City of York - Bureau of Health Newsletter
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December 2016

Did you know?  There is an estimated 36 million people living with HIV worldwide.  An astonishing 35 million people have lost their fight with HIV since 1984, making HIV the most destructive pandemic in history.

What is HIV?  HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.  HIV is an RNA retrovirus that uses reverse transcription to produce a DNA copy of itself, transporting itself into the nucleus of healthy cells.  This process then replicates over and over.

How is HIV transmitted?  HIV can be sexually transmitted from one person to another.  Having unprotected sex is the most frequent risk factor.  The highest risk factor is anal intercourse, and the next highest is vaginal intercourse.  Additionally, sharing IV drugs or equipment with someone can increase your chances of contracting the virus.  Also, an HIV-infected woman can spread HIV during pregnancy or delivery, known as mother-to-child transmission.  HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact, food or water.

How to reduce your risk of HIV? You can reduce your risk of contracting HIV or other STDs by wearing condoms, limiting partners, and not sharing needles or equipment with others. 

Know your status and get involved! Getting tested yearly and before engaging in sexual acts with a new partner is strongly advised.  Knowing your status is very empowering!
On December 1 the York City Bureau of Health celebrated and participated in World Aids Day by honoring those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS.  Come show your support by getting tested and by encouraging others to get tested.  Together we can unite in the fight against HIV!

National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 4-10, 2016, provides an opportunity to remind everyone 6 months and older that it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.

Why get vaccinated against influenza (flu)?
The best way to protect against influenza (flu) is to get a flu vaccine every flu season. Flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. The first and most important step in protecting against flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. 

It is important to get your flu vaccine EVERY year, because

  • Flu viruses are constantly changing, so flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses that research shows will be most common during the upcoming flu season.
  • A person’s immune protection from the flu vaccine declines over time. Yearly vaccination is needed for the best protection.
Who should get a flu vaccine?
Everyone is at risk for seasonal influenza. CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine.

While the flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at high risk of serious flu complications. Flu vaccination can help protect people who are at high risk of getting seriously ill from flu and people who care for those at high risk for flu-related complications:
  • Pregnant women, children younger than 5 years, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
  • People 65 years of age and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • Health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu.
    • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children younger than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).
What are the benefits of getting the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine can provide:
  • Protection for yourself.
  • Protection for newborns and infants who are too young to get vaccinated.
  • Protection for other people at high risk of serious complications from flu.

Protect yourself and your family from flu: get vaccinated.

The York City Bureau of Health, located at 435 W. Philadelphia St, will be having a flu clinic on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. This will be for York City residents who are uninsured, underinsured or children on Medicaid. We have vaccines for all those who are 6 months and older.

To make an appointment please call:
(717) 815-0910.

‘Tis the Season to Remember to Drive Safely

The excitement of seeing friends and family during the holidays encourages many to hop in their vehicles to travel, but remember that automobile accidents greatly increase around holiday seasons. Festive drinking and distractions coupled with winter weather can be combinations for a fatal accident. Last year, PennDOT reported 4,985 crashes and 46 fatalities statewide in the Christmas and New Year’s travel periods alone. Keep yourself, family and friends, and other drivers safe this holiday season by avoiding these three major risk factors for an accident and following safety rules.
  1. Don’t Drink and Drive. In 2015, there were 53,319 DUI arrests in PA, though getting behind the wheel while drunk can cost much more than a DUI arrest. Impaired drivers account for about one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Instead of risking lives, think ahead, whether your ride home will be a designated driver or taxi service, plan for holiday festivities. Encourage those around you to do the same and do not let anyone drive home impaired. Lastly, drink responsibly. Remember that everyone is different and metabolizes alcohol at different rates based on their metabolism and BMI. Though you may not feel impaired, your senses can be lessened and reaction times slowed.
  2. Keep your eyes on the road. Though a ‘Happy Holiday!’ text may be good intentioned, texting and driving is a serious risk factor for an accident. Avoid texting and talking on the phone while driving a vehicle, as well as any other distractions. Distractions can be tempting, like eating or talking to passengers, especially if traveling far distances, but remember to use common sense while on the road. If you need to, plan ahead some extra time to pull over for a bite to eat and check your phone.
  3. Check the weather. If at all possible, avoid driving in inclement winter weather, such as snow and ice. If you need to drive, make sure to follow all safety tips. Stay alert by getting enough sleep before traveling, know what to do in different types of adverse driving situations, and be prepared. Keeping at least half a tank of gas in your vehicle and emergency car kits are great ways to prepare for possible winter travel emergencies.

Holiday Safety Tips

Please read the following links for additional holiday safety:

Update: York Water's Lead Testing Program

For more information surrounding the York Water Company’s lead testing program, please take the time to read the press release and visit the York Water Company Lead Information page for FAQ, information about lead and drinking water, and tools to determine if you have lead water lines.

City of York - Bureau of Health In the Community

The Bureau of Health, represented by Director Barbara Kovacs (right), received $28,000 from the Memorial Health Fund for a data management system.

Health Bureau and Penn State's Nutrition Links staff held taste test events at Pak's and Green's Food Market to promote the Healthy Corner Store Initiative. 

Notes from the Doc:
Dr. Matthew Howie

Happy Holidays, York!

Much has happened since our last newsletter, including the election of a new president. What this means for the future of healthcare in our country is the source of much speculation by many far more informed than I. However, some things continue to be real and present needs and concerns for our community regardless of who is in the White House.

In the past week, the Bureau of Health celebrated World AIDS day on December 1, 2016. While many wore red to draw attention to the ongoing worldwide epidemic on Thursday, locally we have programs that work relentlessly every day to care for those infected by the virus and try to prevent the continued spread of this challenging disease. Caring Together, a Ryan White Funded Program administered through Family First Health in partnership with Wellspan and others does this critical work with skill and compassion. The Bureau of Health partners with the Caring Together program to identify those newly infected, get those individuals into care, monitor those with the infection, and play a critical role in monitoring the progression of this and other conditions affecting many in our community. While there is no vaccine to date for the prevention of HIV, treatment is very effective and efforts to intervene in the spread of the virus continue to try and turn the tide of this disease.

As with so much in our lives, time can seem to be moving faster and faster. As the late winter holidays approach, please take the time to remember tree safety and the risks some toys can present to our children. Gathering with friends and family is a welcome opportunity, but please be responsible when drinking and have a designated driver. Happy Holidays to all and see you in the new year!

Yours in Health,
Dr. Matt
Dr. Matthew Howie, MD, Medical Director

Barbara Kovacs, MPA, Director
Clinician's Corner

November 2016 Communicable Disease Report

Influenza Vaccination: A Summary for Clinicians
C. Kim Bracey, Mayor
Copyright © 2015 York City Health Bureau, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
101 S. George St., P.O. Box 509
York, PA 17405

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City of York - Bureau of Health · 101 S. George St. · York, PA 17401 · USA

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