Healthy people, families, and communities.


Dalton (GA) -The holiday season is here, and as long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, you want to make sure it's not the flu you're exchanging with loved ones and friends for the holidays.

It's not too late to arm against the flu, and a flu shot can help provide protection.

According to the latest CDC Flu activity report, influenza levels are starting to increase across the country. And since flu activity doesn't usually peak until February in the United States and can last as late as May, it is important for anyone who has not been vaccinated to get a shot now.

Flu vaccine is available at all county health departments in the North Georgia Health District, including Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. For office hours, call the health department nearest you (phone numbers are listed below) or log onto the North Georgia Health District website at and click on the 'Locations' tab.

In addition to protecting yourself against the flu by getting vaccinated, the Georgia Department of Public Health urges you to also wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid rubbing your eyes or nose with your hands, and cover your coughs and/or sneezes with a tissue or cough into your sleeve, not your hands.

If you do get the flu, get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, reduce fever with a non-aspirin pain reliever, and stay home to avoid spreading the flu to others.

For more flu information, log onto

North Georgia Health District County Health Departments:
Cherokee: Canton (770) 345-7371 / Woodstock (770) 928-0133

Fannin (706) 632-3023     ~    Gilmer (706) 635-4363    ~     Murray (706) 695-4585
Pickens (706) 253-2821    ~     
Whitfield (706) 279-9600

A school kitchen once received USDA frozen turkeys for a meal just before Thanksgiving. The turkeys were left out of refrigeration at room temperature to thaw overnight. The turkeys were cooked but apparently did not reach a safe internal temperature of at least 165°F. There may also have been ‘cross-contamination’ between equipment used with raw turkeys and cooked turkeys. The result? Hundreds of children and school personnel sick with vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Can you name the mistakes in this story which led to the illness outbreak?

Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after contaminated food or drinks are consumed. The symptoms usually are not long-lasting in healthy people—a few hours or a few days—andTurkey Cartoon for web usually go away without medical treatment. But foodborne illness can be severe and even life-threatening to anyone, especially those most at risk such as infants and young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with HIV/AIDS, cancer or any condition or medication that weakens the immune system.

As you prepare your favorite holiday dishes this season, avoid causing foodborne illness by following these food safety tips from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

Dalton (GA) – Public health officials consider immunization to be the best protection against vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza and pertussis, just to name just a few. Therefore, the Georgia Department of Public Health hosts an annual Immunize Georgia conference as a reminder of the importance of immunization and to give special recognition to Nancy Stackhouse, LPN, Cherokee County Health Department’s immunization outreach coordinator (left), is a 2013 Walt Orenstein Champion for Immunization Award recipient in recognition of her excellence in providing immunization care. Denise Bowman, RN, County Nurse Manager of the Cherokee County Health Department (right), nominated Ms. Stackhouse for the awardpublic health immunization champions for their leadership and influence in getting Georgians immunized.

At this year’s Immunize Georgia conference, two of the 2013 Walt Orenstein Champions for Immunization Awards – which honor individuals, agencies or coalitions that demonstrate excellence in providing immunization care – were presented to recipients from county health departments within the North Georgia Health District.

Nancy Stackhouse, a licensed practical nurse and Cherokee County Health Department’s immunization outreach coordinator, was recognized for her collaboration and partnership in the community as a champion for immunization.

According to Cherokee County Health Department Manager Denise Bowman, “Nancy deserves this honor because she is truly outstanding in her field. Last year, she was named Georgia’s 2012 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.”

The Whitfield County Health Department Children's Access Clinic was also recognized for ensuring that all recommended vaccines for children and adults are readily available to the community. In 2012, nearly 8,000 adults and children received a vaccine through the clinic, which totaled over 14,000 immunizations. Not only are immunizations provided iWhitfield County Health Department Children's Clinic received a 2013 Walt Orenstein Award for ensuring that all recommended vaccines for children and adults are readily available to the community. Children's Clinic staff pictured from left to right are Judith Ruedas, Joyce Bishop, Dianne Smith, Vickie Kitchings, Cindy Gilbert, Susan Chiddister, Trish Lanier, Karen Penland, Angie Callaway, Lourdes Covarrubias, Eunice Tull, and Nichole Snydern the clinic, but clinic staff administers vaccinations at churches, senior centers, schools, child care centers, businesses and physicians’ offices, as well.

Gayle Brannon, Manager of the Whitfield County Health Department, said, “The Whitfield County Health Department Children’s Clinic staff understands the importance of immunizations in preventing disease and they actively seek ways to assure access to preventive health care.”

For more information about the 2013 Walt Orenstein Champions for Immunization Awards and award recipients, go to

Deer Stand Cartoon for webI can name at least six personal friends who have been seriously injured in deer stand accidents. You probably can, too. By seriously injured, I mean that something got broken other than their pride. One friend broke both ankles and had to lie there all day until his family came looking for him that night. It rained and he was so cold he got hypothermia.

Surveys have shown that more than one-third of all deer stand hunters will fall from a stand some time in their lives. About half of those who fall will break a bone. About three percent of those who fall will suffer permanent injuries like paralysis. Doing something different and dangerous is part of the pleasure of hunting, but don’t be foolish. Here’s a typical real story of a hunter who was injured.

“I fell from a stand that I built in a tree four years before,” said the hunter. “I was climbing up into it to hunt, but had not checked to see if the steps were still solid. I was only about five feet off of the ground when one of the steps broke loose from the tree. The nails had rusted through. I ended up breaking my right arm at the elbow and it took eight weeks to heal. I also missed the entire hunting season. That’s the last time I ever used a homemade deer stand in a tree.”

Building your own tree stand from wood is a bad idea. And, okay, I’ve done it, too, but would not again. If you are going to build your own stand from wood, at least make certain that you only use treated wood. Don’t just nail steps up a tree made of pieces of two-by-four. This is by far the most dangerous way to get into a tree stand. And how will you know if wooden steps are still secure next year until you start climbing up?