Public Health Programs

DCFS / Healthworks

Public Health Nurses work with foster parents of wards under 6 years of age. Public Health Nurses perform similar functions as they do for family case management. They also keep the child’s DCFS caseworker aware of the child’s medical records and needs.

Communicable Diseases

The communicable disease program is to promotes optimal health among Clay County residents by controlling the spread of communicable diseases.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has disease-specific information sheets. These are available at our office or by accessing the IDPH home page at

These health beats are found under the category “Hot Off the Presses”. Statistics are also available at this site.

For a list of Reportable Diseases please click on the following link

Illinois Reportable Disease Poster

Adolescent Immunization

Are there vaccines that protect against communicable diseases?
Yes! Immunizations against hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and varicella (chickenpox) are available for all adolescents. In addition, vaccinations against hepatitis A, influenza (flu) and pneumococcal disease are needed by some adolescents.

Should all adolescents be immunized?
Yes. All adolescents require measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and diphtheria immunizations. All adolescents with diabetes or chronic heart, lung, liver or kidney disorders need protection against influenza and pneumococcal disease, and should consult their healthcare providers regarding their need for these shots. Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is recommended for those not previously vaccinated and who have no reliable history of the disease. Hepatitis B vaccine is indicated for all adolescents aged 8-18 who have not been vaccinated previously. Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for adolescents traveling to or working in countries where the disease is common, and for those living in communities with outbreaks of the disease. It is also recommended for adolescents who have chronic liver disease or clotting-factor disorders, use illegal injection drugs, or are male and have sex with other males.

How often do I need to be immunized?
Hepatitis B vaccine is generally administered in 3 doses. Adolescents not previously vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR vaccine require these. Immunization against tetanus and diphtheria (Td vaccine) should be supplemented with a booster shot at 11-12 years of age and every 10 years thereafter. One dose of chickenpox vaccine is recommended for adolescents 11-12 years of age, or 2 doses for those 13 or older, if there is no proof of prior chickenpox disease or immunization. The flu shot should be administered yearly to adolescents who have any medical condition that places them at high risk for complications associated with influenza. Immunization against pneumococcal disease is recommended for adolescents with certain chronic diseases who are at increased risk for this disease or its complications, and a booster dose is recommended 5 years after the initial dose for this group. Hepatitis A vaccine is administered in 2 doses.

Are there side effects to these shots?
Vaccines are among the safest medicines available. Some common side effects are a sore arm or low fever. As with any medicine, there are very small risks that serious problems could occur after getting a vaccine. However, the potential risks associated with the diseases that these vaccines prevent are much greater than the potential risks associated with the vaccines themselves.

Should I carry a personal immunization record?
Yes! This record will help you and your healthcare provider ensure that you are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Ask your provider for this record, and be sure to take it with you every time you visit so it can be reviewed by your provider and updated each time you are immunized.

FACT: Vaccines are among the safest medicines available.

FACT: Approximately 340,000 children and adolescents aged 2-18 years have chronic illnesses, placing them at increased risk for influenza and pneumococcal diseases and their complications.

FACT: More than 8 million children and adolescents aged 2-18 years have at least one medical condition placing them at high risk for complications of the flu.

FACT: In the United States, approximately 20% of adolescents aged 11-12 years have not had chickenpox. Adolescents are 10 times more likely than children to develop severe complications or even die when this disease is contracted.

FACT: Although no longer a very common disease in the United States, diphtheria remains a large problem in other countries and can pose a serious threat to United States citizens who may not be fully immunized and who travel to other countries or have contact with immigrants or international travelers coming to the U.S.

FACT: Forty to fifty cases of tetanus (lockjaw) occur each year, resulting in at least 5 deaths annually in the United States.

FACT: More than 70% of the 100,000-140,000 new cases of hepatitis B reported each year strike adolescents and young adults. The hepatitis B virus is 100 times more infectious than HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

FACT: The hepatitis B vaccine is recognized as the first anti-cancer vaccine because it can prevent primary liver cancer caused by hepatitis B infection.

FACT: The highest rates of hepatitis A occur among children and adolescents 5-14 years old, and most cases can be attributed to person-to-person transmission.

FACT: Of the 575 measles patients in 1996 for whom age was known, one-third were 10- 19 years old.

FACT: About one-third of people infected with the mumps virus do not have any symptoms.

Prevention Initiative

The Preventative Initiative Program is collaboration between the three school districts and the health department. Although this program is available to pregnant women and children from birth to three years of age, children between the ages of 1 and 3 years are targeted for service delivery. Unlike all other department home visiting programs, the PI program is non-categorical, meaning anyone in the target population can be eligible for services. If enrolled, families will be provided with environmental and medical education. Personal visits are completed by a public health nurse and allow for an individualized and personalized plan of care to be completed. This program offers children a chance to develop in the following areas: language, cognition, motor, and health. The goal of this program is to assure children are as healthy as possible thus leading to an increased likelihood for academic success.

Tobacco Prevention Program

Smoke Free Illinois Act

The Clay County Health Department will conduct random compliance checks regarding the Smoke Free Illinois Act on all county businesses. If your business needs information or window decals regarding the Smoke Free Illinois Act, you can pick that information up at the Chamber office or at the Clay County Health Department.

A portion of the act reads:

(410 ILCS 82/20)

Sec. 20. Posting of signs; removal of ashtrays

  • “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it, shall be clearly and conspicuously posted in each public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited by this Act by the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control that place.”

For more information about the Smoke Free Illinois Act visit

Tobacco Cessation

The Illinois Tobacco Quitline is a FREE resource for tobacco users who want to quit for good. The Illinois Tobacco Quitline has, “registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and certified tobacco-treatment counselors on call 7-days a week, 7AM-11PM to answer all your tobacco-related questions and provide the support you need to break the habit. Habla Espanol? We serve a diverse client base, with Spanish-speaking counselors and live translation services for more than 200 languages.

Visit for more information about the cessation or to chat online with a nurse, respiratory therapist, or certified tobacco-treatment counselor or call 1-866-QUIT-YES.  (1-866-784-8937).

For additional smoking cessation resources, such as smokefree apps, smokefree texting programs and to build your own quit plan visit

Help with Addiction


The hospice program is a complex, versatile program that offers palliative and supportive care to dying patients in the home.  A multidisciplinary team approach is used to offer a wide range of services to the patient and family.  These services may include nursing, CNA, dietary counseling, pastoral counseling, social worker, speech, physical therapy, volunteers, and bereavement counseling.

While the focus of this program is in the home, hospice patients may use the inpatient hospital hospice rooms for pain or symptom management, or respite care.  In the home, the services are provided on a part-time, intermittent, regularly scheduled basis, and around-the-clock basis.  On-call personnel is available 24 hours a day including weekends and holidays.

The hospice staff consists of professionally trained and licensed personnel who embrace the hospice philosophy and actively work toward the goals set by the patient, caretaker, and hospice team.  All personnel is involved with continuing education in hospice.

Foreign Travel

The foreign travel program provides immunization recommendations for individuals who are traveling out of the country. In an effort to minimize the risk of infection and to prevent the transmission of disease, travelers are provided a current information packet specifically designed for their travel plans. For more information, please contact our communicable disease staff.

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