Press Releases

 

Entries in Public Health (90)

Saturday
Feb142015

NH DOS - NH DHHS CAUTIONS RESIDENTS TO DRESS FOR EXTREME COLD 

CONCORD –State Department of Health and Human Services cautions residents to dress in layers and watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite as blizzard-like conditions bring extreme cold and wind chills this weekend.

 

“Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures has the potential to cause serious or life-threatening health problems,” DHHS Emergency Services Unit Director Rick Cricenti said. “The most common cold weather problems are hypothermia and frostbite. The elderly and infants are most at risk, but extreme cold can affect anyone.”

 

Warming stations and shelters will be opened on an as-needed basis by local communities, he said.

 

DHHS offers the following tips to help prevent serious illness or injury from the cold:

  • ·             Avoid staying outside unprotected for extended periods of time during extreme cold. 
  • ·             If possible avoid going out during the coldest part of the day.
  • ·             Dress in layers so you can adjust for various conditions.
  • ·             Wear warm clothing, including hats, mittens, jackets and insulated boots.
  • ·             Stay hydrated.
  • ·             Get out of wet clothes immediately.
  • ·             Watch for signs of hypothermia:  confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  • ·             Recognize warning signs of frostbite: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, and waxy feeling skin.

 

If you recognize any symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite in you or someone else seek medical attention immediately.

Wednesday
Feb042015

NH DHHS - New Blood Pressure Control Guidance for Clinicians and Community Partners

Concord, NH – In recognition of American Heart Month, the New Hampshire

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is pleased to announce the

release of Ten Steps for Improving Blood Pressure Control in New Hampshire:

A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Community Partners, primarily authored

by Rudy Fedrizzi, MD, of Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock–Keene,

and Kimberly Persson, MSW, of the Institute for Health Policy and Practice

at the University of New Hampshire. This guide details how clinicians and

communities can work together to improve hypertension throughout the State.



The New Hampshire Million Hearts Learning Collaborative developed the Ten

Steps, a step-by-step manual to guide practitioners, quality improvement

personnel, and practice administrators in improving blood pressure control

in clinical practice and through community outreach. The manual distills

the lessons learned from the New Hampshire’s Million Hearts Learning

Collaborative. When combined, these ten steps provide a comprehensive

approach to improving hypertension control rates within communities.



Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common and dangerous

condition. It increases a patient’s risk for heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in New Hampshire. Almost

2,000 people died in New Hampshire due to coronary heart disease or heart

attacks in 2012. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the State

causing an additional 438 deaths in 2012.



“Hypertension is not controlled in too many people throughout New

Hampshire,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health Services at

DHHS. “This manual is an important step toward encouraging health care

providers and community agencies, such as YMCAs, local health departments,

and others, to work together to meet the challenge of providing effective

care and promoting a healthy lifestyle among those they serve.”



In October 2013, DHHS, along with nine other states and the District of

Columbia, was awarded a Million Hearts funding grant by the Association of

State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with seed money from the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Million Hearts is a

national initiative working to prevent one million heart attacks and

strokes by 2017.



New Hampshire’s work is modeled after the successful strategies implemented

at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock–Keene over the past few

years. The grant’s framework is based on learning collaboratively through

community partnerships. New Hampshire’s Million Hearts Learning

Collaborative partners include:

· DHHS Division of Public Health Services





· Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New

Hampshire





· Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock–Keene (CMC/DHK)





· City of Manchester Health Department





· Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC)





· Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services, and





· Lamprey Health Care – Nashua (LHC-N)





Utilizing evidence-based public health interventions, MCHC improved the

blood pressure control rate among its patients from 66% to 75% over the

course of 2014, and LHC-N improved its rate from 69.5% to 72%.



With additional support from ASTHO and CDC, Goodwin Community Health,

partnering with Wentworth Douglass Hospital, Frisbie Memorial Hospital, and

Community Partners, will now participate in the New Hampshire Million

Hearts Learning Collaborative.



The guide can be found at

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/documents/tensteps-bpcontrol.pdf. An

interactive, half-day workshop to support practitioners and practice

administrators in implementing the guide’s strategies is scheduled for

Thursday, March 26, 9:00 am–12:00 pm at the New Hampshire Department of

Transportation, Granite State Conference Room, 7 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH,

03302. To register, go to

http://chhs.unh.edu/ihpp/public-health-and-health-promotion. Space is

limited. Please register by Friday, March 20.



For more information about heart disease and stroke prevention, visit the

DHHS website

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/documents/tensteps-bpcontrol.pdf. To learn

more about American Heart Month, go to

http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/.

Wednesday
Jan142015

NH DHHS - Promotes Quitting Tobacco with Contest: Dear Me New Hampshire

Concord, NH—The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division

of Public Health Services (DPHS) is launching a contest with the

hard-hitting media campaign Dear Me New Hampshire. The contest is being

promoted in order to motivate New Hampshire residents to quit tobacco. The

campaign’s call to action, “No one can make me quit, but me,” was born out

of conversations with New Hampshire residents wanting to quit smoking or

using other tobacco products. The contest asks residents, “If you wrote a

letter to yourself about quitting, what would it say?” Those who see or

hear the statewide campaign will be encouraged to write a letter to

themselves with their personal reasons to quit tobacco and have a chance to

enter the contest by filming their own Dear Me video; submitters can

compete to be in a Dear Me New Hampshire ad featuring their own personal

story about wanting to quit tobacco.



