To the Editor:

The Westfield Board of Health met on October 5.

The seasonal influenza vaccination program is on-going. Already, 64 Westfield residents were vaccinated at the town’s first flu immunization session. Join us and get vaccinated now, since it is best to develop immunity and be protected before the flu starts spreading. The Westfield Regional Health Department offers many types of flu vaccine, with special vaccines for children, those over 65 years old and everyone in-between. For all types, there is a $20 cash fee for each person who does not have Medicare B or one of the following insurances: Aetna, CIGNA, Humana, Medicaid and United Healthcare.

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The remaining community vaccination sessions in October will be held in many of our neighboring towns and are open to Westfield residents. For more details on all flu vaccination sites, please see the department’s website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health or contact Laura Scanlon, the Public Health Nursing Supervisor, at 908-789-4070 x4074 or lscanlon@westfieldnj.gov

In addition, the board recommends that residents should prepare now for the next severe weather emergency. Detailed advice on how to prepare is also available on the department’s website.

Of the 154 retail food establishments in town, 16 were inspected and 28 additional food vendor stands were inspected as part of Festifall. All but two were satisfactory and one of these was satisfactory on reinspection. None were unsatisfactory.

This past month, residents complained to the health department about garbage, rats, raccoons, hornets, mosquitoes, unlicensed dogs and dog and bird droppings. In each instance, the department investigated and addressed the problem.

You can help, too. Please keep all garbage and other solid waste in tightly-sealed covered containers to prevent access by rats and other animals. License your pet cats and dogs through the town clerk and get them vaccinated against rabies. And please do not feed wild animals.

If you have an environmental health problem, including insufficient heat this winter, please contact Helen Mendez, the Principal Registered Environmental Health Specialist, at 908-789-4070, extension 4072, or hmendez@westfieldnj.gov

The Tobacco Age of Sale Enforcement Program helps to protect children from tobacco products. In the past 2 months, 2 businesses in town were found guilty of selling tobacco products to minors and were fined and subject to court costs.

The Health Department is sponsoring free stroke risk assessment screening with Overlook Hospital in the Municipal Building on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  This includes screening for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, risk assessment and lifestyle counseling. Other screening programs are also scheduled concerning cholesterol on Octo. 19 and bone density on Oct. 26 for a $10 fee each.  For more information and to register, please call the Overlook Medical Center Community Health Department at 1-800-247-9580.

Information about all of the Department’s activities is available on its website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health. The complete minutes of the Oct. 5 meeting will be posted after review and approval at our Nov. 2 meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building. The public is invited to attend.