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Houston HealthScope - June 9, 2023

Words: Houston HealthScope

Houston Health Department to offer Mpox vaccines at Houston PRIDE events

Health department encourages Houstonians to celebrate safely


GHappy Pride Month. Houston Health Department all in for Pride. Get protected and stay healthy.o to health department Pride events.

The Houston Health Department encourages people to enjoy Pride Houston events and gatherings safely, including gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men due to their higher risk of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox.

Staff with the department will offer free mpox vaccines and health education across Houston during June for Pride month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in mid-May issued an alert warning of a possible mpox resurgence this summer as people gather for events and festivals.

Cases of mpox have fallen dramatically from last summer’s peak but the outbreak is not over.

Currently, the department reports about two mpox cases a month. It has reported 727 Houston cases since the outbreak began in 2022. The CDC has reports of more than 30,000 cases nationwide.  

Outreach events where the department will use its mobile vaccination unit to provide mpox vaccines and health education include:

  • Protect the H Night, 2111 Fannin St., Thursdays, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., until July 13,
  • Community Pride Bash, The Montrose Center, 401 Branard St., Saturday, June 17, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Rock The Runway 2023 Fashion Show, RISE Rooftop, 2600 Travis St., Thursday, June 22, 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. (Education only) 
  • Council Member Abbie Kamin's Second Annual Families with Pride, Levy Park, 3801 Eastside St., Saturday, June 24, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Civic Heart (formerly Change Happens), McGregor Park, 5225 Calhoun Rd., Tuesday, June 27, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The department will add other mpox mobile clinics to the events calendar later this month.

People need two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine for the best protection against mpox. The regimen calls for people to get the second dose four weeks after the first one.

Mpox is a rare disease caused by a virus in the same family of viruses as smallpox. People with mpox often get a rash on their hands, feet, chest, face, mouth or genital area. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

The incubation period is about three weeks. During this time, a person does not have symptoms and may feel fine. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.

Other symptoms include flu-like illness such as fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. It spreads from person to person through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact and sexual contact.

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and transgender people make up most of the cases in the current mpox outbreak. However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has mpox is at risk.

People needing more information about mpox shots, Pride event mobile vaccination clinics, prevention tips and resources can visit or call the department’s call center at 832-393-4220.

Take Control of Your Blood Pressure

Get blood pressure checks at local MSCs to know your numbers!


Know your blood pressure numbersStay on top of your health by monitoring your blood pressure regularly and understanding what your numbers mean. When keeping tabs on your health, your blood pressure is a great indicator of how you’re doing.

Houston Health Department (HHD) hosts free blood pressure knowledge sessions and blood pressure monitoring stations all over Houston year-round. Stay informed about what your blood pressure numbers are, what they mean and what to do if your numbers are too high. The trainings also provide you with steps and information on how to bring high blood pressure back to normal.

Symptomless. That’s an accurate way to describe high blood pressure (HBP).

HBP is known as the "Silent Killer" because of the lack of warning, signs, or symptoms. It is imperative that individuals know their blood pressure levels, aka numbers. A normal blood pressure level is less than 120 mm Hg (systolic) and 80 mm Hg (diastolic), according to the CDC.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, has a systolic of 140 mm Hg or higher and a diastolic of 90 mm Hg or higher.

Hypertension can stem from quite a few factors, including family history of high blood pressure, race, ethnicity, age, and weight. Growing imbalances among certain populations are characteristics of heart disease and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black (54%) and Hispanic men (52.3%) are more susceptible to HBP.

Know your numbers! It’s easy to check your blood pressure.

Take advantage of the free classes and blood pressure stations hosted by HHD at various Health Service Centers and Multi-Service Centers around Houston.

For more information on dates, times, and locations, please refer to the Health Education Calendar.

Heat Stroke vs Heat Exhaustion

Know the signs and differences


Heat exhaustion versus heat strokeSummer is creeping into the great city of Houston with temperatures expected to reach 100 degrees next week. Houston Health Department (HHD) is getting in front of the increasing temperatures this summer.

With rising temperatures and humidity comes a growing number of hospital visits and health centers due to heat-related illnesses: heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

What’s the difference?

Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to extreme loss of salt and water in sweat usually connected with substantial physical activity.

Signs of heat exhaustion include weak-but-rapid pulse, fainting, excessive sweating, paleness, cramping, dizziness, weakness, intense headache and nausea (sometimes accompanied by vomiting).

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. If you think you or someone else with you may be suffering from heat exhaustion, move to a cooler area, drink some cool water, loosen your clothes. If necessary, get medical help.

Heat stroke is the result of heat exhaustion and, if it is not treated by trained medical professionals, it can be fatal or leave a person permanently disabled.

Heat stroke symptoms are like those of heat exhaustion, but in addition to weakness, nausea, dizziness, and heavy perspiration, they also include a rapid, strong pulse, red, hot, dry, or moist skin, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

Do not wait to seek medical attention if you suspect you, or someone with you, are suffering from heat stroke. Dial 911 immediately, and move to a cooler location and chill your body down using cool clothing. Don't drink anything.

Houstonians can stay cool this summer and take part in a variety of activities and resources at HHD's Multi-Service Centers and Health Service Centers located throughout the city. You can join public free educational resources, access wholesome food through farmers markets, produce wagons, and community gardens, enjoy air-conditioned computer rooms with free Wi-Fi, and more.

Find a Multi-Service Center in your area

HHD Peer Wellness Specialist Program 2023


BPeer Wellness Education. Summer 2023. Chill and Chat. eginning June 6, Houston Health Department's (HHD) Peer Wellness Specialist Program is hosting the Chill & Chat Summer Workshops at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, 4410 Reed Road.

Go to workshop schedule and signup form.

The workshops are held every other Tuesday throughout June, July, and the first Tuesday of August. The workshop will cover valuable information and topics for youth and young adults ages 14-24 to prepare them to serve as mentors and advocates.
The program combines classroom training with community participation and is seeing considerable success with participants providing mentorship at local schools, The Hays Center, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, Family Services and other programs.
Upon completing the program, program peers are prepared to use their personal experiences with mental health conditions as resources to help other young people on their wellness journeys.


Houston Health Department in the News

Houston Health Department in the newsThis week, KPRC-Channel 2 ran a news story highlighting the efforts of the Houston Health Department and Houston PRIDE to curtail the spread of Mpox in LGBTQIA+ communities. PRIDE festivities are occurring all over the city, the timing of the initiative and story couldn’t be better.