City of York - Bureau of Health Newsletter
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June 2016

Summer Safety

Did you know swimming is the most popular summer activity?  When it comes to physical activity during the warm months, everyone wants to be near the water.  While water-related activities have many health benefits, it’s critical to be alert and to stay focused on water safety.  Unfortunately, drownings are the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4 – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Water-related accidents can be prevented by understanding water safety.  Below are tips on how to stay safe while enjoying the water:
  • Swim in designated areas.
  • Learn to swim.  Enroll yourself and/or your child in formal swimming lessons.
  • Use the buddy system.  Never swim alone and always supervise children.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear a life jacket. Going boating?  Always wear a life jacket when in open water, regardless of age or swimming experience.
  • Be alert.
  • Install and use barriers around home pools and hot tubs.

Animal Bite Awareness

As the weather gets warmer, the risk for animal bites throughout our community grows. Animal bites can lead to injuries and infectious diseases, including rabies
  • In the City of York, last year there was a total of 131 cases of animal bites.
  • Prevent The Bite reports that according to the Centers for Disease Control, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1-4, 9th for ages 5-9 and 10th for ages 10-14 from 2003-2012.
  • The U.S. Postal Service reports that 5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2013. Children, elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.  
At the City of York - Bureau of Health, our Animal Bite Prevention Program provides continued surveillance and appropriate epidemiological investigation of all animal bites reported to the Bureau of Health.

So what should you do if there is an animal bite or scratch?
  • The victim should immediately wash the wound with soap and water, then promptly seek medical care.
  • Try to have as much information about the animal as possible to determine if it may have rabies. 
  • The medical provider should fill out this form and report the incident to the PA York County State Health Center.
  • If the circumstances of the exposure warrant, human rabies vaccine may be prescribed.
For more information or questions about our services, visit our website, or give us a call at 717-849-2299.

Preventing Tick Bites

Lyme Disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. The tick must be attached and feeding for 24 to 48 hours to transmit Lyme Disease. Here are some tips to prevent tick bites:
  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may provide longer-lasting protection.
  • Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at Insect Repellents: Use and Effectiveness
Go here for more information on Lyme Disease and how to prevent tick bites.

Liquid Nicotine and E-Cigarettes: Public Policy Update

Root beer, bubblegum, and other sweetly flavored e-cigarettes are growing in popularity. Liquid nicotine, used in electronic cigarettes or "vaping,” can be deadly to children; swallowing even a small amount is poisonous. In 2014, the poison help line received more than 2300 calls about contact with liquid nicotine for children younger than 6 years – an average of 7 calls a day.

Effective in July 2016, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 mandates child resistant packaging for liquid nicotine. Remember: child resistant does not mean child proof. Effective August 8, 2016, the FDA will regulate electronic nicotine delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes and vape pens) similarly to how the FDA regulates cigarettes. This includes restricting sales to people age 18 years and older, accurately reporting all ingredients, and placing health warnings on product packages and ads.

To prevent liquid nicotine poisoning, some recommendations include:
  • Always keep children away from any product that contains nicotine.
  • Avoid keeping any product containing liquid nicotine or "smoke juice" in a household where children live or are likely to visit.
  • Always store the product in its original container.
  • Lock these products safely out of sight and reach of children and pets. (That includes "smoke juice", cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco – and dirty ashtrays.)
  • Remember that used "smoke juice" containers may still contain nicotine. Wrap them up so kids and pets can't dig them out of the trash.
If you suspect that your child has swallowed any nicotine-containing product, immediately call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. Poison specialists will answer your call 24 hours a day.

City of York - Bureau of Health In the Community

City of York - Bureau of Health worked with Alexander Goode Elementary to create a Bike Safety Public Service Announcement for Bike to School Day. Keep an eye out to see it air on WRCT!
Check out what's growing at the United Way community garden. We are always in need of volunteers, so please give us a call at 717-846-6730 to get involved.

Notes from the Doc:
Dr. Matthew Howie

“Let’s be careful out there.”
For those of us who were TV watchers in the 1980’s, the tagline above will trigger memories of Hill Street Blues. The above line would close out the shift briefing and be a reminder to those police officers that the world they were about to enter required some level of caution and their safety was important. As we look to the activities of summer, many of them outside in areas we don’t frequent often, we all need to remember to be careful. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Careful in the sun – When you are outside in the sun and heat, be sure to stay hydrated, wear a hat, and remember sunscreen. Too much sun can lead to dehydration,  heat related illness, and have long term effects such as skin cancer.
  • If you ride a bike, wear a helmet – With streets and trails beckoning us, getting out on two wheels is a great idea. Just remember to put on a helmet so if the unexpected happens, you will be protected.
  • Avoid ticks – Seems a bit obvious, but our local tick population can spread disease. While we have not had a case of Zika virus locally, each year we do have cases of the mosquito-born illness West Nile Virus. This can cause a brain infection that can be very serious.
As we move into summer, be sure to get outside, be active, and meet those wellness goals. But please also remember, "Let’s be careful out there.”
Yours in health,
Dr. Matt
Dr. Matthew Howie, MD, Medical Director

Barbara Kovacs, MPA, Director
Clinician's Corner

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Copyright © 2016 York City Health Bureau, All rights reserved.

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101 S. George St., P.O. Box 509
York, PA 17405

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