Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope.
On Saturday, November 17, 2018, loss survivors will gather around the globe in small and large events while growing together in their grief journey.
Each event is unique and offers various programing, however each event site will feature an AFSP produced documentary that offers a message of growth, resilience and connection.

TriCounty Health Department is pleased to partner with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to bring this event to our community.

Register for the Vernal event at

As adults we don’t often think of needing vaccines. It is a good idea to review your vaccine records annually to see if shots are needed, this can be done by contacting your healthcare provider or Tricounty Health Department. What vaccines do Adults need? All adults need a Td or Tdap vaccine every 10 years, or sooner if you are injured, and a flu shot annually. Adults with specific jobs or chronic health conditions are recommended to have additional vaccines.
Recently the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, was approved for adults through age 45. The CDC states “In a study in approximately 3,200 women 27 through 45 years of age, followed for an average of 3.5 years, Gardasil was 88 percent effective in the prevention of a combined endpoint of persistent infection, genital warts, vulvar and vaginal precancerous lesions, cervical precancerous lesions, and cervical cancer related to HPV types covered by the vaccine….Effectiveness of Gardasil 9 in men 27 through 45 years of age is inferred from the data described above in women 27 through 45 years of age”
If you have not received your HPV vaccine and are 45 or younger contact your healthcare provider or Tricounty Health.

  • When should I get vaccinated?
  • You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later.
  • Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

Flu Activity

What sort of flu season is expected this year?

It is not possible to predict what this flu season will be like. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one season to another.

This time of year is called “flu season.” In the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May. CDC monitors certain key flu indicators (for example, outpatient visits of influenza-like illness (ILI), the results of laboratory testing and reports of flu hospitalizations and deaths). When these indicators rise and remain elevated for a number of consecutive weeks, “flu season” is said to have begun. Usually influenza like illness’s increases first, followed by an increase in flu-associated hospitalizations, which is then followed by increases in flu-associated deaths.

Will new flu viruses circulate this season?

Flu viruses are constantly changing so it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year

What viruses will the 2018-2019 flu vaccines protect against?

There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. For 2018-2019, trivalent (three-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)

Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain: the three recommended viruses above, plus an additional  B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus

How many people get sick with flu every year?

The exact number of flu illnesses that occur each season is not known because flu is not a reportable disease and not everyone who gets sick with flu seeks medical care or gets tested. Using statically modeling in combination with data from traditional flu surveillance systems to estimate the true burden of flu illness in the United States, including total flu cases. CDC estimates that flu has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses each year in the United States. CDC estimates that flu has resulted in between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and 10’s of thousands of death each year either as a cause or a contributing factor in death.


Protective Actions

What should I do to protect myself from flu this season?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness. Visit What you Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs for more information.

What should I do to protect my loved ones from flu this season?

Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications, and their close contacts. Also, if you have a loved one who is at high risk of flu complications and they develop flu symptoms, encourage them to get a medical evaluation for possible treatment with flu antiviral drugs. These drugs work best if given within 48 hours of when symptoms start. CDC recommends that people who are at high risk for serious flu complications and who get flu symptoms during flu season be treated with flu antiviral drugs as quickly as possible without waiting for confirmatory testing. People who are not at high risk for serious flu complications may also be treated with flu antiviral drugs, especially if treatment can begin within 48 hours.

Do some children require two doses of flu vaccine?

Yes. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 4 weeks apart. Children who have only received one dose in their lifetime also need two doses. Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine. Visit Children & Influenza (flu) for more information.

What can I do to protect children who are too young to get vaccinated?

Children younger than 6 months old are at high risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because of this, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months old, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from flu. Everyone else who is around the baby also should be vaccinated. Studies have also shown that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for several months.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you and your loved ones can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Flu vaccines are offered by many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies, as well as by many employers.

