Putnam County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day Scheduled for Saturday, Oct 7

BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County will hold a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Day for Putnam County residents on Saturday, October 7. The Putnam County Department of Health and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are co-sponsoring the FREE event, scheduled from 9 am to 12 noon (rain or shine) at the Donald B. Smith County Government Campus located at 110 Old Route 6 in Carmel. Pre-registration is required.

Improper storage or disposal of hazardous waste poses a health risk to residents and their families. For this reason, the HHW Collection Day event continues to be maintained in the budget by County Executive MaryEllen Odell as an opportunity for Putnam residents to safely dispose of toxic materials such as: household cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, oil-based paint (not latex), solvents, thinners, mothballs, rodent poisons, gasoline, kerosene, small propane tanks (up to 20 pound size), etc. For a more complete list of acceptable items, see “Special Wastes” under “Recycling” on the Green Putnam webpage at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/green-putnam/.

Disposal items must be labeled and identifiable to be accepted. Items not accepted include: water-based paints (latex), used oil, lead-acid batteries, plastic bags, batteries, tires, electronic waste or any materials from commercial establishments. Materials packed into garbage or lawn bags will also not be accepted. Latex paints can be discarded by routine means, after they have been dried out.

Call early to reserve a spot. The Putnam County Department of Health number is (845) 808-1390 ext. 43150 for questions or to pre-register.

For information regarding electronic waste disposal, call your local town. Please note that household hazardous waste items are not accepted at the town electronic waste drop-off locations.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

PCDOH Schedules Three Fall Public Flu Clinics

 BREWSTER, NY— Predicting how severe the next flu season will be is always part guessing game. Experts usually look at what happens in the Southern hemisphere, where the flu season comes first. Based on that, the forecast for the upcoming flu season in Putnam, starting in October and running through next spring, is that it will be worse than last year’s.

Three public flu clinics are scheduled for the fall. Hosted by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH), the first clinic is Monday, September 25, at the Carmel Fire Department, Route 52 and Vink Drive in Carmel. The second is on Wednesday, October 18, at the Garrison Fire Department, 1616 Route 9; the third is Monday, October 23, at Carmel Fire Department again. The health department’s skilled and experienced public health nurses will be giving flu shots at each site from 2 to 6:30 p.m.

“Early vaccination offers the best protection,” says Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “Antibodies take about two weeks to develop, so receiving your shot early means your protection starts sooner and reduces your risk of becoming sick. Flu shots are important for other reasons as well. You save money on medical and prescription costs, and you avoid being absent from work. From a public health standpoint, flu immunization is important because it provides what we call ‘herd immunity,’ and those who can’t be vaccinated because they are too young, or have a specific medical condition, are protected as well. It is the right thing to do.”

Certain people need to be vaccinated. They include pregnant women, children 6 months through 18 years of age, people over 50 years of age, and those with chronic (long-lasting) medical conditions and those who live with them. All these groups may have serious health problems if they get the flu themselves, or they may cause serious problems for others. Health care workers are also required to get the flu vaccine in order to protect their patients.

The clinics are open to all Putnam County residents 18 years of age and older. (Proof of residency is required.) The vaccination fee is $25 for residents under 65 years of age. Those 65 years and older, or with a Medicare card, can receive the vaccine free of charge. High-dose flu vaccine is being offered for seniors, aged 65 years and older, as studies show this vaccine is more effective for this population. Nasal FluMist will not be available at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pneumonia vaccine will also not be available through the Health Department’s public flu clinics.

Appointments are not necessary, but a signed “Seasonal Influenza Consent Form” is required. Forms are available on the health department’s immunization page on Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/immunization under “Flu Vaccine.”

In order to streamline the registration process, people are encouraged to print and complete the form, and bring it with them to the clinic. The forms will also be available at the clinics.

More public flu clinics may be held later this year. Any future dates will be announced on the health department’s website and through social media. Flu vaccination is also offered by the Health Department in all school districts this fall for students and staff only. Check the school calendar or with the school nurse for details of these school-based clinics.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com ; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Public Health Summit VII Draws Record Crowd

BREWSTER, NY— Breaking previous attendance records, 85 public health partners from 48 different community agencies convened at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC) last Thursday, September 7, for the seventh annual public health summit. Unlike previous years, the 2017 event focused on a single issue, health equity, and how by building a culture of equity, rather than equality, community health can be improved. Organized by the Putnam County Department of Health with support from Putnam Hospital Center, the event brought together community leaders, public health partners and residents to start a conversation about putting an equity “framework” into action.

