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Calling all #Instagram #Foodies: Chance to Win $50 gift card—Tag photo with #EatSmartRestaurantWeek

Calling all #Instagram #Foodies:

Chance to Win $50 gift card—Tag photo with #EatSmartRestaurantWeek

Brewster, NY—The Second Annual Eat Smart Restaurant Week (ESRW) kicks off on Sunday, September 27 and runs through Sunday, October 11. This year the Putnam County Department of Health has added Instagram to the promotional mix, giving ESRW participants a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the “Eat Smart” restaurant of their choice.

The rules are simple and no purchase is required. Simply snap a photo on your phone and post it to Instagram. Make sure to hash tag it with #EatSmartRestaurantWeek to be entered in the raffle. Your photo can be of your Eat Smart Restaurant Week menu selection, the friends and family who are joining you, or of the ESRW eatery you are visiting.

If you are not on Instagram, that is okay too. You can also enter by filling out an Eat Smart Restaurant Week survey available at the ESRW participating eatery or online at the PCDOH website. Complete survey details are available online at www.putnamcountyny.gov/lhp/esrw/

“The notion that delicious and healthy can go hand-in-hand is what this program is all about,” says Health Commissioner Allen Beals, MD.  “Moderate portion sizes, an emphasis on fresh vegetables, and limited sodium and oils, even healthy ones, are the cornerstones.”

Eat Smart Restaurant Week represents a collaboration between the health department and participating Putnam restaurants. Last year 97 percent of customers surveyed said they would visit an ESRW eatery again this year. More than 35 Putnam County eateries participated and this year nearly all are returning, plus a few new popular locales have expressed interest.

Dine-in restaurants are not the only participants. The event is open to all food establishments in Putnam who were willing to offer healthier selections. There are a few delicatessens, a chain “fast food” restaurant, and even the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources offers a healthier option for seniors who visit for lunch.

A complete, up-to-date list of participating restaurants is online at the health department website and the Eat Smart Restaurant Week page at: http://www.putnamcountyny.com/lhp/esrw/

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, environmental health protection, family health promotion, emergency preparedness and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or the social media sites Facebook at /putnamhealth, Twitter @PutnamHealthNY and Instagram at /putnamhealthny.

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Putnam County Department of Health Holds Point of Dispensing (POD) Drill County Employees Act as “Patients”

Putnam County Department of Health Holds Point of Dispensing (POD) Drill County Employees Act as “Patients”
Brewster, NY- The Health Department, working in collaboration with the Bureau of Emergency Services and the Sheriff’s Department, conducted a mock Point of Dispensing (POD) drill on August 12, distributing life-saving medications to more than 350 Putnam “residents.” County employees were recruited to act as residents who potentially had been “exposed” to a biological agent, in a simulated test of the local emergency response system.
“This particular scenario involved a make-believe release of anthrax,” explained Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health. “We were testing our ability to pre-register and review residents’ information, and then based on their answers, distribute the appropriate preventive antibiotic medication to them to prevent illness,” Dr. Beals continued.
The drill was part of a New York State, mandated exercise requiring local health departments and their community partners to practice scenarios for emergency preparedness. Testing the NYS Department of Health’s online pre-registration system was a necessary component of the practice event.
The PCDOH, along with the Bureau of Emergency Services, is further planning to provide prescriptions of doxycycline or ciprofloxacin to the county’s first responders. These medications are those typically prescribed for an anthrax exposure and were in fact the “fake medicines” being distributed in the POD drill yesterday. By providing prescriptions to first responders, they would be prepared to respond in the event of a future anthrax release.
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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Blue-Green Algae Causes Closures of Beaches in Putnam County; Health Department Launches On-site Testing

July 30, 2015
Blue-Green Algae Causes Closures of Beaches in Putnam County; 
Health Department Launches On-site Testing

