Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Friday, August 18 2017 @ 03:51 PM AKDT

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Healthy Alaskans 2020 releases statewide health assessment and key health indicators

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE—The statewide collaborative initiative Healthy Alaskans 2020 released “Healthy Alaskans 2020 Health Assessment: Understanding the Health of Alaskans” today, along with two documents highlighting the state’s 25 leading health indicators and the process of setting priorities. You can find these documents at http://www.ha2020.alaska.gov

The 2020 Health Assessment presents information about population characteristics, social and economic factors, health outcomes, and health equity issues in Alaska. The assessment, along with a book of health indicators and an indicator scorecard, was created over the past two years during the process of prioritizing 25 Alaska health goals for the decade. A series of teams—including an advisory team of representatives from agencies, organizations and communities from around Alaska with an expertise in health and Alaska—were involved in the process.

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Further analyses confirms Alaska seafood is safe from Fukushima radiation

Health and WellnessJUNEAU—The Alaska departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health and Social Services (DHSS) have received further results from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the latest radiation testing of Alaska seafood. The results confirm information from federal, state and international agencies that seafood in Alaska waters poses no radiation-related health concerns to those who consume it.

This testing of cod and three species of salmon (chinook, chum, and sockeye) showed no detection of the Fukushima-related radioisotopes iodine-131, cesium-134, or cesium-137. The results indicate no appreciable risk from any tested radionuclide in these fish and support previous radionuclide testing results of sablefish, pollock and halibut from Alaska waters. DEC and DHSS have posted the findings on their websites and will update the web pages with any future sampling results.

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State waives immunization administration fees during National Immunization Awareness Month in August

Health and WellnessState public health centers, the Municipality of Anchorage and Maniilaq Association will waive all immunization administration fees for state-provided vaccine during National Immunization Awareness Month in August. The usual fee is around $28 for a vaccine.

The waiver applies to eligible Alaskans, including any child under the age of 3, and any Alaskan without health insurance. The fee waiver also applies to anyone who has insurance that does not cover vaccines or who doesn’t know if it covers vaccines, who has not met the deductible, or who lives in remote Alaska and has no other access to vaccines except through Public Health Nursing.
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Governor Signs Midwife, FASD Legislation

Health and WellnessIn a move to ensure greater public safety in the field of midwifery, Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 156 into law. Sponsored by Senator Pete Kelly, the legislation updates the Certified Direct-Entry Midwife Practice Act. Additionally, the bill requires a certified direct-entry midwife to be licensed, practicing for two years, and attend 50 or more births as a primary or assistant midwife before being able to supervise an apprentice direct-entry midwife.

Governor Parnell also signed legislation to help eradicate Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD). Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 urges the governor to increase the capability of rapid screening for FASD within state agencies and to expand residential substance abuse treatment services in Alaska for pregnant women experiencing drug or alcohol addiction challenges. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Kelly.
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Alaska fish consumption guidelines expand species on unrestricted list

Health and WellnessExpanded fish testing data and epidemiological studies have prompted the state to release new fish consumption guidelines that increase the number of fish species on the “unrestricted consumption ” list.

“These guidelines continue to underscore the health benefits associated with eating fish and the cultural importance of fishing,” said Ali Hamade, the Environmental Public Health Program Manager.

"We encourage Alaskans to use these guidelines in addition to the state’s fish monitoring program resources for making healthful fish consumption choices. The guidelines recommend unrestricted consumption of many fish species from Alaska waters, particularly those most frequently consumed by Alaskans".

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Fukushima Radiation Concerns in Alaska

Health and WellnessSince the devastating 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, there have been concerns about radiation impacts to Alaska. The Division of Environmental Health (DEH) has been coordinating with the Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) Division of Public Health as well as other state and Federal agencies, the Pacific states, and Canada to continuosly assess the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant and address radiation-related concerns in Alaska.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is the lead agency on food safety. Both FDA-regulated food products imported from Japan and domestic food products, including U.S. seafood, have been tested. FDA has found no evidence that radionuclides of health concern from the Japanese nuclear power plant disaster are present in the U.S. food supply. Additional information regarding response and testing can be found on their website here.

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Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line offers enhanced tools for smokers

Health and WellnessTwo-thirds of Alaska adults who currently smoke say they want to quit. The state Department of Health and Social Services is now offering additional support to help them. Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line has enhanced the free tools it offers to provide even greater support to help tobacco users successfully quit for good.

Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line now offers Text2Quit and Web Coach.

Text2Quit allows those who are quitting to work with a quit coach via their mobile phone. Text2Quit features a series of interactive text messages — including tips on coping skills, games, quizzes, and motivational and educational reminders — that are personalized to a participant's quit plan.

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Governor Signs Health Care Bills

Health and WellnessJune 18, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Joined by nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors and other health care professionals, Governor Sean Parnell today signed several health care related bills into law. Legislation signed included Senate Bill 169, establishing a statewide immunization program. SB 169 also creates the State Vaccine Assessment Council within the Department of Health and Social Services. Senator Cathy Giessel sponsored the legislation.

