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Q: What is WIC?

A: WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. It is an equal opportunity program that provides nutritious supplemental foods, education and referrals to health and social care services to pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of 5.

Q: How do I qualify for WIC?

A: To qualify, you must . . .

  • Live in Winnebago County
  • Meet federal income guidelines, and
  • Be a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, infant or child up to age 5 with a medical or nutritional risk factor as determined by a certified health professional.

Q: What is the certification procedure?

A: At your first appointment the WIC Staff will check your income and residency. Then a measurement of you and/or your child will be done to include height, weight, blood lead and iron levels and a 24-hour diet recall. A WIC Nutritionist will compile the information and discuss the results with you and then explain the proper use of WIC coupons.

Q: Will I need to bring any certain information to my first meeting?

A: Yes, you must bring the following pieces of information:

  • Proof of income
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of pregnancy
  • Record of birth from hospital
  • Shot record for children

Q: What must I do in order to receive my food coupons?

A: As a WIC Participant, you must attend a nutrition education session or clinic appointment in order to receive your food coupons.

Q: Does the program offer nutrition education?

A: Yes! Nutrition education sessions are scheduled between clinic appointments. Topics include pregnancy feeding choices, infant feeding, and immunizations. Spanish only classes are also available.

Q: What's special about "WIC foods"?

A: WIC foods are high in iron, calcium, protein, and vitamins A and C.

Q: What are some examples of WIC foods?

A: Milk, cereal, eggs, juice, cheese, dried beans and peas, and peanut butter.

Q: Can I use my coupons on the brands I like?

A: To use your coupons, you must choose the least expensive brand. Formula-fed infants will receive iron-fortified Similac or Isomil until one year of age, infant cereal at 4 months, and infant juices at 6 months.

Q: How do I redeem my WIC coupons?

A: You will need to take your WIC coupons, the WIC ID folder (which will be assigned to you by the Health Department), and a picture ID to a WIC-approved store. (For a list of stores that accept WIC coupons, see link below).

Q: How many coupons can I receive?

A: You may receive up to 3 months of coupons at one time.

Q: Will the Health Department replace lost coupons?

A: No, lost or stolen coupons cannot be replaced.

Q: Can my WIC privileges be cancelled?

A: Yes, there are reasons that your participation in WIC can be cancelled; they are as follows:

  • Failure to come to nutrition sessions or clinic appointments
  • Selling or trading WIC foods (prosecution may occur)
  • Physical damage to program property
  • Giving false information to make yourself eligible for the WIC program
  • Swearing or violent actions toward WIC staff or store employees

Q: How do I make an appointment with WIC?

A: You must call the WIC Office at (815) 720-4370 and a staff member will refer you to the clinic located nearest to your home.

Q: When should I call the WIC office?

A: Pregnant women can call the WIC office after they have had a positive pregnancy test. A child can be put on the WIC Program any time from birth to five years old.

Q: What is West Nile Virus (WNV)?

A: West Nile Virus is an arbovirus that first appeared in the United States in 1999. It is a potentially serious illness.

Q: How is West Nile Virus spread?

A: Most often, WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite.

Q: What are the symptoms of West Nile Virus (WNV)?

A: Approximately 80% of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Milder symptoms occur in up to 20% of the people who become infected. The milder symptoms can include fever, headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.

Serious symptoms occur in about 1 in 150 people infected. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. People over 50 years of age and those with weakened immune systems or organ transplants are most at risk for the infection.

Q: What is a dead crow density indicator?

A: A Dead Crow Density Indicator is determined by the number of dead crows per square mile. The Dead Crow Density per square mile for Winnebago County generally peaks the last week of August and then sharply declines.

A density of 2.0 dead crows (per square mile) during one week is considered a high-risk indicator for human infection. When this happens, it is especially important to take protective measures, including the use of DEET repellant, wearing light-colored, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants, and avoiding outdoor activity at peak times of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn).

Besides dead crows, additional indicators of West Nile Virus (WNV) activities include the number of positive mosquito traps and pools, and WNV positives in dogs, horses, and humans. Additional information is available upon request.

Q: How can I report a dead crow or bird?

A: If you see a dead crow from June through October, call the Dead Bird Hotline at 720-4245. You will be asked to leave the Zip Code where the dead crow was found. Please dispose of the dead bird yourself. The Health Department randomly collects dead birds for testing. The information you provide will be used to help identify areas that need additional mosquito control.

Q: What is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)?

A: A Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is a serious, sometimes painful, disease, which can cause extensive damage to your body. Some STDs infect only your sexual and reproductive organs. Others (HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis) cause general body infections.

Q: How are STDs spread?

A: STDs are spread through sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STDs (HIV and hepatitis B) are also spread by contact with infected blood.

Q: Are there signs or symptoms of a STD?

