A Home for Hope

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-10-13

David Dowdy, president and Joan Marie, vice president of Healing Hands-Healing Hearts. Photo by Jacqueline Fox

Healing Hands-Healing Hearts Opens Carmichael Center

Carmichael, CA (MPG) - For many terminally ill patients, the process of transition often involves prolonged pain, fear and anxiety, among other things, creating difficult end-of-life decisions for caretakers, as well, and detracting from what should by right be a peaceful experience. But this need not be the case.

Healing Hands-Healing Hearts, a non-profit organization providing on-call, certified touch therapy to critically, chronically and terminally ill patients across Sacramento and Kern counties, has opened its first brick and mortar center in Carmichael, roughly seven years after being taken over by Bakersfield resident David Dowdy.  The non-profit is now sharing space with Compassion Central (formerly Enter the Orchid), run by Joan Marie, which offers meditative massage classes, meditation and yoga workshops, among other holistic-based programs.  Training courses for touch therapists will also now be held at the new location for Healing Hands.

The touch therapy, explains Dowdy, is intended to supplement traditional medical and end-of-life care processes. Therapy is provided in patients’ homes, long-term care and hospice facilities. The goal is to deliver them an additional remedy for relief from pain, fear, anxiety and isolation, and, in many cases, provide patients with a channel for spiritual reconnection, while gaining a renewed sense of dignity.

Therapists certified under the nonprofit’s “Touch Therapy for the Terminally Ill” program include certified nurse’s assistants (CNAs), massage therapists, energy workers and individuals, many of whom are family members of the terminally ill who simply want to learn how to help guide their loved-ones through a more peaceful, pain-free transition.  Being part of the transition process, says Dowdy, helps family members shift their focus away from the fears connected to loss toward what should be a joyful celebration of life.

“For the family member, this is a way to get involved in the experience and feel more empowered,” says Dowdy. “So much of the time they sit by the bedside or near a person in a wheelchair and feel totally hopeless. Often when I’m visiting a patient, I invite them to stand on the other side of the bed and mimic what I’m doing, learn the process. You’d be surprised how much relief this gives them and how much it impacts the patient’s ability to reconnect with their own mind, body and spirit so that they can make that transition in peace.”

Touch therapy is different from massage therapy.  It doesn’t involve the use of oils or creams.  Patients do not need to disrobe and they are “treated” just where they are, whether that’s a bed or a wheel chair, eliminating the need for to be moved from one place to another.  The approach to dying is holistic and works through a combination of traditional massage with touch pressure along various points on the body.  Treatments, says Dowdy, help restore circulation, reduce pain, aid with digestive issues, and enhance the immune system, which often can be “clogged up” by an accumulation of the same pain medications used to treat the initial illness. 

Also, and perhaps just as important as the clinical results, touch therapy, says Dowdy, works to help a patient release from fears and anxieties around their death, making it possible to reengage with loved ones and themselves, creating a more human experience for everyone involved.

“What we find with touch therapy is that often patients who are otherwise not talking or communicating with family members, or are unable to move do to pain or prolonged sitting or being confined to a bed, become lucid, are able to take part in the process of transitioning and, in some cases, start communicating again,” says Dowdy.

In fact, in some cases terminally ill patients with less than a month to live, says Dowdy, have gone on to extend that period out for several months, the longest a year.  Many patients get to say goodbye to their family members, whereas before touch therapy treatments, were nonresponsive, isolated in their illness.

“I’ve had three patients come out of commas and get to say goodbye to family members,” Dowdy says. “What we are doing, through the power of touch is, in many cases, helping to create a physical space for leaving, often for patients who just aren’t ready to go out of fear of leaving those they love behind.”

Dowdy, who left a 20-year career in the geological sector as a design engineer “completely burnt out,” was always interested in massage therapy. 

“I wanted to do something for myself, but also learn to do something I could pass on to others as a way to help them feel better,” Dowdy said.  “My wife saw I was burnt out, and I had always told my kids to do what you love. So I had to retool my career and figure out what was coming next.”

What came next for Dowdy was enrollment in a 16-week massage therapy training course in Citrus Heights, followed by several months of volunteering while healing from heart valve replacement surgery.  Then, through a series of events, Dowdy says he was asked to attend a board meeting in Sacramento for Healing Hands-Healing Hearts, then under the direction of Jo Williams, who founded the organization in Sacramento in 2001.  He’d been looking for a way to parlay the massage therapy training into a new career working more closely with terminally ill patients.  So, when it was announced at that meeting that Healing Hands was going to dissolve, he immediately took action.

