public health

Monday, October 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Public Health Column:

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is this week, Oct. 23-29. The Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County Health Departments encourage you to learn about lead, lead poisoning, and the importance of preventative testing in order to make our community a healthier one.

Lead is a metal found in the earth and it is a poison. For years, lead was used in paint, gas, plumbing and many other items. Since the late 1970s, lead paint was banned in the United States, however other countries may not have regulations regarding the use of lead products. Lead can be found in the soil, deteriorated paint, household dust, contaminated drinking water from old plumbing, lead-glazed pottery, some metal jewelry, and at some jobsites (typically construction, manufacturing and mining).

Lead poisoning is preventable but when ingested, even a small amount can cause severe and lasting harm. Exposure to lead can happen from breathing air or dust, eating contaminated foods, or drinking contaminated water. All houses built prior to 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust.

Lead dust, fumes and paint chips can cause serious health problems. Too much lead in the human body can cause serious damage to the brain, nervous system and red blood cells. Everyone, young and old, can be affected if exposed, but children and pregnant women are considered at highest risk. Young children between 6 months and 6 years old are more likely to suffer health problems from lead exposure. Lead poisoning can slow a child’s physical growth and mental development and may cause behavior problems, intellectual disability, kidney and liver damage, blindness and even death.

“New York State Department of Health requires health care providers to obtain a blood lead test for all children at age 1 and again at age 2,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans counties. “Up to age 6, your doctor or nurse should ask you about ways your child may have had contact with lead.

"Pregnant women are at high risk because lead can pass from mother to her unborn baby, as well as be responsible for high blood pressure and miscarriage. Also, be concerned if you or someone in your home has a hobby or job that brings them in contact with lead."

Prevention is the key! Protect yourself and your family from possible lead exposure by talking to your Primary Care Provider about lead testing. There are also many precautions that can be taken to protect yourself and your family; here are a few. Prior to consuming food, make sure hands are washed, clean your home weekly, do not allow your child to chew on something that is dirty, avoid wearing shoes in the house, and hire a qualified professional if you suspect there is lead in your home that you want removed.

For information about this topic or Health Department services contact,

  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website

at www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/index.html. Visit Facebook at Genesee County Health Department and Twitter at GeneseeCoHealthDept.

Saturday, August 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm
posted by Billie Owens in public health, immunizations, vaccines, education.

Press release:

Back-to-School season is here! It’s time for parents to gather school supplies and backpacks. Whether it’s a baby starting at a new daycare, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should also check their child’s vaccine records. 

“These settings are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases,” said Dr. Gregory Collins, Wyoming County Health commissioner. “Children can easily transmit illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, uncovered coughs, dense populations and other factors.”

To emphasize the importance of immunizations for people of all ages – and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need – the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming county health departments are joining partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. 

“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure a healthy future for their children,” said Paul Pettit, Genesee & Orleans Public Health director. "If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs.”

Vaccines protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.  When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for diseases and can also spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.

Talk to your child’s doctor to find out which vaccines are recommended for them before going back to school.

For more information about the recommended vaccines for each age group visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

Information on NYS Immunization Requirements for School Entrance/Attendance:

https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/immunization/schools/updated_school_imm_requirements.htm

For more information about Health Department services, use the contact information below.

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