Sunday, September 15, 2019

How to Nourish Your Way to Victory!

Cooler weather, new school schedules, and back-to-school shopping. Aside from buying the coolest new clothes and shoes, have you thought about what you’ll buy to nourish your children’s bodies every day? Proper  nutrition is essential for all students, especially athletes. Pop quiz! What are the 5 food groups that everyone should include in their diets? If you answered protein, fruit, vegetable, dairy, and grains- you are right! Over the years I have learned how to change my diet so that I can perform at my absolute best in the gym. Here are a few tips on how you can help your kids do the same this year.

They say it’s the “most important meal of the day.” As it turns out, there is some truth behind this old saying and here are a few reasons why.

·         After a full night of rest and no eating, it’s important to refuel your empty tank to kick-start your day.

·         The brain uses 20% of the body’s total energy (or glucose, if we are getting technical). Just like an empty stomach early in the morning, the brain needs to be fed and recharged in order to prepare for the day ahead. If I miss breakfast, I feel foggy and find it hard to concentrate.

·         Starting the day with all 5 food groups puts you one step closer to reaching your MyPlate Plan.


Pre-workout or pre-game snacks should focus mainly on carbohydrates. That’s because they can be easily turned into energy (glucose) during exercise. Adding in some protein is also a good idea. Some of my favorite snacks are:

  •  Banana and a PB&J;
  • Yogurt with granola;
  • Apple with peanut (or any nut) butter.
Lunch and Dinner:

Lunch time is when energy (or, you guessed it, glucose) is put into storage to be used later. Dinner is the time to re-fuel after a hard practice or game. Eating right after exercising is the perfect way to help rebuild and recover muscles. For strong and lean muscles try these recipes:
  •         Turkey pinwheels (on whole wheat wraps) for a great game-day lunch;
  •      Tuna wraps to spice up your lunch and keep you full and focused;
  •      Mediterranean Orzo for a quick and satisfying post-game dinner.

Don’t forget about hydration!

The human body’s thirst reflex is 2 cups behind. This means that when someone feels thirsty, they are already dehydrated. It is important to drink water all day long. Follow these hydration tips on the day of a big game or practice:

·         Drink at least 1-2 cups of water every hour, 2-3 hours leading up to an event;
·         Drink 1 of water cup 15 minutes before the start of the event;
·         Drink ½ cup of water every 15 minutes during the event.
TRUE OR FALSE: The number one reason athletes underperform is because they don’t drink
enough water….TRUE! Our bodies can’t absorb more than 4 cups of water per hour but during intense exercise we can sweat out 4 or more cups per hour! Have your kids stay ahead of the game by keeping them hydrated all day long.

What about sports drinks?

You know, those brightly colored drinks full of carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes, and sugar? They are all the rage recently. You can find them in school vending machines, in coolers at sporting events, and in our refrigerators at home. But are sports drinks really needed? Probably not, except when exercising hard for over an hour. If this is the case, choose a sports drink with no more than 80 calories, minimal added sugar, and drink it in combination with water.
Most importantly:

Have fun! Staying involved in sports is a great way for kids to stay active and build valuable life skills like leadership, confidence, and teamwork. Staying properly nourished and hydrated will make getting through practices and games all the more

Emily Hutchins
Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
Division of Health Planning & Promotion

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Preparing our Youth…Where Do We Start?

September is not only the beginning of a new school year, but it is also National Preparedness Month! Preparing for emergencies and disasters can be challenging enough when you are only planning for yourself.  Add kids into the mixture and it becomes much more complicated. While there are a LOT of topics to cover, let’s focus on two areas and talk about how to get the kids involved. They are our future after all! 😀
  • Discuss potential emergencies that could occur

My 4 year old son is becoming quite aware of all kinds of alarms, everything from car alarms to smoke alarms.  Although he may not know the ins and outs of every alarm he is definitely curious and says, “Dad, tell me all about them!”

