Welcome to Audrain County Health Department.  Public Health: Better Health, Better Missouri.
The Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) proudly and diligently serves the Audrain County
Community, and is committed to addressing the public health needs of individuals.  The ACHD exists
under RSMO 205.010-115, County Health and Welfare Programs in order to provide the various and
multi-faceted public health programs for the Audrain County community and its citizens.  The Audrain
County Health Department is here for you.  By taking a proactive approach, rather than a reactive one,
we can hope to positively affect and influence the lives of each and every one of us.  The ACHD hopes you
will find the information contained within this website useful, and looks forward to working with the
community in facing the challenges of the future.  
1130 South Elmwood Drive
P.O. Box 957
Mexico, MO 65265
Phone: (573) 581-1332
Fax: (573) 581-6652
1130 South Elmwood
P.O. Box 957
Mexico, MO 65265
Phone: (573) 581-1332
Fax: (573) 581-6652
Hours: Monday through Friday
8:00AM to 4:00PM.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider
Audrain County Health Department
is a proud member of  United Way!
The Symbol of Public Health
Check Out the Impact of Public Health on Communities…
To take advantage of the many services provided by the Audrain County Health Department,
we welcome you to stop by and we’ll give you an overview of our program.  Here at ACHD,
we make a difference!  Go ahead and get started learning about your public health department,
click on the video link below…and thank you for reviewing our website.
Immunizations -  VaxCare

A partnership between the Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) and a leading vaccine facilitator means it’s
easier than ever for Audrain County residents to receive vaccinations. In June, the ACHD contracted with VaxCare,
an immunization provider out of Orlando, Florida.

“Our partnership with VaxCare will expand the marketplace for those residents with private insurance,” ACHD
Administrator Sandra Hewlett said. “Previously, we only had billing arrangements with seven private insurance
companies. With VaxCare, we now offer 24 private insurance billing options.”The partnership between the two
entities means Audrain County residents will have more insurance companies to choose from with the company.

“VaxCare will bring to the table an expanded list of health insurance companies we can bill to,” said ACHD Licensed
Practical Nurse Brandi Meyer, who is heading up the vaccine program for ACHD. “This means, with our expanded list,
that residents who have private insurance who may have had to go out of town for immunizations before can now stay
in county for their immunization needs.”

The ACHD immunization program offers a variety of vaccinations to families, local businesses and private
educational institutions in Audrain County. To see if your insurance provider is one of the 24 now offered through
VaxCare, and, to learn more about the ACHD immunization program, contact Meyer at the health department at

•        20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
•        12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
•        2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves & lung function increases.
•        1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.  The cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs)
         regain normal function, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
•        1 year after quitting: Your increased risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker's.
•        5 to 15 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
•        10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is 50% less than a smoker’s.  The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder,
         cervix, and pancreas decrease.
•        15 years after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.

Choosing to be tobacco free is one of the most important decisions you ever make. Quitting smoking will help you live a longer, healthier life & protect
the health of your family and friends.  Giving up smoking can be difficult, but a tobacco-free lifestyle offers benefits that will last a lifetime.

Smoking contributes to many serious diseases, including lung & other cancers, heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease. Each year in Missouri,
nearly 10,000 die from tobacco-related disease & secondhand smoke causes an average of 1,150 deaths.

For long-time smokers, quitting now could prevent serious illness & add years to your life. If you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t be discouraged.
Try again. Many people try to quit more than once before succeeding.

Secondhand smoke can cause cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses in people who don’t smoke, so those who breathe your smoke are at risk.  
Children exposed to tobacco smoke are more likely to experience sudden infant death syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, asthma, and
other respiratory problems.

The main benefit of quitting smoking is preventing disease & early death, but there are many others:
•        You’ll have fresher breath, whiter teeth and better smelling hair and clothes.
•        Your sense of smell with return to normal, and food will taste better.
•        The discoloration of your fingers and fingernails will disappear.
•        You’ll be able to do normal activities, such as climb stairs, without losing your breath.
•        You’ll enjoy going to restaurants & other public facilities where smoking isn’t permitted.
•        You won’t have to worry about exposing your family & friends to your secondhand smoke.
•        You will no longer spend time and energy worrying about when you’ll get your next nicotine “fix.”

