Craig health briefs for Dec. 27, 2014: Problems encountered enrolling for health insurance; help available at VNA | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig health briefs for Dec. 27, 2014: Problems encountered enrolling for health insurance; help available at VNA

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

— Some people are encountering problems enrolling in health insurance through the Connect for Health Colorado website, according to the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

If you are having problems, send an email to help@sc.connectforhealthco.com with your name, phone number and account number as it appears in your application. Do not list any medical or personal information.

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is offering free appointments to help people find the best plan and qualify for tax credits at 745 Russell St. in Craig. To schedule an appointment, call 970-824-8233 or visit http://www.nwcovna.org/healthinsurance.php.

Open enrollment ends Feb. 15. To compare available health plans, visit Connect For Health Colorado at http://www.connectforhealthco.com.

Appointments also can be scheduled with a health coverage guide at the following times and locations throughout the open enrollment period:

• From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays beginning Jan. 5 at Mind Springs Health

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• From noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at The Memorial Hospital

Drop-in flu clinics available at VNA

Flu cases are increasing in Colorado, and it's not too late to get your vaccine.

Flu clinics are held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in Craig.

The vaccine is $21.50 for adult and children's flu shots and for children's FluMist. Insurance will be processed, so bring your insurance cards. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective. For more information, call 970-824-8233.

Free flu shots available to veterans

Veterans can receive flu shots at no cost at the Major William Adams Telehealth Clinic in Craig, located at 785 Russell St. Shots are available on a walk-in basis from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

In some cases, the veteran's private insurance may be billed. Proof of military service is required.

The flu season in the United States typically follows trends similar to the Australian flu season, which is just concluding, according to a news release from the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center. To date, Australia has confirmed nearly twice as many cases of influenza as last year.

Wellness Wednesday benefits seniors

Wellness Wednesday, a program of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, is a day of activities for older adults every Wednesday at The Journey at First Baptist, 1150 W. Ninth St.

The day begins with a memoir writing class at 8:15 a.m., offered by Colorado Northwestern Community College. Two exercise classes, beginning and advanced Movement and Exercise, are at 10:30 a.m. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m., and a guest presentation follows at noon. Pinochle begins at 1 p.m. All are welcome.

Appointments also are available for health checks at the Senior Wellness Clinic from 9:30 a.m. to noon and the Foot Care Clinic from 8:30 a.m. to noon, which requires a $20 fee. For more information, call 970-871-7676.

Untreated strep throat in children can lead to serious illness

A newly identified disorder known as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococci and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndromes can be triggered by infections such as strep throat, walking pneumonia, viruses and Lyme disease, according to a news release from the PANDAS Network.

PANDAS-PANS is an autoimmune reaction that can result in inflammation of a child's brain. The inflammation can cause a variety of serious symptoms such as sudden onset of obsessive compulsive disorder, severely restrictive food intake, anxiety, depression, tics, neurological conditions, sleep disturbances and a host of other psychiatric behaviors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2 million children could be affected by this newly identified disorder. The average age of onset is between 4 and 7 but can occur anytime throughout childhood, according to the release.

"A simple course of antibiotics can stop symptoms of this disorder," according to the release.