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For The Health Of It

Hepatitis Awareness Month
Know more Hepatitis

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common hepatitis viruses are hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis c are liver infections caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they are spread in different ways and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A is usually a short-term infection. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also begin as short-term infections but in some people, the virus remains in the body, and causes chronic (lifelong) infection. There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Hepatitis A vaccine is a 2 dose series administered over a 6 month period to those aged 1 year and older. Hepatitis B vaccine is a 3 dose series for children and adults. All children should get their 1st dose within 24 hours of birth and should have completed the series by 6-18 months of age. Infants born to women who test positive for hepatitis B virus are at extremely high risk for virus transmission and chronic infection. Therefore beginning the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth is 70-95% effective in preventing perinatal hepatitis B infection.

Adults who have not received or completed the hepatitis B series can do so at any time. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Contact your healthcare provider or public health for more information about these vaccines.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the predominant virus seen in Chenango County. The rate of HCV has remained steady in the County in the past 2 years. In 2017 there were 67 newly diagnosed cases reported. In 2018 there were 69 and to date in 2019, there have been 28 reported cases thus far.

HCV is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Most people become infected with HCV by sharing needles, syringes, or any other equipment to inject drugs. Before widespread screening of the blood supply in 1992, HCV was also spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. HCV can be spread through poor infection control techniques in healthcare settings. HCV can also be spread when getting tattoos and body piercings in unlicensed facilities, informal settings, or with non-sterile instruments. 6% of infants born to infected mothers get HCV. HCV is rarely spread by sexual transmission, but it is possible.

  • Avoid sharing or reusing needles, syringes, or any other equipment to prepare and inject drugs, steroids, hormones, or other substances.
  • Do not use personal items that may have come into contact with an infected person’s blood, even in amounts too small to see, such as razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes, or glucose monitors.
  • Do not get tattoos or body piercings from an unlicensed facility or in an informal setting.

Many people with HCV do not have symptoms. If symptoms occur, they can include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, grey- colored stool, and yellowing of skin and eyes.

The only way to know if you have HCV is to get tested. Doctors use a blood test, called a Hepatitis C Antibody Test, which looks for antibodies to the virus. A positive or reactive Hepatitis C Antibody Test means that a person has been infected with the HCV at some point in time. However, a positive antibody test does not necessarily mean a person still has HCV. An additional test called an RNA test is needed to determine if a person is currently infected with HCV.

Testing for HCV is recommended for certain groups, including people who:

  • Were born from 1945-1965
  • Received donated blood or organs before 1992
  • Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
  • Have certain medical conditions, such as chronic liver disease and HIV or AIDS
  • Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
  • Have been exposed to blood from a person who have HCV
  • Are on hemodialysis
  • Are born to a mother with HCV

Hepatitis C treatments have gotten much better in recent years. Current treatments usually involve just 8-12 weeks of oral therapy (pills) and cure over 90% of people with few side effects.

To find out more about Hepatitis Awareness Month and other Hepatitis C related information visit www.liverfoundation.org or go to http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/

For The Health Of It: Stepping On

June is Safety Awareness Month and to help celebrate this cause Chenango County’s Area Agency on Aging and the Department of Health are offering a Stepping On course in Norwich. Stepping On is a workshop to help older adults prevent falls. Research has found that people who complete the workshop have a 31% reduced rate of falls.

Stepping On will help participants identify why they fall and different ways to prevent falls, including strength and balance exercises, home safety check suggestions and a medication review. Also, the class addresses how vision, hearing, and footwear affect your risk of falling. The workshop is for ages 60+, for people who have fallen, and for people who fear falling. Participants will leave with more strength, achieve better balance, and experience a feeling of confidence and independence as a result of performing various exercises and sharing personal falls experiences as a group.

The workshop is being held at Guernsey Memorial Library in Norwich. The class is held once a week, for seven weeks on Tuesdays, from 10am-12pm. The session will run from June 18th through August 6th (no class on July 2nd). This class is FREE for Chenango County residents. To register for this class, please call Area Agency on Aging at (607) 337-1770.

Tick Prevention
Tick on a Leaf

It is important to prevent a tick bite because ticks can spread different diseases.
Lyme disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in New York. Not all ticks can
cause disease and not all bites will make you sick but it is important to learn how to prevent a bite,
how to remove a tick and what to do if you think you could have a tick-borne disease..

Steps to protect against tick bites:

1. Avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of trails when hiking.

2. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, externally containing DEET, picaridin,
IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Always follow product instructions.

3. Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents or look
for clothing pre-treated with permethrin

4. Treat your household animals for ticks and talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention

5. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find crawling ticks before
they bite you. Conduct a full-body check with a mirror and remove any ticks immediately.

6. Put dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks after you come indoors.

If you find an embedded tick on your body use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. Once the tick is removed, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. To dispose of the tick place in alcohol or sealed bag/container or flush down the toilet. Do not crush with your fingers. Also, never cover the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or use heat to make the tick detach from the skin. The goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible, and not wait for it to detach.

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your health care provider. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick. For more information on ticks visit https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html or call the

Chenango County Public Health Department at (607) 337-1660

April is STI Month!
STD Awareness

According to a report from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), sexually transmitted diseases
(STD) are on the rise. A record breaking 2.3 million cases were reported in 2017 nationwide,
with 15-24 year olds accounting for half of all new STD infections.

Chenango County had 112 total cases in 2018:
- 100 Chlamydia
- 12 Gonorrhea

Chlamydia is the most common notifiable disease in the United States and is curable with
antibiotics. Yet most STD cases go undiagnosed and untreated which can lead to severe adverse
health effects.

Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD, but some groups are more affected.
- Young people ages 15-24
- Gay and Bisexual Men
- Pregnant Women

If left untreated STD’s can cause:
- Increased risk of contracting or spreading HIV
- Long term pelvic/abdominal pain
- Inability to get pregnant or pregnancy complications

Always Remember to:

TALK: talk openly about STD’s with your partner and healthcare providers
TEST: Get tested! It’s the only way to know if you have an STD
TREAT: If you have an STD work with your provider to get the right medicine for treatment

-Use condoms - Talk to your partner and get tested
-Have fewer partners - Practice abstinence
-Get the HPV vaccine (for prevention of Human Papillomavirus ONLY)


Many STD’s are curable and all are treatable. Getting you and your partner treated immediately
is important to avoid getting re-infected.
If you have any questions about getting tested, contraception or need education materials on
STDS, or have any questions about the HPV vaccine please call the local health department for
more information and guidance or visit the website listed below:


March is National Nutrition Month!

Each March National Nutrition Month is celebrated to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound habits. Small changes to your daily eating or drinking habits can make a positive difference to your health. The Chenango County Health Department 2019 health campaign encourages you to RETHINK YOUR DRINK CHENANGO: DRINK WATER. Drinking water is important for overall health and well-being. It is a simple change that anyone can make in their daily lives that can greatly change overall health for the better.

Heart Disease is the number one cause of premature death in Chenango County, ranking #1 in NY State. Four out of ten adults living in Chenango County are obese. This high incidence of obesity directly affects health outcomes such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Chenango County ranks #4 for its rate of hospitalization with diabetes as primary diagnoses. 35% of our residents suffer from high blood pressure. Three out of five children are affected by tooth decay. The numbers tell us that we have a lot of work to do to achieve better health.

Drinking water can reduce your risk for the following conditions:

Obesity Dental Caries
Heart Disease
Type 2 Diabetes
Liver Disease
Kidney Disease

Drinking water is a healthy alternative to sugary drinks such as soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks or sports drinks. Many of these types of drinks contain more sugar than people often realize, giving them unwanted extra calories and causing tooth decay. Popular soda brands contain approximately 15-18 teaspoons of sugar in one 20 ounce bottle and 275 calories. Some sports drinks, iced teas and flavored waters that people often view as healthier alternatives to soda contain 8-12 teaspoons of sugar in one 20 ounce bottle and 160 calories. It is very important to read labels when choosing these drinks.

Drinking one 12 ounce soda a day can lead to a weight gain of 15 pounds a year.

The Chenango County Health Department will be doing a variety of education and awareness this year focused around RETHINK YOUR DRINK: DRINK WATER. We will be visiting medical providers, educating community partners, creating displays, posters and print materials, along with radio spots and variety of other activities. All new parents will receive information about drink recommendations by mail, including when to introduce juice and how much. Here is a short list of some of those tips:

1. NO juice for under 12 months old, unless recommended by your child’s doctor
2. Limiting to 4 ounces of juice per day for 1-3 year olds, 6 ounces of juice per day for 4-6
year olds and 8 ounces of juice per day for 7 years old through adulthood.
3. Exclusive Breastfeeding is encouraged and recommended for 6 months and continued
to 1-2 years of age.
4. Toddlers should not be given juice or sugared drinks from bottles or sippy cups that
allow them to easily drink throughout the day. Constant exposure of sugars on the
teeth leads to decay.
5. Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits that provide more benefits and
dietary fiber than juice.
6. Add fruit to water to make it more appealing such as lemon, cucumber, berries, or mint.
7. Only use 100% fresh or reconstituted fruit juice when given.
8. Order water when you eat out or when you have fast food. It is often given for free.

The purpose of the National Nutrition Month Campaign is to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of good nutrition. You can start by choosing more water. Your body depends on water to survive, making up 60 percent of your body weight. It helps to get rid of waste, regulate temperature, lubricate joints, make healthy skin, and protects sensitive tissues. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. We encourage you to make a small change for your health and RETHINK YOUR DRINK: DRINK WATER CHENANGO.

For more information visit the following websites:

For The Heart Of It
February Is American Heart Month

Chenango County Health Department would like to increase awareness and education of heart disease in the community. February is American Heart Month. This is a great time to learn more about heart disease and what you can do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. According to the CDC: heart disease is the most deadly disease in America and heart disease is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S. Certain heart disease risk factors that cannot be changed include but are not limited to age, gender, family history and ethnicity. However, risk factors that can be changed include maintaining a healthy weight, smoking cessation, reducing and monitoring blood pressure, increasing physical exercise, and reducing and monitoring blood cholesterol levels.

Some may not be aware that blood pressure levels have been updated. According to the CDC:

 Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.
 At Risk (Prehypertension) is 120-139/80-89.
 High blood pressure is greater than 140-90.

If your blood pressure readings are consistently higher than normal contact your health care provider for further recommendations. Healthy eating and regular exercise can help lower blood pressure. By lowering your blood pressure you are lowering your risk for heart disease. In an effort to raise awareness of cardiac events here are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack according to the CDC:

 Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few minutes.
 Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back.
 Weakness.
 Light-headedness.
 Nausea.
 Cold sweat.
 Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder.
 Shortness of breath.

If you think you are experiencing any of these signs call 9-1-1 immediately. Another factor that can reduce risk for cardiac disease is increasing physical activity and reducing obesity. According to American Heart Association, exercising thirty minutes a day five days a week improves heart health and reduces risk of heart disease. Exercise and physical activity directly improve heart health particularly aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, jogging and riding a bike. The heart muscle needs exercise just like other muscles. Exercise stimulates production of new blood vessels also making vessels more flexible. As more blood vessels are made there are more places for blood to flow resulting in more efficient blood circulation. By improving circulation the heart can pump more blood throughout the body and work at optimal efficiency. With optimal blood flow, normal blood pressure can be obtained decreasing the risk of developing heart disease. Consult with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program. Your health care provider may be able to adjust your exercise routine to your specific needs.

For more information contact your primary health care provider or call the Chenango County Department of Health, Nursing Division at (607)-337-1660. You can find us online at https://www.co.chenango.ny.us/public-health


Why Vaccinations are so Important


Contact: Mary Klockowski, RN

It’s Not Too Late! It’s that time of year again. As family and friends are planning for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. A flu vaccine can protect you and your loved ones and now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you have not gotten vaccinated yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates indicate that more than 900,000 people were hospitalized and more than 80,000 people died from flu last season. These new estimates are record-breaking, and emphasize the seriousness and severity of flu illness and serve as a strong reminder of the importance of flu vaccination. CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone age six months and older. Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, and a growing body of evidence supports the fact that vaccination also reduces the risk of serious flu outcomes that can result in hospitalization and even death. CDC estimates that flu vaccines prevent tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. A CDC study in 2017 was the first of its kind to show flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by nearly two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children. Most recently, an August 2018 study showed that flu vaccination lessened the risk of severe flu among adults, including reducing the risk of hospitalization and admission to the intensive care unit, and also lessened severity of illness. These benefits are especially important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, like people 65 and older, children younger than 5 years, pregnant women and people with certain underlying long-term medical conditions like heart and lung disease, or diabetes.
While seasonal flu activity varies, flu usually peaks between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu activity is ongoing, it’s not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially serious disease. Even if you have already gotten sick with flu this season, it is still a good idea to get a flu vaccine. Talk to your health care provider, visit a local retail pharmacy, or call Chenango County Health Department (607-337-1660) to schedule an appointment for your flu vaccine today!

Link to a graphic for use with article: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/nivw/webtools.htm)

Promoting and protecting health, safety, and the quality of life in Chenango County

November 15th is the Great American Smokeout
Why Quit Smoking Now?
Quit Smoking Image

The Great American Smokeout is an annual intervention that takes place on the third Thursday in November by the American Cancer Society. It is a time to join thousands of smokers across the country in taking an important step to lead a healthier life. We all know that quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do in your life. We all know why it is bad for us. It can cause lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. It increases our chances of developing cancers of the lip, mouth, throat, larynx, bladder, pancreas, stomach, kidney, a nd cervix. We also know that it’s expensive. Paying $10 for a pack of cigarettes per day is $3,650 per year. That is a lot of money for the average family to afford. So why don’t we quit? Nicotine in tobacco is very addictive, and quitting isn’t easy. It takes a plan.

Start the conversation. How willing are you to think about quitting smoking or other form of tobacco? There is help for you if you are ready. Sometimes it takes several attempts to be successful. Don’t give up! It is never too late to try. Here is how to begin.

* Talk to your doctor about the best ways for helping you quit including use of medications or nicotine replacements such as the patch or lozenge.

* Call the New York State Smokers Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for counseling and support from a trained Quit Coach. By phone or web, clients can request a variety of resources, including FREE nicotine replacement therapy (the nicotine patch) and fact sheets. Check out their updated website at www.nysmokefree.com.. Your Quit Coach can help you to pick a quit date that will work for you.

* Get support from your family and friends. Let them know that you want to quit and may need their help and encouragement.

Quitting is important. Nearly 38 million Americans smoke cigarettes. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world and causes more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. Do you want to quit smoking? Don’t be discouraged if you have tried before. Let the Great American Smokeout event on November 15 be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life. You’ll be joining thousands of smokers across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk. For more information about the Great American Smokeout or quitting smoking visit:

The American Cancer Society

The New York State Smokers Quitline

The New York State Department Of Health

October is National Dental Hygiene Month!

Each October National Dental Hygiene Month is celebrated in an effort to raise awareness on the importance of good oral health and to recognize the work that dental hygienists do. Developing good brushing and flossing habits at an early age is very important. This year the awareness month is focusing on four healthy habits to maintain healthy smiles

Start the Conversation about the DAILY 4!

BRUSH twice a day. FLOSS regularly. RINSE with mouthwash. CHEW sugar-free gum after meals.

The American Dental Association and The Chenango County Department of Public Health would like to remind parents that attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life. Taking of your child’s mouth, giving your child healthy foods and beverages, planning scheduled visits to the dentist, and taking care of your own teeth are important ways to start.

The Chenango County Dental Taskforce has been working to bring attention to promoting good oral hygiene habits in schools. Thanks to the amazing support of community partners and dental clinics across our county, we were able to assemble and distribute dental hygiene kits to every elementary school child in Chenango County in 2017 and 2018. As a result, we supplied 3,867 students in 232 classrooms at 11 schools across Chenango County with their own toothbrush, toothpaste and floss each year. The goal is to continue to do this project and to pilot a program for brushing in the classroom. We hope that educating children in elementary and middle school about basic dental care will help improve their oral health as adults.

Here are some specific tips to help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy:

-Wean your child from the bottle to a cup by the age of 12-14 months.

-Brush br>your child’s gums each night even if they do not have teeth yet. Use a wet washcloth or a small soft bristle brush.

-Do not put your child to sleep with a bottle.

-Serve juice in a cup (only) and limit the amount to 4-6 ounces per day.

-Help your child brush at least two times a day, after breakfast and before bed – making sure he/she spits out the toothpaste after brushing.

-Give your child water several times a day- with fluoride if possible.

-Reward your child with a smile and a hug, not with food.

-Serve healthy foods to your child like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, dairy products, and lean meats such as chicken, eggs, beans, or fish each day.

-Serve fewer sweets like candy, cookies, or cake in your household. Keep sugared drinks and sodas to a minimum or not at all.

-If your child has not been to the dentist by age 1, make an appointment.

-Ask your dentist about sealants and the appropriate time to get them.

-Check your child’s teeth and gums at least once a month.

-Do not allow smoking in your home or car. Secondhand smoke can cause dental problems.

-Make taking care of your own teeth a priority. Children learn by example. Visit your dentist regularly and get your teeth cleaned twice per year.

For more information check out the following links

or call Chenango County Public Health at (607) 337-1660.

Rabies: Protect Yourself and Family!

Rabies is a deadly virus that is carried in the saliva of infected mammals. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system ultimately causing disease in the brain and then death. In Chenango County there have been mammals such as; feral cats, fox, and bats that have tested positive for the rabies virus. Chenango County Public Health would like to give everyone a few simple tips to help keep families and pets safe from this deadly virus:

1. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly, or they can be aggressive and attack someone without being provoked. Never pet or interact with animals you do not know whether out in nature or in residential areas (don’t forget cute fluffy kittens or puppies on the street may carry the rabies virus!)

2. Vaccinate your pets for rabies! Pet dogs, cats, & ferrets should be up-to date on rabies vaccinations

3. If your pet has an interaction with any animal suspected of having rabies DO NOT handle your pet. If you must attend to your pet after an interaction with an unknown animal wear gloves, long sleeves and use extreme caution. You can be exposed to rabies from lingering saliva on a pet’s fur. The pet should be isolated and the saliva allowed to dry, this will kill the virus.

4. If you or a loved one is bitten by an animal (wild or domestic), wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water & seek medical care. Be sure to report the bite to public health officials.

5. Wake up to find a BAT in your room? Bats have very fine teeth and we may not be able to visualize any bites or scratches on our bodies. In this case there is a possibility of exposure so you want to CAPTURE THE BAT to have it tested for rabies. The best thing to do is to call animal control or contact Chenango County Environmental Health at 607-337-1673. If help is unavailable the best way to capture a bat is by putting on leather gloves and clothing to cover your skin, allow the bat to land, approach it slowly, and place a box or coffee can over it, slide cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely, and punch small holes in the cardboard, allowing the bat to breathe. Contact your health department or animal control authority to make arrangements for rabies testing.

If you see a bat in your home and you are sure no human or pet exposure has occurred, confine the bat to a room by closing all doors and windows leading out of the room except those to the outside. The bat will probably leave soon. If not, it can be caught, as described, and released outdoors away from people and pets.

Taking steps to protect yourself, loved ones, and pets from rabies is vital. Once a mammal shows symptoms of rabies it is too late, there is no cure and the mammal will die. So prevention is key!


Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. It slowly diminishes memory and thinking skills, leading to an inability to carry out simple daily tasks and communication. Every 65 seconds someone develops this disease and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

Stages of Alzheimer’s include mild/early stage, moderate/middle stage and severe/late stage. In the early stage the disease may not be noticeable or you may notice some memory issues. During the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s, individuals may have greater difficulty performing tasks such as paying bills, but they may still remember significant details about their life. At late stage, individuals may require care around the clock with daily activities and personal care. In the severe stage the person may lose awareness of recent experiences as well as of their surroundings, ability to walk, sit, swallow, communicate and become vulnerable to infections.

Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease, but if people receive early and accurate diagnosis it could help stall worsening and assist in providing care. So what can we do for persons with the disease and those who support them in providing the significant hours of care? First, we can get educated about this disease. Secondly, we can advocate by writing letters to our government officials on needs in the community of those affected by this disease. Lastly, we can support caregivers and those affected with the disease by encouraging usage of supports of The Alzheimer’s Association. They are a trusted resource for reliable information, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.

The Alzheimer‘s Association
Call the 24/7 Helpline At:
Visit The Virtual Library by visiting

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.

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.