Public Health Nursing
The Nursing Division is responsible for providing low or no-cost vaccines to adults and children, as well as performing various health screenings for Wells County residents. This Division of the Health Department plays a vital role in disease prevention and control in our County, not only by providing these services to our residents, but also by equipping the public with information regarding current illness outbreaks and various public health concerns so that they can protect themselves and their families. The Public Health Nurses also administer vaccines at mass clinics throughout the County during times of widespread illness or an epidemic.
Lynn Blevins, LPN
Public Health Nurse
Communicable Disease Reporting
Communicable diseases are those passed from person to person by an infectious agent, such as bacteria or viruses. These diseases are often referred to as “contagious” or “infectious” conditions.
The Health Department is required by state law to collect and investigate reports of communicable diseases (CDs) by physicians, hospitals, laboratories, and other healthcare providers in Wells County.
Certain conditions are reportable to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), while others should be reported to the local health department (WCHD). The proper entity to contact is identified in the “List of Reportable Diseases and Reporting Timelines” document below.
To report an incident of communicable disease to ISDH, contact:
317-233-7426 for HIV/STD
317-233-7125 for all other CDs
To report an incident of communicable disease to WCHD, contact:
More Information on Disease Reporting
The Wells County Health Department utilizes the “List of Reportable Diseases and Reporting Timelines”, provided by the Indiana State Department of Health, regarding communicable diseases and conditions that require an investigation by the local health department once reported.
“Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus” is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. MRSA is not a new bacteria and is not uncommon. Studies show that one in three people have Staph in their nose and are not ill. MRSA is transmitted by direct contact with infected wounds or by sharing personal items such as towels or razors that have come in contact with infected skin. There are steps a person can take to reduce the risk of MRSA infection. These include, washing hands and body regularly, keeping cuts and wounds clean and covered until healed and not sharing personal items. If by chance a person becomes infected, MRSA is treatable with antibiotics. Persons interested in being tested for MRSA should contact their primary physician.
HIV/AIDS is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. The virus is only transmitted through certain body fluids such as blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk. The fluids from an infected individual must come in direct contact with the mucous membrane or injured tissue or be injected into the bloodstream of another individual to be transmitted. HIV lives for a very short time outside of the body. The virus CANNOT be spread by insect bites, saliva, tears, sweat, sharing toilets or dishes, by closed mouth kissing, or touching that does not involve exchanging body fluids. A person can reduce their risk of getting HIV by limiting the number of sexual partners, never sharing needles, and using condoms correctly every time they have sex. There is currently no cure for HIV but with proper care it can be controlled. The Positive Resource Center is offering free HIV testing on multiple Tuesdays through this year at the Wells County Health Department. The next date for the HIV testing is September 13, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
For more information and any additional questions, please contact either of the following agencies:
Wells County Health Department
Indiana State Department of Health
Health and Human Services Division
The Wells County Health Department offers vaccine at no charge to those with Hoosier Healthwise, Medicaid, no insurance, or whose health insurance does not cover vaccination. We can also file with most insurance plans. If your child has insurance coverage for vaccinations, please call our office. It is suggested that you call for an appointment for both childhood and adult vaccinations to assure availability of the nurses and vaccines and to verify insurance coverage. Appointments can be scheduled for the hours of 8:00am-11:30am & 1:00 pm-4:00pm, Monday-Friday.
Hoosiers who received vaccine from a provider that uses the database CHIRP (Children and Hoosier’s Immunization Registry Program) now have direct access to their immunization records from any computer. Providers may include schools, local health departments, and private health care facilities. An individual can access their immunization record on the secure MyVaxIndiana website by entering their date of birth and a personal identification number (PIN) which must be requested from their healthcare provider or local health department in advance. Immunization history, as well as recommended vaccination schedule can be viewed and downloaded or printed.
To find out if your healthcare provider uses CHIRP, or to find providers in your area that use CHIRP, click the link below:
Why are infant and childhood immunizations so important?
These shots protect children from diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), hepatitis B, pneumococcal infections, rotovirus, influenza, and chickenpox. By getting your child immunized, you will be fighting disease in two ways. First, you will be protecting your own child. Secondly, since healthy children don’t spread disease, you will be protecting other children as well.