“These bills are key to keeping Alaskans healthy while working to control health care costs,” Governor Parnell said. “I appreciate Senator Giessel and all of the health care professionals who have worked tirelessly to ensure Alaskans’ health care needs are met.”

Governor Parnell also signed two other pieces of legislation, including:
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Paralytic shellfish poisoning: An ever-present risk in Alaska

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE — A probable case of paralytic shellfish poisoning over the weekend has prompted the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Section of Epidemiology, to remind Alaskans and visitors alike of the ever-present risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, in recreationally-harvested Alaska shellfish.

All locally harvested shellfish — including clams, mussels, oysters, geoducks and scallops — can contain paralytic shellfish poison. Crabmeat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but crab guts can contain unsafe levels of toxin and should be discarded.

The current case involves razor and possibly butter clams harvested from Clam Gulch on June 15, about 1.5 miles down the beach near the big tower. The patient began experiencing typical symptoms of PSP approximately four hours after ingesting the shellfish.

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DHSS completes analysis of Alaska’s health care safety net

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE — A report analyzing Alaska’s health care safety net and identifying where gaps exist for Alaskans who fall between the eligibility lines of Medicaid and subsidized insurance on the Federal Healthcare Marketplace was completed by the Department of Health and Social Services and delivered to Gov. Sean Parnell on Monday, June 9.

The report defines the gap population, provides an overview of the safety net services available in Alaska, gives a brief description of funding that supports these services and describes gaps in services for the identified population. It is available to the public online at:
http://dhss.alaska.gov/Commissioner/D...study.pdf.
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A new model of liver regeneration: Switch causes mature liver cells to revert back to stem cell-like state

Health and WellnessSource:
Harvard University

Summary:
Scientists have new evidence in mice that it may be possible to repair a chronically diseased liver by forcing mature liver cells to revert back to a stem cell-like state. The researchers happened upon this discovery while investigating whether a biochemical cascade called Hippo, which controls how big the liver grows, also affects cell fate. The unexpected answer is that switching off the Hippo-signaling pathway in mature liver cells generates very high rates of dedifferentiation. This means the cells turn back the clock to become stem-cell like again, thus allowing them to give rise to functional progenitor cells that can regenerate a diseased liver.
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Governor Proclaims June is Safety Month in Alaska; ‘Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction’ is June 2-6

Health and WellnessJUNEAU, Alaska—Governor Sean Parnell has proclaimed June as Safety Month in Alaska to coincide with the National Safety Council’s National Safety Month. The annual event focuses on prevention of injuries and deaths at work, at home and on the road.

“We live and work in one of the most beautiful yet dangerous places on the planet, so safety is critical to every Alaskan,” Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Dianne Blumer said. “NSC’s national theme is ‘Safety: It takes all of us,’ and focuses on preventing prescription drug abuse, preventing falls, being aware of surroundings and ending distracted driving.”

To recognize Safety Month in Alaska, the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Section will host a free seminar on How to Establish a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan on Wednesday, June 25 from 9-11 a.m. at the Anchorage Midtown Job Center, 3301 Eagle Street, Room 201.

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YoBaby Peach/Pear Yogurt Recalled for Coliform Contamination

Health and Wellness(JUNEAU, AK) – Stonyfield has issued an expanded recall for its YoBaby Peach/Pear Yogurt in four-ounce, 6-pack cups because it may be contaminated with the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae. This recall is an expansion of an April 25, 2014 recall that did not affect Alaska.

Klebsiella pneumoniae are bacteria often found in the intestinal tract of healthy people who have no symptoms of disease. However, the bacteria have been associated with some foodborne illness cases. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cramps, pain, fever, and chills.

The affected product can be identified by the date, June 05 2014, stamped on the front of the four-ounce cups and on the side of the cardboard case packaging.
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Alaska Departments Issue Caution Due to Smoke from Southcentral Wildfires

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE — The Alaska departments of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and
Environmental Conservation (DEC) want Southcentral residents to be aware of the health dangers from smoke from the Tyonek and Funny River wildfires. Winds have blown smoke from these fires into the Anchorage area, Palmer area and communities on the Kenai Peninsula. Currently there are air quality advisories in effect for each of these areas.

Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can cause coughing, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes, and runny nose. Those who have heart disease might experience chest pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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Governor Parnell Issues Bike Month Proclamation

Health and Wellness(JUNEAU, Alaska) – Alaska Governor Sean Parnell has proclaimed May as Bike Month, May 7 as Bike to School Day and May 16 as Bike to Work Day.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities joins with organizers throughout the state to support Bike to Work and Bike to School events. The department encourages both bicyclists and motorists to be careful on Alaska roads - not just during May, but always.

Alaska ranks fifth in the nation in the proportion of adults who bike to work and ranks first for adults who walk to work. When combined, Alaska ranks first in the nation with nearly 1 in 10 Alaskans walking or biking to work every day.

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