Tuesday, April 10, 2018

During National Infant Immunization Week the United States can be proud of a very successful infant vaccination protection rate.  The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.” Unfortunately, this vaccination victory weakens with age. As adults, we have the lowest vaccination rates. So how can we protect our children and ourselves? 

 Talk with your healthcare provider. After receiving a vaccination, many factors can change the actual protection a person ends up with. This is why we need to vaccinate more people to reduce the rate of illness.  Vaccination at every age is a simple and smart way to reduce contact with vaccine preventable illnesses.

 Follow the recommended vaccine schedule. An infant who receives the recommended vaccines will be protected from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases by age two!  

Travel with peace of mind. Did you know that not every country vaccinates for every illness that they could? Click here to see if your family needs extra protection for your next vacation.

Be a role model. As adults, it is just as important to make sure our vaccines are up-to-date as it is for our children. The health and well being of future generations depends on us staying healthy and not passing illnesses to children.

Protect! Give your infant the highest level of protection by continuing to follow the recommended vaccination schedule.  Encourage family and friends to get their vaccinations too.  Hopefully, we can all appreciate and expand our vaccine protection throughout our lifetime with these proactive steps.  

Good Health! Vaccinate!
Karen Plotas-McGrath, RN, BSN
Public Health Nurse

Thursday, March 22, 2018

All children need to be tested for lead at one year old and two years old.  Along with pediatricians, the Clinton County Health Department helps identify children who have lead poisoning.  When children have high lead levels I can teach families how to keep their homes clean of lead dust and what to eat to help decrease lead in the body. I can help you in person at your home or offer you information that can be mailed to you. Since it is National Nutrition Month, I have some information below that is helpful to keep you and your children healthy!

Did You Know

Eating a healthy diet could help prevent childhood lead poisoning?  A diet rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C, can help reduce the absorption of lead into the body.  Lead poisoning can cause learning, growth and behavioral problems in young children. Click here to find out the dietary recommendations for your child. 

This is How It Works

Lead dust is either inhaled, when it’s kicked-up into the air, or ingested, when objects contaminated with lead are put into the mouth.  Once lead gets into the blood stream it tricks the body into thinking it is calcium and gets absorbed into the bones, brain and nervous system. Lead is also absorbed into the body faster on an empty stomach or if the diet is high in fat.

Here’s What You Can Do

·         Identify and remove all sources of lead exposure.

·         Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before eating and before naps and bedtime.

·         Wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating.

·          Eat four to six small meals or snacks throughout the day to keep your stomach full and reduce the body’s absorption of lead.

o    Foods high in calcium:  milk or milk products, green leafy vegetables, salmon, calcium-fortified foods like tofu, orange juice and soy milk.

o   Iron rich foods: lean red meat, eggs, fortified cereals, bread, pasta, dried fruit, beans and lentils.

o   Don’t forget your Vitamin C!  It is commonly found in citrus fruits such as cantaloupe, strawberries, mangos, and melons as well as in peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.

For more information call the Clinton County Health Department at 518-565-4848 and ask to speak to a Lead Poison Prevention Program Nurse or visit http://www.clintonhealth.org/leadpoisoning.

Noreen Wolansky, RN

Registered Professional Nurse

Friday, March 9, 2018

Let's Go Further with Food

If you’re like me, you have a fridge full of leftovers that keep getting pushed to the side until finally (weeks later) they get thrown out. The guilt starts to sink in when I’m emptying containers full of food into the garbage, ultimately throwing my money away. But what I don’t always realize is that I am also contributing to the estimated 90 billion pounds or $107 billion worth of food that goes uneaten each year. For a family a four, this translates to about $1,500 worth of food wasted annually!
March is National Nutrition Month® and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is reminding us to Go Further with Food. This years theme encourages us to eat healthfully while reducing food loss and waste. With the help of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a little planning I started doing these three things to save nutrients and money. Give them a try!
1.      Make a Game Plan – meal planning is one of the best ways to save time and money. I make a list of meals for the week that include lots of healthy foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, veggies and low-fat dairy. I also choose meals that I can easily throw together on busy weeknights. Then I check my freezer and cupboards to see what ingredients I already have on hand before heading out to the grocery store. Need some recipe inspiration? Visit https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

2.      Watch It – your mind can play tricks on you, stay one step ahead and make sure you know what portion sizes are just right for you! Visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ for your personalized meal plan.

3.      Love your leftovers -  using leftovers to create delicious and nutritious meals all week long is a great way to Go Further with Food. Check http://www.clintonhealth.org/foodsafety/ to make sure you are reheating foods to safe temperatures.
Ready to have some fun?! Click here to find out if you are a MyPlate Master.

KayLeigh Raville, RD, CDN, CLC
Public Health Nutritionist

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tips and Tools for Healthy Travel

You’ve thought out every detail of your vacation and you’re dreaming about lounging on a warm sunny beach. The last thing on your mind when packing your bags is the possibility of getting sick while on vacation. Sickness can happen to anyone when traveling and certain destinations can have different risks.  
Below are a few tips, links, and mobile apps to help keep you and your family healthy while traveling.
Plan Ahead
Depending on your travel destination and planned activities, different travel vaccines and medicines may be recommended. These include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, or yellow fever to name a few. Before you hop on a plane, find out if your destination requires any travel vaccines. You can find this information by clicking here or asking your healthcare provider.   
CDC has a really cool feature on their Traveler’s Health webpage. Select where you are traveling to and the CDC will give you vaccine and medicine recommendations specific to that location. You can even click on what type of traveler you are (for example, traveling with children, traveling on a cruise ship, etc.).

