Friday, December 23, 2016

Happenings at CCHD: Public Health Nurse

Today's Happenings features two of our Public Health Nurses. "The Karens" (as they are referred to around here) are both Public Health Nurses who work in our epidemiology program.

Their job is to follow-up on communicable disease reports sent to Clinton County Health Department to determine if the physician and the patient are aware of the illness or disease. They make sure regulated treatment (as necessary) has been prescribed.  Educational information is also provided by these public health defenders. 

In addition to their daily patient work, they also do “surveillance” regarding illness in the community,  and follow-up on reported and suspected information.  They work to educate the public in the prevention of illnesses which might develop into an "outbreak" of disease.

They say their favorite and most interesting part of their job is learning about the risks, onset, and symptoms of various diseases.

Both Public Health Nurses want to be sure people practice good hand hygiene to prevent getting, or passing on, illness.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Better Choices, Better Health

The choices you make can lead to better health. That’s the message behind a new series of videos created for the Clinton County Health Department by Carlin Media through a grant from the New York State Health Foundation.

What we eat and how active we are is as important to our health as getting regular physical check-ups. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough healthy physical activity are primary prevention strategies that can protect us from developing heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. 
The videos provide snapshots of the expanding array of healthy food choices in our communities. They highlight local opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities to be active. One video takes viewers on a virtual tour of several easy to use and easy to find trails in Clinton County.

Check out this series of BetterChoices, Better Health videos on the CCHD YouTube channel. Let them inspire you to do something good for your health today.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Safe Halloween is a Happy Halloween

 Last year for Halloween we featured the top 5 websites to make your Halloween safe and fun. To continue to help our communities keep an eye on safety, we're featuring a YouTube video from our Channel. We have links to a number of helpful and reliable videos, like this SafeKids Halloween video:

Monday, October 3, 2016

National Walk and Bike to School Day

October 5th is National Walk and Bike to School Day.

National Walk to School Day began in 1997 to promote awareness of walkable communities. It is now a national movement that is celebrated throughout the month of October. Walk to school month promotes safe routes to school, physical activity, cleaner air, and much more.

Do you live too far away from school to walk or bike? You can designate a starting point where families can meet and walk or bike to school together, this is called a ‘walking school bus’. Another way to participate in national walk and bike to school day is to walk at school before or after classes, during lunch or recess, as part of a classroom activity or any other time set aside by the school.

For more information and ideas of how to join in on the fun visit:

Friday, September 9, 2016

Walk, Bike, and Roll

Complete Street with multi-use lane
What do sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and paved shoulders have in common?  They all help to make our streets complete! If you have never heard of Complete Streets before, you are not alone. Complete Streets is a fancy term used to describe streets and roadways that are safe for all users – walkers, bikers, the elderly, the handicap, and even children.
If you have driven, walked, or biked down Margaret Street in Plattsburgh you may have noticed that there are now sidewalks, bike lanes and crosswalks with flashing signs. All of these elements make it safer to walk, bike, roll and drive. Complete Streets also encourage us to be more physically active as a community – something we can all use more of!

Not complete - no shoulder or sidewalk
Complete Streets are becoming an increasingly common practice. Today, there are over 85 villages, towns and/or cities, and 9 counties in New York State that have Complete Streets policies or resolutions. For more information about Complete Streets and to find out if your Town or County has a Complete Streets Policy visit:


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What in the World is Blue-Green Algae?

We’ve all seen the news. Beaches closed during the nicest days because of blue-green algae.

So WHAT is it?
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation says that blue-green algae is found in freshwater lakes and ponds and can be harmful under certain conditions. A water sample is usually necessary to determine if there is a level of harmful toxins in the blooms. It can be toxic to humans, pets, fish, and other organisms. These nerve, liver, and skin toxins can sicken people, pets, or livestock if consumed or ingested in large quantities. They can also cause rashes or other allergic reactions. 
What causes Harmful Blooms?
Blooms may be triggered by a combination of water and environmental conditions, including:
·        excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen)
·        sunlight
·        low-water or low-flow conditions
·        calm water
·        warmer temperatures
·        upwellings

You and your pets should stay away if you ever see an announcement about Blue-Green Algae in a lake or pond that you visit often, until you hear that it’s safe.

