Baltimore County Now
Della J. Leister, R.N.
Deputy Health Officer
Baltimore County Department of Health
When you think about fall, what comes to mind? Colorful leaves, cooler temperatures…getting a flu shot? For those of us at the Baltimore County Department of Health, fall is the time when we promote the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of flu.
The best way to prevent the flu is by knowing the FACTS.
Frequently wash your hands.
Washing hands with soap and warm water for 20-30 seconds is the best form of protection to reduce the spread of germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Always get an annual flu shot.
Flu viruses are always changing; last season’s flu vaccine may not protect against newer viruses, and annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season.
Cover your coughs and sneezes.
Use a tissue to cover your coughs and sneezes, then throw it away. If you do not have a tissue, cough and sneeze into the crease of your arm (elbow area) to prevent your droplets from spreading. Never cough or sneeze into your hands.
Take time off from school, work and social activities if you have symptoms.
People who have the flu often have these symptoms:
• Fever or feeling feverish/chills
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Fatigue (tiredness)
Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse.
If your condition does not improve after taking over-the-counter medication to alleviate symptoms, call your doctor.
If you are looking to “stay in the game,” plan to get a flu shot. The Baltimore County Department of Health will offer free flu shots on Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at seven locations while supplies last. For more information, call 410-887-BCHD (2243).
Dave Goldman, LSWC-C
Chief, Bureau of Behavioral Health
Baltimore County Department of Health
We all know someone who has been impacted by alcohol or drug abuse. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor, and certainly no one is exempt-even celebrities and sports figures. The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs – even when it starts as a prescription!
Addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persists even in the face of devastating consequences. No one says they want to be a drug addict when they grow up, but over time a person's thinking becomes compromised and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive.
Treatment is not simple, but it works! Treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences. Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured.
Behavioral therapy and medication can be important elements of an overall therapeutic process. A continuum of care that includes a customized treatment regimen—addressing all aspects of an individual's life, including medical and mental health services—and follow–up options (e.g., community – or family-based recovery support systems) can be crucial to a person's success in achieving and maintaining a drug–free lifestyle. For more information on substance abuse treatment services in Baltimore County, call 410-887-3828.
Charlotte Crenson, Chief
Baltimore County Health Department
Division of Animal Control
May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week - the perfect time to remind pet owners and parents what to do to prevent dog bites. With warm temperatures in the forecast, people and pets are sure to spend more time outdoors, making it vital for pet owners to protect themselves and their pets by obeying animal laws and preventing bites.
The Department of Health investigates approximately 1,000 bite and scratch exposures from dogs annually. Most dog bites occur between April and the end of September, and although the majority of bites are not serious, there are things everyone should do when in the company of a canine companion:
Tips to Share With Children:
• Be kind to dogs and do not tease them.
• Do not run from a dog and scream.
• Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
Tips for Pet Owners/Parents:
• Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
• Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to Baltimore County Animal Control at 410-887-5961.
• Always have your dog on a leash when off of your property.
• Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling).
If you or someone you know is bitten by a dog:
• File a police report by calling 911.
• If the owner is present, request proof of rabies vaccination, their name, and contact information. If the animal is a stray and can be safely confined, contact Baltimore County Animal Control Division at 410-887-5961.
• Clean bite wound with soap and water.
• Contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.
Responsible pet ownership is the key to having a long lasting relationship with our animals, and preventing bites within our communities.