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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Batavia Teachers Association hosts health fair

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Teachers' Association, health

A couple dozen vendors participated today in a community health fair at the Batavia Middle School sponsored by Batavia Teachers' Association.

Above, Jen Housknecht gives a zumba demonstration class. Below, a visit with the booth for Genesee Dental.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Incoming medical director briefs first responders on Ebola protocols

Every fire department in Genesee County was represented at a mandatory briefing Monday evening by Dr. Sara Connolly, the incoming medical director for the county.

Connolly briefed the chiefs and department representatives on protocols for dealing with Ebola patients.

It's a long shot that there will ever be a person carrying the Ebola virus in Genesee County, but county and state officials agree it's better to be prepared, trained at thinking ahead than to be caught off guard.

Such briefings are mandated for all first responders by the NYS Department of Health.

Connolly said she addressed triage and isolation issues and answered questions. EMS responders are instructed to ask patients at emergency scenes if they've traveled to West Africa within the previous 30 days. 

If the answer is yes, then first responders need to find out if the patient has had any of the symptoms of Ebola, such as high fever, diarrhea or vomiting. If yes, then the patient needs to be isolated as quickly as possible and the first responders need to avoid further contact with the patient.

Some misunderstandings were cleared up during the Q&A session at the end of the talk, Connolly said. For example, not everybody who gets Ebola dies, and we don't even have any idea how lethal, or not, it would be in the U.S. since there's been only one case of a person in this country who has died from it.

"We don't know what it's mortality rate would be in this country, with a good sanitation system and developed healthcare system," Connolly said.

Connolly is not yet officially the new county health director. That appointment could be finalized as soon as today.  

She is a physician at UMMC and specializes in emergency department medicine. She's a graduate of Princeton University with a medical degree from the University at Buffalo.

Every county is required to have at least one medical director, accounting to Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger, who overseas emergency response medical personnel. The position is responsible for training and ensuring that policies and protocols from the Department of Health are implemented and properly followed.

The director works closely with the Emergency Management Office and the county's Department of Health.

The Ebola briefing was required by the state, but Yaeger said it is a wise thing to ensure all emergency responders are prepared to deal with an Ebola patient, no matter how remote the possibility.

"We want to be prepared," Yaeger said. "Hopefully, nothing occurs here, but if it does, we want the public to know that we are prepared and ready to respond, and primarily to make sure those first responders are safe."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Bergen dedicates 'life trail' system in Hickory Park

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, health, Hickory Park, Seniors

A bit of rain didn't dampen spirits in Bergen this morning where officials dedicated a new "life trail" system in Hickory Park.

The system, made up of seven, three-sided stations with a series of exercises people can perform, is designed to give seniors in particular a chance to be active and improve their physical health.

It was funded by a $50,000 state grant, secured with the help of Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and County Legislator Bob Bausch.

"We have put in place a parks master plan with a focus on fitness and wellness," said Mayor Anna Marie Barclay. "In particular, we want to give opportunities to seniors, which is our fastest growing population, an opportunity, because there are not as many opportunities for seniors as there are for other age groups. We want to encourage our seniors to come out, and not just our seniors. We invite seniors from all of the surrounding communities to come out to our park."

Ranzenhofer said he was proud to have helped bring about the project.

"I'm very excited to be here," Ranzenhofer said. "The comment about the weather, we were talking before about it being a rainy day, but it really is shining today, even though you may not see the sun. On a project like this, with your hard work, collectively, we were able to do a very good thing for the village residents, and thanks for including me."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm

UMMC, county officials preparing for Ebola, even if local outbreak seems unlikely

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, ebola, health, medicine, UMMC

It's been less than 10 days since new protocols related to Ebola were put in place at United Memorial Medical Center, but emergency room staff have already passed one key preparedness test.

In an unannounced drill, a man showed up claiming a fever and suffering from weakness and a headache, a staff member asked a newly implemented set of questions that included whether he had traveled recently from Western Africa.

He uttered, "yes," and within 60 seconds he was in an infectious disease isolation room.

"I was very encouraged by the outcome," said Dan Ireland, president of UMMC. "Any time we do an exercise, do a drill, we like to hear the positive feedback that things are working as they should be."

Following CDC guidelines, UMMC, the whole county's health and emergency response leadership, really, have been implementing Ebola protocols, even if it seems like a far-off, distant problem that may never reach Genesee County.

"We do a lot of things based on a long shot," Ireland said. "We prepare for the rare circumstances because those are the ones that can be really significant. Hopefully, it never happens, but we want to be prepared. I was here during the SARS era. We never had a SARS case in this facility, even while it was in Toronto, but we were ready. We have to be ready for those things or you're not doing the public the service that they need."