We here at TriCounty Health Depart are offering flu vaccines on October 9th and 10th from 2-7pm at both the Vernal and Roosevelt USU campuses.  We would love to see as many people at the drive through clinic’s on the 9th and 10th so that we can also test our capabilities as a Health Department to get treatment to as many people as possible in the event of a real EMERGENCY. For this event please try and wear a short sleeve shirt or loose clothing that we can easily access your upper arm for adults, and upper thigh for younger children. For helping TriCounty Health Department prevent the spread of flu and participating in or annual flu shoot preparedness exercise, we will be offering free passes to both the Vernal Rec center and the Roosevelt Aquatic center. If you are unable to attend the flu shoot out events we also have them available daily at our walk in clinics in Roosevelt and Vernal Monday thru Friday. Monday from 10-5 and from 8-5 the remainder of the week. We are also offering mobile clinics for those in our outlying areas of Duchesne, Daggat, and Uintah Counties. Look on our Home page or follow us on Facebook for Dates and times.

Influenza (flu)

The following is statistics and the medically educated opinion of  Dr. Karl L. Breitenbach, MD, regarding annual flu vaccination. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the 2017-2018 Influenza (flu) season was the first season to be classified as a high severity season — this was across all age groups. As of Aug. 25, 2018, a total of 180 pediatric deaths due to influenza had been reported. Approximately 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination for this season. The mortality (deaths) attributed to pneumonia and influenza exceeded 10 percent for four consecutive weeks, peaking at 10.8 percent during the week ending Jan. 20, 2018. The overall vaccine effectiveness of the 2017-2018 flu vaccine against both influenza A and B viruses is estimated to be 40 percent. This effectiveness rate typically varies from 40 to 80 percent annually.

The remainder of this article is my educated opinion.

The flu vaccine available in the fall and winter of 2017-2018 was not as effective as we would have liked it to be for preventing the strains of the influenza virus that were actually seen. However, there are really only two ways to develop immunity against influenza — which is currently the virus that causes the greatest rates of illness and death in our modern society.

  • Become infected with the virus and if you live through it, your body will develop humoral immunity. (develop antibodies against the strain of the virus you were infected with.)
  • Seek out yearly vaccination with the vaccines developed.

Many people have what I feel is an inappropriate short-term expectation of influenza vaccination. They hope it prevents them from getting “the flu” during the winter after they receive the vaccination, but they don’t think about their long-term immunity.

Unfortunately, as we observed from the 2017-2018 influenza season, not everyone who gets a flu shot will derive good immunity from the vaccination — also, the immunity they derive may not match the strain of the influenza virus that presents in their community that year.

I would like to ask people to take a long-term perspective on influenza vaccination. Everyone understands the concept of giving the same, or similar vaccines, over and over again — each subsequent dose of vaccine is called a booster. This practice occurs with most childhood vaccines and has been highly effective. With each exposure to the antigen (proteins from infectious organisms) in the vaccine, the recipient of the vaccine will develop higher and higher levels of antibodies and immune system memory against the organism.

Immunization against many organisms can be accomplished with one or a short series of vaccinations. Unfortunately, the influenza virus mutates (changes) frequently. It looks slightly different almost every year. This means we must have a lot of immune system memory before we become adequately immune to influenza.

You have two options to achieve this level of immune system memory.

  • Repeated bouts of illness to different strains of influenza virus.
  • Repeated vaccination.

To me, the choice is clear. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to have now had 33 years of flu shots. They aren’t always painless — Frequently receiving a flu shot will trigger your immune system to release inflammatory mediators that can cause you to have fever and body aches, as well as pain and swelling at the injection site. My patients tell me that “the flu shot gave me the flu.” This is, of course, impossible for the flu shot to give you the flu as it does not contain any live virus. I also usually tell them that I am happy when my flu shot gives me those symptoms — because then I know it is working. While I don’t enjoy feeling achy and feverish after a flu shot, I am reassured when I get these symptoms, because that tells me that the flu shot has done its job and has caused a response from my immune system.

