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Public Health

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Prevent the Flu, Get a Flu Shot

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health will be providing free flu shots on Oct. 10, 24 and 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The flu shot clinic will be held in the Public Health parking lot at 351 N. Mountain View Avenue in San Bernardino — look for the colorful Public Health van. On Oct. 17 the flu clinic will be in the parking lot of the Child Support Services building on 10417 Mountain View Avenue in Loma Linda from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Flu shots are the first step in protecting against influenza virus and its potentially serious complications,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer, “I encourage residents to get their flu shot every year.”

Flu shots will be provided to all adults, men, women, senior citizens, pregnant women and children who are six months old and older. A parent or guardian must accompany children under 18 years old. Children under 9 years old may require two doses of flu vaccine, four weeks apart, based on prior vaccination history.

A yearly flu shot can reduce the risk of severe flu illness and its potentially serious complications. Getting the flu shot can also reduce doctor’s visits and missed work and school day due to flu illness. Last flu season (October 2017 to September 2018) there were 11 flu-related deaths in San Bernardino County. Nationally, CDC early estimates indicate that more than 900,000 people were hospitalized and more than 80,000 people died from flu last season (CDC https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/press-conference-2018-19.htm#ref1). These new estimates are record-breaking, and emphasize the seriousness and severity of flu illness and serve as a strong reminder of the importance of flu vaccination.

In addition to getting vaccinated, it’s crucial to practice good health habits always. If you become ill, you should take actions to stop the spread of germs, including:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands with soap/water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

For more information on the seasonal flu visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page or for information on where to get a flu shot, visit the San Bernardino County, Department of Public Health events calendar or call at 1-800-722-4794.

County issues Heat Advisory, high heat temperatures expected

Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees today and remain very hot through the week, prompting County of San Bernardino Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare to issue a heat advisory.

“While this intense heat is not especially unusual, the extreme heat could cause some people to be caught off guard, especially those most susceptible to heat illness,” Ohikhuare said. “Those most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions.”

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect one’s health. People are advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Find an air-conditioned Cooling Center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1, or online at http://211sb.org/cooling-centers.
  • Do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink water more than usual and don’t wait until thirst sets in to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Remember, pets are vulnerable to high temperatures too, but are unable to vocalize their distress. Some signs of heat distress in pets can include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive thirst, and vomiting. Help prevent a heat emergency by taking these steps.

For Pets

  • Leave pets extra water.
  • Bring pets inside during periods of extreme heat.
  • Ensure pets have plenty of shade if kept outside. Remember, the shade pets have in the morning will either change or diminish as the sun moves throughout the day and may not protect them.
  • Don’t force animals to exercise when it is hot and humid. Exercise pets early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Do not let pets stand on sidewalks or hot asphalt to avoid burning their paws.
  • Never leave pets in a parked vehicle, even in the shade with windows cracked, temperatures can reach over 120 degrees inside. The vehicle is quickly turned into a furnace and can kill any animal.

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 1-800-782-4264 or visit the National Weather Service Forecast website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/ or the California Department of Public Health website at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/EPO/Pages/BI_Natural-Disasters_Extreme-Heat.aspx.

County issues Heat Advisory, high heat temperatures expected

Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees beginning Friday and remain very hot through the weekend, prompting County of San Bernardino Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare to issue a heat advisory.

“While this intense heat is not especially unusual, the extreme heat could cause some people to be caught off guard, especially those most susceptible to heat illness,” Dr. Ohikhuare said. “Those most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions.”

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect one’s health. People are advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Find an air-conditioned Cooling Center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1, or online at http://211sb.org/cooling-centers.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink water more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 1-800-782-4264 or visit the National Weather Service Forecast website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/ or the California Department of Public Health website at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/EPO/Pages/BI_Natural-Disasters_Extreme-Heat.aspx.

Need a place to escape the heat?

Temperatures in our beautiful county are expected to reach well into triple digits this weekend, which might be not only uncomfortable but downright dangerous for some people.

