November 4, 2019

The dangers of e-cigarettes

Tobacco continues to be the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking tobacco delivers over 7,000 chemicals into your body. Some of the chemicals from tobacco that are absorbed cause cancer. What some individuals don’t know is that electronic cigarettes, that deliver nicotine, are a method for consuming tobacco.

What is nicotine?
Nicotine is a tobacco-derived product. Nicotine is highly addictive. The use of nicotine can harm brain development in teens and young adults. The brain continues to develop into the early to mid-20s.

What are electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes are a device to deliver nicotine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “E-cigarettes are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.” The electronic device heats a liquid and creates an aerosol that is inhaled into the body.

Why are electronic cigarettes dangerous?
E-cigarettes can contain other harmful ingredients besides nicotine. You may have heard of e-cigarettes recently in the news and their link to the lung injury outbreak. As of October 15, 2019, 1,479 lung injury cases have been reported to CDC. There have been 33 deaths in 24 states. Lung injuries linked to e-cigarette use are ­­­reported to the person’s local health department in Ohio. CDC and health departments across the United States continue to study these cases. The CDC warns that the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for all a­­ges.

 Are electronic cigarettes a problem for our youth?
The CDC published that nearly one out of every five high school students reported that they used an electronic cigarette in the past 30 days (2018). When surveyed, most e-cigarette users report that they believe that these devices are safe. This is concerning because nicotine is never safe for youth. It is estimated that one out of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger will die early from a tobacco-related illness. Prevention measures through education are key for preventing tobacco use. Youth cessation for current users is important to reduce long term effects of continued use.

What are the alternatives to using electronic cigarettes?
Positive coping strategies are the best choice instead of using a tobacco product. Positive coping strategies include taking a walk or picking a healthy habit. Persons can pick something that is good for them instead of using tobacco. A safe and healthy alternative is to eat celery or carrot sticks instead of using a tobacco product.

For more information about the Tobacco Cessation Counseling Program at Clermont County Public Health, contact us at 513-735-8400 or click here.

September 27, 2019

Blue-Green Algae in Ohio River

Health Departments Urge Precautions

Local health departments have issued a recreational public health advisory for the Ohio River. A harmful algal bloom (HAB) has been observed in the Ohio River near Cincinnati and areas upstream. The bloom is caused by a type of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria.

The blue-green algae is capable of producing toxins known as microcystin. A recreational advisory is issued if the toxins reach a level between six and 20 parts per billion. The latest water samples taken by the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) have shown toxin levels above six parts per billion at several locations along the river.

Under a recreational public health advisory, swimming and wading are not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women and people with existing medical conditions.

People with pets are also advised to avoid pet contact with the water. If they get in the water during an algae bloom, they can ingest the toxins when they lick their fur.

“This type of algae is always present in the river water,” stated Tim Ingram, Hamilton County Health Commissioner. “But, if the weather conditions are right, the algae can spread rapidly, causing a bloom.”

Ohio EPA, ORANSCO and Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) are monitoring Ohio River water quality and will continue to do so over the weekend.

Public water systems have water treatment processes designed to remove toxins if they occur. Drinking water has not been affected at this time, according to GCWW.

Under the right conditions, blue-green algae can bloom in water – usually in lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers – when there is sunlight, warm temperatures and excessive amounts of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) in the water.  “These blooms are not uncommon this time of year,” says Clermont County Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit.  “Sunny, warm and dry weather is the perfect recipe to create an algae bloom.”

Although many species of blue-green algae do not produce toxins, some species can cause a HAB. Some HABs are visible as thick mats or scum on the surface of the water. These mats may look like spilled paint and can vary in color, including bluish-green, bright green, or even red or maroon.

HABs can produce toxic chemicals which may make people and pets sick depending upon the amount and type of exposure. This is especially true for the very young, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Types of exposure include swallowing HABs-contaminated water, skin contact, and inhaling aerosolized water droplets. HABs toxins can cause a rash, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and more severe symptoms at higher levels of exposure.

“Many people will be enjoying water-related activities this weekend” said Melba Moore, Cincinnati Health Commissioner. She continued, “We encourage everyone to enjoy the water while being mindful of river conditions.”

Avoid water that:

  • Looks like spilled paint
  • Has surface scums, mats or films
  • Is discolored or has colored streaks
  • Has green globs floating below the surface.

Wash after swimming.

In some cases, skin irritation will appear after prolonged exposure. If symptoms persist, consult your health care provider.

