Health Notes

HEALTH NOTES

January 14, 2007

Regular pelvic examinations urged

Dr. Andrew Bernstein, health officer for Harford County, is urging women to have regular pelvic exams and pap tests to screen for cervical cancer. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Women should also report any of the following symptoms to their physicians immediately: unusual discharge; blood spots or light bleeding other than a normal period; or bleeding or pain after sex, douching or a pelvic exam.

The Health Department is sponsoring gynecological exams for women at no cost who meet program guidelines. Information: 443-643-0350.

Hunters cautioned on handling birds

Because of an increased risk of exposure to avian influenza, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Harford County Health Department are advising hunters to take precautions when handling and cleaning harvested game birds, particularly migratory waterfowl.

Avian influenza or "bird flu" is a viral disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems of most species of domestic and wild birds.

Hunters are encouraged to follow these precautions:

Do not handle dead or obviously sick birds.

Keep birds cool, clean and dry.

Use rubber gloves.

Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol wipes after dressing birds.

Clean all tools and surfaces afterward; use hot soapy water, then disinfect with a 10 percent bleach solution.

Cook meat thoroughly (165 degrees Fahrenheit).

Hunters are encouraged to report die-offs of large numbers of birds (five or more) by contacting the USDA Wildlife Services at 877-463-6497.

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