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Take the survey. Tell us what you think about community strengths, and health-related issues and concerns.

Take the survey. Tell us what you think about community strengths, and health-related issues and concerns.

The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is being updated by the Putnam County Department of Health, Putnam Hospital Center and other public health system partners. The input of residents and those who work in Putnam is also important to this process.

Your responses to the survey, along with other community assessments, will help create a strong Community Health Improvement Plan.

Poster-YearsIconic May 2016 HEP C

Free Hepatitis C Testing at PCDOH on May 19; All Baby Boomers Advised to Have One-Time Test

 Free Hepatitis C Testing at PCDOH on May 19; All Baby Boomers Advised to Have One-Time Test

BREWSTER, NY—The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) is offering free Hepatitis C testing on National Hepatitis C Testing Day, Thursday, May 19, for all New York State baby boomers. While anyone can get “Hep C,” baby boomers born from 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely to have the virus. Testing starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. at the main health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. No appointment is necessary.

“Health officials encourage everyone in this age category to take this one-time test, regardless of any specific risk,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

“The reason baby boomers have high rates of Hep C is not completely understood,” explains Interim Health Commissioner, Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., “but the fact is that 75 percent of infected adults were born in these years. Most are believed to have been infected in the 1970s and 1980s when infection rates were highest. The danger with this infection is that you can live with it for decades without feeling sick, but long-term it can cause liver failure, cirrhosis and cancer.”

Hep C is primarily spread through contact with infected blood. Many baby boomers could have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening of the blood supply in 1992. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if only once in the past. Many baby boomers however don’t know how or when they were infected.

More than 3 million Americans are living with this viral disease, and 75 percent of them are unaware of their infection. The longer an individual lives with the infection untreated, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viral hepatitis is a leading infectious cause of death in the U.S.

There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C. Getting tested is the best way to know so treatment can be started as soon as possible. For many people, treatment can cure Hepatitis C and prevent liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Residents who can’t make the Free Testing Day on May 19, can call the health department at 845-808-1390 for information about other free testing opportunities.

The Health Department’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 our website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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rabiesadputnam

Rabies Concerns Increase as Warmer Temperatures Arrive

Rabies Concerns Increase as Warmer Temperatures Arrive

Brewster, NY— With warmer temperatures and more hours of daylight, people are spending more time outdoors and the potential for contact with wildlife increases. Raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, as well as feral cats, can carry the rabies virus, which is found in the saliva and nervous tissue of an infected animal. Transmission can occur through an animal bite, or if saliva comes in contact with an open wound, or an individual’s eyes, nose or mouth.

Spring is also the time of year when individuals may come into contact with baby wild animals, believing them to have been abandoned by their mother. Abandonment by the mother is unlikely, and baby animals, while often adorable, may have been exposed to the rabies virus and can pass it through a simple scratch or small bite. Every year well intentioned residents “rescue” wild babies, later becoming concerned about rabies exposure. The babies must be euthanized to determine if rabies exposure occurred. However, wildlife rehabilitators can be called to determine if the babies need to be “rescued.”

To educate children about the risk of rabies, teach them to:

  • Avoid wild animals, including new litters of baby animals in spring. (Everyone should resist the urge to touch or pet a wild animal or unfamiliar pet.)
  • Tell an adult about any contact with a wild animal or unfamiliar pet.
  • Never touch a bat. If a bat is found indoors, call the Health Department immediately.

“While wildlife and feral cats may account for a significant number of required rabies treatments, the number-one reason for treatments in Putnam County remains bats,” states Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Interim Commissioner of Health.  As the weather warms, bats return to the local area and are more active and likely to get into homes. “A bat found in the home should be captured since testing it for rabies is the only way to avoid unnecessary treatment, a two week series of shots. Since 2014, over 200 bats have been brought to the Putnam County Department of Health for testing, a sign that the capture-the-bat message is getting out,” added Dr. Nesheiwat.

To safely capture a bat, watch the popular demo from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), available on the Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/how-to-capture-a-bat/ .

The Feral Cat Task Force, initiated by the Putnam County Department of Health, works to reduce the risk of rabies exposure by decreasing the population of feral cats in our community. Since its inception in 2012, this program has captured, neutered, vaccinated and returned 485 cats and adopted or fostered 88 of them in Putnam County. If you are interested in volunteering or making a donation in support of this program, please contact the Health Department at 845-808-1390 ext. 43160.

