wood county health district

Flu season packs a punch with a feverish pitch

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This season’s flu strain is packing a punch and is showing no sign of giving up anytime soon. Though no “outbreaks” have been reported yet in Wood County, the flu has many local residents coughing, with fevers and headaches. On top of that, the H3N2 strain that is hitting throughout the U.S. also brings with it vomiting and diarrhea. “It’s a bad flu season, said Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator with the Wood County Health District. Part of the reason is that the H2N3 strain blanketing the country is resistant to the immunizations that many Americans got to ward off the flu. “The vaccine is a little less effective against that strain,” Aspacher said. Doctors’ offices and hospitals are required to report flu cases to the health district. As of last week, 38 Wood County residents had been hospitalized due to the flu. Public health officials realize there are many more local residents suffering from the flu who tough it out and do not seek medical care. No deaths have been reported in Wood County, though Lucas County has seen one child and three adults die from the flu this season. Those…


Finding the recipe to cure food inspection issues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Though the Wood County Health District has the power to shut down restaurants, the preferred outcome is that food establishments clean up their acts instead. When health sanitarians come across restaurants with serious issues, many of the violations are corrected on the spot. To make sure the problems have been solved, repeat inspections are often conducted. “It’s based on the severity of the violations,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District. Inspectors are sticklers for food temperatures and other issues that can lead to public health risks. The sanitarians’ biggest tool is education. But if that doesn’t clear up the problems, then restaurant owners can be called in for administrative hearings at the health district office. If the violations are serious enough, an injunction or restraining order can be issued. “Ben has the right to order immediate closure,” Glore said of Ben Batey, the county health commissioner. “Our expectation is the food license holders are responsible for knowing the rules,” Glore said. “We hold that license owner responsible for training people.” But before any license is yanked, the sanitarians will make multiple attempts to educate the…


How to protect people, pets and pipes against the cold

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   We might as well get used to it. The cold dipped down to minus 4 degrees early this morning, and temperatures aren’t expected to get to 20 or above for another week. For some, the frigid temperatures are more than a cause for discomfort. The brittle cold can lead to burst pipes, frozen paws, frostbitten fingers and car problems. Some professionals in Bowling Green accustomed to dealing with the complications of cold weather offered some advice on how to protect people, pets, pipes and vehicles during these frigid temperatures. First, how people can prevent harm to themselves … “I wouldn’t be out more than a half hour at a time,” said Kevin Hosley, registered nurse at Wood County Hospital Emergency Department. And bundle up. “Any exposed skin should be covered.” People with lung problems or the elderly should avoid being out in this brittle cold, Hosley added. The most serious risk to humans is hypothermia, when the body’s temperature drops dangerously low, said Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator with the Wood County Health District. “Basically, your body starts to lose heat faster than it can replace it,” Aspacher said. One symptom of…


Pass the turkey – not food poisoning – on Thanksgiving

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sure, Butterball has a turkey hotline for novice Thanksgiving cooks on Thursday. But it’s doubtful that their emergency operators have to tell many people not to use the hot cycle of the dishwasher to thaw out their frozen turkeys. That was one bit of advice dished out by the Wood County Health District to a local food establishment years ago. When asked last week for some tips on how Thanksgiving hosts can prepare a feast without poisoning their guests, the restaurant inspectors revisited some unforgettable turkey tragedies. In many cases, restaurants want to serve up all the holiday favorites, but just don’t have room to safely thaw out giant turkeys in their refrigerators. So they devise some creative methods. Registered sanitarian Julie Nye told about the turkeys thawing in a mop sink. That’s a no-no. Then there was the turkey in the dishwasher, with the appliance working double time to also wash all the vegetables for the trimmings. “They thought it would thaw faster,” Nye said. “There are creative ways to thaw that become a public health nightmare.” The best advice is to plan ahead, so the bird has time to thaw…


‘Real Men Wear Pink’ … for an entire month

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some men are uneasy about wearing pink. Not Ben Batey. And that’s a good thing, considering Batey will be wearing pink every day during the month of October. Batey, Wood County’s health commissioner, has signed up for the American Cancer Society fundraiser called “Real Men Wear Pink.” Ten men from Northwest Ohio were asked to take the pink challenge to raise funds for breast cancer research. Batey is the only one in Wood County. In order to wear pink every day for the month, Batey is having to augment his wardrobe. “My wife went out and bought me a bunch of pink shirts,” he said. “I told her not to go too crazy, it’s just for one month.” Some days it may be a pink tie, or pink socks. So far he hasn’t purchased any pink pants or jackets. Batey was approached to take the “Real Men Wear Pink” challenge by Kami Wildman, outreach coordinator at the county health district. He agreed – and then he saw the rules. “I thought she just meant occasionally,” wearing pink – not every day. “But by then I was committed,” he said. Batey actually doesn’t…


