Friday, June 26, 2009

National HIV Testing Day

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. Since its on a Saturday, many places are doing tests a day early. Today in La Grande, CHD is offering HIV tests for a $5 donation! The tests are available during their normal walk-in hours, 9-11:30 am and 1-3 pm. Annual testing is recommended for everyone who is sexually active that is not in a long-term monogamous relationship.

Of the estimated 1 million people infected with HIV in the US, 25% don't know they are infected! Take control. Take the test.

Monday, June 15, 2009

National Men's Health Week

June 15-21 is National Men's Health Week. This is a good time for men to remember to schedule their annual physicals. Annual screening can catch illness early while its still easily treated. Not a male? Give the gift of health! Include a gift certificate for a check-up in your Father's Day cards.

There is a silent health crisis facing men in the US. On average, men die almost 6 years earlier than women. Men are more likely to be uninsured, and less likely to see a physician, than women.

Men can take other preventative measures, besides going to a doctor. Younger men need to do monthly testicular self exams. Men should check their mouths from any funny looking spots that could indicate cancer. Breast exams are not just for women, men can get breast cancer as well!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Take precautions against mosquitoes

Published 11 June 2009 The Observer, La Grande, OR

Focus on Health
Tristin Mock, ND

Take precautions against mosquitoes
Tristin Mock, ND
AmeriCorps VISTA

As we enter the warm days of late spring, mosquito season is starting. Now is the time to start taking precautions to protect yourself from bites. Not only are mosquitoes annoying, they also can transmit West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes to humans, horses, and birds. In humans symptoms can vary widely. Some people may have a mild fever, or flu-like illness. In others the disease can progress to encephalitis (brain inflammation) and possibly death.

Killing mosquitoes should not be your goal. They provide food for animals including fish, frogs, birds, and bats. Mosquitoes can even pollinate flowers! Instead, focus on preventing mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites around your home.

There are several simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus. You should avoid mosquito bites by using repellant, covering up, and staying indoors at dusk and dawn. Classic synthesized repellants include DEET and picaridin. Repellants need not contain harsh chemicals. Some naturally derived mosquito repellants recommended by the CDC are oil of lemon eucalyptus, PMD (para-Menthane-3,8-diol), and IR3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester). No matter what type of repellant you use, be sure to read and follow the label directions before applying it!

You should also mosquito-proof your home. This includes installing or repairing screens, avoiding standing water, and cleaning up possible sources of standing water. Remember to clean your gutters so water doesn’t collect in them. Water sources, like bird baths and water troughs, should be cleaned at least once a week.

The last step in limiting the spread of West Nile Virus is to report dead birds. The virus can infect birds. If you find dead crows, ravens, jays, magpies, hawks, eagles, or red-breasted robins please report them to Union County Vector Control at 963-2974. These reports aid in tracking the spread of West Nile Virus in Union County.

Together we can prevent the spread of West Nile Virus. For more information on the virus, please visit the Center for Human Development, Inc website, or call 962-8801.
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Formulary Modernization Act Passed!

Thank you everyone who contacted your legislators about this bill! The Oregon ND formulary modernization act, SB 327, unanimously passed the house on June 2. The bill is now waiting for the governor's signature to become law. It will go into effect on January 1, 2010.

All drugs used in the primary care setting will now be on the naturopathic formulary! This will allow us to provide the highest quality of care to our patients. This bill allows us not only to prescribe more drugs, but most importantly to be able to remove patients from them. We're only allowed to remove people from drugs that we can prescribe.

Once again, thank you everyone for your help in passing this landmark legislation!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Teen pregnancy prevention needs to be a priority

Below is a copy of an article I wrote that was published in the La Grande Observer on Friday May 29. They have not posted the article online yet.

Health Matters
Tristin Mock, ND

In the US, 3 out of every 10 girls will be pregnant as least once before the age of 20. According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, in 2004, at least 5,832 teenage girls became pregnant in Oregon. In comparison, in 2003, there were only 3,117 new cases of breast cancer, in all ages and sexes, in Oregon. Many people are ignoring this disturbing trend that allowed over 2% of teenage girls, including 106 girls under the age of 15, in our state to become pregnant.

DHS reports that around 30% of teen pregnancies end in legal abortion. Of those girls who underwent abortion procedures, 68.5% were not using contraception! Most teens wait 6-12 months after becoming sexually active to seek contraception. During this time they are at increased risk for pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted infections.

There is hope in slowing this trend. Research has shown five things that result in teens using birth control regularly, or postponing sexual activity. These five simple things are easily provided by supportive parents, schools, and communities.

Teens that have adequately discussed sexuality, pregnancy and birth control with their parents have lower pregnancy rates. Some parents may want to avoid discussing sexual health with their teens, but it is important. As the state pregnancy rate shows, it’s never too early to start these discussions. Be open and honest with your child. Age appropriate information can be found from a variety of sources including at

Another protective factor is having had a comprehensive sexuality education course. These courses are available in schools and the general community, including at churches. These classes are important to reinforce the message parents are giving children, and to provide a venue where children can ask questions they may be embarrassed to ask their parents.

Having realistic life options are important. Recently, increasing amounts of teens have decided that it’s cool to have a child. Many of these children do not realize the true impact of their choice. Of the families started by unmarried teen moms, 2/3 are poor. Children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely, suffer abuse and neglect, and end up in foster care compared to children of older parents.

Living in a supportive environment that contributes to an individual’s self-esteem can protect teens from pregnancy. High self-esteem can give teens the strength they need to resist sexual activity, or to assert their choices regarding safer sex practices. Being a community that offers varied activities for youth can help improve the self-esteem of teens.

Finally, sexually active teens are more likely to use contraception if there is guaranteed confidentiality and easy access to birth control. In Oregon, there are no laws limiting access to contraceptive services; family planning services are free for those who qualify through FPEP. Please call public health to see if you qualify and to schedule an appointment, 541-962-8801. Free condoms are available at public health for those who need them.

For more information about how to become involved in teen pregnancy prevention, or if you would like to participate as a member on the Union County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, contact Sandra Leavitt at the Mt. Emily Safe Center, 963-0602.

Tristin Mock, N.D., is an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the Public Health Team at Center for Human Development
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