Many health departments across North Carolina have reported an increase in the number of Norovirus cases which has prompted State Public Health officials to inform the public of what Norovirus is and some things you can do to try and protect your family. Locally within Rutherford, Polk and McDowell Counties there have been no reported cases of Norovirus. However, we realize that you may travel to other areas in North Carolina and it will be helpful to know more about Norovirus and what you can do to avoid getting Norovirus.
Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States. It is usually not serious for healthy people but it can be serious in young children, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.
The symptoms of Norovirus include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Other symptoms may include: Low grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and general feeling of tiredness.
There are some things you can do to prevent the spread of Norovirus. Norovirus spreads quickly from person to person in crowded, close places such as: rest homes, nursing homes, daycare centers, schools, hotels and cruise ships. You can wash hands carefully with soap and water after each trip to the bathroom, after changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren't available use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
You should also carefully wash all fruits and vegetables as well as cook oysters and shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
If you were to get Norovirus, while you have symptoms and for 3 days afterward, do not prepare food for anyone. Clean and disinfect any surface where you have had diarrhea or vomiting with a bleach solution. If clothing or linens are soiled due to vomiting or diarrhea, handle with disposable gloves, and wash with detergent in washing machine and dry in dryer.
For more information about norovirus go to the following website:
For more information about cleanup in private homes can be found at this website:
The full Press Release from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services can be found:
The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department has joined with the McDowell Hospital in a collaborative effort to present the Ladies Night Out Educational Forum. This is a educational series for women where Women's Health Issues are addressed. The Forum began in January where women from the community were invited to discuss Women's Breast Health. Alma Bartlet from the McDowell Health Department's Breast and Cervical Cancer Program was one of the speakers.
Future forums will be held the second Tuesday of each month at the McDowell Hospital's Business Services Board Room in Marion. In February, the forum will be held February 7 from 5:30pm until 6:30pm. The featured topic will be Women's Heart Health presented by Dr. Adam Kinninger.
To learn more about the Ladies Night Out Educational Forum, please call Alma Bartlet at 659-6628.
One of the best habits you can teach your child is proper dental care – and the earlier the better! The first set of teeth, commonly called baby teeth, is important for helping the jaw grow to its proper shape and size. Baby teeth are necessary for developing good speech habits, maintaining spaces for permanent teeth, and chewing foods. Since baby teeth do so much, they need good care.
For Healthy Smiles follow these dental health guidelines:
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.
- Pacifier use should stop by age 12-18 months. Use beyond the age of 3 can cause dental problems as well as speech problems.
- Long term use of sippy cups containing any liquid other than water, can increase chances of tooth decay for your child
- Encourage healthy eating habits. Limit sweet snacks, especially soft drinks. Soft drinks are full of sugar that promotes decay and acid that erodes the teeth. Sugary foods are best served as desserts. Brush teeth after eating foods with sugars.
- Help your child brush his/her teeth after meals and snacks, and especially at bedtime.
- Floss your preschooler's teeth daily, especially the back molars. Preschool children can't floss well for themselves. Flossing removes plaque and debris from the sides of the teeth where the toothbrush does not reach.
- If your child has not already had a dental exam, make an appointment for the first dental checkup. Having a dental checkup before a problem occurs can be a positive first dental experience.
Heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its affects, the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is proudly participating in American Heart Month.
In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack. You can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.
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.
- 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.
- Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin every day if you are a man over the age of 45, or a woman past menopause.
- Manage stress.
The Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District is joining the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) to increase awareness on birth defects, the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and this year Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District is actively focusing on helping healthcare professionals and the general public to take positive steps to reduce the risk of congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defect and some forms may be preventable through healthy life style choices and medical interventions before and during pregnancy. In addition to information about prevention, the NBDPN offers support to
families who are dealing with the realities of a child born with one of these conditions.
Congenital heart defects include abnormalities of the heart that are present at birth. Some have only a minor and brief effect on a baby’s health and some have very serious and lifelong effects. Nearly 40,000 cases (approximately 1 in 110 live births) are reported annually in the US. Public awareness, accurate diagnosis, and expert medical care are all essential for adequate prevention and management of these all too common and deadly conditions.
Studies have demonstrated several important steps women can take to help prevent congenital heart defects in newborns. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are advised to:
- Avoid all alcohol and illegal/recreational drugs.
- Avoid exposure to smoke, chemicals and toxins both at work and at home.
- Take a folic acid supplement and check with their healthcare provider to confirm that you are getting adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients.
- See a physician prior to pregnancy, especially if there are medical conditions which require medications, any known metabolic conditions including diabetes, obesity, phenyketonuria (PKU), or a family history of congenital heart defects.
- Diabetic or obese women should make sure that blood sugar is under control and work toward a healthy weight through a nutritious food plan prior to conception.
- Receive regular medical check-ups and educate themselves about their family history and potential genetic risks