Recommended reading: Parent’s Guide to Childhood Immunizations
What if my child did not get her shots when she was supposed to, or has gotten behind schedule?
The recommended childhood and adolescent immunization schedule is available in PDF format under the Health Safety Information section below. If you have children who did not begin their immunizations at two months of age, or who have had only some of their shots, they can still be fully immunized. It is never too late to start getting immunizations. If you child has only had some of his/her shots, he/she does not have to start over. The shots already given will count. We will continue the schedule where they left off. If you have children who were not immunized when they were infants, contact your doctor or the Wells County Health Department. The public health nurses will be able to tell you when to bring your children in for their shots and what shots they need.
- Adult Vaccinations
- Childhood Immunizations
- Blood Pressure Screenings
- Tuberculosis (TB) skin test – Those receiving a TB test must return to the Health Department or a health care provider within 48-72 hours to re-check the area of the skin that was tested.
- Head Lice Check
- Travel Immunizations (Typhoid Injection only)
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For immunization questions, please contact our Nursing Department, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For specific information about travel immunizations you might need, please visit www.cdc.gov/travel. To schedule travel immunizations, it is best to contact the Health Department at least six (6) weeks prior to traveling, as some immunizations require a series of shots over a period of time.
If your child has has immunizations at the Wells County Health Department before, and you would like a copy of your or your child’s vaccination records, please contact the Health Department at any time, Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm. If they have not recieved immunizations at the Wells County Health Department, see below:
Where are my (or my child’s) immunization records?
There is no central repository of vaccination records. The only records that exist are the ones you or your parents were given when the vaccines were administered, and the ones in the medical record of the doctor or clinic where the vaccines were given. Sometimes schools hold the vaccination records of children who attended, but these records are usually not kept for more than a year or two.
If you cannot locate your personal record or the record from your doctor, it may be necessary to repeat some of the vaccines or arrange blood tests to determine your immunity.
Where can I look for existing immunization records?
- Sometimes schools hold the vaccination records of children who attended, but these records are generally not kept for more than a year or two or, at the longest, until graduation. After a student graduates, records are sent to storage and may not be accessible.
- Look for family records such as a baby book.
- Check for records with your doctor or public health clinic. Please keep in mind, however, that immunization records are maintained for a limited number of years, and then usually only by the medical provider who actually administered the vaccines.
College student’s records
- Many colleges provide vaccinations (often, certain vaccinations are required for enrollment). Contact your college’s medical services department (student health) for further information.
- Check your military records.
Who is responsible for keeping immunization records?
In most states, it is the responsibility of the parents of school-aged children, not family doctors, to provide vaccination records to the health department and to schools.
Today we move, travel, and change health providers more than we did in previous generations. Also, doctor’s offices and clinics store records of children’s vaccinations and the dates they were received only for a few years. If you keep an accurate record, you will be more likely to remember when to bring your children in for the next visit. These records also can prove that your children are up to date with their immunizations. In most states, children are not allowed to enter school or childcare unless they can prove that they meet all school immunization requirements.
Your doctor or clinic will be happy to give you an immunization record form for your use. Bring this record with you whenever you take your child to the doctor or clinic, and ask the doctor to sign and date the form each time a vaccination is given. That way, you can be sure that the immunization information is current and correct.
Finally, make sure you know if your doctor participates in an immunization registry. However, keep in mind that very few registries existed prior to the mid-1990’s.
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Seasonal flu vs. Stomach flu
Influenza (The Flu)
What is the flu?
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, an average of 5%-20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 people die from it. Some people, such as the elderly, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications.
Complications of flu
Complications resulting from the flu may include pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
How flu spreads
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing on people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop, and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
Preventing Seasonal Flu
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. There are two types of vaccines:
1. The “flu shot” – an inactivated vaccine (containing killed viruses) that is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
2. The nasal-spray – a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses (sometimes called LAIV for “live attenuated influenza vaccine) that do not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in health people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. However, flu vaccine will not protect you from other lung infections, such as colds and bronchitis.