Putnam County recognizes September as National Preparedness Month

Prepared, Not Scared

Putnam County recognizes September as National Preparedness Month

BREWSTER, NY— The Ready campaign, launched in 2003, aims to promote preparedness through public involvement. This and every September, the campaign recognizes National Preparedness Month, to encourage family and community disaster and emergency planning. The 2019 theme is “Prepared, Not Scared.” The notion of preparedness is nothing new in Putnam. In the aftermath of 9/11 a bioterrorism task force was formed, and public health staff, first responders and other county agencies have been coming together to prepare for emergencies ever since. One exercise earlier this year focused on receiving “fake” medications and another full scale exercise will be conducted in October. These PHEP drills, which stands for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, are led by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH), and required by the New York State Department of Health.

“Our emergency response in Putnam continues to be top tier. Our Bureau of Emergency Services has a stellar record for ensuring county-wide communications during potential and actual disasters, and maintains an Enhanced 911 system,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “First responders, healthcare workers, and volunteers work together and remain diligent and committed to our communities.”

“Local agencies have also banded together to support children, especially during an emergency,” says Putnam County Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “The Putnam Community Resilience Coalition [CRC], with the involvement of over two-dozen state and local agencies and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, have set a foundation and provided leadership in developing approaches focusing on children before, during and after a disaster. Our health department continues to enact innovative approaches when it comes to starting a community conversation that is focused on safety and resolution, rather than fear and panic.” Work begun under the CRC grant is being sustained through enhancing mental health awareness and services throughout Putnam Schools and various provider groups.

At the 4-H fair this summer, visitors to the PCDOH booth were invited to take part in an online survey to assess their personal and household readiness by answering simple questions. Results from the survey indicated that lack of knowledge was a barrier for many in being prepared. Recognition of this will serve to shape future local preparedness initiatives. Recommendations to all residents include creating a “Grab and Go Kit” containing essential medicine and important papers in case of evacuation, as well as an Emergency Supply Kit should they need to stay in their homes for 2-3 days.

Additionally a large portion of survey participants reported getting weather emergency information from NY-Alert, a website and notification service providing critical, emergency-related information including instructions and recommendations in real-time by emergency personnel. New Yorkers can subscribe to NY-Alert and receive information that may include severe weather warnings, significant highway closures, hazardous material spills and other emergency conditions. All areas of New York State are included in the system, and you can decide which area you would like to receive alerts about. Signing up is free, and messages can be received by phone, email, text and fax. For more information or to sign up, visit https://alert.ny.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.

Fast Start to Flu Season Predicted

Fast Start to Flu Season Predicted;

Three Public Fall Clinics Scheduled

BREWSTER, NY—Flu season will be here in Putnam County soon. The word from experts who monitor the flu’s earlier arrival in other parts of the world is not encouraging. Australia for example had triple the number of influenza cases soon after the start of their season last May. The good news is the Putnam County Department of Health has scheduled its fall flu clinics and residents can mark their calendars to make sure they get their shots on time.

“To protect yourself, your family and your community, get a flu shot,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “It is an easy, relatively painless, step you can take, and our health department works to make it convenient for you. Clinics are open to the public at local fire departments, and our nurses travel to senior centers and our schools to immunize these residents.”

Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Commissioner of Health, also strongly recommends getting a flu shot, saying, “Getting vaccinated is your best option, even if the vaccine is not 100 percent effective. When you get a flu shot and you still get the flu, your chance of serious complications is reduced, along with the length of time you may be sick. People forget how serious the flu can be. Nearly 80,000 people died from it here in the U.S. the season before last,” he said, referring to the estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The dates and locations for the three scheduled fall clinics are: Monday, September 23, at the Carmel Fire Department, 94 Gleneida Avenue (Route 52) and Vink Drive; Thursday, October 10, at the Garrison Fire Department, 1616 Route 9, and Monday, October 21, at the Carmel Fire Department. Each clinic runs from 2 to 6:30 p.m.

Early vaccination is important. The shot only starts to work about two weeks after it is given. Certain people should be extra sure to get vaccinated. They include pregnant women; children 6 months through 18 years of age; people over 50 years of age; those with chronic, or long-lasting, medical conditions, and those who live with or care for them. Health care workers are also required to get the flu vaccine to protect their patients.

Flu shots are important for other reasons too. Medical costs and work absenteeism are reduced. Flu immunization is also the right thing to do for the community. It builds “herd immunity,” protecting those who can’t be vaccinated because they are too young or have a specific medical condition.

