Immunization, STD, and Family Planning Services will not be available at the Chatham County Health Department from 11-5 on May 31.
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The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

News


Residents with Functional, Access, or Medical Needs Urged to Register with Health Department

As the 2017 hurricane season quickly approaches, public health officials strongly encourage residents in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties who may have functional, access, or medical needs and no way to evacuate if a storm is coming to register with their county health department. The Functional, Access, and Medical Needs Registry is made up of residents who may require transport and medical assistance during a hurricane evacuation and have no other resources such as family, friends, neighbors, or church members to help them if they need to evacuate. Residents must apply to be on the registry and are encouraged to register now.

Those on the Registry will be evacuated to an American Red Cross shelter in an inland county that will likely be in a gymnasium or similar setting and could be several hours away. The Registry is truly a last resort, but if a hurricane is threatening our area, it is important that health department officials know where the most vulnerable residents are located so that evacuation assistance can be provided to them. People living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and personal care homes are not eligible for the Functional, Access, and Medical Needs and must follow their facility’s emergency plan.

Functional and Access Needs registrants are individuals who may need services to maintain their independence in a shelter. This includes children and adults with physical, sensory, mental health, and cognitive and/or intellectual disabilities affecting their ability to function independently without assistance. Medical Needs registrants are individuals who require support of trained medical professionals. This includes those individuals who may need assistance with managing unstable, terminal, or contagious conditions that require observation and ongoing treatment.

The application and protected health information authorization form can be downloaded at gachd.org/registry. Residents can also call the following numbers for more information:

Bryan County
912-756-2611 or 912-653-4331

Effingham County
912-754-6484

Camden County
912-882-8515 or 912-576-3040

Chatham County
912-691-7443

Glynn County
912-279-2940

Liberty County
912-876-2173

Long County
912-545-2107

McIntosh County
912-832-5473

 

 

Health Department Officials Urge Students to “Vaccinate B4U Graduate”

As students begin looking ahead to graduation and starting a new and exciting chapter in life, it’s a good time to remind both students and their parents about the important role that immunizations play in that chapter. Health department officials in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties want to encourage soon-to-be high school graduates to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease which causes meningitis.

Meningococcal disease is not common; however, when it is contracted it can be dangerous. The bacteria that causes meningococcal disease is spread by exchanging respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit) during close (for example, coughing or kissing) or lengthy contact, especially if living in the same household or dorm. There are different kinds of meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can be very serious and can even cause permanent disabilities and death. Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis and is usually less serious but can still cause illness.

“We encourage parents of students getting ready to graduate – especially those going off to college – to make sure their children have received the meningococcal vaccine and that all vaccinations are up-to-date,” said Coastal Health District Immunization Coordinator, Paige Lightsey, R.N. “This is an exciting time for our students and we want to do everything we can to make sure that they are protected from meningitis as they start on their new adventure.”

When children are 11 or 12 years old they should receive one dose of the vaccine followed by a booster at age 16. Parents can check with the health department or their healthcare provider to get immunization records for their children or schedule a time to get the meningococcal vaccine.

For more information on meningitis or the meningococcal vaccine, please to cdc.gov/meningitis.

McIntosh County Veterinarian Receives Prestigious State Public Health Award

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Pine Harbor Animal Hospital, Lara Bailey, is the recipient of the Al Dohany Award for Community Service by the Georgia Public Health Association. Bailey was nominated for the award by McIntosh County Health Department Environmental Health Manager, Eric Rumer.

Established in 1999, the Al Dohany Award for Community Service honors public health leader, Al Dohany, who was highly respected among his peers and who made great contributions to the promotion of public health through his work with family connection and community groups at the local level. This award is presented annually to an individual who has made a positive contribution to community health through collaboration with the community and its leaders. This contribution involves encouraging a collaborative approach with existing community entities that is essential to realizing the long-term health outcomes of a community while recognizing the importance of communities and celebrating the diversity that makes a community vital.

