National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 20-26, 2019

Lead is Still Found in Many Homes

Lead is a toxic metal that is still present in and around many homes in lead-based paint and urban soils. Lead can also be tracked in if parents have jobs or hobbies that expose them to lead. Children who are exposed to lead at a young age are at increased risk for speech delay, learning disabilities, and ADHD. A simple blood test can tell if your child has been exposed to lead. If you have children under six years old, ask your doctor if they might be at risk for lead poisoning. See the EPA’s home page on lead for more information.

Protect Your Child from Lead Around Your Home

If you live in a home built before 1978 your home may contain lead paint. Use a damp rag to clean up any paint chips.  Frequent wet cleaning will remove dust and dirt that could contain lead. Leave shoes by the door to avoid tracking in lead, and don’t let your child play in bare dirt around the house. If you do renovation projects, hire a contractor with RRP certification or follow guidelines for safe do-it-yourself renovation.

Lead Abatement Assistance is Available in Richmond and Roanoke

The cities of Richmond and Roanoke have obtained federal grants that will help pay to control lead hazards in private homes for qualifying homeowners. Residents of those cities who are interested should contact their local health department.

Lead Safe Virginia

VDH helps keep your water safe

Information about lead and drinking water 

CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention

Prevent childhood lead poisoning 

 

Get Your Flu Shot!

miss the fluBy now, you probably know that it is recommended that everyone 6 months of age or older receive a flu vaccination each year. Flu season usually peaks in January or February and continues through May. Getting a flu shot is not only the single best way to protect yourself from getting sick, it’s also the best way to prevent the spread of flu to others.

Help us make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation by getting a flu shot and encouraging your friends and family to get one as well.

It is important to get a flu shot even if you had one last year. Your immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the best protection against the flu.

The flu is a serious disease, especially for certain age groups and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as:

  • Children younger than five, but especially younger than two years old
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Women who are pregnant or just had a baby
  • People with chronic health conditions

Remember, a flu shot cannot cause illness.

To find out where to get a flu shot in your area, contact your local health department or use the vaccine finder. And visit our Miss The Flu page for more information on how to miss the flu, not your life!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a large public health issue that impacts children, teens and adults. Abuse is a pattern of behavior used to gain power and control.

Physical abuse is any purposeful and unwanted contact. This can include:

  • being hit,
  • slammed into something, or
  • being injured by an object or weapon

Emotional or verbal abuse includes:

  • when a partner makes threats,
  • insulting or humiliating their partner, or
  • constantly monitoring or checking in on their partners.

These are just some of the ways that an abuser may try to gain control over their partner.

Learning the characteristics of an unhealthy relationship can help Virginians see red flags in their partners.

If you or someone you know needs help call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-838-8238 or the LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline, 1-800-356-6998. If you are not able to call you can text, 804.793.9999. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Learn more: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/domestic-and-sexual-violence-prevention/resources/

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every Woman’s Life (EWL) helps low-income, uninsured women between the ages of 18-64 get FREE breast cancer screening. If these tests lead to a cancer diagnosis, successful treatment can increase dramatically with early detection. Find out if you are eligible for EWL, and schedule your annual screening today.

Learn more about Every Woman’s Life at: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/every-womans-life/

Rabies Awareness Week 2019

Rabies Awareness Week is September 23-29, 2019.  This longstanding campaign is co-sponsored by Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association.  This year’s theme focuses on vaccinating domestic animals, the foundation of all rabies control efforts.

To learn more about rabies and the health department’s role in rabies prevention, visit: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/

To learn more about the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and the clinical veterinarian’s role in rabies prevention, visit:  https://www.vvma.org/Rabies-Awareness

World Rabies Day is September 28, 2019 and is the first and only global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention. It is an opportunity to unite, as a community and for individuals, NGOs and governments to connect and share their work.

To learn more about World Rabies day, visit:  https://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.