“So much of health happens outside our walls,” said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers, as she welcomed the group. “It comes from who we hang out with, where we live and where we work.” These social factors determine an individual’s health as much as, maybe more than, what is passed on through a person’s genes. It is these “social determinants of health” in part that account for the fact that the U.S. ranks 28 out of 43 developed nations in the world for life expectancy, despite spending significantly more money per person on health care.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam Hospital Center President Peter Kelly, interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, and Commissioner Michael Piazza of the department of social services and mental health, were among the community leaders in attendance. County Executive Odell spoke of her administration’s challenge to balance social and fiscal responsibilities while state-mandated programs are being defunded and vulnerable populations such as veterans are being negatively impacted. Mr. Kelly, who assumed leadership of Putnam Hospital just one year ago, applauded Putnam for its community partnerships, stronger than all he witnessed in his thirty years of health care experience.

“Health equity is about determining what an individual, or particular population needs, and then providing that, rather than simply providing the same or equal service to everyone.” said Dr. Nesheiwat. “In public health, we’re doing this when we bring our flu immunization clinics into schools, or to segments of the community where they are really needed.”

Epidemiologist Erin Pascaretti spoke about the collaborative approach labeled “Health in All Policies,” which encourages all sectors to incorporate health considerations into their decision-making. The tactic was endorsed earlier this year by the New York State (NYS) Governor’s Office with a similar plan named “Health Across All Policies,” and a heightened focus on creating age-friendly communities and policies, given the state’s rapidly aging population. The concept accounts for the reality that many social determinants of health are the responsibility of non-traditional health partners, such as housing, transportation, education, air quality, parks, criminal justice, employment and energy agencies.

Keynote speaker Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, senior director of care coordination and wellness at Open Door Family Medical Centers, reported how successful the federally qualified health center has been not only in providing a “medical home” for patients, but also incorporating behavioral health integration specialists into their care plans. For example, Brewster Open Door has increased its rates for depression screening with follow-up from 39 percent in 2013 to 69 percent so far in 2017. This was a needed service for the Putnam population, given the County’s focus on addiction issues, suicide prevention and the high reported rates of binge drinking.

The second part of the summit consisted of viewing a series of clips from “Unnatural Causes,” the acclaimed PBS documentary series. Each clip was preceded by provocative questions, and followed by an interactive discussion. Led by Barbara Ilardi, supervising public health educator at the health department, the session provided eye-opening statistics of our health care system and a segue for the next health equity event on Tuesday, October 17, at Putnam Hospital Center. Titled “Blueprint for Health Equity,” the full-day experience is being organized by HealthlinkNY Community Network, a NYS Department of Health Population Health Improvement Program grantee.

Previous summit gatherings have taken a more task-oriented approach, focusing on the Community Health Improvement Plan, known simply as “the CHIP,” and its priority areas of preventing chronic disease and promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse. However, health funders and partners are realizing that the social determinants of health must be factored in first, if true community health improvement and reduction of health care costs are to be achieved.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

National Preparedness Month Observed for Fourteenth Year; “Prep Rally” Teaches Children How to Be Safe

BREWSTER, NY — Hurricane Harvey, like others before it, shows how challenging—and yet important—it is to plan for emergencies. This September, National Preparedness Month focuses on planning. The overarching theme is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.” In Putnam County, the 14th annual observance is being promoted by the Putnam County Community Resilience Coalition (CRC), composed of agencies from the public, private and non-profit sectors that work year-round to build a strong foundation to ensure the safety and well-being of children before, during and after disasters.

“The safety of Putnam residents is always our county’s top priority,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Collaboration among many organizations makes this happen—emergency responders and our Bureau of Emergency Services, law enforcement, highway department workers, social services and the health department. When it comes to our children, the most vulnerable members of our community, we do everything we can to ensure their safety and protection. Building community resilience is crucial.”

