Public Health Emerging Issues – December 26, 2018

VAPING ON-THE-RISE IN MESA COUNTY, COLORADO AND NATION

  • The use of electronic vapor products is increasing throughout the nation, and Colorado and Mesa County are no exception.
    • Electronic vapor products heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of particles in the air and can look like cigarettes, cigars, tank devices and even USB flash drives.
      • Nearly half (48 percent) of Mesa County high school students report ever using an electronic vapor product and one-third have used one in the past 30 days.
      • One in four Mesa County adults report ever using an electronic vapor product. Just six percent report using one in the past 30 days.
        • These percentages are in-line with Colorado use in the same age groups.
  • Less than half of Mesa County high school students (45 percent) believe vaping is harmful, even though electronic vapor products are known to contain harmful substances including heavy metals, cancer-causing chemicals, flavoring linked to serious lung disease and nicotine, which can harm the developing brain.
    • Young people who use electronic vapor products may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
  • Federal and state government entities are working to reduce the marketing and availability of electronic vapor products to youth.
    • The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory on e-cigarette use among youth, in December. The advisory notes e-cigarette use among youth has become an epidemic.
    • Governor Hickenlooper declared November Vape-Free November in Colorado due to the youth vaping epidemic in our state.
    • In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers who illegally sold JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors.
    • The FDA also issued 12 warning letters to online retailers that are selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies.
  • Parents are advised to talk with their kids about the risks of using electronic vapor products. Click here to learn more about these products and how to talk to your kids about them.

 

IMMUNIZE TO PREVENT MEASLES OUTBREAKS

  • One in ten Mesa County Valley School District 51 students aren’t immunized against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR).
    • In order to prevent outbreaks, it’s important for at least 93 percent of a population to be immunized; in this case, only 90 percent are immunized, making it easier for measles to spread.
      • In Mesa County, 63 percent of elementary schools, 88 percent of middle schools, 100 percent of high schools, and 50 percent of alternative schools have at least 93 percent of students up-to-date on MMR vaccine.
  • Although Mesa County hasn’t seen a case of measles since reporting began in 2000, Colorado has had one reported case of measles each year in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Cases of measles continue to be reported across the nation.
    • People who aren’t up-to-date on their MMR vaccine are at risk of getting sick with measles – a highly contagious viral illness spread by coughing and sneezing.
    • Children younger than five years are at higher risk for serious complications related to measles, including death.
  • The best way to prevent the spread of measles is through immunization.
    • Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine:
      • One dose between 12 and 15 months of age, and
      • Another dose between 4 and 6 years of age.
    • Adults who were immunized prior to 1968 with either inactivated measles vaccine or measles vaccine of an unknown type should be re-immunized.
      • Talk to your health care provider for guidance if you’re unsure if you need to be re-immunized.
    • Adults born before 1957 are considered to be immune to measles.
  • Signs and symptoms of measles usually appear between 7 and 14 days after a person is infected and include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.
    • Later symptoms include: tiny white spots inside of the mouth, fever and a flat red rash that starts at the top of the body and works its way down.
  • Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) offers MMR vaccine. We serve all patients regardless of ability to pay and can help residents figure out which vaccines they need. Call (970) 248-6900 to make an appointment.

 

HELP PREVENT NOROVIRUS IN MESA COUNTY

  • Winter months are a great time for norovirus to spread in homes, schools, child care centers, long-term care facilities, gyms, workplaces and any other place people gather.
    • Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache and body aches.
    • Symptoms usually occur 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus and last between one and three days.
      • Norovirus can be a serious illness, causing dehydration – especially in the very young, the elderly and people with other illnesses.
  • Norovirus is not a reportable condition to public health, but our team works with child care facilities, schools and long-term care facilities when outbreaks occur.
    • One confirmed outbreak of norovirus was reported to MCPH in November.
  • Norovirus is spread when tiny particles of poop or vomit from an infected person get into your mouth – which can happen easier than you think.
    • Foods and drinks can be contaminated with norovirus.
    • Surfaces or objects – like counter tops or toys – can be contaminated with norovirus. If you touch a contaminated surface and then put your fingers in your mouth, you can be infected with the virus.
    • Direct contact with someone who is infected with norovirus also increases your risk of getting sick – especially if you’re caring for them, changing diapers or sharing food or utensils.
  • Prevent the spread of norovirus by:
    • Practicing good handwashing, often.
    • Disinfecting surfaces using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed.
    • Staying home when sick.
  • Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms of norovirus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, visit health.mesacounty.us.

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