The Westfield Board of Health met on June 4, 2012.

The Board is concerned about summer-related health issues.  Residents must keep garbage in tightly-sealed covered containers to minimize harmful rodents, which are more active during the summer.  Foodborne illnesses may increase due to the warm weather, so people should wash hands and surfaces often, separate foods and not cross-contaminate, cook to proper temperatures and refrigerate food promptly.  Grills, fire pits and outdoor stoves should be used properly to prevent harmful fires and smoke exposure.   To prevent poison ivy, residents should wear protective clothing as needed.  To prevent tick-borne diseases, like Lyme disease, residents should also use deet-containing pesticides as needed.   We expect an increase in mosquitoes this year, so breeding grounds, such as stagnant water, should be eliminated.

The Board approved 2 resolutions.  One recommended that the town’s public parks and recreational facilities be designated 100% smoke-free and the other supported the current State approach to hepatitis B vaccinations.

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During the past month, 21 retail food establishments, 22 Spring Fling food vendors, 8 Street Fair vendors and 3 other vendors were inspected and all were satisfactory.  Four public pools were also inspected and all passed.  Any resident who has questions or concerns regarding these or other environmental health issues can call the Principal Registered Environmental Health Specialist, Ken Pincus, MS, at 908-789-4070 extension 4072.

Unlicensed dogs and cats continue to be a concern.  Five dog and cat bites occurred recently, 1 dog was euthanized and 1 cat died.  Four residents pled guilty to failure to obtain 2012 dog licenses and paid a total of $881.00 in fines and court fees.  Residents must license all cats and dogs through the Town Clerk and get them vaccinated against rabies, due to the presence of rabies in the county.

The Westfield Regional Health Department has expanded the services available at its Child Health Clinic, and NJ Family Care representatives will be present to assist families.  For more information, please call the Public Health Nursing Supervisor, Laura Scanlon, MS, RN, at 908-789-4070, extension 4074.

In addition, the Health Department is sponsoring health screenings with Overlook Medical Center in the Municipal Building.  Bone Density Screening will be on Thursday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and there is a $10.00 charge.  A free Stroke Risk Assessment Screening will be on Tuesday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The stroke screening includes tests for blood pressure and blood lipids (fats) and sugar and individualized counseling.  For more information about these programs and to register, please call the Overlook Community Health Department at 1-800-247-9580.

Information about all of the Health Department’s activities is available on its website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health.  The complete minutes of the June 4 meeting will be posted after review and approval at our August 6 meeting, which starts at 5:30 PM in the Municipal Building.