To teach young children about emergency preparedness—in a fun, non-threatening way—the CRC has spearheaded efforts to bring the “Prep Rally” to after-school programs and daycare centers throughout the county. Created by Save the Children, the free program is designed to teach children, grades pre-K to 5, the basics of emergency preparedness through fun, engaging games and activities. By practicing a catchy song and dance called the “Prep Step,” children learn how to recognize risks, plan ahead and gather emergency supplies.

“Supporting the work of the CRC helps strengthen our infrastructure and our resilience,” says interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “The first step is to plan for yourself and your family. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Create a list of emergency contacts and share them among family members and close friends. Adding to, or updating your emergency supplies at home, is another easy step. These are simple things nearly everyone can do.”

Taking these initial steps is much easier with some online help at www.ready.gov and www.savethechildren.org/getready, which has all of the resources for the Prep Rally program, including tip sheets for parents. A super simple tool for families to write an emergency plan is the “Preparedness Wizard” from The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Find it at http://bit.ly/prepwizv2.

“Getting accurate information during an event is also important,” says Anthony Sutton, Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services (BES), “You can sign up for free local and state emergency messages from NY Alert.” Real-time information about current threats can be sent to a cell phone. You pick the alerts you want and delivery by email or text. You can cancel or change at any time. Your personal information is completely protected and never shared. Sign up at www.nyalert.gov.

“Residents who want, and are in the position to do more, should consider joining the Medical Reserve Corps,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “We still need all types of volunteers, both non-medical and medical. Help is always needed in particular with logistical support or administrative tasks.” Interested residents can find out more information by visiting the Putnam County website or calling the health department at 845-808-1390.

Raccoon Test Positive for Rabies The raccoon was removed from Putnam Plaza Shopping Center in Carmel the evening of August 14, 2017.

The raccoon was removed from Putnam Plaza Shopping Center in Carmel the evening of August 14, 2017.

Please contact the Putnam County Department of Health immediately if you or a pet had physical contact with the raccoon.

For further information or questions, call:
Health Department at 845-808-1390 (after hours – ext. 3)

Get School Shots Now, Advises Putnam County Department of Health

Brewster, NY- August is National Immunization Awareness Month and back-to-school season is fast approaching! Along with gathering school supplies, parents should also ask… “Are my child’s shots up to date?”

Vaccines are important for children of all ages – from toddlers to students leaving for college. In addition to the recommended shots for more than a dozen serious childhood illnesses, flu season is fast approaching and an annual flu shot is advised.

“Residents can have their children receive free flu shots at school. This Health Department initiative saves countless sick days and potentially devastating illness,” reminds County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

“Vaccinations are the safest and most effective way to prevent serious diseases, and that includes the flu,” says Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Interim Commissioner of Health. “When children are not vaccinated, they are at greater risk for illness, and can spread disease to others in their families, schools and the community.”

Childhood vaccinations required for school entry protect against potentially life-threatening diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis B, meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough) and chicken pox. Children in day care, pre-K, or kindergarten through 12th grade, who do not meet the immunization requirements will not be permitted to attend school. The complete list of New York State- required school immunizations, as well as Putnam’s school and public flu vaccination clinic schedules are available online at www.putnamcountyny.gov/health  or by calling the Putnam County Department of Health’s Immunization Program at (845) 808-1332.

Teens and college-bound students have other health concerns, including meningitis and cervical cancer for which vaccines offer protection. Parents and caregivers should check with their pediatrician about any vaccines their children need and make an appointment as soon as possible. Children up to 19 years of age can receive the required vaccinations free of charge at the Health Department’s clinics if they meet eligibility requirements. Vaccinations are also available to others for a fee. Call (845) 808-1332 for dates, times and location of clinics.

The Department of Health’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Brewster, NY- When the temperatures soar this summer, stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed. Anyone at any time, even those who are physically fit, can suffer heat-related illness in extreme temperatures.

Residents should be careful and take precautions during a hot spell lasting a few days. Watch out for your family, friends and neighbors too. Infants, young children and the elderly especially can have problems in hot weather,” states MaryEllen Odell.

“Heat or sun stroke is the most dangerous type of heat-related illness and causes several hundred deaths in the United States each year,” says Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Interim Commissioner of Health. “Heat stroke occurs when a person’s body temperature goes over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911.”

