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 flu FACTS.
Frequently wash your hands.
Washing hands with soap and water at for 20-30 seconds is the best form of protection to reduce the spread of germs. If soap and water is 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 an annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season.
Cover your cough 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, and then call you doctor.
If you are looking to “stay in the game,” then plan to get flu shot. The Baltimore County Department will offer free flu shots on Saturday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at seven locations across the county. For more information, go to http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/health/resources/flu.html or call 410-887-BCHD (2243).
Blake Lubinski, Communications Intern, Baltimore County Public Schools
Long before the schoolhouse doors open for a new year, preparations begin for 10 months of teaching and learning. From classroom housekeeping and lesson planning to summer reading and supplies shopping, educators and students are thoroughly involved in back-to-school season.
But what about you? Does back to school involve you, too? According to Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), it does!
From now until the end of October, BCPS invites you to gear up for the new school year through its “Back to School Involves You, Too!” campaign. Including special workshops open to the community through the school system’s Parent University, back-to-school programming airing on the school system’s television station and contests beginning after the first day of school, the campaign also offers opportunities for Baltimore County residents to become active members of Team BCPS.
To start, visit the “Back to School Involves You, Too!” webpage on the BCPS website to download and print one of three 8.5-by-11-inch signs welcoming the students back and wishing them a great school year. Then, on Wednesday, August 27, the first day of school for BCPS students, take a photograph of the sign posted in your community or held by your BCPS student. The best photographs submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or received through Facebook or Twitter (@BaltCoPS, #BCPSfirstday) will appear on the BCPS website or Flickr page.
What’s more, when back-to-school season ends later this fall, Baltimore County residents can remain active Team BCPS members throughout the school year by attending school events, becoming business partners, offering internships to BCPS students and volunteering at their local schools. And, to stay up-to-date on school system happenings all year long, Baltimore County community members can download the BCPS Now app, follow the BCPS Deliberate Excellence blog and subscribe to the weekly BCPS e-newsletter.
Back-to-school season comes once a year, but BCPS students prepare every day to become Baltimore County’s future citizens and workforce. Help the students with their preparations by following the first rule of back to school: be involved!
Linda Grossman, M.D., Chief, Bureau of Clinical Services
Baltimore County Department of Health
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 and/or annual immunizations on your list.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a list of recommended vaccinations (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html) your child should receive— as well as when they should receive them. New this year in the State of Maryland is a law requiring specific vaccinations for children who are entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the 2014-2015 school 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.
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!
The Baltimore County Health Department will be offering free, recommended vaccinations for eligible children ages five through 18. Find a date and location: http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/health/healthservices/children/immunizations.html
Dr. Linda Grossman is a pediatrician in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her medical degree from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and has been in practice for almost 40 years.