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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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Raccoon on Wilmington Island Tests Positive for Rabies

A raccoon in the Oemler Loop area of Wilmington Island has tested positive for rabies. A family dog that came into contact with the raccoon does not have a history of receiving the rabies vaccine and will be under quarantine for four months to make sure he does not exhibit any symptoms.

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.

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.

County Health Departments Awarded Car Seat Mini-Grant; Buckle Up Right, Every Trip, Every Time


Health departments in Bryan, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties were awarded the 2019 Car Seat Mini Grant by the Georgia Department of Public Health, Injury Prevention Program. Health departments in those counties will use the Mini-Grant funding to educateparents and caregivers on how to properly install and use car seats, offercar seat inspections, and providecar seats and booster seats to financially eligible families.

The program is funded by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to help ensure Georgia’s children are safe while riding in motor vehicles. Since 2007, the education, car seats, and booster seats provided through the Mini-Grant prevented serious injury or death and saved over 300 of Georgia’s children who were involved in crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car seats reduce fatal injuries by 71 percent among infants and by 54 percent among children ages 1 to 4 years in passenger cars.

Car seats offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash, and they are most effective when installed and used correctly. Nearly three out of every four car seats are not used properly, placing children at unnecessary risk.

Through the Car Seat Mini-Grant, agencies supporting more than 130 counties are working to keep Georgia’s children safe. These programs help families get their children buckled up right, every trip, every time.

For more information on the car seat program in the six Coastal Health District counties that received funding, please contact the local health department directly.  Contact information for Coastal Health District health departments can be found at gachd.org/counties.

                                                                 

Free Screening of Acclaimed Film, “25 to Life,” in Savannah & Brunswick

The Coastal Health District Prevention Program, the Savannah and Brunswick Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and Savannah State University Student Development will host a free screening of the acclaimed film, “25 to Life,” in Savannah and Brunswick on the following days and times:

7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.), Wednesday, January 23, Savannah State University Union, Ballrooms A&B.

7 p.m. Thursday, January 24, Brunswick Job Corps Center, 4401 Glynco Parkway.

The events are free and open to the public. The film’s creative team along with William Brawner, whose story is told in the film, will attend the screening and participate in an interactive audience discussion following the screening. Brawner, national speaker and HIV/AIDS activist and Executive Director of the Haven Youth Center, will lead the discussion about ending HIV/AIDS stigma though education, awareness, and Pre-exposure prophylaxis *(PrEP). There will also be free giveaways and refreshments.

*PrEP is a medication taken daily for those identified as high risk for HIV infection.

The mission of the Coastal Health District Prevention Team is to educate communities about the threat of HIV/AIDS and its social impact; advocate for increased HIV/AIDS programs within the community that help improve treatment, provide support and prevention of HIV/AIDS; and eradicate HIV/AIDS stigmas and discrimination.  “25 to LIFE” will help bring awareness to the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS and will address the tough issues of sex, race, and manhood as well as the effects of silence and secrecy surrounding HIV positive people. William will share his personal story of keeping his HIV positive status a secret for over 25 years and his tireless efforts to end HIV/AIDS stigmas.

 

 

Potential Hepatitis A Exposure from Restaurant Worker

A case of hepatitis A has been diagnosed in a food handler at Gryphon Tea Room located in downtown Savannah. An investigation found that this employee worked while ill Jan. 2, 5, 8, 10 and 12. It is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, but anyone who consumed food or drink at the Gryphon Tea Room on the above dates should contact their healthcare provider to determine if a hepatitis A immunization is needed to prevent the disease.

Anyone who consumed food and/or drink at the restaurant on the dates that employee worked is also asked to:

  1. Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to 50 days after exposure.
  2. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  3. Stay at home and contact their healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.

Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent the spread of this disease.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear.  People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.

For more information on hepatitis A, go to cdc.gov/hepatitis.

Downtown Port Wentworth Under Boil Water Advisory

January 16, 2019

Precautionary Boil Water Notice

TO: RESIDENTS OF PORT WENTWORTH, GA LIVING IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA, BOUNDED BY EAST OF AUGUSTA RD. (HIGHWAY 21); AND SOUTH OF JIMMY DELOACH.

 A TEMPORARY LOSS OF WATER PRESSURE HAS BEEN EXPERIENCED DUE TO EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTION IN THE DOWNTOWN PORT WENTWORTH AREA. AS A PRECAUTION,WE ARE ADVISING THAT ALL WATER USED FOR DRINKING/CONSUMPTION OR COOKING TO BE BOILED.

THE WATER SHOULD BE BOILED FOR 1-3 MINUTES AFTER REACHING A ROLLING BOIL POINT. BOTTLED WATER MAY BE USED AS AN ALTERNATIVE.

ANY RESTAURANTS IN THE IMPACTED AREA WILL NEED TO SUSPEND OPERATIONS, UNLESS THEY HAVE A PRE-APPROVED EMERGENCY OPERATION PLAN ON FILE WITH THE CHATHAM COUNTY HEALTH OFFICE.

THIS “PRECAUTIONARY BOIL WATER NOTICE” WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL THE WATER SYSTEM IS BACK TO NORMAL OPERATIONS AND BACTERIOLOGICAL TESTING IS COMPLETED.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, YOU MAY CONTACT CHRIS LEE (PROJECT MANAGER – PORT WENTWORTH) AT 864-293-5822.

Raccoon on Wilmington Island Tests Positive for Rabies

A raccoon in the Druid Circle area of Wilmington Island has tested positive for rabies. A family dog that came into contact with the raccoon is up to date on his rabies vaccination and has received 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.

 

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

 

Glynn Co. Health Dept. Blood Drive Jan. 8

The Glynn County Health Department will hold a blood drive from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8. Donating blood takes less than an hour and each blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives. Everyone who donates will receive a FREE long-sleeved t-shirt and one-week YMCA guest pass. In addition, all donors will receive a wellness check including blood pressure, temperature, iron count, pulse, and cholesterol screening. If you want to save time and make an appointment in advance, please call 912-279-3351.

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!