So, where do we start? Every family should have a family emergency plan. If you don’t have one yet…put one together and practice, practice, practice (with the kids of course!). We should also be teaching our kiddos some basic information at an early age, things like:
  • Their home address, phone number, and YOUR full name,
  • How and when to call 911,
  • Who to contact if they cannot reach you (names, phone numbers, and addresses),
  •  Where your family meeting place is

I don’t know about your little ones but my son is right there to “help” me whenever he gets a chance! Including kids in the preparation activities is a great way to teach them what to do during emergencies. They love to help so let’s use that energy to our advantage!  Keep in mind that our kits should fit in a backpack. Use these lists to begin making a kit and then have the kids gather things like:
  •  Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Toys, books, games, etc.
  • Food
  • Flashlights and radios

Play this fun game to help them decide which items to choose. Fun Fact – it might even be a little challenge for adults!

If something happens, it will probably be scary for your kids.  Keep in mind; it is okay to tell them you are scared too. Preparing for emergencies BEFORE they happen will take some of those worries away.  Remember that during playtime, children can pretend to be superheroes but when disaster strikes…you are the superhero they need because you will be prepared!

Mark Lafountain
Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Administration Division

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Happenings at CCHD: Director of Public Health

John Kanoza, Director of Public Health 
After working for 14 years in the private sector as a consulting environmental engineer/hydrogeologist I decided it was time for a switch. I was looking to set aside the #1 goal of “making money for the company” in favor of helping people and communities. In September of 2002 I accepted the position of Director/Engineer of Environmental Health & Safety here at the Clinton County Health Department (CCHD) where I served for 15 years. Fast forward to 2017. Our previous Director of Public Health, Jerie Reid, announced she would be retiring in October 2017. She recommended that I consider applying for the position. The thought of this took me by surprise but I figured since we have a very solid and experienced department I could become a successful Director over time. And here I am!

Though I do miss the engineering and problem solving work that I did as Director/Engineer of the Environmental Health & Safety Division, I have found that my role as Director of Public Health also includes a variety of problem solving tasks (of a different nature, but problem solving none the less J).  As well as doing everything possible to network and expand our many public health objectives I sincerely enjoy my daily interaction with department staff.

So, what else do I do all day?
·         Check on and attend to specific division, program and department needs. Our department has 5 different divisions and over 20 different programs/grants...this is a never ending task.
·         Answer requests from our Board of Health and County Legislature.
·         Chip away at our Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and Community Health Assessment (CHA)…see what I did there?
·         Protect residents from potential health harms. See an example here.

Our field of Public Health is no doubt very strong. Based on new and changing risks to public health, it appears very likely that the need for public health professionals will only increase in the future. Over the last 17 years, I have grown to enjoy focusing on the single BIG objective of keeping our residents and community healthy and safe every day.

John M. Kanoza, P.E., P.G.
Director of Public Health
Clinton County Health Department 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Paddle with Me

In my previous life I spent many days on the Saranac River as a paddling instructor. Paddling can be a fun and exciting life-long sport - if you practice it correctly! With some help from my friends at the Town of Plattsburgh Parks & Recreation Department, I have some quick tips to make your next paddle one to remember.

Wear a Life Jacket
Life jackets, or PDFs (personal floatation devices), are the most critical piece of safety equipment to have no matter what kind of vessel you plan to paddle. Make sure your PDF is: 

It should be tight enough that you cannot lift it by the shoulder-straps. Remember, a PDF can only do its job if you are wearing it and it is fastened correctly.

Check the Weather Forecast
ALWAYS check the weather reports for the area you plan to paddle in before you head out on your water adventure. The last thing you want to do is get caught half-way between point A and point B when a thunderstorm hits (not that I’m speaking from experience, but hypothetically your arms would be burning, you would be soaking wet and you would be cursing…a lot). No matter the weather, you should never go out alone and always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Dress Appropriately and Be Prepared
  • First and foremost – SUNSCREEN and a hat (whether it’s sunny or overcast).
  • Clothing that is lightweight and quick drying. Consider packing a windbreaker.
  • Shoes that are waterproof AND will stay on your feet. There is a yellow croc on the bottom of the Saranac River who will forever be missing his partner in crime.