(For more information, visit:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Better Choice Retailer Program

Eating healthy isn’t always easy but the Better Choice Retailer program is trying to help make the better choice the easy choice. You may have noticed some changes to your local convenience store over the past year or so, anything from produce displays to wall art to healthy grab-n-go options. Our participating Better Choice Retailers are working hard to offer you healthy options, in addition to your favorite candy bar.

With the wide array of options available these days it can be hard to determine what the better choice is – but the Better Choice Retailer program has you covered! You will find colorful shelf tags placed throughout participating stores which quickly show you healthy options.

There are currently 5 official Participating Better Choice Retailers in Clinton County and 3 additional retailers who are actively working towards designation.
  • Varin’s Market and Deli, Ellenburg Depot
  • LaBarre’s Convenience Store and Deli, Ellenburg
  • D&D Meat’s, Altona
  • Northern Cakes, Plattsburgh
  • Cumberland Bay Market, Plattsburgh
 To find a Better Choice Retailer near you or for information on how your store can apply visit:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

World Breastfeeding Week Events

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective steps a mother can take to protect the health of her baby. In observance of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, learn more about the promotion and support of breastfeeding in the United States.

Locally, there are two events celebrating World Breastfeeding Week:

The Breastfeeding Block Party, Thursday, August 4 from 5-7 p.m. at the US Oval in Plattsburgh, this event aims to help all families touched by breastfeeding to come and celebrate their journey. See more information here.

The second event, The Big Latch on 2016, is part of the Global Latch On effort to promote and support breastfeeding mothers. This event will be Friday, August 5 from 9a.m. to noon. See more information here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nice Day for a Walk

The song “It’s a Sunshine Day” by Steve McCarthy, made famous by the Brady Bunch sums up my feelings as I write this. It’s ok if you start to sing.
  I think I'll go for a walk outside now
 The summer sun's callin' my name
 (I hear ya now)
 I just can't stay inside all day
 I gotta get out, get me some of those rays

 Everybody's smilin', sunshine day
 Everybody's laughin', sunshine day
 Everybody seems so happy today
 It's a sunshine day

Now that the North Country is finally getting some “sunshine days”, it’s time to take a walk outside. We are lucky to have many trails and areas to hike. The Clinton County Health Department has developed a Walking Trails Map to guide your travels. It includes locations, descriptions and pictures of the following trails:

·        Point Au Roche State Park
·        Terry J. Gordon Recreational Path
·        Saranac River Trail
·        Cadyville Recreation Park
·        Saranac New Land Trust
·        Little Au Sable River Trail
·        Silver Lake Bog Trail

Maps have been distributed to town and village offices, the Chamber of Commerce, through the Clinton, Essex, Franklin Library System. You can also find them at the YMCA, the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Center, the Clinton County Health Department, and other locations in Clinton County. You may also call the Health Department’s Division of Health Planning and Promotion at (518) 565-4993 to request a copy. We hope this resource will encourage you to explore a new trail, walk more and have a “sunshine day!”

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Buzzy Buggy Summers

With outdoor summer fun may come some unwelcome guests: mosquitoes!

Around the North Country those creatures are far from popular. CCHD even blogged about how pesky they were and how to reduce the potential breeding grounds around your house last year.

This year, many people's concerns are on Zika, West Nile, EEE, and other illnesses that are spread by mosquitoes. One way to protect yourself and your family is through using an insect repellent on skin when outdoors. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth.

For detailed information about using DEET on children, see recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. For more DEET info, check out the CDCs information sheet.

Enjoy that outdoor summer fun - safely, and without those irritating mosquitoes!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Getting Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies

Many mealtimes can be frustrating for adults when they try to get children to eat their vegetables. However, one encouraging idea is to have kids grow their own food. Research supports that children will eat more vegetables when they participated in helping them get to the table.

