Press Releases


Entries in Public Health (105)


NH DHHS - Holiday Food Safety 

Food Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Concord, NH – As we enter the busy holiday season, the Department of Health

and Human Services’ (DHHS) Food Protection Section is promoting important

food safety practices by encouraging residents to follow some simple tips

to avoid foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and


“Don’t let germs ruin your holiday activities by not taking proper

precautions against foodborne disease,” said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting

Director of the Division of Public Health Services at DHHS. “There are

simple tips for safe food preparation that we should all be following every

day, not just at holidays. Sometimes at large family gatherings our

attention may not be focused as closely on safe food handling and this can

present an opportunity for bacteria to be introduced.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there

are 31 pathogens known to cause foodborne illness. Every year there are an

estimated 48 million cases of illness, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000

deaths in the United States due to foodborne diseases. Symptoms can vary

depending on the illness, but some common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal

cramps, and nausea. It is difficult to say with certainty which microbe is

causing a given illness without laboratory testing.

The following simple precautions should always be followed by cooks and

food service workers to reduce the possibility of anyone becoming sick:

Separate: Use a separate cutting board for cooked foods and raw foods

and always wash them after use. Do not cut raw vegetables on the same

cutting board as raw meat. Avoid cross contamination. Wash any

utensil after preparing one food item before going on to the next


Clean: Always wash hands before touching any food. Wash hands and

surfaces often during food preparation and afterward.

Cook: Make sure all meats are thoroughly cooked by using a meat

thermometer: turkey, stuffing, and casseroles to 165ºF; veal, beef,

and lamb roasts to 145ºF; and ham, pork, ground beef, and egg dishes

to 160ºF. When reheating, leftovers should be thoroughly heated to


Chill: Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours. The

refrigerator should be maintained at 40ºF or lower and the freezer

should be at 0ºF or lower. Keep hot foods hot, 140ºF or hotter, and

cold foods cold, 40ºF or below. Never defrost food at room

temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, in a cold-water bath, or

in the microwave. When using a microwave, meat must be cooked

immediately after. Marinate foods in the refrigerator.

Report: Report suspected foodborne illnesses to the NH Department of

Health and Human Services by calling 603-271-4496. Often calls from

concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public

health official calls you to talk about an outbreak your cooperation

is important, even if you are not ill.

For more information, visit ,, , or To report a foodborne outbreak, call the DHHS

Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496.


NH DHHS - Great American Smoke Out Campaign 

NH DHHS Launches Tips from Former SmokersMedia Campaign

in Support of the Great American Smoke Out on November 19th

Concord, NH – In celebration of the 38th Great American Smoke Out (GASO),

the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is

launching Tips From Former Smokers, a national education campaign created

by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage

smokers to quit. DHHS is launching the ads in November to recognize the

importance of GASO. This event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society,

encourages tobacco users to quit for at least one day in the hope that this

might challenge them to stop permanently. The multi-media Tips campaign

will run statewide through March of 2016.

“This is a very powerful campaign; the people in the ads are real and they

have suffered from using tobacco,” said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director

of the Division of Public Health Services. “Quitting is very difficult and

the individuals in the Tipsads know that firsthand, but they were able to

quit and they want to help others quit too. The Great American Smoke Out is

an opportunity to begin a journey towards a healthier, tobacco-free life.”

New Hampshire will be featuring Tips participants Amanda, who’s baby was

born 2 months early and weighed only 3 pounds; Jessica, a mother with a

young son who suffers from asthma attacks due to secondhand smoke exposure;

and Bill, who had diabetes at 15 and started smoking cigarettes at 39 but

quit after his leg was amputated due to poor circulation. Their stories,

the stories of other former smoker, and tips for quitting can be found at:

Currently, 17.5% of New Hampshire adults report smoking but almost 65%

report wanting to quit. DHHS helps residents quit tobacco and provides them

with cessation resources, including free counseling to all residents who

call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or self-refer via the web ( ). The

Helpline provides no-cost counseling and encouragement for quitting tobacco

use to all New Hampshire residents. Nicotine patches are available for

those who qualify, while supplies last.

For more information about the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human

Services visit . For information about the Great American

Smoke Out visit .

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NH DHHS - Tobacco Data Report 

Department of Health and Human Services Release Tobacco Data Report for

National Stroke Awareness Day

Concord, NH – The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has

released a new report, Tobacco Use in New Hampshire: Prevalence, Health

Consequences, and Strategies to Reduce Use, 2015 Report, which presents

data and trends on tobacco use among youth and adults in New Hampshire over

the past 20 years. It also highlights mortality from smoking-related

diseases, evidence-based strategies for reducing tobacco use, and the

status of these strategies in New Hampshire.

The DHHS is releasing the report on October 28th, National Stroke Awareness

Day, to highlight the connection between smoking tobacco products and

stroke. A stroke is a sudden death of brain cells caused by blood clots or

bleeding. Smoking is one cause of dangerous plaque buildup inside of

arteries; plaque can rupture and cause clots and block arteries.

