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4/2/2018 - Public Health Week

This is Public Health Week so each day this we will be posting about a new topic. 

Monday 4/2 - Behavioral Health

You may say to yourself “What can I do?” The things we can all do are to be honest about the prevalence of mental illness, seek or encourage care for mental illness and work to reduce the stigma associated with it. 

Each year about 20% of US adults experience some mental illness. So, if it is not you it is likely someone you are close too, so let’s acknowledge it with ourselves and be caring to others who may be experiencing it. 

Less than one-half of those experiencing mental illness in any given year get the care the need for it. Let's get care we need for our own struggles and encourage others to seek care. 

Let’s all work to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and just doing the two suggestions above is a start but here are 9 other steps you can take from the National Association on Mental Illness.

Tuesday 4/3 - Communicable Diseases

The nurses of the Fairfield Department of Health work with community, families and individuals to promote immunization against preventable diseases.

At the community level, our public health nurses work with health educators on public awareness campaigns and community outreach at schools, the senior center and community events. At the family and individual level of practice, the public health nurses conduct annual flu immunization clinics which are open to the public at large. Fairfield’s school nurses use data registries to identify children with delayed or missing childhood immunizations. The nurses assess for barriers and consult with families to develop a plan to obtain these immunizations at the Public Health Nursing Office.

These efforts are aimed at meeting Healthy People 2020 goals for immunization and infectious diseases and are rooted in evidence-based clinical and community activities and services for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

Wednesday 4/4 - Environmental Health

Did you know that under the State of Connecticut a Health Inspector is legally a Registered Sanitarian? While their primary role requires them to do restaurant inspections, the Environmental Health section of the Fairfield Health Department is responsible for so much more.

Our Registered Sanitarians receive and handle complaints varying from housing and food to air quality and septic. The Registered Sanitarian helps the public with septic designs, demolition permits, cosmetology inspection, lead paint and asbestos removal, and identifies ticks and determines if it should be sent to the state lab for testing. The Registered Sanitarian is the Environmental Professional that does so much more than to make sure the restaurants you dine at are safe.

Thursday 4/5 - Injury and Violence Prevention

In 2016, preventable unintentional injuries took the lives of a record 161,000 Americans and became the nation’s third leading cause of death. The U.S unintentional injury rate spiked 10% between 2015-2016, the largest single-year increase since 1936. This increase was driven by the opioid overdose epidemic that is killing about 115 people every day.

Connecticut and Fairfield are not immune to t...he opioid overdose epidemic. In 2017, Fairfield emergency response teams administered Narcan (a medication to stop an overdose) almost 30 times in one year. Since 2012, there have been 23 deaths of Fairfield residents of opioid overdoses and they range in age of 21 years – 67 years old.

There are a few things you can do to prevent these incidents.

1) Count, Lock, and Drop any opioid medications you may have at home.

2) Make sure to properly dispose of you opioid medications, the safest place is to drop your prescription medications at the Fairfield Police Department - Connecticut's Lock Drug Drop Box located at 100 Reef Road, Fairfield in the lobby. No questions asked and no forms to fill out. Or you can be sure to check out the Health Department’s video on how to properly dispose of medications at home (see below).

3) Get trained in Narcan. There are free trainings which include free Narcan kits, you never know when you might have to save a loved one from a potential overdose.

4) Get involved! Fairfield Cares Community Coalition along with the Fairfield Health Department and Fairfield Police Department - Connecticut are working on prevention and education of opioid drug use. For more information, please visit Fairfield Cares webpage.

For more information on the opioid epidemic and what Fairfield is doing, please visit our webpage.

Friday 4/6 - Ensuring the Right to Health

All individuals deserve the right to live long, healthy and productive lives. Ensuring the right to health means: ensuring access to affordable quality insurance coverage, a commitment to public health and prevention, and creating conditions that enable good health.

Here at the Fairfield Health Department, we work to improve our resident’s access to care. Every 3 years, we conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment of the region and work to fill in any gaps. For more information, please visit our data webpage.

The Fairfield Health Department provides a variety of preventative health services. Know Your Numbers Screenings is a free screening of blood pressure, blood glucose, blood cholesterol, and BMI – height and weight. We also offer the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program which helps individuals who have prediabetes or are at risk to delay or prevent the onset of developing Type 2 Diabetes. For more information of these services and other health services we offer, please visit our Health Education webpage.

Lastly, we work towards creating a healthier built environment for our residents and vistors. The department has been able to secure funds to develop biking routes (Mill Plain Road, Shoreline Route, and the new Library to Library Route), as well as install bike repair stations, bike pump stations, and bike racks around town. Additionally, with the help of many partners, we were able to launch the Fairfield Bike Share at Zane’s Cycles (1215 Post Road, Fairfield). This program allows Fairfield residents and visitors (over the age of 18) to borrow and ride a bike free of charge. For more information on the program please visit our Bike Share webpage.