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

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Free Mammograms Jan. 14 in Chatham County

The Chatham County Health Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) is partnering with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Mobile Mammography Program to offer free mammograms from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, January 14, at the Chatham County Health Department located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive. Women who meet certain annual income guidelines and are 40-64 years of age without insurance will be eligible to receive a screening mammogram at no cost.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins will be accepted. To make an appointment, please call 356-2946.

 

It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is widespread in Georgia. Getting vaccinated is the best protection against the flu and it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties still have flu vaccine available.

“The flu is out there and as long as the flu virus is circulating, it’s never too late to vaccinate,” said Lawton Davis, M.D., district health director for the Coastal Health District. “Flu season does not generally peak until January or February and can run as late as May.”

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. 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:

  • 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.

 

Raccoon on Skidaway Island Tests Positive for Rabies

A raccoon in Clairborn Retreat on Skidaway Island has tested positive for rabies. A family dog was found interacting with the raccoon in the family’s back yard. The dog is up to date on his rabies vaccination and will receive a booster vaccine.

Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. The Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health office offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.

 

Coastal Health District Team Members Named Georgia Medical Society Health Care Heroes

Debbie Hagins, M.D., Jonathan Gibson, and Ilya Snyder-Shvahbeyn. Not pictured, Cristina Gibson.

The Georgia Medical Society (GMS) recently named the 2018 Health Care Heroes and two Coastal Health District team members were among those recognized. Debbie Hagins, M.D., was presented the Health Care Innovation Award, and Cristina Gibson – along with her son Jonathan and his classmate, Ilya Snyder-Shvahbeyn – was presented the Community Outreach Award. A total of six awards are given annually in recognition of contributions made by individuals and organizations that “have helped enrich the length, the joy, and the comfort of the lives of the citizens.”

Health Care Innovation Award
The GMS Health Care Innovation Award was given to Debbie Hagins, M.D., medical director and principal investigator for the Coastal Health District CARE Centers which provide comprehensive outpatient primary care (including nutritional services and oral health) and case management to persons with HIV/AIDS. The Coastal Health District Ryan White HIV program serves an eight-county geographic region and has the highest HIV incidence outside of the metro Atlanta area.

Twelve years ago, Dr. Hagins helped spearhead the effort to bring HIV clinical trials to the Coastal Health District. The trials provide medication for individuals who otherwise may have never had access to research and that research will help determine what drugs will work best in treating HIV. Since 2006, she has served as Principal Investigator for 46 trials related to HIV care with a special focus on enrolling and maintaining two groups that have been historically overlooked or excluded: minority and female patients.

Dr. Hagins’ hard work in the area of clinical trials has garnered local, state, and national attention bringing to light the important efforts being put forward in public health regarding HIV medication research and treatment. Her exceptional performance in providing comprehensive primary care to HIV patients and as Principal Investigator for numerous clinical trials has resulted in her participation as a key note speaker at several national meetings and she recently shared her expertise for an article in MD Magazine. She has co-authored many publications, abstracts and posters (several on the international stage).

Dr. Hagins is highly respected in her field and is an excellent representative for public health and a strong advocate for providing comprehensive health care to underserved populations, especially those living with HIV. She achieved and has maintained certification as an HIV Specialist from the American Academy of HIV Medicine and was named a Fellow of the Academy of Physicians of Clinical Research (FAPCR). The FAPCR designation is reserved for Academy of Physicians of Clinical Research members who have shown significant commitment to, and achievement in, clinical research.

Community Outreach Award
The GMS Community Outreach Award was given to Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson, her son Jonathan and his classmate, Ilya Snyder-Shvahbeyn.  As a dedicated public health employee and head of the Chronic Disease Prevention program for our eight-county health district, Cristina is very attuned to the public health-related issues facing our citizens – particularly when it comes to health disparities – and has always looked for ways to help narrow the gap. A couple of years ago when Cristina’s son Jonathan and his classmate Ilya were trying to come up with a community outreach event as a class assignment, the three brainstormed and created Everybody Eats Fresh FREE Fridays (E2F3).

E2F3 is a produce- and bread-only distribution program that provides access to healthy foods to residents in need, primarily on Savannah’s southside. The distribution takes place in a local church parking lot which gives it somewhat of a farmers market feel. To make this happen, Cristina, Jonathan, and Ilya partnered with America’s Second Harvest Food Bank to relieve the Food Bank of healthy foods that might otherwise be thrown out. Through its partnership with America’s Second Harvest Food Bank, E2F3 has been able to distribute an average of 12 tons of produce each year – tons of produce that would have otherwise been thrown away because of spoilage. During each event E2F3 is serving an average of 70 families and about 283 individuals (a majority of these being children and seniors).

E2F3 serves those who are in the middle – they don’t quite qualify for government assistance but their income may not be enough to cover all necessities and often, food is an easier sacrifice than rent. E2F3 has been so successful that three additional sites are now running in the Savannah area. With the addition of the partner sites, E2F3 is able to provide even more Savannahians with healthy food that may give them a reprieve from worrying about where their next meals are coming from and allow them to redirect their dollars towards paying an electricity bill or paying down a medical bill.

