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The Howard County Health Department

    

On Thursday, February 19, 2015 only, the Howard County Health Department will NOT be issuing Birth Certificates.
Please visit the Maryland State Vital Statistics Administration located at 6550 Reisterstown Rd. Baltimore, MD  21215 or call 410-764-3038 for more information about other Birth Certificate issuing locations.
You may also visit the DHMH website at dhmh.maryland.gov
 

Advisory Alert Web Banner  

  Click HERE or above to go to current Health News  

   TOP STORY FOR WEEK OF: February 16, 2015: 

Extreme Cold

Flu Clinics

 Columbia Health Center
WALK -IN - No Appointment Necessary

Monday - Friday
9:00a.m. - 11:30a.m.
and
1:00p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

 

Cold  Weather Safety

***The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for Howard and surrounding counties from midnight on February 18, 2015 to 6 p.m. Thursday, February 19, 2015.*** 

The National Weather Service issues Advisories and Warnings when the wind chill could be life threatening if action is not taken. In Maryland, wind chill advisories are issued when wind chill temperatures are forecast to range from -5ºF to -20ºF. You can keep up to date with the latest forecast and advisories on the National Weather Service's website for the Baltimore/Washington region by visiting www.weather.gov. 

Extreme Cold

A danger of extreme cold is frostbite. Frostbite is the freezing and subsequent damage to the body tissue. The areas most likely to freeze are toes, fingers, ears, cheeks and the tip of the nose.

To protect yourself and your family in extreme cold weather, follow the below tips:

  • Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.
  • Wear several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
  • The air between the layers acts as insulation to keep you warmer.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from direct cold air.
  • Cover your ears and the lower part of your face.
  • Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves. (The close contact of fingers helps keep your hands warm.)
  • Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks, or two pairs of lightweight socks.

Carbon Monoxide - Be alert to other common winter hazards, such as carbon monoxide (CO) and injuries from heat sources. CO is produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. This colorless, odorless gas can cause severe illness and death. Go to www.cdc.gov/features/copoisoning/ for CO poisoning prevention tips 

Pets - Do not forget about pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association has great tips for all of our four-legged family members. Visit the www.avma.org cold weather pet safety page for more.

Vehicles  - Travel with items such as heavy blankets, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and a snow shovel. More information about cold weather preparedness may be found at emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/ 

Shelter - If you are in need of shelter, call Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center at (410) 531-6006 or visit the website at grassroots.org 


Opioid Overdose Prevention Classes - Can You Save a Life?

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. 

The NEXT CLASS is:

March 23, 2015
10:00 a.m. 
 

Howard County Health Department Administration Building
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD 21045 
Call our Bureau of Behavioral Health at 410-313-6202 for more information and to register.   Click HERE for flier
 

Opiod Overdose Response Program Video Class/Written Exam Now Available Online

Howard County Health Department offers an Opiod Overdose Response Program trainings to become certified to administer naloxone, the prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose.  In order to become certified you may either come to our class  OR you may watch the video course and take the test, THEN schedule your class to come into the Health Department and complete the Hands-On portion of the training to receive your certificate and Naloxone kit.  To view the online training click on the following: OORP Video Training Link 


The Flu 

According to an articly provided by the NPHIC "we are in the midst of a particularly bad flu season because the predominant strain - H3N2 - "is a nastier virus," plus two-thirds of the H3N2 samples are genetically different from this season's H3N2 vaccine component, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said during a Jan. 9 media briefing.  He urged physicians to prescribe antiviral medicine without hesitation if they suspect a patient might have the flu. As of Jan. 3, influenza was "widespread" in every state except Alaska, Arizona, California and Hawaii, and at least 26 children had died from complications of the flu, according to CDC's weekly flu report. The flu is hitting the very young and those 65 and older the hardest, Dr. Frieden said, adding that antiviral medicine could prevent "tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths." Depending upon the year, anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 people will die from the flu in the U.S., according to Dr. Joseph Bresee, a CDC Influenza Division branch chief.  Dr. Frieden noted that flu shots still are recommended because they "may still offer some protection and there are other strains of flu out there."

It is not too late to get the flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies the body needs to provide protection against the flu. 
Below are great resources: 

   

Additional information from the CDC about the 2014-2015 Flu season: This winter's flu season is likely to be a bad one. Each flu season different strains (or types) of the flu are dominant. This season Influenza A (H3N2) is the dominant strain. In years when this strain is dominant, there are more hospitalizations. The other challenge this year according to Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, is that the H3N2 strain has mutated (changed) since the vaccine was made early in the year. 

  • What does this mean?  The vaccine may be less effective if you come in contact with the H3N2 type of virus (There are several other strains contained in the flu shot and you are protected against them).  It is not completely ineffective. You have some protection, but it may not be as robust as it was before the virus mutated.
  • What can I do?  The flu vaccine still remains THE best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu!  The second line of defense according to Dr. Frieden is tretment with anti-virals "to patients who may be at higher risk for flu complications. These include children younger than 2; adults 65 and older; people with asthma, heart disease, or weakened immune systems; pregnant women; American Indians/Alaska Natives; and people who are "morbidly obese."  (The Health Department recommends you ALWAYS speak to your healthcare provider for advice before beginning course of treatment.) 

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
 

Or you may send an e-mail to:
askhealth@howardcountymd.gov  

Howard County Health Department  8930 Stanford Blvd. Columbia, MD 21045