Thursday, July 30, 2015

August Is Coming in with a BAM!

August is almost here and WIC is ready to celebrate! Why? Because August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month (BAM). The Lactation Consultant and Peer Helpers will be hosting plenty of events throughout the month to celebrate breastfeeding moms and their supporters.

The big BAM event will be hosted on August 8th, as WIC and breastfeeding moms have a Party-in-the-Park at the Dillon Dam Park pavilion. All breastfeeding moms in the area, as well as their families, are encouraged to attend. Pregnant women who are considering breastfeeding are also welcome. There will be light refreshments, door prizes, and lots of fun!

During the Muskingum County Fair, there will be a Rock n Relax station to provide mothers a comfortable place to nurse if they feel they need it. The station will also include a changing station and will be a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the fair for breastfeeding moms.

WIC will also be celebrating breastfeeding moms by posting billboards throughout the community and posting pictures of breastfeeding mothers in the WIC Putnam Avenue office. This campaign will help breastfeeding moms know that they are not alone and can find other moms "just like them" everywhere they look. Finally, WIC will visit local OB and pediatric offices to provide breastfeeding supportive material and will also be recognizing local employers and businesses that are breastfeeding friendly with awards to highlight their support.

August is sure to be a busy month for breastfeeding moms and supporters alike. Celebrate with them by learning more about the advantages of breastfeeding.

For information about the advantages of breastfeeding, please see our previous post. For more information about upcoming BAM events, please call 740-454-5040 or visit ZMCHD's website

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is it Really Responsible?

In light of recent events regarding marijuana legalization in Ohio, ZMCHD wants you to know the facts about Responsible Ohio's proposed amendment and the potential public health effects of legalization.

Responsible Ohio's proposed amendment, which will be on the November ballot if all the signatures on the petition are valid, will legalize medical and recreational marijuana use for those over 21 years of age. The amendment would allow 10 farms in the state to grow marijuana and would let Ohio residents grow up to four plants in their households. 1,100 small business licenses to sell marijuana will be issued, with a 5% competitive tax in all retail stores.

Here are the facts about marijuana legalization.
Effects in legalized states:
  • Average marijuana related exposure per year has increased 89%.
  • Marijuana infused edibles exposure has increased 400%.
  • Even after legalization, 40% of marijuana is still sold on the black market. 
  • Traffic fatalities involving operators testing positive for marijuana has increased 100%
Potential Effects in Ohio:
  • Physicians will not be required to be trained in recommending marijuana to patients, creating another pill-mill healthcare system.
  • Marijuana edibles and infused beverages will be sold, both of which have higher levels of THC, the chemical that causes the 'high'. Children cannot distinguish between marijuana edibles and candy, which will lead to child hospitalization from overdose.
  • Medical marijuana users will be permitted to use marijuana in public places, including the workplace.
  • 1,100 legal pot shops will be allowed to open. This is nearly 6 times the current number of Starbucks in the state. 
Effects on Health:
  • 1 in 10 adults who smoke marijuana will become addicted. It is addictive!
  • The average amount of THC in today's marijuana has tripled since the 1970s. It isn't your Woodstock weed.
  • Marijuana smoke contains significantly higher levels of toxic compounds than tobacco smoke, suggesting that it could lead to similar negative respiratory effects. 
Effects on Children:
  • 1 in 6 children and adolescents who smoke marijuana will become addicted.
  • Use of marijuana during childhood and adolescence can lead to schizophrenia and psychosis.
  • Marijuana use during adolescence can result in an IQ decrease of up to 8 points. 
  • Marijuana use in teens is correlated with suicidal ideation, personality disorders, and interpersonal violence. 
Effects on Public Safety and Crime:
  • Marijuana users are twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in a car accident.
  • Legalization in other states has not solved the racial disparities in marijuana enforcement, with blacks still more likely than whites to be charged with marijuana related crimes. 
This is an effort by ZMCHD to educate Muskingum County residents about the medical, emotional, and social costs associated with the issues of marijuana legalization. 

All information about the negative effects of marijuana use and legalization were retrieved from the organizations below. Visit these websites for more information. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


A large part of public health is related to disease. The Public Health Nurses deal with disease on a daily basis by attempting to prevent disease through immunizations and diagnosing some diseases through STD screening. The Community Health Planners try to prevent disease through health education and promotion. But what happens after a disease is found? ZMCHD's Epidemiologist takes it from there.

Epidemiology is the study of the origin and causes of infectious diseases within a community. Epidemiologists track confirmed cases of diseases to ensure that they are not spreading and becoming uncontrollable. They also aim to ensure that the disease has been treated properly by a physician and that someone has followed up with the patient. The data that Epidemiologist's use can be compiled to provide demographic information about the likelihood of certain populations to contract a particular disease. This data can provide insight into how social determinants of health are playing out within the community.

Social determinants of health are the social factors that determine a person's likelihood of contracting a disease or have a certain health outcome. Examples of negative social determinants of health include poverty and homelessness, as these factors often add extra stress to a person's life and prevent people from easily accessing healthcare. The data that Epidemiologist's use can help public health professionals determine which populations are experiencing negative social determinants of health and need help. 

