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Public Health Column for the Times-News

Taking time to celebrate public health

Published: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Times-News Columnist

In North Carolina, we celebrate public health for the entire month of April. It’s a time for us to promote the benefits of a healthy, vibrant Henderson County. It’s an opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on public health, highlighting how far we have come as well as acknowledging how much more we need to do to encourage healthy living. It’s a time for awareness of how our environment (and the policies and systems in place) shapes our community. It’s also a time to showcase the amazing work and power of community partners and community engagement.

We hope you will celebrate with us as we continue to uphold the Department of Public Health’s mission to promote, protect and advance the health and wellness of our community. Consider some practical steps you can take to ensure your health that also collectively supports public health:

  • Update your child’s immunizations. The Henderson County Immunization Coalition and Whit’s Frozen Custard will give a voucher for free frozen custard to the first 200 children 2 months to 6 years old who receive their immunizations, now through April 29. After the first 200 vouchers, then half-off vouchers will be given to children who are immunized.
  • Check your immunization records. How long has it been since you had a tetanus shot? What about a Tdap? The Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. It’s especially important for anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12 months. Infants are most at risk for severe, life-threatening complications from pertussis. Another vaccine, called Td, protects against tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis. A Td booster should be given every 10 years. Tdap may be given as one of these boosters if you have never gotten Tdap before.
  • Dispose of your unused pain medication at the drug drop box at the Sherriff’s Office at 100 N. Grove St., Hendersonville. Access to the box is during regular business hours, between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
  • Attend Parent University on Thursday, April 6, when a panel of community partners will share ways to navigate the current drug climate, recognize warning signs of substance abuse, and answer questions. The event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Bo Thomas Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College
  • Learn why public health is always asking you to vaccinate your pets against rabies by listening to WTZQ (1600 AM and 95.3 FM) at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 27, as Animal Services Director Brad Rayfield and Communicable Disease Nurse Renee Ledford discuss the rabies vaccination and what NC law says about this topic. Pets are vaccinated by your veterinarian to prevent them from acquiring the disease from wildlife, and thereby transmitting it to humans. Any animal bitten or scratched by either a wild, carnivorous mammal or a bat that is not available for testing should be regarded as having been exposed to rabies.
  • Schedule an appointment now with a participating vet to have your pet dog vaccinated for $10 at the Rabies Vaccination Clinic, which will be held May 1-6.
  • Thank your Board of Health for outreach to local veterinarians and for adopting the new national guidance for post-exposure management of dogs and cats, published March 1, 2016, by the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians. What this means for you is that the new rule will be less restrictive for postexposure management for pets who have been exposed to rabies.
  • Visit the Health Department to learn more about our services just as Hendersonville High School teacher Mr. Smith will be doing by bringing his civics classes for a visit.
  • Attend a Board of Health meeting. Regular monthly meetings are held at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month.
  • Read the Community Health Assessment. Know what the health priorities are for Henderson County. Find this report under the Community Data link at hendersoncountync. org/health.
  • Join an Action Team to address one of our four top health priorities:

Mental Health: 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, April 14

Substance Abuse: 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday, April 12

Obesity: 8:30-10 a.m. Thursday, May 11

Affordable Housing: 34:30 p.m. Monday, April 24

The next meetings will be held at the Health Department. Your input is valued.

  • Speak to a county commissioner and thank him for increasing the number of school nurse positions. By the end of 2017, the total will be 16 school nurses in Henderson County Public Schools.
  • Subscribe to the Henderson County E-newsletter. Read about what’s happening in the county and at the Health Department. Sign up at hendersoncountync. org.

Rishi Manchanda, a physician in Los Angeles, says, “Health is not just a personal responsibility or a phenomenon. It’s a common good.”

Collectively, public health is much more than what your local health department does. A healthy community includes you, him, her and them. This month, visualize where you can be involved even more with public health. The Department of Public Health thanks you.


Kim Horton is the communications manager at the Henderson County Department of Public Health. She can be reached at khorton@hendersoncountync.org.

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Department of Public Health • 1200 Spartanburg Highway, Suite 100 • Hendersonville, NC 28792 • (828) 692-4223