Public Health Warning Issued for Kansas Lakes Due to Blue-Green Algae

Public Health Warning Issued for Kansas Lakes Due to Blue-Green Algae

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Vector-Borne Disease is on the Rise, Get the Facts!

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CDC Vital Signs Fact Sheet

Travelers’ Medicine

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Check out the Health Department’s new Travel Medicine page!

Fully revised 2018 Yellow Book available here.

Kids in Hot Cars

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Safe Kids Geary County is aiming to prevent child heatstroke deaths this spring and summer by increasing community awareness of the dangers of leaving children alone in a vehicle.  As the temperature rises and summer calendars fill with activities and obligations, the risk of child injury or death due to hyperthermia increases.  According to the Safe Kids World Wide website, “Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. On average, every 8 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.”  While it may be tempting to leave a child in the car while making a quick run into the store, it is deadly.  According to Safe Kids World Wide, “Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies’ heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.”  These tragedies are preventable.

More than half of the children who die from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle.  Tragically, those caregivers mistakenly believed the child was safely at child care.  The Safe Kids Kansas website urges child care providers to prevent this scenario.  “If a child, who is scheduled to arrive at the center, does not arrive within the specified time frame in the written agreement signed by the parent, and they have not been notified in advance of the child’s absence, they should attempt to contact the parent or guardian to determine the child’s whereabouts.  All attempts, whether successful or unsuccessful, should be documented”

Geary County is joining in the Safe Kids World Wide effort to reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by reminding the community to “ACT”.

  • “A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
  • C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
  • T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.”

Safe Kids Geary County is making every effort to improve community heat stroke awareness before tragedy strikes.  Every Geary County resident and organization has a role to play.  Make sure your child is never left alone in a car and help us spread this life-saving information, today.

Safe Kids Geary County is a Geary County Health Department program, and a local coalition of Safe Kids Kansas, Inc., a nonprofit coalition devoted to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children.  For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths contact the Health Department at 785-762-5788, or visit or 

National Public Health Week 2018

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Geary County Health Department is participating in National Public Health Week, April 2-8, along with hundreds of partners across the Nation.  As life expectancy declines, public health departments are rallying communities to prioritize prevention and improve health outcomes.  “Everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life in a safe environment.  To make this happen, we must tackle the causes of poor health and disease risk among individuals and within our communities,” according to the National Public Health Week website.  Daily themes for this year’s observance include, behavioral health, communicable disease, environmental health, injury and violence prevention, and health equity.

According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), “Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play.”  Doctors treat people who are sick, public health works to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place.  The Geary County Health Department works to improve the health of residents by applying the scientific principles of public health through evidence-based programs; but the work of public health does not reside within one agency, it is a community-wide effort. Nearly everyone has something to contribute to public health, there are many fields including first responders, health educators, nutritionists, social workers, public health nurses and physicians, public policy makers, sanitarians and more.

“The public health community and workforce has faced uncertainty, shrinking budgets and new challenges this year, but I’m excited this week to highlight the inspiring perseverance of public health efforts in every community across the country” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “Every April we look to our National Public Health Week partners to help us celebrate lives saved and changed by prevention efforts. This year is certainly no exception. Organizations and individuals from the surgeon general to community leaders are telling the success story of public health through events, celebrations and discussions.”

Join us in observing National Public Health Week and become a part of the movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation.  To learn more about National Public Health Week go to or the Geary County Health Department website at  Like us on Facebook @GearyCountyHealthDept or like @AmericanPublicHealthAssociation for more information.

The Geary County Health Department has been serving the Junction City, Geary County and Fort Riley area since 1949.  The mission of the health department is to improve public health, promote community well-being, prevent diseases, and protect the community from public health hazards.  For a complete list of services and hours of operation go to


Severe Weather Awareness Week

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Prepare Your Family for Severe Weather

Safe Kids Kansas Offers Safety Tips for Severe Weather Awareness Week


Topeka — While the threat of severe weather in Kansas is year-round, March 5-9 is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas, and a good opportunity to discuss the importance of emergency preparedness with your family. In 2017, the National Weather Service reported about 60 tornadoes statewide. Kansas also experiences numerous other high impact weather events, including blizzards, severe thunderstorms, and floods. “When severe weather strikes you often have only a few minutes to respond and seek shelter. It is essential for you and your family to be prepared in an emergency,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. Safe Kids Kansas recommends becoming familiar with the type of weather you may encounter, prepare an emergency disaster kit, and practice your emergency plan frequently with your entire family.

