District 4 Public Health

Serving Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup and Upson Counties of GA.

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

 

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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.
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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!
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Don’t Procrastinate, Schedule a Time to Vaccinate

The holidays are meant for gathering with family and friends, decorating, and indulging in delicious meals. Don’t let the flu virus keep you stuck in bed. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is Dec. 6-12, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians 6 months of age and older to get a yearly flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established NIVW week in 2005 to take a proactive approach to educating the community and health care sector about influenza disease. Take this time and schedule an appointment with your health care provider or your local public health department to get your flu vaccine.

“We want Georgians to understand how simple and convenient it is to receive a flu vaccine,” said Sheila Lovett, immunization director for the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Doctors’ offices, health departments, clinics, pharmacies and even some schools and employers offer the vaccine. It’s a short time to commit to staying healthy through the holidays.”

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions.

The best protection against the flu is a flu vaccine. With “flu season” beginning as early as August and sometimes lasting until May, it is never too late to vaccinate. The vaccination is available in both the shot and nasal spray form.

National Influenza Vaccination Week emphasizes the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccination. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. So this winter, Georgia Department of Public Health encourages all Georgians take those few minutes to call your doctor’s office, pharmacy or health department and make a date to vaccinate.

For more information on immunization, click here.

Step Up, Step In!

Step Up, Step In (SUSI) is a social marketing campaign developed through a partnership between the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Georgia Network to End Sexual Violence (GNESA). These organizations provided funding to create awareness on the topic of bullying and its impact on youth in Georgia. The program requires partnering with middle or high schools to reduce the incidents of bullying (unwanted touching, spreading rumors, name calling, sending inappropriate texts or pictures) by promoting awareness and empowering students and staff to hold each other accountable for observed bullying behavior.

Eight health districts in Georgia received funding to implement the bullying awareness campaign in their school districts. District 4 Public Health was one of the health districts to receive the award to be implemented in the three middle schools in Troup County. This was not prompted by any incident, but is an important issue that affects middle schools and high schools across the country.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so most of the campaign activities/events are taking place during that month. SUSI Advisory Teams have been established at each school to help coordinate the activities. Troup County middle schools are promoting the campaign by designating a home football game as their SUSI Awareness game. T-shirts and sunglasses with the SUSI logo are being distributed to students attending the game and football players are wearing lime green socks – the SUSI campaign color. Fact cards with information and statistics about SUSI are being distributed to parents and also placed in the front office of each school.

During Red Ribbon Week, October 23-31, middle school students will also bring awareness to the SUSI campaign by dressing appropriately to highlight the anti-bullying message. Classroom door decorating contests about SUSI will take place at each middle school and one homeroom from each grade will be chosen as the winner and receive a pizza party. Morning announcements are being made by members of the SUSI Advisory Team to inform students about the harmful effects of bullying and how to be an active bystander by “Stepping Up” to bullies and “Stepping In” to help.

Getting students involved in the campaign will help make students aware of the problem and empower them to take all forms of bullying seriously; when they see it, report it to a trusted adult. The good news is that most kids aren’t behaving this way. They do, however, witness these behaviors and either feel powerless to stop it or turn a blind eye. At the end of the campaign, students will be asked to sign a pledge to help stop bullying in their school, in their community and in Georgia.

Beth Daniel- Health Promotion Coordinator

For pictures of the event so far, visit our Facebook page at District 4 Public Health.

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Congratulations, Seth Woodrow!

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Congratulations to Mr. Seth Woodrow for successfully passing the exam to become a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS)!! REHS credentialing is a nationally recognized, professional credentialing for Environmental Health Specialists.
Seth has worked in Environmental Health since September of 2002 and has worked in District 4 for most of those years. He is currently the Environmental Health Manager for Lamar County and is also the recent recipient of the Environmental Health Specialist of the Year Award presented by the Georgia Public Health Association.

Great job, Seth!

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4% of women will develop breast cancer. There are a lot of factors that could increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer such as genetic alterations, mammographic breast density, family history, personal history, and many additional factors. If current incidence rates continue the same, a little girl born today has a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

This month, raise awareness, get involved, and find out more about early detection. There are many different ways to be involved. Click here for more information about how we are involved. Click here to find out how you can be involved.

National Breast Cancer Foundation has tool kits, educational resources and fundraising opportunities available for you! Your local health department can provide clinical breast exams to help you make healthy steps forward.

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month.

National Preparedness month is a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.

District 4 Public Health encourages residents to increase their level of preparedness by creating a family disaster kit, making an emergency plan, learning more about natural disasters and potential terrorist’s threats, and getting involved in emergency preparedness efforts in your community.

Get a Kit – A disaster kit should be stored in an easy to carry bag and contain water, nonperishable food items, a basic first aid kit, tools and supplies (matches, map, battery operated radio, etc.), clothing and bedding, hygiene items and medications for each family member. Each disaster kit should also contain important family documents. Keep all items stored in airtight plastic bags. Store your kit in a convenient place accessible to all family members, and keep a smaller version in your car. Remember to rotate your food and water supply every six months to keep items fresh. If you have a disaster kit and have not reviewed the items recently, please take this time to do so. Check to be sure that batteries in flashlights and radios are in proper working order.

Make a Plan – It is important that each person in the family knows what to do, where to go, and who to contact during an emergency. Your family emergency plan should include contact information for all family members, a meeting location outside of the home in case of fire and outside of the neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster, and contact information for one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster. Each member of your family should be familiar with the disaster plan and where to locate the disaster supply kit in your home.

Be Informed – Being prepared means staying informed. Check all types of media – Web sites, newspapers, radio, TV, mobile and land phones – for global, national and local information. During an emergency, your local Emergency Management or Emergency Services office will give you information on such things as open shelters and evacuation orders.

Get Involved – In the event of a large-scale public health emergency, persons 18 years and older with a variety of skills and experiences, both medical and non-medical, will be needed to assist and support the existing public health infrastructure. Experience has proven that effective emergency response requires volunteers to be organized and pre-credentialed before a disaster or event occurs. The State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Georgia integrates government-sponsored local, regional and statewide volunteer programs to assist emergency response and public safety organizations during a disaster. For more information or to get involved, click here.

To learn more about disaster supply kits, creating an emergency plan, natural disasters and potential terrorist threats including biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological, go to www.ready.gov and www.redcross.org/preparedness.

Knowing what to do is your best protection during an emergency.

 

First Human Case of West Nile Virus

First Human Case of West Nile Virus
Confirmed In Georgia
Georgians Urged to Protect Themselves from Mosquitoes

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) of the season on August 7. The patient is an adult from Metro Atlanta and has recovered. Most people get WNV after being bitten by an infected mosquito and mosquitoes are still biting into the fall months in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges Georgians to protect themselves against mosquitoes.
“Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus,” said Rosmarie Kelly, Ph.D., MPH, Georgia Department of Public Health entomologist. “In the heat of summer, it can take less than 10 days to go from egg to adult mosquito.”
Residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by emptying standing water from containers – flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths – anything that holds water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive. The most effective way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites and the best way to do that is to observe the “Five D’s of WNV Prevention.”
• Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
• Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed.
• DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
• Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
• Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash – that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.
Anyone with questions about WNV should speak to their healthcare provider or call their local county health department, environmental health office.
More information on WNV and mosquito repellents can be found at www.cdc.gov/westnile.