Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's Biting You?

Summer in the Adirondacks is finally here. It’s time to enjoy all that our beautiful region has to offer, from activities at the lake, walks on one of our many local trails, to hiking our scenic mountains. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year that pests like ticks and mosquitoes are most common. Aside from being annoying, infected ticks and mosquitoes can spread diseases. Lyme disease and West Nile virus (WNV) are two of the more common tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses in our community. PREVENTION is your best defense to keep yourself and your family healthy.

Take the following steps to prevent tick and mosquito bites:
·         Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent that contains 20-30% DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
·         Cover your skin as much as possible. Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
·         Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
·         Cover baby carriers and strollers with mosquito netting when outside.
·         Treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
·         Take a shower as soon as you can after coming indoors to wash away unattached ticks.
·         Look for ticks on your body. Young ticks are usually the size of a poppy seed, while adult ticks are about the size of a sesame seed. Ticks often hide under the armpits, behind the knees, in the hair, at the waistline, and in the groin.
·         Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.

Watch the video below for instructions on what to do if you find a tick. We hope that you and your family enjoy a long, beautiful, healthy, pest-free summer. (


For more information on ticks visit, and for more information on mosquitoes visit

Friday, June 9, 2017

Community Design with Health in Mind

On Thursday May 18th, 2017 the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant hosted a Complete Streets workshop, Community Design with Health in Mind, featuring Mark Fenton. Mr. Fenton is a nationally recognized public health, planning, and transportation consultant. 40 people attended with representation from many different fields including Town Supervisors and Board Members, school professionals, Town and City Planners, Engineers, Program Directors, community members and more. The day started with a keynote presentation of Mark sharing proven approaches and best practices, with a focus on Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School using local examples. Mark led the group on a walking audit around the City of Plattsburgh, stressing the importance of the 3 P’s; prosperity, people and the planet.  Mark showed the group how to identify areas for improvement in their own communities and use this knowledge to address issues and implement solutions.

Mark Fenton leading a walking audit in the City of Plattsburgh.

For more information about Creating Healthy Schools and Communities or Complete Streets visit
For more information about Mark Fenton visit

Friday, May 12, 2017

Make School Meals Great Again?

If you are like me, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's school meal program announcement came as a shock.  After doing a little research, the changes aren’t nearly as dramatic as they seem at face value. The new proclamation gives states control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium and milk. The rest (the meat and potatoes if you will) of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA) nutrition standards remain untouched. Here’s the inside scoop:

·         Whole Grains – Since many schools are finding it hard to obtain whole-grain rich products and prepare them in a way that is appealing to students, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “will allow states to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in serving 100 percent of grain products as whole-grain rich for School Year 2017-2018”. This system has actually been in place since the 2015 appropriations bill.

·         Sodium – We all know that too much sodium can negatively impact our health (if you didn’t know; now you do!). To this end, the HHFKA requires schools to gradually (over 10 years) reduce the amount of sodium in school meals. A mandated sodium reduction was set to take effect July 1, 2017 however; the new proclamation states that schools do not have to meet this reduction until 2020.

·         Milk –Schools can now offer 1% flavored milk to students. This is a change since schools can currently only offer flavored milk that is fat-free and unflavored low-fat milk.

The take away message – it is going to take longer for schools to fully meet the HHFKA nutrition standards. In the meantime the USDA is working to implement long term solutions and provide technical assistance to school districts so they can better comply with the nutrition standards.