 

FDA Advises Consumers Not to Eat Yellowfin Tuna Steaks from Kroger Retail Stores in Multiple States

September 7, 2019 – FDA Advises Consumers Not to Eat Yellowfin Tuna Steaks from Kroger Retail Stores in Multiple States

  • Consumers who recently experienced symptoms of scombroid poisoning after eating yellowfin tuna steaks.
  • Consumers who purchased yellowfin tuna steaks from Kroger retail stores in AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MO, MS, NE, OH, SC, TN, VA and WV with sell by dates from August 29, 2019 to September 14, 2019.

Product

  • Yellowfin tuna steaks sold at Kroger retail stores in AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MO, MS, NE, OH, SC, TN, VA and WV with sell by dates from August 29, 2019 and September 14, 2019. The product may be sold as raw yellowfin tuna steaks at the seafood counter or seasoned in store-prepped Styrofoam trays.

Purpose

The FDA is advising consumers to not eat yellowfin tuna steaks from the seafood counter or seasoned yellowfin tuna steaks in store-prepped Styrofoam trays from Kroger retail stores in AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MO, MS, NE, OH, SC, TN, VA and WV with sell by dates from August 29, 2019 and September 14, 2019 because they may cause scombroid poisoning. Consumers of these products who are experiencing symptoms of scombroid poisoning should contact their healthcare provider. Consumers of these products who have recently experienced symptoms of scombroid poisoning should report their symptoms to their local Health Department.

Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning

Scombroid poisoning is caused by eating fish that has not been properly refrigerated or preserved and therefore contains high levels of histamine. Scombroid poisoning is most commonly caused by fish that have naturally high levels of the amino acid histidine, which bacteria convert to histamine when the fish is not correctly stored.

Scombroid symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to an hour after eating contaminated fish. They usually resemble an allergic reaction, such as flushing of the face, headache, heart palpitations, itching, blurred vision, cramps, and diarrhea. Symptoms can be treated with antihistamines. Even without treatment, people usually get better within 12 hours.

If you suspect you have symptoms of scombroid poisoning, contact a health professional. Read the full advisory at: https://www.fda.gov/food/alerts-advisories-safety-information/fda-advises-consumers-not-eat-yellowfin-tuna-steaks-kroger-retail-stores-multiple-states 

SepticSmart Week 2019

SepticSmart Week is September 16-20, 2019. This annual
event focuses on educating homeowners and communities on the
proper care and maintenance of their septic systems. Visit www.epa.gov/septic for more resources and information about SepticSmart Week 2019.

It’s important to maintain your system to protect your home, health, environment and property value. The Environmental Protection Agency offers many tips.

At VDH, the Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services program protects public health and ground water quality through its wastewater program. Read more about the office.

Protect Your Pipes

Think at the Sink

September is National Preparedness Month

During National Preparedness Month, learn how to prepare for emergencies. The 2019 National Preparedness Month theme is Prepared, Not ScaredBe Ready for Disasters.

  • Put together a plan by discussing these four questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.
    1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
    2. What is my shelter plan?
    3. What is my evacuation route?
    4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Breastfeeding Awareness Month

As declared by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, August 1-7, 2019 is World Breastfeeding Week, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee declared August as National Breastfeeding Month to promote breastfeeding as a proven primary prevention strategy.

Breastfeeding is the nutritional standard for infant and young child feeding. Human breast milk is not only the ideal food for infants, but it is the only food that infants need for the first six months of life.

Breastfeeding is endorsed not only by the Virginia Department of Health, but also by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and many other scientific organizations.

Mothers Have A Legal Right To Breastfeed In Public – As enacted in 2015, Va. Code § 32.1-370 states in relevant part, “A mother may breastfeed in any place where the mother is lawfully present…”

National Immunization Awareness Month

Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month highlights the value of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life.

Immunizations play an important role in protecting our health, and the health of our families and communities. You have the power to protect yourself and your family with vaccines that prevent serious diseases like measles, the flu, whooping cough, pneumonia, and cancers caused by HPV.

Remember, vaccines aren’t just for young children. The Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to talk to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional to ensure that you and your loved ones of all ages are up to date on all recommended vaccines.