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July is UV Safety Month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are the main cause of skin cancer. UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotchy skin.

These are just some of the reasons why the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is proud to participate in UV Safety Month and help raise awareness of the risks of sun damage. During the month of July, join us in taking action to prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage.

You can take steps today to protect your skin:

  • Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Cover up with long sleeves and a hat.
  • Check your skin regularly for changes.

National HIV Testing Day - June 27

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. On June 27, in honor of National HIV Testing Day, the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department encourages you to get tested for HIV.

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Many people with HIV don’t have any symptoms. In the United States, 1 in 5 people living with HIV don't know they have it.

Even if you don’t feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important: early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Am I at risk for HIV?

HIV is spread through some of the body’s fluids, like blood, semen (cum), vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV is passed from one person to another by:

  • Having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with a person who has HIV
  • Sharing needles with someone who has HIV
  • Breastfeeding, pregnancy, or childbirth if the mother has HIV
  • Getting a blood transfusion that has HIV (very rare in the U.S.)

Testing is available daily.  For additional information please contact one of our offices:
     Rutherford County: (828) 287-6221
     Polk County: (828) 894-8271
     McDowell County: (828) 652-6811


Warning About Concentrated Packets of Laundry Detergent

AAPCC and Poison Centers Issue Warning About Concentrated Packets of Laundry Detergent

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – The American Association of Poison Control Centers and the experts at America's 57 poison centers are urging the public, especially parents, to keep highly concentrated "single dose packs" of laundry detergent up and away from children, according to Debbie Carr, AAPCC executive director.

Poison centers are reporting a recent uptick in calls about exposures of children to laundry detergents packaged in small, single-dose packets. Some young children and toddlers who swallow these small packets have become very ill and have required hospitalization. Other children have gotten the product in their eyes, resulting in significant eye irritation. Some children have been exposed when the product burst after putting it into their mouths.

The following are examples of exposures to children who have become ill from concentrated laundry detergent packets:

  • Ten minutes after a 20-month-old swallowed a laundry detergent packet, the child developed profuse vomiting, wheezing and gasping and then became unresponsive to even painful stimuli.
  • A 15-month-old who bit into a pack and swallowed a mouthful had profuse vomiting and, after arrival at a hospital, had to be put on a ventilator for airway protection.
  • A 17-month-old bit into a packet and then rapidly developed drowsiness, vomited, breathed the product into the lungs, and had to be put on a ventilator.

"The rapid onset of significant symptoms is pretty scary," said Dr. Michael Beuhler, medical director of

the Carolinas Poison Center. "Other laundry detergents cause only mild stomach upset or even no symptoms at all. Although we aren't certain what in the product is making the children sick, we urge all parents and caregivers to make sure laundry detergent packs are not accessible to young kids."

The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following steps:

  • Always keep detergents locked up and out of the reach of children.
  • Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.
  • If you think a child has been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, call your local poison centerat 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

For more information, the media may contact Loreeta Canton, AAPCC communications manager, at 703.894.1863, 701.391.0626 (cell phone) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Brett Schuster, communications assistant, at 703.894.1859 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Picture A World Without Pertussis

The fight against pertussis (whooping cough) continues with the number of cases increasing nearly 73 percent this year from the same time period in 20111,2. To help families across the country picture a world without pertussis, the Sounds of Pertussis® Campaign, a joint initiative from Sanofi Pasteur and the March of Dimes, is launching "Take Pertussis Out of the Picture."

Campaign spokesperson and four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon is inviting all Americans to take the pledge to get an adult pertussis vaccine and participate in the "Take Pertussis Out of the Picture" initiative on Facebook. Leading the way, Gordon has shown his support and shared his family photo! Here's how you can join the cause and spread the word:

  • Step 1: Visit the Sounds of Pertussis Facebook page and join the community.
  • Step 2: Starting June 13th, submit a family photo and make your pledge to take pertussis out of the picture. For each photo published on the Facebook page, Sanofi Pasteur will donate $1 to the March of Dimes (up to $10,000).
  • Step 3: Share your photo with family and friends and let them know about this important initiative.

Learn more about the Sounds of Pertussis® Campaign and "Take Pertussis Out of the Picture" at SoundsofPertussis.com or Facebook. Let's work together to take pertussis out of the picture!

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexual Experience and Contraceptive Use Among Female Teens — United States, 1995, 2002, and 2006–2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2012; 61 (17): ND-235. www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm6117md.pdf. Accessed May 4, 2012.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Adolescents and Young Adults — Massachusetts, 2002–2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2011; 60 (17): 564.


National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is teaming up with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. During the month of May, we challenge you to include 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Physical activity not only increases your chances of living longer, it also reduces your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. In our local area most adults do not get enough physical activity.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes walking fast, dancing, or raking leaves. Do strengthening activities, like situps and pushups, at least 2 days a week. By getting active, you will sleep better, strengthen your bones, and lower your risk of depression.

No matter what shape you are in, together we can rise to the challenge to get more active during the month of May.

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