The Howard County Health Department
Holiday Schedule for the Health Department:
Health Department Offices CLOSED on Monday December 22, 2014 from 12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Health Department Offices CLOSED Wednesday, December 24, 2014 thru Friday, January 2, 2015
Health Department Board of Health Meeting is CANCELED for the month of December.
Birth Certificate Services are available at other Maryland State locations on a limited basis during this time. For more information, visit the Vital Statistics Website or call 410-764-3069.
Click HERE or above to go to current Health News
WEEK OF: December 15, 2014:
SEASONAL FLU CLINICS
TBD - Check back after January 5, 2014
Most pharmacies, groceriy stores and large food retailers offer flu shots which are covered by your insurance company. You health care provider is also able to provide a flu vaccine to you. Don't spend the holidays sick--get a flu shot!
Important Information About Your Health Care Coverage
Consumers who enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan need to re-enroll in the new system by December 18, 2014 in order to continue to receive assistance on their January 1 bill. If the deadline is missed, the FULL amount of the premium MUST be paid. The State of Maryland and the insurance carriers have sent emails, letters, and called consumers, but as of December 10, 2014, only about 25% have re-enrolled. This is of concern, because many consumers may not be able to afford to pay the full amount for their premium. (Click here for more)
December 18, 2014 is also important for new consumers. They need to enroll by December 18, 2014 if they want coverage to begin on January 1, 2015.
For more information and to enroll visit the Door to HealthCare or call 855-288-DOOR (855-288-3667).
While it is no longer National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies the body needs to provide protection against the flu. Once vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.
Below are great resources:
The Health Department has a Walk-In Flu Clinic on December 11, but if you are unable to attend, use this handy vaccine finder to locate places offering flu vaccine near you!
Additional information from the CDC about the 2014-2015 Flu season: This winter's flu season is likely to be a bad one. Each flu season different strains (or types) of the flu are dominant. This season Influenza A (H3N2) is the dominant strain. In years when this strain is dominant, there are more hospitalizations. The other challenge this year according to Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, is that the H3N2 strain has mutated (changed) since the vaccine was made early in the year.
- What does this mean? The vaccine may be less effective if you come in contact with the H3N2 type of virus (There are several other strains contained in the flu shot and you are protected against them). It is not completely ineffective. You have some protection, but it may not be as robust as it was before the virus mutated.
- What can I do? The flu vaccine still remains THE best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu! The second line of defense according to Dr. Frieden is tretment with anti-virals "to patients who may be at higher risk for flu complications. These include children younger than 2; adults 65 and older; people with asthma, heart disease, or weakened immune systems; pregnant women; American Indians/Alaska Natives; and people who are "morbidly obese." (The Health Department recommends you ALWAYS speak to your healthcare provider for advice before beginning course of treatment.)
Healthy Weight is About Exercise and Healthy Choices
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn't about short-term changes. It's about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you eat and drink, with the number of calories your body uses. Here are some great tips and resources to help you make the right decision for you and your family for whatever occasion.
- Drink water- instead of sugar drinks when you are thirsty.
- In your home- make water, skim milk and diluted fruit juice an option.
- Have ready water-to-go bottles available in the fridge which can be taken to work or school.
- Enjoy the beverage you want, but choose carefully how often you have sugar drinks.
- Use the nutrition fact label to know how many sugars fats and calories in your drink.
- Compare calories and added sugars in your favorite beverages
A Class Using a Simple Spray to Save Lives Begins in Howard County
The Howard County Health Department is offering FREE Opioid Overdose Response Program trainings to become certified to administer naloxone for Howard County residents 18 years of age and older. Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose, perform rescue breathing, give intra-nasal naloxone (a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose by restoring a person's ability to breathe) and learn to care for the individual until help arrives. Click HERE to read more.
Call our Bureau of Behavioral Health at 410-313-6202 for more information and to register.
Opiod Overdose Response Program Video Class/Written Exam Now Available Online
Howard County Health Department offers an Opiod Overdose Response Program trainings to become certified to administer naloxone, the prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose. In order to become certified you may either come to our class OR you may watch the video course and take the test, THEN schedule your class to come into the Health Department and complete the Hands-On portion of the training to receive your certificate and Naloxone kit. To view the online training click on the following: OORP Video Training Link
To Request the Health Department at Your Next Health Event
Toll Free: 1-866-313-6300
Columbia Health Center: 410-313-7500
North Laurel Health Center: 410-313-0630
Behavioral Health Services/Substance Abuse Services: 410-313-6202
Environmental Health: 410-313-2640
Or you may send an e-mail to:
Howard County Health Department 8930 Stanford Blvd. Columbia, MD 21045