The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

Public Health Topics


National Nutrition Month



March is National Nutrition Month and a time to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Below is some information we hope you will find helpful.

Dietary Guidelines
MyPlate, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and food labels can help you create a healthy eating plan that includes a variety of foods from all food groups. Learn more at https://sm.eatright.org/aboutDGA.

Food Safety
Reduce your risk of food poisoning by following these four easy steps: https://sm.eatright.org/4HFSsteps

Dining Out
Restaurant food is meant to look, smell and taste great, and that means nutrition can sometimes fall by the wayside! Try these tips to dine out while sticking to a healthy eating plan: https://sm.eatright.org/diningout

Benefits of Healthy Eating Style
A healthy eating plan can help prevent illnesses and keep you feeling great! Learn about some of the benefits of a healthful diet: https://sm.eatright.org/preventillness

Eating Right Isn’t Complicated
Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated! Start building a smarter plate by choosing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy — foods that are packed with the nutrients you need.
Get more tips at https://sm.eatright.org/ERnotcomplicated.

Portion Sizes
A key part of healthful eating is choosing appropriate amounts of different foods. Learn the important differences between the terms “serving size” and “portion size”: https://sm.eatright.org/srvprtnsizes



Protect Your Preteen’s Future: Vaccinate Today

Vaccinate your preteen today so they can have healthy tomorrow.

In an effort to protect every adult and child, the Coastal Health District is joining the Georgia Department of Public Health in recognizing March 11-15, 2019 as Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week. This week serves as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Every parent wants to protect their child from danger, yet many times parents don’t see vaccination as a priority,” said Sheila Lovett, Immunization Program director for the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Vaccinating your child is the single best way to protect them from these preventable diseases, so we urge parents to make this a priority.”

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), all students born on or after January 1, 2002, entering or transferring into seventh grade and any “new entrant” into eighth -12th grades in Georgia need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) AND an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MenACWY). This law affects all public and private schools including, but not limited to, charter schools, community schools, juvenile court schools and other alternative school settings (excluding homeschool).

Vaccines are the best defense we have against serious, preventable and sometimes deadly contagious diseases. They help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and meningitis. Immunizations also reduce absences both at school and after school activities and decrease the spread of illness at home, school and the community.

The CDC currently recommends the following vaccines for preteens and teens:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
    • Influenza (flu)
    • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
    • Meningococcal Disease (MenACWY)

Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness through schools, health care providers and the media regarding preteen immunizations, particularly Georgia’s pertussis and meningococcal requirements for incoming seventh-grade students. Speak with your physician today to find out if your preteen is up-to-date.

For more information, click here.

School Requirements

  • All students born on or after January 1,2002, and entering or transferring into seventh grade and any new entrant into eighth through 12th grades, in Georgia must provide proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) and an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MenACWY).
  • Proof of both vaccinations must be documented on the Georgia Immunization Certificate (Form 3231).
  • If your preteen has not yet received the whooping cough booster shot or meningococcal vaccine, please contact your doctor or local health department.

Join Together To Protect Your Heart and Celebrate #OurHearts During American Heart Month

Cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death in all eight of our Coastal Health District counties (Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and Chatham). Through our health departments and other public health facilities, we promote healthy eating, moving more, and smoke-free living as part of the preventive prescription for control or against development of heart disease. While we promote these things year round, they take on even more significance during American Heart Month every February.

Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is that we’re more successful meeting our health goals when we join forces with others. To underscore this point and mark American Heart Month this February, NHLBI is launching the #OurHearts movement, to inspire people to protect and strengthen their hearts with the support of others.

Here are some facts, how-to tips, and resources to inspire you to join with others to improve your heart health. 

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. Most middle aged people (90 to 95 percent) and young adults (75 to 80 percent) have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high blood cholesterol, or being a smoker or overweight. Having more than one risk factor increases your risk for heart disease much more than having just one.

Why Reaching Out Is GoodHaving positive, close relationships and feeling connected with others benefits our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Having people in our lives who will motivate and care for us helps, but having feelings of closeness and companionship helps our health too.

Making the following heart healthy lifestyle changes will be easier and more successful if you work with other motivated people:

  • Get physically active.
  • Achieve a healthy weight and maintain it.
  • Eat heart healthy foods.
  • Quit smoking.

Remember, you don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go. Here are some tips to get you going.

Move More
Invite family, friends, colleagues, or members of your community to join you in your efforts to be more physically active:

  • Ask a colleague to walk with you on a regular basis, put the date on both your calendars, and text or call to make sure you both show up.
  • Join an exercise class at your local community center and bring a neighbor along. Carpool to make it a regular date.
  • Grab your kids, put on some music, and do jumping jacks, skip rope, or just dance.
  • Make your social time active and encourage everyone—family and friends alike— to think of fun things that get you off the couch and moving.

