MCHD recognizes Juneteenth Day events

June 15, 2022

MCHD recognizes Juneteenth Day events

MOBILE, Alabama — The Mobile County Health Department’s Health Equity Office would like to honor Juneteenth as a day of major significance in American history, showing that freedom and racial equality have always been and continue to be a hard-fought battle.

Celebrated annually on June 19, “Juneteenth” commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The date represents the Union soldiers’ arrival in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, with news of the end of the Civil War and freedom for all who had been in bondage.

Events occurring throughout the weekend in honor of Juneteenth include:

The City of Mobile is offering a Juneteenth: Education through Celebration Event-filled weekend. Activities include:
• Thursday, June 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. — History talks and cocktail hour at the History Museum of Mobile
• Friday, June 17, from 2 p.m. to sundown — Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail Tour starting at the History Museum of Mobile
• Sunday, June 19, from 2 to 6 p.m. — Afternoon of family fun at the Hope Community Center

Learn more about the City of Mobile’s events at https://www.cityofmobile.org/parks-rec/events/juneteenth.

The City of Prichard and Alabama Power Foundation is offering a Prichard Juneteenth Parade on Sunday, June 19, at noon on Route B. A festival will follow at 3 p.m. in Downtown Prichard on South Wilson Avenue. Learn more about the City of Prichard’s event at https://www.thecityofprichard.org/juneteen-celebration-2022.

The Mobile Public Library is offering a special event on Saturday, June 18, at 2 p.m. at the Ben May Main Branch. The event will feature Ben Raines, a journalist who first located the wreckage confirmed as the ruin of the Clotilda, and a panel discussion of experts from the Clotilda Descendants Association and MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation.

According to the website www.juneteenth.com, Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation – which had been issued on January 1, 1863 – was read to newly freed African Americans in Texas by U.S. Army General Gordon Granger. Texas was the last Confederate State to have the proclamation announced after the end of the American Civil War in April of that year. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and minimal fighting meant few Union troops were present to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Alabama became the 40th state to recognize Juneteenth through the passage of “Recognizing the Celebration of Juneteenth Day” (Act No. 2011-398, SJR-157) legislation sponsored by state Sen. Hank Sanders in 2011. In January this year, state Rep. Thomas Jackson pre-filed a bill to designate the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth National Freedom Day. Jackson says this designated state holiday would also allow public schools to offer instruction and programs regarding Juneteenth.
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This media product was supported by funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors. It does not necessarily stand for the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MCHD warns of health risks related to high temperatures

June 13, 2022

MCHD warns of health risks related to high temperatures

MOBILE, Alabama — The National Weather Service office in Mobile has issued a Heat Advisory for coastal counties of Alabama and Florida, as well as far southeastern Mississippi counties, today from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m.

High temperatures reaching the middle 90s, coupled with high relative humidity, will result in heat index values approaching 110 degrees in these coastal areas. Similar heat index values are expected for Tuesday, and another heat advisory may become necessary.

The Mobile County Health Department is warning people that heat cramps, sunburn, and heat exhaustion are likely, and heat stroke is possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity when Heat Index values are at these levels.

Infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, people who have a mental illness, and those who are physically ill (especially with heart disease or high blood pressure) are at the greatest risk. Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year.

Tips for preventing heat-related disorders
• Drink more fluids regardless of your activity level. Do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
• Do not drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. They cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.
• Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to a shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
• Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Never leave children (or anyone else) or pets in a closed, parked vehicle.

• Babies are at higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if they get too hot during sleep. You can learn more by visiting https://mailchi.mp/mail/marking-national-minority-health-month-and-promoting-safe-infant-sleep-for-all-601492?e=114687e457
• Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need more frequent watching.

If you must be out in the heat
• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
• Cut down on outdoor exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
• Try to rest often in shady areas.
• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Also, put sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

Heat Index and Related Heat Disorders
Heat Index Possible heat-related disorders for people in higher-risk groups
130°F or higher Heatstroke/sunstroke is highly likely with continued exposure.
105° to 130°F Sunstroke, heat cramps, or heat exhaustion likely; and heat stroke possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
90° to 105°F Sunstroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
80° to 90°F Fatigue possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.

