Saturday January 19, 2019

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Health & Wellness

By Danette Russell, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/4-H/Int. CED, LeFlore & Haskell County OSU Extension


With spring break on the horizon and summertime not too far behind, Oklahomans may be planning to hit pause on their hectic schedules to do some traveling.

If that is the case, families should remember bed bugs like to getaway, too, and they are not shy about catching a ride, including on clothing, luggage and even commercial airliners.
Taking a few simple precautions can help travelers reduce their chances of picking up this annoying pest.

For instance, families should leave their luggage in the bathtub or on the counter or another hard surface and carefully inspect the motel or hotel room for signs of the pests before settling in, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

“Since bed bugs are most active at night, they’re most likely to be found in places where people are at night, that is, the bed,” she said.

As part of the inspection, pull back the pillows, blankets and linens at the top of the bed to search for signs of a bed bug infestation such as eggs, bugs, blood and black fecal spots.

While the linens are pulled back, travelers should check the seams, tufts and crevices at the top of the mattress, as well as inspect the headboard and nightstand.

“It’s also a good idea to take a quick look in the dresser, in case any bed bugs hitched a ride on clothing,” Peek said. “Also, before you use the luggage rack, be sure to look under the straps.”
Any signs of an infestation should be reported to the hotel staff.

“Only move your luggage into the room when you’re confident there are no bed bugs present,” Peek said. “During your stay, store your luggage on the inspected luggage rack or on a hard surface such as a desk or dresser.”
After returning home, travelers should immediately unpack in a location other than the bedroom, such as the bathroom or garage, then wash and dry all their clothing.

Since heat effectively kills bed bugs, items that can be laundered should be dried on medium to high heat for at least 20 minutes, then washed and dried again to make sure all pests are eliminated.

“As an added layer of precaution, take your luggage outside and clean the interior and pockets to be sure there are no signs of bed bugs,” Peek said.

Adult bed bugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed. Mainly active at night, they need a blood meal to survive and feed almost exclusively on humans.

Reactions to being bitten vary from person to person. Some people have no reaction, while others may experience itchy, red welts or localized swelling within a day or two.



For more information about bed bugs, contact Danette Russell, Extension Educator, at the LeFlore County OSU Extension office at 918-647-8231 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and visit the Pest and Hazard Management Resource Center at


Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman


Stress is an issue that impacts everyone. Regardless of your age, your income level or where you live, stress affects the health and well-being of every single person on this planet.


Children oftentimes are the most susceptible to stress. Parents or caregivers will attest to hearing at some point from a child that some experience is the most traumatic event to ever happen to them. Adults often feel the incident is overblown, but in the context of a child’s short life and limited experiences, that situation might indeed be the most traumatizing event in his or her young life.


Each child is different and has their own level of tolerance for stress. Through the science of studying Adverse Childhood Experiences, researchers have been able to classify stress at three different stages: positive, tolerable and toxic.


Positive stress can actually be a good thing. According to research by Harvard University, “this a normal and essential part of healthy development, characterized by brief increases in heart rate and mild elevations in hormone levels. Some situations that might trigger a positive stress response are the first day with a new caregiver or receiving an injected immunization.”


Tolerable stress is not considered good for the body, but it is also not something classified as life-threatening in the long term. Again, according to Harvard, “tolerable stress response activates the body’s alert systems to a greater degree as a result of more severe, longer-lasting difficulties, such as the loss of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a frightening injury. If the activation is time-limited and buffered by relationships with adults who help the child adapt, the brain and other organs recover from what might otherwise be damaging effects.”


Toxic stress, the area in which the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) and partners from the Potts Family Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and others working to increase awareness regarding the issue in Oklahoma, has a tremendous impact on the person feeling it. Harvard says that a “toxic stress response can occur when a child experiences strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity—such as physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure to violence, and/or the accumulated burdens of family economic hardship—without adequate adult support. This kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.”

Unfortunately, Oklahoma ranks at the top of the list for multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences impacting children. Our children are more than ten percent more likely than the national average to suffer from traumatic conditions. That childhood trauma carries over to adulthood, meaning Oklahoma also has higher than normal issues with mental health, incarceration and lower life expectancy.


OICA is working to implement a task force of experts to make legislative recommendations and policy modifications to help reduce the conditions which trigger toxic stress. Through preventative measures, we are confident this early investment will lead to better outcomes and reduce the long-term burden on taxpayers who end up footing the bill for high incarceration rates and poor health.


