Emergency Preparedness Intern

Job Description: INTERN – Southwest Utah Public Health Department / Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response (St. George office).
General Purpose: Intern will perform a variety of ​duties in various public health emergency preparedness and response programs that exist to encourage proper engagement of community partners in a public health disaster or emergency.
Supervision Received: Works under the general supervision of the SWUPHD Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response Division.
Essential Functions: Including but not limited to:
-Performing assessments of previously signed agreements
-Reviewing and improving existing database for tracking of agreements
-Establishing training plans with community partners ­
-Design or improve existing recruiting tools to address community needs
-Evaluate the effectiveness of the Closed POD program
-Recruiting of businesses or agencies for the Closed POD program
Minimum Qualifications:
-Degree-seeking student from a college or university (health related field preferred)
-Desire to learn about the public health field
-Willing to work up to 300 hours or until project completed
Compensation: Possible stipend available
How to apply​­: Send your resume to Paulette Valentine. Email: pvalentine@swuhealth.org

Precautions if you (or family members) are sick

E. coli precautions: For people who are sick or who have family members who are sick, it’s important to follow precautions to prevent passing the infection to other people:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after using the restroom or changing a diaper.
  • Wash your hands before and after preparing food or drinks for yourself and others.
  • When possible, find a separate area to change diapers for children with diarrhea that is away from the area where healthy children’s diapers are changed. Clean and disinfect the area right after changing diapers.
  • Stay home from school or work while you have diarrhea. Most people can return to work or school when they no longer have diarrhea, but special precautions are needed for food handlers, health care workers, and child care providers and attendees. Check with your employer before returning to work, and check with your child’s child care center before resuming child care.

Also, continue the following prevention practices:

  • Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water
    • Before and after preparing or eating food.
    • After using the bathroom and changing diapers.
    • After contact with animals or their environments where there is exposure to animal feces.
    • Before preparing or touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
    • Use hand-sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Don’t use the same cutting board or plate. Carefully clean countertops, dishes, and utensils which have touched raw meat with hot, soapy water.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.
  • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk and unpasteurized dairy products/juices.
  • Don’t swallow water when swimming

Outbreak Updates (2017)

  • Update (7-11-17, 9:00am): There are currently 11 confirmed cases of E. coli involved in this outbreak, which remains under investigation.  The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is advising residents of Hildale and surrounding areas not to consume raw milk or any previously purchased ground beef until further notice.
  • Update (7-11-17, 9:00am): There are currently 11 confirmed cases of E.coli involved in this outbreak, which remains under investigation.  The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is advising residents of Hildale and surrounding areas not to consume raw milk or any previously purchased ground beef until further notice.
  • Update (7-7-17, 4:30pm): The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is advising residents of Hildale and surrounding areas not to consume any previously purchased ground beef until further notice.
  • Update on E.coli investigation (7-7-17): Water testing continues to show no E.coli in the drinking water. Residents can view information on local water systems at www.waterlink.utah.gov. There have been 9 confirmed E.coli cases related to this outbreak.
  • Update on E.coli investigation (7-5-17): Testing continues this week as part of the effort to identify the source of this outbreak. Results so far indicate that there is no E.coli in the city water system. Due to the seriousness of the E.coli strain being investigated, those experiencing symptoms should seek medical care.

E.coli

Update (7-21-17, 5:00pm): While the investigation continues into a source for this E. coli outbreak, we’ve determined ground beef is not a likely cause.  The advisory not to consume previously purchased ground beef is discontinued. In the meantime, health officials encourage you to follow these practices to prevent infection:

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom and changing diapers, after contact with animals or environments with exposure to animal feces, and before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
  • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.

Update (7-20-17, 4:30pm): Investigation of the E. coli outbreak continues with the combined efforts of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, Mohave County Department of Health, Utah Department of Health, and the Arizona Department of Health Services. These agencies have also been joined by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Confirmed case count is 12.
  • The source of this outbreak has not been identified.
  • Because E. coli can be passed from several different sources, including person to person, it is always important to follow these practices to prevent infection:
    • Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom and changing diapers, after contact with animals or environments with exposure to animal feces, and before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
    • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat.
    • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.
    • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk, dairy products, and juices.
    • Don’t swallow water when swimming.
  • Link to archived updates
  • Link to E. coli precautions for individuals (or family members) who are sick
  • Link to news release (7-3-16) regarding E. coli outbreak

 

What is E. coli and how is it spread?

