January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

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Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is virtually always preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening (pap and HPV tests). Regular screening with Pap tests can detect cell changes before cancer develops.  Learn more about Missouri's Breast and Cervical Cancer Program here.

The Show Me Healthy Women Program offers breast and cervical cancer screenings for Missouri women who meet age, income and insurance guidelines.

Guidelines

  • Income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level for household income, and
  • Age 35 to 64, or older if they do not receive Medicare Part B, and
  • No insurance to cover program services

Enrollment

Call toll-free 866-726-9926

About Cervical Cancer

Get an overview of cervical cancer and the latest key statistics in the U.S. here.

Causes, Risks Factors, and Prevention

Learn about the risk factors for cervical cancer and what you might be able to do to help lower your risk here

Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging

Know the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer. Find out how cervical cancer is tested for diagnosed, and staged here.

Treating Cervical Cancer

If you are facing cervical cancer, we can help you learn about the treatment options and possible side effects, and point you to information and services to help you in your cancer journey here.

After Treatment

Get information about life as a cancer survivor, next steps, and what you can do to help - here.

Don't bring bed bugs home this holiday season

Don't bring bed bugs home this holiday season

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – This holiday season, travelers should be on the lookout for bed bugs.  Many people think of bed bugs as a problem of the past, but over the last several years they have made a comeback.  Unlike many other insects, bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty or unsanitary environment.  Any hotel, airport waiting area, taxi, or other public-use area could result in an unexpected encounter with this pest.  Here are answers to some of the most common questions about bed bugs.

What are bed bugs?  They are small insects, about the size of an apple seed as an adult, that survive by feeding on blood from people and sometimes animals.  They tend to be active at night when there is little activity and the person is resting for long periods of time.  In some situations such as public-use settings, bed bugs may become active during the daytime as well.  While bed bugs are unpleasant to encounter and can be a challenge to get rid of, they do not spread disease.

How common are bed bugs?  According to a 2011 survey, 1 in 5 Americans has either encountered bed bugs personally or knows someone who has.  Unfortunately, bed bugs are now a common problem across Missouri and the rest of the United States. 

Where should I check for bed bugs?  They are usually found within a few feet of a bed or common area used by people, which makes it more likely that they can easily find a blood meal.  They prefer to hide in small, dark places such as cracks, crevices, or folds in cloth and will generally stay hidden unless they are feeding.  Bed bugs are flat and can easily fit in spaces as thin as a credit card.

What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?  

  • If present in large numbers, live bed bugs may be seen directly either as adults or as smaller, immature stages, called nymphs. 
  • In small numbers, bed bugs can be more difficult to find and will require looking for less obvious signs.  On mattresses or other furniture around the bed, look for pin-head sized dark spots of dried blood.  Spotting often occurs where bed bugs defecate after feeding.  
  • Although small, bed bug eggs and empty “skins” (left behind when the bugs go from one stage to the next) can be seen with the naked eye and may be found in seams, folds, and crevices of furniture.  Eggs will be small, white specs while empty “skins” will be a clear or pale yellow. 

How can I protect myself and my family during holiday travel? 

  • Place clothing in sealable plastic bags before packing in luggage to prevent infestation when using public transportation (for example, a bus or airline cargo compartment).
  • Keep luggage and other belongings away from the walls, bed, and other resting areas in your hotel room, including chairs and sofas.  If possible, keep your belongings on a hard surface, such as tile. 
  • Do a thorough check of the bed.  Examine the headboard (including the back of it, if possible) and remove the sheets to check the seams of the mattress for signs of bed bugs.
  • Inspect curtains or side tables near the bed and couches or chairs that may be nearby.  It’s safest to keep personal items in your bag rather than unpacking and placing them in drawers or a closet.

What should I do when I return home after traveling? 

  • Prepare a space to unpack before bringing your luggage inside.  Lay out a clean sheet or piece of plastic so that you can easily spot any bed bugs that may be in or on your items as you unpack. 
  • Remove clothing from luggage and place all items that can be heated straight into the dryer on high heat for 20-30 minutes.  This will kill any stage of bed bug, even eggs, which may be in or on clothing. 
  • Inspect luggage carefully for signs of bed bugs, paying special attention to seams, zippers, folds, pockets, and wheels or feet.  Vacuum all surfaces of the luggage, inside and outside, to dislodge any bed bugs or eggs that may be on the luggage.  Replace the vacuum bag or empty the bin contents when you are done.

For more information, visit http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/bedbugs/index.php.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

Be Prepared for Winter Weather

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

  • Driving in the winter can be harrowing, especially where blizzard and icy conditions crop up seemingly out of nowhere. But new safety technologies are being added to cars at a record rate. Some can even take control of the vehicle to help us avoid crashes.

    One such technology that's particularly useful in winter is traction control. This function helps your vehicle​ gain traction on snowy, icy or wet surfaces, particularly when accelerating from a stopped or slowed position, or when trying to make it up a slippery hill. Traction control is now standard on most new vehicles.

    My Car Does What? is a campaign of the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa to help educate drivers on dozens of new vehicle safety technologies. But remember, you are your car's best safety feature. Take precautions to ensure you arrive safely at your destination.

