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April 2, 2012

County Health Department Observes National Public Health Week April 2-8

OSWEGO -- Health professionals across the nation will observe National Public Health Week Monday, April 2 through Sunday, April 8. The theme of this year's campaign is "A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement."

Oswego County residents can take preventive measures to live longer and healthier lives. Preventing disease before it begins is critical to reaching this goal, as well as to lowering the cost of health care.

"Good health starts in the home," said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, public health director for the Oswego County Health Department. "From the time we're born, and even before, public health is working to protect our families across generations. Whether it's receiving immunizations and other preventive services from a trusted health provider; engaging in daily physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables and consuming less sugar, fat and salt; buckling up in the car; or being cared for at home as we age, public health is a part of every aspect of our lives."

The Oswego County Health Department has a long tradition of public health services, dating back to the 1960s when the county established the public health nursing staff. For many years the health department offered the only home care services in the county.

"Today our agency provides programs that impact all of us, from the water we drink and the food we eat, to immunizations for infants and school children, maternal and child home health visits, and home health care for the frail and elderly," said Dr. Norfleet. "Our staff of dedicated professionals is available around the clock to respond to public health threats. Someone is always on call to respond to emergencies that could threaten the public's health.

"Public health touches all levels of our community," added Dr. Norfleet. "Services at the community level provide an opportunity to address many of the broader issues that impact health across our nation."

The department also provides pre-school education and services to children with special needs. The Environmental Division is responsible for programs that minimize environmental health threats. Some efforts are targeted to the population at large, such as monitoring public and private drinking water supplies, food safety in restaurants, and inspecting children's camps. Other programs target specific needs such as interventions to prevent illness from rabies, mosquitoes, failing septic systems, and sale of tobacco products to minors.

"Everyone has a role to play, and each action, no matter how small, can make a big difference in a community," said Dr. Norfleet. "If we take small actions, our communities, homes and families will see the large benefits of preventive care and grow the movement. You can help by raising awareness of prevention and wellness in your community during National Public Health Week."

For more information, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3540 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3540, or visit the department's Web site at www.oswegocounty.com. For information on National Public Health Week, visit www.nphw.org.


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