Health

A new Illinois statute aims to boost flu shot rates among healthcare workers by making it harder for employees to decline the vaccine.

Lawmakers say this is important in light of last year’s flu season that killed more people than car crashes and drug overdoses. But some on the frontlines of public health worry that a law that’s not enforced will have little effect.


Last year brought a lot of flu activity across the state and this year health professionals are urging the public to roll up their sleeves and get flu shots early this year. 

An older woman in a hospital bed, next to a younger woman wearing a mask and gown.
Donna Patton

 

Two years ago, Donna Patton became one of the nearly 800,000 Americans who suffer a stroke each year. She still remembers waking up from surgery and hearing the reaction from her medical team.

 

“He just said, ‘do you believe in a higher entity?’” she recalled. “And I said, ‘I sure do.’ He said, ‘you should, because luck's been on your side all day long.’”

 

Biologists at the University of Missouri have found that a chemical commonly used in consumer plastics could affect how a body reacts to and regulates blood sugar.

Bisphenol A — or BPA — is a plastic additive found in bottles, the resin lining of food cans and thermal receipt paper. An experiment by Mizzou researchers exposed a small group of people to the chemical. After the exposure, the researchers measured subjects’ insulin levels, and found people exposed to the BPA had produced more insulin.

Nicole Smith-Holt’s son Alec was 23 when he started feeling sick. His muscles cramped. He was lethargic. He woke up multiple times every night to use the bathroom. After two weeks, Smith-Holt encouraged him to go to urgent care.


Images
SSM Health

A southern Illinois hospital has a new leader.

Washington County Hospital in Nashville has hired Brian Monsma as its new president.

County Jails Struggle To Treat Mentally Ill Inmates

Sep 19, 2018

DeVonte Jones began to show signs of schizophrenia as a teenager. His first public episode was nine years ago at a ballgame at Wavering Park, in Quincy, Ill.

"He snapped out and just went around and started kicking people," says Jones' mother, Linda Colon, who now lives in a Chicago suburb.

The police were called. Jones was arrested, charged with aggravated battery and placed in Adams County Jail. Colon says Jones had no recollection of what happened.

SIH Offers Support For Nursing Program At SIU-C

Sep 12, 2018
One person takes the blood pressure of another.
rawpixel//Creative Commons License

SIH has announced it supports efforts to begin a 4–year nursing program at SIU–Carbondale

There is currently a nationwide shortage of nurses, especially those with four–year degrees. SIH President and CEO Rex Budde says the program would also benefit Southern Illinois residents who want to further their nursing education.

Technology changing access and outcomes in abortion debate

Data Show Opioid Prescriptions Declining In IL

Sep 11, 2018
Steve Buissinne CC0 Creative Commons

There is some good news in the fight against opioid abuse in Illinois. Doctors prescribed fewer opioids to patients in 2017 than 2016, according to numbers from the statewide prescription monitoring program. The database can’t track illegal narcotic use, but the drop in prescriptions is still widely seen as a good sign as the majority of heroin users say their first experience with opioids came from a prescription drug.

Battling Drug Addiction: What Comes After Detox?

Sep 10, 2018
Director John Steve washes dishes in an industrial kitchen sink.
Steph Whiteside/WSIU

Like many states, Illinois is battling an opioid epidemic. Loran Owens, who lives in Franklin county in Southern Illinois, knows what the epidemic is like first-hand.

 

 

"My brother, [when] I was in jail, my brother got arrested and he was in there about four months," Owens said. "And he shot up heroin, more or less. It was OxyContin and stuff ... and while he was in there, he was trying to get help. He was wanting to go to rehab when he left there."

Public health advocates and some state lawmakers spurned Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto a bill that would have raised the legal tobacco age to 21.

Rauner axed the bill last Friday, though his own Department of Public Health supported it. While he called smoking “detrimental” in his veto message, the governor said Illinois couldn’t take the risk of losing tobacco sales tax revenue to neighboring states.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

A new law mandates the Illinois Department of Public Health to begin screening babies for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA… a neurodegenerative disorder linked to infant death.

