Welcome to the Health Page! Scroll down to find information about local healthcare clinics, current healthcare issues, disaster preparedness, and healthy living resources.
Notable health issues in the news:
Regarding reports of a “radiation cloud” from Japan, from the LAUSD website: “As a result of the devastation caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the LAUSD’s response efforts will be coordinated with Jonathan E. Fielding, the Los Angeles County Health Officer; the California Department of Public Health, and the California Emergency Management Agency. At this time, the United States’ Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects no ‘harmful levels of radioactivity’ to reach the United States from Japan due to the significant distance between the two countries. LAUSD will continue to take its lead from the Los Angeles County Public Health Department and other pertinent agencies, following their guidelines and recommendations as directed.”
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about radiation are available from the CDPH website at: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/RadiationFAQS2011.aspx
For additional information on potassium iodide, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp
For additional information on emergency preparedness and response to radiation emergencies, please refer to the CDC website: http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/
Pertussis, aka whooping cough, is now an EPIDEMIC in California. The California Department of Public Health has issued an alert to schools stating that all children age 10 or above are required to get the Tdap vaccine to attend school. The Tdap vaccine (aka Adacel, a combined tetanus/pertussis booster) vaccine is indicated in the following people:
- Anyone who lives with, or is a caregiver of, a child less than 6 months old
- women in their 2nd or 3rd trimester pregnancy (this may provide passive immunization to the fetus)
- Women of child-bearing years
Children who have gone through the standard vaccination schedule (aka “they’ve had all of their shots”) are considered immune to pertussis, and do not need a booster. If you have questions about whether your child is up to date on his/her vaccinations, bring your child’s vaccine record to your healthcare provider or health services clinic. Or click to see if your 0 – 6 year old or your 7 – 18 year old is up to date.
Pertussis is an infection that causes fits of uncontrollable coughing followed by a “whoop” as people gasp for air after coughing. Children often vomit after coughing as well. Symptoms can last for 4-6 weeks. Complications include pneumonia, seizures, and encephalopathy. Infants under 1 year of age are at highest risk for developing severe complications, and 5 infants have already died this year in Los Angeles County from pertussis. Why is pertussis an epidemic in California now? Some of the reasons include parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. Another reason is that many people lose their immunity to pertussis as they get older, even if they received “all of their shots” as a child.
How can protect you and your family, and help reduce the spread of pertussis? Make sure your child is “up to date” on his/her vaccinations. If you are not sure, call your child’s physician’s office. Adults can get a pertussis booster from his/her physician.
Both adults and children can get free or low-cost vaccines from local Department of Public Health clinics, click here to find one near you. Or call for information about FREE immunizations in your area: 1-800-427-8700 or dial 211. You can read more about pertussis here. The closest DPH clinic is:
Hollywood/Wilshire Public Health Center
5205 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
The Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic is located across the street from Micheltorena on Sunset Boulevard and easily accessible to the community. The clinic provides quality health care, mental health services and ancillary services to the homeless, poverty level and low-income residents of Silver Lake, Echo Park, East Hollywood and neighboring communities of Los Angeles. Services are free, with the request of a donation of what a patient can afford; no one is turned away for lack of funds. The clinic is staffed by volunteer physicians from Kaiser Permanente and USC Medical School. Of note, the HSFC pediatric clinic has outstanding Kaiser physicians on Tuesday mornings. For more information regarding the free healthcare services of the clinic, please visit www.hsfreeclinic.org.
Health Tip! Washing your hands is one of the most important things you and your family can do to prevent illness. Hand washing protects your health by helping to remove dirt and germs that get on your hands during almost any activity. And avoid touching your hands to your eyes, nose or mouth during flu season.
Disaster Preparedness It’s never too early to prepare your family and your home for a disaster! The LA County Department of Public Health’s Disaster Preparedness Website has printable documents in English and Spanish to help direct your efforts.
And some selected websites that promote healthy living:
Champions for Change is a website for Californians that offers tips on how to help your family live more healthfully by eating more fruits and vegetables and by becoming more active; this website is available in english and español. This website also offers comprehensive information about the California food stamp program, and a has a printable toolkit for educators (or anyone!) to use to teach adults and children about how to live more healthfully.
Harvest of Month, also in conjunction with Network for a Healthy California, is a website dedicated to helping students eat more fruits and vegetables and increase their physical activity. They have a great toolkit available as well for schools to use.