Below is an excerpt from Dr. Bailey’s nomination:

Since 2003, Dr. Bailey has vaccinated more than 2,600 dogs and cats for rabies, a viral disease that is spread through the bite and sometimes scratches of infected animals. Rabies is deadly for both animals and humans. Although most pet owners get their pets vaccinated against rabies, some may not have the resources to pay for such vaccinations, especially in more rural parts of the state such as McIntosh County. That’s where Dr. Bailey holds her rabies vaccination clinics and provides – free of charge –rabies vaccinations for pets during Saturday clinics. She also amputates suspected rabid animals so that they can be processed to determine whether or not they have rabies. Testing suspected rabid animals helps us to alert and caution the public if there is an issue with rabies. Dr. Bailey also performs this service for the McIntosh County Health Department at no charge.

While Dr. Bailey does not charge for rabies vaccinations during the public clinics, she does take donations from those who can afford to pitch in. Over the years, she has collected $13,000 and donated it to local animal rescue programs such as the Humane Animal Resource Team of McIntosh County and McIntosh County Animal Control.

“Dr. Bailey has consistently been an invaluable asset to McIntosh County Animal Control and Animal Services,” said Marianna Hagan, Director of McIntosh County Animal Services. “She is a true humanitarian and animal lover. She has made a huge impact on McIntosh County’s human and animal population. McIntosh County is a better community because of her generous and selfless work.”

Every animal that is vaccinated against rabies is one less animal that is a threat to spread the deadly disease to residents in McIntosh County. Dr. Bailey never asks for recognition; doesn’t want anything in return for giving up her Saturdays, her vaccine, needles and other supplies; and would likely protest if she knew that this nomination was being submitted. But the truth is that even though “technically” Dr. Bailey is not a part of our public health family, she is very much a part of what we do and what we stand for when it comes to preventing illness and disease. Her efforts have had a tremendous impact on our community. Everybody knows “Doc Bailey” and appreciates not only the compassion she has for our animals but the dedication she shows to the improving the health of our small coastal community.

From L to R: Dr. Selina Smith, GPHA President at the time the Award was presented; Dr. Lara Bailey; Eric Rumer, McIntosh County Environmental Health Manager; Dr. Lawton Davis, Coastal Health District Health Director.

 

School Health Summit Planned for May 31; School Officials Encouraged to Attend

 The Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Program will host a School Health Summit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, at the Liberty County Schools Performing Arts Center located at 2140 E. Oglethorpe Hwy. in Hinesville.

The free one-day training is being offered to school administrators, teachers, nutrition directors, and principals to develop and execute nutrition and physical activity policies and to offer resources to help prevent the incidence of chronic disease in children.

“Obesity continues to be a real problem in children of all ages and unhealthy habits developed early translate into unhealthy habits later in life,” said Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson. “The Summit is a way for school leaders to learn about tools that can help promote better health in students and how to go about using those tools.”

Those interested in attending the training can register by calling Gibson at 912-644-5818 or by emailing cristina.gibson@dph.ga.gov.

The 2017 School Health Summit is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health, healthMpowers, Georgia SHAPE, and the Coastal Health District.

Liberty County Health Department Offers Late Hours Every Thursday

The Liberty County Health Department is now open until 7 p.m. every Thursday. Health department officials hope that staying open late one day a week will help make it easier for people with busy schedules to get the public health services they need. The health department opens every day at 8 a.m.

For more information on Liberty County Health Department services, click HERE or call 912-876-2173.

Boil Water Advisory for Part of St. Marys

Health Officials Encourage Wildfire Smoke Precautions

Smoke from wildfires burning in South Georgia is making its way into some coastal counties and as a result, Coastal Health District officials are encouraging residents to take precautions. For healthy people, smoke from wildfires that contains particles from burning trees and shrubs can irritate your eyes and respiratory system. However, smoke can worsen chronic health problems such as lung disease, asthma, and allergies. People with existing respiratory conditions, young children and elderly people are especially susceptible to health effects from this smoke.

It’s important to limit your exposure to the smoke and take precautions to protect your health and the health of your family.