For more information on the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA):

Friday, May 5, 2017

Drinking Water Awareness Week

Are you a water-waster? Although 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, our water supply is actually very limited. 97% of Earth’s water is salt water or unusable and 2% is permanently frozen, leaving only 1% available for human needs. It is up to us to conserve what is left. May 7 - 13, 2017 is the American Water Works Association’s annual Drinking Water Awareness Week, which is a perfect opportunity to recognize the importance of water. This year’s local focus is water conservation; here are a few tips:

In the kitchen:
·         Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
·         If washing dishes by hand, plug the sink or use a wash basin instead of running water the entire time.
·         Scrape your plate instead of rinsing it before loading it into the dishwasher. Not rinsing dishes prior to loading the dishwasher can save up to 10 gallons of water per load.
·         Run the dishwasher only when it’s full.
·         Try composting instead of using the garbage disposal.
In the bathroom:
·         Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving. This alone can save a household more than 200 gallons of water per month.
·         Install a water-saving shower head.
·         Take a 5 minute shower instead of an 8 minute shower. This can save 7 gallons of water with EVERY shower.
·         Fix leaky appliances. Check for a toilet tank leak by adding a drop of food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 10 minutes. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.
In the laundry room:
·         Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
·         The next time you purchase a washing machine, try a water-saving model.
·         Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
·         Collect rainwater to re-use for irrigation and watering.
·         Only water the lawn or garden when rainfall isn’t enough. In general, lawns only need up to one inch of water per week, including rainfall. Shrubs, trees and other perennials need even less.
It is up to us to conserve our water supplies. By making these tips every day habits, you can make a difference.

“Water: To know it is to love it.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April is Autism Awareness Month

Pam Lefebvre, RN
The goal of Autism awareness month is to educate as many people as possible about signs of Autism. Through my previous work in the Early Intervention Program, I know that early diagnosis combined with intensive therapy leads to the most promising outcomes.  Parents I worked with, noticed positive changes in their child’s development, and I personally witnessed the changes myself.  When Autism is diagnosed early, children and families can get the resources, training, and support they need to help them prepare for the future. 

What is Autism?Autism, also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is often diagnosed in early childhood.  People with ASD communicate, learn, behave, and interact with their surroundings differently.  No two people with ASD are the same which can result in a misunderstanding of ASD.  Signs of ASD begin early in childhood and usually last throughout a person’s life. 

What causes ASD?We don’t know exactly what causes autism, but research indicates that a combination of genetics and environmental factors are contributing factors.

What are some signs of ASD in a child?
·        Delay or absence of words
·        Loss of words or skills they once had
·        Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
·        Not responsive to others’ facial expressions or feelings
·        May be interested in people, but doesn’t know how to talk, play, or relate to them
·        Unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
·        Rejects being held cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
·        Does not point to objects to show interest
·        Repeats actions over and over again
·        Difficulty with changes in routine

What can I do if I think my child has ASD?Talk to your child’s doctor if you are concerned about the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts. If your child is under 3 years, contact us at Early Intervention Program at 565-4848 to make a referral for a developmental evaluation or schedule a free developmental screening.  For more information check out our website
For more detailed information about developmental milestones visit  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week is a celebration in the power of prevention, advocating for healthy and fair policies, sharing strategies for successful partnerships, and championing the role of a strong public health system.

Help us celebrate and check out why Public Health is so important at the National Public Health Week website.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hot off the Press: The 2017 Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan

Health Department and Hospital representatives discuss the CHA on WIRY.
For the past year, CCHD and UVHN-CVPH have been working with community health partners to complete the Clinton County Community Health Assessment (CHA) and the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).  While these documents are required by NYSDOH, the practice allows the community to develop a shared plan for community health improvement.  The process for creating these documents involves collecting and interpreting health data as well as securing resident and stakeholder input. With this information, local health priorities are then determined. 

This community health assessment differed notably from past experiences.  First off, health data is now more accessible than ever.  National, state and other public data portals offered easy, quick access to many health metrics.  Data contributed by local organizations was also included.  In addition, community residents were surveyed regarding health issues they felt were important to them and to their communities.  Their input was used in selecting health priorities and designing activities for the new health improvement plan.  With this input, community health partners voted to adjust the course… slightly.  The featured priority areas are now: Prevent Chronic Disease and Promote Mental Health and Prevent Substance Abuse.

The CHA and CHIP are available for viewing and input at  in the “Statistical Data” section.