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The Howard County Health Department


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  Click HERE or above to go to current Health News  

   WEEK OF: February 2, 2015: 


Flu Clinics

 Columbia Health Center
WALK -IN - No Appointment Necessary

Monday - Friday
9:00a.m. - 11:30a.m.
1:00p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance

New changes in health care are bringing more affordable, quality health coverage to Maryland residents. The deadline for enrollment is Sunday, February 15, 2015. The Door to HealthCare is holding an enrollment event with their certified staff to help get health coverage that's right for you!

The event will be held:
Saturday, February 7, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Howard Community College
Duncan Hall (Room 100)
10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy
Columbia, MD 21044

Bring the following information with you: *Social Security numbers (or document numbers for any legal immigrants) for those that need insurance
*Birthdates and general information about you and your family members who are applying
*Employer income and information for everyone in your family
*Policy numbers for any current health insurance
*Information about any job related health insurance available to your family

For more information call 855-288-DOOR (855-288-3667)  

The Flu 

According to an articly provided by the NPHIC "we are in the midst of a particularly bad flu season because the predominant strain - H3N2 - "is a nastier virus," plus two-thirds of the H3N2 samples are genetically different from this season's H3N2 vaccine component, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said during a Jan. 9 media briefing.  He urged physicians to prescribe antiviral medicine without hesitation if they suspect a patient might have the flu. As of Jan. 3, influenza was "widespread" in every state except Alaska, Arizona, California and Hawaii, and at least 26 children had died from complications of the flu, according to CDC's weekly flu report. The flu is hitting the very young and those 65 and older the hardest, Dr. Frieden said, adding that antiviral medicine could prevent "tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths." Depending upon the year, anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 people will die from the flu in the U.S., according to Dr. Joseph Bresee, a CDC Influenza Division branch chief.  Dr. Frieden noted that flu shots still are recommended because they "may still offer some protection and there are other strains of flu out there."

It is not too late to get the flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies the body needs to provide protection against the flu. 
Below are great resources: 


Additional information from the CDC about the 2014-2015 Flu season: This winter's flu season is likely to be a bad one. Each flu season different strains (or types) of the flu are dominant. This season Influenza A (H3N2) is the dominant strain. In years when this strain is dominant, there are more hospitalizations. The other challenge this year according to Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, is that the H3N2 strain has mutated (changed) since the vaccine was made early in the year. 

  • What does this mean?  The vaccine may be less effective if you come in contact with the H3N2 type of virus (There are several other strains contained in the flu shot and you are protected against them).  It is not completely ineffective. You have some protection, but it may not be as robust as it was before the virus mutated.
  • What can I do?  The flu vaccine still remains THE best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu!  The second line of defense according to Dr. Frieden is tretment with anti-virals "to patients who may be at higher risk for flu complications. These include children younger than 2; adults 65 and older; people with asthma, heart disease, or weakened immune systems; pregnant women; American Indians/Alaska Natives; and people who are "morbidly obese."  (The Health Department recommends you ALWAYS speak to your healthcare provider for advice before beginning course of treatment.) 

Healthy Weight is About Exercise and Healthy Choices 

 The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn't about short-term changes. It's about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you eat and drink, with the number of calories your body uses.  Here are some great tips and resources to help you make the right decision for you and your family for whatever occasion.


  • Drink water- instead of sugar drinks when you are thirsty.
  • In your home- make water, skim milk and diluted fruit juice an option.
  • Have ready water-to-go bottles available in the fridge which can be taken to work or school.
  • Enjoy the beverage you want, but choose carefully how often you have sugar drinks.
  • Use the nutrition fact label to know how many sugars fats and calories in your drink.
  • Compare calories and added sugars in your favorite beverages


A Class Using a Simple Spray to Save Lives Begins in Howard County

The Howard County Health Department is offering FREE Opioid Overdose Response Program trainings to become certified to administer naloxone for Howard County residents 18 years of age and older.  Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose, perform rescue breathing, give intra-nasal naloxone (a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose by restoring a person's ability to breathe) and learn to care for the individual until help arrives.  Click HERE to read more.
Call our Bureau of Behavioral Health at 410-313-6202 for more information and to register.   

Opiod Overdose Response Program Video Class/Written Exam Now Available Online

Howard County Health Department offers an Opiod Overdose Response Program trainings to become certified to administer naloxone, the prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose.  In order to become certified you may either come to our class  OR you may watch the video course and take the test, THEN schedule your class to come into the Health Department and complete the Hands-On portion of the training to receive your certificate and Naloxone kit.  To view the online training click on the following: OORP Video Training Link 


To Request the Health Department at Your Next Health Event 


 Health Fair Graphic(2) 

Contact Numbers:

Administration:    410-313-6300 

Toll Free: 1-866-313-6300 

Columbia Health Center:    410-313-7500 

North Laurel Health Center:    410-313-0630 

Behavioral Health Services/Substance Abuse Services:    410-313-6202 

Environmental Health:    410-313-2640

Or you may send an e-mail to:

Howard County Health Department  8930 Stanford Blvd. Columbia, MD 21045