If you have a health condition, including heart disease or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before increasing your activity.

How much is enough? Aim for at least 2½ hours of physical activity each week—that’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition, do muscle strengthening exercises 2 days a week. Can’t carve out a lot of time in your day? Don’t chuck your goal, chunk it! Try 10 or 15 minutes a few times a day. NHLBI’s Move More fact sheet provides ideas to get and keep you moving.

Aim for a Healthy Weight
If you’re overweight, find someone in your friend group, at work, or in your family who also wants to lose weight. (Every little bit can help!) Check in with them regularly to stay motivated or join a weight loss program together. Do healthy activities together, like walking or playing on a neighborhood sports team, and share low-calorie, low-sodium meals or recipes. (Pregnant women should not try to lose weight, but they can exercise.)

Eating Heart Healthy
We tend to eat like our friends and family, so ask others close to you to join you in your effort to eat healthier. Need healthy eating ideas? Try NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. It’s free and scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol levels.

Quit Smoking
To help you quit, ask others for support or join a support group. Research has shown that people are much more likely to quit if their spouse, friend, or sibling does. Social support online can also help you quit. All states have quit lines with trained counselors—call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). You’ll find many free resources to help you quit, such as apps, a motivational text service, and a chat line at the websites BeTobaccoFree.hhs.gov and Smokefree.gov.

If you need extra motivation to quit, consider the health of your friends and family: Being around other people’s smoke, called secondhand smoke, is dangerous. Thousands of adult nonsmokers die of stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.

Visit #OurHearts for inspiration on what others around the country are doing together for their heart health. Then join the #OurHearts movement and let NHLBI know what you’re doing with friends, family, or others to have a healthy heart. Tag #OurHearts to share how you’re being heart healthy together.

Cervical Cancer Awareness

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the Coastal Health District wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.

The good news?

  • The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV.
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow-up care.

In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties encourage:

  • Women to start getting regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21
  • Parents to make sure pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12

Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.

For more information, check out gachd.org/hpv.

Here are some more great resources:

How to Talk to Your Pre-Teen about HPV Vaccine

HPV Vaccine Information

HPV Safety Fact Sheet for Parents

HPV & Cancer

 

A Healthy 2019

The holidays always bring a flurry of activity including gatherings filled with holiday treats that most of us find hard to resist. As we move in to 2019, we often resolve to live healthier lifestyles. The World Health Organization has Five Tips for a Healthy Diet This New Year that will get you on your way in the food department. But don’t forget about regular exercise. The American Heart Association has some great tips for Long-term Exercise Success.

Don’t put it off any longer. Make a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle this new year!

 

 

 

 

Keep your holidays healthy

It’s the time of year when office parties and family gatherings often mean sharing some yummy holiday goodies. There also tends to be a little bit of a nip in the air making it easier to use weather as an excuse not to go outside to get regular exercise. There are some simple things we can all do to stay healthy this time of year. Something as simple as choosing a parking spot farther away from the store or taking the stairs instead the escalator can help keep you active during the holiday season.

Get more great tips HERE.

Breast and Cervical Cancer Program

Early detection is key when it comes to breast cancer. Screening exams and tests – including clinical breast exams and mammograms – help detect breast cancer. The Georgia Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) provides access to breast and cervical cancer screening for women who have no insurance (or very limited insurance) and meet certain annual income guidelines. The program provides breast examinations and mammogram referrals to uninsured, low income women between the ages of 40-64 and pap smear testing and pelvic examinations to screen for cervical cancer in women 21-64 years of age.

Mammogram screening events have been scheduled in three Coastal Health District counties in the month of October:

Camden County
9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Friday, October 12
Camden Woods Shopping Center, 1601 State Hwy. 40 E., St. Kingsland

Long County 
9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 16
IGA, U.S. Hwy. 84, Ludowici

Chatham County 
9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday, October 22
Chatham County Health Department, 1602 Drayton Street, Savannah

The Georgia Breast and Cervical Cancer Program  is available at all health departments in the Coastal Health District (Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties). For more information on the program or to find out if you are qualified, please contact your local health department.