To conclude:

  • Get a flu shot every year to develop a higher level of immunity against this virus — historically and presently, the most deadly virus that you are likely to be exposed to every year.
  • Have realistic expectations that the flu shot is not always effective, but with enough years of “flu booster,” you will become more and more immune after each shot received.

Dr. Karl L. Breitenbach, MD
Family Practice Physician & TriCounty Health Department Medical Advisor

The Truth About Tobacco in the Uintah Basin

Tobacco may be considered the biggest “scam” of the last 100 years.  The tobacco industry was the first to really understand what brain science research was saying, and they took it and ran with it. The marketing strategies of the tobacco industry revolutionized the art of suckering young people out of their money and health for a worthless product.

The Tobacco industry determined how to manipulate everyday citizens to purchase cigarettes, a product that will kill the people who use it.  The best thing to do with tobacco is never use it. If you do use it, the best thing you can do for you and your family’s health is to quit. Fortunately, tobacco use has been reducing dramatically over the past decade.  However, here in the basin, we still see relatively high rates of tobacco use.

In our area we see roughly 15 percent of our adult population that smoke and roughly 12 percent of our adult population chews tobacco. Our youth population also is affected by tobacco. Roughly 5 percent of our youth smoke, which doesn’t sound like much, but the reality is, we have in the area roughly 1,500 youth who smoke. This is roughly the same number of individuals who attend Uintah high school.


Electronic Cigarettes: The New Gimmick


We have seen electronic cigarette use and experimentation explode throughout Utah and here in the Basin as well over the last five years. We see e-cigs primarily in youth Populations as well with nearly 24 percent of our youth either experimenting or actively using these products. What kids don’t understand about these products is that they also can harm their health. E-liquid inside of an e-cigarette contains heavy metals, and cancer causing chemicals.

Most young people don’t even realize that the same companies that sell cigarettes also own the companies that are making e-cigarettes. This means that when our youth are getting addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes, they are potentially opening themselves up for a lifelong addiction to tobacco.


Cost of Tobacco

One thing that most people don’t take into consideration is the cost of tobacco.  Individuals who smoke understand how much it costs and on average, smokers who smoke a pack a day can plan on spending roughly $2,500 a year on tobacco.  

The Societal impact of smoking is incredible as well.  In Utah we spend over $540 million a year treating tobacco related illness. If you include the loss productivity cost with that figure you expand that number to over $835 million a year…All things being equal everyone in Utah essentially pays $278 a year in order to support the cost of tobacco to our society.

Resources for quitters


The state offers the way to quit program, a call in program for assistance with quitting. Pretty much all insurance companies now cover tobacco treatment medication.  Employers are offering more cessation services through insurance as well.

The TriCounty Health Department also offers specific one on one help for pregnant women who are trying to quit. One of our exceptional health educators can assist with the process as well as offer vouchers for diapers.

Our health educators also can teach a youth tobacco cessation course at

schools throughout the area.         

Suicide is a major public health threat in Utah.  Males are more likely than females to have had a crisis within two weeks of their death such as intimate partner problems, job problems, school problems and criminal problems.  Females, were more likely to have a diagnosed mental illness, current mental illness treatment, history of mental illness treatment, leaving a suicide note, and a history of suicide note, and a history of suicide attempts compared to males.

In order to gain a better understanding of suicide, one should consider looking at risk & protective factors:

Suicide is a complex behavior and generally cannot be attributed to a single cause or event.  Research has found that approximately 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental health or substance use disorder at the time of their death.  Suicide is also often preceded by a lifetime history of traumatic events.  Several other factors that put a person at increased risk for suicide may include:

