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2016 SOTCH Reports Have Been Released

The State of the County Health Reports for 2016 are posted here. Please contact Yanet Cisneros with any questions, comments or related updates.  Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . (828) 287-6042 Office.


      Rutherford County SOTCH
      Polk County SOTCH
      McDowell County SOTCH

For previous versions of the SOTCH report please visit http://www.rpmhd.org/sotch


2016 Air Quality

Over the past several weeks our region has been hit by many wildfires. Even if you are not near by the fire itself you can still experience health hazards.

Wildfires expose us to some health hazards like:

• Fire, and smoke
• Byproducts of burning wood, plastics and other chemicals that may be released during a wildfire.
• Stress that comes along with a wildfire is also hard on our health.

Children, pregnant women, people with asthma and older adults are more at risk for health problems when the air quality is not good.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a guide for reporting daily air quality. It uses colors and numbers to show how clean or polluted the air is.AirQualityChart

How to protect your health when Wildfire smoke levels are high:

• Stay indoors
• Close windows and doors.
• Use air conditioning and air filters
• Reduce activity
• Do not smoke indoors
• Use room air cleaners: High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air cleaners can help reduce indoor air pollution.

Create a clean room at home with windows closed, air conditioner on, use HEPA-filter, do not vacuum unless using a HEPA filtered vacuum, do not smoke or burn anything including candles and incense. Keep room clean.

If you have Asthma

Make sure your asthma plan is in place
Refill your asthma medicines as needed

Respirators can keep the fine particles in the air from entering your airways. Wear one if you must work outdoors on unhealthy days.

Use N95 Particulate Filtering Face piece Respirator This product filters at least 95% of airborne particles but is not resistant to oil. For information about N95 Respirators: www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/n95list1.html

For more information about Air Quality and forecasts for your area visit http://www.airnow.gov 


2016 Diabetes Month

Did you know that 1 in 11 Americans today has diabetes? Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. It affects men and women, people young and old, and people of all races, shapes and sizes. Often there are no outward signs from the 29 million Americans who fight this chronic illness every day. That's why there is a critical need to foster awareness and education while breaking down stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings about this growing public health crisis that affects so many of us.

This is exactly why the American Diabetes Association marks each November as American Diabetes Month: to bring extra attention to the disease and the tens of millions of people affected by it.

This November, the organization will showcase real-life stories of friends, families and neighbors managing the day-to-day triumphs and challenges of diabetes. The 2016 campaign, sponsored by Colgate Total® (National Oral Care Strategic Partner) and Medtronic Diabetes®, invites us to use #ThisIsDiabetes to share our personal stories and to start a dialogue about what it really means to live with diabetes.

Diabetes is more than the medications and devices used to manage it. For many, diabetes dictates how they organize their day, what they eat at every meal, how they choose to be physically active and how they spend their money. People with diabetes can have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes, as type 1 and type 2 require very specific forms of treatment.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and there is no known way to prevent it. Approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, which means their body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is critical in order for the body to transport glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes). Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; other may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults.

Some women develop gestational diabetes, high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy, which requires treatment to protect the health of the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes affects approximately 9.2 percent of pregnant women.

There's a way for everybody to participate during American Diabetes Month in November. Share your story, or encourage a friend or family member to share theirs using #ThisIsDiabetes. Be sure to also follow the American Diabetes Association on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Prepare Now: It Only Takes One

It only takes one to cause lasting impacts – one tornado, one hurricane, one earthquake, one landslide, one explosion. While most North Carolinians focus on hurricanes, especially during these peak hurricane season months, there are other natural and man-made emergencies that can damage or even destroy communities.

Do you know what to do during an earthquake? What about a landslide? Or a public disturbance? Would you know where to go in your office building if any of these occurred while at work? Do you know where to pick up your children if a weather-related emergency occurs at school?

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, you need to become aware and get prepared. Those who are better prepared will fare better after disasters strike.

This September is North Carolina Preparedness Month, which coincides with National Preparedness Month, and the goal is to increase residents' preparedness levels across the state.

Whether you are at home, work or play, being prepared is easy. Just follow these four simple steps:

1. Have a plan,
2. Practice the plan,
3. Build an emergency supplies kit, and
4. Talk about it with your family, neighbors or coworkers.

It's simple to make a plan and will only take a few minutes. Just record what you need to do, where to go and how to get in touch with your family members. Your plan should list any special considerations for older adults, people with functional needs and/or pets, and the location of your emergency supply kit. Mold your plan to your family's needs and discuss it with every member in the house.

While having a plan is key, it is important to specify what to do in specific emergencies. For example, what you would do during a tornado is different than what you would do during an earthquake. Be sure to include what you would do if an emergency occurs while you are at work or your child is at school. Contact your child's school to get a copy of the school's emergency plan.

You may not always be in the same place when an emergency hits. That's why it is important to create a plan that contains phone numbers of each family member, a number for a pre-assigned out-of-state contact person who can keep track of family members, and an 'in case of emergency' contact for emergency personnel to use. Be sure to identify a meeting place where all family members can meet in case of an emergency. If you are not together, having a designated spot can reassure family members of one another's safety. Once you have a plan, be sure to practice it!

An emergency supplies kit should contain enough non-perishable food and bottles water (1 gallon per person per day) to last three to seven days. Kits should include: copies of insurance papers and identification, first aid kit, weather radio and batteries, prescription medicines, bedding, weather-appropriate clothing, hygiene items, cash, and supplies for any household pets. A complete list of kit items can be found at www.ReadyNC.org.

Plan now to be prepared for when emergencies do occur. Know the risks to your area, and then prepare for them.

For more information about ways to prepare for any emergency or to download a household emergency plan, go to www.ReadyNC.org. You can also download the free ReadyNC mobile app, which provides real-time traffic and weather.


2016 American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is proudly participating in American Heart Month. 

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease.  Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy

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