The flu “is still here. I heard people saying last week they knew somebody who tested positive,” reported Franklin County Health Department nurse Angie Ruther.
“It’s not too late for a flu shot,” she advised. A flu clinic is open every weekday between 8:30-9:15 a.m. and 2:30-3:45 p.m. at FCHD’s office, Room 210 of the government center, 1010 Franklin Ave., Brookville. Vaccines cost $25, although some insurance policies are accepted by FCHD, which lessens the expense. Vaccines are free for children through 18 if they don’t have health insurance or are on Medicaid.
After the clinics started Oct. 7, 462 vaccines were dispensed during 2013’s fourth quarter, according to registrar Mary Burk’s report, which was detailed at a Feb. 4 quarterly meeting. Flu vaccine clinics took place at Laurel, Brookville and Mount Carmel schools; the Laurel Library; and Fairbrook Manor apartments, Brookville, which houses seniors and the disadvantaged. Ruther explained, “We do that every year. Some of them can’t get out. A lot of our patients live there.”
Ruther and FCHD supervisor Diane Turney, R.N., organized a clinic to give flu and childhood vaccines to Oldenburg Academy foreign exchange students Nov. 21. “Eight Chinese students came here. They don’t do their vaccines the same way we do” and some were lacking necessary immunizations. “Half of them will be here next year, too.”
In the past quarter, the pair also administered 14 free pregnancy tests during the twice-a-day clinic hours. If results are positive, “we do follow up with them” to see if they have already seen physicians or have appointments. The nurses encourage smokers to quit and all pregnant women to take prenatal vitamins to help prevent birth defects and have healthier babies.
Ruther called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Dec. 9, 2013, to investigate the case of a county resident who had campylobacter, a bacterial infection. “The person worked at Kopp’s Turkey Sales, Harrison, Ohio, but he lived here,” which is why FCHD was called in. “You can get it from undercooked poultry.”
She also responded to five cases of salmonella, three of hepatitis C and one of Lyme disease in October, November and December.
Board members discussed a complaint about a person living in a camper on a relative’s property on Pence Road southwest of Metamora. According to the nurse, “I don’t think that man has the finances to do otherwise.” Because that is against county rules, Franklin County Area Plan Commission executive director Larry Franzman will investigate.
The two nurses spend much time making home visits. Turney aided 63 with cardiovascular disease, 18 with diabetes and 62 with chronic conditions. Likewise, Ruther assessed 61 with cardiovascular disease, 54 with diabetes and 52 with chronic health issues. Ruther reported they often help organize medications for patients. “We set them up in a box” for each day of the week, so they know when to take pills. Also, “when they’re getting low and need a refill, we call for them.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.
Coordinator preps for crises • Since beginning work Nov. 1, public health coordinator Andrew Naumann has performed many planning tasks, according to his quarterly report. As required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, he converted a mass prophylaxis plan to a medical countermeasure dispensing plan and also prepared for the CDC's Local Technical Assistance Review, which is slated for April 14. Naumann also performed a comprehensive assessment of the health department's current capability to respond to emergencies and disasters. • The coordinator advised county commissioners on Emergency Medical Services programs and was appointed to serve as a liaison between them and the EMS contractor. Naumann also attended a state Medical Reserve Corps planning conference. After reviewing an American Telemedicine Association operations guidelines draft, he was asked to served on the Indiana Community Paramedicine/Mobile Integrated Healthcare Working Group.