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Preventing tick and mosquito bites: using insect repellents safely

Summer Health Information from the Cooperative Public Health Service Health District:  

Insect repellent helps reduce your exposure to tick and mosquito bites that may carry diseases, and allows you to continue to play, work, and enjoy the outdoors with a lower risk of disease. Use repellent when you go outdoors – especially if you go out from dusk to dawn when disease-carrying mosquitoes are most active, or if you are going into tall grass or wooded areas where ticks may climb aboard as you walk by.

Use EPA-registered insect repellents, such as those containing DEET. DEET has been available to the general public since 1957 and has a strong safety record. The American Academy of Pediatrics has approved the use of DEET on children over 2 months old. Use the EPA search tool to find the repellent that’s right for you and your family: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you When you buy a product, look for the EPA registration number at the bottom of the label to ensure it’s been approved for use by the EPA.

Tips for using repellent:

  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors. A product with a higher percentage of active ingredient is a good choice if you will be outdoors for several hours while a product with a lower concentration can be used if time outdoors will be limited.
  • Use the lowest concentration you have found to be personally effective, and apply just enough to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. If biting insects do not respond to a thin film of repellent, then apply a bit more.
  • Apply only to exposed skin and clothing, not to skin under clothing.
  • Do not apply near eyes and mouth. Apply sparingly around ears.
  • Do not spray directly into face; spray on hands first and then apply to face.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Do not spray in enclosed areas or near food, and avoid breathing a spray product.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
  • Do not allow young children to apply insect repellent to themselves; have an adult do it for them. Do not apply to children’s hands.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin and clothes with soap and water.
  • Store insect repellents safely out of the reach of children.
  • If you are concerned about using insect repellents, consult your health care provider for advice.

For more information about insect repellents, go to the National Pesticide Information Center website at http://npic.orst.edu/ingred/ptype/repel.html

 

COVID Testing Options: Summer 2021

Testing for asymptomatic people (people who are not currently sick):

Testing for people with symptoms:

  • Medical Providers with onsite testing for their patients include CHFCFC, Baystate Medical Practices (at drive-through across the street from BFMC), Valley Medical Group (Mondays and Fridays 8-4 in Greenfield with an appointment).

At-home testing

**COVID-19 VACCINE – FRANKLIN COUNTY INFORMATION**

COVID-19 Vaccine in Franklin County

Franklin County Covid-19 vaccination information and Regional Collaborative Vaccine Clinic updates have moved to our new website at www.franklincountymavaccine.org 

Who’s Eligible?

See if you are eligible, https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine

Where to get vaccinated and how to find appointments

See comprehensive listing of Massachusetts vaccination sites with details on how to schedule appointments, https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/

Find County specific information at, www.franklincountymavaccine.org

Vaccine Information and Updates

These situation reports including key updates for the Franklin County vaccination effort are released each Friday afternoon and more often as needed.

Latest Franklin County Covid-19 Vaccine Situation Report, Friday March 19, 2021

State Vaccination Reports are released daily and weekly: MA daily and weekly vaccination reports.

FRCOG’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline

Regularly updated message about vaccine availability, call 413-774-3167 extension 153. Please share this number with anyone who prefers to receive information over the phone.

Resources for Seniors

For help scheduling an appointment, arranging transportation, or if you are a home-bound person, call LifePath at 413-829-9285.

People without access to the internet can get help scheduling an appointment at a state run vaccination site, call 2-1-1.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Data and Updates

For an archive of all the emails sent by the state on re-opening, click here
For a Franklin County data dashboard from the Public Health Institute of Western MA, click here.
For the state’s COVID data page, click here.
For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.
For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
For the COG’s Board of Health COVID Resources Page click here.
For local public health COVID case management contacts (public health nurses), click here. 
For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.
For resources and guidance for businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and job seekers, click here.

Click here for testing resources

 

 

To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates:

COVID Winter Holiday Safety Tips

Documents:

Web Links:

New Face Covering Signs Available

These are available as posters for the front door of businesses, schools, houses of worship, town halls, etc.

We are ordering these to be large outdoor signs in mid November.

These are available as post-card size signs.

It’s getting colder and mask standards have changed, so we have updated our face covering signs. Call 413-774-3167 x 1 if you would like any of these signs for your town/business.  Our thanks to Kat Woods Design for the donation of graphic design of the “Help Keep Our Town Safe” signs, to the Brookline Health Department for the “Thank you for Wearing A Mask” sign, and to Katie’s Doodles for the “It goes over your nose” signs.

