Public Health Department

Our History

The Cowley County Health Department was originally established in 1941, being among the first eighteen health departments formed in the State of Kansas.  In July, 1946 the cities of Arkansas City and Winfield joined with the county to form the City-Cowley County Health Department.




Health Department Happenings 



October 2015 – The flu shot who needs it? You do!


The case for getting a seasonal flu shot.


The days are growing short, there’s a chill in the air and our bodies are getting ready to once again battle the viruses that cause colds and flu. This is the time of year I ask everyone, “Have you had your flu shot?”   Maybe you feel lucky and seem to never get sick, but I know for certain that you will be exposed and for protection – you need to get the flu shot.  In the same way that we take care of our homes and cars preparing for the cold of winter so too should we help our bodies prepare for the coming illness prone days ahead.


Flu viruses are constantly changing. Each year medical experts predict which strains of flu are most likely to infect us in the coming months and the vaccine manufacturers produce vaccines for us to use.  This year’s vaccine is now available just in time to help us prepare.  This season a flu shot will contain protections for the H1N1 virus and at least two or three other flu strains.  There are “High Dose” vaccines that are designed to offer added protection for people who are 65 or older and vaccines in nasal mist form that are easier to give to children or people who have problems with getting a shot.


So if you are still asking, “Why get the shot?” – The simple answer is to stay healthy.  The flu is a respiratory infection that can cause serious health issues, particularly to young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent the flu and its complications.  Remember, you will be exposed – at home, at work, at school, at church, shopping, anywhere you interact with other people.  If the flu gets a hold of you can expect to feel miserable. High fever, chills, coughing, sneezing, body aches, physical exhaustion, headache and chest pain; none of these symptoms are fun.   At best you will be out of action for at least a week and likely much longer.


So to prevent getting the flu, schedule your flu shot with the health department today. Be aware that it takes at least 2 weeks after receiving the shot for your body to build the needed antibodies to fight the flu effectively  - so the sooner you get vaccinated  the better off you will be.  The health department will be holding more than 20 different flu shot clinics throughout Cowley County during October (see our Facebook page City-Cowley County Health Department or call us for details) and we hope you take the time to get a flu shot this month.   The cost of the vaccine is covered 100% by most health insurance plans and if you are having hardships and truly cannot pay, the health department will work with you and find a way to get you vaccinated.


The bottom line is that we want Cowley County to be a healthy place to live and work and that means helping each of you avoid the flu this season.  The first step in doing so is to be vaccinated.


Stay well!

Thomas Langer – Administrator / Public Health Officer

City-Cowley County Health Department



Cowley County Flu Vaccination Clinics

Cowley County Flu Vaccination Schedule Flyer

Click on the link above to view the current Flu Shot Clinic Schedule for Cowley County!






Community wide Drive thru flu shot clinic schedule:

Arkansas City – Monday October 12, 2015  - Agri Business Building in Paris Park  11 AM till 6 PM

Winfield – Friday October 23, 2015 – Fair Grounds 11 AM till 6 PM

Breastfeeding is Everyone’s Business

Many Kansas mothers do not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. This may cause many mothers to wean early or not breastfeed at all. Each year, an estimated 3000 to 7000 Kansas infants are adversely affected by little or no breastfeeding. To learn more about breastfeeding in public go to the Breastfeeding is everyone’s business video.

Businesses and organizations can also help. The Business Case for Breastfeeding ( offers free assistance to employers to aid with compliance of the Kansas law protecting breastfeeding employees. In addition to workplace support, community awareness plays a large role, as well.  The Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign ( not only welcomes breastfeeding mothers and families to area businesses, but also provides free training for employees and an avenue for business to reach out to the breastfeeding community at large.

Strategies to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases: The CDC Guide to Strategies to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies is an update of the 2005 The CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions. It provides state and local community members information to choose the breastfeeding intervention strategy that best meets their needs.

Support for breastfeeding is needed in many different arenas including hospitals and birth centers, worksites, and communities. This Guide builds upon the research evidence demonstrating effective intervention strategies and offers relevant information for each including program examples and resources.

Climate Effects on Health

Climate change, together with other natural and human-made health stressors, influences human health and disease in numerous ways. Some existing health threats, such as allergies, will intensify and new health threats will emerge. Not everyone is equally at risk. In the U.S., public health can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems, including disturbances originating here and elsewhere. The health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases.

Climate change, interacting with changes in land use and demographics, will affect important human dimensions in the United States, especially those related to human health, settlements and welfare. The challenges presented by population growth, an aging population, migration patterns, and urban and coastal development will be compounded by changes in temperature, precipitation, and extreme climate-related events. Climate change will affect where people choose to live, work, and play. Among likely climate changes are changes in the intensity and frequency of precipitation, more frequent heat waves, less frequent cold waves, more persistent and extreme drought conditions and associated water shortages, changes in minimum and maximum temperatures, potential increases in the intensity and frequency of extreme storms. In response to these anticipated changes, the United States may develop and deploy strategies for mitigating greenhouse gases and for adapting to unavoidable individual and collective impacts of climate change.

Protect Infants and Children from Heat-Related Illness

Today is a great time to prepare for the upcoming season of extreme heat. During times of extreme heat, we encourage parents to protect their children from heat-related illness. On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of extreme heat, and must rely on other people to keep them cool and hydrated.

Never leave infants or children in a parked car.

Nor should pets be left in parked cars—they can suffer heat illness too.

  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Make sure your child is drinking more water than usual and don’t wait until they are thirsty to drink.
  • Regularly apply sunscreen on your child as indicated on the package.
  • Seek medical care immediately if an employee experiences symptoms of heat illness(

Extreme heat events across the United States are occurring more often and lasting longer, as the result of a changing climate. By encouraging patients to turn to local resources and accessible tools, they will know what to do and where to turn when the temperature rises.

Health Care in Your Hands – About the Health Insurance Marketplace

When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law five years ago on March 23, 2010, Americans began to take their health care into their own hands. The law is already making a difference in the lives of millions of people. There is a new way to get health insurance: the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that fits your budget, with less hassle. Insurance plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies. They cover the same core set of benefits called essential health benefits. No plan can turn you away or charge you more because you have an illness or medical condition. They must cover treatments for these conditions. Plans can’t charge women more than men for the same plan. Many preventive services are covered at no cost to you. You can compare all your insurance options based on price, benefits, quality, and other features that may be important to you, in plain language that makes sense. Visit for more information. Visit to learn more about or how to get started in the marketplace in Kansas.

What You Need To Know About Childhood Vaccines: Who & When

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Immunizations have had an enormous impact on improving the health of children in the United States. Most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a family or community. While these diseases are not common in the U.S., they persist around the world. It is important that we continue to protect our children with vaccines because outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can and do occasionally occur in this country.

Kansas Health Matters

Kansas Health Matters is a one stop source of non-biased data and information about community health in Kansas. It is intended to help hospitals, health departments, policy makers, community planners and members learn about issues, identify improvements and collaborate for positive change.”

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