Ebola is a virus transmitted among mammals through contact with bodily fluid. Symptoms start with fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches, much like the flu. Death occurs in about 50 percent of the patients who contract it.  

The first known outbreak was in 1976 in South Sudan and there have been periodic outbreaks since. The latest outbreak started in March and currently about 10,000 people are believed to have the disease. But some scientists believe exponential growth (the number of people with the disease during an outbreak doubles about every 20 days) could mean as many as 500,000 in West Africa could be ill from Ebola (perhaps more than a million, if there is under reporting).

There is currently no Ebola-specific treatment or vaccine, though scientists are fast-tracking research.  

That's way isolation and quarantine are essential to controlling the disease.

Ireland said hospital officials are continuously communicating with staff about Ebola and CDC-recommended protocols.

It's a rapidly evolving situation, Ireland said, and directives and procedures sometimes change with little notice.

For example, today's identification protocol involves questions about travel. If the outbreak grows, that protocol could change.

"It could be very different story for you tomorrow," Ireland said. "That's health care and that's medicine. As new information comes out, health care evolves."

To help with the communication process, so essential to control of the disease should it ever reach Genesee County, the hospital hosted a meeting today of officials from UMMC, Genesee County Emergency Services and the County Health Department.

The word on how to deal with Ebola needs to get out to doctors and nurses throughout the local health community, including health workers at clinics and on ambulances, both paid and volunteer, as well as local law enforcement and fire chiefs.

Anybody who might come into first contact with an Ebola patient needs to know how to respond to the situation, since isolation and quarantine are so critical its control.

Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for the county, said communication is already starting with the agencies his department deals with, and Ebola will be on the agenda of upcoming fire chief and fire service meetings.

"Our job is to maintain awareness and communication," Yaeger said. "We discuss it with our 9-1-1 center, emergency responders and law enforcement officers need to be aware and not make assumptions about how to protect themselves from people who might be infected. The common theme every day is that we're getting new information regarding Ebola and we need to coordinate that with emergency responders."

The county health department hasn't fielded any calls from concerned citizens about Ebola (there's been more calls about enterovirus, which has been reported in Rochester and Buffalo, but not Genesee County), but that doesn't mean county health officials aren't staying on top of the latest information, said Director Paul Pettit. 

The first person to contract Ebola in the U.S. is a Dallas nurse. She appears have been infected while treating a Dallas resident who contracted the disease in Africa.

Another health care worker in Spain contracted the disease after caring for a patient in that country.

In the case in Spain, it's been determined that the health care worker likely did not follow proper protocol for removing protective gear.

It's still speculation, but that may also have been the situation in Dallas.

Typically, health care workers are covered from head to toe in protective garb while interacting with Ebola patients (only those who have actually become sick can transmit the disease).  

The probable cause of health care workers in Spain and Dallas getting sick certainly has local nurses paying close attention to the proper procedures, said Mary Beth Bowen, vice president of nursing for UMMC.

"For the nursing staff, we practice infection protection every day," Bowen said. "It's now part of our training to practice for Ebola. We've put in a buddy system to monitor each other; video so they visually learn the procedures for putting on and removing protective gear. We're doing everything according to proscribed protocol. It's important to this organization that we minimize the risk of transmission."

There's even a place for chocolate syrup in the training.  

You see, if there's chocolate syrup on your protective gear and then you take it off and find chocolate syrup on your skin, you've done something wrong.

One reason Ireland wanted to talk about this issue, and bring these local experts together, is that he doesn't want anybody in the community to panic about Ebola.

He's concerned there's a lot of hysteria and misinformation in the media about the disease, and if panic sets in, it may lead to somebody avoiding medical treatment for other conditions, a decision that could be even more dangerous.   

If people understand more about the disease and what the hospital is doing to minimize any risk of transmission, he hopes it will eliminate any such panic in the community.

"We want to avoid any misinformation in the community," Ireland said. "We are doing everything by what the CDC advises."

Photo: Gathered at an office in UMMC to discuss Ebola are Tim Yaeger and Jim Bouton, Office of Emergency Management, Mary Beth Bown, VP of nursing, Paul Pettit, county director of health, and Dan Ireland, president of UMMC.

On the Web:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

Free health screening offered to men and women in Genesee County

post by Billie Owens in Cancer Services Partnership, health, UMMC

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center and the Cancer Services Partnership will provide free health screenings to Genesee County residents who meet specific age criteria residents of Genesee County -- women between the ages of 40-64 and men aged 50-64 with no insurance or high deductibles.