Quitting smoking can improve your family finances. You’ll save thousands of dollars that you would have spent on cigarettes, you will also save on medical
expenses as well. Missouri spends almost $2 billion every year to treat smoking-related illnesses.

When you quit smoking, you’ll be setting a positive example for your children and grandchildren. And if they don’t smoke, they won’t have to worry about
increasing their risk for lung cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses as they grow older.  

This fall, the health department will launch the American Cancer Society’s Fresh Start Smoking Cessation program.  Look for more details in September.  
Finally, Audrain County Health Department is firmly committed to fighting chronic diseases caused by modifiable lifestyle choices, such as smoking, and supports
a smoke-free Mexico.
The American Cancer Society’s Fresh Start smoking cessation program is a four
week support program offered to all those who want to quit using tobacco products.

Time:  5:30 - 7:00 PM        
Location: Audrain County Health Department          
Cost: $25
Registration:  Call Sandra at 573-581-1332, ext. 25 to enroll.
Note:  The program is taught by trained smoking cessation facilitators
The first 4-week sessions will be held on the following Thursdays:
11/19, 12/03, 12/10, and 12/17.

The next 4-week sessions will be held on the following Thursdays:
01/07, 01/14, 01/21, and 01/28.

The next 4-week sessions will be held on the following Thursdays:
04/07, 04/14, 04/21, and 04/28.

The next 4-week sessions will be held on the following Thursdays:
07/07, 07/14, 07/21, and 07/28.

The next 4-week sessions will be held on the following Thursdays:
10/06, 10/13, 10/20, and 10/27.     
Whooping cough, also referred to as pertussis, is a potentially deadly infection that's resurgent in the U.S. even though it is vaccine-preventable. In 2013,
the number of U.S. cases was 28,639, but many are undiagnosed or unreported.  In 2014, 32,971 cases were reported, a 15% increase in one year.
The hallmark of the disease is a frightening, high-pitched whooping sound made as people struggle for breath after extended coughing fits.

Outbreaks of whooping cough have been reported across the U.S., affecting people of all ages, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.  The best defense
against whooping cough is vaccination. But the vaccine is imperfect. Before the 2-month mark, babies are too young for vaccination, but highly susceptible
to the infection. While the vaccine does not protect everyone completely, if you've been vaccinated and you contract whooping cough, your symptoms will
be less severe and the illness will end more quickly.
                                          10 Facts about This Common “Childhood Illness” That Can Affect Anyone

      1.  Whooping cough is one of the most highly contagious infectious diseases.

After an incubation period of 5-21 days, a whooping cough infection becomes very contagious. Whooping cough spreads through bacteria-infected
droplets that travel in an infected person’s breath. When you cough or sneeze, others may inhale the infectious bacteria and get sick. The infection starts
spreading once coughing begins and continues to be infectious for about another three weeks.
Caught early, whooping cough can be treated with antibiotics. It's so contagious that your doctor may even prescribe preventive antibiotics for you when
someone in your household has whooping cough. Diagnosed late, medication is unlikely to control the cough & over-the-counter medicines are of no help.

Whooping cough can kill you

Whooping cough is sometimes lethal for babies, who can have seizures, stop breathing, develop pneumonia, or suffer brain damage.  Pertussis is the
most dangerous for babies under age 1.

Whooping cough fits are uncontrollable and intense.

Whooping” cough is named for the sound of its victims, who gasp for breath after prolonged coughing.  Parents will know something is wrong.
Consecutive coughs don’t stop for 15 seconds to a minute, and it can seem a lot longer. During coughing spells, a baby with whooping cough can
have trouble catching their breath, turn red, not be able to get enough air, turn blue, and even stop breathing, or may just get severe breathlessness.
The infection starts off like a common cold, with a low-grade fever and cough in the first week. But coughing becomes so severe by the next week that it
can cause one to vomit, turn blue, bruise or crack ribs, and develop abdominal hernias and broken blood vessels. Symptoms of pertussis vary in duration
and severity.  Very young infants often don't get the classic 'whoop' cough paroxysms that older children & adults can get.