A: Sometimes you can have a STD with no signs or symptoms. Other times, the symptoms go away on their own. Either way, you will still have the STD until you get treated.

Q: As a woman, what are some symptoms I can watch for?

A:

  • An unusual discharge or smell from your vagina.
  • Pain in your pelvic area (the area between your belly button and sex organs).
  • Burning or itching around your vagina.
  • Bleeding from your vagina that is not your regular period.
  • Pain deep inside your vagina when you have sex.
  • Sores, bumps, or blisters near your sex organs, rectum or mouth.
  • Burning and pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement.
  • Need to urinate (pee) often.
  • Itching around your sex organs.
  • A swelling or redness in your throat.
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and aches.
  • Swelling in your groin (the area around your sex organs).

Q: As a man, what are some symptoms I can watch for?

A:

  • A drip or discharge from your penis.
  • Sores, bumps, or blisters near your sex organs, rectum or mouth.
  • Burning and pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement.
  • Need to urinate (pee) often.
  • Itching around your sex organs.
  • A swelling or redness in your throat.
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and aches.
  • Swelling in your groin (the area around your sex organs).

Q: What should I do if I think I have an STD?

A: If you think you might have an STD, get checked out. Don't just hope the STD will go away. It won't!

Q: If I have symptoms of a STD, what should I do?

A: Stop having sex. Go to a STD clinic or your own health care provider. Whatever you do, DON'T PUT IT OFF - get checked out now!

Q: If I have a STD, do I have to get treatment?

A: Yes! The only way to get well is through treatment, even if it's a hard thing for you to do.

Q: Are STDs curable?

A: Most STDs can be cured if you get treated, although there are a few STDs that cannot be cured.

Q: Does the Health Department offer STD Clinics?

A: Yes! STD Clinics are held Wednesdays from 3:30 PM -5:30 PM and Fridays from 12:30 PM -3:00 PM.

Q: How much does it cost to be tested for a STD at the Health Department?

A: All services are provided on a sliding fee scale of $15 to $180 based on income. No one will be refused service due to inability to pay.

Q: When I'm tested for a STD, will everyone in the waiting room hear my name be called?

A: NO! The clinician will call you by your assigned number, not your name.

Q: Will anyone outside of the clinic staff know that I've been tested for a STD?

A: Absolutely not. When you come to a STD Clinic at the Health Department, you will fill out a "patient information form", which will be used to make up your medical record. Everything contained in your medical record is CONFIDENTIAL.

Q: Do I have to tell anyone that I have a STD?

A: You must tell your sexual partner(s). If they aren't treated, they can get sick. They can spread the STD and they may even give it to you again!

Q: What are some ways in the future to protect myself from getting a STD?

A:

  • Don't have sex - it's the best way to protect yourself from STDs.
  • If you choose to have sex, be sure it's with one uninfected partner ONLY, who has sex with you only.
  • Talk to your partner about past sex partners and about needle drug use.
  • Don't have sex with anyone you may think has a STD.
  • Before you have sex, look closely at your partner for any signs of STDs - a rash, a sore, or discharge. If you see anything suspicious, don't have sex!
  • Use a latex condom (rubber) for vaginal, anal and oral sex. Condoms will protect you from STDs much of the time. Both men and women should carry condoms.
  • If you are allergic to latex, use plastic (polyurethane) condoms. They come in both male and female styles.
  • Get checked for STDs regularly. Ask your health care provider to help you decide how often and which tests you should have.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of a STD. If you have a symptom that worries you, get checked out!
  • If you have a STD, your partner(s) must get tested and treated too.
  • If you have a STD, don't have sex until your treatment is complete.

Q: What is TB?

A: TB, or tuberculosis, is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria can attack any part of your body, but they ususally attack the lungs. TB disease was once the leading cause of death in the United States.

Q: How is TB spread?

A: TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes. People nearby may breath in these bacteria and become infected.

Q: What is latent TB infection?

A: In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. The bacteria become inactive, but they remain alive in the body and can become active later. This is called latent TB infection.

Q: What are the symptoms of latent TB infection?

A: People with latent TB infection:

  • Have no symptoms
  • Don't feel sick
  • Can't spread TB to others
  • Usually have a positive skin test reaction
  • Can develop TB disease later in life if they do not receive treatment for latent TB infection

Q: What is TB disease?

A: TB bacteria become active if the immune system can't stop them from growing. The active bacteria begin to multiply in the body and cause TB disease. Some people develop TB disease soon after becoming infected, before their immune system can fight the TB bacteria. Other people may get sick later, when their immune system becomes weak for some reason.

Q: What are the symptoms of TB disease?

A: Symptoms of TB depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs. TB in the lungs may cause:

  • A bad cough that lasts longer than 2 weeks
  • Pain in the chest
  • Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • No appetite
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Sweating at night

Q: How can I get tested for TB?

