Level Up Your Self-Love: Free HIV Testing at St. Vincent de Paul Place on June 27

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. Show yourself some love by getting an HIV test at St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich.

When: Thursday, June 27th from 9:00-11:30 a.m

Where: St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich

Uncas Health District will be on-site to provide free, confidential HIV testing. This is a quick and easy way to know your status and take control of your health. Test results come in as fast as 20 minutes.

For reactive tests, Yale New Haven Health will be on-site to link you to care. There are many effective treatments available for HIV, and people with HIV can live long and healthy lives.

Don’t wait! Get tested today.

For more information about HIV testing, please visit HIV.gov.

Hurricane Season: It’s Never Too Early to Be Prepared

storm damage

It’s June, the days are long and sunny, and thoughts of tropical storms are probably far from your mind. But here in Southeastern Connecticut, hurricane season officially began on June 1st. While major hurricanes are rare in our region, we can still experience the effects of these powerful storms later in the season, typically between August and late September.

Governor Ned Lamont recently emphasized the importance of being proactive in a press release, urging residents to take steps now to ensure their safety and well-being in the event of a hurricane.

“It’s never too early to make sure you and your family are prepared for natural disasters, especially hurricanes,” Governor Lamont said. “Hurricane season is part of our reality in Connecticut, and we’re doing everything we can to make preparations and ensure our residents stay safe, including reminding everyone about the steps they can take to protect themselves, such as making an emergency plan and pulling together emergency kits. A few small steps like these can go a long way and save you time in the event that you need to act quickly.”

Here are some key ways to be prepared for a potential hurricane:

  • Build an Emergency Kit: Stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water (at least one gallon per person per day for three days), a first-aid kit, medications, flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, and a whistle (for signaling for help). Don’t forget to include items for specific needs, like baby supplies or pet food.
  • Power Outage Plan: Charge all portable electronics beforehand. Consider investing in a solar phone charger or a hand-crank radio for extended outages. Flashlights are essential, but headlamps can be even more helpful, keeping your hands free.
  • Water Safety: Hurricanes often bring heavy rain and flooding. Fill a bathtub with clean water for sanitation purposes in case the water supply is compromised.
  • Flood Preparedness: If you live in a low-lying area, consider having sandbags on hand to help prevent floodwaters from entering your home.
  • Secure Your Property: Trim branches from trees around your home to minimize wind damage. Board up windows if necessary. Bring in outdoor furniture and decorations that could become projectiles in high winds.

Stay Informed

Download the CT Prepares app for real-time weather alerts and emergency information.

Preparation is key

 Taking steps now can help ensure your family’s safety and peace of mind throughout the hurricane season.

National Safety Month: Simple Steps for a Safe June (and Beyond!)

girl wearing doctor uniform holding first kit

June is National Safety Month, a dedicated time to raise awareness about preventing injuries and accidents. But safety shouldn’t be confined to just one month — here are some easy-to-implement tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe all year round.

Be Prepared with a First-Aid Kit

Accidents happen. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit readily available at home, in the car, or at work can make a big difference in treating minor injuries. Review the contents of your kit regularly and replace expired items.

Safety First at Work

If your job involves potentially hazardous conditions, following safety guidelines is paramount. This includes wearing high-visibility clothing in low-light environments, using proper footwear with good traction, and ensuring all equipment is functioning correctly before operating it. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you see unsafe practices – your voice can prevent accidents.

Road Safety

While it’s always important to practice safe and cautious driving, June is a month to remember that school is out — kids will be out playing, there is an increase in road work — which can put workers at risk of injury or death, and motorcycles are out — but are often less visible than most other vehicles on the road.

Reduce Risks

Sometimes, the best safety measure is simply removing potential hazards. Take a look around your home and workplace. Are there loose cords, tripping hazards, or cluttered walkways? By keeping your environment organized and clutter-free, you significantly reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

Prepare for Emergencies

Disasters can strike at any time. Being prepared can minimize stress and confusion in the face of an emergency. Work with your family to create an emergency plan that outlines evacuation routes, communication strategies, and meeting locations. Regularly update your plan and conduct practice drills to ensure everyone knows what to do.

By incorporating these simple steps into your daily routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries for yourself and those around you. Remember, safety is a shared responsibility – let’s all work together to make every month a safe month!

Bonus Tip: National Safety Council (https://www.nsc.org/) offers a wealth of resources on safety in the workplace, at home, and on the road. Take some time this June to explore their website and learn more about how you can stay safe!

Fire Up the Grill: Your Guide to a Fun (and Safe) Memorial Day Weekend

person serving food from a backyard grill.

Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial kick-off to summer! The days are longer, the sun is hotter, and the smell of burgers sizzling on the grill fills the air. It’s a time for backyard cookouts, pool parties, and soaking up all the good vibes that come with warmer weather.

But before you dive headfirst into summer fun, let’s take a moment to talk safety. Because with all the excitement, it’s important to be mindful of a few things to keep your Memorial Day memorable for all the right reasons.