“This was exactly the kind of business I wanted to start for myself,” Dowdy said.  “So when it was announced that it was going to close, I knew what I needed to do and I had my lawyer draw up transfer papers and take it from there. It was actually very simple.”

While the mission of Healing Hands has remained primarily intact under Dowdy and Marie’s vision, the menu of services is expanding and training courses have become more structured under a new, comprehensive training manual for touch therapists, crafted by Dowdy.  In addition, Dowdy and Marie, are launching a new component of the Healing Hands mission, expanding its reach to veterans.  The Alfred J. Goularte Veterans Care Program, named after Marie’s father, a WWII veteran who served in the U.S. Army’s airborne division from 1943 to 1945 will help veterans who, although not necessarily terminal, suffer from a range of chronic health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fibromyalgia, depression and injury related pain.

Healing Hands-Healing Hearts currently has a roster of roughly half a dozen certified touch therapy massage workers, in addition to Dowdy and Marie, and is currently operating on donations from grants and fees from training courses.  Its current, major supporters include the Spiritual Center for Positive Living, Mercy Springs Foundation and Kern Community Foundation.

Touch Therapy certification classes are open to all and the next one on the calendar is a 16-week course scheduled to begin in November in Bakersfield.  Courses typically run about $225.00, Dowdy said.

Long term, the vision is to expand even further, with Healing Hands-Healing Hearts brick and mortar “branches” dotting country as, according to Marie, who now serves as the organization’s vice president, western culture grows ever-more open to non-traditional avenues for caring for the terminally ill.

“We, as a culture, especially among millennials, are more than ready for a different approach to end-of-life care,” says Marie. “We say ‘rest in peace’ when someone passes.  But the truth is, we all have a human right to rest in peace while we are alive.”


Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - With the time change comes greater danger. Awareness and conflict avoidance are first steps.

Robinson’s Taekwondo offers a free clinic on personal safety and self-defense just for women.  Women are especially vulnerable as they are often exposed to danger as they pick up and drop off family members in school, run errands or shop for the holidays in the early dark. This is a special night of self-defense, safety and conflict avoidance with Black Belts and extra special tips, treats and temptations from style, fashion, makeup and more for the ladies!

Plan to attend this safety awareness and simple self-defense clinic, our instructors will help raise awareness of dangerous situations and locations, show how to escape an attacker’s hold and give everyone who attends a safety ‘mindset’.

Experts and vendors will also attend to share ideas, tips and treats with those attending.

The event is being held at all Regional participating Robinson’s Taekwondo locations across the Sacramento area on Friday Night, October 27, 2017 at 6:30pm

This special community service event is FREE, but failing to be aware and prepared to survive a very high price to pay! Be safe not sorry later, but register today!

Visit www.robinsonstkd.com to register. Click on Events! 

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Women's Empowerment Receives $25K from US Bank

By Kristin Thébau  |  2017-10-18

U.S. Bank Foundation representative Pam Maxwell presents check to Women’s Empowerment’s board of directors and executive director Lisa Culp.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program has awarded a $25,000 grant to Women’s Empowerment. The grant will support classes and programs that help homeless women gain the skills and confidence they need to secure a job and create a brighter future for their children. 

“We are so impressed with U.S. Bank’s commitment to breaking the cycle of homelessness in our community,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “This generous donation will ensure homeless women can get a job, become financially self-sufficient and provide their children with a safe, stable home. We are very grateful to U. S. Bank for their investment in ending homelessness.”

In Women’s Empowerment’s initial nine-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job-readiness, financial literacy, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor. 

Women who have graduated from the nine-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point in their lives when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, and job retention services for employer and employee.  

“The building blocks of a thriving community where all things are possible include stable employment opportunities, a home to call your own and a community connected through a culture of arts, recreation and play,” said Jessica Cook, product manager with U.S. Bank and Women's Empowerment board member. “Women's Empowerment provides the most comprehensive solution in Sacramento for women and children who are homeless. At U.S. Bank we believe in Community Possible and are proud to have Women's Empowerment as one of our partners in Sacramento.”

Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org

Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. Philanthropic support through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate giving program reached $54.2 million in 2016. Visit www.usbank.com/community.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com

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Sacramento Arts Festival Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary 

MPG Staff  |  2017-10-18

John Lane, of John Lane Photography, will be displaying his photographs at the upcoming Sacramento Arts Festival, November 3 – 5, at the Sacramento Convention Center Complex.Photos courtesy c3 Communications, Inc.

