Tag Archives: Florida Department of Health

Breastfeeding in Volusia: 3 percent hike

Volusia moms are doing a better job of breastfeeding their babes.

The county’s breastfeeding rate jumped by 3 percent from 2011 to 2015, the Volusia County Health Department announced Tuesday. But Volusia is behind compared to the rest of the Sunshine State. Florida’s rate of increase during that period was 5.6 percent. Those details were released in a new report released by the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, according to spokeswoman Holly Smith.

The report was prepared to coincide with National Breastfeeding Month, which is August.

“According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there is no better food than breast milk for a baby’s first year of life,” the report said.

“A significant body of evidence supports breastfeeding as critical to improve health outcomes of mothers and babies,” Florida State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip said in a statement. “Supporting mom and baby during the first few days of life are critical for successful breastfeeding.”

On a national level, the percentage of babies who start out breastfeeding increased from 73 percent in 2004 to 83 percent in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Breastfeeding rates vary among women of different races in Volusia County.

“For example, Hispanic mothers are the only racial/ethnic group that has exceeded a national breastfeeding goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” a news release said.
“Black mothers consistently had lower breastfeeding rates than white and Hispanic mothers.”

In Volusia County, the ZIP code with the highest breastfeeding
percentage among (WIC) mothers was 32130 in the DeLeon Springs and Barberville areas with 88.2 percent.

The DeBary-area ZIP code of 32713, came in at 82.4 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum was Oak Hil-area ZIP code 32759 with 47.1 percent.

Local officials with the federally funded Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food and health-care assistance program are working to improve breastfeeding rates.

Two-hour classes for new and expectant mothers are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on these dates and at these locations:

  • Tues., Sept. 5, at 775 Harley, Strickland Blvd., Orange City.
  • Wed., Sept. 13, at 717 W. Canal Street, New Smyrna Beach.
  • Thurs., Sept. 21, at 1845 Holsonback Dr., Daytona Beach.

“Each evening class is a one-time session,” the news release states. “Reservations are suggested but not required.”

Details:  volusiahealth.com/wic or call 866-WIC FOOD (942-3663).

Other resources:

  • La Leche League International: Call 1-800-LALECHE or www.lalecheleague.org.
  • Breastfeeding Helpline: Call 1-800-994-9662 or www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding.
  • Florida WIC Program Services: Call 1-800-342-3556 or visit the WIC website

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Brain-eating amoeba season returns to Florida

You’ve been warned.  Brain-eating amoeba season has returned to Florida.

The unrelenting heat of summer in Florida gives the deadly single-celled organism Naegleria fowleri ideal conditions to thrive in bodies of freshwater in the Sunshine State.

And with summer break right around the corner, chances are that more people, including kids, will be seeking relief from the heat during the next few months by popping into local lakes.

If you do,  keep your head out of the water, experts say.

The best way to avoid infection is to avoid freshwater water during the summer.

The organisms can travel of human nasal passages, where they get easy access to the nervous system.

It consumes nervous-system tissue, causing a disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM.

Every case of PAM in Florida as been fatal.

The Florida Department of Health recently reminded the public about the threat from the organism.

Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri

The reminder was issued to coincide with Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, which runs from May 22 to May 28..

“As temperatures rise in Florida, swimming becomes a popular part of an ideal summer day,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip said in a statement. “To keep those days spent in the water carefree and fun, I encourage families to take precautions to ensure the water is safe and that an adult is keeping an eye on inexperienced swimmers at all times.”