    Check the Weather Before You Go

    If the weather is frigid, you're going to want to warm up the car before you drive it. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning​, never leave a vehicle running in an enclosed area, such as a garage. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that a car running in an attached garage is never safe, even with the garage door open.

    If the forecast looks iffy, wait out the storm if possible. But if you must travel make sure you share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave.

    If you become stranded in an unfamiliar area, do not leave your car. Light flares in front and behind the car and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, mud or any object.

    Prepare Your Car for Winter


    Besides checking the weather, it's important to have a mechanic check the condition of the following vehicle systems before heading out on the road:

    • Ignition
    • Brakes
    • Wiring
    • Hoses and fan belts
    • Spark plugs
    • Air, fuel and emissions filters, and PCV valve
    • Distributor
    • Battery
    • Tire wear and air pressure
    • Antifreeze level and freeze line

    Know What to Do to Avoid a Crash

    You've done all you can to prepare your car, you've checked the weather, but suddenly you find yourself driving in a slippery mess. If visibility is severely limited due to a whiteout, pull off the road and don't even attempt to drive farther until conditions improve.

    But sometimes water or ice on the road can surprise drivers, even with little to no precipitation. Do you know how to prevent a skid? Would you know what to do if you ended up sliding toward another vehicle or fixed object? If you don't want to end up in a crash like the one in Michigan, AAA offers some winter driving tips.

    • Never mix radial tires with other types of tires
    • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather
    • Do not use cruise control in wintery conditions
    • Look and steer in the direction you want to go
    • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
    • Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
    • Know whether you have antilock brakes, which will "pump" the brakes for you in a skid
    • If possible, don't stop when going uphill
    • Keep your gas tank at least half-full
    • If you do get stranded, don't try to push your vehicle out of snow
    • Signal distress with a brightly colored cloth tied to the antenna or in a rolled up window

    Don't Leave Home Without These

    In an emergency situation, in addition to a full tank of gas and fresh antifreeze, National Safety Council recommends having these with you at all times:

    • Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
    • Shovel
    • Jumper cables
    • Tow and tire chains
    • Bag of salt or cat litter for better tire traction or to melt snow
    • Tool kit
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Reflective triangles or flares
    • Compass
    • First aid kit
    • Windshield cleaner
    • Ice scraper and snow brush
    • Matches in a waterproof container
    • Scissors and string or cord
    • Nonperishable, high-energy foods like unsalted, canned nuts, dried fruits and hard candy
    • Blankets, mittens, socks and hats

    Winter road trips – even short ones – are a great way to celebrate with family and friends. Being prepared can ensure a safe and happy time is had by all.

    To learn more please see the links below:

    http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/news-and-resources-snow-shoveling.aspx

    http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/news-and-resources-ski-and-snowboarding-safety.aspx

    http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/news-and-resources-sledding-safety.aspx

    http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/news-and-resources-frostbite-and-hypothermia.aspx

Public Health Response to Bourbon Virus

Update: Public health response to Bourbon virus

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local public health agencies recently completed a follow-up investigation of the Bourbon virus case identified during the summer of 2017.    

Results of blood testing among participants are protected health information and will not be released.  It is important to note, because Bourbon virus is believed to be spread by ticks, Missourians likely have one more reason to practice tick avoidance while outdoors.  

Testing for Bourbon virus and Heartland virus (another cause of tick-borne illness in Missouri) was conducted on more than 7,000 ticks collected in the state park. Bourbon virus was not detected in any of the ticks collected. This does not mean the virus is not present in some ticks in the park.  Instead, it means none of the ticks that might have been infected at the time of this investigation were trapped and tested. Heartland virus was detected in one group of ticks.

Patients diagnosed with Bourbon virus have shown signs similar to infection with Heartland virus and ehrlichiosis (the latter is a type of bacteria transmitted by ticks), including fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, anorexia, diarrhea, and rash. Like Heartland virus and ehrlichiosis, Bourbon virus can affect blood cells that help the body fight infection and prevent bleeding. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Bourbon virus.

For members of the public worried about the possibility of tick-borne diseases, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by a tick. Instructions on how to prevent exposure while outdoors are as follows:

  • Apply insect repellents containing at least 20% DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 (no more than 30% DEET in children) to exposed skin according to label instructions.
  • Apply a permethrin solution to clothing according to label instructions. This will last through several washings. Do not allow people or pets to have contact with treated surfaces until spray has dried.
  • Stay on marked and paved trails.
  • Wear light-colored long sleeve shirts and pants.
  • Immediately perform a thorough tick inspection after being outdoors.
  • If a tick is found, remove as soon as possible. Grasp the base of the head of the tick with a pair of tweezers and pull off with a straight motion, making sure to avoid twisting and jerking motions.

If a person begins developing a fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, anorexia, diarrhea, or a rash after exposure to a tick bite or tick habitat, they should seek treatment from a medical professional and inform them of recent tick exposure.

For more information on ticks and the Bourbon virus investigation, please contact the Department of Health and Senior Services, Office of Veterinary Public Health at 573-526-4780 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

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