Want to learn more? Here are some helpful places to start:
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County. They have a number of great community resources, ideas, and even some classes you and/or your kids can try out.
  • Kids Gardening. A website focused on parents and teachers to encouraging growing everything from food to flowers. They even have a fun garden birthday party idea!
  • EarthEasy. This site has a lot of fun and fast ideas to maintain children's interest in what they are growing by picking faster crops, or starting small and working your way up.

Monday, May 23, 2016

May is Month of the Young Child

In honor of Month of the Young Child, Clinton County Health Department would like to recognize all those who work with families of young children.

Do you have questions or concerns about a young child in your life? All children develop differently, but a great resource for typical expectations of development comes from the CDC. There you can find milestones for many different ages, as well as videos and more information about development.

CCHD Developmental Services holds monthly, free developmental screenings to find out if children 0-3 years of age are on the right developmental path. Staff members work with parents and caregivers to work through a standardized screening tool. Children who may be at risk for a developmental delay are then referred to the Early Intervention program.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Learning About Zika

Late last winter I was reading The Washington Post about a virus in Brazil that was linked to unprecedented cases of microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition in which the brain does not develop properly leading to children born with small heads. The virus had a short name, Zika.

I hadn’t heard of the virus before so I asked about it at my place of work, the Clinton County Health Department. As a Public Health Educator, I like to investigate new problems that may affect public health. Soon after, the name Zika was all over the media and the situation became a worldwide concern.

Unfortunately, the quick spread of the virus had some people spreading misinformation about the virus. It is hard to wait for scientific proof of an emerging health threat. Some of the things we do know are:
·         Zika is not spread person to person but by a specific species of mosquito.
·         There are no documented cases of Zika being spread by mosquitos in the US; however, there are 426 current travel related cases.
·         The greatest known risk of Zika is to the fetus of a pregnant woman who contracts the virus.
·         Zika can be spread sexually.
·         Pregnant women and women of childbearing age with sex partners that have been in areas of Zika transmission should use condoms correctly during all vaginal, anal, or oral sex or abstain.
·         Zika can be passed to a fetus during pregnancy and around the time of birth.
·         Zika is a cause of microcephaly; small heads in infants and other fetal brain defects.
·         The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating the link between Zika and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). GBS is a disorder in which a person’s immune system damages nerve cells and can cause muscle weakness and paralysis.
·         There is no vaccine for Zika.
·         Zika is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito but the aedes albopictus, found in NYS, has the potential to spread the disease as well.
The best way to prevent the disease is to protect yourself and family from the bite of mosquitos. To accomplish this:
·         Wear light colored long sleeve shirts and pants.
·         Make sure windows and doors have screens in good repair.
·         Use EPA registered repellant for exposed skin and permethrin for clothing.
·         Eliminate breeding sites. Empty all water from outdoor containers, and clean up gutters.
·         In some cases of standing water, chemical dunks may be useful.
Trusted sources of information:

Friday, April 29, 2016

Drinking Water Awareness Week

Do you know where your water comes from?  The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home, yet only 23% of Americans know where their water comes from.  The American Water Works Association has designated May 1 -7 as Drinking Water Awareness Week, with the 2016 theme being “Your Water: to know it is to love it.”

So, how do you ‘get to know your water’?  First, you can start by understanding that water and wastewater services are a 24/7/365 operation.  The Clinton County Health Department regulates approximately 210 Public Water Systems to ensure safe drinking water is provided to the public. They are responsible for monitoring more than 100 contaminants on a regular basis, staying in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Health standards for drinking water. 

