Thursday, March 7, 2019

Breaking Down the Amazing Stages & Ages of Infant/Toddler Development

Have you ever thought about all the amazing things you discovered to do in your first three years of life?  As an infant or toddler, we learned how to roll over, sit up independently, crawl, stand, cruise, walk and use language to communicate. We all learned and developed at different points in those first 36 months. You may have figured out how to walk first, while your older sister may have learned to talk first. The same thing is happening right now with our own little ones…no two are exactly alike in terms of meeting those developmental milestones! Want to learn more?

Monthly Screenings:
The Children’s Developmental Services Office at the Health Department offers FREE developmental screenings for children under 3 years old. A simple screening gives you an opportunity to find out if your child is on the right developmental track.
An example of a free developmental screening
The Early Intervention Program:
Sometimes a child’s developmental progress doesn’t go as expected and they might need some extra help in the form of early intervention to help them meet their milestones. The Early Intervention Program (EIP) assists parents in making the most of their child’s development by offering free services and easy strategies to use at home.

Is My Child Eligible?
If you have an infant or toddler who has not yet turned 3 years old and has one of the following, he or she is eligible!

  • A significant developmental delay or

  • A diagnosed condition likely to lead to a significant developmental delay

Does My Child’s Doctor Have to Refer Us?
No! Parents or guardians can make a referral directly by calling us at (518) 565-4848 and asking to speak with an Early Intervention Specialist. You do NOT need a doctor to refer you to the EIP. 

For more information on your children’s all important developmental ages and stages, please click here.  And don’t forget, you are your child’s first and best teacher!!

Melissa Fuller
Children’s Services Program Specialist
Health Care Services Division

Thursday, February 21, 2019

10 Tips to Stay Well

We asked Clinton County Health Department (CCHD) staff for their advice on staying well during this long winter stretch. They answered the call in droves and we have created our top 10 Tips to Stay Well. Follow all of the tips or focus on one; they are as unique as we are!

Wash your hands
Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry. Whether you are sick or not, wash your hands often, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Good hand hygiene can help protect you, your family and others against the spread of germs this flu season.
Get fresh air
We spend 90% of our life indoors but getting outside can have a positive effect on our physical and mental health. Sunshine boosts your vitamin D levels and the light can improve your mood. Spending time outdoors may also help to improve your concentration. And you can’t beat the view! Bundle up and explore the North Country this winter.

Stay physically active
“I don’t have time. It’s too expensive. I’m tired. It’s too cold” The excuses keep coming. Only half of adults are meeting the guidelines for physical activity. In addition to preventing chronic illnesses, exercise can improve your mental health and sleep patterns. This is especially important during the winter months, as we tend to be less active. Any amount of physical activity can benefit your health; move more, sit less. Drop your excuses – utilize breaks in your day, no matter how short, to get your body moving.

Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water during the day whether at work or play. The amount of water you consume each day can play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue, decrease alertness and concentration. Pick out a fun, reusable bottle and start hydrating today!

Stay curious
Lifelong learning is good for your health. You should exercise your brain just as you would exercise your muscles. Keeping your brain active may help reduce your risk of developing dementia. Feeling stuck inside this winter? Pick up a new hobby, learn a new language or take a class that interests you.

Get your flu shot
A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu shot each year. Not only can it reduce flu illnesses, it also reduces doctors’ visits, and missed work or school due to flu. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, it’s not too late! As long as the flu virus is still circulating, you can get yourself, or your family, vaccinated. Talk to your doctor today.
Eat your fruits and veggies
Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers. Make sure to eat a rainbow; different colored fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients important to your body’s overall health. These antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will help keep your immune system fine-tuned for fighting off all the germs circulating this time of year.

Laugh more
Laughter is the best medicine! It can brighten and lighten your day as well as relieve stress and soothe tension. Over time it can even improve your immune system and relieve pain. If life gets you down, try to find a bit of humor in it. Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Surround yourself with positive people and reminders to stay positive.