  • A whistle or signaling device in case of an emergency.
  • A dry-bag to keep your belongings safe.
  • Water and snacks to keep you hydrated and happy J.

Typically, width = stability. Canoes tend to be a standard size, but you can reduce the risk of swamping your canoe by loading it carefully. A recreational kayak is wider and more stable than a sea kayak and a wider paddleboard can also help with stability. No matter the vessel, be sure it is ALL THE WAY in the water before you try to get in or on – half in and half out is the worst spot to be for balance. I have seen more people tip getting in or out than in the middle of the water.

Paddling Basics
  • Stand in the water with one foot on each side of the cockpit and slowly sit down in the driver’s seat.
  • To paddle go in at your toes and out at your waist. Alternate your strokes, one per side.
  • Rotate your core with each stroke – if your arms are getting tired you probably aren’t engaging your core enough!

Paddle Boards
  • Plant your hands and knees on the board just behind the board’s halfway point.
  • Once stable slowly stand with your feet hip distance apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Reach your paddle forward and pull the water back; you will remove the paddle from the water just behind your feet. Take a few strokes then switch sides.

  • Bring a buddy and board your vessel, one at a time. The paddler in the back will want to enter in the middle of the boat. After the paddler in the front is in their seat, slowly scoot back into yours.
  • The rider in the front is the workhorse – they paddle continuously. The rider in the back keeps track of where the boat is going.
  • Take a few strokes on one side then switch. Get into a rhythm with your co-pilot.

Know your paddling limits and remember, however far you paddle out you will also have to paddle back. Whether it is on a paddleboard, in a kayak or canoe, a summer paddling adventure is great experience for the whole family. Be sure to follow all of our safety tips and enjoy yourself! It is summer after all!

Molly Flynn, Senior Public Health Educator
Division of Health Planning & Promotion

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Goodbye WIC Checks, Hello 21st Century!

The new eWIC card.

Remember the days of WIC checks, long check out times, and limited selections? I definitely do!

If you don’t know much about WIC, you can learn more here. WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children and the program provides healthy foods, nutrition information, and breastfeeding support to qualifying families.

We used to print out paper checks for participants that would list several healthy food items to be purchased at WIC approved stores. Shopping with these WIC checks was….. not always easy, to say the least! That all changed this past September when the WIC program in New York got a huge upgrade.
  • To start, no more paper checks! WIC foods are now loaded onto an EBT card called eWIC (a pretty card decorated with fruits and veggies). At the register, WIC foods are run through at the same time as other groceries. This makes it much faster and more private than the checks, which had to be processed as a separate transaction. With the checks, you had to purchase every item that was listed on the check at once, even if you didn’t need it all. The bottom line – eWIC allows you to purchase WIC foods with more flexibility and convenience, getting foods as you need them.
  • New York State WIC also developed an app, WIC2GO, which you can download.  WIC2Go links to your eWIC card and tracks WIC purchases so that they can easily see what foods they have left to buy.  It also lets you see what foods are WIC approved. Not sure if something is WIC approved? No problem, simply scan the barcode before you even get to the register. 
  • Some things will stay the same, however. Our Farmers Market Coupons will remain as paper checks. Each participant will continue to get $20 once a year to spend on locally grown produce from our wonderful food growers. Thanks to all the farmers and markets that signed up this year!

It’s been about 9 months since we switched to eWIC and the feedback has been great. Most of you are finding it much easier, faster, and more discreet than shopping with the paper checks. It’s almost hard to believe it was any other way now!

If it’s been a while since you’ve looked into WIC you may be surprised with all that’s changed. The food package has evolved over the years to include more choices , we have more breastfeeding support on staff, and the income guidelines have gone up. Having SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF is an automatic qualifier but you don’t need them to get WIC if you meet the income guidelines.  Our guidelines are at 185% the poverty level; so many working families may still be eligible. In fact, WIC serves 53% of the infants born the in the United States! If you are not sure if you qualify for WIC, just give us a call (518-565-4830) and we can chat with you.

