Friday, May 27, 2016

How to have a safe and fun Memorial Day with five easy tips


Memorial Day. The official start of summer!

Whether your planning a BBQ or hittin' the road for the weekend, our five easy tips are sure to make this Memorial Day weekend a safe and fun one.

Buckle up. Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the "100 Deadliest Days of Summer" as more and more of us are on the road. In fact, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety, the motor vehicle crash death rate nearly DOUBLES on Utah roads this weekend compared to the rest of the year. The best way to protect yourself and those in our car is to wear a seat belt. Every. Single. Rid. And for kids, make sure they're in a car seat or booster seat, according to their height and weight. Learn more about staying safe on the road at

Be water aware. Drowning can happen in seconds and is often silent. Unfortunately, it's all too common for a young child to wander off during a family gathering and fall into an open body of water, like a pond, stream, or pool. Designate a "child watcher" anytime you're around water. Put away distractions like phones and actively watch kids when water is nearby. And everyone should wear a life jacket when boating. Learn more about water safety at

 Beware the food "danger zone." Don't put cooked food on the same plates or surfaces that held raw meat or chicken. Cook burgers, steaks, chicken, fish, pork, and other meats to the proper temperatures. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Never leave food between 40-140 degrees for more than two hours; one hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees. Learn more about the food "danger zone" at

 Remember your DEET. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases like West Nile Virus and Zika virus. And different mosquitoes bite at different times of the day. The mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus are found in Utah. They are most active from dusk to dawn. The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to use insect repellent that contains DEET when you go outdoors. You can also wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks to avoid bites. Mosquito proof your home by removing standing water. Learn more about preventing West Nile Virus at

 Wear sunscreen. No one wants a fun weekend ruined by a painful sunburn! Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with at least SPF15 before you go outside, even on cloudy or cool days. Re-apply at least every two hours or immediately after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Seek shade during peak sun hours, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. And cover up with broad-rimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses. Learn more about sun safety at

(Original infographic below)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Utahns with Asthma Have Higher Rates of Depression

(Salt Lake City, UT) – A new report released by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) shows Utahns who reported missing school or work due to asthma had higher rates of depression compared to the general population. In 2014, 36% of Utahns with asthma reported that a health care provider had diagnosed them with a depressive order compared to 19.3% without asthma. And with more than 235,000 Utahns who currently have asthma, the UDOH Asthma Program is recommending health care providers regularly screen asthma patients for depression.

For adults with asthma, missing at least one day of work or usual activities was associated with an increased risk of depression, regardless of factors such as sex, age, income, time since last asthma symptom, or difficulty sleeping due to asthma. Adolescents who had an asthma attack in the past year were 40% more likely to report being depressed or sad most days when compared to those who did not have an asthma attack. Among adolescents who missed 1-3 days of school in the past year due to asthma, this percentage increased to 49%. Missing school may explain why having an asthma attack is associated with a higher risk of depression.

“Our study shows that the ramifications of poorly controlled asthma impact individuals beyond just the physical health effects of an asthma attack. Having to miss important events in one’s life, like school or work, because of asthma symptoms can directly impact one’s mental health too,” said Holly Uphold, UDOH epidemiologist and lead author of the study.

Additional findings of the study included:
  • Adolescents who had an asthma attack in the past year had a higher rate of being depressed or sad most days during the past year (44.2%) when compared to those who had not had an attack in the past year (35.4%).
  • Adolescents who missed 1-3 days of school in the past year due to asthma (51.6%) had a higher rate of being depressed or sad most days in the past year than those who missed zero days of school (40.0%).
  • Adults with asthma who had symptoms in the past 1-7 days (41.2%) or who had symptoms in the past 8 or more days (42.8%) had a higher prevalence of depression than the general population who reported ever being told by a health care professional he/she was depressed (21.8%).
  • Those who could not afford their asthma medication (56.1%) had a higher rate of being depressed than those who could afford their asthma medication (34.8%).
  • Adults who limited their usual activities a moderate amount or a lot due to asthma in the past year (52.5%) had a higher rate of being depressed than those who reported no limitations or only a few (33.4%).
  • Adults who missed at least one day of work or usual activities due to asthma within the past 12 months (50.0%) had a higher rate of being depressed than those who missed no days (33.5%).
Data from the 2013 Prevention Needs Assessment was used to examine the relationship between asthma and depression among Utah adolescents in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12. Data on asthma and depression among adults was analyzed using the 2008-2012 Utah Asthma Callback Survey.