Cover your cough
Coughing and sneezing? Keep your germs to yourself by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue handy, cough into your elbow. Always wash your hands immediately after. If you do get sick, stay home to prevent spreading your illness to others.

Wear sunscreen
Even during the winter, it takes only 15 minutes for the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage your skin. Snow reflects the sun’s rays, which can increase your chance of getting burned. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside all year long.

Stay well this winter!

CCHD Staff

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Snowball - A Celebration of Winter in the North Country

As we settle into winter in the North Country, below zero temperatures and heavy snowfalls may cause the dreaded cabin fever. Are you finding your once cozy walls are closing in? Never fear, dear North Country families…for the SNOWBALL is HERE! 
Snowball is a collection of free or low cost family friendly activities that area agencies, wellness centers, museums, and towns offer to families throughout the month of February. Take a peek at the calendar and find all of the fun events along with the dates, times and details. Here are some highlights that I am sure you and your family will enjoy:
·         Point Au Roche State Park’s Family Nature Program, Little Explorer’s Program, and their Nature Center Open House will open your eyes to the beauty of the North Country. 
·         No plans to travel but longing for the beach?  Check out Friday night swimming at the CVPH Wellness Center
·         Do your youngsters need to get the winter wiggles out? The Child Care Council and Plattsburgh City Rec Department’s weekly Wee Family Gym Time should do the trick!
·          For 4- 8 year olds, Mountain Lake PBS is introducing the new children’s show, Let’s Go Luna, with crafts and activities. 
·         Turn off the electronics and get brains active with Science Tuesday at Kid’s Station Children's Museum, or choose a free book at a special edition of Journey Into Reading, Snowballs & Reading, at the Champlain Centre Mall
·         Hit the links at the Plattsburgh Public Library for some Winter Wonderland Mini Golf! 
·         Enjoy some culture by attending a performance from The Champlain Valley Irish Dancers, or partake in an art program at the Strand Theatre
·         Get ready to howl at the moon when the Town of Plattsburgh and Clinton County Youth Bureau team up to offer a Full Moon Snowshoe and Cross Country Ski. Can’t make it to the Full Moon Party? No problem, there are two more dates to Snowshoe and Ski with the whole family!
·         Is tubing more your style? The Child Care Coordinating Council and Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan are hosting a family tubing night at Beartown Ski Area, complete with hot cocoa and snacks. 
·         Drumroll please…for the Snowball 2019 finale please join us for a hilarious, interactive Completely Stranded Family Comedy Event, sponsored by the Clinton County District Attorney’s Child Advocacy Center & Berkshire Farms
With generous support from Plattsburgh Pediatrics, we were able to print and provide North Country schoolchildren with a Snowball Calendar of their very own, so look for those in your child’s back pack soon. 
See you at SNOWBALL 2019!
Juliette Lynch,
Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Seconds Count: Home Heating Tips from your Local Fire Departments

Volunteers from the West Chazy Fire Department work on extinguishing a house fire.
The holiday rush is over and we are settling into the New Year, full of resolutions and ambitions. Along with my health related resolutions (come on, we all have them…don’t we?), I am adding a few home safety improvements to my list. After hearing of multiple home fires over the past few weeks I decided to reach out to our local fire departments to answer some of my burning questions (see what I did there?) and get expert advice to share with you. 

I found out that residential fires tend to peak in January according to the U.S. Fire Administration. When asked what causes most of these fires in the North Country our local fire departments overwhelmingly responded with improperly maintained heating systems.  Jason Goodspeed, Volunteer Firefighter with the West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department explains “The chimney and flue’s function is to carry dangerous gasses from your fireplace, woodstove or furnace safely out of your home. When the gases exit the fireplace or wood stove creosote can stick to and build up in your chimney. If the chimney doesn’t get inspected and cleaned each year a buildup of creosote will cause fire combustion inside the chimney which can spread into your home.” Ryan Sponable, Firefighter and Paramedic at the City of Plattsburgh Fire Department says that furnaces should be treated like chimneys – regularly maintained and inspected. 
 Creosote build up.

