John Lanza

National Weather Service

As heat advisories continue to be issued in northwest Florida, officials are recommending people take precautions to avoid health issues.

Florida DOH

First, the good news.

"Here in Escambia (County) we have had only one case (of Hepatitis-A), and that was in a person who came to our area from a different country," said Dr. John Lanza, director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County.

He says a few of our neighboring counties have not been as lucky. "Santa Rosa (County) has had several cases, Okaloosa has had some cases over the past few months. (That's) higher than is typically seen."

A recent study shows that childhood obesity continues to increase across the country. With few exceptions, the rate of obesity among children is also on the rise at the state and local level.

The national study shows 35.1 percent of children in the U.S. were overweight in 2016. That’s a 4.7 percent increase compared to 2014. Overall, the statistics reflect continuation of a three decades rise in obesity among youth from age 2 to 19.

Locally, there’s reason for optimism if you consider the obesity rate among children in the 2-5 year age range.

County Health Rankings

Local health advocates are going over details in the 2017 County Health Rankings, as part of determining their next moves in improving the collective health of their residents.  

Again this year, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa were among the healthiest counties in the state, while Escambia remained among the least healthy.

For 2017, Santa Rosa remained in the top 10 for the sixth year in a row. The county is now ranked as the seventh healthiest of Florida’s 67 counties, after moving up from its eighth place ranking last year.

Photo via Flickr//Melanie Hayes /


While the start of football season is occupying the thoughts of many these days, there’s another season beginning soon that deserves just as much attention, if not more. 

Flu season is actually year-round, but the acute period generally begins in October and runs through May of each year, give or take a month or two depending where you live.

Dr. John Lanza is Director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County. He and other health officials are calling for everyone over six months of age to get vaccinated.

Photo via Flickr// Rhonda Callow /

Escambia County residents and visitors are being advised to protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure, after a recent attack on an Escambia County resident.

According to the Florida Department of Health-Escambia County, a resident of the Dog Track Road area was attacked by a fox last week. The animal was located, killed and its brain sent to the state lab.

“[It] was tested for rabies, and found to be positive. This is the second fox so far this calendar year; the first one was up in Century last July,” said Dr. John Lanza, Director of DOH-Escambia.

Photo via Flickr// FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute /

  Residents along the Escambia County coastline are being advised to protect themselves against exposure to Florida Red Tide.

At last check, moderate to high levels of the Red Tide organism are predicted to be present from Friday through Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County.

Pertussis – a.k.a whooping cough – is on the rise in Escambia County, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Pertussis is an endemic – or common -- disease in the United States, with frequent outbreaks and peaks every 3-5 years. In 2012, 48,000 cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But many cases are not diagnosed and therefore not reported. DOH-Escambia reports four confirmed cases this year – including two in the same household.