High Country Kids Triathlon – May 18, 2019

The 2019 High Country Kids Triathlon is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to a new sport, and to support a GREAT charity that benefits our local youth, Western Youth Network! There are great prizes available in the raffle afterward.

This is for individual registration only. There will be no relay teams this year. Click here to register online.

Town Hall Will Explore Increasing Access to Health Insurance Coverage in North Carolina

Your presence is requested at the town hall meeting in Boone this week.

Boone, NC (March 18, 2019) – Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 6:00-7:30pm in the auditorium at Watauga Medical Center to discuss the impact of closing the coverage gap in North Carolina.

The event will be moderated by David Jackson, President of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce (www.boonechamber.com) and will feature Erica Palmer Smith from Care4Carolina (care4carolina.com).

Care4Carolina is an organization that seeks to strengthen the economic and social wellbeing of our state by increasing access to affordable, quality healthcare for all North Carolinians. Ms. Palmer Smith will highlight who is currently eligible for Medicaid in our community, who might be served by Medicaid expansion and the economic impact of such an expansion. She will also discuss current legislation that seeks to close the coverage gap.

Following Palmer Smith’s presentation, a moderated panel discussion with community leaders, healthcare providers, social services organizations and elected officials will also take place. N.C. Senator Deanna Ballard (R – District 45) and N.C. Representative C. Ray Russell (D – District 93) will provide comments.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Pack the Mack Fundraiser – October 23, 2018

Let’s all come together in the High Country and Pack the Mack on October 23, 2018!

Soccer has been a staple in Watauga County for decades. Appalachian State Men’s Soccer played their first season in 1962 and the Women began playing in 1994. Watauga County Parks & Recreation has been offering soccer since 1973 and High Country Soccer Association has been providing professional youth coaching since 1986. The last 10 years have seen unprecedented growth in the sport not only nationwide but locally as well. Part of the area’s growth is due to the beautiful facility at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex built in 2009. Its artificial surface makes for an ideal playing space even under extreme weather. But artificial turf eventually needs to be replaced.

To help pay for returfing at TMSC, Pack-the-Mack fundraisers will be held during two Appalachian State home soccer games this fall. A picnic-style dinner for $7 per person will be offered in the parking lot by the stadium field prior to each game. Dinner includes burgers, hotdogs, sides, desserts, and a drink. As with all ASU home soccer games, there is no charge for attendance. See below for details.

What: Pack-the-Mack
Why:
 Fundraisers to help returf the fields at Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex
When:

Thursday, September 6 – ASU Women’s Soccer v. North Florida, 5:30pm dinner, 7pm game.
Tuesday, October 23 – ASU Men’s Soccer v. Presbyterian College, 5:30pm dinner, 7pm game.
Where:
 Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex, Boone
Cost:
 $7 per person for dinner, game is free

The Ted Mackorell Soccer complex is a three-way partnership with Appalachian State’s Men’s and Women’s Soccer programs, High Country Soccer Association, and Watauga County Parks and Recreation.

Flu Season is Upon Us!

Great advice from our friends at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System

The flu season began October 1 and runs through May, and according to The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina has already seen its first two deaths as a result of flu. As a visitor to our facilities, you play an important part in preserving the health and safety of patients.

The following precautions can protect our patients, as well as visitors, from the spread of infection.

Clean your hands before and after visiting

Scientists of America showed in their persuasive essay outline that cleaning hands and doing well with hygiene can positively influence on the health

The soap, water and hand sanitizer in the patient rooms are for everyone. Wash or sanitize your hands when entering and leaving the room of the person you are visiting to avoid bringing in and carrying out germs. Insist any healthcare provider do the same before caring for your loved one. Do not sit on patient beds or handle their equipment.

