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Keyword: health

by Joylene John-Sowah, MD MPH, Division Chief, Communicable Diseases, Baltimore County Department of Health & Human Services

Summer brings backyard gatherings, picnics and travel. The fun should not be overshadowed by thoughts of Zika. At the Baltimore County Department of Health, we are doing our part to make this season safe. 

Aedes mosquitos can become infected with the Zika virus if they bite a person that has it. These infected mosquitos can then spread the virus to other people through bites. The majority of people who become infected with Zika never know it, while others may experience fever, rash, headache, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis (red eyes). These symptoms usually last for several days to a week. Even though symptoms are usually mild and go away with rest and fluids, pregnant women are at risk of passing it on to their unborn babies. Zika has been linked to a number of birth defects, including microcephaly (small head due to small brain) and brain damage.

When travelling this season, it’s important to be aware of the areas with active transmission of Zika virus. In the continental US, active local Zika transmission by mosquitoes has been reported in Miami-Dade County, Florida and Brownsville, Texas.  Find out more about specific areas in the U.S. and other countries with active Zika transmission.

Mosquito control and protection are important to preventing mosquito bites and breeding opportunities. In order to prevent the spread of Zika virus, always remember to WRAP UP!

W: Wear long sleeved shirts, pants and hats.

R: Repair damaged doors and windows.

A: Always empty objects and containers that stay outside and hold water, to avoid creating mosquito breeding sites.

P: Protect yourself with an EPA-registered insect repellent.

U: Use condoms or abstain from sexual activity if you are pregnant, or if you or your partner has been in a Zika infested area.

P: Pregnant women should avoid traveling to areas affected by Zika.

By following these simple steps, we can all do our part to Zap Zika!

If you have a community organization that would be interested in having a representative from the Department of Health give an educational presentation about Zika virus, call 410-887-6011.


By Monique Lyle, Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Information Officer

The combination of low temperatures and wind chill constitute a threat, especially to certain groups of people: older adults, children, and people with respiratory or other health problems. If you are in danger or experiencing severe health problems due to the weather, please call 911.

Below are some tips to help you and your family get relief from the cold and stay safe.

Be cautious and prepared!

  • Make sure that you have a 72-hour kit.
  • Check on those who are elderly and/or chronically ill.
  • Keep infants in a warm room since they lose heat easily.
  • Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about exercising or working in the cold.
  • If you are hiking, camping, or skiing during cold weather, avoid becoming overtired. Be extremely careful when walking in icy areas. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered paths.

Eat right

  • Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer.
  • Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages—they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Drink warm, beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature. If you have any dietary restrictions, consult with your doctor.

Dress warmly and stay dry

Adults and children should wear:

  • A hat and a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
  • Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
  • Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
  • Water-resistant coat and boots
  • Several layers of loose-fitting clothing if you are going to be outside

Don’t leave your pets outdoors

  • During extreme weather, bring your pets indoors and provide them with adequate food and water.
  • Remember to have an emergency plan for your pet too. Most shelters do not allow pets.

The Baltimore County Department of Health website has more information on cold weather resources, including warming shelters and other places to stay warm.  


Evening clinics to be held at Drumcastle Government Center

In order to ensure that as many residents as possible have their annual flu vaccination, the Baltimore County Department of Health will offer two evening flu clinics from 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 9 and Monday, November 21 at the Drumcastle Government Center located at 6401 York Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21212.

Free flu shots (injectable only) will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis for anyone six months and older. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, call the Department of Health at 410-887-BCHD (2243).


 
 
Revised September 26, 2016