The public flu clinics are open to all Putnam County residents 18 years of age and older. Proof of residency is required, along with a signed consent form. Forms will be available at the clinics, but residents are encouraged to download and complete the form ahead of time. Forms are posted on the health department’s immunization page on the Putnam County website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health/immunization. The fee for vaccination 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. (Pneumonia vaccine will not be offered at the flu clinics.)

Additional public flu clinics may be held later this year. Information on future dates will be posted on the health department’s website and on social media, and announced on the department’s flu hotline. The number is 808-1390, press option “2.” For school clinics check the school calendar or with the school nurse for details.

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

Heat Wave in Putnam County Predicted for Weekend

BREWSTER, NY— Summer is officially here and with it comes the possibility of soaring temperatures and high humidity. Staying cool and hydrated is the key to staying healthy and safe in a heat wave. A heat-related illness can affect anyone–even those who are young and physically fit, but those at highest risk are infants, young children and the elderly. During hot weather, especially when it lasts a few days or longer, outdoor activities are best done in the early morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

“Residents should be careful during any hot weather days. Watch out for your family. friends and neighbors, especially the elderly,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “During extreme heat events, we have cooling centers opened during the day for our residents.”

Heat stroke, which is also sometimes called sun stroke, is the most dangerous type of heat-related illness. “Heat stroke actually causes several thousand deaths each year in the United States,” says Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Commissioner of Health. “When a person’s body temperature goes over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, all sorts of very serious problems can occur, including damage to your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately. The longer treatment is delayed the higher the risk of serious complications or death. Before help arrives, move the person to a cooler location, out of the sun or into air conditioning, and lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.”

In addition to a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, symptoms of heat stroke include altered mental state or behavior, confusion, nausea, rapid breathing, racing heart or headache.

Heat exhaustion, although less severe than heat stroke, is another heat-related problem. Signs of this include cold, pale, clammy skin, dizziness, fainting, nausea, muscle cramps or headache.  “If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler location and apply cool water to lower your temperature. With heat exhaustion, drink 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 within one hour, seek medical care.

Take the following precautions to avoid problems in hot weather. Drink plenty of fluids and don’t wait to be thirsty to drink. Water is best because it replenishes your body’s natural fluids. Alcohol and very sugary drinks should be avoided because they dehydrate the body. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Apply it 30 minutes before going out because a sunburn will affect the body’s ability to cool down. Stay indoors in a cool or air-conditioned place as much as possible. Never leave a person or pet in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are open or you think it may be only for a few minutes.

For more information on heat-related illness during prolonged periods of extreme temperatures, call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390.

Holiday heat wave predicted

Summer is officially here and with it comes the possibility of soaring temperatures and high humidity. Staying cool and hydrated is the key to staying healthy and safe in a heat wave. A heat-related illness can affect anyone–even those who are young and physically fit, but those at highest risk are infants, young children and the elderly. During hot weather, especially when it lasts a few days or longer, outdoor activities are best done in the early morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

“Residents should be careful during any hot weather days. Watch out for your family. friends and neighbors, especially the elderly,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “During extreme heat events, we have cooling centers opened during the day for our residents.”

“A list of Putnam cooling center locations is posted online, along with the phone numbers you can call to check their hours of operation, “says Ken Clair, Commissioner of Emergency Services. The list is available at the NYS Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/.

Heat stroke, which is also sometimes called sun stroke, is the most dangerous type of heat-related illness. “Heat stroke actually causes several thousand deaths each year in the United States,” says Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Commissioner of Health. “When a person’s body temperature goes over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, all sorts of very serious problems can occur, including damage to your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately. The longer treatment is delayed the higher the risk of serious complications or death. Before help arrives, move the person to a cooler location, out of the sun or into air conditioning, and lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.”

In addition to a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, symptoms of heat stroke include altered mental state or behavior, confusion, nausea, rapid breathing, racing heart or headache.

Heat exhaustion, although less severe than heat stroke, is another heat-related problem. Signs of this include cold, pale, clammy skin, dizziness, fainting, nausea, muscle cramps or headache.  “If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler location and apply cool water to lower your temperature. With heat exhaustion, drink 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 within one hour, seek medical care.

Take the following precautions to avoid problems in hot weather. Drink plenty of fluids and don’t wait to be thirsty to drink. Water is best because it replenishes your body’s natural fluids. Alcohol and very sugary drinks should be avoided because they dehydrate the body. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Apply it 30 minutes before going out because a sunburn will affect the body’s ability to cool down. Stay indoors in a cool or air-conditioned place as much as possible. Never leave a person or pet in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are open or you think it may be only for a few minutes.

For more information on heat-related illness during prolonged periods of extreme temperatures, call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390.