Brewster, NY—As temperatures soar, residents look to cool off in local lakes and beaches. Unfortunately, recent blue-green algae blooms have forced multiple beach closures because of the toxic nature and negative health effects of the algae, known as cyanobacteria. These microscopic organisms are naturally present in lakes and streams, but sometimes undergo rapid growth with lots of sunlight and increased levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which can result from leaking septic systems, fertilizer and storm water run-off. Beaches can only reopen after clearance from the health department, based on a lab test indicating a return to an acceptable level of bacteria. “The health department has begun on-site testing to expedite this process,” explains Health Commissioner Allen Beals, MD. “Previously samples were sent to an outside laboratory and testing could take three to four days. With this new procedure, if the test indicates it is safe to swim or wade, we can reopen beaches the same day,” continues Dr. Beals. “In this way residents can return to their favorite in-water activities as soon as possible.” Health effects from contact with the poisonous algae may include irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract. If swallowed, high levels of the bacteria can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. In addition to ingesting the tainted water or surface scums, inhaling airborne droplets or simply skin contact can cause problems. The Health Department works with local town officials to monitor blue-green algae. Town officials must close a beach when there is visible presence of cyanobacteria, which can include water discoloration, floating film or scum, or an unpleasant odor. There are water treatments to reduce the blooms but prevention is by far the best tactic. Treatments can involve use of algaecides, but they are not without the disadvantages of any pesticide. Treatment methods, if any, are strictly a town decision, and application of an algaecide requires approval by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Prevention involves reducing fertilizer use, keeping septic systems running efficiently and managing storm water.
When the water clears, either naturally or by treatment, the town cannot automatically re-open the beach. Water testing must be conducted to ensure resident safety. The new on-site testing by the health department speeds this process for only a nominal charge of $25 to cover the test materials. “There is widespread agreement within the scientific community that the incidents of harmful algae blooms are increasing both in the U.S., and worldwide,” says Dr. Beals. “We should redouble our efforts to reduce or eliminate the causes.”

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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Food Safety Concerns Rise During Summer Months

Brewster, NY – Warm summer weather, picnics and barbeques can present challenges to ensuring food safety. Food may be improperly cooked or stored, or simply left out in the sun too long,
giving bacteria a chance to grow. Foodborne illness is a serious matter resulting in approximately 3,000 deaths nationwide each year.

“Meat always must be cooked to the proper temperature to ensure its safety,” says Health Commissioner Allen Beals, MD. “Illness-causing E-coli and salmonella can be present in undercooked meats such as hamburger and chicken and these bacteria can cause severe illness and even death.” The juice of the meat usually changes color when fully cooked, but relying on this alone
is not sufficient. Check the food’s internal temperature with a stem thermometer in the center. Cook meat to at least 130ºF (for a rare steak), chicken to 165ºF, hamburger to 158 ºF and fish to 140ºF.

Other rules to follow consistently to protect against foodborne illness include:

 Eggs, milk, meats, chicken, seafood, cooked leftovers, gravies, soups, or products with these
ingredients, should be kept at 40° F, or lower. Discard if their temperature exceeds 40°F.
 Fruits, vegetables, juices, and cheeses may be stored above 40° F for a limited time. Check
appearance, odor, texture and color before serving or eating.
 Select frozen and refrigerated products last when shopping. Refrigerate or freeze these items
immediately on arriving home. Never thaw frozen foods at room temperature, use your
refrigerator.
 Use a stem thermometer to ensure foods are at the correct temperature when storing, serving,
or checking for doneness.
 Cool leftovers quickly and refrigerate. Reheat leftovers only once to 165°F or over.
 Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Cold foods should be stored at 40°F or lower. When
serving hot foods, keep them hot at 140° F or higher.
 To keep foods hot, use a heat source underneath the food, and to keep foods chilled,
have the cooling source/ice packs on top of foods.
 If uncertain whether a food item is fresh, follow this rule: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT
OUT.

Kitchen and personal cleanliness is important year-round:
 Wash hands and under fingernails thoroughly with hot water and soap before preparing food
and after handling raw fish, meats and poultry.
 Wash and sanitize sponges and dishrags in the dishwasher, or sanitize them by heating in the
microwave on high for at least one minute.
 Wash and sanitize any surface that comes in contact with food. To make a sanitizing solution,
place a capful of bleach in a gallon of water and use for wiping down food surfaces. Rinse
with clean water after sanitizing. Ideally, refrigerators should be cleaned at least once a week.

For more information, call the Putnam County Department of Health’s Food Safety Program at (845) 808-1390.

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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Registration Is Open for Second Annual “Run 4 Your Life” Event set for Sunday, September 27th

Brewster, NY—The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) announced that online registration for the Second Annual “Run 4 Your Life” event is now open. Building on last year’s
success with over 300 participants, this year’s event will take place on Sunday, September 27. The first 175 adult runners or walkers to register online are guaranteed to receive a free performance race t-shirt, a one-month membership to NY Sports Club and commemorative race glass.

Run 4 Your Life is actually three events of various distances, starting at 10 a.m. with a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) race, followed by a one-mile walk and a Kids’ half-mile fun run. All events will start and finish by the PCDOH at One Geneva Road in Brewster. Online registration can be accessed through the health department webpage at www.PutnamCountyNY.gov/health/healthevents.

“Last year’s event was truly a cross-generational event. We had children, parents and grandparents—participants from 5 to 71 years of age. This year’s festivities will be bigger and better
than ever,” says Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health for Putnam County. “Remember, the event was conceived not only to promote running and walking as ideal ways to enhance fitness, but
also to showcase how much more fun they can be when shared with family and friends. So it is a full morning of fun, rain or shine, complete with free post-race refreshments for all.”

