Message from the State Health Commissioner
Influenza activity is widespread in Virginia and typically begins to peak this time of year. As people return to school and work, it’s important to remember the basics of avoiding illness and stopping the spread of flu.
Take Precautions in Extreme Cold Weather
As temperatures are predicted to fall into the single digits during the next several days, VDH encourages everyone to protect themselves against serious health problems that can result from prolonged exposure to the cold.
Winter Weather Preparedness
Are you ready for winter weather?
Take this time to prepare before a winter emergency hits to reduce the risk of weather-related health problems and injuries. Learn more about preparing yourself and loved ones for winter weather here. More>>
From January 1 to February 27, 2015, 170 people from 17 states in the U.S. have been reported with measles. Most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. To date, there have been no cases of measles reported in Virginia this year.
Between 2009 and 2014, 13 cases of measles were reported in Virginia. Six of these individuals were unvaccinated (three of whom were too young to receive vaccine), five were not fully vaccinated, and two were fully vaccinated. In Virginia, 88.6 percent of children have received the measles vaccine by their second birthday and 93.1 percent are fully vaccinated against measles when they begin school.
Measles is highly infectious, but it is also highly preventable through vaccination. The Virginia Department of Health urges persons who are not vaccinated or whose children have not been vaccinated, to receive vaccine as soon as possible. You may receive vaccine from your doctor or local health department. Virginia Code allows for exemption from required immunizations for religious and/or medical reasons; however, exemption rates remain low at 0.19 percent for medical and 0.84 percent for religious reasons.
Quick Links and Important Resources
Virginia Health Information
March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur as a blow, jolt, or bump to the head. Injuries that penetrate the head may also cause TBI. Brain injuries can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. Learning the signs and symptoms and getting appropriate care can help speed recovery. Learn more about Traumatic Brain Injuries. If you are a clinician, click here to learn more about evaluating and managing concussions.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and affects both men and women equally. The American Cancer Society estimates 2,970 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Virginia each year. It doesn't always cause symptoms, especially early on, so it’s important to get checked regularly. Screening tests find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
There are several ways to get screened for colorectal cancer, including a “take home” option. If you are 50 or over, talk to your doctor about which test is right for you. Be seen, get screened! Learn more about colorectal cancer.
Serving Summer Meals to Virginia Children
The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals and snacks to help children get the nutrition they need during the summer when they are out of school. If your organization is interested in participating in Virginia’s Summer Food Service Program, please submit an application by April 24, 2015 to see if you qualify. All new participants must complete trainings to take part in the program and can register for trainings online. Visit the Summer Food Service Program to learn more.