The screening will be available from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct.29, at the Jerome Center, 16 Bank St., Batavia. Appointments are necessary for some of the screenings.

For women age 40-64, nurse midwife Cecilia Stearns, MSN, will perform women’s health screenings, including pap smears, pelvic exams and clinical breast exams.

Urologist William Guthinger, MD, will provide prostate screenings to men age 50-64. Additional services available at the event include mammography, total cholesterol and take-home colorectal cancer screening kits.

All screenings will be provided at no charge. Funds are available for follow-up care, if necessary.

Please call United Memorial’s Healthy Living Department to schedule an appointment at (585)344-5331. Light refreshments, health information and free giveaways will also be available.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Cross Fit trainer opens new gym in Harvester Center

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, health

The first thing Jason Harasimowszi thought when he saw Cross Fit on TV a few years ago was, "that's too hard."

He thought, "there's no way I could do that."

But he gave it a try and found, yes, it is hard, but, he said, "I wanted to keep doing it and get good at it."

Three years ago, he took a Cross Fit course in Chicago and became a certified trainer.

"It's nice seeing people succeed," Harasimowszi said to explain why he likes training others in Cross Fit.

Recently, Harasimowszi opened his own Cross Fit gym, Cross Fit Silver Fox, inside the Harvester Center.

Cross Fit is designed to be a complete, functional work out, often using heavy weights and complex, compound exercises that work more than one muscle at a time.

"(Cross Fit) is going to help you outside in life," Harasimowszi. "If you pick up boxes off the ground, it's like you're doing a deadlift. If you put a box on a top shelf, obviously, you're pressing something overhead. Everything is transferable to your outside life."

Silver Fox is equipped with about $20,000 worth of racks, weights, barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, rowing machines, parallel bars, tires, boxes and other training equipment.

Classes are: Monday through Friday at 5, 6 and 7 a.m., and 4, 5 and 6 p.m.; Saturdays at 7, 8 and 9 a.m.; and Sundays at 11 a.m.

To locate Silver Fox, go into the Harvester Center through the main entrance and then down the hallway straight back from the door. The gym is on the left.

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Take steps to make sure your home is lead free, say county health officials

post by Billie Owens in announcements, health

Press release:

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming county health departments are encouraging county residents to “Choose Health.” Taking small steps in our day-to-day living and making positive health choices will lead to healthier outcomes. Is this a step you can take?

With warmer weather finally here many of you may have started or are planning home renovation projects, if you are, make sure you are being lead safe.

If your home or apartment was built before 1978 and there is chipping/peeling paint you could have a lead paint hazard. According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than four million of these residences are homes to one or more young children. With lead exposure having the ability to affect nearly every system in the body, it is important to put in place protective measures.

You can still work on your house but you need to take some easy steps to make sure that you and your family, especially young children and pregnant women, are not exposed to lead dust and paint. Follow these basic principles (from "Lead Paint Safety, A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance, and Renovation Work") when doing any work on your home or apartment:

  • Assume: Paint in homes built before 1978 contains lead, unless a lead-based paint inspection shows it does not. Exposing anyone to dust, especially children and pregnant women can be harmful.
  • Check: Federal, State and Local regulations. Check OSHA rules for worker safety and EPA and your local community rules for proper waste disposal.
  • Avoid: Creating dust – Use low dust work practices (for example, mist surfaces with water before sanding or scraping, NEVER use heat). Also avoid spreading dust – cover and tape the area under work and around air vents with durable protective sheeting (plastic or poly) and keep dust contained to the immediate work area.
  • Protect: Occupants, particularly children and pregnant women. Keep them away from the work area; clean up the work site as you work and before they return. Workers need to wear proper respiratory protection for lead dust, keep clean and don’t take dust home if working elsewhere or to other areas of your home. Keep work clothes / shoes separate from family clothes. Wash work clothes separately. Don’t wear work shoes around the house.
  • Clean Up:After all work, clean-up is particularly important if painted surfaces were broken or wall cavities were opened. Take dust wipe samples (contact your local health department for more information) to make sure that it is safe for children and pregnant women to return. Use a HEPA filter vacuum to capture the finest dust.
  • Maintain: A dry building – moisture problems can cause paint failure, building wear and tear, and encourage pests and mold. Well-maintained paint generally does not pose a health risk; all painted surfaces are to be checked regularly for dust or paint chips. Clean and cleanable surfaces are to be damp mopped/dusted often, keep floors and painted surfaces smooth and clean rugs and carpets well.