Like last year, all walkers and Kids’ Fun Run finishers will receive commemorative medals. Mile markers and water stops will be set up and automatic “chip” timing will be used
for the 5km race.

To download an entry blank or for a link to register online, visit the health department’s webpage at www.putnamcountyny.com/health/run4yourlife/.

Organizations that would like to sponsor, or volunteers who would like to help out on race day, can call the Health Department at 808-1390.

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, environmental health protection, emergency preparedness, 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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Eat Smart Restaurant Week Returns September 27 through October 11; Food Establishments Encouraged to Sign Up Early

Brewster, NY—After last year’s successful launch, the Annual Eat Smart Restaurant Week is back. The two-week event starts on Sunday, September 27 and runs through Sunday, October 11,
giving customers an easy opportunity to enjoy delicious and healthy meals at participating Putnam eateries. One of last year’s crowd pleasers was spicy cavatelli with zucchini, leeks, extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes and pecorino; another was fresh Norwegian salmon filet baked with olives, garlic, tomato and fresh herbs, served with spinach.

“In Putnam, so many of our restaurants showcase that delicious and healthy can go hand-inhand,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “It is especially helpful that so many chefs use a
farm-to-table approach that promotes using locally grown ingredients. With more and more people choosing to eat out on a regular basis, it is important that our restaurants use their culinary talents to entice people to eat healthy dishes.” According to the National Restaurant Association nearly half of a family’s food budget goes to foods prepared outside the home, and this is a trend nationwide.

“Food is a great enjoyment,” declared Health Commissioner Allen Beals, MD “and food producers, and many chain restaurants, take advantage of this. They spend billions of dollars developing products laden with salt, sugar and fat, and then billions more on advertising. The end result is the marketing of many unhealthy items and residents with increasing waistlines. The eatsmart
idea is based on the belief that customers should not skimp on tastiness, but should also not shortchange themselves on their health.”

Last year a total of 35 restaurants and food establishment participated in the event which featured an emphasis on fresh, locally grown vegetables, realistic portion sizes, and healthy, but
limited oils and sodium.

“Restaurant support was very enthusiastic,” said Dr. Beals. “We’ve had great input from chefs and other partners at Putnam’s top restaurants.” All restaurants submitted their recipes for
evaluation by health department nutritionists and the two partnered to tweak them to perfection.

“Most restaurants easily grasped the concept,” explained Kristine Boyle, the health department nutritionist who led the evaluation process. “There really were few major adjustments that needed to be made. Fresh foods, herbs and other tasty condiments in the hands of expert chefs, and even knowledgeable cooks at home, can go a very long way in making a mouth-watering meal.”

Dine-in restaurants are not the only participants in Eat Smart Restaurant Week. The program is open to all food establishments in Putnam who are willing to offer at least one healthy selection.
Last year a few delicatessens and a chain “fast food” restaurant took part in the event. Restaurants interested in more information or participation should contact Kris Boyle or senior public health
sanitarian Shawn Rogan, who coordinate Eat Smart Restaurant Week at the PCDOH, at 845-808-1390. Participating restaurants will be posted online at the health department home page at
www.putnamcountyny.com/lhp/esrw/, beginning in August.

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, environmental health protection, emergency preparedness, 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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Children’s Camp Operator’s Seminar

*** Water Safety Segment starts at minute 6***

Brewster, NY—Spring is finally in the air. One sure sign is the Camp Operator’s Seminar conducted by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH). This year’s event, held on Tuesday, April 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., brought together six health and safety experts, including guest speaker Frank Pia, PhD, an expert in drowning recognition and aquatic area supervision and safety.

“We hold this event every year for the camp operators in Putnam County,” says Associate Public Health Sanitarian Marianne Burdick, MPH, who oversees camp operations. “It is attended on a voluntary basis by dozens of operators from our 28 camps in the county, and is a true testament to how seriously they take safety concerns of our campers.”

“For the health department, the safety of our youngest residents is a top priority and there is no such thing as being overly prepared,” says Allen Beals, M.D., Commissioner of Health, who welcomed the attendees.

Kristine Boyle, a nutritionist and health educator, updated the operators on food allergies and dietary preferences, and public health sanitarians Mike Luke, Lisa Seymour and Mitchell Lee discussed how to prepare for a variety of emergency situations including power outages, fire, flooding and sewage concerns. Public health nurse Jeannette Baldanaza spoke about Immunizations and the continuing concern over measles. Mike Luke wrapped up the presentation with a session on rabies awareness.

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, 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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