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    Archive for the ‘News’ Category

    Reducing the Mosquito Population in Georgia

    Spring has arrived in Georgia. The trees are in bloom, tulips and daffodils are poking up from the ground, and the days are growing longer and warmer.

    Another sure sign of spring – mosquitoes. They’ve spent the winter in egg stage and depending on temperature and rainfall will soon emerge going from egg to adult in a week to 10 days. Aside from being annoying, mosquitoes can carry disease. The Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) can spread dengue, chikungunya or Zika viruses.

    There are ongoing Zika outbreaks in nearly 40 countries and territories in the Americas, Caribbean, Pacific Islands and Mexico. Zika virus has been linked to serious birth defects in infants and studies are also being done to determine whether there is a connection between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

    So far there are no reports of locally transmitted Zika cases in Georgia or anywhere in the United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.

    Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes, which can be found in Georgia. Zika virus is passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then transmit the virus to other people. Sexual transmission of Zika has also been documented.

    “We have seen a dramatic increase in Zika virus infections in Brazil and neighboring countries since 2014,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “We must be cautious and we must take steps now to prevent Zika from spreading to Georgia or the U.S.”

    So how can the spread of Zika virus infection be prevented in Georgia? It begins at home – both inside and outside.

    Female mosquitoes lay several hundred eggs on the walls of water-filled containers – even a container as small as a bottle cap is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. When water covers the eggs, they hatch and become adults in about a week to 10 days. They bite primarily during the day and at dusk. A few infected mosquitoes can produce large outbreaks in a community and put families at risk of becoming sick.

    If you have things in and around your home and yard that could hold water, get rid of them! One of the most effective ways to control the mosquito population is to eliminate standing water. After every rainfall and at least once a week, Tip ‘n Toss. Dump out standing water in flowerpots and planters, children’s toys, or trash containers. Do not allow water to accumulate in old tires, rain gutters, or piles of leaves or natural holes in vegetation. Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids and too big to Tip ‘N Toss (bird baths, pools), use larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes (they will not hurt birds or animals).

    Trimming vegetation and cutting tall grass can help reduce the number of adult mosquito resting places. Community clean up campaigns, including free landfill or dump days or free trash pick-up days, encourage residents to clean up around their homes and are very effective in eliminating places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. The Georgia Department of Public Health is encouraging all Georgians to use the first two weeks of April to clean up around their homes and yards.

    Adult mosquitoes live inside and outside so it’s important to keep mosquitoes out of your home. Use screens on windows and doors, making sure they are in good repair and fit tightly. Use air conditioning when it’s available. Mosquitoes are not strong fliers, so using fans on porches and patios can also help reduce mosquito exposure.

    It is important to use personal protection to avoid mosquito bites when engaging in outdoor activities. Wear lightweight long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks. Using EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET or a product such as oil of lemon eucalyptus will reduce exposure to mosquitoes.

    Controlling the mosquito population will take all of us – working together as neighbors, united in a common cause – to prevent the spread of Zika virus in Georgia.

    ZIKA Infographic
    Fact Sheet

    For more information about Zika virus, visit dph.ga.gov/zika or cdc.gov/zika.


    Troup County Hillside Montessori Community Garden

    District 4 is coordinating a community garden at Hillside Montessori School in Troup County this fiscal year.  The garden benefits the diverse community of learners (26) and their families.  The students will use the garden as a way to teach members of the community surrounding the school about healthy eating and sustainable environmental practices.  Students will coordinate their annual Earth Day Festival and invite their neighbors.  The garden will be the focal point of the festival.

    The Junior Master Gardner curriculum developed by the University Cooperative Extension Network is being incorporated into the daily lessons to help educate students about gardening, improve interpersonal relationship skills, increase self-esteem and help develop a sense of ownership and responsibility.  The curriculum teaches a broad range of horticultural and environmental education topics including science process skills, observation, taking measurements and problem solving through both group and individual learning experiences.

    West Georgia Technical College Culinary students (Newnan campus) provided a Healthy Snack activity in October 2015.  Students learned how to make a healthy ranch dip to eat with garden fresh vegetables.

    Students have planted kale, lettuce, romaine, spinach, radishes, carrots, broccoli, strawberries, garlic, onions, cabbage and beets.  Students roasted kale chips for a healthy snack and made carrot pancakes at harvest time.

    2016 County Health Rankings

    We are excited to announce that the 2016 County Health Rankings has been released! Each year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute collaborate to produce the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.

    The County Health Rankings website is user friendly, allowing you to navigate through every county in the United States. Click here to compare the twelve counties that District 4 proudly serves.

    District 4 Receives Funding to Prepare for National Accreditation

    District 4 Receives Funding to Prepare for National Accreditation

    Lagrange, GA – January 28, 2016

    District 4 has been awarded $15,000 to support its progress in meeting the requirements of the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), the first and only voluntary national accreditation program for public health departments. District 4 is one of 23 local health departments from 20 states and three health departments in US territories to receive this funding through the Accreditation Support Initiative (ASI). A total of 104 local health departments of all sizes and types, ranging from rural to urban applied for this funding.