 

 

HIV support groups meetings planned

June 9, 2022

HIV support groups meetings planned

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department and Lifelines Counseling Services will soon begin an all-gender support group that will address real world experiences faced by people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

The support group will gather on the second Thursday of each month at Lifelines Counseling Services located at 4904 Oak Circle Drive North in Mobile. The sessions will last from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. They begin on June 16.

“A support group of any kind is beneficial to individuals seeking to make solid connections with people who genuinely want to help,” said Michelle Bernard, Clinic Administrator for MCHD’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. “The Mobile County Health Department and Lifelines Counseling Services have joined forces to provide a safe and confidential environment for people living with HIV to discuss topics that matter to them and impact their lives on a daily basis.”

Bernard said group participants will have the opportunity to share, listen, and learn.

“By the end of the first session, each participant will hopefully leave knowing he or she is not alone and invite a friend to the next session,” Bernard said. “If you or someone you care about is living with HIV, make plans to attend the first session and you will not be disappointed.”

For more information, please contact Ashley Rocker at 251-431-5100.

HIV SUPPORT GROUP 06.16.22

MCHD continues to offer vaccine to homebound residents

June 8, 2022

MCHD continues to offer vaccine to homebound residents

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department’s COVID-19 Response Team is continuing to find new ways to provide vaccines to the community. One of those is to offer Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations to homebound individuals.

Interested individuals can sign up for this service on the www.MCHDcares.com website. On the top line is a tab titled “Request at Home Vaccination.” Also available is a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to open the request.

Once the form is completed, it will be sent to the COVID-19 Response Team for scheduling. MCHD staff will provide the Moderna vaccine on Wednesdays and Fridays.

This service is also available to family members living with the homebound individual and/or their caregivers.

The COVID-19 Response Team will continue to provide vaccinations (Moderna and Pfizer) and rapid testing at its Festival Centre location in West Mobile (Suite 101-A; corner of Airport Boulevard and Montlimar Drive), the Public Health Response Unit located at the Semmes Health Center (3810 Wulff Road East), and the Southwest Public Health Center in Tillman’s Corner (5580 Inn Road).

These in-clinic services are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are no out-of-pocket costs. While no appointment is required to receive COVID-19 vaccine, individual appointments must be made for rapid testing online at this link — https://appointments.mchd.org.

Additional information on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing can be found at www.MCHDcares.com or by calling 251-410-MCHD (6243).

MCHD In-Home Vaccinations

MCHD observing Community Health Improvement Week

June 8, 2022

MCHD observing Community Health Improvement Week

MOBILE, Alabama — The Mobile County Health Department is currently observing Community Health Improvement Week. The theme this year is “Bridging the Gap for Community Health.”

Much of the focus in on the efforts of our Community Health Workers (CHW). They are trained public health workers who serve as a bridge between communities, health care systems, and public health departments.

Scheduled for today is a special episode of Wellness Wednesday at 1 p.m. on MCHD’s various social media outlets. The topic is “We are your Community Connection.” Speaking for the program will be Tiffany Taylor, Program Administrative Support Specialist for the MCHD Community Health Worker program.

On Thursday, the daily theme will be “Community Efforts to Stop the Violence.” The CHWs will be visiting MCHD locations to distribute orange ribbons. These ribbons are to be worn as a symbol for gun violence prevention and awareness.

On Friday, the daily theme will be “Crossing Paths with our Community Health Workers.” A crossword puzzle will be sent to all MCHD employees. Those who successfully complete the puzzle and send it back to Ms. Taylor will be entered into a drawing for prizes.

To learn more about the CHW program, contact Tokie Dunn – the Director of MCHD’s Community Prevention Programs – at 251-690-7525.

Dr. Michaels provides update on Monkeypox

June 7, 2022

Dr. Michaels provides update on Monkeypox

MOBILE, Alabama — Monkeypox is a very rare disease caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus. It is usually found in Central and West Africa and does not occur naturally in the United States.

However, at least nine cases have recently been identified in the U.S., with more cases expected. This situation is being closely monitored by public health. At this time, there are no cases of Monkeypox in Alabama.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has created a website for Monkeypox information as it relates to Alabama,” said. Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. “The Monkeypox situation is very fluid.”