 

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late: Vaccinate Against Flu

Last year Georgia experienced one of the worst flu seasons in recent history. Don’t fall victim to the flu this year, vaccinate before it’s too late. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is Dec. 2-8, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians 6 months of age and older to get a yearly flu vaccine. The flu shot takes two weeks to provide protection, so take this time and schedule an appointment with your health care provider or your local public health department to get your flu vaccine.

“It’s important that Georgians understand the best way to protect against influenza is to receive an annual flu vaccine,” said Sheila Lovett, Immunization director for the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Because Georgia saw one of the highest spikes in influenza cases last year, it’s more important than ever to get yourself and your family vaccinated.”

What is new this flu season?
• Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating flu viruses
• Any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine is recommended
• The nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) is a vaccine option. Ask your health care provider about what vaccine is right for you
Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions.

A flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. With flu season beginning as early as August and sometimes lasting until May, it is never too late to vaccinate. The vaccine is available as an injection or a nasal spray. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has approved the use of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, as an option during the 2018-2019 flu season.

National Influenza Vaccination Week emphasizes the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccination. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. This winter, the Georgia Department of Public Health encourages all Georgians to take a few minutes to call your doctor’s office, pharmacy or health department and make an appointment to get vaccinated.

For more information on immunization, visit: http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know.

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.

Free HIV Testing Events Scheduled for World AIDS Day (WAD)

The Coastal Health District HIV Prevention Program will offer two free HIV testing events on Saturday, December 1 in observance of World AIDS Day. Both events will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at these locations:

  • Walgreens, 2109 E. Victory Drive, Savannah
  • Walgreens, 4210 Augusta Road, Garden City

Testing is completely confidential and results will be available in one minute. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals. The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Know Your Status.”

December 1 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Launched in 1988, the annual observance highlights worldwide efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day is also an occasion to show support for those living with HIV and to remember those who have died from the infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV today, and only 1 in 7 know it. Young people are the most likely to be unaware of their infection. Among people aged 13-24 with HIV, an estimated 51% don’t know it.

Georgia leads the United States in HIV rates for adults and adolescents according to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Coastal Health District HIV/AIDS program currently serves 1,398 clients living with HIV/AIDS throughout the eight-county district. As a reminder, HIV testing is free at all health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties and available Monday through Friday during regular health department hours of operation.

Anyone with questions about testing can call Diane DeVore at (912) 644-5828 or e-mail Diane.Devore@dph.ga.gov.

Learn more about HIV Prevention and how you can reduce risk.

Request for Proposals (Chatham County)

Sealed Request for Proposals/Request for Qualifications for the “Chatham County Health Department – space conversion for Dental Clinic” will be received by the Chatham County Health Department at 1395 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah, Georgia 31406 until 2:00 p.m. local time on December 18, 2018.  The names of the respondents will be read aloud at 2:10 p.m. of the same day and no further proposals or request for qualifications will be accepted.  Qualifications will subsequently be opened and evaluated by the Department and the proposals submitted by qualified proposers/contractors shall be opened and read aloud at 2:45 p.m.  A mandatory pre-proposal conference with proposers/contractors is to occur on November 27, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Health Department located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah, Georgia 31406. Get more details here:
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11-09-18 RFQ RFP.Final{3094484.1}

Chatham County Health Dept. to Hold Drive-Through Flu Vaccination Clinic Nov. 15

The Chatham County Health Department will hold a drive-through flu vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 15, at the parking lot across from Goodwill on Sallie Mood Drive in Savannah. Regular flu shots are $29 and high-dose flu shots – made especially to protect those 65 and older – are $55. Cash, checks, credit cards, most major insurances, Medicaid, and Medicare will be accepted.

The flu can cause mild to severe illness and getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the virus. 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 which is why it is important for everyone six months of age and older get the flu vaccine every year. It takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot for the vaccine to provide the body protection against the 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:

  • 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.

For more information or to download the consent form ahead of time, go to www.gachd.org/chathamflu.

 

Diabetes Prevention Program Meeting Scheduled for Nov. 19 in Savannah

The Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Program will hold National Diabetes Prevention Program kickoff meeting from 5:30-6:30 p.m., on Monday, November 19, at the Coastal Health District administrative office located at 420 Mall Blvd. in Savannah.

There are more than 79 million Americans who have prediabetes and many do not know it. In Georgia alone, more than one million people have diabetes and about 44,000 Georgians are diagnosed with diabetes every year. 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 National Diabetes Prevention Program is focused on helping prediabetics avoid type 2 diabetes by making modest lifestyle changes. The Program is free and is designed so that participants receive support not only through a Lifestyle Coach but also from each other by sharing ideas, celebrating successes, and working to overcome obstacles. Participants at high risk for type 2 diabetes will learn how take steps to make positive, sustainable lifestyle changes.

Anyone seeking additional information about the Diabetes Prevention Program can contact Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson at 912-644-5818 or email cristina.gibson@dph.ga.gov.