 

Grilling Savvy

  • Food Prep is Key: Keep raw meat separate from cooked food to avoid cross-contamination. Marinate beforehand in the fridge, not on the counter. And always use a food thermometer to ensure your burgers, chicken, and hot dogs reach the proper internal temperature.
  • Grill Master with Safety: Make sure your grill is clean and in good working order before firing it up. Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of flare-ups, and never leave a hot grill unattended.

CDC Grill Safety Infographic

 

Poolside Paradise – with Caution

  • Adult Supervision: Whether it’s an inflatable kiddie pool or a backyard oasis, designate a responsible adult to keep an eye on swimmers, especially young children.
  • Safety First: Make sure your pool is properly fenced in and consider flotation devices for those who need them.

More Pool Safety Tips

 

Sunscreen – A Must

Don’t underestimate the sun’s power! Apply sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) generously and reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

More Sun Safety Tips

 

military boots with American flags

Responsible Alcohol Consumption

Memorial Day often involves barbeques and beers, but remember to pace yourself. Stay hydrated with water throughout the day, and designate a sober driver if you’re planning on having alcoholic drinks.

 

A Moment of Remembrance

While Memorial Day weekend is a time for celebration and summer fun, it’s important to remember the true meaning of the holiday. We pause to honor the brave men and women of the U.S. military who have died serving our country. Take a moment to attend a local ceremony, visit a veteran’s memorial, or simply have a conversation with a family member who has served.

Let’s make this Memorial Day weekend a celebration of life, liberty, and the heroes who made it possible. By keeping safety top of mind, we can ensure a fun-filled and respectful holiday for everyone.

Mental Health Awareness Month: It’s Always Okay to Ask For Help

holding hands to console

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mental health and well-being in our lives. Established in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder to prioritize mental and physical health. This month is an opportunity to:

  • Increase awareness: Mental health is an integral part of overall health, and open conversations about mental well-being are essential. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to destigmatize mental health concerns and encourage open communication.

  • Provide resources: SAMHSA, along with countless other organizations, offers a vast network of resources for individuals and communities seeking mental health support.

  • Celebrate recovery: Recovery from mental illness is a real and achievable goal. Mental Health Awareness Month celebrates the resilience and strength of those living with mental health challenges.

You Are Not Alone

Mental Health focuses on the importance of seeking help and the message that it’s okay to not be okay. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, substance use, alcoholism, bullying, or any other mental health concern, we want you to know there is a vast network of support available.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Help is readily available: Numerous resources are available, from hotlines and online support groups to mental health professionals and community programs.

  • Seeking help is a sign of strength: Asking for help is not a weakness; it’s a demonstration of courage and a commitment to your well-being.

  • Recovery is possible: With the right support system and resources, recovery from mental illness is a real possibility.

Taking Action on Mental Health 

This Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage you to:

  • Educate yourself: Learn about mental health conditions, available resources, and ways to promote mental well-being.

  • Talk openly: Have conversations with friends, family, and colleagues about mental health. Open communication can foster understanding and support.

  • Seek help if needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you are struggling. A mental health professional can provide invaluable support and guidance.

  • Support others: Encourage those you know who may be struggling to seek help. Let them know they are not alone.

By working together, we can create a society where mental health is valued and prioritized. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay, and help is always available.

For Immediate Support:

Let’s make mental health a priority every month, not just in May.

Suicide Prevention Resources from Uncas Health District

Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out — But Let’s Keep Safety in Sight

mom applying sunscreen to child

As the days lengthen and temperatures rise, many of us look forward to the joys of summer – spending time outdoors with loved ones, engaging in physical activity, and soaking up the sunshine. However, it’s important to remember that prolonged sun exposure can pose significant health risks.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a major contributor to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology Association estimates that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. UV radiation can also lead to premature aging, cataracts, and other health problems.

Public health professionals strongly advocate for sun safety practices to minimize these risks and ensure a healthy summer for everyone.

Here are some key recommendations:

  • Sunscreen Application: Broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher is essential. Apply generously to all exposed skin 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours or more frequently if swimming or sweating.

  • Seek Shade, Especially Midday: The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Schedule outdoor activities for earlier or later hours, or utilize shade provided by trees, umbrellas, or pop-up tents.

  • Protective Clothing: Sun-protective clothing offers an effective barrier against UV rays. Look for tightly woven fabrics with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. Wide-brimmed hats that shade the face, ears, and neck are also recommended.

  • Hydration and Sun Safety Go Hand-in-Hand: Sun exposure increases the risk of dehydration. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it can worsen dehydration.

  • Be Aware of Individual Risk Factors: Individuals with fair skin, a history of sunburn, or a family history of skin cancer are at a higher risk for sun damage. These individuals should be particularly vigilant about sun safety measures.

By incorporating these practices into your summer routine, you can significantly reduce your risk of sun-related health problems and enjoy the outdoors safely. Public health professionals are committed to promoting sun safety awareness and encourage everyone to make informed choices to protect themselves and their families.