Each water system is maintained by a Water Operator, working hard to ensure that the water you drink is safe.  One such operator is Jamie Giroux, Water Operator at Saranac Central School District.  When asked why what he does is important to community health, he stated, “The process of supplying good, safe drinking water is very demanding and rewarding.  I always strive to provide only the highest quality of domestic drinking water.”  Part of ‘getting to know your water’ is most definitely understanding that there are many ‘real’ people working diligently every day to ensure that when you turn on your tap, safe, drinkable water comes out.  The Clinton County Health Department thanks Jamie Giroux and all of the other Water Operators out there for the excellent work they do!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day and Public Health

Earth Day started as a day of education about environmental issues. Founded in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, the movement began as a way to gain national attention to environmental causes. In 1990 Earth Day went global with over  140 countries participating. As Earth Day approaches its 50th anniversary, an ambitious goal has been set.  The goal is to plant 7.8 million trees.
Why trees?
·         Trees clean the air- They absorb CO2, odors and pollutant gases by trapping them in their bark and leaves.

·         Trees conserve energy- When placed around your home can cut summer air conditioning needs. By reducing the energy demand, we reduce carbon dioxide and pollution emissions from power plants.

·         Trees help communities- Trees provide a habitat for animals, produce food that feed people, muffle sounds and can provide fuel for our homes.
The official Earth Day is April 22, 2016. Join your family and friends and plant some trees.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring Cleaning? What about those Smoke Detectors?

Here is a smoke detector which is over 10 years old and the battery is missing.  The resident didn't realize the battery wasn't in the smoke detector. 
Over time the battery compartments on smoke detectors become worn causing batteries to not fit properly, preventing proper contact to work. 
Dust accumulation can also hinder a smoke detector from working properly.  Smoke detectors should always be maintained by changing the batteries every six months, even if they're not beeping.  Batteries wear down and become weak causing them to not function properly if they need to alert individuals to a potential fire. 
When you're spring cleaning - think of the safety products in your home: smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, first aid kits, and flashlights. Be sure these are well maintained, and easily accessible.
The Clinton County Health Department has a program that can help Clinton County residents with a free, confidential assessment of your home. Call the Healthy Neighborhoods Program today at 518-565-4870.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Your Opinion Needed

Attention Clinton County Residents—we need YOU!  CCHD wants your opinion on health concerns in Clinton County.  Please complete our brief Health Assessment Survey, which can be accessed at:

This survey is for anyone residing in Clinton County, New York.  The information collected will be used to identify priorities for the 2017-2020 Community Health Improvement Plan.  If you have any questions, please contact us at (518)565-4993. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Women's History Month and Public Health Contributions

March is celebrated as Women’s History Month. There are many women who have made a difference in our public health:
  • Marie Curie, a two time Nobel Prize winner. After her husband’s death, she continued the couples radiation research while raising two daughters.
  • Dr. Virginia Apgar, M.D., developed a system of evaluating the health of newborns which is still used today.
  • After the death of her beloved grandfather by cancer, Gertrude Belle Elion developed the first major drug used to fight leukemia and continued to find ways to fight cancer during her career.
  • In the 1990s we saw the first female Hispanic Surgeon General, Dr. Antonia Novello. She focused on the health of young people, women and minorities. She had an effective campaign against the tobacco company’s use of Joe Camel advertisements.  
  • Dr. Regina Benjamin continued to rebuild a rural health clinic she founded in Alabama that was destroyed after multiple storms and a fire. She was appointed the first black woman, under the age of 40, as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association and our 18th U.S. Surgeon General.
Let's celebrate all the women throughout history, and those that are currently making their mark, and their contributions to public health.  



Monday, February 1, 2016

THUMP! THUMP! February is American Heart Month!

Do you have a good heart beat?

February is American Heart Month. Did you know that each minute of physical activity may contribute toward reduced risk of heart attack and death from heart-related problems? This is according to a study from the American Heart Association (AHA).

And...more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. If you have high blood pressure, here are some tips to control it:
·         Reduce sodium intake
·         Eat more fruits and vegetables
·         Exercise more often
·         Avoid alcohol
·         Quit smoking
·         Limit caffeine intake
·         Reduce stress
High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having it checked on a regular basis is important. Consult with your healthcare team to keep your heart healthy! Visit for more information.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Happenings at CCHD: Health Facility Comptroller

This month’s “Happenings” features Darlene Eddy, Health Facility Comptroller.

