Last, Last Chance Flu Clinic Set for January 30; Infants and elderly most vulnerable

BREWSTER, NY— The flu is now considered widespread in Putnam County and 49 states around the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Many are seeking vaccination and in some cases supplies are low. The Putnam County Department of Health has scheduled an extra flu clinic to vaccinate those who live or work in New York State, including those aged six months and older.

“The flu is now prevalent not just in Putnam but around the U.S. Anyone who has not been vaccinated should consider getting a shot to protect themselves,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “When you are a senior or very young, the flu can be especially dangerous. It is my hope, Putnam County residents not yet vaccinated will take advantage of this opportunity.”

“Seven pediatric deaths have occurred in the U.S. within the last week, so we have opened up our flu clinic to include vaccination for the youngest residents,” said Interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD., “Contracting the flu when very young or old brings the most serious consequences. If you have a child between six months and three years, please call us to ensure availability of the pediatric vaccine. It is also important to point out that there is some evidence that consistent, annual flu vaccination provides an added protection beyond what is provided in a single shot, especially in the elderly. ”

The clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, from 2 to 6:30 p.m., at the health department’s main office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. The fee is $25 (cash or check only) or free for those with a Medicare card. In case of inclement weather, call the flu hot line at 845-808-1390 or visit the PCDOH’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth for notification of postponement. Snow date is Thursday, February 1, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at the health department.

Parents with children from six months to three years of age should call the health department at 845-808-1332 to double check on current availability of the pediatric vaccine.

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.

Putnam Health Dept. Wins $55,000 Award from NYSDOH

BREWSTER, NY- The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) has been awarded a total of $55,000 through a competitive, state-wide program focused on the prevention of chronic diseases, such as obesity or diabetes. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) chose to focus funds on preventing these types of diseases because they have surpassed communicable diseases, like influenza, as the leading cause of death and disability. Nationally-accredited health departments, such as Putnam County’s, were at an advantage with an automatic $7,500 base payment. An additional $5,000 automatic payment went to all agencies who competed due to the sheer work involved. The remaining funds were distributed to just 20 health departments based on performance and county population, and Putnam received an additional $42,500.

“Putnam residents can be reassured that our health department is among the best in the state with this award,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell, “and our health department should be proud.”

Interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, thanked staff for their perseverance, saying, “I am delighted that our staff decided to put in the extra work to compete for these funds. It was not an easy task, but having achieved national accreditation in 2016 helped to ease the submission process. No doubt it also helped us think more strategically and strengthen our partnerships with community members.”

Only 50 percent of health departments vying for the funds were awarded competitive monies. The PCDOH received four perfect scores in the highest category and three near-perfect scores in the second highest one. Extensive documentation was required, explaining health department activities in seven key areas, such as engaging community partners. The evaluation process the State Health Department used was similar to the process for national accreditation formulated by PHAB, the Public Health Accreditation Board. This was done because national accreditation may become mandatory in the future.

As with all performance-based awards, the funds must be used to support specified public health services. NYS-recommended activities include conducting campaigns to reduce chronic diseases, and to promote enhanced screening activities and follow-up care by individual providers. Funds may also be used for accreditation or reaccreditation fees. The PCDOH will work with community partners involved in Putnam’s Community Health Improvement Plan to prioritize and develop ideas for the use of the funds.

Residents with ideas are invited to visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health/chronicdisease/ to learn more about chronic diseases. They are encouraged to submit their own suggestions for prevention programs by mail to: Chronic Disease Prevention Programs, Health Education Unit, Putnam County Department of Health, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, NY 10509, or by email to health@putnamcountyny.gov

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.

“Freedom From Smoking” Program Begins January 31

BREWSTER, NY- The Putnam County Department of Health is kicking off the New Year right—offering residents an opportunity to kick their smoking habit. The free, eight-session Freedom From Smoking (FFS) program will be held on Wednesday evenings, starting on January 31, at 6 pm at the Health Department’s Main Office at 1 Geneva Road. Each session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. Two sessions will be held during the fourth week of the program, which is “quit week,” on Wednesday, February 21, and Friday, February 23. The last class is on March 14.

The group leader is a FFS/American Lung Association-certified facilitator from the health department, who starts the sessions talking about preparing and planning to quit. The Center for a Tobacco-Free Hudson Valley provides additional technical assistance with training on the program that involves lifestyle changes that support tobacco-free living. Each person’s experience with quitting smoking is different. The Freedom From Smoking program uses proven activities and tools to help participants understand their own relationship with tobacco—and how to have a smoke-free life. Nicotine replacement products (NRT) such as the patch and gum will be available, also for free, while supplies lasts. Using NRT is encouraged, and will be discussed in detail as part of the program, but it is not required.

Widely regarded as the gold standard in quit-smoking programs, the FFS program was created by the American Lung Association, an organization with more than 50 years of experience helping smokers quit. Some smokers feel hopeless after unsuccessful attempts at quitting. The FFS Program recognizes these feelings are part of the journey to become a non-smoker and stresses the fact that most successful quitters have failed at it before. The program reinforces the greater belief  no matter what setbacks you have had in the past, you still have the power to quit.