All animal bites and/or contact with wild animals should be reported promptly to the Department of Health at 845-808-1390. After hours or on weekends/holidays report the incident by calling the Environmental Health Hotline at 845-808-1390 and press “3.” A Health Department representative will promptly return your call. The Health Department will test a wild animal for possible rabies after an incident involving human or pet contact. If a family pet encounters a wild animal, avoid immediate handling of your pet, or use rubber gloves and call the Health Department.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the county’s nearly 100,000 residents through prevention of illness and injury. 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 website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health  or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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putnamcountylivingwell

LIVING WELL WORKSHOP SERIES TO BEGIN MAY 9

 LIVING WELL WORKSHOP SERIES TO BEGIN MAY 9

 BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County residents can attend a free six-week Living Well workshop series, beginning May 9, at Putnam Hospital Center. Individuals living with or caring for someone with a chronic illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, chronic pain or obesity, will learn ways to manage their health and create “action plans” to get results. The Living Well series is an evidence-based chronic disease self-management program developed at Stanford University. It is led by trained volunteers and proven to help individuals with an ongoing health condition lead healthier, more satisfying lives. Participants learn strategies for gaining control over their condition, connect with others battling similar health issues, and ultimately learn how to accomplish more and feel better.

The workshop series will be held on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., from May 9 to June 20, with no class on May 30. The program is free, but registration is required. For further details or to register, contact Sarena Chisick at (845) 279-5711, ext. 2702 or email her at schisick@health-quest.org .

The Living Well program is part of Putnam County’s Community Health Improvement Plan, and is a joint initiative of the Putnam County Department of Health, Putnam Hospital Center, Putnam County Office for Senior Resources, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Hudson Valley.

The Health Department’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 the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, www.instagram.com/PutnamHealthNY and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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stigma

Residents Report More Poor Mental Health Days

Residents Report More Poor Mental Health Days;

Putnam’s Mental Health Month events highlight message: problems common but treatable

BREWSTER, NY— Mental health problems are terribly common: one in five Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. In Putnam County the numbers are similar, and may be rising. In a recent national survey, Putnam residents estimated more poor mental health days per month than they had reported in previous years. This May, Mental Health Month, Putnam’s community organizations and the county’s Department of Health are joining to bring awareness, sensitivity and action to this problem.

“The high numbers of mental health problems means that virtually everyone has a family member or close personal friend who lives with a mental health issue, or they are living with one themselves,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “The ultimate role of government is to protect its citizenry—that’s why our health department and our department of social services and mental health, along with many community partners, have selected mental health as a priority for our community health improvement plan. It’s also why the Suicide Prevention Task Force was established in the County.”

Interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, explained, “These rising numbers of reported poor mental health days are something we must take seriously.” The data comes from the national premier telephone survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and Putnam residents have reported 3.1 poor mental health days in the previous month—up from 2.2 days in previous surveys.

“While mental illnesses are extremely common, they unfortunately are not talked about often,” said Megan Castellano, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Putnam County, Inc.  “This is problematic because they are also very treatable, and help is available here in Putnam County. We need to speak up and encourage sharing. This is key to breaking down stigma—to show that if you live with a mental illness, you are not alone with your feelings and your symptoms.”

To highlight how widespread mental health challenges are and to bring awareness to how these conditions can be diagnosed and successfully treated, the Putnam County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is sponsoring its Third Annual Mental Health Awareness Walk on Saturday, May 14, from 9 am to Noon. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and forms must be turned in by 8:50 a.m. at the Carmel Fire House. For more information, including a registration form, visit NAMI Putnam on the web at www.namiputnam.org.

Putnam residents can also join mental health providers and other community organizations for the Mental Health Recovery Conference, entitled “Redefining Mental Health: Perspectives on Wellness and Recovery,” on May 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Putnam County Golf Course.

“This inspiring event will feature consumers, family members, and acclaimed national and state leaders who will speak about wellness and initiate change in our way of thinking about mental health recovery,” says Diane Russo, chief executive officer of Putnam Family & Community Services, one of the organizations hosting the event. For further information, visit the Putnam Family & Community Services website at www.pfcsinc.org.

The national theme of this year’s Mental Health Month is “Life with a Mental Illness,” a call to action by Mental Health America, Ms. Castellano’s national organization, to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it. One way is by tagging social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posting with the hash tag helps fight the stigma and shame that accompany mental illness—and that can prevent individuals from seeking help early on. The Putnam County Department of Health will be sharing national and local stories on their Facebook page during May.

