May 04

Mental Health is Health

Posted on May 4, 2023 at 2:53 PM by Jennifer Ambrose

A Public Health Perspective on Mental Health Treatment

Mental health issues affect not only your mood and behavior but your physical and social well-being as well. This makes dealing with mental health integral to achieving public health goals.

a brain inside a man's bodyMental health is so intrinsically linked with the physical body.  If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, you often neglect your physical health.  You are not eating nutritiously healthy meals, you reduce your activity, and your sleep cycle is affected.  You may begin self-medicating with harmful substances including sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or prescription narcotics in an effort to feel better. You may neglect important preventative health appointments.

Transversely, if you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, you may start to see your mental health decline.  If you are feeding your body with processed foods, or aren’t getting enough sleep and exercise, you may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. If you have a medical condition, that will also affect your mood and behavior immensely.

The important thing that we need to do is reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.  Mental health care is health care.  Your mind is just as important a part of your body as the rest of your organs.  Experiencing a mental illness is not a character defect; that diagnosis is just the same as if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, or arthritis.   They are all treatable and manageable.

Please do not be afraid to voice your concern for mental health symptoms just as you would a physical symptom.  It is just as important and there will be no judgment for your health care provider.    They are there to care for you and that includes your mental well-being.


May 04

Fight the Bite! Join the 'SWAT Team' Against Vector-Borne Diseases

Posted on May 4, 2023 at 9:40 AM by Jennifer Ambrose

picture of a mosquitoWhile bug bites can certainly be an annoying part of the warmer weather months here in Lenawee County, they can actually be more dangerous than most people realize.   Beyond the side effects of a bug bite (itching, swelling, pain, and redness), many insects are carriers of what we call vector-borne diseases.

What’s Vector-Borne Mean?
Vectors are mosquitos, ticks, and fleas that spread pathogens.  A person who gets bitten by a vector and gets sick has a vector-borne disease.  Some vector-borne diseases (like the plague) have been around for thousands of years!  Others have been discovered more recently.

Environmental Health Technician examining a mosquitoMost public health organizations work to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases in their community.   They do this through public engagement and the work of trained scientific specialists who monitor and track insects and diseases.

As in years past, the Lenawee County Health Department (LCHD) is participating in a Vector-Borne Disease Surveillance and Prevention Program in coordination with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).  LCHD will be providing mosquito and tick monitoring data to MDHHS as well as use the surveillance data to notify the public of risks related to emerging vector-borne diseases.  

What Critters Are The Biggest Culprits?
In our area, mosquitos and ticks are of the biggest concern, but you should also be on the lookout for fleas carried in by pets as well. Bites from these insects can transmit diseases like:

  • Zika virus
  • Lyme disease
  • EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis)
  • West Nile Virus

How Can I Fight the Bite?
All residents can take simple, everyday precautions to protect themselves against vector-borne illnesses that can be transmitted through mosquito and tick bites by doing the following: 

  • Use an EPA-approved insect repellent: When outdoors, use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. Always follow the directions on the package.
  • Wear protective clothing: Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
  • Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs near you: Mosquitoes can lay eggs even in small amounts of standing water. Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, bird baths, kids’ toys/pools, and tires. 
  • Landscape for tick prevention: Keep the grass mowed, and remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn. 
  • Consider pesticide application: Pesticides can be applied as targeted treatments to reduce mosquito and tick populations. 
  • Perform regular tick checks: Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but prefer body creases and areas with hair such as the groin, armpit, ankle, and scalp. Be sure to check yourself, your kids, and your pets for ticks after spending time outdoors. 
  • Submit a tick or ‘tick pic’: Submitting a picture of the offender to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services helps everyone in an effort to stop the spread of disease. Experts can help identify the type of tick that bit you!
  • Download “The Tick App”: This new app that you can put on your phone shows you how to avoid ticks and tick-borne diseases.

For more information on vector-borne diseases and the creatures that carry them, visit our website.

FIGHT_THE_BITE - lady spraying bug spray on a child