Healthy people, families, and communities.




January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month!

 Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 2019 Banner

Get Screened at your Public Health Department in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer

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You can prevent cervical cancer by getting screened regularly, starting at age 21.

“I was busy working, traveling, and enjoying life. I completely forgot to pay attention to my health,” said actress Cote de Pablo. “Too much time passed since my last Pap.

“By the time I was tested, things didn’t look too good. We thought I might have cervical cancer.

“I was lucky! After lots of worries—no cancer.

“I’ve always been very close to my mother. When we finally got good results, she broke down. And that’s when I realized it’s not just about me. It’s about your loved ones, too. Get checked for cervical cancer.”

Screening Tests

Two tests( help prevent cervical cancer( or find it early—

  • The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.

Screening Options

You should get your first Pap test at age 21. If your test result is normal, you can wait three years for your next test.

If you’re 30 years old or older, you have three options—

  • You can continue getting a Pap test only. If your test result is normal, you can wait three years for your next test.
  • You can get an HPV test only. If your test result is normal, you can wait five years for your next test.
  • You can get both an HPV and Pap test together. If your test results are normal, you can wait five years for your next tests.

If you have a low income or do not have health insurance, you may be able to get free or low-cost cervical cancer screening through CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Find out if you qualify.(

HPV Vaccine

The HPV vaccine( protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. HPV can also cause cancers of the penis in men, and anal and head and neck cancers in both men and women.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys and girls who are 11 to 12 years old, but can be given as early as age 9 and until age 26.

Make an appointment today for your or your child’s vaccination. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance does not cover vaccines, CDC’s Vaccines for Children program( may be able to help.

Learn More About Cervical Cancer

CDC’s Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer campaign has many resources for women. Watch the new Knowledge Is Power: Cervical Cancer video and check out the Inside Knowledge symptoms diary,( cervical cancer fact sheet,( and survivor stories.

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By Raymond King, Director of Environmental Health, North Georgia Health District 1-2

Recent rains have led to flooding in many areas of north Georgia. Once floodwaters have receded and the most immediate safety hazards have passed, it will be time to address the secondary health issues that can develop as a result of floodwater pollutants.

Be sure to protect your home, family and business by following these environmental health guidelines.

Keep Away from Floodwaters
Avoid any contact with floodwaters, such as swimming, after a flood. Floodwaters can contain large amounts of contaminants of all kinds, which can be hazardous. Fishing and other non-contact activities would not be affected.

Sanitize Flooded Areas

Floors, walls, equipment and furniture that have been covered with floodwaters should be cleaned and sanitized to kill any bacteria or viruses. Wear gloves, eye protection and boots when working with contaminated areas and items. Items should be cleaned with soap and water, rinsed and then sanitized with a solution of a quarter cup of household bleach and one gallon of water. Do not mix bleach with any ammonia product and work in well-ventilated areas.


Mold is the most long-lasting effect of flooding. Unless a home's structural materials are completely dried, mold will grow behind the walls and under the floors. Do not replace sheet rock and other materials until the wood is dry, or mold will grow. If mold is already growing, spray the area with a household bleach solution. Keep the area vented and wear eye protection, gloves and boots. Contact your local county environmental health staff for more information about mold.

Well and Spring Contamination

If a well or spring was covered with floodwaters, it must be considered contaminated. Do not drink or prepare foods with water from a well until it is disinfected and tested. Buy bottled water to drink and use for cooking.

The first recovery step is to pump out the well thoroughly, letting it run for at least 24 hours or until the water has no obvious color or smell. An outside faucet may be left on to run slowly for long periods of time so no damage will occur to the well pump.

Disinfect well water systems with two gallons of plain household bleach. Remember to not drink, bathe or cook with the water while bleach is in the system. Pour the bleach into the well or spring. Run all faucets until the bleach smell comes through in the water, then shut them off. Let the bleach stay in the water system for at least eight hours. To rid the system of bleach, turn on an outside faucet and let it run until all the bleach is gone, which may take 24 hours or longer. Only use an outside faucet to discharge the bleach water. Once the bleach is gone, make sure that the well or springhouse is sealed.

It may take two or more bleach disinfection procedures to rid the well or spring of contamination. For more information, contact the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office in your county.