Check with nurses before you bring in food, send flowers or bring children

While flowers, young visitors and home-baked dishes spread cheer, they may not be allowed, so check with the nurse first. Cut flowers but not potted plants may be allowed in intensive care units. If you change the water in a vase of flowers, make sure to wash your hands afterwards. No children under the age of 12 can visit in the Intensive Care Unit. Children elsewhere in the hospital should not disturb the other patients. Bringing food is risky because the patient may be on a special diet or the food could spoil and make the patient sick. Half eaten food cannot be returned to the refrigerator and must be discarded.

Practice Cough Etiquette

Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue. Discard tissue in the trash immediately after use. Wash your hands or use an alcohol hand sanitizer.

Isolation Precautions: Read & follow any instructions posted outside the door

Contact Precautions: you must wear gloves and a gown when entering the room.
Droplet or Airborne Precautions: you must wear a mask when entering the room.
If the patient you visit has a sign on the door you are required to obey it. Please talk to the nurses if you need assistance. Although you may have been around this person or live with this person, we must protect the other hospital patients and visitors. You can ask the nurse for any educational materials that may be available.

Stay at home if you are sick

Do not visit the hospital if you are sick or have had any ill symptoms within the last three days including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, rash or uncontrolled cough.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day {Free pass to all YMCA facilities for the day}

Join the Williams YMCA of Avery County for this FREE community event on April 21, 2018! Everyone is invited to come play and learn about all the resources Avery County has for our children and families. Access to the brand new Blackburn Athletic Facility and O’Connell Field House, the YMCA pool, bounce houses, face painting, games, vendors and more!

Healthy Kids Day is an event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day® is the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, features games, healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts and more. The day is celebrated at nearly 1,600 Ys across the country, aims to get more kids moving and learning, so they can keep up the habit all summer long – a critical out-of-school time for kids’ health. Attendees can get a free pass to all YMCA facilities for the day.

Where: John Blackburn Indoor Athletic Facility
436 Hospital Drive
Linville, NC 28646
When: April 21, 2018
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

App State Spring Break Sports Camp for ages 6-14

UPDATE:

Make the most of the shortened spring break for Watauga County students. Athletics wants to give school-aged children an exciting spring break on campus by hosting an action-packed all sports camp Tuesday and Wednesday, April 3-4, from 8:30-5:00 or 8:30-noon. Day campers will meet many coaches and players and engage in a variety of sports.The cost is $100 for two full days and $63 for two half days with special discounts for Yosef Club members, Junior Mountaineer Kids Club, and siblings.

Day campers will meet many coaches and players representing soccer, track, volleyball, and basketball while engaging in a different sport each day.

For more information and on-line registration, visit our website at
https://conferences-camps.appstate.edu/youth-camps/all-sports.

Ages: 6-14

Dates: Tuesday, April 3-Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Times: 8:30am-5:00pm Full Day or 8:30am-12:00pm Half Day

Cost: $100* Full Day, $63* Half Day

Check-in: 8:30-9:00 am

Location: Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility at Appalachian State University

Registration Open for the 2018 High Country Kids Triathlon

The 2018 High Country Kids Triathlon will be on Saturday, May 26th. This year the triathlon will be supporting Western Youth Network, an awesome organization benefiting our local youth! Invite your out of town friends and family to spend the holiday weekend enjoying beautiful Boone and have the kids participate in this awesome event.

There are three options:

Triathlon-50m swim, 1 mile bike, .5 run (ages 8 and under)

Triathlon-100m swim, 3 mile bike, 1 mile run (ages 9 and 10)

Triathlon-100m swim, 3 mile bike, 1 mile run (ages 11 and 12)

Register online at Active.com:
https://www.active.com/boone-nc/triathlon/races/high-country-kids-triathlon-2018?int

Or, register by mail with the following form:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/19gscAQr3tMeXeP1-GPT6pPISUHft8HRz/view

Increase in flu cases prompts healthcare system to limit visitors

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is limiting visitation at Watauga Medical Center, Cannon Memorial Hospital and The Foley Center as a result of the continued increase in flu and influenza-like illnesses.

