LGBT Inclusion and the Connection to Health

June is Pride Month, and for the first time, Napa County and several cities are flying the Rainbow Flag.  Raising awareness and encouraging inclusiveness is the first step in improving health for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population.  It is estimated that 11,000 people in Napa County identify as LGBT.

LGBT individuals often face challenges and barriers to accessing needed health services and, as a result, can experience worse health outcomes. They are more likely to identify themselves in being in poor health than heterosexual individuals and face higher prevalence and earlier onset of disabilities.  Other health concerns include HIV/AIDS, mental illness, substance use, and sexual and physical violence. LGBT populations are 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders than heterosexual individuals.  Transgender individuals have up to 40% higher suicide attempts. 

In addition to the higher rates of illness and health challenges, some LGBT individuals are more likely to experience challenges obtaining care, mainly due to lack of cultural competency or perceived stigma.

Healthcare organizations can address these disparities, first by creating an environment inclusive of LGBT people.  Simple changes in forms, signage and office practices can make LGBT individuals feel welcome. Forms that gather data on sexual orientation and gender identity will allow healthcare providers to better understand these health disparities and how to prevent, screen and detect conditions earlier.  For more information and resources, refer to the National LGBT Health Education Center.
10 point checklist for LGBT best practices
Collecting data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month
An estimated 5.8 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's dementia in 2019. 
  • One in 10 people age 65 and older (10 percent) has Alzheimer's dementia.
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.
  • Older African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementias as older whites.
  • Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementias as older whites.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fourth leading cause of death in Napa County
  • Between 2000 and 2017, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease as recorded on death certificates has more than doubled, increasing 145 percent, while the number of deaths from the number one cause of death (heart disease) decreased 9 percent.
  • Among people age 70, 61 percent of those with Alzheimer's dementia are expected to die before the age of 80 compared with 30 percent of people without Alzheimer's — a rate twice as high.
Resources for Healthcare Providers

Do I test for measles or not?

While providers should consider measles in patients with fever and a descending rash, measles is unlikely in the absence of confirmed measles cases in your community or a history of travel or exposure to travelers.

Testing for measles can be based on:
A) Measles symptoms
  • Fever, including subjective fever 
  • Rash that starts on the head and descends.
  • Usually 1 or 2 of the “3 Cs” – cough, coryza and conjunctivitis.
B) Risk factors increasing the likelihood of a measles diagnosis
  • In the prior 3 weeks: travel outside of North America, transit through U.S. international airports, or interaction with foreign visitors, including at a U.S. tourist attraction.
  • Confirmed measles cases in your community.
  • Never immunized with measles vaccine and born in 1957 or later.
Please refer to the quick testing infographic below - print out and place in exam rooms for easy access.

Measles Testing Infographic
Measles Clinical Guidance

Harmful Algal Blooms:  Recognize Cyanotoxin Poisoning

Napa County Public Health and Environmental Health are urging pet owners & recreational water users to avoid close contact with bodies of water containing blue-green algae. Healthcare providers should be aware of signs of cyanotoxin poisoning.

Blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) are non-pathogenic photosynthetic bacteria that grow in outdoor water bodies and produce toxins such as microcystins, cylindrospermopsin and anatoxin-a.  Humans who drink or swim in water that contains high concentrations of cyanobacterial toxins may experience gastroenteritis, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, flu-like symptoms and respiratory illness. Cyanotoxins can contain neurotoxins that affect the nervous system, hepatotoxins that affect the liver, dermatoxins that affect the skin, or other toxins that affect the stomach or intestines.
Message from Dr. Karen Relucio, Health Officer
June brings Pride Month and awareness of LGBT inclusion and actions we can take to improve health disparities in these individuals.  June is also Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness month, which is very relevant since Napa County has a high proportion of older adults and Alzheimer's disease is the fourth leading cause of death in Napa County. Summer fun puts our pets and ourselves at risk for harmful algal blooms.  Finally, measles is still ongoing and there is a cheat sheet that can help healthcare providers decide whether to test for measles or not. 
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Building B
Napa, CA 94559
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NCHO · 2751 Napa Valley Corporate Drive · Building B · Napa, Ca 94558 · USA

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