“Health care professionals should take into consideration how asthma symptoms may impact their patient’s quality of life and mental health,” said Nichole Shepard, UDOH Asthma Program Manager. “We recommend health care providers regularly screen their patients for depression using PHQ-9 or another validated depression tool.”

The UDOH also recommends that health care providers ensure patients with asthma have a treatment plan in place for both asthma and depression. Asthma patients should also be monitored regularly for both conditions in order to determine the most effective treatments.

To learn more about the connection between asthma and mental health, download a copy of the Asthma Mental Health Report at  

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Media Contacts:
Brittany Guerra
(o) 801-538-6894 (m) 678-773-3983
Holly Uphold
(o) 801-538-9272

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rule the Rocks 9 to Tour Southern and Eastern Utah: A youth skateboard and BMX competition in theme to educate local youth on the dangers of tobacco

(Salt Lake City) – The Utah Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s (TPCP) way to quit campaign invites youth ages 18 and under to compete in four skateboarding/BMX competitions as part of the annual Rule the Rocks competition. In its ninth year, the competition is exclusive to rural Utah and will take place in Vernal on May 18, Price on May 19, Moab on May 20, and Cedar City on May 21.

Youth are invited to enter one of three categories at each event: beginner, intermediate, or advanced for either skateboarding or BMX. All entrants will receive an event t-shirt, and top participants from each category will win cash and gear.

“The tobacco industry is constantly looking for new customers. Youth, especially those in rural communities and with alternative interests, are on Big Tobacco’s radar,” said Brittany Karzen, marketing manager for TPCP. “That’s why we host anti-tobacco events like Rule the Rocks, to create a one-on-one dialogue with youth and remind them that the best way to quit tobacco, is to never start.”

The Rule the Rocks 9 event schedule will be as follows:

Vernal, Utah

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Ashley Valley Park, Skate Park
250 North between 1000 West and 1150 West - behind the baseball fields
Registration: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
Competition: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Price, Utah

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Terrace Hills Skate Park
1050 East 700 North
Registration: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
Competition: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Moab, Utah

Friday, May 20, 2016
The Skate Park in Swanny City Park
400 North 100 West
Registration: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
Competition: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cedar City, Utah

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Exit 59 Skateboard Park
660 West 945 North (Bicentennial Park)
Registration: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Competition: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Ninety percent of adult smokers begin lighting up before age 19 and one in three will eventually die of their addiction. Quitting is different for everyone. Smokers are encouraged to find their way to quit by visiting or calling the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW.

way to quit Rule the Rocks 9 is sponsored in part by Arkade Magazine and 5050 BMX.

Video, interview, video and photo opportunities available.

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Media Contact:
Brittany Karzen
801-538-6917 (desk)
714-267-3679 (mobile)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Draft Medicaid Expansion Plan Released for Public Comment

(Salt Lake City, UT) – During the 2016 Legislative Session a bill was passed providing the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) with funding to expand Medicaid coverage for adults. The bill directed UDOH to develop the criteria for three new eligibility groups of adults without dependent children, in addition to parents and submit a plan to the federal government to modify the current Utah Medicaid program accordingly. UDOH has released a draft of that plan and is accepting public comment on it through June 8.