Pre-registration is required, as group size is limited. More information on the program can be found online at www.freedomfromsmoking.org. For more information or to pre-register, contact the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390, ext. 43155.

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.

 

Health Dept. Offers Help with New Year’s Resolution to Quit Smoking

Health Dept. Offers Help with New Year’s Resolution to Quit Smoking
Freedom from Smoking Program to Begin Late January

Are you ready to quit smoking? It is one of the top New Year’s resolutions each January, and this year the Putnam County Department of Health offers help with an eight-session program developed by the American Lung Association called Freedom from Smoking (FFS). The sessions, which last from 60 to 90 minutes, begin in late January at the health department’s main office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. Nicotine replacement products (NRT) will be available for free while supplies lasts. Using NRT is encouraged, and will be discussed as part of the program, but it is not required.

“Our first Putnam smoking cessation program was held earlier this year. It is just one way we help our residents live healthier lives,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “For those who want to make the decision to quit, the extra support from the health department can make all the difference.”

“Smoking is an addiction that many say is one of the most difficult to overcome,” says interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “Most people try to quit, even many times, before finally finding success. The first steps can be the hardest, but we are here to help you get started.”

Based on scientific research, the FFS Program is a proven way to quit smoking for good. Some smokers feel hopeless after unsuccessful attempts at quitting. The FFS Program recognizes this and stresses the fact that most successful quitters have failed at it before. The program reinforces the greater belief that “You can still quit.” Thousands of smokers have quit through the FFS program since it began over 30 years ago.

Eight classes are held over seven weeks. The group leader is a certified facilitator, who discusses preparing and planning to quit, as well as lifestyle changes that support tobacco-free living. Two sessions are held during “quit week,” to fully support participants.

“Becoming a nonsmoker is a journey,” emphasizes Dr. Nesheiwat. “Failed attempts happen and are even expected. This time—with the right support—might be your time to quit. Remember there are health benefits to quitting at any age. So you are never too old, even if you’ve smoked for a long time.”

Pre-registration is required, as group size is limited. Start date and class schedules will be determined based on preferences of early registrants and posted on this website when available. For more information or to pre-register, contact the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390, ext. 43155.

Blue-Green Algae: Everything you wanted to know about it, but were afraid to ask

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 23, from 9 to 11 a.m. Blue-green algae will be the “hot” topic at a new health department seminar. Speakers from the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will discuss the most current information on this growing public health concern, including health risks, prevention and treatment methods. The event will take place at the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, 112 Old Route 6 in Carmel. The snow date is Thursday, February 8, same time and location.
The general public is encouraged to attend and also submit specific questions and topics ahead of time. The seminar is being held early in the year to give bathing beach operators, surface water operators, private beach operators and public officials enough time to prepare for the 2018 summer swimming season. For further information or to submit a question and RSVP, please email vincent.perrin@putnamcountyny.gov by January 8.

County Water Quality Discussed by State and Local Leaders

BREWSTER, NY— Water quality issues have become more commonplace in New York State, and particularly in Putnam County. The aging water infrastructure is a serious concern, heightened by recently increasing environmental contaminations, such as those from deicing salts and harmful summer algal blooms in local lakes. On Monday, representatives from the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) were in New York City to present testimony and gain additional support for the implementation of the New York State 2017 Clean Water Infrastructure Act.

“Counties across the state strongly support the $2.5 billion investment in water infrastructure included in the new Clean Water Infrastructure Act,” says Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, who was recently elected as president of NYSAC. “However we have a number of concerns with the Act’s implementation.” She then outlined ways to improve implementation by more effectively involving local health departments in determining the geographic areas for the septic system replacement fund and by shoring up support for small water treatment systems.

“We have a strong voice in Albany with our County Executive in a leadership position as NYSAC president,” said Interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, who was in Albany reviewing these issues at the monthly meeting of the New York State Association County Health Officials (NYSACHO). “Blue-green algae is a particular concern to our Putnam residents and we want to make sure the appropriate funding is in place to address these issues.”

The Putnam County Department of Health will be holding an informational seminar open to the public on blue-green algae on Tuesday, January 23, at the County’s Bureau of Emergency Services building. Further information about the event will be available on the county’s website.

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.

“Last Chance” Flu Clinic Set for Dec. 5 at the Putnam County Department of Health, as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week from Dec. 3 through 9

BREWSTER, NY—With family and friends gathering for the holidays, and flu activity on the rise, the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) is hosting its “last chance” public flu vaccination clinic on Tuesday, December 5, during National Influenza Vaccination Week. The clinic will be held at the main health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. No appointments are necessary. National Influenza Vaccination Week, which runs from December 3 to 9, focuses on the importance of flu vaccination.

“The health department has been busy this year protecting our residents by providing their annual flu shots,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. So far this flu season more than 3318 flu vaccinations have been given by the PCDOH; 2336 of these were administered in the schools.

