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We Are Public Health: Teen Dating Violence

by Lisa Vasquez, Co-Chair, NHPHA Communications Committee

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Teen dating violence doesn’t just affect teens; it affects families and communities as well. It is important to talk with teens about the signs of dating violence, including not just physical violence. Talk with them about what constitutes a healthy relationship. Discuss with your teens how unhealthy relationships may be portrayed on television shows and movies as well as other media forms. Create open communication with your teen so that they can feel comfortable talking to you about any issues that they may have. Teen dating violence has long-lasting repercussions in the lives of those who experience it. Teens who experience dating violence may have higher experiences of substance use, suicide attempts, and other mental health–related illnesses later in life. Teens who experience dating violence may also take those unhealthy patterns in relationships into other relationships later in life. Adolescents ages 12 to 19 experience a high rate of sexual and physical assaults. It is important to talk with our adolescents about this issue to prevent it, and in cases where it is occurring, services are available. The best way to stop teen dating violence is to talk about it and make sure our teens are informed and have the healthy skills necessary to have healthy relationships. As they are teenagers, those early relationships will shape the future of how they see themselves in relation to others.

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February Is American Heart Month

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, DPHS

February is American Heart Month, making it an ideal time to think about heart health and to learn the major risk factors for preventing heart disease. The focus of this year’s American Heart Month is on high blood pressure, a major risk factor for developing heart disease. High blood pressure is very common and usually has no symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as the silent killer. The only way to know if you have it is to get your blood pressure measured.

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COVID-19 Equity Task Force Update: February 2021

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force continues to meet every two weeks, and we want to keep you up-to-date on activities. The task force is convened as a partnership of NHPHA and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services. The task force is a collective of close to 60 individuals and organizations across NH representing multiple sectors and communities that have come together to address issues of equity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and response.

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We Are Public Health: 2021 and COVID-19

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

Finally, 2020 is gone, and here we are on the other side in 2021, yet still dealing with COVID-19. Recently we have seen a substantial increase in cases due to holiday gatherings. The number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths has increased. Public health professionals are expecting numbers to continue increasing after the holidays. Vaccines have arrived with anticipation by some and trepidation by others.

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January Is National Radon Action Month

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

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COVID-19 Equity Task Force Addresses Vaccine Equity

by Joan Ascheim, former NHPHA Executive Director

The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force continues to meet every two weeks, and we want to keep you up-to-date on activities. The task force is convened as a partnership of NHPHA and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services. The task force is a collective of close to 60 individuals and organizations across NH representing multiple sectors and communities that have come together to address issues of equity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and response.

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We Are Public Health: Public Health and Equity

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

There has been much conversation this year surrounding equity, especially when it comes to public health. COVID-19 has highlighted many of the issues of inequity that may not have been as visible before. When public health professionals talk about health equity, they mean achieving that every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). There are so many barriers for many people to achieve their full health potential, be it poverty, lack of access to health care, lack of access to healthy foods, or lack of access to a healthy home among other barriers. When we look at COVID-19, we see that people of color and those in a lower socioeconomic status are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. When we look at why this is happening, we see that many people in these populations may live in multigenerational homes and have essential jobs where they are unable to work from home. We know that unemployment is at a high rate, which means people that many people who may have had access to health insurance in the past through their employer may not currently have access. We also know that mental health affects our physical health. COVID-19-related stress and anxiety are high, and if we add holiday stress, it just compounds the stress and anxiety levels people are feeling.

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National Influenza Vaccination Week Is Next Week

by Nicole Viau, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

NHPHA is observing National Influenza Vaccination Week from December 6 to 12, 2020. The goal of this annual observation is to remind our community that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine!

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Winter Emergency Preparedness

written by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

Another New England winter is upon us, and it is important to prepare for the possibility of severe weather, winter driving and potential power outages.

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Food Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

As many are starting to plan for fall and winter holiday celebrations, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Food Protection Section is providing some simple tips to avoid foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter.

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Alcohol Consumption During the Holidays

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

Holidays can be stressful, especially this year with all the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions to keep in mind. Many people increase their alcohol consumption from Thanksgiving to New Year’s for many reasons. People may binge drink without thinking about it, because they are on vacation, because it’s the holidays, because they are with family and friends, or because they are stressed over holiday travel or financial reasons. Binge drinking can be just as dangerous during the holidays as it is any other time of year. NHPHA wants everyone to have a happy and healthy holiday season, so please plan ahead to help you manage the anxiety of holiday preparations and keep a few things in mind:

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It's National Diabetes Month

by Nicole Viau, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. This year’s focus is on taking care of youth who have diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in school-age youth in the United States, affecting about 193,000 youth under 20 years old. Regardless of their age, sometimes youth who have diabetes need support with their diabetes care. That’s why it’s important to help your child or teen develop a plan to manage diabetes, and work with their health care team to adjust the diabetes self-care plan as needed. We encourage you to visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for more information.

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October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease including the importance of early detection and the growing number of women who are living with and after treatment.

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It's Time to Get Your Flu Shot!

by Nicole Viau, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

An annual influenza (flu) vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the seasonal flu and spreading it to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 6 and older receive an annual flu vaccine. Each year, the CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as other partners, to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.

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Back to School: Are You and Your Kids Prepared?

by Nicole Viau, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

As schools around the state, and the nation, transition back into the 2020-2021 school year, it is important to make sure your child and family is prepared. Although schools are taking different approaches to how and when they transition children back into the classroom, we still want our families to be prepared in case their child is going back into school this year. As you adjust to new schedules, we encourage you to take a few quick steps to keep your child safer during the possible event of an emergency or disaster during the school year.

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Preventing Youth Drug and Alcohol Use

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

There’s no better time than today for youth drug prevention. We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It can feel overwhelming to spend more time at home with your loved ones. How do you manage remote learning, working from home, and keeping the peace and sanity of your home? For many people during this time, alcohol has been what they have sought out to cope with the changes brought on by the pandemic, but that does create problems as well. According to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, sales of alcohol jumped 13.51%, or $17.3 million, from March 1 to May 13, compared to the same time period last year. This can translate to youth watching their parents use alcohol as a means of coping with stress. It can also translate to more access to alcohol for minors. What can you do to practice prevention messaging at home? Here are some tips: 

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Many NH Department of Health and Human Services Programs and Services Available Online

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

New Hampshire families are currently experiencing challenges such as financial instability, food insecurity, and the stress of social isolation. The NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) is offering many services online to make sure children, families, and vulnerable adults remain healthy, safe, and connected during the COVID-19 emergency.

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Public Health Supports Quitting All Forms of Tobacco and Nicotine in the New Year!

My Life, My Quit program offers help to youth quit e-cigarettes, vape and nicotine products

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is introducing My Life, My Quit (#MLMQ), a tobacco cessation service for teens who want to quit using electronic cigarettes, liquid nicotine vape products, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (chew). Teens who enroll in this free and confidential service will work with a coach who listens and understands their unique needs, provides personalized support, and helps them build a quit plan to become free from nicotine. Enrollments are completed online at mylifemyquit.com or by calling or texting “Start My Quit” to 1-855-891-9989.

DPHS is promoting the #MLMQ campaign to youth on the QuitNowNH.org site, Facebook/Instagram (@MLMQNH), YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, as well as in movie theaters across the state. MLMQ coaches receive extensive training as tobacco treatment specialists through an accredited program, with additional training on adolescents from a psychologist and professor at Stanford University who specializes in adolescent tobacco prevention.

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