien praised the County Legislature, county administrator and Community Services Board for embracing “very progressive” partnerships among the healthcare providers.

O’Brien is president of an eight-county consortium that received a $3.3 million grant to improve services.

O’Brien responded to questions from the Leadership Orleans class. He said there remains a stigma with mental health, where many people are reluctant to seek help. That remains a big barrier to care.

The county is fortunate to have an active Suicide Prevention Coalition, he said. Suicide hits white males, ages 45 and older, at the highest rate.

He also shared about the prevalence of sexual abuse, where 1 in 3 women have been sexually abused or exposed to it, while 1 in 7 men have been sexually abused. A mental health therapist can help people work through the trauma.

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed,” O’Brien said, citing a famous quote. “It means it no longer controls my life.

John Bennett of GCASA leads an agency that has expanded in Orleans County, adding residential services.

Bennett, responding to a question, said addiction is a powerful disease that is difficult to overcome, even when a person has been clean for a year.

Mark O’Brien of Mental Health said the county agency now has Mental Health staff working out of 15 sites in the county.

Anxiety, fear and depression often kick in, leading to a relapse.

“The nature of the illness is when you relapse you are full blown into it,” Bennett said. “It is an illness unlike any other.”

Bennett said is concerned about the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. He cited problems in Colorado, where dispensaries are making marijuana products that look like candy.

There are reports of increased motor vehicles accidents and emergency room trips since recreational marijuana was legalized, he said.

Bennett understands the social justice push for legalizing recreational marijuana, where people don’t tend to fight, resist arrest or be abusive, especially compared to people who use alcohol.

Pettit, the public health director, said public health officials are concerned about misinformation, especially with an anti-vaccine movement that is allowing some illnesses and diseases to spread.

“People should go to agencies and organizations for information that is based in science,” he said.

The local Public Health Department attends many community events, and keeps an active Facebook and Twitter presence, trying to get accurate information out to the community, Pettit said.

More residents also are self-diagnosing on WebMD rather than going to the doctor, which is a concern, Pettit said.

The Leadership Orleans class also was trained on Narcan, which can help stop an overdose. The class also learned how to “Stop the Bleed” and apply a tourniquet if someone is bleeding.

The class heard from other healthcare leaders in Medina, with a focus on healthcare collaborations.

Those panelists included Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center; Mark Cye, CEO of Orleans Community Health; and Mary Ann Pettibon, CEO of Oak Orchard Health.

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Health officials urge people to get tested for STDs

Posted 15 April 2019 at 9:51 am

Many people with an STD don’t realize it because they often don’t have signs or symptoms

Press Release, Public Health departments in Orleans and Genesee counties

April is STD Awareness Month, which is a great time to GYT- get yourself tested! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 20 million new STDs occur every year in this country. In fact, one in two sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract an STD by the time they’re 25 — and most won’t know it. This is why it is important to GYT at least once a year, and more often if you or your partner(s) participate in risky behaviors.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted from one person to another through sexual activity. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and HIV. Many people who have an STD don’t know it because they often don’t have signs or symptoms. Even without symptoms, STDs can still be harmful and passed on during sex.

If you are sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Make sure you have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and STD testing with your doctor and ask whether you should be tested for STDs.

It is important for sexually active men and women to get tested at least once a year. You should get tested every 3 to 6 months if you do not use protection (latex or synthetic male/female condoms, dental dams, and finger cots) having multiple sexual partners and/or sharing needles/drug paraphernalia. Testing will not only protect your health now, but will protect the future of your health as well.

Brenden Bedard, Deputy Public Health Director/Director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans counties, mentions the serious health outcomes that STDs may have if left untreated.

“Some of the consequences of not receiving timely testing and treatment can include infertility (cannot become pregnant), loss of pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease (inflammation of the female reproductive organs), epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis tub in the testicle), weakened immune system, damage to organs, and various cancers,” he said.

Luckily Bedard also explained that many STDs can be treated or even cured.

“Some STDs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, can be cured by taking antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider,” Bedard said. “Although some STDs cannot be cured, such as genital herpes, genital warts, and HIV/AIDS, taking medication can treat and manage the symptoms of these diseases.”

According to the CDCs latest report, in 2017 there were 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis diagnosed in the United States. In 2018, STD rates in Genesee County confirmed 159 cases of chlamydia, 41 cases of Gonorrhea, 5 cases of Syphilis, 6 cases of Hepatitis B. In Orleans County there were 165 cases of chlamydia, 23 cases of Gonorrhea, 2 cases of Syphilis, and 4 cases of Hepatitis B.

There are several ways to prevent STDs. The most reliable way is to not have sex (vaginal, oral, or anal), but there are many other tried-and-true options:

• Get Vaccinated: Vaccines are safe, effective, and recommended ways to prevent Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccines for males and females can protect against certain types of HPV that can lead to cancer or genital warts. The HPV vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots for people ages 15-45. For people ages 9-14, only 2 doses (shots) are needed. You should also get vaccinated for Hepatitis B if you were not vaccinated when you were younger.

• Reduce Number of Sexual Partners: Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.

• Mutual Monogamy: Mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. But you must both be certain you are not infected with STDs. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

• Use Condoms: Correct and consistent use of a condom is highly effective in reducing STD transmission. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. If you have latex allergies, synthetic non-latex condoms can be used. It is important to note that these condoms have higher breakage rates than latex condoms. Natural membrane condoms are not recommended for STD prevention. Contact your local Health Department (Genesee: 344-2580 x 5555 / Orleans 589-3278) about access to free condoms.

• Sterile Needles and Syringes: Persons who inject drugs can substantially reduce their risk of getting and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood borne infections by using a sterile needle and syringe for every injection.

For more information on where you can get tested, click here.

Public Health Law requires that testing and treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis be made available for everyone regardless of if they do not have health insurance or if their health insurance does not cover such services. For those without health insurance or who are underinsured the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments contract with the following agencies for respective residents:

Orleans County – Planned Parenthood, 222 West Main Street, Batavia.

Genesee County  – Batavia Primary Care, 16 Bank Street, Batavia; WorkFit Medical, 178 Washington Ave, Batavia.

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Public Health director supports raising legal age for buying tobacco products

Posted 8 April 2019 at 3:51 pm

Press Release, Public Health departments in Genesee, Orleans counties

ALBANY – Paul Pettit, the public health director for Orleans and Genesee counties, has issued a statement in support of raising the legal age to buy tobacco to age 21. Pettit is also president of NYSACHO, the New York State Association of County Health Officials.

“The Senate’s recent passage of Tobacco 21 legislation is another critical and historic step in our fight to prevent millions of New Yorkers from developing tobacco-related illnesses,” Pettit said.

“Both houses have now passed the bill and the governor has announced that he plans to sign it into law.

“We enthusiastically await his action and thank him for his support of this lifesaving measure. We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who sponsored this legislation in their respective houses, and who worked tirelessly to ensure its passage.

“NYSACHO and our members will continue to provide expertise and support to help lawmakers craft policy that protects and improves public health, and we look forward to more public health victories in the remainder of the legislative session.”

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