Be Prepared
It’s a good idea to see a healthcare provider 4-6 weeks before your trip. Tell him or her where you are going and what activities you have planned. This way they can make health recommendations based on your destination. Also, make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines, including your flu shot. If you need any travel vaccines or certain medicines, get them before you go.

Pack to Prevent
Along with your bathing suit and toothbrush, it is good to pack:

·         Bug spray

·         Sunscreen

·         Long-sleeved shirts and long pants

·         Infant carrier mosquito net (if needed)

·         Bed net (if mosquitoes can get to where you’re sleeping).

·         Condoms

You can download the full list of what to pack here or customize your own on CDC’s TravWell mobile app.

While on Vacation
·         Avoid insect bites. Mosquitoes can spread diseases such as Zika, malaria, and dengue.

·         Apply sunscreen first, and then apply bug spray. Reapply both as directed.

·         Cover bare skin whenever possible.

·         Stay and sleep in screened-in or air conditioned rooms. Use a bed net if you’re sleeping outside.

·         Use condoms if you have sex. Zika can be passed through sex, from one infected person to another.

·         Download CDC’s Can I Eat This? mobile app to help navigate what is safe to eat and drink when traveling.

When You Get Home
If you get sick when you get home, see a healthcare provider. Tell him or her, where you traveled, what you did on your trip, how long you were gone, what you ate and drank while you were there, whether you were bitten by bugs, and any other possible exposure (sex, tattoos, piercings). It is also good to know, some infections can develop long after you return from your trip. For example, malaria can develop up to one year after exposure. 

We hope you enjoy your trip and can use these tools to help keep yourself and your family healthy!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Radon Awareness

Have you ever wondered if radon is a problem in your home? Or wondered what it is? 

Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It gets into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation and becomes trapped inside. Any home may have a radon problem including new and old homes, well-sealed or drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

How can I tell if there is radon in my home?  The only way to know if you have radon is by testing for it. Like carbon monoxide, radon is colorless and odorless. 

Why do I need to know? Radon can cause lung cancer. Levels of radon can build up over time.

Where is radon found?  Radon may be in your home, workplace, daycare, and schools. As radon builds up, risk of developing lung cancer increases. Radon in your home is a significant concern because that is where most people spend most of their time.

Is it difficult or costly to test for radon?  The tests are inexpensive and take only a few minutes to set up and complete. 

If I have a radon issue, how do I fix it?  Radon reduction systems can reduce radon by 99%.  The first step however is to know whether or not you have a radon problem.

How can I get a free radon test kit?  Contact the Clinton County Healthy Neighborhoods Program at 518-565-4870 to schedule a home visit. The Healthy Neighborhoods Program addresses a variety of indoor air quality concerns including radon. Free radon test kits and other home safety products are available based upon your household’s needs.  For more information about this free service, check out our website www.clintonhealth.org/healthyneighborhoods.

Find additional radon information at www.epa.gov/radon.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Doorknobs, countertops, keyboards, phones…the list of things we touch that may be covered in germs is endless. Would you like to know the secret to staying healthy this winter? WASH YOUR HANDS! Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.

Why is handwashing so important? People often touch their eyes, nose and mouth without realizing it, allowing germs to enter their bodies. Germs from unwashed hands can get into food and drinks when people prepare or consume them, and they can also be transferred to other objects (such as doorknobs, tables or toys). By washing your hands properly, at key times throughout the day, you can stop the spread of germs, keeping yourself and your family healthy this winter.

Tips to remember:
1.      Soap is a must. Washing your hands with soap is more effective than using water alone. Surfactants, the compounds in soap, help to “lift off” or remove soil and microbes (germs) from your skin. People also tend to scrub their hands more thoroughly when using soap, which helps to remove more germs.
2.      Hot or cold? It doesn’t matter. The temperature of the water doesn’t appear to affect microbe (germ) removal. Germs are essentially being “lifted off” your hands with soap and manual labor (scrubbing), and rinsed down the drain by running water.
3.      Don’t sell yourself short. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end.
4.      Be thorough. Clean all areas of your hands, including often missed spots like the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails.
5.      Hand sanitizer is an option. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Use enough sanitizer to cover all surfaces of your hands, and don’t rinse or wipe it off before it’s dry. Hand sanitizer may not kill all germs, especially if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

To read more visit http://www.clintonhealth.org/handwashing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How to Keep your Child's Smile Healthy:

Healthy gums and teeth are important for your child’s overall health. It’s important to start thinking about good oral health even before your little one has any teeth. A few days after your baby is born, start wiping their gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. This helps remove plaque that can harm teeth about to come in. At the first sign of a tooth coming through gently brush your little ones teeth with a child’s size toothbrush. Moisten the toothbrush with water and use toothpaste that contains fluoride. (There is no need to wait until the age of two anymore). It is also time to schedule their first dental visit. The American Dental Association recommends that your child’s first dental visit should be within 6 months after their first tooth appears, and no later than their first birthday.

For children younger than three years, help your child brush and use no more than a smear (the size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste containing fluoride. Brush their teeth two times a day (morning and night) or as directed by a physician or dentist. For children three to six years of age, you can use a pea sized amount. Continue to help your child at this age, and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, this is the time to start flossing every day.

Fluoride varnish is another safe way to protect your little ones teeth. It helps prevent cavities, and can stop cavities that have already started. The varnish is painted on at a doctor’s office or a dentist’s office. Last year, Clinton County Health Department partnered with all three of the large pediatric practices in Clinton County. Now all three pediatric practices offer fluoride varnish treatments. The next time you see your child’s doctor or dentist ask about fluoride varnish.

For more information follow these links.