Ms. Castellano, together with Marla Behler, program coordinator for the Child Advocacy Center of Putnam County, co-chair the Suicide Prevention Task Force that started in 2013. Preventing suicide along with improving mental health were two priorities identified during the development of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Task force members and CHIP partners include the Mental Health Providers Group and numerous other local organizations.

Mental Health Month, commemorated each May, was started 67 years ago by Mental Health America. Its overarching purpose is to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Online youth and adult screening tools are available at its website, under “Finding Help.” Fact sheets on depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are listed under “Mental Health Info.”  The web address is: www.mentalhealthamerica.net.

For a list of mental health resources in Putnam County, visit the Putnam County Cares app www.putnamcountycares.com/speak and in the menu on the right, click on “Resource List.”

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

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HHW flyer-Spring 2016

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

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

BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County will hold a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Day for Putnam County residents on Saturday, May 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 Canopus Beach parking area, Fahnstock State Park, Route 301, in Kent, NY. 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), automotive solvents, thinners, mothballs, rodent poisons, gasoline, kerosene, small propane tanks (up to 20 pound size), etc. For a more complete list of acceptable items, visit the Health Department website 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. Latex paints can be discarded by routine means, after they have been dried out.

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Call early to reserve your 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 be accepted at the town electronic waste drop-off locations.

The Health Department’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 our website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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Household  hazardous waste day

Thousands of gallons of oil-based paints have been collected since Household Hazardous Waste collection days were started over two decades ago by the Putnam County Department of Health. Disposing of these toxins properly, along with more than a hundred thousand pounds of other hazardous materials, helps preserve Putnam’s environment

 

 

mosquitoes-and-ticks-click

Mosquito and Tick Season Has Arrived: Yard Clean-Up and Personal Precautions Reduce Chance of Getting Sick

Mosquito and Tick Season Has Arrived:

Yard Clean-Up and Personal Precautions Reduce Chance of Getting Sick

 

BREWSTER, NY—With mild weather arriving, tick numbers are increasing and mosquitos will be breeding—both will be looking for warm-blooded human hosts to bite. Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and other tick-borne illnesses, along with a growing group of mosquito-carried diseases—West Nile, chikungunya, and now Zika virus—are all looming possibilities, however remote they may be.

“With our relatively mild winter, we are already seeing more ticks this season,” says Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Interim Commissioner of Health for Putnam County. “Taking measures to reduce the tick and insect populations and the frequency of their bites remains the number-one defense against all the illnesses they carry.”

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness found in our area, but not the only one. Cases of babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and powassan virus have been on the rise over the past few years. In the springtime, when the population of newborn nymph ticks increases, it is especially important to take precautions because their tiny size makes them more difficult to spot.

West Nile Virus has been the biggest mosquito-borne concern, but no cases have been

confirmed in the county since 2011, and only three cases of chikungunya have occurred, all since 2014.

Preventing bites of all kinds should be a top defense.  Personal protection measures should be taken for any outdoor activities. Shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts should be worn whenever possible. Insect repellent containing DEET should also be used as well, paying close attention to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Children should not apply this product themselves—it should be applied for them.

Putnam residents are also strongly advised to remove all standing water. Rain storms often result in pooling water. Anything in the yard that collects water can become a breeding site for mosquitos if left for more than four days. Some mosquitoes, including the A. Albopictus, even prefer small items like a bottle cap, full of water, in which to breed. Only one lone specimen of A. Albopictus has ever been found in Putnam, and while it has shown capable of carrying the Zika virus in a lab, it has not yet been seen as a reliable carrier in the real world.

“Checking your yard now and after every rainfall is crucial,” says Robert Morris, PE, MPH, Director of Environmental Health at the Putnam County Department of Health. “Anything that traps water—old tires, rain gutters, cups or cans, even leaves and tree holes—may provide a breeding spot. Drill holes in tires or dispose of them properly; clean gutters, and overturn all containers, however small.” Contrary to popular belief, smaller pools of water are more productive for mosquito breeding than larger bodies of water, which have natural mosquito predators such as fish and dragonflies. The PCDOH continues to apply larvicide to targeted road catch basins around the county to reduce breeding locales. This season mosquito tracking by the PCDOH and the New York State Department of Health will be increased as well.

The Health Department’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 our website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

std

Sexually Transmitted Disease Rises Steeply in Putnam PCDOH Urges Prevention during STD Awareness Month—and Year Long

Sexually Transmitted Disease Rises Steeply in Putnam
PCDOH Urges Prevention during STD Awareness Month—and Year Long
BREWSTER, NY— Rates of the sexually-transmitted disease chlamydia have been rising dramatically in Putnam County, in comparison to both the national average and New York State (without New York City). Over the eight years from 2006 to 2014, Putnam’s rate has increased more than 200 percent, compared to 32 percent in the country and 38 percent in NYS.