If you are planning on doing any homes repairs and have questions regarding whether or not you have a lead paint hazard, call your local county health department. Keep your family lead safe, your home should be a safe environment. To ensure a child has not been exposed to lead, a test for the toxic metal is necessary at ages 1 and 2.

For information about this topic or health department services contact:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 7:26 am

Insource Urgent Care approved as treatment option for rabies patients

post by Howard B. Owens in health, Insource Urgent Care, Public Health, rabies

Residents who have a run in with a potentially or known rabid animal will have another option for treatment starting June 1.

On Monday, the Human Services Committee approved a contract with Insource Urgent Care that would allow the County Public Health Department to refer clients to Insource.

The contract isn't exclusive. Patients would still be able to go to the emergency room at UMMC or the urgent care clinic at St. Jerome's if they wished.

"Insource offers a lower rate and the feedback we've been getting is it's a better experience," said David Whitcroft, environmental health director. "It's a faster in and out for the patients."

Whitcroft said Insource had sought out the contract and this was an opportunity "to enter into a contract more favorable to us.

The county pays for the initial exam and the first round of treatment, but booster shots are provided by the health department at County Building #2.

"St. Jerome's has worked out really well for us and we have a good relationship, but this is one more option," Whitcroft said.

The full County Legislature will be asked to approve the arrangement at its next meeting.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Sponsored Post: Regular workouts at Oakfield Fitness deliver more energy, better endurance

At 42 years old, Bill Taylor thinks its important to stay in shape as he gets older. He needs more energy in his physically demanding job and just generally wants to feel better.

Oakfield Fitness and Cross-Training Center, with its full range of newer equipment and 24/7 availability does the trick for him, he said.

"Everybody feels different at different parts of the day," Taylor said.

As he's gotten more serious about physical fitness, he said he has more energy and improved endurance.

"It's just all around feeling better physically, mentally, too," he said.

For anybody who doesn't have a workout routine, Taylor's advice is simple: "Get off your butt and do it. That's the best way."

Oakfield Fitness moved just a few weeks ago, going from 1,800 square feet and multiple small rooms, to three logically organized rooms in 3,600 square feet. There's a room for weight machines, a cardio room and a cross-training room.

All of the equipment is quality Life Fitness machines.

A basic gym membership is $30 a month with no other fees and no annual contract. Cross-training members pay $80 per month and have access to the cross-training room and a cross-training coach during scheduled times.

For more information, visit OakfieldFitness.com.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Sponsored Post: Cross-training at Oakfield Fitness provides functional health

The end result of cross-training, Steve Wakefield said, is functional fitness. Your body is better conditioned to work for you.

For example, your body is built to squat. That's something that can be harder to do with any stamina if you haven't developed your muscles appropriately.

"I spent three years in Afghanistan and every meeting for me was in a squat," Wakefield said. "I was like, 'oh, I've got to squat again,' but that's what your body is supposed to do. Cross-training teaches your body to go back and use the movement it's supposed to."

Wakefield, a certified Cross Fit trainer, is the cross-training coach at Oakfield Fitness and Cross Training Center, 116 N. Main St., Oakfield.

Oakfield fitness recently moved into a larger building with an expanded cross-training center.

Wakefield said cross-training is a suitable physical fitness program for just about anybody, whether you're already athletic or haven't worked out in years and need to lose weight.

"You can do every workout to your own ability, which is awesome and I love it," Wakefield said. "Even as a trainer, I'm not as strong as some of these guys, but I lower the weight to my ability and I do what I can do. I've got an older lady, in her 60s, who's here every day. She can do the workout. It's scaled to her."

Cross-training, by definition is a constantly varied functional workout. Every session is different and it's not just about lifting weights and working specific muscles. You won't come in one day thinking, "this is my day to work my biceps" as you would with traditional fitness regimes.

"We've been taught for years that 'today I'm going to do by bis and back and tomorrow my tris and chest,' " Wakefield said. "Cross-training is breaking out of that model of isolated muscle movement. It's whole body, functional fitness."

The program also includes seminars on nutrition.

"You can workout every day, but if your nutrition is off, it's not going to work," Wakfield said. "Cross-training isn't who is the fittest. We want to get you healthy."

Since cross-training is usually a daily workout with a regular group of people, and the classes become more like a group of friends.

That's one of the things that kept Wakefield interested cross-training once he got started.

"We get to know each other," Wakefield said. "We get to know each other's families. We get to know each other's strengths and goals. We clap harder for the person who is last trying to finish up than the person who is done first."

It costs $80 per month to take part in cross-training at Oakfield Fitness, and that includes full 24/7 access to the entire gym.

For more information, visit OakfieldFitness.com.

More pictures after the jump:

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