The legislative vehicle for creating this task force is Senate Bill 1517. Please contact your legislators and ask them for their support of this bill as it makes it way through the legislative process.


If we can understand and address toxic stress with our children today, we can improve the long term health and well-being of an entire generation of Oklahomans.



About OICA
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens, to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.

Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.“


Press release

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is accepting nominations for awards to recognize individuals and organizations for their demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication to child abuse prevention in Oklahoma. Nominations are due by close of business on Friday, March 16.

Awards will be presented during a special ceremony on Tuesday, April 10, at 11 a.m. in the Blue Room at the State Capitol.

The six categories for nominations are:
1. The 2018 Outstanding Home Visitor Award, which is given to recognize a professional working as a home visitor who has demonstrated a high commitment to quality service and tremendous dedication to those served.

2. The 2018 Outstanding Elected Official Award, which is given to recognize an elected official for distinguished service focused on the prevention of child maltreatment and/or support of vulnerable families.

3. The 2018 Marion Jacewitz Award, which is given to recognize an individual in Oklahoma who has made significant contributions to the prevention of child abuse and strengthening families on a statewide level.

4. The 2018 Mary Ellen Wilson Award, which is given to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to the prevention of child abuse and strengthening families at a community level.

5. The 2018 Outstanding Child Abuse Prevention and Strengthening Families Program Award, which is given to recognize an exceptional program that focuses on the prevention of child maltreatment and supports vulnerable families.

6. The 2018 Julie L. Bonner Nurse Home Visitor Award, which is given to recognize a nurse home visitor who empowers parents to care for themselves while creating safe, healthy, nurturing relationships and environments for children.

Nomination forms may be downloaded directly from the OSDH website at:

Email completed nomination forms to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or mail a copy of the printed form to: Sherie Trice, Family Support and Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299.
For more information, or to request printed forms, call the OSDH Family Support and Prevention Service at (405) 271-7611.


By OICA CEO Joe Dorman


A lot of the recent focus at the State Capitol has been on the budgeting process, but just as important is the normal business of crafting state policy through bills and resolutions. Most legislative items are in their very early stages and still subject to amendments and major changes, so OICA will refrain from taking “for” or “against” positions at this time. With that in mind, here are some bills that we are following with interest and will be updating our supporters on as they advance (or fail to advance) in the 2018 legislative session:


SB 1287 and SB 991 both deal with school safety and are particularly relevant in light of the tragic school shooting that occurred in Florida last week. The bill, by Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, seeks to ensure that every public school establishes a Safe School Committee which would meet at least four times a year. The committee must focus on increasing school safety and cannot be combined with other committees (such as a Health and Fitness Committee). SB 991, by Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, removes language allowing firearms on school campuses, even if they are possessed by designated school employees who have received state-certified training and licensure.


HB3313, by Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, modifies the membership of the Dyslexia and Education Task Force to include a member who is a speech-language pathologist appointed by the Speaker of the House. Another issue of concern for speech pathologists is the restoration of the bonus previously (but no longer) awarded to them by the National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) program. Several legislators, including Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman; Sen. JJ Dossett, D-Owasso; and Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, have filed bills regarding the NBCT but no action has yet been taken.


HB2526, by Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, prohibits the use of “seclusion rooms” – where students are disciplined by confining them alone in a small room – on students with significant cognitive disabilities.


SB 1435, by Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee allows districts to suspend students of all grades for committing assault by lowering the current threshold from sixth grade and above. The legislation also allows school boards to determine the length of time for the suspension, removing prior language which limited that punishment to the current semester and the next semester. This could ultimately allow for school expulsion for the first time in years. This is a request bill from the Association of Professional Oklahoma Educators and I am told the bill is still under construction, so changes might occur.


Regarding suspension, OICA opposed a less-strict bill, SB 81, last year. We instead support counseling services for the student, appropriate funding to support special needs situations and a review by trained professionals regarding the safety of the child by some potential threat outside the school which might have caused the unruly behavior. Currently, under Oklahoma law, there is also no appeal beyond the local school board regarding a student suspension and the definition of assault is very vague, so we feel many changes are needed regarding this topic and appropriate due process should be allowed for the student.


