San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 22nd, 2010
County PHD advises rabies awareness, child seat inspections

STAFF REPORT

The Hays County Personal Health Department (PHD) is co-sponsoring free child safety seat inspections Thursday.

The inspections will take place at Chuck Nash Auto Group, 3209 North Interstate-35 on the north end of San Marcos.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, four out of five child safety seats are being used incorrectly, usually because the seat is wrong for the child or is incorrectly installed in the vehicle, or the child is not properly seated and restrained in the child seat.

“We wanted to recognize National Child Passenger Safety Week, which is September 19-25, in a meaningful way,” said Priscilla Hargraves, director of the PHD. “We’ve joined with Chuck Nash Auto Group, Central Texas Medical Center, Safe Riders, Safe Kids/Austin and San Marcos Fire & Rescue to offer parents and caregivers an opportunity to make sure that their child safety seats are in good working order and meet current safety standards. We’ll also make sure that the safety seat is installed correctly.”

Appointment-only Inspections are available between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Appointments can be made by calling (512) 393-5567 and leaving a message. Replacement seats will be provided for those who qualify by the Safe Riders Traffic Safety Program. Drivers are asked to ensure that there is easy access to their child safety seats by clearing items from their car before the inspection.

As World Rabies Awareness Day looms on Sept. 28, the PHD also wishes to remind residents and visitors of precautions they can take to avoid that fatal disease.

“Every year 55,000 people die from the rabies virus worldwide,” Hargraves said. “In a typical year, residents of Hays County report several animals that turn out to be rabid. Rabies is a very real threat in both urban and rural areas. Yet, it can be prevented with some relatively easy steps.”

Wild and domesticated animals can carry the virus. In Central Texas, bats, skunks, dogs, raccoons, horses and cows have all been reported as rabid, as have foxes and cats.

“Virtually any mammal can carry rabies if not vaccinated,” Hargraves said. “You can be exposed to the rabies virus if you are bitten by an infected animal or if the saliva from a rabid animal gets in your eyes, nose, mouth or open cuts. If you are exposed to rabies, a series of injections started soon after you come in contact with the rabid animal can save your life. Immediate medical attention is critical.”

PHD urges residents to vaccinate their pets, which is required by law. Residents also are urged to avoid and report animals that are acting strangely, seek immediate medical attention for any animal bite, and teach children to not approach or pet strange animals.

Anyone who is bitten or scratched by an animal that is thought to be rabid should quickly and thoroughly wash the area with soap, apply an antiseptic and seek immediate medical attention. The PHD advises visiting the emergency room for those whose usual health care provider is not available.

Anyone who has been bitten by a rabid animal or who sights a suspected rabid animal is asked to call Hays County Animal Control at (512) 393-7896 as soon as possible to report the incident. Give the best description and location possible of the animal. Animal bites also should be reported to the PHD at (512) 393-5525.

The PHD said children should be taught to contact the nearest responsible adult (parent, school crossing guard, teacher, police officer, etc.) to report an animal that is acting strangely. The PHD added that children should be taught to never approach or pet strange animals.

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