A: A TB skin test is the only way to find out if you have latent TB infection.

Q: Where can I get a skin test for TB?

A: You can get a skin test at the Health Department or at your doctor's office.

Q: When should I get tested for TB?

A: You should get tested for TB when:

  • You have spent time with a person with known or suspected TB disease
  • You have HIV infection or another condition that puts you at high risk for TB disease
  • You think you might have TB disease
  • You are from a country where TB disease is very common (most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Easter Europe, and Russia)
  • You inject drugs
  • You live somewhere in the United States where TB disease is more common (homeless shelters, migrant farm camps, prisons and jails, and some nursing homes)

Q: How is the test done?

A: A health care worker will give you the TB skin test by injecting a small amount of testing fluid (called tuberculin) just under the skin on the lower part of your arm.

Q: What happens after the test?

A: After 2 or 3 days, you will have to return to the facility where you had the test. The health care worker will measure your reaction to the test. You may have a small bump where the tuberculin was injected; the health care worker will measure the bump and tell you if your reaction to the test is positive or negative.

Q: What if my reaction from the test turns out to be positive?

A: A positive reaction usually means that you have latent TB infection. Your health care provider may then do other tests to see if you have TB disease.

Q: What additional tests will I have to get if I have a positive reaction to the skin test?

A: If you have a positive reaction to the skin test, your health care provider may do tests to include a chest x-ray and test the phlegm you cough up. In addition, your blood or urine may be tested, among other tests.

Q: How many people are infected with TB?

A: One-third of the world's population is infected with TB.

Q: How many people get sick with TB?

A: Each year, 9 million people around the world become sick with TB.

Q: How many deaths are associated with TB?

A: Every year, there are over 2 million TB-related deaths worldwide.

Q: Is there a disparity of TB among black and whites?

A: The rate of TB in black, non-Hispanic persons, is 11.6 cases per 100,000 population, which is 8.3 times higher than the rate of TB in white, non-Hispanic persons (1.4 cases per 100,000 population).
Although rates of TB in both blacks and whites have declined substantially over the past decade, the disparity remains.

Q: How is TB disease treated?

A: The most common drugs used to fight TB are:

  • Isoniazid (INH)
  • Rifampin
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Ethambutol
  • Streptomycin

When medicine is taken as instructed, TB disease can almost always be cured.

Q: How can I keep from spreading TB?

A: The most important way to keep from spreading TB is to take all your medicine, exactly as directed.

Q: What is influenza?

A: Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. While most healthy people recover from the flu without complications, some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious complications from the flu.

Q: How can I prevent the flu?

A: The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each fall, but there are other measures that can help protect against the flu.

Q: Are there any medications I can take to prevent the flu?

A: Antiviral Medications

Three antiviral drugs (amantadine, rimantadine, and oseltamivir) are approved for use in preventing the flu. These are prescription medications, and a doctor should be consulted before they are used.

Q: How does the Flu spread?

A: The main way that influenza viruses are spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. (This is called "droplet spread.") This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled (generally up to 3 feet) through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Though much less frequent, the viruses also can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

Q: What can I do to protect myself against the flu?

A: By far, the single best way to prevent the flu is for individuals, especially people at high risk for serious complications from the flu, to get a vaccination each fall. However, there are other good health habits that can help prevent the flu. These are:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Q: What are some habits I can develop to have good health?

A: These steps may help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze - throw the tissue away after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Stay away as much as you can from people who are sick.
  • If you get the flu, stay home from work or school. If you are sick, do not go near other people so that you don't make them sick too.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.

Q: If I got a flu vaccine last year, will that protect against the flu this year?

A: Vaccination last year is unlikely to protect against influenza this year because a person's immunity after influenza vaccination declines over the year. This is one reason why it is recommended that people get vaccinated every year.

Q: Why should I get vaccinated against the flu?

A: Influenza is a serious disease, and people of any age can get it. In an average year, the flu causes 36,000 deaths (mostly among those aged 65 years or older) and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States. The "flu season" in the United States is usually from November through April each year. During this time, flu viruses are circulating in the population. An annual flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu.

Q: When should I get a flu vaccination?

A: Beginning each September, the flu shot should be offered to people at high risk when they are seen by health-care providers for routine care or as a result of hospitalization.

The best time to get vaccinated is from October through November. Flu activity in the United States generally peaks between late December and early March.

You can still benefit from getting vaccinated after November, even if flu is present in your community. Vaccine should continue to be offered to unvaccinated people throughout the flu season as long as vaccine is still available. Once you get vaccinated, your body makes protective antibodies in about two weeks.

Q: What kind of flu vaccines are there?

A: There are two types of vaccines that protect against the flu. The "flu shot" is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. A different kind of vaccine, called the nasal-spray flu vaccine (sometimes referred to as LAIV for Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine), was approved in 2003. The nasal-spray flu vaccine contains attenuated (weakened) live viruses, and is administered by nasal sprayer. It is approved for use only among healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49 years. The flu shot is approved for use among people over 6 months of age, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions.

