Time she flies

Are you a woman and/or child with a cervix and/or teeth? Then please enjoy the following double shot of press releases from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services.

First, an update on Cervical Health Awareness Month proceedings:

In a continued effort to reduce cervical cancer in women, the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) is promoting January’s nationwide designation as Cervical Health Awareness Month. 

DHHS’s Public Health is joining communities around the U.S. in promoting cervical health. Unlike most cancers, cervical cancer is preventable. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, when administered to both male and female preteens, nearly nullifies the chances of women acquiring this sexually transmitted disease later in life.

In addition, screening for cervical cancer (a Pap smear) is recommended for all women ages 21 to 65 years old once every three years as part of well woman care. Women who get well woman care in specialty women’s health care settings should make sure that their Pap test results are sent to their primary care provider.

Most cervical cancers are the result of becoming infected with HPV. Preteens should receive two doses of the HPV vaccine (up to age 15) or three doses of the vaccine series long before any type of sexual activity. The HPV vaccine produces a more effective immune response in preteens than it does in older teens and young women. 

“Just like all other vaccines, the HPV vaccine must be given before possible exposure to the disease to be effective in preventing illness,” said DHHS’s Immunization Coordinator Susan Wardrip, R.N. 

Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine provides close to 100 percent protection against precancers and genital warts. Since the vaccine was first recommended in 2006, there has been a 56 percent reduction in HPV infections among teen girls in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parents should speak with their children’s health care provider about the HPV vaccine at the 11-to 12-year-old well child visit. 

The HPV vaccine is available by appointment at the Public Health clinic at 529 I St. in Eureka. Appointments are scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:15 to 4 p.m. 

To make an appointment or to speak with a Public Health Nurse about the vaccine, call 707-268-2108.


And now what you need to know about National Children’s Dental Health Month:

It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the Humboldt County Dental Advisory Group is inviting residents to celebrate with free events and dental supplies.

As part of a national awareness campaign started by the American Dental Association, the local group has joined forces with community partners, and will be hosting communitywide educational activities and opportunities for families to receive free toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.

The month’s biggest event is the Mini Dental Fair during the St. Joseph Health Fair on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Bayshore Mall. Attendees of all ages can have an oral health assessment done by a local volunteer dentist or dental hygienist, receive fluoride varnishing and free oral health supplies, play games, meet the tooth fairy, and see a special performance by local puppeteers Quack and Wabbit.

Tooth decay is the most common disease found in children, but is easily preventable. The goal for the month is to increase awareness that oral health issues are treatable with regular access to a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss as well as access to important preventive measures like fluoride varnish, dental sealants and fluoridated water.

Last year, the Smile Humboldt campaign kicked off in an effort to educate the community about tooth decay.

“Through our Smile Humboldt efforts we continue to bring more awareness and support, particularly making sure that children and their families, regardless of economic status, are never without oral health supplies,” said Leigh Pierre-Oetker, oral health consultant for the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health.

Special displays will be in most of the county’s library locations, and the TOOTH educators from Redwood Community Action Agency will be part of the Main Library’s Story Hour on Friday, Feb. 17. Families are invited to attend the story hour and receive free oral health supplies along with other prizes and important information.

For more information about Smile Humboldt, visit smilehumboldt.org. For more information about the local Pediatric Oral Health Initiative, contact Humboldt County Public Health at 707-268-2172