Get Tested: Free Hepatitis C Testing Day on May 17

HepC-testing

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, and the Uncas Health District’s Mobile Health Team is on a mission to raise awareness and increase testing for Hepatitis C. We’re hosting a free Hepatitis C Testing Day on Friday, May 17th, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at St. Vincent DePaul Place in Norwich.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. The good news? Hepatitis C is curable in most cases, especially when detected early.

Why Get Tested?

Many people with Hepatitis C don’t experience any symptoms for years, which is why getting tested is crucial. Early detection allows for prompt treatment, preventing serious health complications like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C Testing Day at St. Vincent DePaul Place

Our Mobile Health Team will be on-site at St. Vincent DePaul Place, offering free and confidential Hepatitis C testing. The process is quick and easy, with results available in minutes.

Join us on May 17th and take control of your health! Getting tested is a simple step towards a healthier future.

Help us raise awareness about Hepatitis C by sharing this blog post with your friends and family. Encourage them to learn more about the disease and the importance of getting tested.

National Fentanyl Awareness Day — Education Can Save Lives

Fentanyl awareness day

May 7th marks the third annual National Fentanyl Awareness Day — established by families who tragically lost loved ones to fentanyl overdoses. It serves as a crucial reminder of the dangers of this powerful synthetic opioid and its devastating impact on communities across the United States.

Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It’s increasingly being laced into other drugs without the user’s knowledge, making overdoses a terrifying possibility.

National Fentanyl Awareness Day is about education. By raising awareness about the dangers of fentanyl, we can empower ourselves and others to make informed decisions and take steps to stay safe. Here are some ways you can participate:

  • Share information: Spread the word about fentanyl on social media using hashtags like #NationalFentanylAwarenessDay.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about the signs and symptoms of a fentanyl overdose.
  • Support resources: Advocate for increased access to harm reduction resources like naloxone, a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses.

By raising awareness and promoting education, we can help save lives. Visit the National Fentanyl Awareness Day website (https://www.fentanylawarenessday.org/) to learn more and get involved.

Food Handler Certification Course — June 10th

Ledge Light Health District is offering a ServSafe Certified Food Protection Manager Course on Monday, June 10th, 2024, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The Place for CommUNITY (74 Garfield Avenue, New London, CT) will host the class. Seating is limited, so register early to secure your spot!

The cost of $175.00 includes your course book and exam.

Registration Required By June 4th

  • Call the Ledge Light Health District at 860-448-4882 or email tdotaylor@llhd.org
  • Pick up your course book at 216 Broad Street, New London by Tuesday, June 4th.

Important Notes

  • The course is taught in English, but exams are available in other languages.
  • Translators can be present during the course only.
  • Special accommodations may be available; inquire at registration.

More Information/Registration Form

Hepatitis Awareness Month: Get Tested. Get Treated. Get Cured. 

Hepatitis Awareness Month

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, an opportunity to talk about a serious liver disease and to empower the community to take control of their health. It’s also a call to action for those over 18 to Get Tested. Get Treated. Get Cured.

According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Hepatitis C is curable in more than 95% of cases. Early detection and timely treatment are key to preventing liver damage and further spread. That’s why Uncas Health District is highlighting the importance of Hep-C testing.

About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that attacks the liver. It’s important to understand the different forms:

  • Acute Hepatitis C: This is the short-term form of the disease. Many people experience no symptoms or mild flu-like symptoms that go unnoticed. Early detection is crucial, as some people can fight off the virus naturally.
  • Chronic Hepatitis C: If left untreated, acute Hepatitis C can progress to chronic Hepatitis C. This is a long-term infection that can damage the liver over time, potentially leading to cirrhosis (scarring) or even liver failure.

Who should get tested for Hep-C?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends Hepatitis C testing for everyone over the age of 18. Certain factors put you at higher risk, including:

  • Sharing needles or syringes with others
  • Having a history of blood transfusions before 1992
  • Having tattoos or piercings done with unsterile equipment
  • Having unprotected sex with someone who has Hepatitis C

Don’t wait for symptoms of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C often has no noticeable symptoms in its early stages. The best way to know your status is to get tested. The good news? Hepatitis C is now highly curable with safe and effective medications. Early detection is key to preventing serious liver damage and getting the treatment you need to live a healthy life.

Get tested for Hep-C at Uncas Health District

Join us in raising awareness during Hepatitis C Awareness Month! Here’s how you can get involved:

  • National Hepatitis Testing Day: On May 17th, Uncas Health District will offer free Hepatitis C testing at St. Vincent dePaul Place in Norwich from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
  • Mobile Health Team: We also offer testing through our Mobile Health Team, which brings vital services directly to communities throughout Uncas Health District.

Talk to your Doctor about Hep-C

Schedule an appointment with your doctor and ask about getting tested for Hepatitis C. Getting tested is a simple step towards protecting your health and well-being. Together, let’s make Hepatitis C a thing of the past!

Uncas Health District: We’re here for you

For more information on Hepatitis C testing and prevention or when our Mobile Health Team will be in your area, please visit our website.

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