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Public health is one of the most important services we provide the residents of Johnson County Government. Every day, in many ways, we strive to prevent disease and promote wellness. Our Olathe and Mission walk-in clinics offer services including immunizations, pregnancy testing and family planning, and Tuberculosis testing. The Johnson County Mental Health Center provides a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services to residents. We serve clients of the Kansas WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, teach classes for child care providers, manage disease investigation and reporting, and so much more.

Health News

JCDHE Holiday Closures (December 2014)

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment's Olathe walk-in family planning clinic will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. If you need walk-in family planning services on Dec. 24 or Dec. 31, please visit our Mission clinic at 6000 Lamar Ave. from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Immunization clinics in Olathe and Mission will remain open on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.

All JCDHE offices and clinics will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 25-26, 2014 in observance of Christmas and closed on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 in observance of New Year's Day. Have a safe and healthy holiday season!

Early Data Suggests Potentially Severe Flu Season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Dec. 3 that seasonal influenza A H3N2 viruses have been the most common to cause illness this flu season. When these viruses predominate, there are often more severe flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths during flu season.

Increasing the risk of a severe flu season is the finding that roughly half of the H3N2 viruses analyzed are drift variants: viruses with antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from this season’s vaccine virus. This means the vaccine’s ability to protect against those viruses may be reduced, although vaccinated people may have a milder illness if they do become infected.

JCDHE received numerous reports on Dec. 8 from Johnson County schools with student absentee rates greater than 10 percent due to influenza-like and gastrointestinal illness. Although reported flu cases in Johnson County, KS are low right now, we expect reports of influenza-like illness to increase over the coming weeks.

People who have not already gotten a flu vaccine for the 2014-2015 season should do so now. JCDHE offers the trivalent flu vaccine on a walk-in basis for $30 at the Olathe and Mission walk-in clinics: http://www.jocogov.org/dept/health-and-environment/health/flu/flu-shots

Patients who present with severe flu-like symptoms, especially those in high-risk categories (under age 5, over age 65, pregnant women, those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma) should be considered for antiviral treatment. Treatment of high-risk patients should begin as soon after symptoms develop as possible, without waiting for lab tests to confirm flu infection.

CDC’s information for healthcare professionals (key information about vaccination, infection control, prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of seasonal influenza) can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/index.htm

Johnson County Libraries Available as Warming Centers

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, in cooperation with the Johnson County Library, encourages citizens who need a place to warm up during below freezing temperatures to visit one of the Johnson County library branches. All of these facilities will be available during normal business hours.

Libraries offer many services in addition to a warm place to rest and restore. You can read books, magazines and newspapers, or access the Internet. Library hours vary by location. Call (913) 826-4600 to check hours of operation for your nearest library branch, or visit the Library web site at www.jocolibrary.org.

Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. The most common cold-related problems are hypothermia and frostbite. When exposed to cold temperatures, the body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up the body’s stored energy and result in hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.

Warnings signs of hypothermia are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Seek medical attention quickly if you have these symptoms.

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb. If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.

If there is frostbite, but no sign of hypothermia and immediate medical care is not available, proceed as follows:

•           Get into a warm room as soon as possible.

•           Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes—this increases the damage.

•           Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).

•           Or, warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.

•           Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.

•           Don’t use a heating pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove, fireplace or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

November snow expected this weekend

The National Weather Service has predicted the Kansas City metro area will receive a few inches of snow on Saturday with freezing temperatures sticking around until the middle of next week. Johnson County's Public Works Department is gearing up for any snow and has already done a practice run on all of its 12 routes in the incorporated areas of the County.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, in cooperation with the Johnson County Library, encourages citizens who need a place to warm up during below freezing temperatures to visit one of the Johnson County library branches. All of these facilities will be available during normal business hours.

More of our cold weather tips are available here. Stay warm and safe this weekend!

Information about Ebola

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of someone who is sick with or has died from Ebola. Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients. For an FAQ about Ebola, click here; en español, haga clic aquí.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Ebola information

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Ebola information

Seasonal flu vaccine available in Olathe and Mission clinics

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has seasonal flu vaccine available for adults and children over the age of 6 months at the immunization walk-in clinics in Olathe and Mission. The cost is $30 for a seasonal flu shot and $50 for the high dose flu shot for those age 65 and older. Complete form online BEFORE arriving at the clinic, print it and bring it with you.

We accept private insurance from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare and Coventry. We do not take insurance from Coventry Advantra or Humana Gold Plus. We are a KanCare provider for all managed care organizations such as Amerigroup, Sunflower and United Community. Cash, check or credit card payment is also accepted for those who are uninsured or who carry other insurance plans.

Celebrate the art of mental health recovery

The first full week of October is Mental Health Awareness Week.  The Johnson County Mental Health Center serves over 12,000 individuals a year.

On Thursday, October 9, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week, the Johnson County Mental Health Center will hold its Annual Art Show. This art sale includes sketches, paintings, jewelry and sculpture created by Johnson County Mental Health clients. The money raised goes to an activity and scholarship fund for Johnson County Mental Health clients.

