Our network

Health

Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all Washington kids, Mr. Yuk needs your help! The lovable mascot of the Washington Poison Center wants children to send in their best artwork for the 8th annual statewide Poison Prevention Poster Contest.

The Washington Poison Center uses the contest to reminder parents and children to be vigilant about poisons and drugs. The winning poster will be part of the 2015 Poison Prevention Week campaign celebrated across the state during the third week in March.

The Poison Center is looking for young artists to create poison safety awareness through eye-catching posters displaying suggestions on how Mr. Yuk helps them avoid being poisoned. The contest is open to children ages 6 to 12 in Washington State. The top prize earns $500, a visit from Mr. Yuk to their school or program, a trip to the Capitol to meet their legislators and having their winning design featured as the poster for Poison Prevention Week. Four runners-up will receive $100 in the mail, and all contest participants will receive a gift from Mr. Yuk in the mail.

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Two Central Washington Seniors are launching a campaign this fall to honor the memory of the teen who made their best friend duo into a trio.

Three years ago this October, Josh Martin took his own life. It was a complete surprise to everyone who knew him.

“There were no signs or anything,” said Donnie Santos. “He was going to be a shortstop for the Spokane Falls baseball team. We had everything going for us. We think he was afraid to come out and ask for help.”

That fear is what Donnie Santos and Dean Neilson are trying to get rid of with the Bread Tie Challenge.

It was Martin's father Joe who came up with the campaign to memorialize his son, then handed it off to Donnie and Dean to run.

The Bread Tie Challenge draws its inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge, an easy and visible way to show that your life has been impacted by someone struggling with mental illness or depression, and that you support ending the stigma of shame and weakness that can be associated with it.

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

A Grant County child has been hospitalized with a severe respiratory that may be enterovirus D68. A test returned positive for enterovirus/rhinovirus, but was unable to distinguish between the two. Additional testing is being done at the Centers for Disease Control that will determine which it is, with results expected next week.

Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brezny issued a public health advisory to local healthcare providers and schools. The CDC has said this is a rapidly evolving situation. Previously EV-D68 has been rare in the U.S, but in other states the outbreaks are resulting in many children requiring ER visits and hospitalizations, mostly for breathing problems and severe asthma.

The virus spreads from person to person like a cold and has been causing mild to severe breathing illnesses (runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) both with and without fever. Children with per-existing asthma may suffer worse infections. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for enteroviruses.

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Getting ready for back to school means getting school supplies and backpacks, but it's also the perfect time to make sure children are up-to-date on their shots. Getting all of the recommended shots is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their kids' health.

A new survey from the Washington State Department of Health shows vaccination rates are on the rise (71 percent in 2013 versus 65 percent the year before) but are still below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent, leaving many kids unprotected.

Below is a summary of shots children need:

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

The Washington Department of Health has confirmed the first case of in-state West Nile virus since 2012.

A Walla Walla man in his 20's was exposed somewhere near his home and hospitalized. The infection was confirmed by testing at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline.

Two other Washington residents have been diagnosed with the infection this year, both both contracted the disease while traveling out of state. Additional reports of possible infections are currently under investigation.

“The mosquito samples that have tested positive for West Nile virus in eastern Washington this season are a reminder that the virus is here and we should protect ourselves,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “The best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites – at home and while traveling.”

So far 34 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in 2014, including:

Washington fourth in nation for reducing uninsured adults

Washington fourth in nation for reducing uninsured adults

A new Gallup poll puts Washington state fourth in the nation for reducing the number of uninsured adults since the new healthcare law took effect at the beginning of the year.

Washington dropped from 16.8 percent in 2013 to just 10.7 percent in the first half of 2014.

Governor Jay Inslee released a statement about today's report saying, “Gallup has confirmed what we know from our experience here in Washington: expanding coverage for working people in Washington by effectively implementing needed reforms makes a huge difference in getting people insured so they can get the health care they need. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act we enrolled more than 600,000 people in health coverage through our exchange, the Washington Healthplanfinder. We have a lot to be proud of, and will continue doing everything we can to make the ACA work for the people and businesses of Washington.”

Working 4 you: Just how good for you is running?

Working 4 you: Just how good for you is running?

Good news for runners.

A new study shows the benefits of running for your health, but this study says it doesn't matter if you're a 15-minute miler, or an elite marathoner. The benefits are still the same.

According to the study running, even for a few minutes a day, can reduce your risk of death from heart disease compared to those who don't run at all. That study was published this week in the journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers studied some 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15 year period. They noted their overall health, if they ran and how long they lived.

Compared to non-runners, investigators found those who ran had a 30% lower risk of death from all causes, and a 45% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

In fact, runners on average lived three years longer compared to those who did not hit the pavement.

When data was broken down by age, sex, body mass index, smoking and alcohol use, the benefits were still the same. And the speed at which runners ran made little difference.