Epidemiology is complicated and fascinating, but 100% necessary to the Health Department. It helps the department understand just how healthy or unhealthy our community really is so that Public Health Professionals can do their jobs. 

For more information about Epidemiology at ZMCHD, please visit our website. Please call 740-454-9741 to speak to the Infectious Disease Nurse (ext. 247) or the Epidemiologist (ext. 256).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ZMCHD Sees a Need

Eye don't mean to be corney-a, but ZMCHD wants to make the people of Muskingum County better optometry pupils. Do you see what I did there?

All humor aside, the Public Health Nurses at ZMCHD have teamed up with the Vision Service Plan (VSP) to help our community see better. VSP funds eye exams and glasses, if prescribed, to adult patients who qualify for the program through Mobile Eyes. Children who qualify can get eye exams and glasses through the Sight for Students program. VSP is just one of the many programs that ZMCHD partners with to provide Muskingum County with access to the health services we need.

To apply for either the Mobile Eyes or Sight for Students program, please contact the Health Department at 740-454-9741 ext. 252. The application for the program can be filled out over the phone and will be sent to Prevent Blindness Ohio. If the patient meets requirements, ZMCHD will call to schedule an appointment. 

Don't miss seeing the sunset or squint while you read. Enjoy the sights around you and make your life easier by calling ZMCHD today.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

We Want You!

ZMCHD is teaming up with Uncle Sam and we want you to join the Medical Reserve Corps to protect Muskingum County if a disaster strikes.

The Medical Reserve Corps were created in light of the 9/11 attacks and natural disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Corps are part of a nationwide push to encourage community members to volunteer their time and skills in the event of a disaster or other public health emergency. Medical professionals, such as physicians, nurses, and paramedics, as well as citizens with non-medical backgrounds, are encouraged to become volunteers. 

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers will provide assistance to local emergency response teams, public health professionals, and healthcare providers. This assistance is vital to our community's operational stability during the first few hours or days following an incident. If an emergency occurs, you will be notified when are where to respond. While we recognize that your first responsibility is to your family and your job, ZMCHD urges you to become a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer today. 

For more information on the Medical Reserve Corps or to become a volunteer, please visit OMRC's website. For questions regarding the local Medical Reserve Corps, please call 740-454-9741 ext. 260.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shop Local, Eat Fresh

Muskingum County is definitely a tight-knit community. You can hardly get out of the grocery store without seeing a familiar, friendly face. With such a small community, it's important to support local businesses. ZMCHD is making sure that women and children have the opportunity to shop local and eat fresh through the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program from now to October 31st.

WIC, or Women, Infants, and Children, supports local families by providing them with nutrition education and supplemental nutrition support. One of the purposes of WIC is to get families to eat healthy, and farmer's markets certainly have healthy foods to sell.

To take part in WIC's Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, a family must qualify for WIC and currently receive WIC support. The family will then receive Farmers' Market Nutrition Program coupons to be used at farmers' markets that support the program. At the market, farmer's that support the program will have FMNP signs hanging on their stands. Simply pick out authorized fruits and vegetables from the stand and exchange your FMNP coupons.

Everyone deserves to eat fresh vegetables that are grown locally, and Muskingum County certainly has plenty of fresh produce to share. In such a small community, we should take every chance we get to support those that live and work around us. Through WIC's Farmers' Market Nutrition Program we do just that by supporting farmers and families alike.

The following farmer's markets support WIC's Farmers' Market Nutrition Program: Downtown Association Farmers' Market, Muskingum County Fairgrounds Market, Siegrist Farm Stand, New Concord Farmers' Market, Curly Girl Market, Witten's Farm Stand. For more information, please visit the FMNP site or call 740-454-5040.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Assess and Improve: ZMCHD's Continuous Task

Public health is always in a continuous improvement cycle of planning, implementing, and evaluating. ZMCHD plans programs to improve community health and then implements them. After the plan has been enacted, ZMCHD evaluates the program and begins the process again. Part of this process is the Community Health Assessment, which includes information about the needs of our community to help public health professionals and community partners improve Muskingum County's health.

The Community Health Assessment includes information about Muskingum County residents, as well as information collected from studies, surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The Health Assessment uses numbers and community opinions to create a full picture of the community's health. The Community Health Assessment is full of interesting facts about the way we live, including the number of people who feel safe in their neighborhoods, have a garden in their yard, or exercise daily. This kind of information, while not directly related to health, informs ZMCHD and community partners about the lifestyles of Muskingum County residents. These lifestyles affect our health through social determinants, which are the social and environmental factors that can influence health.

The Community Health Assessment is necessary for ZMCHD to function properly. It is a tool used to ensure that we truly understand the community we are serving and the needs that should be addressed. The Community Health Assessment is done every five years and is published on ZMCHD's website for all to access freely. The newest Community Health Assessment will be published in December 2016.

To view previous Community Health Assessments, please visit