Another heat-related problems is heat exhaustion.  Signs of this include cold, pale, clammy skin, dizziness, fainting, nausea, muscle cramps or headache.  “If someone faints and passes out, call 911 immediately and move the person to a cooler location—out of the sun or into air-conditioning. Apply cool water with a cloth to the back of their neck or forehead. Give sips of water every 15 minutes for one hour,” Dr. Nesheiwat advises.

Heat cramps or painful spasms in the legs and abdomen can also occur, but are less severe. If a person is on a low-sodium diet or has heart problems, seek medical attention right away. Otherwise, drink sips of water every 15 minutes for one hour. If cramps don’t go away, seek medical care.

To ensure a safe summer, take these steps to stay cool in hot weather:

  • Drink plenty of fluid. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Water is best because it

replenishes your body’s natural fluids.  Avoid alcohol and very sugary drinks, which dehydrate the body.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella.  Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher as sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down.
  • Avoid hot and heavy meals –they add heat to your body.
  • Try to schedule outdoor activity in the early morning and evening hours when it is coolest.
  • Stay indoors in a cool or air-conditioned place.
  • Never leave a person or pet in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are cracked open and you only expect it to be a short period of time.

 

During extreme heat events, cooling centers are open for Putnam residents as well. For a list of local cooling shelters and phone numbers to call to check hours of operation, visit the NYS Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/. For more information on heat-related illness during prolonged periods of extreme temperatures, call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390.

The Department of Health’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Low Cost Spay and Neuter Services for Cats

This year to date Stray HELP has

  • Handled/handling 71 cats and kittens through our adoption program; includes abandoned, neglected and young enough to socialize kittens.
  • Transferred 12 cats and kittens to local shelters.
  • Working to take another 26 kittens off the street, that we have been alerted to.
  • Spayed/neutered 248 high risk cats.

Each one of these individuals needed care. Additionally, there are several projects that we have not yet been able to get involved with numbering from 6 to over 60 cats and kittens in need at each location.

Breastfeeding Moms: Save-the-date, Friday, August 4

Breastfeeding Moms: Save-the-date, Friday, August 4

On Friday, August 4, breastfeeding moms in Putnam County and the surrounding area will join thousands of others from around the world for the 2017 BIG LATCH ON.

Putnam County’s local event is hosted by the Putnam County Department of Health and will take place at the Carmel Fire Department, 94 Gleneida Avenue.

Raffle prizes, information, activities and refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is preferred but walk-ins are welcome. First 25 people to pre-register will be guaranteed a gift bag.

Please arrive by 9:45 am so everyone can be registered and settled in for the 10:30 latch on. For more information or to register, contact the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390, ext. 43232

or email Maria.Shaffer@putnamcountyny.gov  or https://www.facebook.com/events/1409740492425914/  .

Local Cat Tests Positive for Rabies

Brewster, NY- Last Friday, June 23, in the area of Tanager Road and Wright Road in Mahopac, a gray tabby cat tested positive for rabies. The cat was seen earlier in contact with other cats in the area, according to reports to the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH). Since rabies can spread through the saliva of an infected animal, other cats may be infected as well. Any person or pet who may have had physical contact with this cat, or other cats or wild animals in the area, should contact the Health Department immediately at 845-808-1390.

“Rabies is a potentially fatal disease, but the only way to get it is through a bite from a sick animal or saliva in an open wound,” interim Commissioner of Health Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., reminds residents. “All animal bites or contact with wild animals should be reported promptly to the Department of Health. To reduce your risk for rabies exposure, it’s best to avoid going near wild or stray animals and keep pets up to date on rabies vaccination.”

Ongoing programs to reduce the chance of spreading rabies include the Putnam County Feral Cat Task Force and the PCDOH- sponsored, free pet vaccination clinics. The next free rabies vaccination clinic will be held Saturday, July 15, at Hubbard Lodge, 2880 Route 9 in Cold Spring, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and is open to all Putnam County residents. Dogs must be leashed and well-controlled, and cats and ferrets must be in a carrier.

Please bring photo ID as proof of Putnam County residency, as well as written proof of prior rabies vaccination. Tags are not acceptable. If you do not have a written certificate documenting prior rabies vaccination, your pet will receive a one-year rabies vaccine. An animal information/release form will be available and can be completed at the clinic site. For more information and directions, please call the PCDOH at (845) 808-1390 ext. 43127.

The Department of Health’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.