Prevent pets and livestock from coming into contact or ingesting water containing harmful algal blooms.

If you or your pet comes into contact with blue-green algae, rinse off with clean, fresh water as soon as possible.

Seek medical attention if you become sick after recreating on the river and think you may have had contact with HABs. Contact your veterinarian if your pet gets sick.

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Photo: Blue-green algae in the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, OH. Friday September 27, 2019.

August 23, 2019

Local mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus

MIAMI Twp. – A mosquito trapped in Miami Township’s Paxton Ramsey Park recently tested positive for West Nile Virus. The virus can be spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito.

West Nile Virus can cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and a rash. While it can cause serious illness or even death, about 80 percent of people who become infected with the virus will not show any symptoms.

Clermont County Public Health has been trapping and collecting mosquitoes at several sites throughout the county this summer. The mosquitoes are then sent to a lab where they are tested for West Nile Virus.

Clermont County Public Health has trapped and tested 1,895 mosquitoes in the county this year. Statewide, more than 425,000 mosquitoes have been tested by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). There have been 150 positive tests for West Nile Virus in Ohio.

“We start to see an increase in mosquito activity in our area during late summer,” said Clermont County Assistant Health Commissioner Tim Kelly. “West Nile Virus is nothing new or nothing to be alarmed about, but we like to remind everyone to protect themselves and avoid mosquito bites when they’re outside.”

To avoid mosquito bites, citizens are encouraged to:

  • Use EPA registered insect repellent and follow the label instructions.
  • Wear long sleeves or long pants and cover as much of your skin as possible when you are outside, especially between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Check your window and door screens to make sure there are no holes to allow mosquitoes in your home.
  • Eliminate standing water in your yard where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Use larvicide or mosquito dunks if you have areas in your yard that contain water that can’t be drained.

For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website at

http://bit.ly/ODHWNV.

August 15, 2019

Five straight Auditor of State Awards

For the fifth year in a row, Clermont County Public Health has earned the Auditor of State Award. The award is given annually to local governments and school districts after completing a financial audit. To receive the award, agencies must have a clean audit report.

Some of the criteria to meet a clean audit report include:

  • Filing financial reports on time
  • The audit does not contain any findings of wrongdoing or questioned costs
  • The independent audit contains no comments related to ethics referrals
  • No public meetings or public records issues

“This award goes to our Fiscal Officer, Katrina Stapleton – she is a one-person finance department,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “But, we could not do it without the tremendous help we receive from the Clermont County Auditor’s Office.”

“Three of Clermont County Public Health’s core values are credibility, dependability, and responsibility,” said Stapleton. “Consistently receiving the Ohio Auditor of State Award demonstrates our staff’s dedication to those values.”

“The fact that we have received this award every year Ms. Stapleton has been our fiscal officer shows her commitment to excellence and attention to detail,” said Nesbit.

Clermont County Public Health has a staff of about 50 employees with an annual operating budget of about $3.75 million. In 2018 approximately 40 percent of their revenue came from local licenses and fees and about 30 percent came from state and federal grants. For more information on Clermont County Public Health, visit www.ccphohio.org. The full audit report can be viewed online at www.ohioauditor.gov.

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August 1, 2019

Planning to sell food at your next event? Do it the right way!

Whether it is a community fair or festival, your neighborhood yard sale or a weekend baseball tournament, any person or group that prepares and sells food must get a temporary food license from their local health department.

Why do I need a license to sell food?

In Ohio, it is the law. Just like your favorite restaurant, if you are part of a group that is preparing and selling food – even for a short time, you must get a temporary food license from the health department. This includes events with a required donation or an entry or gate fee at an event.

Clermont County Public Health protects the public by inspecting places that prepare and sell food. They make sure that food sold in Clermont County is safe to eat and prepared in a clean and sanitary manner.

What does a license do?
Having a license to sell food shows your customers that you have been inspected and approved by Clermont County Public Health to sell food. When food isn’t cooked to the proper temperature or people don’t wash their hands or wear gloves before preparing ready-to-eat foods, it can make people sick.

To get a license to sell food, an inspection must first be done. Places that set up a temporary food booth without getting a license run the risk of getting people sick from food poisoning.

What do we look for when we do an inspection?