  • Stay inside and away from the smoke.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.
  • Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.
  • Keep airways moist by drinking plenty of water.
  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.
  • Follow the advice of your doctor or other health care provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease.

Seek medical attention if you are having difficulty breathing or if your symptoms worsen.

CDC: Georgia’s Early Childhood Vaccination Rates Among Nation’s Highest

ATLANTA – Georgia is leading the country with above average early childhood vaccinations with 75.6 percent of children 19-35 months old protected, compared to national averages of 72.2 percent for the 7-vaccine series. However, health officials here say statewide immunization statistics show that more can be done to stop vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks in Georgia.

As recent disease outbreaks demonstrate, immunizing infants and young children remains a critical component of protecting vulnerable infants against potentially deadly diseases.

So far in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 1,200 cases of mumps across the U.S. Other recent outbreaks include a pertussis outbreak in 2012 that infected more than 48,000 people, and a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland and impacted 188 people in 2015. Each of these diseases is preventable by vaccines.

During National Infant Immunization Week, April 22-29, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics urge parents to check with their pediatrician to ensure their child is up-to-date on vaccinations.

“Immunizations are the best way to protect infants and children from childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles that can be life-threatening at young ages,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “It is critical for parents to talk to their child’s doctor to ensure they are up-to-date on immunizations, because no child should have to suffer a vaccine-preventable illness.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to become aware of vaccination rates in their community. The AAP offers an interactive map (https://immunizations.aap.org/) that highlights vaccination rates in each state for recommended childhood vaccines, including vaccines that protect against measles, mumps, pertussis, polio and influenza. It also offers state-by-state information about community immunity thresholds, which is the level at which disease outbreaks are prevented.

“High immunization rates in the community provide a buffer of protection that makes it harder for diseases to break through,” said Georgia Chapter AAP President Ben Spitalnick, M.D., Savannah. “Vaccines protect children from diseases, and they also keep communities healthy by protecting infants who are too young to be vaccinated, or those who have compromised immune systems.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics encourage everyone – in observance of National Infant Immunization Week – to protect the little ones who cannot yet protect themselves. Please contact your pediatrician or your local public health department to ensure your infant is up-to-date on vaccinations. For more information contact the Georgia Department of Public Health http://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section or http://www.gaaap.org/immunizations/.

 

National Transgender HIV Testing Day Event Scheduled for April 18

The Coastal Health District Prevention Program will offer free and confidential HIV testing event in observance of National Transgender HIV Testing Day from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, at the Chatham County Health Department located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive in Savannah.

National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHTD) is a day to recognize the importance of routine HIV testing, status awareness, and continued focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts among transgender and gender non-binary people. In observance of this day, the Coastal Health District will offer free, rapid confidential testing. No appointment is necessary. Anyone who gets tested at the event will receive a gift card.

Free “Growing Fit” Training Offered for Early Care Centers

Physical activity and nutrition are essential for children to develop healthy lifestyles that will help reduce the risk of chronic disease later in life. To that end, the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Shape, HealthMPowers, Inc. and Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning have developed Growing Fit Kit: Wellness Policies for Georgia’s Early Care Environment. A free training on the kit will be offered to staff from early care centers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at the Coastal Health District office located at 420 Mall Blvd. in Savannah.

Training will center around a tool kit which provides a step-by-step process to guide early care educators in the development and/or improvement of nutrition and physical activity policies and practices.  It also contains an explanation of the importance of a wellness policy, a self-assessment tool to evaluate current policies and practices, success stories from other early care settings, healthy eating and physical activity resources, and a planning document with suggestions and examples for writing the policy.

This educational learning experience is a Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning approved CEU course allowing participants to earn required training units while strengthening their wellness policy efforts to create healthy environments for students to learn and teachers to work. This training also helps move centers toward achievement of Quality Rated standards set by the Department of Early Care and Learning.

To register for either training session, please contact Cristina Gibson at 912-644-5818 or email cristina.gibson@dph.ga.gov.