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Features Health & Wellness

Most people know about waiting. You have waited in line to see a movie. You have waited for your number to be called at the DMV. You have drummed your fingers on the steering wheel in bumper to bumper traffic when there were a hundred other things you could have been doing.

Waiting is the time spent in-between, the limbo of not yet. Waiting might mean hours and hours of being attached to a dialysis machine. Or being out of breath --always. For a child, waiting can mean not playing. For an adult, it can mean not working. Waiting can mean isolation, financial chaos, physical and emotional pain, even death.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 124,000 individuals are currently awaiting an organ transplant in the United States. Approximately 3,100 of them live in North Carolina which has the nation’s sixth largest Organ Donor Registry with more than 4.2 million people signed-up. Still, the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of actual organ donors.

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According to the Autism Society of North Carolina, one out of every 58 people in North Carolina is born with a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder, even higher than the national average, which is only one in 68.

Currently, there is no cure for autism, but recognizing the signs can help caregivers better respond to, understand and manage the symptoms of those under their care. Studies have shown that intervention therapies for children and adults with autism can improve the outcomes.

Recognizing the symptoms

Autism encompasses a range of complex symptoms related to brain development. Frequently, the symptoms affect social interaction, adaptive functioning, motor coordination and physical health. However, autism impacts each person differently. Around 40 percent of individuals with autism have average or above-average cognitive abilities, and some are particularly skilled in arts, math and music.

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North Carolina businesses and organizations that serve the autism community publicly stated their support today for Senate Bill 676, legislation to bring autism insurance coverage to the state. The bill, “Autism Health Insurance Coverage,” was introduced in the N.C. Senate on March 26 by Sens. Tom Apodaca and Joyce Krawiec, with 10 co-sponsors.

A group of North Carolina practitioners, family advocates, and payers worked together to propose a legislative solution for North Carolina to provide insurance coverage that would improve the lives of many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. The bill, SB676, embraces many of the concepts developed by this North Carolina coalition.

“Senator Apodaca’s leadership in introducing Senate Bill 676 is an important step to help the growing number of families affected by autism in our state,” said Tracey Sheriff, CEO of the Autism Society of North Carolina. “Our organization, numerous families, and many partners have worked to make autism insurance a reality in North Carolina for many years, and we are excited to see progress.”

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March 8-14 was National Groundwater Awareness Week and Macon County Public Health joins the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) in bringing attention to the importance of clean groundwater and what steps people can take to protect the quality of their groundwater.

Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup before the peak water use season begins, according to the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water, says Barry Patterson, Macon County Public Health Environmental Health Supervisor.

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