“Encouraging people to think about the reasons they have for quitting

tobacco is a positive motivational force to get them to attempt to quit,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “And that is what

the Dear Me New Hampshire campaign is asking people to do. The Department

currently offers free tobacco treatment counseling and nicotine replacement

patches to residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and qualify.”



While entering the contest, residents can watch inspiring recordings of

people reading their Dear Meletters, read compelling letters, support other

people who are trying to quit and join the Facebook page, Dear Me New

Hampshire. Residents can enter the contest, view contest details and share

Dear Meletters at the NH Tobacco Helpline’s website, www.TryToStopNH.org.

The Helpline provides no-cost counseling and encouragement for quitting

tobacco use to all New Hampshire residents. According to the 2013

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, 60% of New Hampshire

adults who smoke report wanting to quit.



Contest information can be found at www.trytostopnh.org/dear-me/ . For

information or free help quitting and nicotine patches, call the NH Tobacco

Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.TryToStopNH.org .

For more information about the New Hampshire Division of Public Health

Services or the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program visit

www.dhhs.nh.gov .

Thursday
Jan082015

NH DHHS - January Is Birth Defects Prevention Month

Concord, NH – In honor of January as National Birth Defects Prevention

Month–2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) and the New Hampshire Birth Conditions Program, Geisel School of

Medicine at Dartmouth is inviting New Hampshire women and their families to

make a PACT to reduce the risk of birth defects in their future children by

making healthy choices throughout their reproductive years. Even though

not all birth defects can be prevented, women, including teens, can lower

their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect by following some

basic health guidelines throughout their reproductive years:



Plan ahead

Avoid harmful substances

Choose a healthy lifestyle

Talk with your doctor



Birth defects are common, costly, and critical. Every 4 ½ minutes a baby is

born with a major birth defect in the United States. In New Hampshire, more

than 2,800 new birth conditions have been reported to the NH Birth

Conditions Program since tracking began in 2003. Become an active

participant in Birth Defects Prevention Month and join a nationwide effort

to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and their impact.



“The health of women prior to pregnancy can affect the risk of having a

child with a birth defect,” said Stephanie Miller, Director of the NH Birth

Conditions Program. “Diet, lifestyle choices, factors in the environment,

health conditions, and medications before and during pregnancy all can play

a role in preventing or increasing the risk of birth defects.”



“Small steps, such as making healthy choices, visiting a healthcare

provider well before pregnancy, controlling your weight through healthy

diet and activity, and taking a multivitamin every day, can go a long way,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.



Women and their loved ones are encouraged to participate in their PACT and

take these important preventive steps that can lead to a reduction in the

number of birth defects. Learn more about the effect you can have on birth

defects at the National Birth Defects Prevention Network website at

www.nbdpn.org/bdpm2015.php  and www.nhbcp.org .

Tuesday
Jan062015

NH DHHS - Small Increase Seen in Youth Tobacco Sales in New Hampshire

Concord, NH - Tobacco sales to youth in New Hampshire, as measured by the

Synar compliance check program, increased a small amount to 12.9% in 2014,

up from 11.5% a year ago. Synar is a federally mandated effort from the

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to

reduce tobacco sales to youth. To hundred and ninety-six tobacco retailers

across the State were surveyed in this year’s effort.



In accordance with the tobacco regulations, states are required to provide

detailed information on progress made in enforcing youth tobacco access

laws. The Annual Synar Report (ASR) format provides the means for states to

comply with the reporting provisions of the Public Health Services Act (42

U.S.C. 300x-26) and Tobacco Regulation for the Substance Abuse Prevention

and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) (45 C.F.R. 96.130 (e)).



The results of the checks are well under the federal SYNAR requirement of

20%. Research demonstrates that lower tobacco use by youth also decreases

the chance that they will use drugs or alcohol. Data from the New Hampshire

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows 1,132 youth report they usually get

their cigarettes from a store or gas station. This indicates that there is

still a need for merchant education and enforcement in New Hampshire.



Joe Harding, Director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) at

the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said, “The 1%

increase from (11.8%) last year to (12.9%) this year shows that New

Hampshire still has some work to do relative to checking IDs for tobacco

products. BDAS will continue partnering with the Division of Liquor

Enforcement (DLE) as well as local coalitions to assist in education

efforts to reduce tobacco sales to youth. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey

reports that 86.2% of high school youth did not smoke cigarettes in the

last 30 days. This reflects well on the education and youth tobacco law

enforcement efforts of the Division of Liquor Enforcement, as well on the

education efforts of the New Hampshire Tobacco Prevention Program.”



BDAS partners with DLE to conduct and report on the results of the

compliance checks. In addition, DLE has been contracted by the US Food and

Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct additional tobacco retailer compliance

checks. The DLE offers trainings to both owners and store clerks to help

ensure that they do not sell tobacco to minors.



BDAS hopes to utilize the Thirteen (13) Regional Public Health Networks to

help assist NH in being able to check every store in the State.



BDAS and DLE plan to increase efforts to lower the number of sales to

youth. These efforts will include increased coordination with local law

enforcement and other educational efforts.