A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Summer wellness tips: A few simple steps to prevent common health issues, ensure enjoyable summer

Summer is a time for rest and relaxation, sunshine, vacations and outdoor activities. But summer fun comes with the potential for serious health risks. CHI Saint Joseph Health recommends taking a few simple steps to help prevent common health issues and ensure an enjoyable summer, without frequent visits to a doctor’s office.    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that...

Keven Moore: A pressure washer can be a useful tool, but users should be aware of its hazards

A pressure washer is a power tool that sprays water at high pressures to remove loose paint, mold, algae, grime, dust, mud, chewing gum and dirt from surfaces and objects like buildings, fences, masonry, vehicles, concrete or asphalt surfaces such as driveways or patios. Courtesy of the Home Depot website The pressure washer was invented back in the late 1920s, and its use was slow to grow, but today...

CDC’s ‘Tips From Former Smokers’ campaign urges smoking cessation in Eastern Kentucky

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Last week, Kentucky Public Health officials, community leaders and former smokers spoke to residents of Hazard as part of the Centers for Disease Control’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign. Amanda is a former smoker who has been traveling the country telling her story about how smoking affected the birth of her baby daughter. Amanda started smoking...

Half of U.S. adults don’t know symptoms of heart attacks; Kentuckians have second highest risk

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News About 50 percent of American adults don’t know the five common symptoms of a heart attack, even though a heart attack happens about every 40 seconds in the U.S., according to a recent study. The five common symptoms of heart attack are pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back; feeling weak, lightheaded or faint; chest pain or discomfort; pain or discomfort...

CDC findings: Pregnant women urged to get flu shots to reduce risk of hospitalization

To the list of do’s and don’ts for pregnancy, add another “do” — get a flu shot. “I advise all pregnant women in any trimester to get the influenza vaccine (flu shot) because it is safe and flu in pregnancy can be deadly,” said Dr. Bradley Youkilis, OB-GYN with Baptist Health Medical Group Women’s Care Lexington. The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released findings...

Rural Blog: Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise as funding to prevent and treat them falls

“Health officials are tracking record-breaking rates of sexually transmitted disease, including a resurgence of some infections which had been considered rare, such as gonorrhea and syphilis. These STDs are on the rise amid cuts to public health budgets dedicated to testing, prevention, and public outreach,” Mary Meehan reports for Ohio Valley ReSource, which covers Kentucky, Ohio and West...

Centers for Disease Control study shows state has high rate of addicted mothers — and it’s rising

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News Kentucky has had a very high rate of opioid-use disorder among women delivering babies in hospitals, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Kentucky, 19.3 mothers out of every 1,000 who gave birth in a hospital in 2014 had an opioid-use disorder. Among the 30 states studied, only two were ahead of Kentucky:...

CDC offers some Tips for Teachers that promotes healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom

The Centers for Disease Control has published some Tips for Teachers that promotes healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom. 1. Allow Access to Drinking Water Access to drinking water throughout the day gives students a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages, says the CDC. Staying hydrated may also improve student cognitive function. Allow students to visit the water fountain...

Poll finds most Kentuckians support a law to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21

Nearly six in 10 Kentucky adults favor raising the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, according to the Kentucky Health Issues Poll. The survey, taken Oct. 24-Dec. 2, found that 58 percent of Kentucky adults favored such a law and 39 percent opposed it, with majority support from both Democrats (63 percent) and Republicans (56 percent). Support among independents was 46 percent....

CHFS announces availability of weekly influenza surveillance report to track activity across Kentucky

Officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), announce the availability of an online weekly influenza surveillance report used to gauge current flu activity circulating in Kentucky. This new public service is an example of the Cabinet’s priority to strengthen data collection and analytics and then to make the information...

Number of painkiller prescriptions decline statewide, but remain high in many individual counties

Kentucky Health News reported in July about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showing ranges of painkillers sold per person in each county in 2015 and whether there had been an increase or decrease since 2010. Individual county data was unavailable at the time of the July report, but has since been made available. The CDC report calculated the rate of “morphine equivalent doses”...

Kentucky a national leader in hepatitis C, yet many at-risk counties shun syringe exchanges

“Growing intravenous drug use by people sharing syringes to inject heroin and other substances” has helped make Kentucky a national hotbed for cases of hepatitis C, “which ultimately could mean a staggering cost to taxpayers to treat people with the disease,” Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Giving addicts clean needles can help stem the spread of the...

Heroin use continues to increase in Kentucky; all regions affected by opioid abuse, KHIP report shows

Heroin use has increased in Kentucky and opioid abuse remains high, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) report, released Tuesday. Twenty-seven percent of Kentucky adults say they know someone who has abused prescription pain medication; 17 percent know someone who is using heroin, up from 9 percent in 2013. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that...

Got a Virus? They don’t help, but Kentucky leads nation in outpatient antibiotic prescriptions issued

Antibiotics don’t cure illnesses caused by viruses, and can even cause “dire consequences” when used inappropriately, so it’s important to take them only when necessary, says a news release from the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “Antibiotics are the only drugs where use in one patient can impact the effectiveness in another patient,” Andrea Flinchum,...

Getting a flu shot is always a good idea; CDC says October is best time to get it done

While there is disagreement among experts about the perfect time to get a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October. “Baptist Health is committed to protecting the health of those in the communities that we serve. With that in mind, we recommend getting an annual flu shot in October,” said Donna Schwartz, nurse practitioner, at Baptist Health...

Travel-related Zika infection identified in Fayette County; mother, baby post no risk to spread

The first instance of laboratory-confirmed infection with Zika virus in Lexington was recently identified in a Fayette County infant born to a woman who had travelled during pregnancy to an area where the virus is circulating. Test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the infant was exposed to the virus in the womb. Although the infant’s mother never described...

UK researchers find that pollutants, poor diet and nutrition may increase risk of human disease

Appalachian Kentucky has some of the highest rates of chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the country. Researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Superfund Research Center (SRC), which is supported through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), are interested in understanding how exposure to environmental pollutants and poor diet and...

Poultry specialists urging Kentucky chicken producers to guard against salmonella infection

Poultry specialists from the University of Kentucky are urging Kentuckians who raise chickens or ducks to take extra precautions against salmonella infection, since 21 cases have been reported in the state. “Any contact with live poultry puts you at risk for salmonella infection,” Jacqueline Jacob, UK poultry extension project manager for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, said in...

Health Department reports Kentucky flu activity level is widespread for 9th consecutive week

Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) officials are reporting “widespread” flu activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the ninth consecutive week. Widespread activity is the highest level of flu activity, which indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state. The activity levels for states are tracked weekly...

Despite budget dispute, a number of significant health proposals were passed by Legislature

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky legislators have all but ended their regular session without agreeing on a budget, but they were able to pass a wide range of health bills that await Gov. Matt Bevin’s signature or veto. Legislators can still pass more bills, including a budget, when they return for one day, April 12, and reconsider any bills the governor vetoes (except the budget,...