World AIDS Day 2016

We mark World AIDS Day today by reflecting on those who have been, and continue, to be affected by the disease. All of us can work together to help spread knowledge, decrease stigma and inequality, and support those affected by AIDS.

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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus responsible for AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by having unprotected sex or sharing injection drug equipment, such as needles, with someone who has HIV. HIV is only transmitted through certain fluids (blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk) that must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue for the virus to be transmitted. The virus can also be directly injected and transmitted into the bloodstream from a syringe or needle. For more information on HIV and how it is transmitted, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/.

In North Carolina, infection rates have been stable over the past few years. However, in 2015, 1,345 new cases of HIV were diagnosed. Fortunately, there are effective treatments to slow down the progression from HIV infection to AIDS. The first step in getting life-saving treatment for HIV infection is to be tested. You can get free testing and counseling services at several places in Chatham County, including the Chatham County Public Health Department. Our clinic in Siler City provides confidential, walk-in HIV testing and counseling. You can also locate your nearest HIV testing, treatment, and health services at www.aids.gov under their service locator.

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When trying to quit smoking, support can make all the difference

You would like to quit tobacco, you intend to quit one day, but, well, you just need to make a firm commitment to quit.

How about this Thursday, November 17, 2016?

That is the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout®.  Every November, we set aside the third Thursday as the one day for all smokers to make a plan to quit smoking for good. There is strength in numbers. You can join millions of Americans and start living tobacco free.

Quitting is a process that starts one day at a time. And every day you stay quit is also another step closer towards a healthier life. That is not just great for you, but also something your family, friends, and other loved ones will truly appreciate. Check out the American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smoking to help you along with your journey (http://bit.ly/1ltRoxc).

 

Why quit?

The health benefits begin the moment you stop smoking. Quitting at any age can give you back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

To learn more, visit cancer.org/smokeout or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

The Chatham County Department of Public Health is also a great resource for help quitting tobacco. Please contact Jennifer Park at jennifer.park@chathamnc.org or 919-545-8444 for more information.

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Sign up for a FREE Grocery Tour!

Want to save money at the store?

Want to buy healthy foods for your family?

Need some tasty and healthy recipes?

If you said yes, come join us for a free guided grocery store tour!

During the hour tour, you’ll practice skills like:

  • buying fruits and vegetables on a budget
  • comparing unit prices to find bargains
  • reading and comparing food labels
  • identifying whole grains
  • and sticking to your budget!

After the tour you will receive a:

  • FREE $10 worth of healthy groceries of your choice using the skills learned on the tour
  • FREE book full of tasty recipes and simple tips on buying healthy, low-cost foods
  • FREE reusable grocery bag

The next tour is Monday, November 7th at 3:30pm at the Walmart in Siler City.  For more information, call or email nutritionist and registered dietitian Tara Gregory at (919) 742-5641 or tara.gregory@chathamnc.org.  Stay tuned for additional tour dates/locations!

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September 6th is Protect Your Groundwater Day

PROTECT YOUR GROUNDWATER DAY:

A call to protect public health and the environment

The Chatham County Public Health Department in conjunction with the National Ground Water Association encourages every person to protect public health and the health of the environment by protecting groundwater, beginning on Protect Your Groundwater Day, September 6.

In North Carolina, 52% percent of the population regularly depends on groundwater, and 2.7 million North Carolinians rely on privately owned and operated household water wells for their drinking water supply. Another 1.5 million residents rely on groundwater-supplied community water systems.

For household water well owners, managing the well system and one’s property can make a difference in water quality. People who do not use household wells also can make a difference in groundwater quality—for instance, by how they store, use, and dispose of hazardous household substances, or how well they maintain their septic systems.

Additionally, with drought gripping parts of the United States, protecting groundwater through conservation is more important than ever.

Protect Your Groundwater Day is an occasion for every citizen to ACT: Acknowledge the issue, Consider how it applies to you, then Take action. Here are some action steps individuals can take.

  • Inspect your well and sample the water annually
  • Repair failing septic systems
  • Permanently abandon wells that are no longer in use
  • Store hazardous chemicals including gasoline and fertilizer a safe distance from your well.

For more information about the above steps or other actions you can take to protect groundwater, please contact the Chatham County Environmental Health Division at 919-542-8208.

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August is National Breastfeeding Month

Breastmilk is healthy!  Breastmilk provides the nutrition babies need to grow healthy and strong.  Disease-fighting antibodies are also passed from mother to child through breastmilk and help babies fight illness as their immune systems develop.

Breastfeeding is convenient!  No need to sterilize bottles or mix formula in the middle of the night – hungry babies can get right to feeding.

Breastfeeding promotes bonding!  Babies need skin-to-skin contact to help them feel safe and secure.  This skin-to-skin contact also benefits moms because it boosts oxytocin levels which increases relaxation and can help the body heal after giving birth.

Breastfeeding is free!  Babies are expensive – cribs, car seats, adorable outfits with tiny shoes, diapers (oh, so many diapers!) – these expenses add up quickly.  Formula and feeding supplies can cost over $1500 each year, but breastmilk doesn’t cost a penny!

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life and continue to breastfeed as solid foods are introduced for at least 12 months after birth.

Many resources are available for breastfeeding support in and around Chatham County.  The Chatham County Public Health Department offers breastfeeding support at our Siler City clinic through certified lactation educators.  A breastfeeding peer counselor is available for consultations at the Siler City Community Health Center.  The Women’s Birth & Wellness Center in Chapel Hill (www.ncbirthcenter.org) offers a variety of lactation services, including classes, consultations, and connections to support groups.  Phone support for breastfeeding is also available through UNC’s Warmline at (919) 966-4148 or toll-free at (866) 428-5608.

To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, talk with your doctor or visit www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding.

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