  • Food is purchased from an approved source
  • Hand washing stations are available
  • Gloves are being worn when handling ready to eat foods
  • Food is prepared at a licensed facility or on-site (where the inspectors can see it) and not in a person’s home
  • Food grade thermometers are being used when cooking
  • Cold food is stored at proper temperatures
  • Hot food is cooked and held at the proper temperatures
  • Roof or tent over the food service operation area
  • Station set up to wash rinse and sanitize utensils and dishes

For more information on our food safety program or how to get a temporary food permit, visit https://ccphohio.org/food-protection/

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June 20, 2019

Protect your septic system when it floods

The excessive rainfall we have had not only this week but also this year can cause problems for homeowners with septic systems. Most septic systems rely on the soil surrounding them to partially clean or treat the wastewater.  When that soil is already too wet, the system may not work as well, or may not work at all.

How the systems work

Septic systems work by treating the wastewater from your home on-site rather than sending it to a local sewage treatment plant. Inside the septic tank liquids are separated from solids and floatable materials (i.e. oil and grease). The organic matter within the system breaks down and the liquid wastewater is then released back into the soil. The release of the water back into the soil can happen either by using a leach field, or a mound system. The surrounding soil acts as a filter to clean the water even more.

What happens when the ground is wet

When the drain field of your septic system is already too wet or flooded it may not be able to handle the water from your septic system. Under normal conditions, soil particles have pockets of air in them or open space that allows the water to slowly flow through it. When it’s flooded, any extra water in the soil has no place to go. When this happens, it can cause your system to back up, or not work properly.

What should you do if a flood occurs?

  • Conserve water inside your house. Take shorter showers, take your laundry to a laundromat, hand-wash dishes instead of using the dishwasher.
  • Don’t pump your tank while the ground is still saturated. An empty tank can float out of the ground when the soil around it is wet.
  • Check your gutters and downspouts. Make sure that your downspouts are draining away from all parts of your septic system. If they are draining toward your system, you are adding extra water to the soil around your septic system.

April 30, 2019

Family Fun Adventure Challenge and Kids Fest

BATAVIA TOWNSHIP – The Family Fun Adventure Challenge is coming back to Batavia Township in May.

The event will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. at Batavia Township Park, 1535 Clough Pike. It is free to participate.

“This is our fourth year hosting this, and each year we’ve seen an increase in the number of people that attend,” said Batavia Township Administrator Rex Parsons. “We have a great park, and love seeing it filled with people.” Last year’s event attracted about 400 people.

The Family Fun Adventure Challenge is a 1.25-mile obstacle course and run/walk geared for people of all ages and abilities. Some of the obstacles include a tunnel crawl, tire run, hurdles and a color station where participants will get splashed with colored dye along the course.

“Adventure races are very popular right now, and this is a very kid-friendly one,” said Tim Kelly who is the assistant health commissioner with Clermont County Public Health, and on the planning committee for the event. “Our main goal of this event is to get people – especially families – outside and get physical activity together in a fun way.”

Everyone who completes the course will be eligible to win one of several raffle prizes.

After the challenge, the Clermont Play, Learn and Grow Kids Fest will take place in the parking lot. There will be music, games, inflatables, food, face painting and information tables with giveaways for children six and under.

Clermont County Public Health will also be giving out approximately 100 free bike helmets to kids thanks to a grant from the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Walk-up registration for the challenge will begin at 9:30 a.m., but advanced registration online is encouraged. Online registration can be found at www.bit.ly/FFAC19.

The adventure challenge and kids fest are hosted by Batavia Township, Clermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Family and Children’s First Early Childhood Coordinating Committee. More information can be found on Clermont County Public Health’s website at www.ccphohio.org.

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April 1, 2019

Celebrating 100 years of public health

How the past has made public health matter

 This year marks the 100th anniversary of two legislative acts that shaped the future of public health in Ohio. The Hughes Act and Griswold Act, both enacted in 1919, established the modern day organization of local health departments and laid the foundation for public health efforts still in effect today.

As part of National Public Health Week, April 1-7, Clermont County Public Health is joining local health departments throughout Ohio to collectively celebrate 100 years of public health with a coordinated promotional campaign themed theme “How the past has made public health matter.”

In the 100 years that have passed since the enactment of Hughes-Griswold, public health has had a significant impact on health and quality of life: People are living an average of 25 years longer; small pox, once a common, deadly occurrence, has been eradicated; motor vehicle fatalities have been reduced by 90 percent and deaths from sudden infant death syndrome has decreased 50 percent.

Also among the accomplishments of public health are: immunizations for children and adults, the control of infectious diseases, reduction of tobacco use, safer and healthier foods; better maternal and infant healthcare; increased preventative screenings, and public health preparedness and response.