A little background first, I have my Bachelors of Science in Professional Accounting from SUNY Plattsburgh.  I worked eight years as a senior accountant at a private business and 17 years here at CCHD as the Health Facility Comptroller.  Governmental & Business accounting are really similar; however, our funding is mainly provided by taxpayer dollars, whether it is through grants, Medicaid billings, sales or property taxes.  With that, it is very critical that we be good stewards of those funds entrusted to us and function with a high degree of integrity.  This is what I love most about CCHD, the high degree of professionalism, accountability and integrity that staff emulate.
At CCHD, I am the Chief Financial Officer and the Leader of the Finance & Information Technology (FIT) division which consists of one Senior Computer Programmer and six account clerks (entry level to principal level).  Our acronym, FIT, fits with how we embrace CCHD’s motto “Working Together for a Healthier Community” J.  I work with managers, supervisors, front line, clerical staff and my own team here at CCHD focusing on the outcomes and impact we are making on our community!
Today, January 27, 2016 was yet another fun-filled, fast-paced day. 

·         The accounting year closed 12/31/2015 and there is lots to do with very tight deadlines to ensure the books are closed out properly.  We focused on some critical accounts payable transactions that relate to “special” state aid funding that ends 01/31/16 thus maximizing revenues from New York State. 

·         We are working together on the details and different phases for several projects involving much needed renovations: new office furniture, staff movement, VOIP phones and new network switches to improve connection speeds.  All of this helps organize us and keeps the infrastructure running smoothly, so staff can do what needs to be done for the public. 

·         At the Agency meeting today, I discussed the 2016 Budget highlights and ended with this comment to all staff:  “In order to support the programs of our department it is imperative that we all work together towards our Department’s vision and keep the communication lines open, since none of us function in a vacuum.  We are reliant on each other to do their part.  And, we don’t know, what we don’t know, so share the knowledge and information with each other so we can be the best Public Health Department.”
It is truly a team effort requiring active listening, asking questions, and requesting help when needed.  We are all here to make our vision come true “Clinton County.….Healthy People in a Healthy Community”!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Are You Emergency Prepared?

Disasters or emergencies come unannounced. To plan for these unexpected events, it’s essential to be prepared before they strike. Having an emergency kit will put you ahead of the game. It is recommended to have supplies on hand to survive for at least three days. Some of these basic supplies include:

§  Water, one gallon per person and per pet each day for drinking and sanitation purposes
§  Non-perishable food
§  Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
§  Flashlight and extra batteries
§  First aid kit
§  Whistle to signal for help
§  Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
§  Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
§  Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
§  Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
§  Manual can opener for food
§  Local maps
§  Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger
When organizing the food in your emergency kit, be sure to choose nutritious options. Avoid foods high in salt that will increase your thirst. Including protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat sources will help keep you full and energy levels up. Foods such as nuts, dried meat, whole grains, canned beans, fruits, or vegetables are all good options. Lastly, you should regularly check the expiration dates and condition of the foods in your kit. Be sure the canned foods are not dented or damaged. Store the food in a dry, cool place.
Some other items you may think about including in your kit may include:
§  Prescription medications and glasses
§  Infant formula or diapers
§  Pet food
§  Cash
§  Sleeping bag/blankets
§  Change of clothing
§  Matches
§  Fire Extinguisher

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cold Enough For You?

Seeing temps at or below the freezing mark leave many people wishing they lived somewhere warmer. Though our area has a lot of very fun things to do in wintertime, extended periods of extremely cold weather can be dangerous if you aren't prepared.

The CDC has a great resource, "Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health & Safety" that covers the following topics and more:
  • Emergency Supply List
  • Preparing Your Home and Car for Winter
  • Monitoring Body Temperature
  • Understanding Wind Chill
  • Frostbite/Hypothermia
Enjoy the beauty of the snow and ice, but remember to plan ahead and be safe!