Health Briefs

August 23, 2009

Lead certificate requirement

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health reminds parents that all children newly enrolled in county pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade are required to have a lead testing certificate. The certificate ensures that children living in high-risk areas are being tested for lead poisoning, which can cause young children to have difficulty learning, behavioral problems and developmental disabilities. High-risk ZIP codes in Anne Arundel are 20711, 20714, 20764, 20779, 21060, 21061, 21225, 21226, and 21402, because they have a greater proportion of older homes that may contain lead paint.

If a child lives or has ever lived in a high-risk ZIP code or is receiving medical assistance, the child's pediatrician must fill in the dates of past testing. Most children should have received the blood test for lead at 1 and 2 years of age. If a child moves into a high-risk ZIP code after his or her second birthday, proof is required that a lead test was done before the child turned 6.

If a child has never resided in a high-risk ZIP code or is not on medical assistance, parents can complete the "exempt" portion of the certificate. For additional information, call the lead poisoning prevention program at 410-222-7003 or go to aahealth.org and search "lead and children."

Rabies vaccination: The annual Raccoon Oral Rabies Vaccination project begins Sept. 8 and should be completed by the end of September, weather permitting. Baits will be placed throughout the county.

The baits:

* Contain liquid rabies vaccine. A raccoon is immunized with its bites into the bait.

* Cannot cause rabies and are not harmful to raccoons, pets or other animals.

* Protect people and pets. Raccoons are the main source of rabies in the county.

* Will be placed in neighborhoods by teams of trained department of health staff. Teams will wear orange T-shirts or vests and travel in marked county vehicles.

* Will be dropped from a low-flying county police helicopter in less populated areas.

* Come in two styles - one looks like a light brown ketchup packet, and the other looks like a small brown brick, about 0.75 inches thick by 1.25 inches square.

* Are marked with a toll-free 800 phone number. Anyone who comes in contact with the bait or has a pet that finds the bait should call 410-222-7168.

* Used in many parts of the United States without serious human health effects. It is recommended that children younger than 18, or those who are pregnant or immune-compromised avoid handling the bait.

Even though the bait and vaccine pose a minimal risk to people and pets, pet owners are asked to keep their pets confined or on a leash during the baiting and for two weeks thereafter.

Homeowners who see raccoons on their property may request the property baited by calling the department of health at 410-222-7168 before Aug. 28. For more information about the ORV Project, go to aahealth.org.

Free newsletter/magazine

Presented by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Learn to Live program, the newsletter Building Blocks discusses ADHD in young children and provides tips and resources to help child care providers and parents.

Free copies of HIM (Health Ideas for Men) magazine are available at the Department of Health, J. Howard Beard Health Services Building, 3 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis. The magazine features articles on exercises that encourage fitness, eating healthy while dining out, quit smoking and preventing skin cancer. HIM also can be requested by calling the Learn to Live Line, 410-222-7979, or go to LearnToLiveHealthy.org.

Summer safety

Tips can be found on the Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Web site at aahealth.org. Select "Hot Topics." The site features hot weather tips, sun and water safety, information on Lyme disease and recommendations for reducing the risk of food-borne illnesses at picnics, barbecues and other outdoor activities.

Cancer prevention kit

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Learn to Live program offers a free kit. It can be ordered from the Learn to Live line, 410-222-7979, or at LearnToLiveHealthy.org

The kit contains information on how the disease can be detected and treated and how lifestyle changes can help prevent the disease.

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