Monday October 22, 2018

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Health & Wellness

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s 675,000 residents on Medicare will get new, more secure cards starting this month. The card will have a new Medicare number that’s unique to each person instead of the person’s Social Security Number.


“The change to a new Medicare Number will help protect citizens from identity theft and fraud,” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said. “But with these new security measures comes an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting Medicare recipients. We want everyone to be aware.”


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has already spotted several scams involving the new cards. Medicare beneficiaries should know the following:

• Do NOT pay for a new Medicare card. They are free. Never give your Social Security Number, bank account number or cash to anyone who says they need it in order to receive the new Medicare card. Medicare recipients do not need to do anything to get a new card. They are automatically mailed out.

• Do NOT give your Medicare Number to people you don’t know. Some scammers call pretending to be from Medicare, but Medicare—or someone representing Medicare—will never ask for personal information to get a new Medicare card. Only share your Medicare Number with doctors or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare.

• Don’t let anyone trick you into believing your Medicare benefits will be canceled unless you give them your Medicare Number. If someone threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your Medicare Number, hang up and report the caller to 1-800-MEDICARE.

• Destroy your old Medicare card. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new one right away. Don’t just throw the old card away—shred it or cut it into small pieces.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 15:25

What to do When ticks bite

By Leilana McKindra, Communications Specialist, Agricultural Communications Services- Oklahoma State University


STILLWATER, Okla – With ticks most active in the summertime, families need to know what to do if someone is bitten by the pest.


The best defense against ticks is a repellant containing at least 25 percent DEET, but no option is 100 percent effective.


In the event one, or a few, slip past the barrier of protection and attach, proper first aid involves a pair of tweezers, said Justin Talley, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock entomologist.


“Whenever possible, use tweezers to remove ticks, and especially smaller ticks such as seed ticks or nymphs,” Talley said. “If tweezers aren’t available, adult ticks can be pulled out by hand slowly and steadily.”


To properly remove an attached tick, grasp it with tweezers and pull it out with slow and steady pressure. Do not twist the tweezers or yank the tick out.


Do not put any kind of substance or liquid such as Vaseline, bleach or alcohol on the tick.


“Putting substances on ticks can cause the tick to salivate more which could potentially increase the risk of the tick transmitting a pathogen,” Talley said.


Once removed, seal the tick in a plastic bag, write the date on the bag and save it in the event symptoms develop.


“We recommend keeping the tick for about a month,” Talley said. “That way, if you begin developing symptoms, you can tell your doctor you were bitten by this particular tick. That gives the doctor a lot of clues and helps direct the treatment.”


Removed ticks also can be washed down the drain or sealed in a plastic bag and put in the garbage.


“It’s important to dispose of ticks properly so you’re not just throwing them back out on your property. Even if you squeeze some of the blood out, those ticks can survive and lay eggs,” Talley said.


There is increased concern around tick-borne illnesses such as ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Bourbon Virus, Heartland Virus and Spotted Fever Group rickettsiosis, which includes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.


Anyone is at risk for being bitten by a tick, but people who are outside constantly, such as landscapers or cattle and horse owners and others in production agriculture, generally are at higher risk for tick-borne illnesses.


Unattached ticks can be brushed off the body or clothing.


For more information about ticks, contact the nearest county Extension office and download free OSU Fact Sheets on the topic, including EPP-7001, “Common Ticks of Oklahoma and Tick-Borne Diseases,” at



Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.



The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is celebrating Men’s Health Month during June.


Men are encouraged to take steps to be healthy and lower their risks of chronic diseases.


Heart disease and cancer are leading causes of death among men 18 and older in Oklahoma.


Death certificate data show the most notable increase occurred in hypertensive heart disease, jumping from 46.2 deaths/100,000 population in 2014 to 75.9 deaths in 2016.


Deaths from complications of diabetes in men also increased from 46.1 deaths/100,000 population in 2014 to 51.9 deaths in 2016.


Death rates due to diabetes among men 65 and older are twice as high as those less than 65.

The U.S Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for high blood pressure in adults 18 years or older, screening for abnormal blood glucose as part of cardiovascular risk assessment in adults aged 40 to 70 years who are overweight or obese, and screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years.


According to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey conducted in 2016, 59.6 percent of Oklahoma men 45 years and older reported having a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, which are procedures used to examine the colon.

Many conditions, including chronic health issues associated with these diseases, can be prevented or detected early.

Steps toward better health include:

• Setting health goals such as being active and maintaining a healthy weight.
• Being tobacco-free.
• Getting regular checkups and preventive screenings.
• Getting enough sleep.
• Eating fruits and vegetables every day.
• Drinking more water and less sugary drinks.
• Taking prescription medication only as prescribed.
• Taking time for yourself with activities you enjoy.