Event:             Johnson County Mental Health Annual Art Show
Date:               Thursday, October 9
Time:               4 – 7 p.m.
Location:        Johnson County Mental Health Center (1125 W. Spruce Street, Olathe)
Cost:               $5 minimum donation, refreshments served

Johnson County 4-H now enrolling new members

Did you know that 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities? In Johnson County, 4-H is thriving.

With nearly 700 members, the Johnson County program, affiliated with K-State Research and Extension in Olathe, continues to grow and expand to reach new audiences.

National 4-H Week is Oct. 5 – 11, and the Johnson County program is currently enrolling for the new 4-H year. Early fall is the best time for new families to join 4-H. Families who join in the fall get the opportunity to experience the start of all new 4-H activities, such as electing club officers and selecting committee assignments.

4-H offers youth a one of-a-kind opportunity to gain lifelong skills through hands-on learning. The program is built on a foundation of three core areas: healthy living; citizenship; and science, technology, engineering and math. 4-H’ers gain skills in each of these areas throughout their 4-H experience through community service, projects and club involvement.

Why join 4-H?
Research has proven that participation in 4-H has a significant positive impact on young people. Recent findings from the Tufts University 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that, when compared to their peers, young people in 4-H are:

  • Nearly four times more likely to contribute to their communities,
  • Two times more likely to pursue healthy behaviors, and
  • Two times more likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the out-of-school time.

Who can join?
Full 4-H membership starts at age seven and concludes at 18. An introduction to 4-H is available for youth ages five and six through Cloverbuds. There are 19 different clubs throughout Johnson County. There is no membership fee to join. The youth program is strongly family orientated. Parents and siblings are welcome to attend all 4-H events.

Learning life skills by doing
Valuable lifelong skills such as communication, leadership and citizenship are gained through youth projects. The Johnson County 4-H program has many different avenues for youth to become engaged in their own individual passion.

Each member chooses their projects at the beginning of the new 4-H year. With over 30 projects to choose from, and even a self-determined category, the Johnson County 4-H program can accommodate a wide variety of interests. A few of the most popular projects include: rocketry, foods and nutrition, dog care and training, clothing and textiles, and photography.

In the self-determined category, youth are able to create a project by developing the what, why, when, where, who and how into an action plan designed by and for the member. A self-determined project might be a new or different project, or an expansion of a traditional project. A few of the self-determined projects which have been done in the county in the past include:

  • bicycling,
  • Legos,
  • bee keeping,
  • entrepreneurship, and
  • sailing. 

4-H instills a strong work ethic by offering the opportunity to compete in a positive and supportive environment, interact with teen and adult mentors, and build lifelong relationships. 4-H also continues to give back to its members after membership ends. Alumni have the opportunity to apply for college scholarships to strengthen their lifelong learning habit.

Johnson County 4-H youth development has many different avenues for youth to become engaged in their own individual passion. The mission is to grow youth members into tomorrow's leaders.

The Johnson County 4-H program is the perfect choice for any youth looking to learn through doing. For more information about joining 4-H contact Tara Markley, county Extension agent, at 913-715-7000 or visit www.johnson.ksu.edu/4H.

Johnson County Catch-a-Ride Needs Your Help!

Are you interested in driving county residents to critical appointments?  We hope so, because Catch-a-Ride needs you! And Catch-a-Ride has a special need for drivers in rural areas such as Gardner, Spring Hill, and De Soto.

Catch-a-Ride is a completely volunteer-based program in which elders, people with a disability, and people in a major life transition are given rides to medical appointments, grocery stores/food pantries, and social service agencies. Clients are people who cannot drive themselves and do not have a network of people who can drive for them.

Volunteers can drive “anytime, anywhere” or only at certain intervals or in certain areas of the county. We are very respectful of driver needs and schedules.

If you are interested or want additional information, please call Brandy 913-715-8859, e-mail Brandy.Hodge@jocogov.org.

Do I need to get a measles vaccination?

This may be a question running through your mind, and the minds of your patients if you’re a healthcare provider, as reports of confirmed cases of measles in Kansas continue to rise. The best way to keep from getting the disease is by being vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment recommends the following during this measles outbreak:

  • Children or adults born after 1957 have two doses of a measles-containing vaccine (typically the MMR).
  • Individuals who work in a healthcare setting or medical facility, have two doses of a measles-containing vaccine (typically the MMR) regardless of birth year.

JCDHE offers the MMR vaccine at the Olathe and Mission walk-in immunization clinics: http://www.jocogov.org/dept/health-and-environment/health/immunizations/overview

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Upcoming Events

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December 25, 2014 | 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

JCDHE Closed for Christmas (Dec. 25th and 26th)

January 1, 2015 | 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

JCDHE Closed on New Year's Day

January 5, 2015 | 12:00 pm

Strong People

January 7, 2015 | 12:00 pm

Strong People

January 9, 2015 | 12:00 pm

Strong People