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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

Measles outbreak spreads east

The measles outbreak that originated at an amusement park in California last month is making its way east. Although there are no reported or confirmed cases of measles in Johnson County as of Jan. 28, this is a good time to ask your healthcare provider if you or your child needs a measles vaccination. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is still the best way to protect yourself and your child from getting the disease. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment recommends the following:

  • Children or adults born after 1957 have two doses of a measles-containing vaccine (typically the MMR). The first dose of the MMR vaccine is usually given to children at age 12-15 months; the second dose at 4-6 years.
  • 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 urges healthcare providers to ensure patients are up-to-date on their MMR vaccine, especially infants and children who are traveling abroad. Clinicians should consider measles in the differential diagnosis of patients with fever and rash and ask patients about recent international travel or travel to domestic venues frequented by international travelers. They should also ask patients about their history of measles exposures in their community. Any clinician who suspects a patient may have measles should isolate the patient and report the disease immediately to JCDHE at 913-826-1303 (during regular business hours) or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 877-427-7317 (after business hours and weekends).

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

JCDHE Closed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 19, 2015)

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will be closed on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Have a safe and healthy holiday weekend!

Flu hits elderly and the young the hardest

Across the country and here in Johnson County, senior citizens and youth are getting hit the hardest by the flu. Our Department of Health & Environment has more information on this news. You can also look up everything you need to know about getting a flu shot from our walk-in immunization clinics in Olathe and Mission, as well as read up on common flu symptoms to watch out for.

Flu hits elderly, the young the hardest

As flu continues to expand its reach across the United States, it’s hitting the elderly and young children the hardest, including those in Johnson County, Kan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that influenza-associated hospitalization rates are highest among adults age 65 and older, followed by children age 0-4. Nationwide, a total of 21 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported to the CDC as of Dec. 27, including one in Kansas.

Johnson County’s flu numbers reflect what’s going on nationally. As of Jan. 6, 44 percent of the county’s flu cases, as reported from surveillance in the county, are among children age 0-17 years; 21 percent are adults age 18-49; 9 percent are adults age 50-64; and 27 percent are adults over age 65. Influenza A is responsible for nearly 93 percent of the flu cases in the county. These numbers represent only a sample of the flu cases in Johnson County as healthcare providers are not required to report flu illness in Kansas.

Now that flu is widespread in Kansas, Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, says that Johnson County’s oldest and youngest citizens are most at risk for serious complications from influenza, including death.

“The elderly and young children, as well as those with chronic medical conditions and weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the strain that is causing most of the hospitalizations and deaths this year,” says Marsh. “Keep an eye on family members, friends and neighbors who may be at risk and encourage them to contact their healthcare provider at the first sign of flu symptoms to see if antiviral medications would be appropriate.”

Flu-like symptoms include: fever, cough, muscle/body aches, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and fatigue. Marsh says antiviral medications are most effective when treatment begins within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms. It can mean the difference between having a milder illness instead of very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay or even death, says Marsh.

Marsh stresses that anyone who has not gotten vaccinated yet this season should do so now. This includes people who may already have gotten the flu this season because flu vaccines protect against three or four different viruses and it’s possible that other viruses will circulate later in the season.

Flu shots are widely available at retail pharmacies, physicians’ offices, urgent care centers and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s Olathe (11875 S. Sunset Drive) and Mission (6000 Lamar Ave.) walk-in clinics. Go to www.flu.gov to find a vaccine provider near you.

Washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your coughs and sneezes and staying away from people who are sick are other good ways to reduce your chances of getting all sorts of illness, including the flu, adds Marsh.

If you do become ill, citizens are advised to stay home from school or work until they are fever-free for 24 hours.

More information about influenza, symptoms and prevention tips can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.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.

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

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.

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Olathe Lions Club 25th Annual Health Fair