City of York - Bureau of Health Newsletter
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February 2016

American Heart Month

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects nearly 68 million adults in the United States.  Every year hypertension contributes to one out of every seven deaths.  Also, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in and accountable for 1 in 3 deaths in the United States.  To help prevent heart disease and hypertension, The City of York- Bureau of Health is proudly participating in American Heart Month and aligning efforts to increase awareness of its effects. According to the Healthy York County Coalition’s 2015 community health assessment, locally almost half of adults in York County have high cholesterol and more than 1 in 3 adults in York County have high blood pressure.  The City of York – Bureau of Health has been working to support the Million Hearts Initiative, a nationwide effort to reduce 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The Bureau of Health has been building partnerships to help achieve this goal by collaborating with other providers and health related organizations.  By following the ABCS of heart health, you can help reduce your risk and improve your overall heart health. 

A: Take aspirin as directed by your health care professional.
B: Control your blood pressure.
C: Manage your cholesterol.
S: Don’t smoke

“The simple choices we make today to live a healthier lifestyle can have a very large effect on our health down the road.  Be physically active every day. When it comes to your blood pressure and cholesterol, ‘Know your Numbers.’ Don’t smoke and work a little more each day to reach your personal heart health goals. “
Dr. Matt Howie
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
  1. Watch your weight.
  2. Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  3. Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  4. Routinely check your blood pressure.
  5. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  6. Get active and eat healthy.
This year’s focus is to “make blood pressure control your goal”

For more information on the Million Hearts Initiative and what the City of York – Bureau of Health is doing to promote heart health, please visit our website at


National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

On February 7th, 2016 the City of York – Bureau of Health observed National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. At some point in their lifetimes, an estimated 1 in 16 African American men and 1 in 32 African American women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. In 2012, African Americans had the largest percentage (47%) of the estimated 47,989 diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States.

African Americans face a number of challenges that contribute to the higher rates of HIV infection. The greater number of people living with HIV (prevalence) in African American communities and the fact that African Americans tend to have sex with partners of the same race/ethnicity means that they face a greater risk of HIV infection with each new sexual encounter. African American communities continue to experience higher rates of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared with other racial/ethnic communities in the United States. Having an STI can significantly increase the chance of getting or transmitting HIV. Stigma, fear, discrimination, homophobia, and negative perceptions about HIV testing can also place too many African Americans at higher risk. Many at risk for HIV fear discrimination and rejection more than infection and may choose not to seek testing.

Personal Health Services staff at the City of York - Bureau of Health work with patients and the community to reduce the spread of HIV infection. Activities include:
  • Conducting field visits and interview HIV/AIDS patients to determine the source of infection, verify treatment, and provide follow-up, prevention information and education.
  • Providing HIV-antibody testing and counseling, CD4 and viral load tests.
  • Providing counseling, partner notification, Mantoux testing, immunizations, and community service networking to those individuals testing HIV positive.
  • Providing education/outreach to high-risk individuals, general public, and health care providers.
  • Tracking HIV/AIDS morbidity in the City of York in conjunction with the PA Department of Health.

For more information about our services visit our website, or call the Health Center at 717-849-2299.

Low Vision Awareness Month

As part of Low Vision Awareness Month, the City of York – Bureau of Health is promoting our upcoming A Matter of Balance Fall Prevention classes. With people in the United States living longer, eye diseases and vision loss have become major public health concerns. Currently, 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired. Those with impaired vision are at a higher risk for fall, as they are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Older adults should have their eyes checked at least once a year and update their eyeglasses. For those with low vision there are assistive devices and programs, such as A Matter of Balance, that can help.

The City of York – Bureau of Health in partnership with the Falls Free Coalition, holds classes for free and open to the community throughout York City and York County. Upcoming class locations include:
  • September House (1251 W King St), March 7th-March 31st, held Mondays & Thursday mornings 9:30-11:30am. Call September House at 717-848-4417 to register.
  • YMCA York (90 N Newberry St.), March 24th-May 12th, held Thursday mornings 9:00-11:00am. Call the YMCA at 717-843-7884 to register.
  • Aldersgate United Methodist Church (397 Tyler Run Rd), May 2nd-May 26th, held Monday & Thursday mornings 10:00am-12:00pm. Call AUMC at 717-854-4276 to register.
For more information on fall prevention and upcoming A Matter of Balance classes, follow the City of York – Bureau of Health on Facebook and call the Bureau at 717-849-2299.

Zika Virus

It’s been all over the news and social media….Zika Virus Disease. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Zika is a disease caused by Zika Virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).  The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick.  For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild so many people might not realize they have been infected. The symptoms as mentioned above, typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.  Mosquitos become infected when they bite a person already infected with the virus.  Infected mosquitos can then spread the virus to other people through bites.  Zika can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.  How often it is transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy is not yet known.

People most at risk of being infected are those living in, or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found and has not already been infected with Zika virus, including pregnant women. Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring is often difficult to determine and is likely to change over time. For the most current information, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health site.

As there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, the best prevention from contracting the virus is to avoid getting bit. Ways you can protect yourself and family from mosquito bites are:
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness.
  • Always follow the product label instructions
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
  • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.      
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
If you have a baby or child:
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
  • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
  • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
  • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
  • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
As with any health concern, if you questions or concerns related to the Zika virus, please contact your healthcare provider.
For more information on the Zika virus visit

City of York - Bureau of Health In the Community

Community Health Specialist, Jonna Lizewski is pictured stirring soup at the Squash Hunger event hosted by The York County Food Alliance, Healthy World Cafe and Farm to Freezer.
A Matter of Balance Coach Training was held January 19th & 20th, 2016, where 18 new coaches were trained. The training was a collaboration of the City of York – Bureau of Health, York County Area Agency on Aging, and WellSpan Health through the Falls Free Coalition.
Dr. Matthew Howie, MD, Medical Director

Barbara Kovacs, MPA, Director
Clinician's Corner

January 2016 Communicable Disease Report

Supporting Your Patients with High Blood Pressure

Improving Medication Adherence Among Patients with Hypertension

C. Kim Bracey, Mayor
Copyright © 2016 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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