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For The Health Of It

July is Hepatitis Awareness Month

July is Hepatitis Awareness Month. We would like to share the following information about Hepatitis C Virus (HCV):

  • “Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood and fights infections
  • Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from an infected person enters the body of someone who is not infected. Most people become infected through sharing of needles, syringes, and other equipment used to inject drugs. But could also be infected from sharing toiletries that may become contaminated with blood such as a toothbrush, razors or nail clippers.
  • Who is at risk?
    • Baby boomers (anyone born from 1945-1965) are 5x more likely to have Hepatitis C from contaminated blood. This was during a time when blood wasn’t screened and anyone who received a blood transfusion or had an organ transplant could be at risk
    • IV drug users who share needles and may not practice proper infection control
    • Health care workers – could possibly be exposed at work
    • Other people at risk are persons getting tattoos and body piercings where proper cleaning of equipment is not practiced
  • Hepatitis C virus can survive outside the body at room temperature, on environmental surfaces for up to 3 weeks
  • Many people do not have symptoms and the only way to find out is to get tested; especially if you are part of the population at risk.

For more information about HCV in Chenango County please see the attached. For detailed information on Hepatitis visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/ or call Chenango County Public Health at (607) 337-1660.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

To celebrate the importance of immunizations for people of all ages the Chenango County Department of Health is joining with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. Throughout the month Public Health’s Facebook page will be addressing the immunization needs of back-to-school children, pregnant women, babies and young children, preteens/teens, adults, and vaccine safety. Vaccines are scientifically known to be the safest and most effective way to prevent serious diseases. All vaccines are thoroughly tested before licensing, and carefully monitored after they are licensed, to ensure they are safe.

Back to school time is right around the corner making this the perfect time to be sure your child is up to date on their vaccinations. Vaccinating your children according to the recommended immunization schedule provides them with safe and effective protection against vaccine preventable disease. Many vaccine-preventable diseases can spread easily in child care and school settings. Protecting your children from preventable disease will keep them healthy and in school.

Two vaccines are routinely recommended for pregnant women: a flu vaccine (can be given at any time during the pregnancy) and Tdap (given between 27 and 36 weeks gestation). Both vaccines are not only important in protecting mom’s health but that protection is also passed on to the baby.

For babies and small children, a healthy start begins with on-time vaccinations. Vaccines give parents the power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases. It is easy to think of these as diseases of the past. Many people in the United States have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like measles or whooping cough can have on a family or community, but the truth is they still exist. Thankfully most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines and vaccinate their children according to the recommended immunization schedule.

Ensure your teen and preteen’s health future by keeping their vaccines up to date. As childhood vaccination protection wanes, adolescents need additional vaccines to extend protection. Adolescents need protection from other infections as well, before the risk of exposure increases. It is important to remember that vaccine preventable diseases still exist and outbreaks occur. Make sure your teen is protected.

Vaccines are not just for kids! The need for vaccinations does not end in childhood, vaccines are recommended throughout our lives. Specific recommendations are based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel destinations, and medical conditions. Vaccines are an important step in protecting adults against several serious and sometimes deadly diseases. Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. become needlessly ill from infectious diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Talk with your health care professional about which vaccine are right for you. Take the CDC’s vaccine quiz (www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adultquiz) to find out what vaccines may be recommended for you.

When talking to your provider ask to have your vaccination record entered into the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS). NYSIIS is a free immunization registry that stores your record in a confidential and secure manner. Your record can then be accessed by any other NY state licensed provider that you may see for care. In addition to having a record of all of your shots in one reliable place, it can ensure that you only get the vaccines you need and don’t end up paying for duplicate shots.

For more information on immunization recommendations or the benefits of using NYSIIS visit ImmuNYze (https://www.immunyze.org/), the Chenango County Health Department website (https://www.co.chenango.ny.us/public-health/nursing/immunization.php) or call the Chenango County Department of Health Nursing Division at (607) 337-1660.