Sacramento Region, CA  (MPG) - The 20th Annual Sacramento Arts Festival, considered the best ever in quality and variety, returns to the Sacramento Convention Center from November 3 through November 5. The festival has become not only the premier art and craft show in the Central Valley, but is also one of the top art festivals in the country.

Local favorite John Lane of Carmichael and John Lane Photography, will be displaying his photographs at the upcoming Arts Festival.

Strolling through the festival, attendees can shop from a vast selection of extraordinary art and contemporary craft.  Visitors can choose from ceramics, clothing, decorative fiberworks, furniture, glass, gourd art, jewelry, leather, metalworks, paper, stone, woodworks, drawings, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, sculpture, photography and two and three dimensional mixed media.

Festival attendees can shop for themselves, their homes and for one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.  There is something for everyone including:

The festival includes 225 of America’s best contemporary craftspeople and fine artists offering more than 15,000 original works. It will feature both local and national artists from 11 states, as far away as New York

There will be special demonstrations of craft and art where attendees can meet and talk with the talented artists and craftspeople about how they make their unique items

Also included will be delicious festival food featuring Spiro’s Gyros (Greek), Indian Gourmet, American cuisine, and five vendors selling take home food, as well as continuous live Main Stage entertainment including the GG Amos Blues Band, The Kurt Ribak Jazz Quartet, and Gabe Lewin on guitar

The event is planned for Friday through Sunday, November 3 – 5. Times are Friday 10am to 6pm,  Saturday 10am to 6pm,  and Sunday from 10am to 5pm, at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St. (Entrance at 14th and J Streets), Sacramento, CA 95814. Admission is $8 Adults, $7 Seniors, with children under 12 free. For more information, tickets and $1 off coupon please visit www.sacartsfest.com

Source: c3 Communications, Inc.

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Business Coach Holds Special Open House

By MPG Staff  |  2017-10-18

A full house of friends and clients attended the open house event to thank the BizCoach.com team for all their support. Photo by Paul Scholl

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) – Some things get better with age. Business gets better with coaching.

On Wednesday September 13th, BusinessCoach.com held its annual open house at their offices in Sacramento, with a special surprise in store for one of the partners.

Gary Henson, president and founder of the business, invited folks from all over the greater Sacramento area to enjoy some food, drink, and fun, and to participate in a big surprise.

During the first hour of the event Gary introduced everyone to his staff at BusinessCoach.com, which includes his wife, Jenene Stafford, the Architect of the Company, Sales Partner Johnny Lujan, and Executive Assistant Brittany Swafford.

The best part of the evening was revealed at the end, when cake and decorations were brought out as a surprise for Mr. Henson's wife Jenene, who turned 50. Friends she hadn’t seen in years were there to wish her a happy birthday.

Gary and the team at BusinessCoach.com want to thank everyone who came out and helped make Jenene's night such a special treat.

BusinessCoach.com is the industry leader in Executive Coaching services. They provide coaching to businesses and also teach, certify, and empower those who want to become, or already are, business coaches. They work with owners and leaders that are stuck working long hours, managing under-performing employees, and are struggling to produce enough profit.

Over the past 28 years they have helped over 7000 clients stay focused, work less hours, and dramatically increase their profits to provide them overall peace of mind. Coach Gary says, "You are growing the most when you are least comfortable."

BusinessCoach.com is located at 2025 Hurley Way Ste. 111 in Sacramento, CA. We can be reached by calling (916)-922-7766 or emailing admin@businesscoach.com.

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Austin Bennett Speaks October 18 for Your Kids

By Karen Klinger  |  2017-10-17

Austin Bennett

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Austin Bennett (Bennett4Senate) is running against Senator Richard Pan in California Senate District 6.  Please attend and hear Austin Bennett speak at the Eagle Forum of Sacramento Meeting on Wednesday October 18, 2017 - 7:00 PM - Arden Park Recreation and Park District, 1000 La Sierra Drive, Sacramento 95864. 

A father of 5 children Mr. Bennett is well aware and concerned about the loss of parental rights through legislation authored by Senator Pan's "Mandatory Vaccination Bill SB 277", which became law; principal author of Sanctuary State SB 54, which became law, and "Bill of Rights for All Children of California SB 18", which will be reheard January 2018.  Join others who want to hear a vision for a better future for California families.

