Health board members say ‘get vaccinated’
Some people wonder why the Ripley County Health Board pushes for vaccinations at every meeting. The reason is clear, according to Dr. David Welsh, Ripley County Health Officer. Vaccination is the key to preventing many diseases that could lead to deaths that were totally preventable.
Dr. Welsh said, “Thank you to everyone who got their flu shot this year” noting those people had helped not only themselves, but family and friends. He said there has been a recent outbreak of measles in Washington state, and said it’s because not enough people are getting the MMR vaccine (mumps, measles, rubella). These diseases at one time were all but eliminated with proper vaccinations. Dr. Stephen Stein noted that the “anti-vaccine” movement was born from a totally false statement with no definitive proof that vaccines cause health problems as the article in question suggests. Both doctors know the benefits of vaccines and are encouraging Ripley County residents to get themselves and their children the proper vaccinations.
Looking toward the spring, Dr. Welsh encouraged residents to clean up around their properties. If you notice something wrong with your septic and can’t fix it, contact the proper authorities to get it fixed. He said spring is a good time to check your property and make sure sewage lines are not leaking etc. He referred to Los Angeles, a city now coping with Typhus, a highly contagious disease, stressing the importance of cleanliness in all aspects of life – home, yard, body, etc.
The February meeting of the health board members had them talking about infant mortality, the opioid crisis, the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, and the fad of vaping, the use of e-cigarettes – that is putting many teens in danger. They also elected chairman, Jason Smith, and vice-chairman, Bill Hisrich for 2019.
The board paused to thank Dr. Harley Robinson for his 37 years of service on the board and presented him with a plaque for all he has done for the county’s health in his time at the health board. Dr. Robinson thanked the board and said he would be attending the meetings, and would be around if he is needed as a resource.
Jason Smith, a new board member, is affiliated with Homeland Security. He spoke to the “Stop the Bleed” program that has “taken off like wildfire”. Smith has partnered with Ripley County EMS and they are holding ongoing trainings on this vital program. He noted that training is on the roster for all of the REMC linemen and also for county employees. They are getting into schools and training, hoping to never have a situation where “stop the bleed” is necessary, but training and having the materials to work with in case of a mass casualty situation is imperative in today’s world.
Get rid of unwanted/unused medications:
The health board encouraged people to get rid of unused, expired, or unwanted prescription medications. Residents of Ripley County can drop off these meds at the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office and the Batesville Police Dept. anytime. Also, Margaret Mary Health (hospital) will take them on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Safe Sleep Classes:
Health department administrator Holley Rose updated members on the safe sleep classes for infants that the health department is promoting. Public Health Assistant Lexi Bushhorn presents these classes monthly to those who are going to be parents and ones who have children 12 months and younger.
The 20-minute video on the ABCs of sleep is presented, and then parents will receive gifts to help with their babies. Rose reported they have given out seven sets of gifts, and had more scheduled to take the class at the meeting. “It has been eye-opening so far to hear stories of moms who have no resources,” Rose reported. She encourages mothers (and fathers) to make contact with the health department to take the short class and receive the gifts that are sometimes very much needed.
Car Seat Safety:
Rose noted that Whitney Bond, immunization nurse at the health department, now has 10 people enrolled in a car seat safety program where parents will find out how to properly install car seats and use them. Something some people may not know is there is an expiration date on car seats. It is dangerous for children to be sitting in them beyond the expiration date because they might not do the job of holding them tight if a vehicle crash occurs.
Ripley County has a progressive health board that looks ahead in as many ways as possible to offer programs, vaccinations, and more to its residents. Rose is in contact with the state health department on many issues, and wants to keep the county level of public health on the cutting edge.