For additional information, Dr. Michaels would refer all providers to visit https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/monkeypox/index.html.

“If you have a clinical request, please select ‘Healthcare Providers’ on the left side of the screen, then select ‘Monkeypox Testing Consultation Form for Healthcare Providers’. You will be prompted to fill out the form, which will generate a call back by ADPH.”

Dr. Michaels said the Centers for Disease Control issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) guidance on May 25. This has updated epidemiologic information to assist providers in considering Monkeypox in their differential.

“The Mobile County Health Department will work with the provider, patient, and state health department to assist in the public health management of the patient,” Dr. Michaels said.
Monkeypox was so named because it was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys. It is most often found in small mammals such as rodents, including rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits, and prairie dogs.

The first outbreak of Monkeypox in the U.S. was reported in 2003 among people who became sick after coming in contact with infected pet prairie dogs. Historically, most cases of Monkeypox usually occurred after a person came into contact with an infected wild animal or animal product.

For information on the most recent cases of Monkeypox in the U.S., you may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at bit.ly/3xbZA0f. A one-page flyer from ADPH can be downloaded at bit.ly/3m9Pp64.

MCHD works with public over spraying for mosquitoes

June 6, 2022

MCHD works with public over spraying for mosquitoes

MOBILE, Alabama — The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) has battled mosquitoes since opening its doors in 1816, and it still provides a comprehensive program through its Vector Services department.

The Mosquito Control division has many missions. These include treating breeding sites to control mosquitoes during the larvae stage, running night-time spray trucks across 50 routes in Mobile County, deploying traps to determine which mosquito species are present, employing an airplane to treat rural areas not easily accessible by trucks, and maintaining a sentinel chicken program that tracks mosquitoes that are actively transmitting pathogens.

Although the majority of the public welcomes these interventions, some have questions about the spraying of chemicals to control the mosquito populations. MCHD has a list of people who have told us they are allergic to the spray or from beekeepers concerned about their hives. While public health comes first, MCHD works with residents whenever it is possible.

To express any reservations or concerns related to possible adulticide application in the complainant immediate area you may contact Vector Services at 251-410-4375. If there are any other concerns, Vector Services can be contacted at 251-690-8124 or 251-690-8819.

Earlier this year, Vector Services implemented an online portal to help the public request assistance for mosquitoes or rodents and to receive feedback on their request. To learn more about the department, you may visit https://mchd.org/vector-control. From there, you can find a link and a QR code to access the online portal for ordering services.

MCHD to again host in-person breastfeeding support groups

June 1, 2022

Income guidelines to apply for WIC program change

MOBILE, Alabama — Income Eligibility Guidelines for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) special supplemental nutrition program will be updated as of today. The income eligibility guidelines are used by state agencies — such as the Alabama Department of Public Health — in determining the income eligibility of persons applying to participate in the WIC program.

Participants in the program receive free nutrition education and breastfeeding peer counseling support. Food benefits are redeemable at WIC-authorized stores throughout Alabama and are issued through electronic food benefits statewide.

WIC participants must have both limited income and nutritional needs. Families who receive Medicaid, SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), or Family Assistance (formerly known as TANF or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) already meet the income qualifications for WIC. Even families who do not qualify for these programs may be eligible for WIC because of its higher income limits.

Under the latest federal poverty guidelines, more families may be eligible for the program. WIC is open to participants with incomes up to 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. In addition, if you or another member of your family has lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may also be eligible for WIC. Check the table below to see whether your family qualifies:

Family Size * Annual Monthly Weekly
1 $25,142 $2,096 $484
2 $33,874 $2,823 $652
3 $42,606 $3,551 $820
4 $51,338 $4,279 $988
5 $60,070 $5,006 $1,156
6 $68,802 $5,734 $1,324
7 $77,534 $6,462 $1,492
8 $86,266 $7,189 $1,659

* For a pregnant woman, count each unborn baby in the family size.

To be eligible for WIC, one must be a pregnant woman, breastfeeding woman, postpartum woman, or a child less than 5 years of age. Pregnant women and children 1 to 5 years old may get yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese, juice, cereal, whole grains, beans or peanut butter, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Breastfeeding women may get all these foods plus canned tuna or salmon and extra milk, cheese, and eggs. Infants may get infant formula if not fully breastfed and infant cereal, fruits, and vegetables after 6 months of age.