Visitors must:
Be 18 years or older
Be healthy and not have the flu or influenza-like illness
Not live with anyone who has been diagnosed with the flu or influenza-like illness
The medical team may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for siblings of newborn babies and families of hospice or end of life patients.

“For the health and safety of our patients and residents, we must restrict visitation,” stated Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Flu cases have almost reached pandemic levels. We need the community’s help to stop the spread in the High Country.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, seasonal flu activity continues to rise in the U.S. The proportion of people seeing their healthcare provider for influenza-like illness continues to increase and has been at or above the national baseline.

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. Listed below are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.

Recognizable Symptoms Include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

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

Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit www.flu.gov/ or www.cdc.gov/flu.

One case of pertussis (whooping cough) confirmed in Ashe County

ASHE COUNTY, N.C. – One case of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, was confirmed in Ashe County on January 22, 2018. The case is in an Ashe County School System student attending Westwood Elementary School.

School and health officials report the individual diagnosed with pertussis is being treated, per guidelines established by the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control, and is fully cooperating in following isolation instructions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old. The best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated.”

Please be sure each of your own family-household members, especially infants and young children, are up to date on their immunizations.

If you or your family members have a chronic health condition that might increase the risk of a respiratory infection, please seek advice from your health care provider whether or not precautionary antibiotics might be recommended.

Ashe County School system officials and AppHealthCare (local health department) are working closely together with school and community partners. “We appreciate the partnership with Ashe County Schools. We urge folks to contact us or their healthcare provider if they become ill and get their immunizations up-to-date,” said Jennifer Greene, Health Director.

The information below is being shared with the public to assist in preventing the spread of pertussis.

What causes pertussis?

Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. These bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) that line part of the upper respiratory system. The bacteria release toxins (poisons), which damage the cilia and cause airways to swell.

How does pertussis spread?

Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans. Pertussis spreads from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the disease to another person by coughing or sneezing or when spending a lot of time near one another where you share breathing space. Many babies who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents, or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.

Infected people are most contagious up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Antibiotics may shorten the amount of time someone is contagious.

While pertussis vaccines are the most effective tool to prevent this disease, no vaccine is 100% effective. When pertussis circulates in the community, there is a chance that a fully vaccinated person, of any age, can catch this disease. If you have gotten the pertussis vaccine but still get sick, the infection is usually not as bad.

What are the symptoms of pertussis?

The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. Early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Apnea – a pause in breathing (in babies)

After 1 to 2 weeks and as the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of pertussis may appear and include:

  • Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound
  • Vomiting (throwing up) during or after coughing fits
  • Exhaustion (very tired) after coughing fits

Prevention

The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among babies, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Also, keep babies and other people at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people. In the United States, the recommended pertussis vaccine for babies and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that helps protect against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

AppHealthCare, the local health department, urges community members to check with their primary care physician about their current immunization records, to ensure they have the recommended vaccinations. Immunizations are available through primary care providers and AppHealthCare, Alleghany: (336) 372-5641, Ashe: (336) 246-9449 or Watauga: (828) 264-4995.

Additional information is available at:

Any further communications related to additional measures to prevent additional cases of pertussis in our community will be communicated to the media, as well as posted to www.apphealthcare.com. For information that has been shared with Parents/Guardians please go here: https://www.asheschools.org/.

Watauga County Parks and Rec Baseball and Softball Registration

The weather outside may be frightful, but baseball and softball seasons are near. Watauga County Parks and Recreation is accepting registrations. Below are the options for this season.

Major 1 Baseball Registration Deadline: Friday, March 3, 2017
Major I Little League Baseball is for children ages 11 and 12 (age as of 4/30/15). In this league, the fundamentals of baseball are continued to be developed. The season runs approximately 3 months. Teams meet 4 times each week for practices and games. Placement drills are required for all participants. At the end of the season, an all-star team is formed. The registration fee is $55. All participants must be registered by 5:00pm on Friday, March 3, 2017.