Don’t know how to beat the heat? The good people at San Bernardino County 211 have compiled a list of more than 70 places throughout the county that are cool when the weather is hot. Click here to find the one closest to you.

You can also call 211 to find the nearest Extreme Heat Cooling Center or help dealing with any food, shelter, healthcare or social services needs. But if you need immediate medical attention, call 911.

Food Safety for the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July holiday has lots of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends, including picnics, barbecues, cookouts and other outdoor parties. Because warm weather will be perfect for outdoor eating, it also presents opportunities for foodborne illnesses. Remember the following tips to protect yourself, your family, and friends from foodborne illnesses this Fourth of July.

  • Wash hands – wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before handling any food, after handling raw poultry or meat, and before eating. If there is no bathroom nearby, use a water jug, soap, and paper towels.
  • Keep raw food separate from cooked food – do not use a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless the plate has first been washed in hot, soapy water. Keep utensils and surfaces clean as well.
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not out on the counter – marinating foods on the counter increases the chance of foodborne illness, since bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature. When finished marinating raw meat, dispose of the remaining marinade.
  • Cook food thoroughly – use a food thermometer to make sure meats and poultry reach a safe internal temperature. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165 degrees. If you partially cook food in the microwave, oven or on a stove to reduce time cooking on the grill, do so immediately before the food goes on the hot grill.
  • Keep food out of the Danger Zone!
    • Hot food should be kept at or above 135 degrees. Hot food should be wrapped well and placed in an insulated container. If bringing hot take-out food like fried chicken or barbecue to an outdoor party, eat it within two hours of purchase. Remember to pack a food thermometer to check that foods are held at a safe internal temperature. Be sure that re-heated food reaches 165 degrees.
    • Cold food should be held at or below 41 degrees. Food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill for more than two hours. Never leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees. Foods like chicken salad and desserts that are in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.

The Centers for Disease Control page “BBQ IQ – Get Smart. Grill Safely” has helpful tips about ways you can protect your family against foodborne illness.

For more information, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/programs/ehs.

Second annual ‘Home Run for Health’ planned for May 3

Residents and baseball fans throughout the Inland Empire are invited to hit a “Home Run for Health” May 3 when the Inland Empire 66ers face-off against the Lake Elsinore Storm.

Riverside University Health System – Public Health, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health and the California Health Collaborative – Tobacco Control Program are teaming up again to share positive health messages while enjoying America’s favorite pastime.

Admission to the public will be free when the 66ers host the Storm at San Manuel Stadium, 280 South E Street in San Bernardino.

Fans are invited to pick free vouchers while supplies last. One voucher can be redeemed for four tickets and families are limited to two vouchers, for eight tickets total. Parking is $7 per vehicle and can be paid in credit or cash.

“We are very excited for the chance to meet with residents and talk to them about our programs and all the many ways we can help to improve their health and well-being,” said Kim Saruwatari, Riverside County public health director. “We’re planning on this being another great night at the ballpark.”

Last year’s inaugural event enjoyed a near-sellout crowd at San Manuel Stadium with thousands of fans stopping by the concourse to learn more about available public health programs, resources and services.

This year will feature a pre-game parade and a free Fun Zone for the kids.

Vouchers are being distributed at the following locations:

 

Riverside University Health System – Public Health

Health Administration Building

4065 County Circle Drive

Riverside

Phone: 951.358.5000

San Bernardino County Tobacco Control Program

685 E. Carnegie Drive, Suite 140

San Bernardino

Phone: 909.381.4532

San Bernardino County Department of Public Health

Vital Statistics Registration Office

340 N. Mountain View Avenue
San Bernardino
Phone: 800.782.4264

County issues Heat Advisory, high heat temperatures expected

Temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees starting Saturday and through the following week, prompting County of San Bernardino Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare to issue a heat advisory.

“While this intense heat is not especially unusual, the recent cool weather could cause some people to be caught off guard, especially those most susceptible to heat illness,” said Ohikhuare. “Those most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions.”

