Childhood Immunizations Prevent Diseases

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In the fall of 2015, the Montana Legislature enacted new vaccine requirements for school attendance, including requiring a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine for all students starting the seventh grade. Last year, 20 cases of pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, were reported in Montana. That’s 96 percent fewer than the 663 cases reported in 2013.

Improving the Public’s Health

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Where we live, work and play influences our overall health. To improve the health of our community, we need to look for policies and solutions that make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Tackling Youth Depression

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Children experiencing depression may not understand why they are feeling the way they do. If you’re concerned your child is suffering from mental health issues, contact your healthcare provider and have your child screened. With appropriate treatment, depression can be managed or resolved, as this Health Matters column points out.

Learning to Help Youth in Crisis

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Like CPR, Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches parents and other adults who work with young people to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis. More about the free, eight-hour training can be found in this Billings Gazette column and on our website under the Public Health & Preventing Disease tab.

Meeting health needs of kids in foster care

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Children often enter foster care with significant untreated medical and dental needs. A partnership between the Montana Department of Health and Human Services Division of Child and Family Services in Billings and RiverStone Health helps make sure those needs are met. Since the KidsFirst program launched in August of 2016, nearly 500 children have been referred. KidsFirst nurses try to make sure the focus is on preventative care rather than care that is fragmented or crisis-oriented.

Tips for caregiver well-being

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Many of us struggle to help care for family members while juggling work and family life. From personal experience, our nurse supervisor of Home Care Services knows about the stress caregivers may feel. “The best way to equip yourself to take care of others is to refuel your own tank,” she writes in this Billings Gazette column.

Know the Risks Before You Drink Raw Milk

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Raw milk and products made from raw milk are more likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria than pasteurized milk. The top pathogens, or germs, linked to raw milk disease outbreaks between 2007 and 2012 were campylobacter, E.coli and Salmonella.

Providing Doctors to Meet Montana’s Needs

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Investing in Montana’s medical residencies makes economic sense. The residencies in Billings and Western Montana help recruit, train and retain primary care doctors to practice in Montana since the majority of those doctors settle in Montana once they finish their training.

Make 21 the minimum age to purchase tobacco

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Making 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco makes sense because experimentation with tobacco at a young age often turns to daily use between the ages of 18 and 21. Four out five users become daily tobacco users during the years between 18 and 21.

Suicide Rate Demands Action

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Montana’s suicide rate of 26 deaths per 100,000 is twice the national average and the rate is even higher among the elderly and American Indian youths.

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