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Features Health & Wellness

In the midst of flu season, the public is also battling another nasty virus, the Enterovirus D68 (EV- 68).

“Not only are we dealing with the typical cold and flu season, we are also dealing with Enterovirus D68. Enterovirus D68 (EV-68) was first identified in 1962,” said Renee Burt with the Macon County School system. “A mix of enteroviruses circulates every year, and different types of enteroviruses can be common in different years. Small numbers have been reported in the past, but this year, the number of people reported with confirmed EV-D68 is much greater than reported in previous years. Please help us in taking all necessary precautions for the protection of our students.”

The virus, which spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others, causes respiratory illness. Symptoms include mild fever, ruby nose, sneezing, coughing, and body and muscle aches. Although symptoms resemble the common cold, the virus can be more dangerous and severe symptoms can cause wheezing and difficulty breathing.

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At the upcoming Oct. 28, Ladies Night Out Program, the topic will be Breast Cancer Awareness. Breast cancer is among the most common cancer in women in the United States, but millions of women are surviving the disease thanks in part to early detection. The guest speaker will be Michelle Hubbs, a breast cancer survivor. Please join us to learn more about this important topic.

Ladies Night Out is a partnership between Macon County Public Health and Angel Medical Center to provide free monthly programs on a variety of health topics for women with an emphasis on the importance of regular health screenings. The Franklin Bi-Lo and Fatz of Franklin are corporate sponsors of the programs and provide snacks and door prizes each month.

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A two-year $700,000 federal grant will provide stipends to students in Western Carolina University’s family nurse practitioner master’s degree program who plan to work in rural or underserved communities.

The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the grant as part of the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship program. The program is designed to help increase the number of primary care providers in rural areas or public health departments that often face challenges recruiting and retaining such providers.

Family nurse practitioners are high-quality, cost-effective primary care providers who promote health and holistically treat patients of all ages, diagnosing and treating common acute and chronic health problems, said Tamera Pearson, associate professor and director of the WCU Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

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Last month, Smoky Mountain LME/MCO (Local Management Entity, Managed Care Organization) celebrated two years of improvements in service for consumers and cost savings to the state under the Medicaid 1915 (b)(c) waiver, which allows for public managed care of Medicaid funds. Smoky Mountain LME/MCO is the public agency that manages Medicaid in Western North Carolina counties including Macon County.

Since beginning operations under the statewide waiver in July 2012, the organization has maximized the use of both Medicaid and state funds for individuals in need of mental health, substance abuse and intellectual and developmental disability services.

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