Jr. League Baseball Registration Deadline: Friday, March 3, 2017
Junior League Baseball is for children ages 13-15 (age as of 4/30/15). In this league, the fundamentals of baseball are continued to be developed. The season runs approximately 3 months. Teams meet 4 times each week for practices and games. At the end of the season, an All-Star team is formed. Placement drills are required for all participants. The registration fee is $55. All participants must be registered by 5:00pm on Friday, March 3, 2017.

Girls Machine Pitch Softball Registration Deadline: Friday, March 17, 2017
Girls Machine Pitch Softball is designed to teach girls ages 7 & 8 the fundamentals of fast pitch softball. Age is determined as of 12/31 of the previous year. Teams are formed by geographic location. Girls play approximately 10 games during the season and meet approximately 4 times per week for games, practices, and/or clinics. Softball clinics are scheduled weekly for participants in this program. Games will be played on Saturday mornings/early afternoons and weekday evening beginning at 5:30pm. The season will run from mid-April through June. Each player is required to have a glove and athletic shoes. Ten players play in the field and all participants are in the batting line up. No score is kept. The registration fee is $33 per participant. All participants must be registered with Watauga County Parks and Recreation by 5:00pm on the current deadline date.

Girls Fast Pitch Softball Registration Deadline: Friday, March 3, 2017
Girls’ Fast Pitch Softball is designed to teach girls age 9 – 12 the fundamentals of fast pitch softball. Age is determined as of 12/31 of the previous year. With sufficient registrations, two separate leagues will be forms – Major 2 for 9 & 10 year old girls and Major 1 for 11 & 12 year old girls. Girls play approximately 12 games during the season. Teams meet approximately 4 times per week for games, practices, and/or clinics. Softball clinics are scheduled weekly for participants in this program. Games will be played on Saturday mornings/early afternoons and weekday evenings beginning at 5:30pm. The season will run from early April through June. At the end of the season, an All Star Team is formed. Each player is required to have a glove, athletic shoes, and white softball game pants. Placement drills are required for all participants in this league. The registration fee is $50 per participant. All participants must be registered with Watauga County Parks and Recreation by the current registration deadline.

T-Ball – Modified Registration Deadline: Friday, March 17, 2017
T-Ball is the first level of co-ed baseball for children ages 5 and 6 (age as of 4/30 of the current year). The T-Ball program is designed to teach children the fundamentals of baseball/softball including as throwing, catching, and batting. The participants will bat off a tee the first part of the season and may bat coach pitch late in the season. This program also emphasizes teamwork and sportsmanship. Teams meet 3 times per week for practices and games. T-ball games consist of 3 innings in which every child gets to bat and plays in the field. No score is kept. A reduced-risk factor ball is used. Teams are formed by geographical location. The season runs approximately 8 – 10 weeks (early April through June). The registration fee is $33 per participant. All participants must be registered by 5:00pm on the current deadline.

Machine Pitch Baseball Registration Deadline: Friday, March 17, 2017
Machine Pitch Baseball is a co-ed league for children ages 7 and 8 (as of 4/30 of the current year). The basics and fundamentals of baseball are taught. A reduced-risk factor ball is used. The season runs approximately 8 – 10 weeks. Teams meet 3 times per week for practices and games. During the game, all players are in the batting order and 10 players play in the field. No score is kept. Teams are formed by geographical location. The registration fee is $33 per participant. All participants must be registered by 5:00pm on the current deadline day.

Major 2 Baseball Registration Deadline: Friday, March 17, 2017
Major 2 Baseball is for children ages 9-10 (age as of 4/30 of the current year). This is the first level of kid pitch. In this league, the fundamentals of baseball are developed. The season runs approximately 3 months. Teams meet 4 times each week for practices and games. Placement drills are required for all players in this league. At the end of the season, an all-star team is formed. The registration fee is $55 per participant. All participants must be registered by 5:00pm on the current year deadline date.

Please visit the website for more information.