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect one’s health. People are advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Find an air-conditioned Cooling Center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1, or online at http://211sb.org/cooling-centers.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink water more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 1-800-782-4264 or visit the National Weather Service Forecast website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/ or the California Department of Public Health website here.

Black Infant Health holding open house on Oct. 28

bih-open-house-2Black Infant Health has a new facility!

Join us at our Open House on October 28, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and see our new facility and receive a tour.

The program aims to improve health and to reduce disparities among African-American mothers, babies and pregnant women, and to empower women to make healthy choices for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Call 1-844-352-3985 for more information.

County urges meningococcal vaccine during ongoing outbreak

DPH_Version2_FullColorThe County’s Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare is urging people to get the meningococcal vaccine who are at higher risk of contracting the disease. Those who are high risk include men who have sex with men, gay, bisexual men, as well as people infected with HIV.

As of Aug. 15, 22 cases of meningococcal disease have been confirmed in an ongoing Southern California outbreak. There are currently no reported cases in San Bernardino County.

In response to this ongoing outbreak, the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch (CDPH) has granted temporary approval to all local health departments to use state-funded vaccines for outbreak control efforts.  It is particularly important that high-risk individuals be vaccinated. This vaccine protects against the dominant strain of disease identified in this outbreak. Meningococcal vaccine is available at no cost to all County residents who desire to be vaccinated regardless of their insurance status or risk factors.

Currently, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the MenACWY meningococcal vaccine to all high risk individuals. People infected with HIV should receive two doses of the vaccine, and uninfected men should receive one dose. Those who were vaccinated more than five years ago should be revaccinated.

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that can cause meningitis, bloodstream infections (sepsis), pneumonia, and arthritis. Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets from the nose and throat. Individuals who are in close personal contact with multiple people, regularly visit crowded venues, or use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or hookahs may be at higher risk of infection. Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include fever, vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, and rash. If experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Symptoms of meningococcal disease often begin soon after exposure and can be fatal.

There have been no cases reported in San Bernardino County to date.  So far, all cases have been reported in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and most cases have been gay or bisexual men. To date, two patients have died from meningococcal disease associated with this outbreak.

County residents who are at risk can make a vaccination appointment at County Public Health clinics by calling (800) 722-4777. This vaccine may also be obtained through a private provider.

For more information about meningococcal disease and vaccine recommendations, visit the CDPH website or call the Communicable Disease Section (CDS) at 1-800-722-4794.

County issues heat advisory with temps over 100

Rising TemperatureDr. Maxwell Ohikhuare Health Officer for San Bernardino County has issued another excessive heat warning for high temperatures today and through this coming weekend. Temperatures are expected to be above 105 degrees for the Inland Valley areas and up to 110 degrees for the high deserts. The mountain areas below 6,000 feet will see temperatures up to 102 degrees.

“As another heat wave hits our county, we need to remember to try and stay cool. Check on those most vulnerable, the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor and people with chronic medical conditions,” said Dr. Ohikhuare. “We also need to remember that cars get very hot and can be deadly to a child or pet left behind.”

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect one’s health. Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Find an air-conditioned and cool place to go to by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource line at 2-1-1
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Do not leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even in the shade with windows cracked, temperatures can reach over 120 degrees inside. Their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as adults.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink water more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Remember, pets are vulnerable to high temperatures too, but are unable to vocalize their distress. Some signs of heat distress in pets can include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive thirst, and vomiting. You can help prevent a heat emergency by taking these steps.

For Pets

  • Leave your pets extra water.
  • Bring pets inside during periods of extreme heat.
  • Ensure they have plenty of shade if kept outside.  Remember, the shade your pets have in the morning will either change or diminish as the sun moves throughout the day and may not protect them.
  • Don’t force animals to exercise when it is hot and humid. Exercise pets early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Do not let pets stand on sidewalks or hot asphalt to avoid burning their paws.
  • Never leave pets in a parked vehicle, even in the shade with windows cracked, temperatures can reach over 120 degrees inside. The vehicle is quickly turned into a furnace and can kill any animal!

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 1-800-782-4264. For the National Weather Service forecast, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov or the California Department of Public Health web site.

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