Health Education

Informing, educating and empowering people about public health issues is one of the ten essential services of public health. NVHD follows these nationally recognized essential services in its planning and delivery of services. The health district seeks to provide accessible health information and resources to reinforce health promotion messages and programs. This page provides health education information on various public health topics.

Zika Virus information: Zika

Zika virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. This mosquito species is not present in Connecticut and related species are not likely to spread the disease in Connecticut.

The Aedes species mosquito is found throughout tropical regions of the world and are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Mosquitoes become infected with the Zika virus when they bite a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What is carbon monoxide (CO) and how is it produced?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

How many people are unintentionally poisoned by CO?
On average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. These products include malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered equipment such as portable generators; fireplaces; and charcoal that is burned in homes and other enclosed areas. In 2005 alone, CPSC staff is aware of at least 94 generator-related CO poisoning deaths. Forty-seven of these deaths were known to have occurred during power outages due to severe weather, including Hurricane Katrina. Still others die from CO produced by non-consumer products, such as cars left running in attached garages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms every year to be treated for CO poisoning.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever).

They include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death

Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure. For slowly developing residential CO problems, occupants and/or physicians can mistake mild to moderate CO poisoning symptoms for the flu, which sometimes results in tragic deaths. For rapidly developing, high level CO exposures (e.g., associated with use of generators in residential spaces), victims can rapidly become mentally confused, and can lose muscle control without having first experienced milder symptoms; they will likely die if not rescued.

Take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning educational video by DPH
BE AWARE OF CO

Rabies Information

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.
Rabies informational video

Food Safety Month

Whether you are prepping, eating, or storing food, it is always important to keep safe food handling in mind. By following these four simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from food borne illnesses.
Clean: Wash your hands and food contact surfaces often. Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops after preparing each food item and before you move to the next. Be sure to wash fruits and veggies before use, under running tap water.
Separate: When shopping, separate raw meats from other foods in your cart and grocery bags. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meats.
Cook: Use a food thermometer when cooking to make sure foods are cooked to the appropriate internal cooking temperature. Heat leftovers thoroughly to 165°F before serving.
Chill: When getting home from the store, refrigerate meats and perishables promptly. Keep the refrigerator at 40°F or below and the freezer at 0°F or below. Do not defrost at room temperature. If you have large amounts of left overs divide into shallow pans before placing in the refrigerator.

For more information on each of these steps, visit the fightbac! website