The state is required to obtain approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) before implementing the proposed plan. Based on funding and approval from CMS, the program is designed to provide Medicaid coverage for the following adults:
Parents with dependent children earning up to 60 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)
Adults without dependent children earning up to five percent of the FPL who are:
o Chronically homeless
o Involved in the justice system through probation, parole, or court-ordered treatment needing substance abuse or mental health treatment
o Needing substance abuse treatment or mental health treatment

The proposed plan is available online at At this phase of the waiver development, the public is encouraged to review the proposed plan and provide comment. Comments can be submitted online, by email (, or individuals can attend a public hearing to provide feedback and learn more about the newly expanded adult eligibility group. UDOH will be hosting the following public hearings before submitting the final waiver to CMS:

Thursday, May 19, 2016
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Cannon Health Building (288 North 1460 West, Salt Lake City)
Room 125
Call-in Line: 1-800-319-9003, passcode 202989# 
[This hearing will be part of the regularly scheduled Medical Care Advisory Committee meeting]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Cannon Health Building (288 North 1460 West, Salt Lake City)
Room 125
Call-in Line: 1-888-329-8895, passcode 759181# 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Bear River Health Department (655 East 1300 North, Logan)
Rooms 153 & 154 
Call-in Line:  1-877-820-7831, passcode 196690#

After collecting and responding to public comments, UDOH will finalize the waiver and submit it to CMS on July 1, 2016. If approved, UDOH expects to begin enrolling new members on January 1, 2017.

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Media Contact:
Kolbi Young
(o) 801-538-6847
(m) 801-231-6350

Friday, May 6, 2016

Just Baby Blues, or a Dangerous Time for Mom and Baby? Free film screening to raise awareness, offer resources and hope

(Salt Lake City, UT) – More than just the “baby blues,” postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety can literally paralyze new mothers and put them and their newborns at risk. All women and the people who love them are invited to attend a free screening of a groundbreaking film that shines a light on the darkness of mental health problems related to pregnancy.

Recent Utah data show 13.8% – or 1 in 7 women – report having postpartum depression. Nationally, postpartum psychosis, a condition related to bipolar disorder affects, 1or 2 mothers for every 1,000 births and can endanger moms and newborns. “Depression and anxiety are the most common complications of childbirth. Women need to know what to look for and what to do at every stage of pregnancy as well as the first year postpartum,” says Amy-Rose White, LCSW. 

White is a perinatal psychotherapist and founder of the Utah Maternal Mental Health Collaborative (UMMHC). She has dedicated her life and career to serving postpartum women after going through PPD herself. She says the film, Dark Side of the Full Moon, is a must-see for women, their families, and providers as it will help them recognize the symptoms of PPD and anxiety which include: 
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant worry about baby’s safety
  • Irritability, anger, or rage
  • Guilt about your feelings
  • Tearfulness and sadness
  • Intrusive images 
The film will be shown Friday, May 6 from 5:30-9:00 p.m. at the Intermountain Medical Center Doty Education Building #6, 5121 Cottonwood St., Murray, UT 84107. The film is a no-holds-barred unveiling of the depths of maternal depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Several experts and those who’ve dealt with postpartum depression will be available after the screening for comments. They include: 
  • A mother who had postpartum depression
  • William Cosgrove, MD, President, Utah Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Julie Frenette, Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Amy-Rose White, LCSW, Perinatal Psychotherapist
“Women with postpartum depression are trapped in an awful silence,” says William Cosgrove, MD. “Our community must not contribute to this silence. We must raise our voices and reach out to every mom.”
“Mental health problems affect mom’s bonding with baby, marital relationships, and the child’s short- and long-term development if she doesn’t get help,” adds White. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the first year after a woman gives birth.”

Julia Robertson with the Utah Department of Health MotherToBaby project says women need to know that if they have mental health problems during pregnancy or breastfeeding, they can be safely treated with therapy and medication. “Depression and anxiety medications are among the most studied of all drugs, and their use continues to show that babies and moms are healthier when mom manages the illness with the help of her doctor.” For information on medications in pregnancy, visit

The UMMHC gives women and families information and resources via its website, A care algorithm and treatment resources to guide medical practitioners is also available. The Collaborative offers training throughout Utah to improve prevention, awareness, screening, and detection of maternal mental health disorders. 

The film’s sponsors warn viewers that some of the images can be disturbing for women who have experienced postpartum depression and other mental health disorders in pregnancy.

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Media Contact:
Cyndi Bemis
(o) 801-538-6924 (m) 801-550-4228