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Flick-or-Treat returns to Raley Field

Sacramento River Cats Media  |  2017-10-17

Annual community Halloween event features movie screening and trick-or-treating

West Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Flick-or-Treat is back for its fourth year at Raley Field. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, this generation-defining story will play on the videoboard following an evening filled with trick-or-treating, games and prizes, and more at Raley Field on Saturday, October 28th. Flick-or-Treat is part of Dinger's Drive In, a two-part movie series at Raley Field.

Pre-movie trick-or-treating on October 28th is offered from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. before the movie screening begins. Various local partners and organizations, including Sacramento State, Sacramento Public Library, WestSacramento Police, Yolo County Library, and more will be in attendance, handing out treats and other goodies. Local media, including KCRA and K-LOVE will also be participating. Additional pre-movie activities include Harry Potter themed games, arts and crafts, a costume contest, and much more.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Warner Bros’ wizard-filled fantasy film – based on the novel series by J.K. Rowling – stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. The adventurous movie follows Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he discovers that he is a famous wizard and begins his education, and is rated PG.

The screening is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. Trick-or-treating and family friendly activities will begin when gates open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets for all children are $4 while adults are $6. Tickets can be purchased online or by visiting the Round Table Ticket Office at Raley Field. This event is rain or shine.

For more information about the River Cats, visit www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com.

Source: Sacramento River Cats Media

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - After five years of drought, the 2017 water year brought unexpectedly heavy precipitation, ranking second only to 1983 as California’s wettest year for statewide runoff. The dramatic swing in water conditions highlights the need to develop better long-range weather forecasting to cope with the state’s highly variable annual precipitation. 

DWR begins water year 2018 intent on narrowing the forecasting gap with improved sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasting. Working with researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, DWR is developing innovative technology to forecast land-falling atmospheric rivers.

“Current short-term forecasting for seven days out is 70 percent accurate, while the 14-day forecast is only seven percent accurate,” said DWR Director Grant Davis. “That isn’t adequate for water management. Advancing accurate, even longer-range forecasting is critical for our ability to plan for California’s highly variable weather.”

The water year that ended September 30 saw an extraordinary number of atmospheric rivers that created high water conditions throughout the state. The Feather River watershed received record runoff in January and February, which led to some of the highest inflows into Lake Oroville ever recorded. More accurate forecasting would have helped DWR manage reservoir levels to deal with significant inflow in the days following the February 7 discovery of erosion on the main spillway at Lake Oroville. Better forecasting also would help inform the spillway’s reconstruction timeline based on predicted precipitation.

The record-setting precipitation in Northern California and above-average rainfall elsewhere contributed to flooding in several river systems. Fifty-two counties declared states of emergency due to the January storm sequence, and flood fight materials and specialists were pre-positioned in Merced, Butte, Stanislaus, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties based on the forecasts in anticipation that local agencies would request support.

Despite record-breaking rainfall in Northern California in water year 2017, drought impacts still linger. Governor Edmund Brown Jr. issued an executive order in April to end the statewide drought emergency, but maintained a state of emergency for the counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne, where homes with dry or contaminated private wells continue to receive emergency drinking water deliveries.

One success story stemming from the drought is the East Porterville Emergency Water Project, which will see 756 unincorporated East Porterville homes connected to the City of Porterville’s municipal water supply by the end of 2017. Similar projects are underway in the communities of Okieville, Monson, and Seville-Yettem to connect an additional 195 homes to a sustainable water supply.

Another highlight of the 2017 water year was the announcement that 99 percent of the state’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins met a key deadline to form local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014. California depends on groundwater for a major portion of its annual water supply, particularly during times of drought. The long-term planning required by SGMA will reduce the impacts of groundwater overdraft, including subsidence, and provide a buffer against drought and climate change.

Although a wet 2017 minimized the risk of subsidence in historically affected parts of the San Joaquin Valley, DWR continues to fund satellite- and aircraft-based radar monitoring of subsidence by NASA to support local implementation of SGMA.

Looking ahead, DWR is preparing for the uncertainty of water year 2018 and beyond. In August, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board adopted the 2017 update to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, prepared by DWR, which recommends long-term multi-benefit actions to improve flood risk management. This past year DWR awarded more than $4.2 million in Delta Flood Emergency Response grants to improve Delta flood response and increase public safety.

In the past five years, DWR has awarded 46 grants totaling $25 million to develop and update flood safety plans, and increase coordination, training, and flood fight supplies for local agencies across the state.

