VERSAILLES – Health officer Dr. David Welsh stressed the importance of getting a flu shot during the Oct. 8 Ripley County Health Department Board meeting.

“Earlier today on Facebook, (U.S. Surgeon General) Dr. Jerome Adams posted he got his flu shot, and that encouraged me to get mine.”

“MedPage Today had a really nice article, ‘Vaccines Work. Period.’ (https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/idweek/82599) .... It explained how they (vaccines) work and why they are so important. There’s a lot of anti-vaccine stuff out there, and it’s almost like we have to relearn what we’ve taught developing countries about obtaining herd immunity,” the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.

“For babies and those on chemo, their health and safety depends on those around them .... so let’s help not only yourself by getting vaccinated, but also your family, friends, neighbors and those who can’t help themselves.”

“Get your flu shot because, believe it or not, people die from the flu ... (and) if someone is looking systematic, stay away from them.”

Deanna Youngman, Margaret Mary Health infection prevention coordinator, said, “We had our first flu positive this year on Sept. 1 and since then, there have been nine other cases.” She also encouraged everyone to get their flu shots soon because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection.

Welsh noted, “This is a beautiful time of year with leaves coming off the trees, which means we can see things that hold water that can be mosquito breeding grounds. It’s a good time to clean up.”

“Also, help your next door neighbors. Maybe they could use a little hand. Help them get ready for winter. Are they prepared if we get a big snow? Do they have enough prescriptions?

“This is hunting season. My son-in-law is an avid hunter. I’ve learned that the hunters around here are extremely good at safety. They teach their sons and daughters and their grandkids about gun safety. If someone is interested in taking up hunting, make sure they have had the proper training .... (and) if you’re well-versed in firearms safety, help your neighbor or others in your family so injuries can be reduced.”

The topic of “mental health also comes up a lot .... If you know of someone who has mental health challenges, help them get assistance so they’re not a statistic,” he noted.

Administrator Holley Rose said she received an email from the Indiana State Department of Health about “training the trainer for the youth e-cigarette and Juul prevention program, Catch my Breath.”

The program provides up-to-date information to teachers, parents and health professionals to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about the use of e-cigarettes, including Juul devices. This program will be instituted in the county schools.

She revealed that Septic Smart Week was in mid-September, and “we gave out brochures and magnets, which showed ways to protect and maintain septic systems.”

Welsh added, “When you’re looking to see if you’re up to date on septic care, think about when the last time was that you had your well checked. If you can’t remember, it’s probably time to get it checked.”

RCHD Board President Jason Smith reported that the latest round of ISDH Department of Emergency Preparedness grant money was used to provide Stop the Bleed kits to all schools in the county, including the Southeastern Career Center, Versailles, and St. Nicholas School, Sunman.

Welsh said, “This just reinforces how proud I am of this group. Even before the Legislature mandated” that schools must have people trained in how to use the kits, “we were doing it. I am very proud of the department and what they’ve done .... Ripley County is well-known at the Indiana State Department of Health for making things happen.”

Two individuals who passed away recently and were involved in emergency services were recognized.

Grants coordinator Pat Thomas said Janice Hosmer, who died Oct. 4, “volunteered with the health department in so many areas .... This woman was amazing. We just lost a great asset, a great person.”

Welsh noted that Shawn Negangard died Oct. 6. He was active with the Osgood Volunteer Fire Department and was a founding member of Task Unit 1.

“We lost a couple of winners this week,” the health officer pointed out.

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 220114.

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