Kara Lennon, IBCLC
Senior WIC Nutritionist
Health Care Services
Clinton County Health Department

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

When Exercise is Play…It’s Just Better

Let me set the scene - it’s late June, the school year has just ended, the days are getting longer, you’re stuck in the same old routine and the kids…well, they are already driving you crazy! Sound familiar? If so we have the perfect fix – play! And I don’t mean playing on electronics; I mean get outside and play.

There’s an event that takes place in Clinton County every year at the end of June. It’s called the Longest Day of Play (LDP) and it’s pretty unique. This year’s LDP is Friday, June 28th and it’s shaping up to be a good one.

Since 2013, we’ve been celebrating play because we believe that a day of play is a great way to kick off a summer full of fun and sneak in some physical activity. But, don’t just take it from us.
Gemma Kivett at the 2018 Longest Day of Play 

This is Gemma Kivett at the 2018 LDP, enjoying an activity hosted by the Kayak Shack. She’s attended at least one LDP activity since she was pre-school aged. Here’s what she has to say, “(the) Longest Day of Play is fun. It gives you a chance to do things that you don’t normally get to do, like using a stand up paddleboard!”

The LDP isn’t just for kids, there is something for everyone! You can bring grandma and grandpa along for some free (or low cost) fun…they might even teach you a thing or two J. 

This year we will have activities all over Clinton County. Here’s a quick list of locations. Check our schedule for details and decide how you will spend your day in active play (and out of each other’s hair).

Karen Derusha, Supervising Public Health Educator
Division of Health Planning and Promotion

Friday, May 24, 2019


Quick poll for all you teenagers and young adults…Yes I am talking to you! Who knows their primary care provider’s (PCP) name? The name of the office that they work at? What about their phone number? Do you know what to do and who to call if you are sick?

If you weren’t able to answer some (or any) of these questions you are not alone. Nationally, only 15% of youth with and without special health care needs receive an ‘ideal’ transition from pediatric to adult care. While most of us would agree that we don’t suddenly wake up one morning and become adults, legally-speaking, we do.

As I think back to my own transition (many years ago), I recall reaching a point where I felt very out of place surrounded by the toddlers and toys in the waiting room. My transition was more of a drift away from pediatric care, with no real entrance into an adult PCP. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it was many years before I became established with a PCP. And I’m not alone— local data shows that young adults (yes, you!) aren’t getting annual wellness visits, which are key to staying healthy now and preventing chronic diseases later.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have:
·         Taken this Readiness Assessment from Got Transition.
·         Been encouraged to advocate for myself and be independent at a younger age—like this kid.
·         Talked with my pediatrician about when I should be transitioning to an adult doctor, and known what to ask (and what my parents should have been asking).
·         Known the name of my PCP and their office as well as their phone number, hours, policies AND what to do when I was sick (who should I have called? When should I have gone to the ER? Urgent Care?).
·         Understood what turning 18 meant for my health (spoiler: major #adulting).
·         Learned about my insurance plan, co-pays, and how all of it works BEFORE I was on my own.
·         Understood how important annual wellness visits are, even if you’re healthy (and I would have never missed a visit).
·         Pulled all of my health information (conditions or diagnoses, medications, allergies, etc.) together in one spot with other important documents.

Hind sight is 20/20 right? But don’t worry, the Clinton County Health Department and the Adirondacks ACO are partnering with pediatric, family and adult medical providers to improve this transition period and empower you to take charge of your health! If you have already transitioned to adult care, congratulations! If not, it’s not too late to get started. Ask your pediatrician to help you find an adult doctor and what your next steps should be.

Welcome to adulthood! You will now be excited about a new vacuum…don’t say I didn’t warn you J

Jennifer Trudeau, RN
Principal Public Health Educator
Health Planning & Promotion
Clinton County Health Department