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Westfield — Letters to the Editor

The Westfield Board of Health met on December 3, 2012.

Lawrence D. Budnick, MD, MPH

Friday, December 14, 2012 • 1:09pm

The influenza season is off to its earliest start in nearly a decade and could be a bad one, according to the CDC.  The flu has markedly increased in parts of the country and the primary strain circulating tends to make people sicker than other types.

IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO GET THE FLU VACCINE.  You can still protect yourself, your family and your friends by being vaccinated against flu, especially since this year’s vaccine appears to be a good match.  Also, children who attend licensed child care or preschool must be vaccinated each year. 

Flu vaccinations are available at the Westfield Regional Health Department.  To schedule yours, please contact Laura Scanlon, the Public Health Nursing Supervisor, at 908-789-4070 x4074 or lscanlon@westfieldnj.gov.

The Board discussed the recent accomplishments of the Health Department in support of the town after superstorm Sandy and ways to improve for the next similar event.  The Board appreciated the work of the department leadership and staff who rapidly mobilized to provide needed public health-related services during a very difficult time.

In addition, the Board recommends that residents should prepare now for the next severe weather.  Make or restock your disaster supply kit with at least a 3 days supply:  1) water, 1 gallon per person per day; 2) nonperishable food; 3) medications; and 4) flashlight and radio, with batteries.  Also, have a plan to aid family members, take care of pets, and safely shut off utilities.  Finally, if you will use a portable generator, plan to locate it in a well-ventilated space AWAY from your house and have a functioning battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm in your home.  Although carbon monoxide can be a silent killer, the most common reported symptoms are headache, nausea and dizziness.

The Health Department is sponsoring Respiratory screening with Overlook Hospital on Thursday, December 13, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Municipal Building.  For more information and to register, please contact Ms. Scanlon as noted above.

Finally, I want to thank the volunteer members of the Board of Health and the senior staff of the Department for their dedication and outstanding work on behalf of public health in Westfield:  Tom O'Neill (Vice President), Mitchell C. Beinhaker, Esq, Dr Vasilios Diamantopoulos, Dr Ronen Gold, Gavin Handwerker, Esq, Dr Seymour Koslowsky, David Oliveira, Dr David Weinman, Sam Della Fera, Esq (our Council Liaison), Megan Avallone, RN, MPH (Health Officer), Ken Pincus (Principal Registered Environmental Health Specialist) and Laura Scanlon, MS, RN (Public Health Nursing Supervisor).

Information about all of the Department’s activities is available on its website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health.  The complete minutes of the December 3 meeting will be posted after review and approval at our January 7, 2013, meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Lawrence D. Budnick, MD, MPH

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