 

 

https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/.

Putnam County

Always call before you go to make sure the cooling center is open.

  • Cold Spring Nutrition Site -American Legion Hall, Cedar St, Cold Spring, 10516, 845-265-3952
  • Hudson Valley Community Services, 46 Oscawana Lake Rd, Putnam Valley, 10579, 845-526-1923
  • Kent Town Hall, 40 Sybils Xing, Kent Lakes, 10512, 845-225-1606
  • Mahopac Library, 668 Route 6, Mahopac, 10541, 845-628-2009
  • Patterson Recreation Center, 65 Front St, Patterson, 12563, 845-878-7200
  • Philipstown Recreation Center, 107 Glenclyffe, Garrison, 10524, 845-424-4618
  • Putnam Valley Senior Center, 117 Town Park Lane, Putnam Valley, 10579, 845-808-1700
  • St. James Apostle Church, 14 Gleneida Ave, Carmel, 10512, 845-225-2079
  • Temple Beth Shalom, 760 Route 6, Mahopac, 10541, 845-628-6133
  • William Koehler Memorial Senior Center, 180 Route 6, Mahopac, 10541, 845-808-1738

Health Department and Putnam Hospital Center Host Public Health Summit IX

Health Department and Putnam Hospital Center Host Public Health Summit IX;

Community Partners Collaborate in Planning

BREWSTER, NY— More than 80 representatives from 44 agencies gathered together at Putnam Hospital Center for Public Health Summit IX on June 19. The goal was to review data and brainstorm plans for improving community health. While community health data may not vary much year to year, community partners convene annually to evaluate community needs and plan for the future.

Putnam Hospital Center President Peter Kelly and Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Health Commissioner for Putnam County, welcomed attendees, each thanking them for their commitment to the community. “The summit is a time to reflect, plan and engage partners,” said Dr.  Nesheiwat, noting also that by partnering with our community organizations we are able to better recognize the shifting needs of our community and address these changes through both innovative and constructive ideas.

Michael Piazza, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Social Services, and the Youth Bureau, was also among the introductory speakers, describing the inspiring legacy of Judge Reitz, who passed away suddenly the previous week, leaving widespread shock and sadness among community members. He reminded attendees that like Judge Reitz, they too do work that enhances life in Putnam County and that their work has an even greater impact than they may ever know.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell is a longtime supporter of the summit. “We are one of the healthiest counties in New York State, and our county agencies and community groups work tirelessly to ensure this,” she said at the recent State of the County Address. “I am always particularly proud of the way the different sectors in Putnam maintain alliances and collaborate. In this way, we all are able to truly stay informed about resources and identify the gaps that need to be filled.”

Mental health received particular attention at this year’s summit. On display prior to its Putnam County viewing later that evening, was The New York Warrior Promise Wall, a photographic memorial honoring those New Yorkers who have served and died by suicide as a result of PTSD. At the conclusion of the summit, all three breakout groups recounted conversations on the intersection of mental health and community health, declaring that mental health is no longer an isolated field apart from physical well-being. In recent years, public health professionals have been focusing on comprehensive health promotion to address the overlap between mental health and physical illness.

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 Offers Free HIV Testing on June 27

1 in 7 people in the U.S. don’t know they have HIV    

BREWSTER, NY— According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1 in 7 people in the U.S. don’t know they have HIV. In 2017 there were over 2,500 new HIV diagnoses in New York State and 57 HIV or AIDS-related deaths in the Lower Hudson Valley alone. These statistics serve as reminders that HIV remains a public health challenge and the only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. National HIV Testing Day takes place each year on June 27— to encourage people of all ages to get tested. Early detection is critical and can lead to better treatment results and prevent transmission to others. This year the Putnam County Department of Health will again be offering free HIV testing on Thursday, June 27, at the main health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We can make dying of AIDS a thing of the past,”says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “If we make HIV testing a routine part of basic health care then you can start treatment earlier and it can help you live a longer, healthier life.”

“Untreated HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, can affect anyone regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender. It usually causes AIDS, often a fatal disease. Many people with HIV don’t have any symptoms. In fact, nearly 40% of new HIV infections are transmitted by people who do not even know they have the virus,” says Putnam County Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “And while we know the burden of HIV is heaviest in NYC, 22% of New Yorkers with diagnosed HIV reside outside of the five boroughs.”

