Grassroots 24/7 Crisis Assistance - 410-531-6677 (local) or 2-1-1 (statewide)
Walk-in Assistance 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 7 Days/Week at Grassroots Crisis Center 
Resources and Referrals - 410-313-6202 

For additional information and resources click above or visit HoCoOpioidHelp

A Case of Botulism Identified in Howard County

An illness called botulism has recently been identified in Howard County.  Botulism is a serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the Botulinumbody's nerves.  Botulism can be caused by eating contaminated food or beverages. It is often associated with improperly home-canned, preserved or fermented foods. It is not contagious.

A Health Department preliminary investigation identified the possible source as an acupuncture and herbal practice in Ellicott City.  If food, teas, or other products that can be put in/on the body were purchased, or otherwise received from this practice, located in the 3300 block of St. Johns Lane, it is strongly recommended to discard it immediately. It may be put in the trash, or if it is liquid, dumped down the sink.  (Read full Media Release here.)

If you have further questions, contact Howard County Health Department at 410 313-1412 during the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  


Have Fun in the Sun and Stay Safe and Healthy

Summer is here!  Longer, warmer days and lots of sun means more time outdoors.  We want to make sure that you have fun and stay safe and healthy while doing it!Three diverse children in a pool

  • Sun - While out in the sun, remember your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. Cover up!  More information: CDC's Sun Safety page.
  • Water - In a pool or on a beach, make sure to have fun safely. Never swim alone, keep an eye on young children, use swim vests at the beach or for weaker swimmers in pools, don't swallow pool or beach water.  Want to know more? Visit Maryland's Healthy and Safe Swimming page.
  • Food - Having a barbeque or picnic?  Keep food cold until ready to cook, serve small portions and leave the rest in the cooler, discard any perishable food left out for more than 2 hours.  Need more information? Go to the Summer and Vacations page.
  • Ticks and Mosquitoes - Don't let these guys ruin your outdoor time.  Protect yourself and your family.
    • Ticks - Use insect repellant containing DEET, avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter, check yourself for ticks after being outdoors (and your pets too).  Get more information on the CDCs Tick page.
    • Mosquitoes - Use insect repellant with DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, keep mosquitos outside by using window and door screens.  Visit the CDC Stop Mosquitoes webpage.

Maryland Raises Age for Sales of Tobacco Products and Electronic Smoking Devices 

Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation increasing the age for the sales of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices (ESDs) from 18 to 21.  Maryland’s new law covers all individuals under the age of 21, with the exception of active duty military age 18 to 20.  According to a Maryland Department of Health News Release, "approximately 780,000 Marylanders use tobacco products, most of them starting before age 21. This new law aims to protect the 255,000 Marylanders between ages 18 to 20 from developing a nicotine addiction".  

The Health Department has programs designed to help people of all ages to quit smoking.  Visit our Tobacco Control Program page or call us at 410-313-6265.  You can also find additional information about quitting tobacco at . 

The new law will take effect on October 1, 2019.

Children in Vehicles

Did You Know? 

  • A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body.Asian child in car seat
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned that on a 60° F day, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach a dangerous 110° F over the course of several hours.
  • Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in every month of the year in nearly all 50 states

Prevent Heatstroke in Cars

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, even when it's not hot outside, not even for a minute. Always lock your doors and trunks – even in your driveway. And keep your keys and key fobs out of the reach of kids.
  • Create reminders. Place something you'll need at your next stop – like a briefcase or cell phone – next to the child safety seat.  It may seem simple, but can be a helpful reminder on a chaotic day.  
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, take action. Call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations.


Measles Information & FAQsinfant with measles rash

Measles is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing.  Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It’s followed by a rash that spreads over the body. 

For more information, fact sheets and resources about Measles go to our Health Alerts and Recalls page.

Breaking the Cycle of Youth Suicide in Howard County

Youth Suicide Prevention Program Uses Multiple Tactics to Help Save Lives

Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 in 2017.  In Howard County, suicide was the leading cause of death for youth ages 15-19 between 2014-2016.  According to the Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1 in 6 high sMother and Daughter with It's OK to Ask suicide prevention campaign information teenhealthmatters.orgchool students and 1 in 5 middle school students have “seriously considered attempting suicide”. 

An evidence-based plan, accompanied by an “It’s OK to Ask” outreach campaign, encourages both youth and adults to talk openly about suicide and suicide prevention. 

