Big Eleven Lake under algae watch

Big Eleven Lake at 11th and State in Kansas City, Kansas, is now under a watch for algae, according to a public health advisory from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The lake was downgraded from a warning to a watch on Sept. 12 after several weeks on the algae warning list.

According to the KDHE, a watch means that blue-green algae has been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are asked to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water.

During the watch, KDHE recommends these precautions be taken:

• Signage will be posted at all public access locations
• Water may be unsafe for humans/animals
• Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.
• Swimming, wading, skiing, and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms
• Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact.
• Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portion only.

KDHE samples publicly accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes, according to a spokesman. Based on sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.

Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable, the spokesman stated. They can develop rapidly and may float around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present.

Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.

Blood drives scheduled in Wyandotte County

Several blood drives currently are scheduled in Wyandotte County.

Red Cross blood drives

• A Red Cross blood drive will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

• Another Red Cross blood drive is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the Joe E. Amayo Argentine Community Center, 2940 Metropolitan Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

To make an appointment for the Red Cross blood drives, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-733-2767.

Community Blood Center blood drives

The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City is urging residents to donate blood during the week of Sept. 11.

“When the towers fell eighteen years ago, people from across the country came together to support victims of the attacks in New York. And as we approach the anniversary again this year, we are calling on residents to donate blood and help strengthen the region’s blood supply,” said Kim Peck, senior executive director of the Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City. “When tragedy strikes, it is the blood that is already donated that saves lives, so we encourage everyone who can to take one hour to donate blood at one of our drives this week.”

• A Community Blood Center blood drive will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Main, Hixson Atrium, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas.

• A Community Blood Center blood drive will continue from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Main, Hixson Atrium, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas.

To make an appointment for a Community Blood Center blood drive, visit www.savealifenow.org/ or call 816-753-4040.

First Kansas vaping-related lung disease death reported

Kansas health officials have confirmed the first death in the state associated with an outbreak of serious lung disease related to vaping or using e-cigarettes, according to a news release Tuesday from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The recent death was a Kansas resident over the age of 50.

According to Dr. Farah Ahmed, Kansas state epidemiologist, the patient had a history of underlying health issues and was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly.

The national investigation has not identified any specific vaping or e-cigarette products linked to all cases, according to the state health department.

Many patients report using vaping or e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, the news release stated. Kansas does not have detailed information on what types of products were used by the deceased, according to officials.

“Our sympathies go out to the family of the person who died,” Gov. Laura Kelly said in the news release. “Health officials are working hard to determine a cause and share information to prevent additional injuries. As that work continues, I urge Kansans to be careful. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, and please follow the recommendations of public health officials.”

Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas state health officer and secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said health officials nationwide continue to work aggressively to gather information and determine what has caused these lung injuries.

“It is time to stop vaping.” Norman said. “If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop. The recent deaths across our country, combined with hundreds of reported lung injury cases continue to intensify. I’m extremely alarmed for the health and safety of Kansans who are using vaping products and urge them to stop until we can determine the cause of vaping related lung injuries and death.”

To date, Kansas has six reports associated with the outbreak. Three patients have been classified as confirmed or probable cases and three cases are still under investigation, officials stated.

State investigators determine if cases are confirmed or probable after examining the medical records of suspected cases and consulting with the clinical care team to exclude other possible cases. Further information about individual cases is not available because of patient confidentiality.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the addition of the Kansas report, is reporting six deaths and more than 450 possible cases of severe lung injury in 33 states and one jurisdiction. While investigations into these cases continue, CDC is recommending people avoid vaping or using e-cigarettes. Also, people with a history of vaping who are experiencing lung injury symptoms should seek medical care, a spokesman stated.

Nationally, symptoms among cases included shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms reported by some patients included headache, dizziness and chest pain. For individuals wanting more information on how to quit tobacco products, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.