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FEMA wants you to participate in earthquake drill Thursday

FEMA wants you to participate in earthquake drill Thursday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging participation in a national earthquake drill this Thursday, October 16.

FEMA says over 40 states are at risk of earthquakes, but surveys report fewer than one-third of adults have participated in a drill in the last year. That's why they're spreading the word about this year's Great ShakeOut.

“Past practice and previous participation in a drill can make all the difference in an emergency,” FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said. “Everyone should know how to drop to the ground, cover themselves under a sturdy table or desk, and hold on to it until the shaking stops. It needs to happen with enough regularity that it becomes second nature during an actual earthquake.

At 10:16 am local time, participants should do the following:

Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all Washington kids, Mr. Yuk needs your help! The lovable mascot of the Washington Poison Center wants children to send in their best artwork for the 8th annual statewide Poison Prevention Poster Contest.

The Washington Poison Center uses the contest to reminder parents and children to be vigilant about poisons and drugs. The winning poster will be part of the 2015 Poison Prevention Week campaign celebrated across the state during the third week in March.

The Poison Center is looking for young artists to create poison safety awareness through eye-catching posters displaying suggestions on how Mr. Yuk helps them avoid being poisoned. The contest is open to children ages 6 to 12 in Washington State. The top prize earns $500, a visit from Mr. Yuk to their school or program, a trip to the Capitol to meet their legislators and having their winning design featured as the poster for Poison Prevention Week. Four runners-up will receive $100 in the mail, and all contest participants will receive a gift from Mr. Yuk in the mail.

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Two Central Washington Seniors are launching a campaign this fall to honor the memory of the teen who made their best friend duo into a trio.

Three years ago this October, Josh Martin took his own life. It was a complete surprise to everyone who knew him.

“There were no signs or anything,” said Donnie Santos. “He was going to be a shortstop for the Spokane Falls baseball team. We had everything going for us. We think he was afraid to come out and ask for help.”

That fear is what Donnie Santos and Dean Neilson are trying to get rid of with the Bread Tie Challenge.

It was Martin's father Joe who came up with the campaign to memorialize his son, then handed it off to Donnie and Dean to run.

The Bread Tie Challenge draws its inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge, an easy and visible way to show that your life has been impacted by someone struggling with mental illness or depression, and that you support ending the stigma of shame and weakness that can be associated with it.

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

A Grant County child has been hospitalized with a severe respiratory that may be enterovirus D68. A test returned positive for enterovirus/rhinovirus, but was unable to distinguish between the two. Additional testing is being done at the Centers for Disease Control that will determine which it is, with results expected next week.

Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brezny issued a public health advisory to local healthcare providers and schools. The CDC has said this is a rapidly evolving situation. Previously EV-D68 has been rare in the U.S, but in other states the outbreaks are resulting in many children requiring ER visits and hospitalizations, mostly for breathing problems and severe asthma.

The virus spreads from person to person like a cold and has been causing mild to severe breathing illnesses (runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) both with and without fever. Children with per-existing asthma may suffer worse infections. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for enteroviruses.

Grant County adopts ordinance regulating e-cigarettes

Grant County adopts ordinance regulating e-cigarettes

The Grant County Board of Health has unanimously adopted an ordinance regulating the sale, marketing, use and availability of electronic vapor devices (ex: e-cigarettes) and e-liquid.

The board studied the issue and received public testimony for several months before voting. Specific concerns were bystander exposure to second hand vapors and access to children. E-cigarettes and similar products are mostly unregulated and pose a concern to public health.

In fact, this year alone the Washington Poison Center has seen a 600 percent increase in the number of calls regarding e-cigarette exposure.

The devices are battery powered and can resemble cigarettes. People who use the devices inhale vaporized liquid nicotine, or other liquids, created by heat and exhale the vapor in a way that looks like smoking. Bystanders are exposed to potentially unhealthy second hand vapors and their use makes it difficult to enforce state and local smoking laws.

Human West Nile case linked to Grant County mosquitoes

Human West Nile case linked to Grant County mosquitoes

A warning for anyone spending time outdoors in Grant County – a 30-year-old woman from Pierce County has been confirmed as having West Nile virus after spending time there. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has investigated the case and determined that the woman was likely exposed to infected mosquitoes while in Grant County.

So far this year there have been four other human cases in Washington; two of those cases were exposed in Walla Walla and Benton Counties, the two other cases were exposed while traveling out of the state. The virus causing West Nile disease has been detected in 26 mosquito samples from Grant County so far this year.

West Nile virus is a bird illness that can spread to people and other animals through mosquito bites and the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten.

The Grant County Health District advises residents take the following steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Getting ready for back to school means getting school supplies and backpacks, but it's also the perfect time to make sure children are up-to-date on their shots. Getting all of the recommended shots is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their kids' health.

A new survey from the Washington State Department of Health shows vaccination rates are on the rise (71 percent in 2013 versus 65 percent the year before) but are still below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent, leaving many kids unprotected.

Below is a summary of shots children need: