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6/16/2014 - 06.16.14 County Executive Ulman Seeks Members for Howard County’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Advisory Board READ MORE

About the Health Department

   

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"Building a Model Public Health Community" 


 

No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low. For updates on the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/5utw. 

 

 

The Howard County Health Assessment Survey is underway. You may receive a call to either your cellular or landline telephone. Telephones with Caller ID capability will display the number 410-313-8016 and the text will read “Health Survey.” All personal information collected will be strictly confidential and will not be used to identify survey respondents in any way. Please "Answer the Call" and "Make a Difference" in the health our County. Thank you!


 ****NEW DATA COMING THIS WEEK****
Howard Health Dashboard

  Howard County Health Dashboard

Our Health Dashboard which will give you an idea of the health of the County based on five ares: Access to Health Care, Healthy Weight, Behavioral Health, Healthy Living and Communicable Disease Surveillance. While our Dashboard is not "real-time" or "up to the minute", it provides recent health statistics and will be updated quarterly.   Click on the Dashboard graphic above or CLICK HERE to see an introduction and breakdown of the many indicators used to evaluate our health!


 

Just a Minute is Too Long to Leave Your Child in a Vehicle 

With the heat of Summer returning to the area, the Howard County Health Department wants to remind parents and others caregivers never to leave a child in a vehicle unattended. The temperatures in a car can become incredibly hot in a very short period. Each year, an average of 36 children die from hyperthermia (becoming over-heated) after being left unattended in a car according to KidsandCars.org. Some believe that cracking the window will help keep the car’s temperature cool. It has been proven that this has little effect on the inside of a vehicle. Even temperatures as cool as 70°F outside, can kill a child left inside a vehicle.

As of July 4, 2014, 13 children have died as a result of hyperthermia after having been left in a vehicle. Often the child is inadvertently left in a car by a parent or caregiver who experienced a change in their routine or daily schedule.  Dr. Maura Rossman, County Health Officer, advises that by adopting a simple plan to be used every time you walk away from the vehicle, a tragedy can be prevented.  

    • Start a “Look before you leave routine”; be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle. Do not overlook sleeping babies.  
    •  Place your purse, wallet or cell phone on the back seat as a reminder you have a child in the car. 
    •  Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat; when the child is put in the car seat, place the animal in the front with the driver.  
    • Set your computer scheduling program to ask if you dropped your child off at daycare today 
    • Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for daycare. 
    • Look into new child reminder technologies that connect wireless car seat alarms to key rings. When you walk too far away from the car, the alarm rings; reminding you the harness is still connected. 
    • Do not allow children to play in cars 

While we concentrate on the tragedy of losing children to preventable accidents like being left in a vehicle, seniors are also susceptible to the same dangers as our younger residents. Senior’s bodies are often unable to regulate body temperature effectively and will suffer hyperthermia quickly.  Seat belts, door handles and other mobility issues may pose challenges to our seniors who may need assistance to get out of the car. 

Finally, pets should not be left in vehicles during these hot Summer months or even in the mild Fall months.  They are unable to regulate their body temperature and can perish if left in a vehicle unattended. 

Other resources:  

SafeKids -  www.safekids.org.  

San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences: www.ggweather.com/heat KidsandCars.org – KidsandCars.org  

The Humane Society - www.humanesociety.org 

Stay Safe in the Heat

On very warm and humind days in the Summer when the heat index rises to uncomfortable levels, it is wise to take steps to stay healthy and safe.

  • Increase your fluid intake; drink non-alcoholic and caffeine-free liquids.
  • If possible stay out of the sun during the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm
  • NEVER leave children or pets unattended in a parked car or other hot environment.
  • Check on elderly friends, family and neighbors who live alone.
  • Be aware of the warning signs of heat-related illness, such as light-headedness, mild nausea or confusion, sleepiness or profuse sweating.

If you or someone you know does experience any symptoms of heat-related illness or injury, call 911.

  

 Resources CDC Extreme Heat 
Never Leaving Children In Cars - Tips for Ways to Remember They Are There - Safekids
Weather.com - Extreme Heat
The Humane Society - Pet Safety in Extreme Heat  
 

 


The 2014 Howard County Health Survey is Underway - Answer the Call! Make a Difference!

The Howard County Health Assessment began Wednesday, July 9, 2014.  This second phase of the ongoing comprehensive health assessment is designed to learn more about the health of Howard County residents. The survey, which was initially conducted in 2012, is a collaborative project of the Howard County Health Department, The Horizon Foundation, Howard County General Hospital and Columbia Association.  

The survey is comprised of several questions that cover a number of health priorities. The topics were selected to gather data on health behaviors, access to health care, demographical health disparities and progress on local implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

You may receive a call to either your cellular or landline telephone.  Telephones with Caller ID capability will display the number 410-313-8016 and the text will read Health Survey. All personal information collected will be strictly confidential and will not be used to identify survey respondents in any way.  For more information click HERE  


 

 A Class Using a Simple Spray to Save Lives Begins in Howard County  ***NEW TRAINING DATES***

The Howard County Health Department is offering FREE Opioid Overdose Response Program trainings to become certified to administer naloxone for Howard County residents 18 years of age and older.  Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose, perform rescue breathing, give intra-nasal naloxone (a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose by restoring a person's ability to breathe) and learn to care for the individual until help arrives.  Click HERE to read more.
New Classes:   

*  August 11, 2014 10:00 a.m. at HCHD
*  September 2, 2014 9:30 a.m. at Laurel Community Center
*  September 15, 2014 1:30 p.m. Howard Community College
Call our Bureau of Behavioral Health at 410-313-6202 for more information and to register.   
 


 

Healthy Beverages, Snacks and Foods - A Few Guidelines

With the recent interest in healthy beverages, snack foods and menu items, below are a few recommendations to help with healthy choices in a number of areas.

Beverages

Choose beverages better for your health : 

  • Water
  • Unsweetened coffee or tea
  • Nonfat or 1% milk (including soy or cow’s milk, and chocolate or other flavored milk)
  • 100% fruit/vegetable juice
  • Fruit-based drinks containing 100% fruit juice and no added caloric sweeteners
  • If the above options are not available, non-caloric beverages (including diet sodas and teas) are possible options—though not the best.

Take a look at the Better Beverage Finder for more healthy beverage choices or to check what you and your family are drinking really is healthy.   

Snack Foods

Choose snack foods that: 

  • Have no more than 35% percent of calories are from fat shall be from fat (except products composed entirely or primarily of nuts and seeds)
  • Have no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • Do not contain trans fats that are added during processing (hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Do not have more than 360 milligrams of sodium per serving
  • Do not have more than 250 calories in the package

Healthy Menu Items

Healthy Howard's Healthy Restaurant program recommends the following for its healthy menu items: 

    • No more than 750 calories
    • Less than 30% of calories from fat
    • Less than 10% of calories from saturated fat
    • No more than 1050 mg of sodium
    • Includes a lean protein (e.g., eggs, white meat poultry, lean beef, tofu, beans and/or lentils)
    • Includes a serving of vegetables and/or fruit
    • Does not have any deep-fried items  

New Vaccines Needed for Students Entering Kindergarten and 7th Grade in 2014 - 2015 - Don't Wait Until the End of Summer!

In addition to the regular immunizations needed for school, there are new requirements for certain age groups entering the 2014-2015 school year.
Students entering Kindergarten
     *  2nd dose of Varicella vaccine (Chickenpox)
Students entering 7th Grade MCV4 (Meningococcal) vaccine (Meningitis)
     *  Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis {whooping cough})
     *  HPV vaccine (Gardasil – for girls and boys) and Hepatitis A vaccine will also be available (please bring your child’s immunization record)

For more information about these immunization clinics and the regular school immunization clinic dates CLICK HERE! 


To Request the Health Department at Your Next Health Event 

 CLICK HERE.  

 Health Fair Graphic(2) 


Contact Numbers:

Administration:    410-313-6300 

Toll Free: 1-866-313-6300 

Columbia Health Center:    410-313-7500 

North Laurel Health Center:    410-313-0630 

Behavioral Health Services/Substance Abuse Services:    410-313-6202 

Environmental Health:    410-313-2640