Health Department staff will be working in the community to provide specialized presentations and training for those who would like to bring Youth Suicide Prevention Program components to their organizations and groups.  

It’s OK to Ask” campaign materials, additional information, resources and training are available at, or by contacting Kayla Blasher, Health Department Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator at 410-313-6240.

If you, or someone you know is in crisis, contact: 

  • Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center 24/7 at 410-531-6677 or
  • text HOME to 741741 (Crisis Text Line)

Learn suicide warning signs and get tips about how to start a conversation by visiting 

Seasonal Flu Clinics

Flu shot clinic graphic

Flu season ends June 30th.
Walk-In hours. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. No appointment necessary.
Wednesday clinics are 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Howard County Health Department 
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD  21045


 The Doctor Is In - Episode Four - Population Health: The What and The How 

The Doctor Is In logo

The fourth episode of the Health Department podcast, The Doctor Is In is now available on Howard Community College’s Dragon Digital Radio. Population Health aims to improve the health of an entire group of people by addressing the social determinants of health. More simply, this broad topic centers on improving the health outcomes of families and communities by encouraging healthy lifestyles and ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities to live a healthy life.  You can hear all of the episodes of The Doctor Is In at: 

Featured Video

The Bonavitacola Family shares their experience with opioid overdose  and how it can happen in any family.

Opioid/Heroin Overdose Prevention Training

For more information about substance use/abuse and prevention see our Behavioral Health page.  Opioid Overdose Response (Narcan) Training is now provided on a "drop-in" basis twice a month.  For questions or more information call 410-313-6202 or contact  (You must reside, work or attend school in Howard County to participate.) 


June 27, 2019 3:00-6:00 Howard County Health Department
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD  21045
July 2, 2019 3:00-6:00 Howard County Health Department
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD  21045
July 25, 2019 3:00-6:00 Howard County Health Department
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD  21045

An Opioid Overdose Response Program Information video is available for viewing online. To view, click on the following link to Opioid/Heroin Overdose Training.

Suicide Prevention App for Smart Phones


Apple App Store:

Google Play Store:


Rabies Vaccinations for Your Pets 

Ttwo female vet techs with dog on exam tablehe Howard County Health Department, in cooperation with the Animal Control and Adoption Center sponsor monthly local vaccination clinics to protect your pet from the rabies virus.  Bring your dog, cat, or ferret for a discounted vaccination the 3rd Thursday of each month.

Location:  8576 Davis Road
                  Columbia, MD 21045  
Time:  Every 3rd Thursday
    Between the hours of
12:00pm and 1:30pm

Cost: $5.00 cash or check
Payable to “Director of Finance”

•    All pets must be on a leash or in a carrier!
•    Pets must be at least 3 months of age to receive a vaccination.
•    Re-vaccinate animals by the 1 or 3 year vaccination expiration date.
•    Please bring proof of any previous vaccinations. For cats and dogs you will need a copy of the previous rabies vaccine from your veterinarian. This will allow us to document a 3 year vaccination on your new certificate.

For more information, contact:
Bureau of Environmental Health at 
(410) 313-1773
Animal Control and Adoption Center at 
(410) 313-2780

Food-borne Illnesses

Important: If you think you are sick due to eating bad food or food product, contact the Bureau of Environmental Health at 410-313-1772.  After business cartoon of a tomato inundated by bacteria hours, leave a message with your call back information and we will return your call first thing the morning of the following day.

Calendar of Events


Men's Health Month

June 4 - Marijuana Awareness & Prevention Toolkit Training for Health Educators

               Drop-in Opioid Response Training – HCHD Barton Room

June 6 - ECigarettes & Vaping-The Risks and Harmful Impacts - Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal

June 7 – Opioid Response Training - Maryland Building Industry Association Opioid Breakfast Seminar

June 8 – Korean American Wellness Day – Mount Hebron HS

               Wear Orange to Unite Against Gun Violence Event – Harpers Choice Village Center

June 10 – Mental Health First Aid Training - HCHD

June 12 – Cancer and Tobacco Coalition Meeting - HCHD (Humphrey Room)

               LBHA Meeting – HCHD (Barton Room)
June 19 - Mental Health First Aid for Veterans 

June 20 - Mental Health First Aid for Veterans
                 Portraits of Professional Caregivers Movie/Discussion – HCC

June 25Board of Health Meeting – HCHD

June 27National HIV Testing Day

Drop-In Opioid Response Training – HCHD Barton

June 29PFLAG Howard County Pride Day – Centennial Park


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