These are available as election style signs for outdoor use

These are available for the inside of offices/workplaces

These are large election-style outdoor signs

Halloween During COVID: Spooky and Safe!

In response to requests from town administrators and board of health members in a number of towns, the FRCOG has pulled together a Halloween COVID safety poster with tips for both trick-or-treaters and those they visit.

Communities can request hard copies (11×17) by calling 413-774-3167 extension 1 and leaving a message or download it here: FRCOG halloween safety tips poster

Helpful links:

https://www.mass.gov/news/halloween-during-covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

How to make a candy chute for safe dispensing of candy.

 

tips for safe trick or treating and celebrating

Flu Clinics

The flu season is beginning! Everyone six months of age or older needs a flu vaccine. When most of us are vaccinated, we build community immunity that protects the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems from the terrible effects of influenza.  During the current coronavirus pandemic, flu vaccination is all the more important for staying healthy and conserving needed health care services.  For information on prevention, symptoms, and treatment of influenza, visit www.flu.gov

The Cooperative Public Health Service (CPHS) is offering influenza vaccines (with no insurance co-pay) to area residents at regularly scheduled wellness clinics throughout the region. (schedule link here)

To offer to volunteer at a flu clinic, (add form)

Flyers  and links for each clinic:

TBD

What to expect:  

A COVID Self-Screen is required of everyone attending.  Face masks and physical distancing as possible are required.  Local public health, public safety, fire and EMS, along with other community leaders and volunteers including members of the Franklin County/Western Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps are staffing these clinics to provide annual flu vaccine and practice Emergency Dispensing Site protocols in anticipation of COVID vaccine.

What kind of vaccine is available?

Both injectable and flu mist formulas for kids will be available this year.  Senior High-Dose formulas will be available at most clinics for those over age 65 — please check the calendar links above for the specific clinic to check.  Visit this page regularly for updates and any changes and contact Lisa White, RN, Regional Public Health Nurse of FRCOG, at 413-774-3167 x 156 for any special needs.

  What you should bring or prepare:

Revise below section for 2021 season and prep mod

  • Bring your insurance cards or a good paper copy of them – most forms of insurance are accepted – or, if you do not have a billable insurance,bring $20 for the fee for adults and $10 for kids

    We have a long history of providing flu clinics to the region. Here is the team for a 2018 flu vaccination clinic held at Deerfield Elementary including CPHS staff, Medical Reserve Corps, Greenfield Community College nursing students, public health leaders, public safety, EMS and community volunteers

  • Prepare forms and review information sheets ahead of time. Print the forms below, or contact the Board of Health in your participating town for a paper copy.
  • Bring a pen and something to write on. We’ll have some on hand, too.

Contact Lisa White, RN, Regional Public Health Nurse of FRCOG, at 413-774-3167 x 156 for updated schedule and more information or visit this page regularly.

Other Town Clinics will be posted here as we get information on them. 

For more information on the CPHS, click here.

 

West Nile Virus and EEE are back! Prevent Mosquito Bites!

Mosquitoes can spread diseases that make you sick. In Massachusetts, mosquitoes can give you eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus or West Nile virus (WNV). EEE can cause severe illness and possibly lead to death in any age group. EEE does not occur every year, but based on mosquito sampling, a high risk of occurrence of human cases currently exists.

Outbreaks of EEE usually occur in Massachusetts every 10-20 years. These outbreaks will typically last two to three years. The most recent outbreak of EEE in Massachusetts began in 2019 and included twelve cases with six fatalities. The first EEE positive mosquito sample within the State this season was detected in Orange on 7/2/20 and Wendell 7/6/20. Risk levels remain elevated through to frost.

The best way to avoid both of these illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites.

You can be bitten at any time. Most mosquitoes are active from just before dusk, through the night until dawn.

There are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites, and the illnesses they can cause.

Protect yourself from illness by doing simple things:

  • Use insect repellents any time you are outdoors
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing
  • Schedule outdoor activities to avoid the hours from dusk to dawn during peak mosquito season
  • Repair damaged window and door screens
  • Remove standing water from the areas around your home

See a video from DPH on EEE here: https://youtu.be/VekccoVW6aQ

For more information, including current maps of risk levels and findings of EEE and WNV in Massachusetts see https://www.mass.gov/mosquitoes-and-ticks or contact Regional Public Health Nurse Lisa White for more information at 413-665-1400 x 114.