The Mobile County Health Department’s Office of Nutrition Services manages the local WIC program. A monthly average of 11,272 participants received WIC food instruments during the Fiscal Year 2021.

To qualify, a person must meet the income guidelines, be a resident of Alabama, and have been seen by a health professional at the WIC clinic. For more information, call 251-690-8829 or visit https://mchd.org/wic.

Rabies clinics planned in June for dogs, cats, and ferrets

June 1, 2022

Rabies clinics planned in June for dogs, cats, and ferrets

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department provides low-cost rabies shots for dogs, cats, and ferrets that are good for one year during weekend clinics. Here is a list of the rabies clinics planned during June in Mobile County:

• June 4 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to noon, City of Mobile Animal Shelter, 855 Owens Street in Mobile
• June 10 (Friday), 10 a.m. to noon, Mobile County Animal Shelter, 7665 Howell’s Ferry Road in Mobile
• June 11 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to noon, Pet Supplies Plus, 803 Hillcrest Road in Mobile
• June 18 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to noon, Glamour Paws Grooming, 10005 Dauphin Island Parkway in Theodore

In order to adhere to social distancing recommendations, these events will be drive-through clinics. The cost of the rabies vaccine per pet is $12. All rabies shots are payable in cash.

Each month, MCHD’s Rabies Officer provides residents with low-cost vaccines for their pet dogs, cats, and ferrets at a variety of locations. The state of Alabama tasks local health departments with providing affordable rabies vaccinations to pet owners. MCHD’s Rabies Officer has provided 732 vaccinations (602 dogs and 130 cats) during 2022.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system. It is transmitted from infected mammals to humans and is fatal once symptoms appear. Symptoms of rabies include unusual behavior, irritability, headache, fever, inability to eat or drink, balance problems, circling, seizures, coma, and, finally, death. All warm-blooded mammals, including humans, are susceptible to rabies.

In 2021, MCHD’s Rabies Officer vaccinated 1,620 household pets. To learn more about our program, visit https://mchd.org/disease-control/#rabies.

A Rabies Quarantine Fact Sheet is available through the Alabama Department of Public Health at www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/assets/RabiesQuarantineFactSheet.pdf.

MCHD to again host in-person breastfeeding support groups

May 31, 2022

MCHD to again host in-person breastfeeding support groups

MOBILE, Ala. — The Women, Infants & Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program at the Mobile County Health Department brings back in-person breastfeeding support groups – The Lactation Circle — starting next month. The series had been suspended during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“WIC is excited to be offering in-person breastfeeding support groups at our local libraries,” said Claris Perkins, the District Nutrition Director at MCHD. “This is the perfect way to gain breastfeeding support from other breastfeeding moms and have all your questions answered by our lactation consultant, Meridith Gardner.

“Meridith can help troubleshoot supply issues, latching problems, and talk through barriers to breastfeeding. This is a great support group if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program provides support for breastfeeding women in Mobile County. The team is led by Gardner and staffed by peer counselors who encourage breastfeeding, address breastfeeding issues, and answer questions for those who choose to breastfeed.

The Lactation Circle groups are set to gather at these locations from 10 a.m. until noon:

• Semmes Regional Library (9150 Moffett Road in Semmes), June 10 and July 8.
• West Regional Library (5555 Grelot Road in Mobile), June 17 and July 15.
• Toulminville Library (601 Stanton Road in Mobile), June 22 and July 13.
• Grand Bay Library (10329 Freeland Avenue in Grand Bay), June 24 and July 22.

“We would love to see you and your babies this summer at one of our meetings,” Perkins said. “If you have any questions, please call Meridith at 251-690-8986.”

MCHD will continue to host support group meetings via the Zoom video platform for those unable to attend in person. These will be on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. The meeting ID is 931-7591-3799, while the passcode is 283163.

“Can’t join us in person? Catch us on our support zoom meetings instead,” Perkins said.

If you are not yet on WIC and are WIC eligible, please call 251-690-8829 to make an appointment at your most convenient WIC location. In addition, you can learn more by visiting https://mchd.org/wic.

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