Each of the two vaccines contains three influenza viruses, representing one of the three groups of viruses circulating among people in a given year. Each of the three vaccine strains in both vaccines – one A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus – are representative of the influenza vaccine strains recommended for that year. Viruses for both vaccines are grown in eggs.

Q: Why do I need to get vaccinated against the flu every year?

A: Flu viruses change from year to year, which means two things. First, you can get the flu more than once during your lifetime. The immunity (natural protection that develops against a disease after a person has had that disease) that is built up from having the flu caused by one virus strain doesn't always provide protection when a new strain is circulating. Second, a vaccine made against flu viruses circulating last year may not protect against the newer viruses. That is why the influenza vaccine is updated to include current viruses every year.
Another reason to get flu vaccine every year is that after you get vaccinated, your immunity to the disease declines over time and may be too low to provide protection after one year.

Q: Can I get the flu even though I got a flu vaccine this year?

A: Yes. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on two things: 1) the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine, and 2) the similarity or "match" between the virus strains in the vaccine and those in circulation.

Q: If I got the flu last year, will I have immunity against the flu this year?

A: In general, a person who is infected with an influenza virus one year will have some immunity to closely related viruses that may persist for one or more years. For example, if someone was infected with the Fujian strain of H3N2 that predominated last season, they are likely to have some natural immunity that will give them protection if they are exposed to that strain or a closely related strain again this season. The degree of protection depends on the health of the person involved. Young and healthy people with normal immune systems will likely have good immunity against the same or related strains of virus from one year to the next. However, people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems are less likely to have immunity from year to year.

It's important to remember that there are different types of influenza viruses circulating and different variants within virus types, and the same type of flu virus does not necessarily circulate each year. For instance, during the 2003-04 flu season, influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated; however, infection with an influenza A (H3N2) virus would not provide protection against influenza B or influenza A (H1N1) viruses.

Q: How do flu vaccines work?

A: Both flu vaccines (the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine (LAIV)) work in the same way; they cause antibodies to develop in the body, and these antibodies provide protection against influenza virus infection.

Q: What should I do if I get sick with the flu?

A: There are steps you can take if you get sick with the flu.
If you are at high risk from complications of the flu, you should consult your health-care provider if you develop flu-like symptoms. Those at high risk for complications include people 65 years or older, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and young children. Your doctor may recommend use of an antiviral medication to help treat the flu.


Other Ways to Respond to the Flu
If you get the flu, get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Also, you can take medications to relieve the symptoms of the flu (but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever).


Antiviral Medications
Four antiviral drugs (amantadine, rimantadine, zanamavir, and oseltamivir) are approved for treatment of the flu. These are prescription medications, and a doctor should be consulted before the drugs are used. Antiviral treatment lasts for 5 days and must be started within 2 days of illness so if you get flu-like symptoms, seek medical care early on.

Q: What symptoms might I have with the flu?

A:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea and vomiting also can occur but are more common in children

Q: What are the risks or complications caused by the flu?

A: Some of the complications caused by the flu include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections as complications from the flu. Those aged 65 years and older and persons of any age with chronic medical conditions are at highest risk for serious complications of flu.

Q: How do I find out if I have the Flu?

A: It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other viral or bacterial causes of respiratory illnesses on the basis of symptoms alone. A test can confirm that an illness is influenza if the patient is tested within the first two to three days after symptoms begin. In addition, a doctor's examination may be needed to determine whether a person has another infection that is a complication of influenza.

Q: How should flu be treated?

A:

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid using alcohol and tobacco
  • Take medication to relieve the symptoms of flu (but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms – and particularly fever – without first speaking to your doctor.)

In some cases, your doctors may choose to use certain antiviral drugs to treat the flu. (Influenza is caused by a virus, so antibiotics [like penicillin] don't work to cure it.)

Q: Are there emergency warning signs to watch for when I have the flu?

A: There are some "emergency warning signs" that require urgent medical attention.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Seek medical care immediately (call your doctor or go to an emergency room) if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs above. When you arrive, tell the reception staff that you think you have the flu. You may be asked to wear a mask and/or sit in a separate area to protect others from getting sick.

Q: When is Flu Season in the United States?

A: In the United States, the peak of flu season can occur anywhere from late December through March. The overall health impact (e.g., infections, hospitalizations, and deaths) of a flu season varies from year to year. CDC monitors circulating flu viruses and their related disease activity and provides influenza reports each week from October through May.

Q: How many people get sick or die from the Flu every year?

A: Each flu season is unique, but it is estimated that, on average, approximately 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu, and more than 200,000 persons are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year. About 36,000 Americans die on average per year from the complications of flu.