Healthy people, families, and communities.


Dalton (GA) - The Whitfield County School Board voted to revise the school district's tobacco policy for both students and staff at their monthly meeting last evening. With a 4-0 vote (one board member was absent), the verbiage in the policy now better reflects the actual procedures that have been followed in the school system for many years. Under the new policy, no student, staff member or school visitor is permitted to use any tobacco product at any time on school property or at school events. The revised policy also bans the use of electronic cigarettes, better known as e-cigarettes.*

The school board began considering changing the policy several weeks ago when Girl Scout Brownie Troop 12617 of New Hope Elementary School, assisted by the North Georgia Health District, made an appeal to School Superintendent Dr. Judy Gilreath to "make Whitfield County Schools recognized as a Georgia model 100 percent tobacco-free school district." The troop attended the school board meeting last evening to provide a presentation to the board prior to the vote.

"Although Whitfield County Schools has been a tobacco free system since 2001," said Dr. Gilreath, "the revised policy will bring us more in line with the state criteria required in order to be officially designated by the state as tobacco free. It is so encouraging to see this young troop of girls actively involved in making our community healthier for all of us. Troop 12617 and their adult leaders are to be commended for leading this effort."

Waleska (GA) – Cherokee County Animal Control officials reported to the Cherokee County Environmental Health office last week that a raccoon should be tested for rabies after it bit a dog in Waleska, Georgia.

According to Curtis Barnhart, Cherokee County Environmental Health Manager, a resident on Pleasant Arbor Road in Waleska shot the raccoon on April 5 because it was on the resident’s property behaving aggressively. The raccoon then lunged at the resident, who remained unharmed, but the dog was bitten in the process of defending its owner. The resident immediately took the dog to be treated by a veterinarian and called Animal Control to remove the dead raccoon.

Environmental health sent the raccoon specimen to the Georgia State Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing on April 7, and the positive result was returned on April 9.

The dog was current on its rabies vaccination; therefore, the dog only needed a booster shot and it will be quarantined at home for 45 days.

Health officials urge residents to protect against rabies by maintaining rabies vaccinations in their pets and to avoid contact with all unfamiliar animals, both domestic and wild.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, call the Cherokee County Environmental Health Office at (770) 479-0444 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at


The annual rabies clinic hosted by 4H in Cherokee County will be held this weekend. For details, go to their website and open their April 2014 Newsletter:

Dalton (GA) – Many people are surprised to learn that family and friends are the biggest suppliers of abused prescription drugs, yet according to the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation, it is true, and prescription drug abuse is a national epidemic with well over 16,500 deaths a year from pain killer overdose. More people now die each year from accidental drug overdose than in auto accidents.

National Take-Back Day, now in its eighth year, is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration that provides a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

National Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 26, 2014, and local drop-off collection sites will be available from 10 AM to 2 PM that day at these Dalton and Chatsworth locations:

- K-Mart  - 1308 W. Walnut Avenue, Dalton

- Kroger  - 1205 Cleveland Highway, Dalton

- Bi-Lo  - 502 G.I. Maddox Parkway, Chatsworth

Anyone wishing to drop off their unused or expired medication for safe disposal is encouraged to come that day to the secure, designated drive-through area at these specified locations. No questions will be asked. No identification will be required.

The National Take-Back Day collection sites in Dalton and Chatsworth are being hosted through a collaboration of the Dalton Police Department, the Murray County Sheriff's Office, the Family Support Council, the Family Connection of Murray and Whitfield Counties, the Oakwood Cafe in Dalton and the North Georgia Health District, part of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

For more information about National Take-Back Day, please visit


Click here for Flyer.   Click here for Public Service Announcement.

Cherokee Back-to-School Poster for webPrepare your child for the upcoming school year!

The Cherokee County Health Department will conduct a Back-to-School Health Clinic on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from 1 to 6 p.m. at public health centers in both Canton and Woodstock. The required Hearing, Dental, Vision and BMI/Nutrition Screenings will be available: Total cost for screenings is forty dollars. Also, immunizations will be provided for school-age children (there is a charge for vaccines). Medicaid is accepted. The Canton Health Center is located at 1219 Univeter Road in Canton, and the Woodstock Health Center is at 7545 North Main Street in Woodstock. For more information, please call (770) 345-7371 in Canton or (770) 928-0133 in Woodstock.

(Click here to view/print Flyer - click directly on image at right to enlarge Poster)