Union County Health Department

Flu shots still available at Union County Health Department in Blairsville, Georgia

Flu season is far from over. According to the Union County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control, most influenza occurs in January and the season can last as late as May.

Office Manager Glenda Brown says, "We need to get the word out that flu season is not over and shots are still available at Union County Health Department. The cost of the vaccination is $25 but with proof of income, fees can be reduced according to a sliding fee scale."

County Nurse Manager Leslie Hughes agrees, "Flu season is still underway in Blairsville, Georgia. We have doses available for adults and children and recommend that every child in day-care or pre-school have a flu shot." The Health Department has given almost 2400 flu shots this season and will continue giving them through March 2007.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by an influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times leads to death. The symptoms include high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle-aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infection, sinus infection, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions.

Flu spreads mainly from person to person thorough coughing and sneezing. People may become infected by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose. Most healthy adults are able to infect others beginning a day before symptoms ever develop.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine, but good health habits can also help. Avoid close contact with sick people. When sick, keep your distance from others. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands often. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. To keep your immune system healthy, get plenty of sleep, make time for exercise, eat nutritious food, drink plenty of water, keep stress under control, and don't smoke.

Glenda Brown adds, 'We also want everyone to know about our Child Safety Seat Program. We have been awarded $19,200 in federal funds from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to keep this program going."

In 2006 Union County Health Department's CPS Technicians checked 204 child safety seats and gave 141 seats in a three month period from October to December.

Child Safety Seat Technician Samantha Franklin is available to make sure children are riding safely. Samantha says, "Please be sure to bring your child with you."

Flu shots and safety seats are just the tip of the ice-burg at our local heath department. The Union County Health Department exists to protect, promote, and prevent. These three key words describe the purpose of the local Health Department and reflect the attitude of the dedicated staff members.

The Union County Health Department's many programs include the Child Safety Seat Program, Medical Services, Dental Services, the WIC program, the Immunization Program, and Environmental Services.

Medical Services include diabetic screenings, head-lice checks (and medication), tuberculosis screenings, blood pressure screenings, pregnancy tests, therapeutic injections, urinalysis, immunizations, women's health physicals and pap smears, family planning services, STD screenings, mammogram referrals, dental services, lab services (most blood tests require a doctor's order), and child health physicals.

The Environmental Health Services include inspection of food service establishments, investigation of food-borne complaints and illnesses, inspection of sewage management systems, subdivision evaluations, rabies control, and prevention of exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

Everyone at the Union County Health Department is committed to protecting and improving the health of the citizens of Union County . Through a variety of programs and services, the dedicated staff members provide some of the best care in the world.

Over 2000 People Receive Flu Shots at Union County Health Department

Over 2000 People Receive Flu Shots at Union County Health Department in Blairsville, Georgia

The Union County Health Department has been very busy. Since October 17, 2005 the nurses have given over 2000 flu shots! The staff has worked hard to answer telephone calls and schedule patients. Lines have been fairly short considering that the nurses have given up to 40 shots an hour on some days. The staff members have done a wonderful job to accommodate the people of Union County .

Rosie England gets a shot every year. She says, "Our nurses are the best. It doesn't hurt a bit." Everyone leaving the building seems pleased with the service and relieved to have protection from the influenza virus.

As of Monday, October 31, 2005 , Union County Health Department had used up their current supply of flu shots. They ordered 3,000 shots but only received 2,000. If anyone still needs a flu shot, some drug stores and doctors may have shots available. Check with your physician or health provider.

Union County Health Department would like to remind people of ways to reduce their chances of getting influenza and of ways to help spreading the illness.

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

3. Dispose of the tissue immediately and then wash your hands.

4. Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

5. Dry hands with a disposable towel. Use the towel to turn off the faucet and then discard the towel into a trash can.

6. Don't share drink, food, or eating utensils.

7. Stay home if you are sick.

8. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Influenza ("flu") is a very contagious disease. It is caused by the influenza virus, which spreads from infected persons to the nose or throat of others. If you would like more information about the virus or the vaccine, the Health Department has information sheets available.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Blairsville, Georgia

Union County Health Department would like the public to know about the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Many moderate to low income families in Union County are eligible for WIC and would benefit from the free program.

WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, and nutrition counseling. Free counseling is provided for overweight or underweight children and children with low hemoglobin as well as counseling for picky eaters, etc. WIC also offers screening and referrals to other health and social services.

The target population for WIC services includes pregnant women (through pregnancy and up to 6 weeks afterwards), breastfeeding women (up to infant's 1st birthday), non-breastfeeding postpartum women (up to 6 months), infants up to their 1st birthday, and children up to their 5th birthday.

WIC income eligibility guidelines have increased since 2005. To be eligible on the basis of income, a family of four can have an income of up to $34,873. (Guidelines are subject to change without notice.) A person who participates or has family members who participate in other benefit programs, such as the Food Stamp Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, automatically meets the income eligibility requirement.

WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education. Established in 1972, WIC is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Most state WIC programs provide vouchers that participants use at authorized food stores. A wide variety of State and local organizations cooperate in providing the food and health care benefits. 46, 000 merchants nationwide accept WIC vouchers.

WIC foods include iron-fortified infant formula and infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried beans and peas, tuna fish and carrots. Other special foods are provided when prescribed by a physician for a specified medical condition.

WIC is effective in improving the health of women, infants and children. Participation in the program lowers Medicaid costs and is linked with longer gestation periods, higher birth weights, and lower infant mortality.

WIC has proven itself to be one of the best federally funded programs. WIC is available in all 50 States, 33 Indian Tribal Organizations, America Samoa, the District of Columbia , Guam , Puerto Rico , and the Virgin Islands . These 88 WIC State agencies administer the program through 2,200 local agencies and 9,000 different clinic sites.

Union County Health Department does a great job running the WIC program in Union County . The staff works hard to see that everyone receives the best possible service. The WIC program, and the ladies at Union County Health Department, encourage all mothers to breastfeed their infants if possible.

Breastfeeding mothers can remain in the program until their baby reaches one year. Breastfeeding mothers receive a larger food package.

In conjunction with the WIC program, WIC staff members conduct breastfeeding classes every month. Those who attend five classes receive a free infant carrier, which is installed by a certified child safety seat technician.

The Union County Health Department works hard to educate the public. They attend events throughout the year to promote various projects concerning community health issues.