OICA will have a bill tracking system, listing all relevant legislation to child well-being, up on our website ( very soon. We encourage you to regularly check the progress of these bills.



Please engage your legislators regarding bills working through the system and ask lawmakers to focus on child well-being. With your help, working together we will make 2018 the Year of the Child in Oklahoma!



About OICA
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens, to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.

Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.“



Press release


The flu season continues to hit the state hard and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has confirmed the first pediatric death associated with the flu since the season began in September. The death occurred in an Oklahoma County resident between the ages of 5-18.

This week’s flu report indicates record-breaking numbers with 3,440 flu-associated hospitalizations, and 153 deaths. These numbers surpass any other flu season since the OSDH began tracking in 2009. Public health officials remind the public that there are several weeks remaining in the flu season, and the number of hospitalizations and deaths will continue to increase. A flu shot is encouraged for anyone over the age of 6 months who hasn’t been immunized.

In an effort to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths, the OSDH is offering flu vaccinations statewide at no cost to recipients at all county health department sites. The flu shot is encouraged for anyone over the age of 6 months, but is especially recommended for those over the age of 65, those who suffer from chronic heart and lung conditions, and pregnant women.

The OSDH has high-dose vaccine for seniors that may not be available from health care providers. The vaccine must by administered by the end of May. Anyone interested in receiving a flu shot at no cost should contact their local county health department for clinic times.

“We have been surprised at the number of people who haven’t received the flu vaccination yet this season and we are making this effort to ensure that everyone who would like a flu shot will be able to get one,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “It is not too late to receive protection from the flu and it is important to do it now, since it takes up to two weeks after receiving the vaccine to reach full effectiveness.”

OSDH data indicates a total of 32 flu-associated deaths have occurred among Oklahoma children under the age of 18 between 2009 and the 2016-17 flu seasons. Of the 32 who died, 25 of them were over the age of 6 months, and eligible to receive a flu shot.

Thus far during the current season, over 1,800 Oklahomans over the age of 65, and over 400 under the age of 18 have been hospitalized due to medical complications from the flu.

In addition to getting a flu shot, it is important to practice frequent hand washing and prevent the spread of germs by covering your sneeze and cough. Those who are having flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, fatigue and chills are encouraged to stay home from public gatherings until they are able to go 24 hours without a fever, and without fever-reducing medication.

For more information, contact your local county health department or visit Media inquiries should contact Jamie Dukes at (405) 271-5601 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Press release

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Cleveland County Health Department are investigating a confirmed case of measles in Norman located in Cleveland County. This is the first confirmed case in Oklahoma since 2015.

Measles was identified in a person who had returned to Oklahoma after international travel. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus may remain airborne up to 2 hours in a room after the person with measles has left an indoor area.

Based on collected information about the measles case during the time they were contagious, public health officials want to alert anyone who visited the following locations in Norman during the specified times about potential exposure to the measles virus:

• Norman Pediatrics (808 Wall Street, Norman, OK) during the following dates and times:
• Friday, February 2 from 9:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
• Tuesday, February 6 from 11:15 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
• Chuck E Cheese’s (2201 Interstate Drive, Norman, OK) on Saturday, February 3 from 12:45 – 3:30 p.m.
• Norman Regional HealthPlex (3300 HealthPlex Parkway, Norman, OK) on Tuesday, February 6 from 12:25 – 3:30 p.m. The specific areas include outpatient registration, emergency room waiting, and laboratory collection services.

The OSDH is collaborating with officials of these organizations to identify persons that may have visited the above mentioned locations to inform them of their exposure and provide recommendations. Persons are protected if they are immunized with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine after the first birthday, or if they were born during or before 1957. Those who think they may have been at risk of exposure should review their immunization records and contact the Cleveland County Health Department (405-321-4048 ext. 260), their local county health department or the OSDH epidemiologist-on-call at 800-234-5963 (24/7/365 availability).

Persons who are susceptible to measles usually develop symptoms about 10 days after exposure with a range of 7-21 days. Symptoms of measles begin with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough. A few days later, a rash appears starting on the face spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20. The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

Individuals that were exposed and are not experiencing symptoms of illness do not need to be evaluated by a healthcare provider. If you experience symptoms of illness suggestive of measles, contact your healthcare provider before presenting for care to discuss instructions for check-in and registration.
People with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash and until four days after the rash starts. Measles can be prevented with the measles vaccine (usually given in combination with rubella and mumps, called MMR vaccine), and is recommended for all children at 12 to 15 months of age and again at four to six years of age. If a person has not received a second dose of the vaccine between four to six years of age, the booster dose may be given at any age thereafter. Two doses of vaccine normally provide lifelong immunity.