     * Alcohol or drug abuse
     * Diagnosable mental health disorder
     * Easy access to lethal methods, such as guns or pills
     * Family history of suicide or violence
     * Lack of social support
     * Loss of a family member or friend, especially if by suicide
     * Physical health problems like chronic pain or traumatic brain injury
     * Relationship or school problems
     * Stressful life event or loss
Protective Factors are conditions or attributes in an individual, family, or community that increase the health and well-being of children and families.  Protective Factors may reduce suicide risk by helping people cope with negative life events, even when those events continue for a period of time.  The ability to cope or solve problems reduces the chance that a person will become overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious.
     * Receiving effective mental health care or substance abuse treatment
     * Positive connections to family, peers, community, and social institutions that foster resilience
     * Restricted access to highly lethal means of suicide, such as guns or pills
     * Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent handling of disputes
     * Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation
     * Youth who are bullied at school more than once during the past year were over four times more likely to have seriously considered suicide compared with their peers who had not been bullied.
     * Screen time for students who play video games or use computers for non-school related activities for three or more hours a day were twice as likely to have considered suicide compared to those who had two or fewer hours of daily screen time.
If you would like to help someone else:
     * Take any warning signs of threat of suicide seriously
     * If you are seeing warning signs, ask the person directly if they are thinking about suicide. Asking does not increase risk of a suicide attempt.
     * Do not leave the person alone
     * Listen without judgement. Gently guiding them to talk about their past or current reasons for living may be helpful.
     * Remove guns or pills to prevent a suicide attempt.
     * Call a therapist or local behavioral health authority to request a crisis appointment.  You may also call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) to ask for help and get advice on what to do next.  Work with a counselor to create and implement a plan to keep the person safe.
     * If the person has a weapon or is not responding to attempts to contact them, call 911 and request a Crisis Intervention Team officer to do a welfare check.
     * Support the person in receiving ongoing mental health treatment including medications, talk therapy, and self-help as appropriate.
Upcoming events:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Community Walks to Fight Suicide on Saturday, September 22nd at the Colton Pavillion. Register today at
Survivors of Suicide Loss Day on Saturday, November 17th, 10:00- 12:00 at TriCounty Health Department.  Register is open at
Source: Utah Department of Health


Utah administrative Code, Rule R392-200. Design, Construction, Operation, Sanitation, and Safety of Schools.


“School”  means any public or private educational institution including charter schools, elementary schools, middle schools, and secondary schools  established to provide education for grades kindergarten through 12 regardless of student’s age, including attached preschools, but excluding home schools.


  • Health and Safety, required yearly
  • Radon sampling, some schools tested but ongoing
  • Lead and copper water sampling, has been tested at all schools, and repeated every 3 years, done with new construction
  • Immunization clinics,


If there are any concerns with the health and safety of your students while at school please contact the school first.  If concerns remain you may contact TriCounty Health Department in regards to these matters.


Duchesne County School District  – contact the Roosevelt office at 435-722-6310

Uintah and Daggett County School Districts – contact the Vernal office at 435-247-1160

The CDC has helpful information on the HPV virus and vaccine. The vaccine is recommended for 11 to 12 year old children, both boys and girls. Help your child prevent cancer.

Listen to the KLCY Eagle Country interview with our Vaccine Coordinator, regarding the HPV vaccine. The radio spot aired on Give’m Health on Aug. 14, 2018.

Below is some very important information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why does my child need HPV vaccine?

HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus; nearly 80 million people—about one in four—are currently infected in the United States. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.

Most people with HPV never develop symptoms or health problems. Most HPV infections (9 out of 10) go away by themselves within two years. But, sometimes, HPV infections will last longer, and can cause certain cancers and other diseases. HPV infection can cause:

  • cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women;
  • cancers of the penis in men; and
  • cancers of the anus and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx), in both women and men.

Every year in the United States, HPV causes 32,500 cancers in men and women. HPV vaccination can prevent most of the cancers (about 30,000) from ever developing.

When should my child be vaccinated?

In this video, a family physician explains his decision, as a doctor and a parent, to make sure each of his children received HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12. HPV vaccine is cancer prevention. Ask about it for your child.

All kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine six to twelve months apart. Adolescents who receive their two shots less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine.

If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible. If your child is older than 14 years, three shots will need to be given over 6 months. Also, three doses are still recommended for people with certain immunocompromising conditions aged 9 through 26 years.

More information can be found at