This month, the OSDH is also celebrating Father’s Day and fatherhood by promoting healthy relationships between fathers and children, which can contribute to their children’s healthy development. The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse states that children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior when they have responsible fathers involved in their lives.

For more information on men and health, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at The Shape Your Future Program offers many resources on good health at The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse provides resources to encourage and strengthen fathers and families at

Press release


Summer is heating up, and as temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat-related illness.

Each year, more than 600 people die from heat-related illness in the United States. In Oklahoma, there were 145 deaths associated with exposure to excessive heat from 2010 to 2017. Approximately 70 percent of those deaths occurred in males.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds residents that heat-related illness can range from heat rash, heat cramps and heat exhaustion to hyperthermia (overheating) and heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to cool itself sufficiently, and it often results in severe organ damage or even death.

It is important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and act quickly.

Heat Exhaustion
· Heavy sweating
· Weakness
· Cold, pale, clammy skin
· Fast, weak pulse
· Nausea or vomiting
· Fainting
· Muscle cramps
· Headache
· Feeling dizzy

Heat Stroke
· Body temperature of 103 degrees or higher
· Hot, red, dry or moist skin
· Rapid and strong pulse
· Headache
· Nausea
· Feeling confused
· Feeling dizzy
· Unconsciousness

A heat stroke is a medical emergency. If any signs are recognizable, call 911 immediately and move the person to a cooler environment. Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.

The OSDH offers the following safety tips for preventing a heat-related illness:

Stay indoors. Stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home is not air-conditioned, visit the mall or public library, or contact the local health department for the location of a heat-relief shelter in the area.

Stay hydrated. Increase your fluid intake to two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids every hour. If you are on water pills or restricted fluid limit, consult a physician first. Avoid liquids which contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar; they contribute to the loss of more body fluid. Very cold drinks can cause stomach cramps and should be avoided as well.

Dress appropriately. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing as well as sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and broad spectrum or UVA/UVB protection.

Closely monitor those who are more vulnerable. Infants, children, people older than 65 years of age, those with mental illness, outdoor workers, athletes and those with physical illnesses such as heart disease or high blood pressure should be closely observed.

Never leave anyone in a vehicle. Never leave anyone, especially children and the elderly, in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are cracked.

For more information on summer heat safety, contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430 or visit

Press release 

Center for Pediatric Psychology enhances OSU’s ability to make a difference


(STILLWATER, Okla., June 8, 2018) – The new Center for Pediatric Psychology at Oklahoma State University is expected to help the university and the state use their national status as leaders in the field of children’s health to do more for kids and their families.


The center’s director, Larry Mullins, the Vaughn Vennerberg II Chair of Psychology, said the center will serve as a hub for coordinated research and training activities and a way to use its state and national collaborations to make a difference for those it ultimately serves.


“There are over 20 million children in the U.S. living with chronic health conditions,” Mullins said. “Through pediatric psychology, we seek to understand the factors that put youths with chronic illnesses and their families at risk for additional health problems. We’re proud to play a part in this cause to help more of these children and families.”

The Center for Pediatric Psychology at OSU’s specific mission is to engage in cutting-edge scientific discovery related to all aspects of children’s health, as well as their families, and to foster integrated research, training and clinical service delivery.


Mullins also anticipates the center will be an important tool for recruiting outstanding faculty and graduate students.


“We have a long history of bringing in some of the best graduate students in the country to train in pediatric psychology,” Mullins said. “Establishing the Center for Pediatric Psychology formalizes what we’ve been doing and allows us to move forward in a much more thoughtful manner. It will help us better fund our graduate students and our research, and really support the growth of a network across the state.”


Two years of funding from the College of Arts and Sciences at OSU has created a speaker series as well as a graduate-student position to help coordinate activities at the new center. The long-term goal is to add more funding and training resources for graduate students and research facilities such as a dedicated suite that will serve as the program’s physical home.


Joining Mullins as charter faculty are John M. Chaney and Ashley (Hum) Clawson. The trio makes OSU one of only three American universities with three full-time pediatric psychologists.


“Most universities only have one faculty member in this area,” Mullins said. “That’s one reason we are easily in the top five pediatric psychology training programs in the country. Plus, Oklahoma is the birthplace of the field of pediatric psychology. Logan Wright coined that term at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in the late 1960s.


“OU is still a leading training facility for interns and postdocs, and we have an incredible working relationship with them that goes back decades. Our graduate students can do their clinical training in OU’s specialty clinics. It just makes sense to continue that legacy and build something that has some permanency to it.”