Press release

Buying flowers or candy for your Valentine? How about condoms?

Valentine’s Day is also National Condom Day and is the first day of National Condom Week (Feb. 14-21). The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) shares the primary goal of National Condom Day in promoting safe sex and normalizing the use of condoms.

National Condom Day began in the late 1980s and is recognized on Valentine’s Day because studies indicate condom sales are 25 percent higher compared to other days of the year. Of all birth control methods available, the condom is the only option to also protect against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.

Oklahoma continues to see a steady increase in STDs. In 2016, the OSDH reported more than 21,000 cases of chlamydia, more than 7,500 cases of gonorrhea, nearly 6,000 cases of HIV/AIDS, and nearly 700 cases of syphilis.

Jan Fox, director of the OSDH HIV/STD Service, said the primary purpose of promoting National Condom Day is to educate the public about the need for practicing safe sex at all times. Studies indicate people are more likely to use condoms if they are available prior to a sexual encounter.

“We want more people to be comfortable with purchasing, carrying, talking about, and using condoms,” said Fox. “We hope that one day, buying condoms at the store will feel as normal as buying a gallon of milk.”
The OSDH partners with community-based organizations throughout the state who provide condoms and lubricant, along with additional materials, throughout the year. County health department sites across the state also offer condoms. These sites can also offer important guidance and information about the proper use of condoms.

For more information about condoms and preventing STDs, visit or


Press release


Optometric Physicians Rally to Protect Vision Health and Medical Standards in Oklahoma

Preparations for a major effort to protect vision health and medical standards are now underway after the Oklahoma Supreme Court approved a ballot initiative submitted by a Walmart-backed political group.


As currently written, Oklahoma's Constitution mandates that optometry - like other kinds of medicine - must be practiced in medical settings and not large retail environments. The constitutional language reflects a commitment to a high standard of care and prevents large retailers from placing profit motives above medical priorities. Walmart is attempting to change the Constitution to fit their business model.


In a decision handed down today by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Walmart was given approval to begin the signature-collecting process which could ultimately put their proposal on the ballot.

Dr. Jason Ellen, president-elect of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP) and a Tulsa-based optometrist, said that eye doctors will now begin the hard work of educating their patients and voters on why Walmart's proposal is bad for them.


"My partners and I perform surgeries, diagnose and manage chronic eye diseases, and can detect life-threatening conditions," said Dr. Ellen. "The right place to do that is a medical clinic, not a gigantic grocery and hardware store. If Walmart gets their way, corporate management will reduce quality and increase prices. It's a lose-lose situation for my patients and for Oklahoma consumers."


OAOP Vice-President Dr. Selina McGee, who practices in Edmond and Midwest City, said that putting optometrists in big retail settings - as Walmart has proposed - will ultimately raise prices and make vision care less convenient.


"Companies like Walmart want to control the market for vision care and raise prices," said Dr. McGee. "That's a losing proposition for patients, especially seniors on a fixed income. Walmart also wants to make their store the singular destination for vision care. The vast majority of the patients we treat don't want to navigate a Walmart parking lot or rush-hour shopping to get their eyes checked or a procedure done."

Should Walmart's proposal be placed on the November ballot, the OAOP and its members are committed to supporting a statewide education campaign emphasizing the dangers of reducing the standards for medical care in Oklahoma.


The OAOP represents over 500 Optometric Physicians in Oklahoma. OAOP's mission is to lead optometric physicians through education and opportunities to improve vision, eye care, and health care.

Press release


The Pervasive Parenting Center (C.P.R.C.) will host a parent support group meeting on Monday, February 26, at 6 p.m. This will be held at the Pervasive Parenting Center office on the campus of Carl Albert State College in Poteau, OK.

The Pervasive Parenting Center will offer their monthly parent support group meeting to help the families find resources, talk to other families, and provide moral support for coping with disabilities.


This meeting is open to everyone including families, professionals, teachers, etc.


There will be childcare provided. All services are provided free.

If you have any questions contact Kodey Toney @ 918-647-1255 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Latest Events

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