“If you have not yet received your flu shot, now is the time to get it,” states Interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D. “It takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies your body needs in order to protect against the flu. Flu activity in New York is usually highest between December and February, but illnesses often linger into spring. ”

Any Putnam County resident, 18 years and older, is eligible to receive a flu vaccine at the clinic. The fee is $25 to cover the cost of the vaccine, plus administering it. There is no fee for those over age 65 or anyone with a Medicare card. High-dose flu vaccine will be available for individuals, 65 years and older, which studies have shown appears more effective in fighting flu in seniors. The nasal spray flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine will not be available at this clinic.

The more individuals who get vaccinated, the better the protection for everyone, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and individuals with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. For questions concerning flu vaccination, please call the Health Department at (845) 808-1390. If the weather is bad, use the same number to check for a possible cancellation.

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.

Putnam County Department of Health Hosts FREE HIV Testing on World AIDS Day

BREWSTER, NY—December 1 is World AIDS Day, a date set aside to increase awareness of the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world and a time to remember loved ones who have died as a result of AIDS-related illnesses. To commemorate this annual international observance, the Putnam County Department of Health is offering free rapid HIV testing and education on Friday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, NY. Results take just 20 minutes and no appointment is necessary. Testing for Hepatitis C, another viral infection that can be spread through contact with infected blood, will also be available at the same time.

Although new treatments and technologies have slowed the progression of HIV to AIDS, the disease remains a major health problem both in the U.S. and worldwide. Advances such as rapid HIV testing and anti-viral drugs allow people with HIV to live long, healthy, and productive lives. However there is still no vaccine or cure. Early diagnosis is the key to early treatment. The only way for an individual to know if he or she has HIV is to be tested.

“Early, appropriate treatment can make all the difference in the quality and length of life for someone infected with the HIV virus,” said Interim Commissioner of Health Michael Nesheiwat, M.D. “Early testing and diagnosis is not just important for an individual’s health, but also from the public heath standpoint of protecting others.”

Many adults are not tested for HIV because they do not feel sick and they don’t think they are “at risk.” However, in the early stages of HIV infection, a person may not show any illness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that 1.1 million individuals in the United States are living with HIV and one in seven of those infected do not know they are HIV positive. As more people live with the disease, the chance of becoming infected increases. Despite this, large scale prevention efforts have led to fewer new infections in recent years. Getting tested is a first step towards prevention.

For more information about HIV or Hepatitis C testing, or their prevention, contact the Health Department at (845) 808-1390.

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. Connect with us on our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Recycling Reaps Rewards: Health Department Holds Second “Caught-in-the-Act” Contest for America Recycles Day

Recycling Reaps Rewards:

Health Department Holds Second “Caught-in-the-Act” Contest for America Recycles Day

BREWSTER, NY— Plastic film is everywhere. Dry cleaning bags and store “carry-out” sacks are made of it. Paper towels and beverage cases are shrink-wrapped in it. Newspapers are delivered curbside in it and unfortunately most is not recycled. The Putnam County Department of Health is trying to change that. November 15 is America Recycles Day, and building on the success of last year’s “Caught-in-the-Act” Contest, the department is expanding it to three days in the same week.

On Tuesday, November 14; Thursday, November 16, and Friday, November 17—from 12 noon to 2 p.m. each day—the recycling coordinator from the health department will be looking for residents who recycle and rewarding them with a free reusable shopping bag, and social media recognition for their efforts. Tuesday’s event will take place in Cold Spring at Foodtown, 49 Chestnut Street and Route 9D. The remaining two events will take place at Acme Markets: on Thursday in Mahopac at 149 Route 6, and Friday in Brewster at 1511 Route 22.

“Many people don’t know you can recycle these plastic film items,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell, “because curbside recycling does not include them. Instead they must be brought to a drop-off location, located in many of the larger stores we shop in every day. It’s the right thing to do—for yourself, your family and for your community.”

“The numbers of unrecycled plastic bags is staggering. Less than one percent are being recycled,” continues Interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “It takes a bit of extra effort to start doing it, but it becomes routine. The positive impact on our environment would be immense if everyone would do their part and make the effort. We need to continue to bring awareness to this endeavor.”

The health department works with stores in the county that are required by law

to accept plastic films. All large retail stores, or chains with more than five smaller stores, must participate. Currently there are 24 drop-off locations in Putnam County, including Home Depot, Acme, and Kohl’s in Brewster, and at Foodtown in Cold Spring. A complete list is posted online at the PCDOH website.

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.

Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic coming November 11

Cats can receive low-cost spay and neutering services on Saturday, November 11, at the Fifth Annual Stray HELP Community Day. The event takes place from 12 noon to 4:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church Parish House, 5 Elm Street in Fishkill.

As a special Veterans Day thank you, service men and women are offered an extra low price. For a $35, they can receive spay or neutering services for their cat, as well as vaccinations and even flea threat when needed. For further information visit: www.strayhelp.org