2018-2019 Flu Season

Everyday Actions to Prevent Flu
While getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, there are other things we can all do every day to prevent getting or spreading the flu viruses and other viruses.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Try to cough or sneeze into the corner of your elbow and not your hand or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Other Helpful Flu Information
For Schools:
How to clean and disinfect schools to slow the spread of flu

For Parents:
Flu Guide for Parents
La influenza una guía para los padres

All about the Flu
All about the Flu (Spanish)

If Your Child Gets the Flu
If Your Child Gets the Flu (Spanish)

Cleaning to Prevent the Flu
Cleaning to Prevent the Flu (Spanish)

More information on the flu can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu. Every flu season is different and we never know how bad a flu season is going to be or how long it’s going to last. Last year’s flu season was particularly severe. Because flu season is unpredictable, it is important to get the flu vaccine every year. Getting vaccinated is recommended for those six months of age and older. Some things to know about the flu vaccine:

  • Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties will only offer the flu shot.
  • Regular flu shots are available for $29 and high dose flu shots, made especially for people 65 years and older, are available for $55.
  • It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to fully respond to the vaccine and provide the body protection.
  • Children 6 months through 8 years old who getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of the vaccine.
  • The flu vaccine might cause some mild side effects such as low grade fever, aches, or redness/swelling where the shot was given but it cannot cause the flu.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and lung disease and people 65 years of age and older.
  • No appointment is necessary to get a flu shot in your local health department.

Download the Coastal Health District’s General Vaccine Consent form, fill it out, and take it with you to the health department to save some time when going to get your flu vaccine:
General Vaccine Consent Form 2018
General Vaccine Consent Form (Spanish)


Review vaccine information here:
Flu Inactive Vaccine Information Statement
Flu Inactive Vaccine Information Statement SPANISH

National Diabetes Prevention Program Available

There are more than 79 million Americans who have prediabetes and many do not know it. People with prediabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels higher than normal. The levels are not yet high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. However, people with prediabetes are more likely to get type 2 diabetes than others. Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of toes, feet or legs. Even though prediabetes puts you at high risk, there are ways you can lower your chance of getting type 2 diabetes.

The Coastal Health District will be offering the National Diabetes Prevention Program, beginning in September. This is a year-long program designed to help prediabetics avoid type 2 diabetes by making modest lifestyle changes. The participants will be provided a Lifestyle Coach and a group for support, a group facing the same challenges and trying to make the same changes.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with critical public and private partners. The centerpiece of the National Diabetes Prevention Program is the lifestyle change program for people at high risk for type 2 diabetes that is proven to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

There is an informational meeting, for those who are interested, scheduled from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, at the Coastal Health District’s Savannah Office (400 Mall Boulevard, Suite G, 31406). 

For more information, contact the Coastal Health District’s Chronic Disease Prevention program at 912.644.5818 or email cristina.gibson@dph.ga.gov.

Protect Your Family by Getting Vaccinated

The month of August is about bringing awareness to immunizations, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) wants Georgians to think ahead and get the required school vaccinations. August, which is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), serves as a reminder that people of all ages require timely vaccinations to protect their health.

This year, each week of NIAM focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:

  • Babies and young children (August 12-August 18)
  • Pregnant women (August 5-11)
  • Adults (August 26-31)
  • Preteen/Teen (August 19-25)
  • Back to School (July/August)

Every adult in Georgia (19 years of age and older) should follow the recommended immunization schedule by Age and Medical Condition. Vaccinations protect you and they protect others around you; especially infants and those individuals who are unable to be immunized or who have weakened immune systems.  It is always a good idea to have the adult vaccine schedule nearby as a reference and to make sure you are current on your immunizations. This link is to the recommended adult immunization schedule: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule-easy-read.pdf

Vaccines protect families, teens and children by preventing disease. They help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and pneumococcal disease. Vaccinations also reduce absences both at school and at work and decrease the spread of illness in the home, workplace and community.

Students born on or after January 1, 2002 and entering the seventh-grade need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster and adolescent meningococcal vaccinations. Every child in a Georgia school system (Kindergarten-12th grade), attending a child care facility, or a new student of any age entering a Georgia school for the first time is required by law to have a Georgia Immunization Certificate, Form 3231. Below are the immunizations required for child care and school attendance:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • PCV13 (up to age 5 years)
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Hib disease (up to age 5 years)
  • Varicella
  • Meningococcal Conjugate

Some schools, colleges, and universities have policies requiring vaccination against meningococcal disease as a condition of enrollment. Students aged 21 years or younger should have documentation of receipt of a dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine not more than five years before enrollment. If the primary dose was administered before their 16th birthday, a booster dose should be administered before enrollment in college.

“The focus of vaccinations often lies on young children, but it’s just as important for teens, college students, and adults to stay current on their vaccinations.” said Shelia Lovett, Director of the Immunization Program of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

This August, protect your family by getting vaccinated. The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds adults to check with their health care provider for their current vaccination recommendations as well as parents to check for their children. Safe and effective vaccines are available to protect adults and children alike against potentially life- threatening diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, shingles, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox). So talk to your health care provider or visit your public health department and get immunized today.

For more information on immunization, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section.