BGSU teams with Wood County to monitor mosquitoes

By BOB CUNNINGHAM BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications Notice an uptick in mosquitoes in northwest Ohio? You can thank climate change. Warmer summers mean longer mosquito seasons, and milder winters signify a higher survival rate for mosquitoes. Those conditions, which have allowed for the emergence of diseases such as that caused by Zika virus, are cause for concern — especially as mosquitoes that vector, or carry, such viruses migrate farther north. “What’s happened the last two to three years has led to a lot of concern about mosquito-borne pathogens and viruses,” said Dr. Dan Pavuk, an insect biologist and lecturer in Biological Sciences at Bowling Green State University. “South Florida last summer in mosquito season had more than 200 cases of the Zika virus in humans that were actually documented to be transmitted by mosquitoes. That has spurred the interest in revitalizing a lot of the mosquito surveillance.” The Wood County Health District recently received a $17,696 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to study mosquitoes in Wood County. The health district contracted with BGSU to assist in its mosquito surveillance project. Pavuk and two undergraduate biology students, Erica Eskins of Bellevue, Ohio, and Hannah Alanis of Oregon, Ohio, have…


Communities can work together to support breastfeeding mothers

(Submitted by the Wood County Health District) Breastfeeding is a personal choice, but communities play a vital role in informing and supporting a mother’s decision to breastfeed her baby. Returning our communities to a breastfeeding supportive culture will take efforts by family, friends, employers, educational institutions, hospitals and businesses. Wood County Health District is reminding families of the benefits of breastfeeding during Breastfeeding Awareness Month. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: It’s a TEAM thing!” is intended to promote the supporting role in successful breastfeeding. Research shows that if a mother’s breastfeeding efforts are supported, she is more likely to give it a try, and more likely to keep going even if things get tough. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of appropriate solid food for the first year and beyond. Research suggests breastfeeding is a way to lower the risk of infections and diseases for both mothers and their babies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Ohio’s 2016 breastfeeding rate of 77.7 percent ranks 38th in the nation. “In light of the monetary and lifesaving benefits of breastfeeding,…


WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program expanded to county

(Submitted by Wood County Health District) The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is expanding the program into two additional counties, bringing the total number of Ohio counties participating in FMNP to 61. The 2017 expansion counties are Trumbull and Wood. The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is administered by the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Coupons are distributed to eligible WIC participants through local WIC clinics. Pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and some children participating in the program are eligible to receive a one-time benefit of $20 worth of coupons to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from authorized farmers between June 1 and Oct. 31. The benefits of the WIC FMNP are many. FMNP benefits farms by: Supporting local agriculture by increasing sales at farmers’ markets and farmstands. Promoting expansion and diversification of family farms by encouraging the production of fresh fruits and vegetables. FMNP benefits WIC participants by: Providing WIC participants with an opportunity to improve their health by eating more nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. Introducing WIC families to farmers’ markets and farmstands and teaching them to select and prepare a wide variety of locally grown produce. FMNP benefits communities by: Helping…


Sugar Ridge still under EPA orders to get sewers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a decade now, the community of Sugar Ridge has been on the Ohio EPA’s clean up list. In 2007, the Wood County Health District got a report of a sewage nuisance in the unincorporated village located north of Bowling Green. The EPA took over sampling and “deemed it a sewage nuisance,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District. The area was ordered to connect to a public sewer system. But that proved to be easier said than done. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District conducted a feasibility study to find out how to make it affordable to hook up the homes to public sewer. “They found it was very costly to build the sewer” – too expensive for the average homeowners in Sugar Ridge, Glore said last week. The project recently came onto the health district’s radar again when a concerned citizen reported that a resident of the Sugar Ridge area was trying to install a new sewer without approval, on Long Street. Upon inspection, Glore found that the resident was actually trying to fix a drainage system. She also found serious ground water drainage…


Survey of BG houses shows increase in deficiencies

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A housing survey in Bowling Green has found 795 primary deficiencies among homes – a 26 percent increase since the last survey five years ago. The deficiencies included such problems as faulty roofs, chimneys or foundations. The housing survey is performed every five years by the Wood County Health District. A sanitarian, Julie Nye, viewed each home in the city in 2016. “She walked past every one of the houses in Bowling Green,” Health District Environmental Director Lana Glore said of Nye. “I don’t think we found anything alarming,” Glore reported Monday evening to Bowling Green City Council. However, the survey showed that while the number of houses barely grew in the city, the number of deficiencies saw greater increases. That is probably to be expected, said council member Bob McOmber. “Everything is five years older,” he said. “I’m not surprised.” Each home was surveyed based on 14 primary and 10 non-primary categories. Primary categories included: Roofs, siding conditions, stairs and railings, windows, foundations, driveways, public walkways, chimneys, porches, doors, accessory structures, soffits and roof edging, private walks, and exterior sanitation. The non-primary categories included: Paint, attached garages, grading or draining, yard…