The center’s five affiliate faculty are all from OSU and OUHSC. At OSU, Thad Leffingwell, head of the Department of Psychology, is joined by assistant psychology professors Misty Hawkins and Amanda Baraldi. The pair from OUHSC are Stephen Gillaspy, associate pediatrics professor, and Ted Wagener, assistant pediatrics professor and associate director of training at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center of the Stephenson Cancer Center.


The center’s advisory board includes six pediatric health experts from across the country: C. Eugene Walker, OUHSC professor emeritus; Bernard Feummeler, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center; Kevin Hommel and Ahna L.H. Pai with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; David Elkin, University of Mississippi Medical Center; and David Janicke, University of Florida.


In addition, the center will benefit from institutional and community partnerships with the following: Pediatric psychology faculty and pediatricians at OUHSC in Oklahoma City; J.D. McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities in Norman; University of Mississippi Medical Center; Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago; Weill Cornell Medicine; University of California, San Francisco Medical Center; Washington University Medical Center; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and Cook Children’s Medical Center of Fort Worth.


Submitted by Jacob Longan, College of Arts and Sciences - OSU


Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.

Wednesday, 06 June 2018 12:43

Helping kids avoid head lice at summer camp

Leilana McKindra, Communications Specialist- Agricultural Communications Services - Oklahoma State University


STILLWATER, Okla. (June 6, 2018) – With many Oklahoma youth planning to spend parts of their summer breaks enjoying camps, clinics and conferences, families need to know how to protect against head lice.


While the insects are a common problem across the United States, Justin Talley, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock entomologist, said youth attending summer camps and other similar activities are at higher risk because there are so many participants from different home environments coming together in one place.


“Anyone can get head lice. It’s not about cleanliness or where you live. It’s a matter of who you come into close contact with,” Talley said.


Head lice are a blood sucking insect that can only be transmitted from person to person through direct contact such as sharing a pillow, a brush or by having head to head contact with someone who has lice.


As a preventative measure, parents should talk to their children about not sharing personal items such as combs or brushes and bed linens, especially pillows.


“The more children share those types of items, the more likely there will be a transmission of lice,” Talley said.


Infestations can take between five and 10 days to develop after exposure, depending on the temperature and condition of the infested person’s hair.


While the camp or conference medical staff should be trained to identify lice, parents should check their children for lice as soon as they return home, especially if they are exhibiting abnormal behavior such as flicking their hair or scratching more than usual.


To properly check for head lice, part the hair all the way to the scalp every 2 to 3 inches all over the head, and especially in the back toward the neck.


“The best method to detect lice is to purchase a lice comb and comb through your child’s hair thoroughly because this will pick up both adult lice as well as eggs,” Talley said.


Head lice range in color from creamy white to brown and are visible with the naked eye.


“They’ll be active, crawling on and near the scalp,” Talley said.


All clothing and bedding, and especially the pillowcases, also should be washed immediately after campers get back home.


These items should be laundered separately from the rest of the laundry in hot water above 125F and dried on a high heat setting.


“If lice are suspected or reported from the camp then dispose of any combs or brushes so that the infestation is not accidently spread to other members in the household,” Talley said.

In cases of a suspected infestation, try over-the-counter lice control shampoos. However, if the infestation is severe or if the over-the-counter product does not work, stronger alternatives may be obtained by prescription from a medical professional.


Lice control products typically require two applications – one initially and a second one about 10 to 14 days later.


“Regardless of the product you’re using, the second application is important because the first application doesn’t kill the eggs,” Talley said. “Reapplying the product after about 10 days allows those eggs to hatch so you’re killing the remaining nymphs.”


There also are companies, including some located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, that use heat and vacuuming to remove lice.


For more information about head lice, contact the nearest county Extension office and download a free OSU Fact Sheet on the topic, EPP-7008, “Human Lice and Scabies,” at

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies. Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.


Tuesday, 05 June 2018 22:52

Riverside Autoplex to hold Blood Drive


Join the staff at Riverside Autoplex of Poteau on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, from 2 PM - 6:15 PM as they team up with the with Oklahoma Blood Institute for a Blood Drive.


It's simple! All you have to do is show up, give a blood donation and go home.



Riverside Autoplex is located at 2100 S Broadway St in Poteau.

Press release

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has unveiled a new website for the updated State of the State’s Health Report that will allow interactive access to information on health issues for all of Oklahoma. The new platform,, provides data on more than 50 indicators related to health and replaces the cumbersome printed reports previously used.