Septic System Failures

In most cases of septic system failure, the only thing that can be done is to wait for the water levels in the soil to fall. If sewage comes to the top of the ground, the tank could be pumped for temporary relief. Usually, it does not take long for the system to function properly again. If flooding washed away the soil around the system, the system may need to be repaired or replaced. Call the local environmental health office with questions about a septic system.

Spoiled Food and Food Poisoning

If any floodwaters have touched foods, throw them out. If the temperature in a refrigerator was at 60 degrees or higher for more than two hours, do not eat the food inside. There's no reliable way to tell if food will make you sick by looking at it or smelling it. When in doubt, throw it out.

More information

For more information about preventing health hazards after a flood, please call your local environmental health office (see contact info by clicking on above LOCATIONS tab) or visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website

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Ellijay, GA Gilmer County Environmental Health officials are urging residents near the intersection of Boardtown Road and Chatsworth Highway in Ellijay, Georgia to call for a rabies risk assessment if they or their children may have been in contact with an orange tabby cat that has now tested positive for rabies.

The phone number for local environmental health is (706) 635-6050, or if calling after hours, the Georgia Poison Control Center toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222.

On Monday, December 3rd, a local resident picked up the cat after finding it in their carport. The cat was behaving sickly and dragging its back legs.

The county environmental health office was notified and sent the cat to the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing on Tuesday. The lab confirmed the animal was positive for rabies on Wednesday. 

Since the resident who handled the cat was not bitten or scratched, no treatment was required, and no other human exposure is known, at this time. However, environmental health staff will be canvassing that area today, distributing notices to residents to call them or the Georgia Poison Control Center if they or their children were potentially in contact with the cat within the past two weeks.


Residents are also being notified that several stray cats are in that area, and these cats should be avoided due to the high risk of rabies exposure.


All residents are urged to avoid wild or feral animals and to maintain rabies vaccinations in pets. If a pet receives an initial one-year vaccine, it can receive a three-year rabies vaccination the following year.


A bite or scratch from any wild mammal should cause concern and be reported to a health care provider and the local environmental health office.


Children should be warned to avoid contact with wild animals and any stray dog or cat, and they should report any contact with these animals to an adult right away.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

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 Our health departments in North Georgia provide a variety of Children's Health Care services!

Health departments in CherokeeFannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties provide health care services to children from birth to 21 years of age. The goal is to give your child the best care available by providing services from an experienced and dedicated staff.


Just a few of these provided services are mentioned below - to learn more about other services for children provided at your county health department in North Georgia, click on the name of your county in the above paragraph:

 Childrens Health Services

  • Immunizations for children
  • Immunizations for child caregivers
  • Hearing, vision and dental screenings
  • Car seat education program


School Health Requirements are Easily Available at Health Departments in North Georgia

Ensure your child meets all Georgia's health requirements for school registration....  Click here to view all the state's school health requirements, and then call or come to your county public health department in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County to get your child up-to-date! This is your one-stop spot to take care of all your student's school health requirements. The health departments offer the required Hearing, Dental and Vision screening, BMI/Nutrition screening and Immunizations. Prices are affordable and various forms of Medicaid and health insurance are accepted. 

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The following is an overview of services provided for Children With Special Needs at our County Health Departments in North Georgia. For general information about each of these services, please read below - for access to more indepth information, click right HERE!


Children’s Medical Services


Referrals to Children’s Medical Services are provided throughout the year for families who are financially unable to obtain specialized medical care in various areas such as hearing, neurology, cardiac, plastic surgery, orthopedic, and follow-up burn care.


Babies Can't Wait (BCW)


Babies Can't Wait is Georgia's early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities and for their families.


Children 1st


Children 1st identifies children who are at risk for poor health and developmental outcomes so that needed interventions can be made to ensure the best health and development of the child.

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Click HERE to learn about Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services and see if you are eligible to sign up for WIC!

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Go HERE to learn about our DENTAL SERVICES for Children provided at many of our health departments in North Georgia!

 It's Time for Winter Weather Preparedness

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Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Even here in North Georgia, winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds. It's time for Winter Weather Preparedness in Georgia. Get prepared right away!

What you should know about Winter Weather

  • Know what to do before, during, and after a winter storm.
  • Listen to local officials.
  • Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work, and in the car.
  • Stay off the road during and after a winter storm.
  • Have a carbon monoxide alarm in place, especially if using alternative heating devices.
  • Use safe heating devices.