Bacteria called Bordetella pertussis cause whooping cough; new strains are now in the U.S.

Once Bordetella pertussis bacteria get in the lungs, they stick to the lung's lining, where they make pertussis toxin. The toxin paralyzes the cilia, the tiny
hairs lining the lung that usually move in waves to help the lungs clear away mucus through normal coughing. Whooping cough is anything but a normal
cough; it is so severe that it interferes with breathing, eating, and sleeping.
Like other living things, bacteria adapt/change over time. Variations in the kinds of pertussis bacteria might be one of the reasons for the recent upsurge of whooping
cough cases. A study of strains of bacteria from people who had whooping cough found that 85% were missing the bacterial protein that the vaccine targets, called
pertactin. 50% of U.S. children who had whooping cough in recent years had already been vaccinated. During 2012 & 2013, data show that half of the children ages
6 month to 6 years who got whooping cough had already received 3 or more doses of the DTap vaccine, but got sick anyway.

There is a rising tide of U.S. whooping cough epidemics.

When U.S. childhood immunizations became routine, cases of whooping cough dropped dramatically — at first. But over the past several years local outbreaks
have increased, and statewide epidemics of whooping cough have been reported.  In 2015, outbreaks have been reported across the country.
Many cases were in children, but about one-third of recent infections were in adolescents and one-fifth in adults.  Increasing U.S. case numbers suggest
that whooping cough vaccine effectiveness and duration of protection have changed.

 The young and ill are at higher risk for whooping cough.

Whooping cough doesn’t affect everyone the same. It depends on the strength of the patient's immune system, whether or not they have fully developed
lungs, and whether they have a healthy immune system. It is mainly for the younger babies in the first six months of life before they are fully immunized that
it’s especially critical. Most of the kids who need to be hospitalized for whooping cough are young children.
Not just the very young are vulnerable, however. Anybody who has an immunocompromised condition is at higher risk. This includes those who have cancer,
have had any kind of organ transplant, or live with chronic conditions like asthma or other lung problems.

The "cocoon effect" can help protect your baby from whooping cough.

To protect the most vulnerable, parents have to prevent a baby’s exposure to anyone who might have an infection, even a hidden one.  The cocoon effect
is the best way to protect the newborn: Everyone around them should be vaccinated.  If you are going to be around an infant, ask your doctor about getting
a pertussis booster vaccine. Data on current levels of vaccine coverage shows a need for improvement.
Vaccination is the best protection against whooping cough.

The pertussis vaccine is safe and is 80-90% effective at preventing infection. Mild side effects, include fever, headache, & fatigue.  The American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a five-shot vaccination series called DTaP starting when a baby is 2 months old, with additional doses at 4 months, 6 months,
15-18 months, & 4 to 6 years.  DTaP is a combination vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
About 83% of U.S. children aged 19 to 35 months have had the recommended four or more DTaP doses, reports the Immunization Services Division of
the CDC. Vaccination rates of 80 to 95% should protect the community at large, due to the effect called “herd immunity” according to the CDC.

Teens and adults need pertussis booster shots.

Teens and adults need a booster, because immunity from the childhood vaccine, DTaP, lasts for only about two years and then declines.  Teenagers between
11 and 18 should get a single Tdap (a combined vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis for teens and adults) once. Adults older than 18 should get a single
Tdap vaccine if they haven't before.

Pregnant women need to get vaccinated against pertussis during every pregnancy.

It is especially critical that pregnant women get a Tdap booster, usually in the 3rd trimester (between 27-36 weeks gestation) to extend protection to their newborn baby,
recommends the AAP. After getting the vaccine, a pregnant woman transmits antibodies through the placenta to her developing fetus, offering about 90% protection from
infection in the first months of the baby's life.
Current recommendations are for pregnant women to get the Tdap vaccination again in each pregnancy. There is evidence of waning immunity as time
goes by.  Within each pregnancy, mom should get vaccinated again because you can’t rely on the immunization to last from one pregnancy to the next.  
Finally, anyone who may be around the most vulnerable — infants less than 1 year and people with low immunity (those with cancer or HIV/AIDS, for example)  —
should get a booster shot.
Sandra Hewlett, MS, APRN, FACHE