“I want to commend the combined effort of our team and the partners who engaged with us on this effort to put meaningful data in the hands of those on the front lines of improving health outcomes for all Oklahomans,” said OSDH Interim Commissioner Tom Bates.


Listening sessions were held with groups across the state to determine new items to be included in the report. State Board of Health member Dr. Scott Stewart also provided input for the website and believes the new method of access to health data will benefit everyone.


“This advance is a result of listening to their needs and adapting the report into something that provides a more comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of our state’s health status. The board is excited to see the enhancements provided in the new report, which will help us determine methods to cultivate conditions by which Oklahomans can be healthy.”


This is the first update of the report since 2014 and the standalone website will allow for periodic updates during the year when new data becomes available, rather than waiting years for all data to be incorporated into a printed report. The website and the ability to continuously update data as it becomes available will provide a more useful tool for all users of the report.

“With this new site we hope to better explain how various health outcomes and behaviors affect the overall health status of Oklahoma residents in a user friendly format,” said Derek Pate, director of the OSDH Center for Health Statistics. “The information provided will help identify patterns that occur across the state, over time, and within particular groups.”


Highlights of the new report include the reduction in smoking prevalence among adults and high school students, improvements on the rate and grade for colon and prostate cancer incidence and a slight improvement in mortality rates since the previous report. The new data also shows that Oklahoma continues to have high rates of deaths due to heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and diabetes compared to the national average.


The first State of the State’s Health Report was issued by the Oklahoma State Board of Health in 1997. That report served to provide an assessment of the general health status of Oklahomans and to fulfill the assessment function of public health for the state based upon the 1988 Institute of Medicine Report supporting such a role. The first few reports sought to simply give a snapshot of the Oklahoma health experience. Reports have been issue periodically since then, usually covering a three-year time span and have expanded from just a dozen health indicators to more than 50 covered in the new report.

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman 

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is excited to announce that we have posted our 2018 Child Well-being Legislative Report Card to our website at The Report Card tracks how Governor Mary Fallin and every Oklahoma state senator and representative performed on behalf of our state’s children.
Our report is designed to emphasize policy issues related to child well-being that often go underreported or ignored. We selected 20 different ideas approved by our board and monitored by OICA, including several criminal justice reform measures and bills that were introduced at the request of OICA or other youth programs across the state.  We did not include bills which did not have votes in both bodies. We also did not include bills we considered to be negative, as we wanted this report card to show positive work done by lawmakers for our children.  In addition, we did not grade the many bills dealing with the budget and revenue-raising measures.

Click here to view the Report Card and here to view the list of bills we tracked and used to calculate grades.

I am pleased to report that 91 of the 149 lawmakers had a 100% score. In addition, 36 more lawmakers were supportive of at least 18 of the 20 bills we graded. 
We chose not to deduct points from legislators who had excused absences, as sometimes legislative obligations require missing votes. Sen. Joe Newhouse, for example, was unable to vote on any of the OICA measures as he is serving overseas in the Navy Reserve. We are very thankful for the men and women who serve in our armed forces and completely understand when votes must be missed due to those or other pressing obligations.  
 OICA does thank those legislators who supported every bill and had perfect attendance on all twenty measures.  Those lawmakers in the State House are Reps. Meloyde Blancett, Donnie Condit, Scott Inman, JP Jordan, Dell Kerbs, Ben Loring, Cyndi Munson, Earl Sears, Steve Vaughan, Collin Walke, Tammy West, and George Young.
Senators on our 100% list are Sens. Mark Allen, Tom Dugger, Kay Floyd, AJ Griffin, Allison Ikley-Freeman, Darcy Jech, Greg McCortney, Lonnie Paxton, Dewayne Pemberton, Marty Quinn, Paul Scott, Ron Sharp, Frank Simpson, and Gary Stanislawski. 
In addition, OICA would like to thank the authors of the bills who put forth these ideas for the children of our state.  Those authors in the House are Reps. Rhonda Baker, Carol Bush, Dale Derby, Kyle Hilbert, Chris Kannady, Dell Kerbs, Mark Lawson, Ben Loring, Jadine Nollan, Terry O’Donnell, Pat Ownbey, Tammy West and Josh West.  In the Senate, authors of bills on the report card are Sens. Stephanie Bice, Kay Floyd, AJ Griffin, James Leewright, Adam Pugh, Ron Sharp, Jason Smalley, Greg Treat and Ervin Yen.
We also wish to thank Governor Mary Fallin for signing into law 19 out of the 20 bills, with the only exception being legislation vetoed dealing with school bullying.  We understand her concerns and hope to address this policy again next session.
Thank you again to those lawmakers who voted to support the children of our state, and please do not forget to vote in the upcoming Primary Elections on June 26!

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