    Now in its fifth year, the ASI was created in 2011 to promote national accreditation readiness among a greater number of local health departments and support their varying needs to reach accreditation. Funding for the ASI is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CDC) and administered by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

    District 4 received funding under the general category of Community Engagement in the MAPP Process utilizing 4 assessment tools. The department will use the award for Phase 3 accreditation activities including: completion of Community Themes and Strengths Assessment, Forces of Change Analysis, 10 Essentials of Public Health Survey, and Community Health Status Assessment.

    “Accreditation validates what we do every day to serve the public,” says Merrilea Reeves, former Spalding County Board of Health Chairman of almost ten years.

    More information, including a full list of selected local health departments and descriptions of the work they have been funded to complete, can be found at www.naccho.org/asi.

    *Disclaimer: Awards are pending execution of a contract with NACCHO and successful completion of project deliverables.

    About District 4 Public Health:

    Public health is about ensuring the safety of the food we eat and the water we drink. It is about stopping the spread of infectious diseases, promoting good health and managing chronic conditions.
    Simply put, public health is concerned with the health of populations – a neighborhood, city, county, state, and even the nation. It differs from individual health and treatment because while public health can deliver direct healthcare services, it focuses on prevention, promoting healthy lifestyles, education and research.

    About the National Association of County and City Health Officials:

    The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s 2,800 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities.

    Maximize Your Metabolism

    Around this time every year, people begin to grow weary of the goals they set for the new year. This year, District 4 wants you to be successful in your 2016 goals-particularly your health and fitness ones. The following tips are practical things that will easily fit into your daily routines. Some you may already know, some you may not- but they all will lead you to healthier lifestyle which is the most important part.  Follow these metabolism booster secrets to get the most out of your 2016 fitness goals!


    1. Build Muscle
              1 pound of muscle burns 35-50 calories/day (1 pound of fat burns 2 kcal/day)
    2. Increase workout intensity
              Do more this month than you did last month
              Increase: distance, speed, number of workout sessions, weight lifted
    3. Drink more water
              MINIMUM of 1.5 L/100 pound body weight (ex: 200 pound man needs 3L+/day)
    4. Drink COLD water
    5. Eat breakfast
               Be sensible – low fat, high protein SMALL meal
    6. Eat often – mini meals
    7. Spice up your meals – hot peppers, ginger, black pepper
    8. Eat more protein
    9. Drink coffee and tea – especially green tea
    10. Avoid stress and sleep well!
               Aim for 6+ hrs sleep/24 hr period
             < 5 hrs/night doubles your chance of being obese, and increases stress levels
    11. Check your meds – some can increase appetite or weight gain
    12. Don’t sit still
              Stand instead of sitting
              Move instead of staying still
    13. Avoid dietary supplements & fad diets
              All diets work…until you go off them!
              Dietary supplements can contain ANYTHING, and won’t help you lose weight


    Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll

    Congratulations Upson County!

    Upson Regional Medical Center was recently added to the Immunization Action Coalition’s (IAC’s) Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll with a reported birth dose rate of 97%. This is the 12th institution to apply and qualify from Georgia.

    The Birth Dose Honor Roll recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that report a birth dose coverage rate of 90% or greater (including infants whose parents refuse vaccination) and have implemented written policies to protect all newborns from hepatitis B virus infection prior to hospital discharge. The honor roll is described at www.immunize.org/honor-roll/birthdose.

    The Most Wonderful Time of The Year?

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects 5% of the world’s population. It comes and goes at the same time every year- creeping in during the fall and leaving in the spring. SAD is a type of depression displaying normal depression symptoms such as lack of energy, hopelessness, weight gain, etc. Click here to find out more about SAD, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.



    Want To Know More About Public Health?

    For over a century, responsibility for Georgia’s public health functions has been shared by state and local governments. The principal actors are the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the 159 County Boards of Health, and the eighteen District Health Directors. DPH and the County Boards of Health and the District Health Directors are best thought of as a partnership – not a partnership in the legal sense, but in the ordinary sense of people working together to accomplish a common goal. DPH has responsibility for framing and implementing a statewide public health policy, operating statewide programs such as the State Health Laboratories and disease surveillance, and establishing standards for numerous matters from reportable diseases to restaurant inspections.

    The County Boards of Health have responsibility for assessing local needs, advocating for county public health programs, approving and presenting the health budget to the county commission, and providing policy guidance to the District Health Director. For more information regarding your local Board of Health, contact your local county health department. You can also find meeting dates posted on the county website.

    Click here to access the Board of Health Meeting dates.

    STDs On The Rise For The First Time Since 2006

    STDs are on the rise in the United States, specifically chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, for the first time since 2006! Click here for more details and here for fact sheets on specific STDs, how they are spread and how to reduce the risk of getting one.
    women STD

    photo credit to CDC


    Public Health Leadership Academy

     The Public Health Leadership Academy just had its first PHLA participants graduate through the well balanced leadership training that spanned 9 months. With supervision from the Fanning Institute at UGA, participants worked in regional teams to 1) review current Georgia trends in public health 2) learn about the culture of health 3) identify public health challenges within their respective district and 4) apply the collective impact approach to reducing health disparities. In collaboration with other core members from family connections (Michael Powell, Jack Eatman) and Spalding Housing Authority (Regina Abbott), Dr. David Ajayi (representing D4) and the Region 4 team have successfully put together a multi-disciplinary coalition that plans to create a culture of health in District. Congratulations!