“Rates are measured in number of cases per 100,000 people and while we still have lower case numbers, the rate of increase is alarming,” explained Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D., Interim Commissioner of Health in Putnam County. “This is something we really need to raise awareness about. So it’s fitting that April is STD Awareness Month, a time set aside to do just that. With increased knowledge and awareness, we can focus on early diagnosis, treatment and prevention. This means not only educating the public, but physicians as well.”

In addition to chlamydia, sexually transmitted diseases that must be reported to the health department by physicians also include gonorrhea and syphilis. All three can result in hospitalization and affect people of all ages. Chlamydia and gonorrhea especially take a heavier toll on young people, particularly women. The effects can be severe because many of these infections can go unnoticed or ignored, and therefore untreated. Pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility are the serious long termproblems that may result if not treated early with the proper antibiotics. Syphilis, the less common of the three but potentially fatal, has surged in recent years, particularly among men in NYS. In Putnam County, there are ten total confirmed cases so far this year—more than all the cases last year.
The good news is that all STDs—and there are quite a few, including the more well-known HIV, herpes, HPV and trichomoniasis—can be prevented with the proper use of latex condoms. Unfortunately it is possible to have an STD without any signs or symptoms and to spread it. So getting tested and using condoms is advised with any sexual activity (vaginal, anal or oral).

Primary care providers can test and prescribe the right antibiotic treatment. For those who are under- or uninsured, Putnam County’s federally qualified health center Open Door provides these services on a sliding scale. The office is located at 155 Main Street in Brewster. Their phone number is 845-279-6999.
The Health Department’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 the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, www.facebook.com/RunWalkPutnam, www.instagram.com/PutnamHealthNY and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

From left: camp inspectors Mitchell Lee, public health technician and Brian Stevens, public health sanitarian; Sheryl Kirschenbaum, director of Suprise Lake Camp; Ray Phillips, MD, PCDOH Board of Health member; and Marianne Burdick, MPH, associate public health sanitarian, supervisor of the Children's Camp Program

Camp Operators Attend Health Department Safety Seminar; Kent Lakes Physician Discusses Wilderness Medicine

Camp Operators Attend Health Department Safety Seminar;
Kent Lakes Physician Discusses Wilderness Medicine

Brewster, NY—Lightning strikes, severe allergic reactions, swimming accidents and near drownings…these were just some of the topics covered in this year’s Camp Operator’s Seminar conducted by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH). The free training, held on Tuesday, April 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., brought together health and safety experts, including guest speaker Ray Phillips, M.D., an attending physician at Westchester Medical Center and a member of the Putnam County Board of Health. Dr. Phillips, a Kent Lakes resident, is an expert in wilderness medicine and has travelled the globe from Honduras to Egypt, teaching medical students and providing health care.
“This annual event is voluntary for our camp operators in Putnam County,” says Associate Public Health Sanitarian Marianne Burdick, MPH, who oversees camp operations. “We provide current information about the issues that camp operators need to address—everything from the wilderness issues Dr. Phillips talked about to new camp code regulations and amendments. Once again we had great participation with 34 operators from 23 camps participating, showing just how seriously they take the safety of our campers.”
Bob Cuomo, director of emergency services for Putnam County, followed Dr. Phillips with an overview of the use of the “epi-pen” for people who have severe allergies. Public health sanitarians Mike Luke and Lisa Seymour discussed the hot topics of mosquito and tick control and rabies

awareness, as well as the mandatory issues about camp regulations. Public health nurse Jeanette Baldanza covered communicable diseases and other medical concerns.Camp operators are not only concerned about the health and safety of their campers, but also of their counselors, and health educator Alexa Contreras provided the latest statistics and information on rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases in Putnam County.The Health Department’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 our website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

 

STDawareness

April is STD Awareness Month Free Testing April 11th

You may have an STD and not know it.
Get yourself & your partner tested!

Free Testing*

Monday, April 11, 2016 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Carmel Fire Department parking lot, 94 Gleneida Ave. (Route 52)
*The Westchester Medical Center’s Mobile Testing Van will provide: HIV Testing, Hepatitis C Testing, Pregnancy Testing and STD testing. All Free.
Condoms will be distributed and Mental Health & Substance Abuse information will be provided.