Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mental Health and Veterans Court

Many veterans suffer from the lingering effects of multiple deployments and traumatic events. This can lead to self-medicating, and sometimes, to law enforcement intervention. Fortunately, Thurston County has developed a judicial court with the specific purpose of helping veterans in these situations.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Flu Season 101 For Caretakers

Every year we have an influenza (flu) season. In the U.S. the number of people getting sick with the flu peaks between November–March. If you are caring for someone who is sick, whether a child or an older adult, there are a few things you should know.

First, these are the symptoms of flu versus a cold.

Second, consider contacting a health care provider if:
  • They have flu symptoms.
  • They are at higher risk for complications from the flu, this includes young children and adults age 65+.
  • They are very sick or worried about being sick.

Third, seek care through an emergency room if you see these signs.
·         In children
o   Fast breathing or trouble breathing.
o   Bluish skin color.
o   Not drinking enough fluids.
o   Not waking up or not interacting.
o   Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held.
o   Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
o   Fever with rash.
o   In addition to these, get medical help right away for infants who:
§  Are unable to eat.
§  Have trouble breathing.
§  Have no tears when crying.
§  Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.
·         In adults
o   Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
o   Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
o   Sudden dizziness.
o   Confusion.
o   Severe or persistent vomiting.
o   Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

Finally, as a caretaker here are a few important things for you to do to keep yourself and others healthy.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is ill.
  • Keep the sick person home and away from crowds. This helps prevent further spread of illness. 
  • If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now. It is not too late.

--Post by Mary Ann O'Garro, Epidemiologist

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Eat Right This Year!

Every January a lot of us make goals or resolutions to eat healthier, only to have them fade before Valentine’s Day.  Don’t lose heart just because January's over!  These simple tips can help keep you on track to a successful and healthy year!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Thurston County Awarded Spolight For Progress in National Challenge

                                                                 County Commissioners

John Hutchings - District One

Gary Edwards - District Two

Bud Blake - District Three


CONTACT:  Chris Hawkins, Community Engagement, Evidence & Partnerships, (360) 867-2513 or

Thurston County Awarded Spotlight for Progress in National Challenge
Project aims to boost physical activity through improved community design.

OLYMPIA –  Thurston County has been selected to receive $25,000 as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (the Challenge) Spotlight Award for its “Active Design for a Healthier Community” project. Ten winners and five honorable mentions were selected to improve opportunities for all Americans to take an active role in healthy living – regardless of income, education or ethnic background.

The award is part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, an initiative launched in 2016 by the Aetna Foundation, along with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), supporting small-to-midsize cities and counties to implement innovative solutions for their local public health issues. The $1.5 million “Challenge” competition is awarded among communities around the U.S. for programs to improve access to healthy foods, increase physical activity and reduce violence and crime. 50 finalists were chosen based on strategies to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five areas: healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.

The Thurston Thrives Community Design Action Team project focuses on identifying and supporting improvements to Thurston County’s regional trails, to make them more accessible for people living nearby to use. It’s part of an overall strategy to make daily physical activity easier for local residents, boosting their levels of exercise (30 minutes per day for adults, 60 minutes per day for children and youth). The project has posted its results at Thurston County Public Health & Social Services website: These include places where trail access paths are needed, number of nearby residents or employees, and locations for benches, signs and other improvements.

“This award recognizes the great partnerships at the heart of Thurston Thrives, and our continuing efforts to build a healthier community,” said Schelli Slaughter, Director of the County’s Public Health & Social Services Department. “The Community Design team and other local partners are working hard to make it easy, enjoyable and safe to go for a walk or engage in active transportation, so residents can get more healthy activity every day.”

For more information on the Spotlight Awards, the recognized organizations and the Challenge, visit Information on the local team’s work will be shared at the February 13 Board of Health meeting and at a regional active community design forum in March.



Friday, January 12, 2018

Hepatitis A: What You Should Know

Hepatitis A, a highly contagious infection that affects the liver, has been cropping up more in the news over the last few years, but many may not know much about the disease. The effects of this viral infection can vary, from a mild sickness that lasts a few weeks, to a much more severe illness lasting multiple months. Most people recover completely without any lasting issues, but while rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A is spread when a person accidentally ingests the virus, which is present in the fecal matter of an infected person.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A may start appearing roughly 2 to 4 weeks after exposure, but can appear as late as 7 weeks later. These symptoms include: Fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, or who has symptoms such as jaundice, should seek medical care.

Groups at higher risk for infection include people who have direct contact with an infected person, drug users, men who have sex with men, and people who travel to countries where Hepatitis A is common. Hepatitis A can spread quickly among homeless populations where people have less access to medical care, may be less likely to seek medical care, and may have fewer resources.

People who identify themselves as being in one of these high-risk groups, and who have not been previously vaccinated should get the Hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccine is a 2-shot series, effective if given within two weeks of exposure. Your pharmacy may be able to provide the vaccine, but you should call first to find out for certain. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Free Healthy Homes Class for Professionals & Residents

Learn how to identify, address and prevent housing-related health risks like mold, indoor air pollution, rodents and more.

When: Thursdays in February from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This class has four sessions for a total of eight hours. Light snacks will be served.

Where: Thurston County Public Health at 
412 Lilly Rd. NE Olympia 98506 (across from Providence St. Peter Hospital and served by Intercity Transit bus routes # 60, 62A and 62B)

In this class you will: 
  • Learn how healthy homes principles help keep the structure of a home in good condition.
  • Learn how housing conditions impact health.
  • Learn to identify, address and prevent housing-related health risks.
  • Gain useful knowledge that you can apply to your daily life.
  • Earn a certificate of completion.

Who should take this class: 
  • Renters, homeowners, landlords, parents, college students. Anyone who's interested!
  • Licensed contractors & home improvement service companies - ask about how to get on the Healthy Homes Program vendor list!
  • Social workers, home caregivers, medical & public health professionals. This class is great for professional development.

Register today! (360) 867-2674  TDD 711 or 1-800-833-6388

Friday, September 29, 2017

Keep up with the latest lake advisories

Do you have a favorite lake in Thurston County? Do you live on or near one of them? Do you like to visit Thurston County's beautiful lakes for fishing, boating, swimming, or dog-walking? If yes, you should know how to get up-to-date information on toxic algae blooms and other important advisories.

Here are the best ways to get the info:

For questions or to report an algae bloom or swimming-related illness call: (360) 867-2626