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Date: Apr 20, 2018

Schedule Immunizations Today to Help Your Child Have a Healthier Tomorrow

Baltimore County, MD – Each year, thousands of children become ill from diseases that could have been prevented by basic childhood immunizations. Countless more miss time from day care and school because they are under-immunized or inappropriately immunized. 

During the week of April 21 through 28, the Baltimore County Department of Health will observe National Infant Immunization Week, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative designed to raise awareness about the importance of childhood immunizations. Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles. 

If your child has not had all recommended immunizations, it’s not too late to catch up. Contact the Baltimore County Department of Health Immunization Action Program at 410-887-2705 for more information. Immunize your child today to help them have a healthier tomorrow!

By Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE, FACP, Director, Department of Health and Human Services

With prom season upon us, it is particularly important that adults do their part to reduce youth access to alcohol and tobacco. The responsibility falls on our entire community to help ensure that our children have long, healthy lives.

The vast majority of current smokers started in their teens, and studies have shown that tobacco is a gateway to using other substances and engaging in high-risk behavior. Nicotine is highly addictive and the carcinogens cause cancer and a host of other health conditions.

Underage drinking also poses many risks, both social and health-related. The greater risks to health include higher incidence of traffic accidents, impaired judgment that can lead to illegal drug use and even death. Youth are at risk for restricted development of their brains, bones and organs when they drink alcohol. Youth who drink alcohol also are at increased risk for academic underachievement.

The best way to prevent youth from using alcohol and tobacco is to ensure that they do not have access to them.

I urge retailers to CARD everyone.

Check their ID.

Act Responsibly by actually reading the ID and verifying the birthdate. When you realize the youth is not of age, Don’t sell.

For information on quit smoking classes or substance use prevention services and resources, call 410-88-REACH (410-887-3224).

Keywords: alcohol, health, show id, tobacco

By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Baltimore County Department of Public Works

Looking at the Earth from above, we get perspective on our changing, living planet. Astronauts understand this better than any of us, given their firsthand experience seeing Earth from space. They call this the Overview Effect.

East full disk image, GOES 16 satellite |
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

When astronaut and Cockeysville native Reid Wiseman accepted a Hero Pin from County Executive Kamenetz in 2015, I asked him about experiencing the Overview Effect. His response was profound.

“When I went to space, and you start to look out, you can watch sands from the Sahara Desert get blown all the way over to Brazil. You watch a hurricane. You see flooding. You see a dam.

"You can see cities really well, they just look like smudges; but you start to realize that the Earth is far more alive than any of us.

“This machine right here has been going a long time – before we came – and it will be going a long time after we leave. It’s our home.

“The Earth is like our parents – parents for every human being that’s ever walked on the planet, every animal. So that was really what I took away. This machine we live on is much more alive than any of us in this room.”

The idea of Earth as a living machine has stayed with me since that day. If only everyone could have the opportunity to experience it, perhaps we would be inspired to put in the hard work required to leave behind a livable planet for future generations.

It’s unlikely that you or I will ever get the chance to see Earth from space, but what we do have is a way to simulate the experience – with virtual reality (VR), and you can do it without spending a dime.

Here’s an Earth Month challenge – make your own cardboard smartphone VR viewer for free. You can find tutorials online, as well as a downloadable VR viewer kit offered by Google at no charge. You probably already have the materials you need sitting around the house or in the recycling bin. After it’s assembled, get out your smartphone and download a free app.

Get ready for a whole new worldview from 117 million feet!

Get involved in Earth Month. Baltimore County is hosting events including Earth Month Pop-Ups in the parks and an Earth Day Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Take action all year long.  Participate in cleanups, plantings and other events to protect and connect with the land, waters and wildlife that make our Chesapeake home special.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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