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria commonly found in the environment, foods, and the feces of people and animals.
  • E. coli can be spread through unwashed hands, contaminated food (like_53234379_escherichia-coli.gif undercooked ground beef or unpasteurized food), water, animal exposure, and soil (where it can remain for several months).
  • People can become infected when they swallow tiny particles of infected human or animal feces which contain E. coli

What happens if people are infected?

  • Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some strains can make people sick.
  • The type involved in this outbreak is called E. coli O157:H7.
  • Symptoms usually begin 3-4 days after exposure to the bacteria and include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.
  • Most people recover within a week without treatment. Some people with E. coli O157:H7 develop a life-threatening complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure.
  • HUS is more common in children younger than 5 years of age and older adults, although people any age can be affected.

When should people seek medical care?

  • Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days or is accompanied by fever, blood in the stool, or severe vomiting.
  • Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of these HUS symptoms following a diarrheal illness: urinating less often; fatigue; pale skin; or small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth.

How can E. coli infection be prevented?

  • Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water
    • Before and after preparing or eating food.
    • After using the bathroom and changing diapers.
    • After contact with animals or their environments where there is exposure to animal feces.
    • Before preparing or touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
    • Use hand-sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Don’t use the same cutting board or plate. Carefully clean countertops, dishes, and utensils which have touched raw meat with hot, soapy water.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.
  • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk and unpasteurized dairy products/juices.
  • Don’t swallow water when swimming

For more information, visit:

Mohave County Department of Public Health (or Facebook page)

Utah Department of Health

Arizona Department of Health Services

CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

St. George Marathon Charity Entries

Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Southwest Utah Public Health Foundation is an official charity for the St. George Marathon and has been allocated a certain number of marathon entries. Runners who were not selected through the lottery can donate funds to the Foundation and be eligible to receive a guaranteed entry in to the 2016 St. George Marathon. We have entries available for $180 (this includes the $90 registration fee). If interested, please contact:

Jeff Shumway

phone: (435) 986-2585

email: jshumway@swuhealth.org

The Zika Virus: What You Should Know

Updated 8-11-16

What is Zika?

  • Zika is a virus related to dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus.

Zika virus
How is it spread?

  • Zika is spread to humans primarily by the Aedes species of mosquito. This species is rarely, if ever, found in Utah.
  • Sexual transmission is possible, but rare.

What are the symptoms and how dangerous is it?

  • Only about 20% of those infected will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint/muscle pain, and red eyes. These symptoms usually last from 2-7 days. Zika illness is usually mild and rarely results in hospitalization or death.
  • Zika is associated with microcephaly (a birth defect causing an abnormally small head) in infants due to their mothers being infected while pregnant. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a Global Emergency in order to try to contain the spread of the disease. Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).
  • While the WHO has not recommended any travel restrictions at this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised pregnant women to postpone travel to affected areas. Women who are trying to become pregnant should consult with their doctor before such travel and should follow strict mosquito bite prevention methods. The WHO advises that couples planning a pregnancy, living or returning from a Zika active area, should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to conceive, or 6 months if the male partner was symptomatic.

How is Zika prevented?

  • If you travel to a country where Zika is active, you can prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent , wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and removing standing water where mosquitoes live and breed.
  • Mosquito control efforts in areas where Aedes  mosquitoes are found.
  • Sexual abstinence or protection if living in an area where Zika is active, and for at least 8 weeks after travel to an affected area.

Where is Zika occurring?

  • Locally-acquired Zika infections were first detected in the Americas in May 2015. Local infections have now been reported in over 50 countries or territories in Central and South America and the Pacific Islands. Brazil remains the epicenter of the current outbreak. There have been local mosquito-acquired cases reported in the United States (Miami, Florida area).

How will the United States be affected?

  • With Zika outbreaks in other countries, cases among U.S. travelers will likely increase for a period of time. However, it is unlikely that any large Zika outbreaks will occur in the United States. Most U.S. cases have been infected during travel overseas.

Who should be tested to see if they have the virus?

