Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), Heart Disease and Stroke
Prevention Program is recognizing May as Stroke Prevention Month and High
Blood Pressure Awareness Month to raise awareness about these common and
dangerous conditions. Since 1989 this day has been used to try to encourage
people to learn their risks about stroke, which is the 5th leading cause of
death in New Hampshire.
Somewhere in the U.S. someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. Stroke is
responsible for 133,000 deaths in the United States each year, or one in
every 18. A stroke is when a blockage causes blood flow to the brain to
stop or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. This can cause
life-changing complications such as paralysis, loss of mental ability,
language difficulty, depression, and of course death. Strokes can happen to
people of any age, not just seniors.
“Many people probably don’t think that they would ever have a stroke,” said
Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “But anyone can be at
risk and many people don’t even realize they have risk factors, one of the
most important being uncontrolled high blood pressure. There are things we
can all do to live healthier lives and reduce our chances of stroke and
other related health problems. Everyone should also be aware of the signs
of a stroke whether to help themselves or someone else who may be having
In New Hampshire, according to the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
Survey (BRFSS), 28.6% of adults reported that they have high blood
pressure, 58.3% of people 65 years of age or older have high blood
pressure, and 25% of people who have high blood pressure do not take
medication for their condition.
In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services launched the Million
Hearts™ initiative to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
A primary focus is on the ABCS to prevent cardiovascular disease, including
stroke, and contribute to overall health:
Know your ABCS of health:
Appropriate Aspirin therapy: Ask your doctor if taking aspirin is
right for you.
Blood pressure control: Keeping your blood pressure under control
reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. More than half of
the world’s stroke deaths are caused by elevated blood pressure
Cholesterol management: Get your cholesterol checked regularly and
manage it with diet and physical activity or with medication, if
Smoking cessation: Get help at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Eat a healthy diet that’s low in sodium
Maintain a healthy weight
Prevent or control diabetes
Limit your alcohol intake (fewer than two drinks per day for men, or
one drink per day for women)
When responding to a stroke, every minute counts. The sooner a patient
receives medical treatment, the lower the risk for death or disability. If
you or someone you know exhibits the following signs or symptoms, call
9-1-1 immediately for medical attention.
Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side
of the body
Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding
Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination
Severe headache with no known cause
Remember, getting immediate medical attention for stroke is crucial to
preventing disability and death, so don’t delay—dial 9-1-1.
The NH Stroke Steering Committee, which is made up of state and community
partners, is working on strengthening stroke systems of care through
bringing partners together to implement heart and stroke activities
relating to the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program objectives of
reducing the prevalence of stroke and stroke deaths.
For more information about National Stroke Prevention Month, visit
www.stroke.org . To learn more about stroke, visit the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/stroke To learn more about
the Million Hearts™ initiative, visit
Entries in Public Health (17)
Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
Concord, NH – Farm Rich Products Corporation, a Buffalo, NY, firm, is
expanding its recall of various frozen mini meals and snack items to more
than 10.5 million pounds because of possible E. coli O121 contamination. A
total of 24 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 have
been reported from 15 states. No cases of E. coli O121 linked to this
outbreak have been identified in New Hampshire.
These products were distributed to retail stores and restaurants nationwide
including in New Hampshire. A complete list of recalled products is
available on the company’s website at www.farmrich.com. If consumers have
any of these products at home they are advised to discard them immediately
and not eat them.
“It is important that all consumers check their freezers for this product,”
said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Since many of
these items are frozen, they could still be in many New Hampshire homes,
and with the recall expansion people should check again to be sure.”
Infection with E. coli O121 can result in dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and
abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days, on average) after exposure to the
organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop hemolytic
uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age
but is most common in children under 5 and older adults. Symptoms of HUS
may include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue, small,
unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased
urination. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency
medical care immediately as it can result in kidney failure.
This may be an evolving situation so consumers are advised to check the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website at www.fda.gov/Food/default.htm
or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website at www.fsis.usda.gov for
updates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting
an investigation into possible cases of illness and has information about
the outbreak on their website at
www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2013/O121-03-13/index.html . For questions about E coli
infection, call the DHHS Division of Public Health Services, Bureau of
Infectious Disease Control at (603) 271-4496.
Concord, NH – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),
Immunization Program (NHIP) recently collaborated with Ammonoosuc Community
Health Center and the North Country Health Consortium to vaccinate 314
adults against pertussis, also known as whooping cough. These adults were
not eligible to receive the vaccine under the NHIP Adult Vaccine Program,
(they had insurance but no access to receive the vaccine) and the providers
wanted these individuals to have the opportunity to receive the recommended
vaccine to help protect the infants in their lives because they were
parents, grandparents, or caregivers.
Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory infection which most often
affects young children, but anyone can get it. Young infants are
particularly at risk because they may be too young to be vaccinated and
have less well developed immune systems. Pertussis can be difficult to
diagnose because the symptoms often look like a cold with a nagging cough,
asthma, or bronchitis. In New Hampshire, pertussis rates have been
increasing. In 2012 there were 252 cases reported to DHHS, compared with
171 in 2011 and 22 in 2010.
The clinic was run as part of an emergency preparedness exercise. This
allowed the participants to practice providing vaccines on a large scale
while also providing a service to the community. The residents were given
the Tdap form of the vaccine at five locations over three days.
“This is a wonderful example of public health at work,” said Dr. José
Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Identifying a need,
collaborating to meet the need, and protecting the citizens of New
Hampshire are all parts of our mission and I commend NHIP and NCHC for this
For more information about NHIP visit
www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/immunization/index.htm. To learn more about the
vaccination against pertussis visit the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/pertussis
This vaccination effort is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week
in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more information go to
Get Yourself Tested Campaign
Concord, NH – April is STD Awareness Month and the New Hampshire Department
of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is raising awareness about sexually
transmitted disease (STD) prevalence during the month, especially among
young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), as many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an
STD by the age of 25 and most of them won’t know it.
National STD Awareness Month along with the “GYT: Get Yourself Tested”
campaign began in 2009 to inform young people about STDs, encourage and
normalize routine testing for STDs, and connect young people to testing
centers. The GYT campaign encourages Americans, especially those under the
age of 25, to speak with their healthcare provider and partners about
getting tested. According to CDC, this age group represents half of the
estimated 19 million STDs occurring in the U.S. each year. When left
untreated, STDs can lead to an increased risk of HIV infection,
infertility, and cancer.
In New Hampshire, there were 3,068 of chlamydia in 2012, compared with
3,022 cases in 2011 and 2,484 in 2010. Consistent with the national data,
there has been a steady increase in chlamydia cases in the past decade,
essentially doubling in number. Syphilis cases have also been increasing
with 67 in 2012 compared with 35 in 2011 and 43 in 2010. Gonorrhea cases
have been consistently reported with 147 cases in 2012, compared with 136
cases in 2011 and 146 in 2010.
“STDs are a huge concern and the numbers of cases have been increasing in
New Hampshire lately,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at
DHHS. “There is a stigma attached to this health topic as well as lack of
information and misinformation. This leads to people not being tested and
not knowing the risks. Since many STDs may have no symptoms, most of those
who are infected don’t know it. The only way to know for sure is to be
For more information about STDs, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/std,
the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov, or call the DHHS STD Program at
271-4502. For more information about the Get Yourself Tested campaign, go
The STD Awareness Month campaign is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on
this week in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more
information go to www.nphw.org
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS) will declare February 17-23 Through with Chew Week, following the
lead of other states in the nation concerned with the oral health of their
residents, especially youth.
Through with Chew Week started in the state of Wyoming to draw attention to
the health issues related to smokeless tobacco. Among the health effects
caused by smokeless tobacco, cancer and poor oral health are the most
common. After increasing for many years, the use of smokeless tobacco by
New Hampshire youth has leveled off, according to the latest data from the
NH Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (2011 YRBS). The percentage of
female smokeless tobacco users (2.2%) is significantly lower than the male
students (14.2%) (2011 YRBS).
The use of smokeless tobacco is at 3% for New Hampshire adults, and 45% of
adult smokeless tobacco users also smoke cigarettes (2011 NH Behavioral
Risk Factor Surveillance System, BRFSS). Nationally, declines in the use of
smokeless tobacco by youth and young adults have stalled after years of
steady progress. New Hampshire has the opportunity to do more to educate
students about the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco and maintain the
gains currently being made in the oral health of the young.
“The use of smokeless tobacco is not a safe substitute for smoking
cigarettes,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.
“Smokeless tobacco can cause cancer and lead to nicotine addiction and
dependence. Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates the need for intense
and sustained efforts to prevent our young people from using tobacco.”
Smokeless tobacco is tobacco that is not burned. Other recent products on
the market are snus, orbs, sticks, and dissolvables. Smokeless tobacco is
associated with oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
Using smokeless tobacco may also cause heart disease, gum disease, and oral
lesions other than cancer, such as leukoplakia (precancerous white patches
in the mouth). The price of treating disease and disfigurement is costly
and many of these diseases result in deformation or death. But they can be
"Effects from prolonged use of chewing tobacco are often visible on the gum
tissue where the user holds the wad of tobacco,” said Montero. “Gum
recession and pre-cancerous oral lesions may be the first sign of a problem
identified during a visit to the dentist. However, quitting is achievable,
especially when combined with counseling and nicotine replacement
therapies. Of course the best thing for youth is to never start.”
To hold your own Through with Chew Week or the Great American Spit Out,
visit www.ThroughWithChew.com. For information or free support in quitting,
call the NH Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit
www.TryToStopNH.org and www.MyLastDip.org . Visit www.DHHS.NH.gov for more
information on the NH Oral Health Program.