The Health Department Celebrates National Public Health Week with a Health Expo

The Flu Season Continues

The Flu virus is spread by direct contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces or objects.

The best defense against the flu is to get the flu shot (see below). There are everyday actions you can take to stop the spread of germs:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated witCold vs. Fluh germs like the flu.

Unfortunately, there is still a chance you can get the flu. Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the influenza virus and include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat.

If you believe you are ill with the flu :

  • First contact your primary care doctor or health care provider for management of flu symptoms or treatment of any complications.
  • Get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often.
  • Stay home if you are sick

Walk-In Flu Vaccination Clinics 

The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from becoming ill with the influenza (flu). Yearly vaccinations are important because the strains of influenza that circulate change over time. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months . It is especially important for people who are at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease including:

  • Children younger than 5 years old,
  • People 65 and older,
  • Pregnant women,
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,
  • People of any age with chronic medical conditions
  • People undergoing therapy or with a condition that may weaken their immune systems.

The newly scheduled clinics are Walk-In.  No appointment necessary.  There is NO cost! 
Flu vaccine is thimerisol-free.  Pediatric doses are limited. Vaccine is for those ages 6 months and up. For questions or more information, call 410-313-7500

Flu Clinic Schedule
 Clinic Date
Time Location
Monday - Friday
March - June 2017
Health Department
Columbia Health Center
8930 Stanford Blvd
Columbia, MD  21045

Cold Weather Tips to Keep You Safe

Forecasts have indicated weather with temperatures that may yield cold that can be dangerous after periods of exposure if precautions are not taken. Some of the dangers associated with winter weather include hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and injuries from heat sources.

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.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol or drugs while out in the cold. (See article about why alcohol, drugs and cold don't mix)
  • If you are in need of shelter, call Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center at (410) 531-6006.
  • 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 for CO poisoning prevention tips
  • Do not forget about pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association has great tips for all of our four-legged family members. Visit for more.
  • Vehicles should contain items such as heavy blankets, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and a snow shovel. More information about cold weather preparedness for your vehicle may be found at

Be sure to check on the well-being of neighbors, family and friends during this cold snap.  As with any other emergency, citizens should call 9-1-1 if they encounter a cold-related emergency.


Suicide Prevention App for Smart Phones

(Click above to get more information about the app.)

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Rabies Vaccinations for Your Pets
The 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 12pm 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

Opioid Overdose: A Story of Sisters Taylor and Kylie.

After a heroin overdose Kylie is left without a sister and only memories.

Opioid/Heroin Overdose Prevention Training

For more information on substance use/abuse and prevention see our Behavioral Health page

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

Location More Information
Monday, March 27, 2017 9:30 a.m.
HCHD 8930 Stanford Blvd. 
Columbia, MD 21045
Call 410-313-6202 to register or for additional information

Foodborne 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 hours, leave a message with your call back information and we will return your call first thing the morning of the following day.

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