  • Laboratory tests for Zika virus infection diagnosis are of limited availability. People can contact their healthcare provider, who should then consult with the Utah Department of Health for approval, if they meet the following criteria;
    • Pregnant women with a history of travel to an area with active Zika transmission, up to 12 weeks after returning.
    • Men returning from an area with active Zika transmission who have a pregnant partner, up to 12 weeks after returning.

Is there a Zika vaccine?

  • No, however there are cooperative efforts being started to develop one.

 

LINKS:

Utah Department of Health: Zika 

CDC: Zika Virus

CDC: Travel Infromation

Washington County Mosquito Abatement District

New Year’s Resolutions

By Kylaas Flanagan, SWUPHD Health Educator

Here are some familiar examples of New Year’s resolutions you’ll hear every year:
– I’m going to lose weight!
– I’m going to the gym every day!
– I’m not going to eat junk food!
– I’m going to quit smoking!
– I’m going to spend time with my family!
– I’m going to travel to new places!

Do you see a problem here? All of these are too vague – and too big – to accomplish with just willpower alone, and most New Year’s resolutions are built on a foundation of willpower instead of planning and preparation. The most effective way to accomplish your resolutions is through gradual, predictable, and incremental changes.

Here are two rules to use when making any change:
1) Create a S.M.A.R.T. goal
2) Keep your time frames short – only one or two weeks per goal

Rule #1: S.M.A.R.T. Goals
These goals have five characteristics. They are:
1) Specific
This means having a clear objective. You know what you have to do to accomplish the goal. “I’m going to spend time with my family” is a great idea, but at some point, you need to get down to the details.
2) Measurable
You need to have some type of outcome that can be measured. It doesn’t matter how big or small that measurement is, just that you can keep track of it.
3) Achievable
Ask yourself “Can I actually do this thing in this time frame?” you can set a goal of dead-lifting 800 pounds by tomorrow, but there’s really no way to accomplish that goal without the use of a forklift.
4) Realistic
Every goal can be too easy or too difficult. Find a middle ground that allows you to stretch your body and mind.
5) Time-Bound
At what point will you hold yourself accountable?

Let’s re-frame the New Year’s resolutions mentioned above:.
– By January 15th, I’m going to lose three pounds by eating from home and taking a 20 minute walk each day.
– I’m going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next two weeks.
– I’m going to rid my pantry of junk food this Saturday. On Sunday, I will plan my meals for next week.
– By the end of the week, I will contact WayToQuit.org and see what quit services would be best to help me quit tobacco use.
– By next Thursday, I will identify four activities that my family would enjoy which use less than $20.
– On Friday, I will spend 20 minutes with my spouse to find three places we’d like to go this year. On Saturday, I will spend one hour to calculate how to finance those trips.

Much better (and more do-able), right? You’ll I feel great when you check your first goal off the list, then making another one for the next two weeks.

Rule #2: Two Weeks or Less

Try to set your time frames for under two weeks. You can easily plan for those goals because two weeks from now isn’t a long span of time, unlike months or years. Having an overarching goal of “by the end of the year I want to fit into these pants without struggling” is great, but having 25 two-week goals to get there will definitely be more effective.

Another problem of the common New Year’s resolutions is that they are just that – common. I Why not spice it up a little bit? Consider making a competition between:
– Taking the stairs and taking the elevator
– Consecutive hours sitting and the number of five minute walks you take in a day
– Miles walked and hours in front of a screen
– Servings of fruits & vegetables and the number of sweets you consume
– Hours at the gym and hours on the couch
– Servings of sugary drinks versus servings of water

Keep track of your progress in a visual way. Write it down in a notebook, hang a chart on your fridge, or make a note on your phone; just make sure you’ll see it every day. Constant reminders that you are working on positive changes in your life are influential to your success.

The goal should be to improve. Try to increase the positive and decrease the negative even if the change seems small right now. You can easily move your intensity up over the course of several days.

Remember, keep it short! Start out with one of these for a week, then move up. Later on in the year, you’ll keep remembering that you did that one challenge, and it felt good. So why not do it again? Also, having a pro and a con to work on helps because you’re not “just” depriving yourself of the things that you want to do; you’re also substituting healthier options that make you feel better in the long run.

What do you do for New Year’s resolutions? Have you had success in previous years, or is this the year to buck the trend? If you try these ideas out, feel free to tell us how it went, along with any tips that might help others along their journey to a healthier year.

All the best!