On This Week in Richmond with David Bailey, Olivette Burroughs, Health Workforce Specialist, and Veronica Cosby, Partners in Prayer & Prevention Coordinator, discuss what they’re doing to reduce health inequities across Virginia. Learn more about what the Virginia Partners in Prayer & Prevention (Virginia P3) program and the Virginia State Loan Repayment Program (VA-SLRP) are doing in your communities.
It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate!
It’s that time of year again — flu season. As family and friends are gathering for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. Get a flu vaccine now if you have not gotten vaccinated yet this season.
There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce your risk of flu illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu. Even if you are vaccinated and still get sick, flu vaccine can reduce the severity of your illness. Flu vaccination also can help protect women during and after pregnancy and protect the baby born to a vaccinated mom for several months after birth. Flu vaccine also has been shown to save children’s lives, prevent serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevent flu-related hospitalization among working age adults and older adults. Getting vaccinated isn’t just about keeping you healthy; it’s also about helping to protect others around you who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick, such as babies, older adults, and pregnant women.
You can find out where to get a flu shot in your area by:
- Contacting your local health department
- Talking to your healthcare provider, or
- Using the vaccine locator to find a flu clinic near you.
Be familiar with the symptoms of flu and the people most at risk from flu complications, including young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions. If you fall into one of those groups, make sure you get vaccinated promptly, and treated promptly if you do get the flu.
There are also simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of flu:
- Always cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow
- Wash your hands
- Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that get touched a lot, such as door handles, countertops, and faucets.
- If you feel sick, stay home from work or school
World AIDS Day takes place December 1 of each year. It is a time when people across the world can take the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and show support for those living with HIV, and remember those that have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
You can read more about World AIDS Day on the official website*.
Find an event near you and get involved for World AIDS Day 2019. Show your support by wearing a red ribbon. Get tested and update your HIV status. Learn about advances in HIV prevention and care. Share resources on HIV and World AIDS Day on your social media. There are many ways to get involved.
This year marks the first full year of Virginia’s Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR) program. Virginia’s CHR program provides new syringes and needles, disposes of used syringes, refers participants to drug treatment and medical care, distributes Naloxone (to reverse overdoses), provides education and counseling, provides testing for HIV, hepatitis and other diseases, and provides referrals to social services and insurance. Since the beginning of the program, 553 Virginians were tested for HIV. The program has found previously-identified HIV-positive persons and re-engaged them into medical care. For more information on the Virginia CHR program or to find locations, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/disease-prevention/chr/.
For Virginia Medication Assistance Program clients: Remember that open enrollment for 2020 could be ending soon, depending on your health plan. Read the enrollment announcement and take action now.
The Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:30 pm. You can reach a counselor at 800-533-4148.
*This website link is the official WorldAIDSDay.org website and is provided to give background on the global health day. VDH providing this link does not constitute an endorsement of the organization’s campaign or a request for donations to the campaign. more>>
Lead is Still Found in Many Homes
Lead is a toxic metal that is still present in and around many homes in lead-based paint and urban soils. Lead can also be tracked in if parents have jobs or hobbies that expose them to lead. Children who are exposed to lead at a young age are at increased risk for speech delay, learning disabilities, and ADHD. A simple blood test can tell if your child has been exposed to lead. If you have children under six years old, ask your doctor if they might be at risk for lead poisoning. See the EPA’s home page on lead for more information.
Protect Your Child from Lead Around Your Home
If you live in a home built before 1978 your home may contain lead paint. Use a damp rag to clean up any paint chips. Frequent wet cleaning will remove dust and dirt that could contain lead. Leave shoes by the door to avoid tracking in lead, and don’t let your child play in bare dirt around the house. If you do renovation projects, hire a contractor with RRP certification or follow guidelines for safe do-it-yourself renovation.
Lead Abatement Assistance is Available in Richmond and Roanoke
The cities of Richmond and Roanoke have obtained federal grants that will help pay to control lead hazards in private homes for qualifying homeowners. Residents of those cities who are interested should contact their local health department.
By now, you probably know that it is recommended that everyone 6 months of age or older receive a flu vaccination each year. Flu season usually peaks in January or February and continues through May. Getting a flu shot is not only the single best way to protect yourself from getting sick, it’s also the best way to prevent the spread of flu to others.
Help us make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation by getting a flu shot and encouraging your friends and family to get one as well.
It is important to get a flu shot even if you had one last year. Your immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the best protection against the flu.
The flu is a serious disease, especially for certain age groups and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as:
- Children younger than five, but especially younger than two years old
- Adults 65 years of age or older
- Women who are pregnant or just had a baby
- People with chronic health conditions
Remember, a flu shot cannot cause illness.
To find out where to get a flu shot in your area, contact your local health department or use the vaccine finder. And visit our Miss The Flu page for more information on how to miss the flu, not your life!
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a large public health issue that impacts children, teens and adults. Abuse is a pattern of behavior used to gain power and control.
Physical abuse is any purposeful and unwanted contact. This can include:
- being hit,
- slammed into something, or
- being injured by an object or weapon
Emotional or verbal abuse includes:
- when a partner makes threats,
- insulting or humiliating their partner, or
- constantly monitoring or checking in on their partners.
These are just some of the ways that an abuser may try to gain control over their partner.
Learning the characteristics of an unhealthy relationship can help Virginians see red flags in their partners.
If you or someone you know needs help call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-838-8238 or the LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline, 1-800-356-6998. If you are not able to call you can text, 804.793.9999. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every Woman’s Life (EWL) helps low-income, uninsured women between the ages of 18-64 get FREE breast cancer screening. If these tests lead to a cancer diagnosis, successful treatment can increase dramatically with early detection. Find out if you are eligible for EWL, and schedule your annual screening today.
Learn more about Every Woman’s Life at: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/every-womans-life/
Rabies Awareness Week is September 23-29, 2019. This longstanding campaign is co-sponsored by Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association. This year’s theme focuses on vaccinating domestic animals, the foundation of all rabies control efforts.
To learn more about rabies and the health department’s role in rabies prevention, visit: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/
To learn more about the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and the clinical veterinarian’s role in rabies prevention, visit: https://www.vvma.org/
World Rabies Day is September 28, 2019 and is the first and only global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention. It is an opportunity to unite, as a community and for individuals, NGOs and governments to connect and share their work.
To learn more about World Rabies day, visit: https://
SepticSmart Week is September 16-20, 2019. This annual
event focuses on educating homeowners and communities on the
proper care and maintenance of their septic systems. Visit www.epa.gov/septic for more resources and information about SepticSmart Week 2019.
It’s important to maintain your system to protect your home, health, environment and property value. The Environmental Protection Agency offers many tips.
At VDH, the Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services program protects public health and ground water quality through its wastewater program. Read more about the office.