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Issue 6                                                                                            Winter 2020

Flu shot image

Don't Let the Flu Get the Best of You 

We are seeing a large increase in school absentee rates because of the flu and norovirus. Here are some things you can do to prevent the spread of illness in schools and classrooms.
  • Encourage students, staff, and their families to get flu shots.
  • Make time for students to wash their hands throughout the day.
  • Sanitize doorknobs, desks, and other frequently touched areas often.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • Share information from Snohomish Health District’s social media posts.
We often hear that kids are “little petri dishes.”  In the case of flu, it is certainly true! Once symptoms develop, children can spread the disease for 10 days or more, twice as long as adults. Even with the most careful prevention efforts, some people are going to get sick during the winter. When they do, remind them to:
  • Cover their coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash their hands a lot! 
  • Stay home until they have no fever for 24 hours without the help of fever-reducing medications.
Pregnant women, infants, and people with chronic medical conditions are especially at risk for complications from the flu. Call your health care provider as soon as they show any flu symptoms. Sometimes, sick people get worse instead of better. 
Medical care is needed when:
  • The fever and cough go away, but come back worse than before.
  • They can’t keep liquids down.
  • They have trouble breathing.
  • They are confused, unusually irritable, or can’t wake up.
  • Call 911 immediately if someone’s skin or lips turn blue.
Resources to share: 
Colds vs. Flu
Home vs. Hospital-When to Seek Care
Video-Tips on Preventing Flu

Over the counter pain medications

Dramatic Rise in the Number of Teens Attempting Suicide with Common Over-the-Counter Medications  

In May, the journal Pediatrics published some alarming data: In the past decade, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of teens attempting to kill themselves with poison. The trend has been largely driven by increases in poisoning attempts by girls and young women.

Overall, the study, which drew from poison control center reports, estimated that in 2018, close to 60,000 girls ages 10 to 18 tried to poison themselves, twice as many as in 2008. 
In general, suicide attempts by poisoning are fatal less than 5 percent of the time. But a poisoning attempt is still a traumatic experience. And the growing occurrence, especially among young girls, is troubling. Now, a new study from the same researchers, published in Clinical Toxicology, has analyzed the substances most commonly used in those poisonings.  

What they found was that the most common poisons were over-the-counter drugs, like Tylenol or Advil (or generic versions of these drugs). Opioids were involved in just 4 percent of the cases, and their use in poisonings has been decreasing in recent years. Over-the-counter pain medicines were involved in 27.5 percent of the cases overall. But when the researchers looked at just “serious outcomes” — this includes needing medical treatment, having symptoms that don’t resolve quickly, or death — over-the-counter pain medicines were involved in 37.3 percent of the cases. There’s an important conclusion here: Over-the-counter medicines, when taken inappropriately, can be more dangerous than many think.

Safe medicine storage may help curb the high numbers of suicide attempts using over-the-counter medication. Do not let kids have access to any bottle that contains hundreds of pills; use smaller ones that contain just a few. Locking medicine containers are also a good idea and can be found at most pharmacies and drug stores. Read the complete article published in Vox here.


Resolution image

Happy New Year! 

It’s not too late to add a few more healthy resolutions to your list. If you’re looking to round out your resolutions with some health-related suggestions from the experts, we’ve got you covered. We gathered 20 resolutions that cover personal health improvement, prevention, preparedness, and awareness. Check them out in our latest blog post.

Sample of anti-vaping poster

Vape Update 

Attention! Coming soon!
Anti-vaping posters are being delivered to all (public) middle and high schools in Snohomish County by the end of January. Please display them in bathrooms, lunchrooms, stairwells and other popular student locations. 
Also, don't forget to visit the health district's vaping website at the end of January for a new toolkit to help schools combat the vaping epidemic.

Opioid Teacher Training 

Pia Sampaga-Khim, our Healthy Communities Specialist focused on opioid prevention, will be hosting a teacher training focused on opioids and substance use prevention. At the end of the training, participants will know how the opioid epidemic is affecting Snohomish County, how to spot signs of substance use, and how to implement substance use prevention curriculum. The training will take place on Monday, January 27, 2020 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Snohomish Health District Auditorium. If you are interested, please RSVP to Pia at 425-339-5279 or  

Upcoming Training Opportunities: 
Opioid Teacher Training 
Monday, January 27, 3-6 p.m.
Snohomish Health District Auditorium
3020 Rucker Ave, Everett, WA
More info and flyer   

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