The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. For those with specific risk factors, the recommendation is to get tested at least once a year. In the U.S. there are 1.1 million people living with HIV, and of those, approximately 165,000 people are living with HIV but don’t know they have it. Even if you don’t feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important. Treatment with antiretroviral therapy, known as ART, lowers the “viral load” which is the level of HIV in the blood. This reduces HIV-related illness, and lowers the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

Free HIV testing and counseling will be offered by the Putnam County Department of Health on June 27 with results ready in just 20 minutes. No appointments are necessary, and privacy and confidentiality are ensured. Free condoms, giveaways and educational information will be available. For those who are busy on June 27, or wish to be tested at a different time, the health department offers free testing throughout the year as well. The walk-in clinic hours are on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Other options include getting tested by a personal health care provider or at the federally qualified health center Open Door Brewster. For questions or concerns about scheduling a test, or for more information about HIV testing or HIV/AIDS education and 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. 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.

Rabies Remains Rare, but Deadly

Health Department Urges Residents to Vaccinate Pets

 BREWSTER, NY— Rabies is a viral disease that almost always leads to death, unless a vaccine is provided soon after exposure. Springtime is when wild baby animals are born and bats often return to the local area. While rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes, pets and livestock can also become sick with rabies. Current vaccination can protect pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) hosts three pet vaccination clinics each year in March, July, and November. The next event will be held at Hubbard Lodge in Cold Spring on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

“We have been able to keep the number of human rabies cases extremely low due to the combination of companion animal vaccination programs like the one offered at the PCDOH and human rabies vaccine availability,” says Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D.  “Remember, it is never a good idea to approach a wild or stray animal. An animal does not have to look sick to be infected and the only way to tell if an animal has rabies is to test their brain tissue,” continues Dr. Nesheiwat.

Rather than approaching a baby animal that seems to have been abandoned, residents are urged to leave the animal alone, or call a wildlife rehabilitator to see if the animal truly needs assistance. Children should be taught to avoid all wild and stray animals and to tell an adult if they have come in contact with an unfamiliar animal.

Bats remain the number one reason for rabies treatments. “If you find a bat in your home, it is important to capture it safely and contact the health department for an exposure assessment,” urges Dr. Nesheiwat. “A captured bat can be tested for rabies and if it is not infected you can avoid the two-week series of shots.” 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 https://www.putnamcountyny.com/how-to-capture-a-bat/ .

The Feral Cat Task Force is another program that helps to reduce the chance of spreading rabies. The Feral Cat Task Force has captured, neutered, vaccinated and returned 54 cats, and adopted or fostered 17 kittens so far in 2019. For people 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 or contact with wild animals should be reported promptly to the PCDOH at 845-808-1390. After hours or on weekends/holidays report the incident by calling the department’s environmental health hotline at 845-808-1390 and press “3.” A representative will promptly return your call. If a family pet encounters a wild animal, avoid immediate handling of your pet, or use rubber gloves and call the health department. PCDOH personnel will facilitate testing wild animals for possible rabies after an incident involving human or pet contact.

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.

 

Tick Season Returns

Tick Season Returns | Personal Precautions Advised

BREWSTER, NY— More than a dozen tickborne illnesses have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, including five that infect residents in the Hudson Valley. While Lyme disease is the most common and the most well-known, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis are increasing as well. Powassan disease, a rarer and potentially deadly infection, is also carried by the same black-legged tick, or “deer tick,” that transmits Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

“We treasure the natural splendor and lush landscape of Putnam County and encourage our residents and visitors to enjoy the parks and trails, and to take in the outdoor beauty of Putnam County. We also urge people to learn about and take precautions to prevent tick-borne illnesses,” says Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

“Though tick populations vary each season, we know that reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” says Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “While the incidence of these diseases has been on the rise, the advice remains the same: Be vigilant about personal protection and make it a habit to check your clothing, your gear, and your body for ticks.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE). “People frequently spending time in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas should consider treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin,” adds Dr. Nesheiwat. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear and remains protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. To find the repellent that is right for you, search the Environmental Protection Agency database https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.

The Putnam County Department of Health works closely with healthcare providers to share the most up-to-date recommendations and best practices for diagnosing and reporting tickborne illnesses. A physician makes the final diagnosis based on a combination of available tests, observation of the patient, and the patient history and description of symptoms.

The most common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever/chills, aches and pains, and a bulls-eye rash. Due to the prevalence of Lyme disease in this area, residents who have been bitten by a tick and develop any of these symptoms within 30 days should visit their healthcare provider. Providers will evaluate symptoms and order diagnostic tests if indicated. For more details regarding the symptoms and guidelines for other tickborne illnesses, visit the CDC’s webpage https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/symptoms.html.

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.