I have a woodstove at home, to extinguish my fears (sorry, I can't help myself) of a chimney fire, I make sure to schedule a yearly inspection and cleaning with a certified chimney sweep professional. I also have a small space heater that I use occasionally but have heard some scary stories about those so I asked the professionals their thoughts on firing up space heaters. Dereck Fleming, Lieutenant of Cumberland Head Volunteer Fire Department, says that “Space heaters can be useful, but make sure the heater is at least 3 feet away from anything flammable, like curtains or bedding. Make sure they are shut off when leaving the room and that they cannot be easily tipped over. Roughly two thirds of all heating related fires are caused by space heaters.” One big problem that the City of Plattsburgh Fire Department sees is people overloading power strips. Both Ryan and Dan Dumas, Fire Chief at the Mooers Volunteer Fire Department, echo that if you are using a space heater it should be plugged directly into a properly sized outlet, without the use of extension cords or power strips.

Overloaded power strip resulting in an electrical fire.

Just like we focus on prevention here at the Health Department, our local fire departments want you to practice fire prevention at home. The number one way to do this is to have a fire escape plan and practice it! Fire Chief Dumas reminds us that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are proven life savers and should be tested each and every month. Batteries should be replaced 1-2 times each year, or as needed. When I asked where these life saving devices should be installed Firefighter Goodspeed responded “According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke alarms need to be installed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Remember, seconds count.”  

Another topic of discussion was fire extinguishers. It turns out the most common type of fire extinguisher in homes is a multipurpose extinguisher labeled as ABC but Firefighter Goodspeed reminds us to take into account the type of materials in the immediate area and select the appropriate extinguisher for your needs. Firefighter/Paramedic Sponable said it is recommended to have at least 2 fire extinguishers on the first floor and at least 1 on the second floor. He adds that the kitchen, laundry room and garage tend to be where fire extinguishers are needed the most and that there is a push to start having them located in bedrooms and patios as well. Fire Chief Dumas says “Remember, fires spread very quickly and a call to 911 should always be placed so the fire department can be sure the fire is extinguished and has not spread. When in doubt, get out and call 911!”

The Clinton County Health Department’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program can help keep your home and family fire safe by providing education and safety products. The best news – it’s FREE for anyone in Clinton County. Give us a call to set up a visit: 518-565-4870.

Let’s recap, that was a lot of (awesome) information to digest. Here’s the cliff notes version:  

  • Have a fire escape plan and practice it!
  • Properly maintain your heating system and schedule regular cleanings and inspections with certified companies. 
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from flammable materials, do not leave them unattended and plug them directly into an outlet. Do not use with extension cords or power strips.
  • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed in appropriate locations, test them each month and replace batteries at least 1-2 times a year. 
  • Taking into account the type of materials in the immediate area, purchase and install appropriate fire extinguishers on every level of your home. Generally, the first floor should have at least 2 extinguishers. 

Some other safety tips generously provided by The City of Plattsburgh Fire Department: 
  • NEVER run a generator inside. 
  • It is recommended to sleep with your bedroom door shut. This allows extra time to escape and prevents harmful gases and heat from entering your bedroom. 
  • Never open a door if the knob is hot to touch. If you are unable to escape put clothing or towels at the bottom of the door to prevent gases and heat from entering. Call 911 and open windos to alert first responders of your location. 
  • Always clean lint from your dryer.
Special thanks to:
  • Dan Dumas, Fire Chief, Mooers Volunteer Fire Department
  • Dereck Fleming, Lieutenant of Cumberland Head Volunteer Fire Department
  • Ryan Sponable, Firefighter/Paramedic, City of Plattsburgh Fire Department
  • Jason Goodspeed, Firefighter, West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department
Here’s to a happy and safe New Year!

KayLeigh Raville
Public Health Nutritionist
Health Planning and Promotion Division