Many people do not understand the difference between a watch and a warning. When conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop, a severe thunderstorm or tornado WATCH is issued. Information from weather radar, spotters, and other sources is used to issue severe thunderstorm and tornado WARNINGS for areas where severe weather is imminent. Severe weather warnings are passed to local radio and television stations, and broadcast over weather alert radios. These warnings are also relayed to local emergency management and public safety officials who then activate the local warning systems to alert communities. Remember, thunderstorms are very dangerous and can become tornadic quickly, so shelter is advised for those warnings as well.  Getting to a safe shelter in advance of a storm is especially important for families with children or individuals with a disability.

Safe Kids Kansas recommends assembling an emergency disaster kit in advance. If you determine you need to take shelter, be sure every family member puts on hard-soled footwear and take your emergency disaster kit with you. An emergency disaster kit should contain:

  • non-perishable food items and water;
  • a manual can opener if your kit contains canned food;
  • blankets or sleeping bags;
  • a change of clothing for each family member;
  • a first-aid kit;
  • prescription medications;
  • sun block;
  • a flashlight and batteries;
  • a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio;
  • a set of car and house keys;
  • a whistle to signal for help;
  • a highway map that marks the counties to follow the storm;
  • identification and a credit card or cash;
  • and, any specific items you may need for children such as diapers or formula.

Additional supplies and equipment may be necessary for family members with disabilities or medical conditions.

Don’t forget your pets will also need supplies, including food, water, collars and leashes. For smaller animals you may want to have a crate or a cage to help keep them safe and close.

Another good preparation tool is to designate an out-of-state friend or family member as your family contact in case weather strikes while your family members are apart. “Each family member should know the phone number of the emergency contact person and call to alert them they are safe and where they are going to be,” said Sage.

Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents to develop an emergency plan for severe weather in advance, and practice the plan often with your children, just as you do for other emergencies, such as a house fire. Be sure to include scenarios when you are at home, work, school or outdoors.

If a tornado warning is issued, your family should immediately go to your designated tornado shelter which may be a storm shelter or a basement. If you are not able to get underground, then move to an interior room, hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest level. If possible, get under a sturdy piece of furniture to protect you from debris, and stay away from windows.

If you are in a vehicle or mobile home, get out immediately and head to the nearest shelter. Do not try and outrun a tornado in your vehicle. If you are outside, lie flat in a low location, and cover your head with your hands. Do not take shelter under an overpass or bridge. Flash flooding causes more weather-related deaths annually, so be aware of your surroundings if you seek shelter in a ditch or ravine.

After a severe storm has passed, be careful to watch for fallen power lines and structures that may be weakened from storm damage. Use a flashlight to inspect your home. Do not use candles, matches or lighters, as there may be leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby.

Safe Kids Kansas also recommends that your family learn basic CPR first aid and teach young children how to call 9-1-1. Severe weather can strike at any time with little or no notice. The best way to protect yourself and your family members is by being prepared in advance.




About Safe Kids Kansas
Safe Kids Kansas works to prevent childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children. Safe Kids Kansas is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing injuries in children. Coalition members include over 70 statewide organizations, agencies and businesses and a network of local coalitions across the state.


Visit us at and on Facebook.

This information can be made available in alternative accessible formats upon request. For more information about obtaining an alternative format, you may contact Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-1223, or Both speech/hearing disabled and hearing Kansans can access the Kansas Relay Center by calling toll-free 1-800-766-3777. Callers should inform the relay operator of the number they wish to call and the type of call they are making direct, credit card, collect, person-to-person, etc.

Seasonal Flu

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Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a three-step approach to fighting the flu:

  1. Get Vaccinated
  2. Take everyday preventive actions
  3. Use antiviral drugs if physician prescribes them

It is recommended that everyone 6 months and older, without contraindications, receive a flu vaccine for protection against seasonal flu.  According to the CDC you can also take these everyday actions to stop the spread of germs:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • If sick, with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Fevers should be gone for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

For more information about the influenza virus please visit the CDC’s Influenza page.


Zika Virus

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Zika Virus

Zika virus is a flavivirus typically transmitted by aedes mosquitoes that causes a usually mild illness marked chiefly by fever, joint pain, rash, and conjunctivitis and that has been associated with an increased incidence of microcephaly in infants born to pregnant women infected with the virus.

For more information about Zika, please see the CDC’s Zika Virus page.

West Nile Virus

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West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is a flavivirus that causes an illness marked by fever, headache, muscle ache, skin rash, and sometimes encephalitis or meningitis and that is spread especially from birds to humans by mosquitoes.

For more information about West Nile Virus, please see the CDC’s West Nile Virus page.