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.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Your Child's First Three Years

Children’s brains grow most rapidly in the first three years of life. Parents can support their baby’s language and thinking skills starting from day one! Read and talk with your baby, even if he doesn’t talk back yet. You are his first and most influential teacher - you will always know your child best.

Many parents can’t resist comparing their child to other children at daycare or in the neighborhood. Don’t worry – most children gain the skills needed to be successful in life, but they don’t all master skills at the same age.

Developmental skills or milestones happen over a range of age: sitting up alone 6-8 months; walking 12-15 months; and saying Mama & Dada between 9- 12 months. These are averages and some children may be younger or older. More information on development can be found on the zerotothree.org website where you can get updates regularly on what to expect based on your child’s age with suggestions of activities to help encourage new skills.

The Clinton County Health Department offers free developmental screenings the afternoon of the 4th Monday of each month on a walk-in basis. More information is available at www.clintonhealth.org/specialneeds

If your child is between birth and 3 years and you would like a formal evaluation, you can call the Health Department (518-565-4848) and request a referral to the Early Intervention Program (EIP). A no-cost evaluation by a multidisciplinary team can tell you if your child is eligible for services and supports through the Early Intervention program.

Services can be provided at home, at daycare or in the community. These services can help you and your family learn the best ways to care for your child, support & promote your child’s development, and include your child in family & community activities. Services are free, voluntary, and family centered. The purpose of EIP is to help you help your child learn and develop.

Parents and professionals working together to help babies and toddlers develop and learn. Call 518-565-4848 for more information on the Early Intervention Program.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Immunizations – How to Keep it Together
The end of summer is here and many parents are shuffling around in a panic trying to figure out if their children are up to date with required school vaccines. But don’t worry, there’s a great tool in New York State which stores your family vaccinations in one place, it’s called the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS).

Ask your health care providers if they are part of NYSIIS.  If they are not, and you want all of your family’s immunization records loaded into one electronic registry with NYS, contact the Clinton County Health Department at 518 565-4848. We’d be happy to help you!

NYSIIS makes it easy for you and your doctor to:

ü  Make sure you and your family are up to date with the recommended vaccines,

ü  Review at each medical appointment, no matter the location – primary care provider, emergency room, specialist, or vaccine clinic, and

ü  Replace lost vaccine records.

To learn more about the vaccines you might be missing and for more tips on how to keep it together, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/vaccines-age.html    

Good Health to you!

Friday, September 8, 2017

How Climate Change Affects Children:

Many common daily activities such as driving a car, using electricity, heating and cooling buildings requires burning of fossil fuels. These activities have increased levels of greenhouse gases in the air which is changing the planet’s climate. Climate change is affecting many things, including children’s health and safety.  
Rising Temperatures: Leads to more heat waves, children can be affected by increased temperatures, especially infants and athletes.

Extreme weather:  Leads to a rise in bad storms, floods and stronger wildfires.  This can lead to dirty water, loss of homes and communities, and more air pollution.  This puts children’s safety and health at risk as well as their mental wellbeing.
Air Quality: A rise in pollution and allergens can increase allergy related illnesses, and cause breathing problems, especially in children with asthma.
Mosquitos and Ticks: Changes in rain, length of the warm season, and differences in temperature can cause a change in mosquito and tick behavior, this leads to an increase in diseases such as Lyme disease, Zika Virus, Malaria, and West Nile Virus.

Water and foodborne illnesses:  Dirty water and spoiled food can cause people to become sick. These types of diseases, like diarrhea, are known to increase when outdoor temperature rises or immediately following storms or floods. Children are especially at risk for these illnesses due to their developing immune systems.
Access to food: In some parts of the world, climate change has already led to less food and less healthy food.

The good news is that each of us can take steps to lower the human impact on climate change and protect children’s health:

      1. Know your carbon footprint: Your carbon footprint is a measure of the greenhouse gases that you produce through activities that burn fossil fuels.  Using less energy and reducing waste can reduce your carbon footprint. You can calculate your carbon footprint and learn how to take action to reduce it here: https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/

      2. Cut down use of fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal and increase use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

     3.  Walk, or bike whenever possible.

To learn more visit:


Let’s work together to leave the world a better, healthier, safer place- and give our children a better, healthier, safer future.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

It Takes a Village

Although World Breastfeeding Week has come and gone and National Breastfeeding Month is coming to an end, we all have a role to play in supporting breastfeeding families year-round. Chances are, at some point, each of us will know a mom who wants to breastfeed to keep herself and her baby healthy, it might be your daughter, sister, wife, neighbor, employee or friend.
In 2015, 75% of Clinton County babies started off breastfeeding but by the time their 1st birthday came around that number dropped to just over 20%. We know that moms can face barriers along their breastfeeding journey so the Clinton County Breastfeeding Coalition set out to remove some of those obstacles to helps moms reach their goals while normalizing breastfeeding in the community.

Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign - Members are recruiting local restaurants to display a Breastfeeding Welcome Here decal on their front door to do their part to support breastfeeding in the community. So far we have 13 restaurants participating, but we are always looking for more! If you own a business or would like to get a decal for your favorite restaurant just give us a call 518-565-4993. 


Pharmacy Toolkits - The coalition also conducted mini focus groups with local pharmacists and learned that they received very little training in school about breastfeeding and medication and would benefit from additional resources. We created toolkits to assist with counseling breastfeeding mothers. The kit includes a copy of Dr. Thomas Hale’s book, Medication and Mother’s Milk, a link to an online resource, LactMed, as well as a telephone number to call. We also provided each pharmacy with a small sign letting patients know the pharmacist could help if they had a question about breastfeeding while taking prescription or over the counter (OTC) medications. 

The take away is this: a little bit of encouragement from each of us can go a long way. The professional work we do to support moms is important, but changing the culture happens with the whole community!

To see what breastfeeding looks like in Clinton County visit: http://www.clintonhealth.org/pdf%20files/CCProfilesInPublicHealthFall2013.pdf