SMA is an inherited muscle disorder… it affects the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord… which limits the patient’s ability to walk, eat, or breathe. Children with the disease typically die before 18 months.

Images
Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Two U.S. congressmen visited the Marion VA Medical Center Tuesday as part of a Veterans Listening Tour.

Congressman Mike Bost of Murphysboro hosted House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Phil Roe from Tennessee to learn more about the effort to reform hiring practices at the facility.

Images
Flickr

The St. Louis District Dairy Council is ready to help southern Illinois schools get off to a nutritionally strong academic year.

The dairy council's Jaelyn  Munson says the agency works with Food Service Directors on ways to promote dairy products in school meals.

Pesticides are all over, from backyard gardens to cornfields. While their use doesn’t appear to be slowing, concern over drift and the resulting effects on health is driving research — and more worries.

Those concerns are bringing pesticides to a different venue: courtrooms. 

A town hall meeting in southern Illinois has been scheduled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss the agency's health care system.

Spokesman Kevin Harris says the Wednesday event in Mount Vernon is being held in light of the new leadership at Veteran Affairs.

Julia Fiedler, CC0 Creative Commons

A recent Supreme Court decision limiting regulations for anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers in California could affect patients in Illinois.

In the California case — known as NIFLA v. Becerra — operators of self-described crisis pregnancy centers argued that requiring facilities to post information about services available through other healthcare providers, including abortion, violated their free speech.

From E. coli in romaine lettuce to potential salmonella on Goldfish crackers to a parasite in salads and wraps, food recalls are in the spotlight this year. But things may not be as bad as they sound, according to Lana Nwadike, a food safety specialist with Kansas State University and the University of Missouri. 

The transition from youth to adolescence can be anxiety-inducing, navigating the physical changes and social pressures to fit in.

A Congressman from Illinois is working on a bill he says will encourage drug companies to develop new antibiotics.

More than 23,000 Americans a year die from bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Lee Ann Stuart still wears her nursing scrubs, even though the only work she’s been doing since Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center closed June 11 is to pack boxes of medical supplies to be hauled away.

“It’s strange walking those halls, and they’re empty and the lights are down,” Stuart says. She’s been a nurse at the hospital in rural Kennett, Missouri, for 22 years.

St. Mary's Raising Funds for ER Renovation

Jul 24, 2018
Patients hand with monitors attached
Pixabay

In Centralia, St. Mary’s Hospital is raising funds to overhaul their emergency department. The campaign is part of a larger effort to update St. Mary's, and focuses specifically on the needs of the emergency department.

President Damon Harbison says the renovation will provide a better experience for patients.

"The emergency room is a place that no one ever wants to be at," he said. "But we want to create an environment that when you do need our services, it is top of the line."

Centerstone is teaming up with nine community partners to try to improve the mental health of children and communities in southern Illinois.

A 200-thousand dollar planning grant from the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation will help develop a plan for at-risk kids in Jackson, Williamson, Franklin and Perry Counties.

New research from the University of Illinois finds products of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism show anti-cancer properties in mice.

Images
Jackson Co. Health Dept.

The Jackson County Health Department is looking for Jackson County residents using private well water to participate in free water testing.

Director of the Division of Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness Bart Hagston says the research project is gathering data on the presence of lead in private water wells.

Images
Washington University

Washington University researchers have identified specific areas of the country where women are much more likely to die from breast cancer.

Across all women, there were 80 counties in the U.S. with the highest rates of breast cancer mortality. Nine were in Missouri, including New Madrid, Stoddard and Scott Counties.

A first-of-its kind study is being done to track ticks in Illinois. Researchers want to know where certain illness-carrying types are most prevalent.

Images
Illinois News Connection

Illinois is doing better at improving the lives of children, according to the new 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book.

But the report warns progress could be undermined by a 2020 Census under-count.

Pages