“About 10% of strokes are caused by smoking,” said Marcella Bobinsky,

Acting Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Even breathing secondhand smoke

can cause clots in non-smokers. However, two to five years after quitting

smoking, a person’s risk of a stroke could fall to about the same as a

nonsmoker’s. The Department supports every attempt to quit tobacco use and

offers assistance in the form of the NH Tobacco Helpline.”

Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in both the United States and in

New Hampshire. It is also a leading cause of serious long-term disability.

In New Hampshire, 437 people died of stroke in 2013. There are things that

one can do to help lower their risk of having a stroke. These include:

eating a healthy diet that is low in fat and salt and high in fruits and

vegetables; maintaining a healthy weight; quitting tobacco and limiting

alcohol; and having one’s blood pressure and cholesterol checked.

It is important to know the warning signs of stroke and the need to call

911 if one thinks they or someone they know is having a stroke. Getting

immediate treatment can help prevent death and reduce disability. The

American Stroke Association uses the Acronym “F.A.S.T” to teach the stroke

warning signs in an easy way. Learn the F.A.S.T. acronym (FACE drooping,

ARM weakness, SPEECH difficulty, TIME to call 911), and share this

information with others you know. A free App for “F.A.S.T” is available for

download at the App Store or Google Play. If you are unsure if you or

someone else is having a stroke, you should ALWAYS call 911.

The tobacco report details the addiction cycle of nicotine, tobacco use’s

impact on public health, and strategies to prevent and reduce tobacco use

in New Hampshire. The report is available at:

For more information about heart disease and stroke, see the New Hampshire

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Action Plan 2015-2020 at

DHHS currently offers free help quitting tobacco use through 1-800-QUIT-NOW


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NH DHHS - NH Officials to Discuss State’s Comprehensive Response to Opioid Epidemic

Member of the media are invited to a press event on Tuesday, September 29,

2015, at 11:30am, to hear firsthand from State officials about the State’s

comprehensive strategy to address the opioid overdose crisis.

WHAT: State of New Hampshire’s comprehensive strategy to address

the opioid epidemic, including the plan to distribute the

drug overdose reversal medication, naloxone

WHO: Anticipated speakers include Governor Maggie Hassan; DHHS

Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas; NH Bureau of Emergency

Medical Services Director Nick Mercuri; Police Chief

Association President Chief Bob Cormier; individuals in

recovery; family members of those experiencing addiction;

and physicians providing naloxone and medication-assisted

treatment for people experiencing addiction

WHEN: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WHERE: Governor and Council Chambers

NH State House

Concord, NH

The press conference will specifically address:

· Two new laws, House Bills 270 and 271, that were passed and went in

to effect June 2, 2015, to increase public access to drug overdose

reversal medication, often referred to as naloxone or by its

commercial name, Narcan.

· The State’s purchase of naloxone kits that will be made available

this fall at no cost for those at risk for an opioid-related overdose

or their friends and family members.

· The State’s new campaign to increase awareness of the opioid crisis

and of resources and services available to help prevent, treat and

support recovery from addiction.

Presentations will run from 11:30am to approximately 12:10pm, with the

remaining 20 minutes available for questions from the press.

Press packets will be available at the beginning of the event.


NH DHHS - Promotes Good Oral Health among Older Adults in Honor of National Senior Center Month

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services, Oral Health Program, has been

providing oral health screenings in senior centers around the State to

raise awareness of the importance of oral health for New Hampshire's older


Older adults face barriers to regular dental care due to a lack of dental

insurance, financial constraints, absence of perceived need, and

transportation issues. A recent statewide survey of older adults in senior

centers documented an unmet need for dental care among seniors living

independently in their communities, particularly among those residing in

rural areas, and those with limited incomes. Twenty-four percent of older

adults have untreated decay and sharp broken teeth.

“Because many seniors have unmet oral health needs, the Department is

promoting innovative approaches to dental care to help seniors prevent and

control tooth decay,” said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of the

Division Public Health Services. “Oral health is part of healthy aging; you

can’t be healthy without good oral health.”

Older adults with urgent dental needs in six selected senior centers who

have been identified by hygienists are referred to participating local

dental offices, where their treatment is paid for through funds from DHHS.

These services are especially important for older adults because poor oral

health impacts their nutritional status, social functioning, and overall

well-being. As the gateway to the body, the mouth is constantly challenged

by bacteria and viruses that cause infection and inflammation. Dental

caries (cavities) and the periodontal diseases (such as gingivitis and

periodontitis) have been linked to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes,

respiratory diseases, and cancer.

The Oral Health Program received funds from the National Association of

Chronic Disease Directors to provide seniors with screening assessments,

oral health education, and referrals for treatment.

While these programs are important, funding for seniors’ dental screening

assessments ends on September 30, 2015. DHHS is raising awareness of the

issue to show the importance of sustaining the screening program and adding

on-site preventive oral health services to additional sites in the state.

For more information about screening sites or the Oral Health Program in

New Hampshire visit

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