Baltimore County Now
Health Experts Offer Prevention Tips
The Baltimore County Department of Health is announcing its first confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year. The infected individual died on Monday, August 24, from causes not related to West Nile Virus.
“West Nile Virus is an unfortunate, yet common disease that we expect to find in Marylanders this time of year," said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services. "To reduce the risk of getting infected, I encourage residents to W.R.A.P. up."
“W.R.A.P. Up” prevention measures are:
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats, when concerned about mosquitoes.
- Repair damaged window screens.
- Avoid areas of high mosquito activity and unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Purchase and use an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions.
WNV is a disease that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected animal. In humans, WNV generally causes either no symptoms or mild, flu-like illness, but it can also be fatal. Persons older than 60 have the greatest risk of developing severe disease. People with compromised immune systems also may be at high risk of WNV infection.
Monitor Yards and Gardens
Residents are urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes. To eliminate mosquito-breeding areas:
- Clean rain gutters to allow water to flow freely.
- Empty or screen corrugated drain pipes.
- Remove old tires or drill drainage holes in tires used as playground equipment.
- Turn over wading pools, wheelbarrows, wagons and carts when not in use. Flush water from the bottom of plant holders twice a week.
- Replace water in birdbaths at least twice a week.
- Turn garbage can lids upside down and make sure trash receptacles are empty of water.
- Fix dripping faucets.
- Aerate ornamental pools and water gardens or stock with fish and use a circulating filter system.
Spray Programs Offered
In an effort to reduce the WNV-infected mosquito population, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will spray all communities within a one-mile radius of where the deceased person lived. MDA plans to post the affected communities at http://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Pages/mosquito_control.aspx.
Communities interested in the spray program should send an email to the Environmental Health Services Office at email@example.com. Please note that mosquito control services cannot be provided within a community that has not enrolled in the program.
To learn more about WNV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Benefits of Exercise
Research has proven that the more you exercise the better, and longer, your life will be. No matter what age you start your exercise program, you will benefit from the physical activity.
Just moving for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week boosts your health by…
•Lowering your stroke risk.
•Protecting against osteoporosis.
•Increasing your metabolic rate.
•Preventing, and even reducing, high blood pressure.
•Reducing your cancer risk.
•Lowering your blood sugar.
•Reducing your risk of falls.
Get Ready!Get Set! Get Fit!
An easy way to have some fun and get some exercise too is to register for Baltimore County Department of Aging’s (BCDA) ninth annual “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk / 1 Mile Walk” on Sunday, September 20, 2015. This family-friendly event will be held at the CCBC Essex campus, conveniently located near I 95 and I 695 off of Rossville Boulevard. You can run or walk the 5-kilometer or 1-mile course at your own pace. Your wallet might get some exercise too if you win the “Fitness Pays” Grand Door Prize Drawing of $500, courtesy of Walgreens (must be present to win). Proceeds from the event support BCDA’s programs for seniors.
Every moment spent exercising is time well spent. If you don’t know how to get started exercising, and you are over 60 years of age, the Baltimore County Department of Agingprovides wonderful opportunities to engage in fitness and wellness activities; explore the options.
For more information on the "Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk/1 Mile Walk”or senior center fitness programming, call 410-887-2040 or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/seniorcenters. To register for the Run-Walk, visit www.getreadygetsetgetfit5k.com.
Donna Bilz, Program Specialist, Baltimore County Department of Aging
As the lazy days of summer come to an end, many parents with school-age children are beginning their back to school preparations. If you’re among them, be sure to include your child’s pediatric check-up or annual immunizations on your list.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a list of recommended vaccinations your child should receive—as well as when they should receive them. Newer additions to the schedule in the State of Maryland are specific vaccinations for children who are entering kindergarten and seventh grade. As of last year, the law requires that students entering kindergarten this fall must have two varicella vaccinations. Meanwhile, students who are entering seventh grade must have one Tdap (Tetanus-diphtheria-attenuated pertussis) and one meningococcal (MCV4) vaccination.
Protect Children's Health
Immunization is a key part of protecting your child’s health. Millions of lives have been saved and untold cases of diseases have been prevented because of people getting vaccines to help them develop immunity to serious infections.
Diseases that used to affect many people, such as polio, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), and meningitis, now are rare thanks to vaccines. It’s important to note that the germs that cause these illnesses continue to exist; so continued immunization is critical to the health of your child.
Additionally, immunization isn’t just good for your child’s health; it’s also good for those around him or her. When you immunize your child, you help protect the health of others including those who are too young to be vaccinated, those who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons, and those for whom a vaccine may not be effective.
As you enjoy your final days of summer and begin your back-to-school shopping, please include your child’s health among your plans. Here’s wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe school year!
Back-to-School Immunization Clinics
To assist parents in getting their children immunized before the start of the 2015 to 2016 school year, the Baltimore County Department of Health will provide recommended vaccines at no cost for children up to age 18 who are eligible under the Vaccines for Children program. Learn more about the clinics held August 4 to 19, the Saturday clinics and the daily walk-in clinics at the health centers that are being offered in August and September.
Linda Grossman, M.D., Chief, Bureau of Clinical Services
Baltimore County Department of Health