The Hughes-Griswold acts were a continuation of public health organization that began with the founding of the state board of health in 1886 and a 1906 law that provided that each city, village and township send a delegate to the state board’s annual meeting. This is where many city health departments got their start.

As a result of the 1906 law, there were 2,158 independent health units in Ohio representing cities, villages and townships.  The variety and quality of services varied greatly. After a statewide smallpox epidemic in 1917 and the nationwide influenza epidemic in 1918, it became clear that a more comprehensive and formalized approach to public health was necessary.

The Hughes-Griswold acts provided that approach and as written in the 1920 Ohio Public Health Journal of the Ohio State Board of Health, it “strengthens the hands of those charged with responsibility for people’s health as nothing else could have done.”

Hughes-Griswold eliminated the village and township units and based local health administration onto cities and counties.  A uniform structure for each health district was established, including boards of health and who should be on the board, plus the creation of the district advisory council which appointed people to the board of health. The process of combining districts was also outlined. A minimum of three full-time employees were required for each district: a health officer, a public health nurse and a clerk. The first board meeting of the newly formed Clermont County General Health District was held in March of 1920.

The legislation also spoke to specific “duties” for each district including basic services still performed today by local health departments. Those services include data collection, control and prevention of communicable disease, food safety, birth and death records, inspection and abatement of nuisances and as written in the original legislation, “all steps necessary to protect the public’s health and to prevent disease.”

While the last 100 years have been filled with much success and progress, the next 100 years promises to show the ever-growing presence and importance of public health in our everyday lives. From the continued emphasis on the importance of immunizations, maternal and child health, food safety and vector surveillance, there are new horizons including dental care, substance abuse, health equity, national accreditation, food deserts and cross-sector partnerships.

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March 22, 2019

The Family Fun Adventure Challenge is Back!

The fourth annual Family Fun Adventure Challenge will be returning to Batavia Township this May. The one-mile obstacle course run/walk will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. at the Batavia Township Park at 1535 Clough Pike in Batavia Township.

Registration for the event begins at 9:30 a.m. Participants can sign up and register for the event here.

The goal of the challenge is to get families together to get some physical activity in a fun and engaging way. The run/walk is designed for kids and adults of all ages and abilities. The majority of the course will be on the paved walking trail in the park, and any of the obstacles can easily be skipped if they are too difficult.

This year, Clermont County Public Health is partnering with the Clermont Play, Learn and Grow Kids Fest. The Kids Fest will take place after the adventure challenge and will feature music, food, face painting, games and kids activities.

The Kids Fest is hosted by Clermont County Family and Children First and the Early Childhood Coordinating Committee. The Adventure Challenge is hosted by Clermont County Public Health, the Clermont Coalition for Activity and Nutrition and Batavia Township.

2019 Family Fun Adventure Challenge Event Flyer

March 1, 2019

National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is celebrated each year during the month of March. The purpose of the campaign is to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

The campaign is comprised of ten key messages which the Academy hopes will help it achieve its vision of “a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition”.

The 10 key messages include:

1. Discover the benefits of a healthy eating style. Healthy eating can reduce your risk of developing certain diseases or health conditions. Eating a healthy diet can help you feel more energetic and think more clearly.

2. Choose foods and drinks that are good for your health. Eat mostly whole foods and limit processed foods which often contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and sodium. Limit sugary drinks like soda, juices, and sports drink and drink water to quench your thirst.

3. Include a variety of healthy foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis. Include lean meats, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats in most of your meals.

4. Select healthier options when eating away from home. Look at the restaurant’s menu before your visit to check out the healthy options that they offer. Don’t be afraid to make special requests when ordering at restaurants to fit your healthy eating lifestyle.

5. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do. Use a small plate or bowl and only eat until you feel full.

6. Keep it simple. Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Using canned or frozen fruits and vegetables reduce prep time and are often just as nutritious as fresh produce. Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies to have on hand for a quick and healthy snack option.

7. Make food safety part of your everyday routine. Always wash your hands before prepping, serving, and eating foods. Cook meats to the proper internal temperature to help avoid food-borne illness.

8. Help to reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store. Make a weekly menu and shopping list before grocery shopping each week. Eat leftovers for lunch the next day or have a designated “Leftover Night” each week.

9. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week. The best kind of exercise is the one that you will do consistently and have fun doing. Walking more, like parking farther away at the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, is a great way to fit some physical activity into your day.

10. Consult the nutrition experts. Registered Dietitians can provide sound, easy-to-follow, personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences, and health-related needs. Visit www.eatright.org for more information.