City of York - Bureau of Health Newsletter
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January 2016

Cheers to a Healthy New Year

Another new year has come upon us!  A new year offers new opportunities to achieve goals you set for yourself and incorporate new and healthy behaviors into your everyday life.  It sometimes may become difficult to keep up with your New Year Resolution, however, we can help you find ways to boost your health and overall well being and be an inspiration! 

Follow these tips to make it a healthy 2016 for you and your family!

Notes from the Doc:
Dr. Matthew Howie

Happy New Year, York!

Like some of you reading this, I am a former Boy Scout, so the phrase “Be Prepared” instantly makes me want to salute and pack a backpack. In our present world, simple preparations can go a long way to help us avoid harm to ourselves and others. I must say during the majority of the month of December, it was tough to feel as though winter had arrived. However, if the temperature outside is any indication, it is here now. In our corner of Pennsylvania, we do see our share of cold and 'wintery' weather. It is a good time to remind ourselves to dress warmly, avoid prolonged time outside when the temperatures go to the teens, and be vigilant regarding slippery surfaces to avoid falls.
In the past few years, the need to plan for other types of emergencies as a community has taken on new meaning. Headlines last year about Ebola, along with natural disasters such as tornados, floods or hurricanes remind us of the uncontrollable nature of the world around us. The commonness of the message can also lure us into a sense of complacency. However, there are steps we can take to be ready when the next emergency strikes our area. This month, we look at what are some simple steps we as a community can take to be prepared for when the next emergency does occur in our area.
Until next month, stay warm, be safe and “Be prepared”.

Winter is Here: Are you prepared?

Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous, but if you plan ahead, you can stay safe and healthy. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Here are some items to consider for your Winter Home Emergency Kit:
  • Food – Make sure that it requires no cooking or refrigeration in case there is a loss of power. Don’t forget the babies and pets. Also make sure to have a non-electric can opener to open canned goods.
  • Water – At least 5 gallons per person, more if you are in an area prone to have long periods of cold temperatures.
  • Medicines – Extra medicine for anyone in the house on prescription medication.
  • Heat – Have an alternate way to heat your home during a power failure such as a fireplace, woodstove or a kerosene heater. Store enough wood or kerosene to get through a long term power outage.
  • Blankets
  • Matches
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlights or battery powered lanterns (don’t forget extra batteries)
  • Battery powered clock
  • Snow Shovel, if you live in an area with lots of snow
  • Rock Salt
  • Special needs items such as diapers
The following items should be kept in a car kit:
  • Extra food and clothing - We recommend energy foods that will keep over the months such as granola bars, nuts, raisins and trail mix. Also include bottled water. Clothing items should include wool hats, mittens, socks, waterproof jacket and hand warmers. Hand warmers can be purchased at your local sports store for only a few dollars and they can bring hours of warm relief to your fingers and toes.
  • Blanket - There are electric blankets that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter to keep you relatively toasty.
  • Flashlight - You may need to install chains or help other people who may also be stranded. You can also use it to signal for help.
  • Scraper
You are best to stay with your vehicle especially if you are parked in a safe spot and anticipate emergency vehicles to eventually come by.

Take these steps to winterize your home:
  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies and install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries regularly.
Where to get information for weather advisories:

Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and City of York - Bureau of Health wants you to know that there's a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity.  It's also a major cause of cervical cancer.  About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don't know they are infected.

The good news?
  • The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care
In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, City of York - Bureau of Health and the York-Adams Immunization Coalition encourages:
  • Women to start getting regular tests at age 21
  • Parents to make sure pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12. 
  • Teens and young adults to get the HPV vaccine if they didn't get it as pre-teens (women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine)
Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family members may be able to get these services at no cost to you.  Check with your insurance company to learn more.

If you haven't viewed the movie "Someone you Love - the HPV Epidemic" consider viewing this powerful film with friends.  This 80-minute movie showcases the lives of 5 women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer. Click here to watch the trailer, rent or purchase the film.  

For more information:

National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month

January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBIs are a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30% of all injury deaths. Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression).  These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities. Concussions are a type of TBI. More than 23,500 concussions result from playing winter sports every year, a third of them among children. Most occur while skiing or snowboarding, but it can happen during any sport – anyone who falls while skating or playing hockey could be at risk of a brain injury. 

Below are some common signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for this winter sports season. If a loved one displays any of these after getting hit in the head, contact your primary care provider immediately.

Dr. Matthew Howie, MD, Medical Director

Barbara Kovacs, MPA, Director
Clinician's Corner

December 2015 Communicable Disease Report

The HPV Toolkit: A Resource for Healthcare Providers (ASHA)

Follow the link to take the pledge to better heart health and help boost our community efforts.
C. Kim Bracey, Mayor
Copyright © 2015 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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