Ongoing SGMA implementation will bring overdrafted groundwater basins into balance to protect our water supply against the impacts of prolonged drought and climate change.

California WaterFix will upgrade California’s water supply infrastructure to more reliably transport water through the Delta, protecting against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change. The project provides a more flexible and environmentally-responsible way to convey water during significant precipitation events for use in dry years. Construction could begin in 2018, pending support from public water agencies.

The first phase of reconstruction on the Lake Oroville spillways will be completed by November 1, 2017, ensuring the spillway can handle 100,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) this water year. Phase 2, which will be completed by end of 2018/early 2019, will bring the spillway to final design with a capacity of 270,000 cfs. The emergency spillway will be reinforced with several erosion-prevention features, including a cutoff wall to prevent head-cutting erosion.

In the face of California’s highly variable weather patterns, DWR and our local, state, and federal partners are working together to ensure that Californians are prepared. Infrastructure improvements and advances in accurate, long-term forecasting are critical to public safety and sustainability. When it comes to water, California must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Read more about water year 2017 in the report “What a Difference a Year Makes.”

Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.

Source: DWR

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Sacramento, CA  (MPG) - J.D. Power announced recently​ that the Sacramento International Airport​ (SMF) has ranked highest in customer satisfaction among medium-sized airports in North America. The ranking is based on J.D. Power’s 2017 customer-satisfaction survey of almost 35,000 travelers.

The J.D. Power Customer Service Satisfaction Study measures satisfaction among customers in medium, large and mega airports across the United States by examining six factors: Terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail amenities.

Sacramento International Airport ranked highest in the categories of security check and terminal facilities. 

“Customer satisfaction is the essence of our brand, and this survey underscores our commitment to giving customers an excellent experience,” said John Wheat, Director of Airports for the Sacramento County Department of Airports. “We have beautiful facilities, fast security lines, and we’re easy to get to. We’re very fortunate that our partners in our airlines, the TSA and concessionaires share this commitment to great service.”

The security checkpoint was singled out for praise by customers. 

“Over the last year, TSA Sacramento has worked hard to refocus on our core security mission and improve communication, both with our public and private stakeholders and within our organization,” said Sid Hanna, Federal Security Director for Sacramento International Airport. “We have involved our supervisors in routine security meetings with the airport and airlines to improve our effectiveness and teamwork.” 

View the J.D. Power survey results. 

Sacramento International Airport (SMF) offers more than 150 daily nonstop flights on nine domestic and international carriers to more than 30 destinations.  The Sacramento County Department of Airport is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field.  The regional economic impact of the Sacramento County airport system is more than $4 billion annually. For more information, visit http://www.smf.aero

Source: Sacramento County Media

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) -California Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. today (October 13th) declared a state of emergency to help control the state’s hepatitis A outbreak and increase the supply of adult hepatitis A vaccines to meet current needs.

“Vaccinating people at risk of exposure is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A infection during an outbreak,” said California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

To help combat the outbreak, CDPH has already distributed nearly 80,000 doses of the vaccine that were obtained through the federal vaccine program, but those supplies must be increased to continue to address the outbreak. Today’s declaration allows CDPH to immediately purchase additional vaccines directly from manufacturers and coordinate distribution to people at greatest risk in affected areas.

The adult hepatitis A vaccine is different than the one given to children, of which there is ample supply.

The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and drink or through direct contact with an infectious person. The current outbreak has largely impacted people experiencing homelessness and some illicit drug users. The virus can live for months in a contaminated environment, particularly in the absence of good sanitation.

To control this outbreak and prevent further spread, CDPH recommends the vaccination of people in affected areas who are homeless or using illicit drugs. CDPH also recommends vaccination of people who have frequent, close contact with at-risk populations in affected areas. CDPH is working with impacted counties to monitor the outbreak and implement vaccination efforts and is also providing guidance on improving sanitation, including access to handwashing facilities and toilets, to lessen the spread of the virus.

“Local public health officials are working hard to offer vaccines to people who are at the most at risk of infection, including homeless Californians,” said Dr. Smith. “Today’s order will help ensure communities can continue to deliver the vaccines where they are needed most.”

Hepatitis A infection typically causes fever, a general ill feeling with lack of appetite and nausea, and, later in the course of the infection, yellowness of the skin and eyes. Severe hepatitis A infection is rare but does occur in people with underlying liver disease and can cause the liver to fail, potentially leading to death.

For more information about hepatitis A, review our frequently asked questions and visit CDPH’s website.

Source: www.cdph.ca.gov

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