“4Mind4Body” Highlights the Two Parts of Health

Mental Health Awareness Month Marks 70 Years

BREWSTER, NY— Most people still think mental health issues are uncommon. The truth is quite the opposite: One in five people are estimated to have a mental health condition and that is why promoting mental health and well-being is a key priority of Putnam’s Community Health Improvement Plan, often referred to as “the CHIP.” This May, the Putnam County Department of Health is promoting the national theme of “4Mind4Body,” and marking 70 years of Mental Health Awareness Months, started by the national organization Mental Health America (MHA). Their initial goal in 1909, and still going strong today, is to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.

“Mental health touches all of us,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “If we have not directly experienced a mental health problem ourselves, we likely know someone close to us who has, either a family member or close friend. Our community is fortunate to have many resources here in Putnam. These organizations work together tirelessly providing an array of services. Help is available.”

“Mental health cannot be separated from physical health—the two are intimately intertwined,” explained Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “And it works both ways: A healthy lifestyle can prevent, delay or alleviate mental health conditions, while chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes impact and have a mental health component.”

The theme “4Mind4Body” focuses on this, bringing awareness to many aspects of a lifestyle that can positively impact mental and physical health such as recreation and fitness, work-life balance, animal companionship, social connection, religion and spirituality.

Adapting to an increasingly digital world, Mental Health America offers a set of quick and easy online mental health screenings that provide in-home convenience and anonymity. For some this is a good first step. Others may prefer to speak with their personal health care providers, or to call the Mental Health Association in Putnam for a referral at 845-278-7600.

The online screenings for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD, biopolar, psychosis, and addiction are available at www.screening.mentalhealthamerica.net/screening-tools. These are complemented by a screening that parents can take if they have concerns about their child, a screening for youth who want to assess themselves, and a work health survey that helps measure the stresses one may be experiencing at work.

CoveCare Center, one of the largest providers of mental health services in Putnam County, recently formed an affiliation with the Mental Health Association in Putnam. CoveCare Center supports the work of MHA in Putnam while also providing compassionate and confidential prevention and treatment services for mental health, substance use, and emotional and social challenges. CoveCare Center can be reached at 845-225-2700.  The Mental Health Association continues its vital work in the areas of peer support, community education and outreach, with an emphasis on suicide prevention and veterans. In the case of a crisis, individuals should call the local Putnam County Crisis Line at 845-225-1222, or 911.

Other Putnam organizations and agency-based groups leading the work together on the CHIP with the health department include the Putnam affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), which recently hosted its sixth annual fundraising walk against the stigma of mental illness; the Putnam County Suicide Prevention Task Force; the Child Advocacy Center; the Mental Health/Substance Use Providers Coalition; the Putnam County Department of Social Services, Mental Health and the Youth Bureau; Putnam Hospital Center; and the Veterans Service Agency. A full list of community partners working on the mental health priority is published in the CHIP report, accessible online from the health department’s home page.

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.

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Please let us know if we can provide any additional information. Feel free to reach me by email, or phone at 845-808-1390.

Free Hepatitis C Testing at PCDOH on May 20

CDC Recommends One-time Testing for All Baby Boomers

BREWSTER, NY—The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) is offering free hepatitis C testing in recognition of National Hepatitis C Testing Day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis C causes more deaths among Americans than any other infectious disease. Free testing, especially targeted to New York State baby boomers, will take place on Monday, May 20. Anyone can get “Hep C,” but those born from 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with the virus. Testing starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. at the main health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. No appointment is necessary and results are ready in 20 minutes.

“You can have Hep C infection without knowing it, says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “And this free test can be the first step to getting lifesaving care and treatment.”

“Hep C can live in your body for decades without producing any symptoms and the longer someone lives with the untreated infection, the more likely they are to develop life-threatening liver disease,” says Health Commissioner, Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D. “Seventy-five percent of people living with Hepatitis C were born from 1945 to 1965. This is why U.S. health officials have come together to recommend a one-time test for all baby boomers, regardless of risk factors.”

Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with infected blood. Baby boomers may have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before routine screening started in 1992. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if they did it only once in the past. Many baby boomers don’t know how or when they were infected.

There are 2.4 million Americans living with hepatitis C and most people don’t have symptoms until the later stages of the infection. When left untreated, Hepatitis C can cause liver failure, cirrhosis and cancer. There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C. Getting tested is the best way to know if an infection exists and then treatment can be started as soon as possible. For many, treatment can cure Hepatitis C.

Residents who are unable to make the Free Testing Day on May 20, can call the health department at 845-808-1390 for information about other free testing opportunities.

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.

 

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Please let us know if we can provide any additional information. Feel free to contact our Public Information Officer Susan Hoffner with any questions at 845-808-1390.