This is the latest Live Well Allegheny e-update, with information to help make Allegheny County a healthier place for all. Please feel free to share with your own networks.
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A Letter From Our Deputy Director
Hello Live Well Partners!
We all know the saying, “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.” We also know that the lion and lamb often change places, as they did this year. While it was originally a reference to astronomy, it perfectly sums up the changing weather – we see everything during the month of March.
Whether it’s the lion or the lamb in charge, take the opportunity this month to get outdoors. The Allegheny County parks system includes nine parks and more than 12,000 acres of year-round recreational activities. Check out the Allegheny County Parks Event Calendar and the Allegheny County Parks Program and Event Guide to find out what’s near you.
Looking for something off the beaten path? The Allegheny County Parks Trails Web Tool allows users to customize a printable trail map that can be used for hiking or other park activities. Starting with simple things, like increasing our physical activity on a regular hike in one of our parks, is a great way to take a “step” toward better health.
We’re also fortunate to have a number of local state parks. You can learn more about their offerings with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Event Calendar.
And, of course, Live Well Allegheny has resources to help all of us on the journey towards improved health. Our resource directory is a great place to find healthy activities and Live Well Partners in your area.
Bureau of Community and Family Health
Allegheny County Health Department
Live Well Allegheny Story
Tick Talks: Education on Ticks and Tick-Borne Illness
A tick is a small parasite that lives by feeding on the blood of, primarily, mammals and birds. They often carry bacteria and viruses that cause human disease, so preventing ticks on your pets, in the yard and avoiding tick bites is extremely important. Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months (April-October).
In Allegheny County, the most common tick-borne illness is Lyme disease. From 2012-2021, there were 2,849 confirmed and probable cases among residents with dramatic increases in the number of reports over the past 10 years. Transmission generally occurs when an infected tick has been attached for more than 36 hours. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash. For more information about tick-borne diseases in Allegheny County, visit the Health Department’s Vector Control Program.
Education on removing, identifying and prevention of ticks is crucial. Jon Bañuelos with the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Program, educates communities on this topic by facilitating “Tick Talks.” Participants receive tick kits (also known as tick removers) and resources to educate themselves on how to remove and identify ticks.
For more information about joining an upcoming Tick Talk, or hosting one, email Jon!
March Health Observances
National Nutrition Month
Created 50 years ago by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the goal of National Nutrition Month is to invite everyone to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits.
This year’s theme is “Fuel for the Future.” This focus encourages people to eat with the environment in mind by enjoying more plant-based meals and snacks, purchasing foods with minimal packaging, buying foods in seasons and shopping locally when possible, and considering starting a container or backyard garden to grow food at home. Go here for more tips on how to lighten your carbon food-print.
The Giant Eagle Mobile Market is improving access to fresh foods for residents of Pittsburgh, Rankin, Braddock and North Braddock year round. The on-the-go Mobile Market stocks hundreds of fresh items including produce, meat and dairy products.
Mobile Market accepts debit, credit, check or SNAP, but not cash. Go here for more information and the Mobile Market schedule.
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
This month highlights the importance of screening for colorectal cancer, as well as promoting healthy lifestyle habits that can decrease a person’s risk of developing cancer of the colon or rectum.
Screening for colorectal cancer is important to identify pre-cancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there, which can develop into cancer. Check with your health care professional about when you should be screened. Don’t have insurance or a primary care physician? Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) can provide health screenings for colon cancer. To find an FQHC near you click here.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of medical experts, recommends that adults who are 45 to 75 years old be screened for colon cancer.
For more information visit: cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal
Live Well, Be Well
Nominations Being Accepted for Breastfeeding Friendly Place Awards
The Allegheny County Health Department WIC Program, in collaboration with the Allegheny County Breastfeeding Coalition, is seeking nominations for its annual Breastfeeding Friendly Places Awards.
The awards are presented to workplaces, public places, and other sites away from home that make an extra effort to help breastfeeding moms by offering a positive attitude and supportive environment.
Employers can help breastfeeding moms by offering flextime or extended paid maternity leave; a health plan with breast pump coverage; work site daycare; and provisions for breastfeeding/pumping at work.
Public places and other areas away from home, restaurants, malls, libraries, theatres, parks, places of worship, as well as sports and entertainment facilities, can be supportive by providing a clean and private area with comfortable seating for mothers to use when nursing and by having signage to welcome breastfeeding mothers to let them know special accommodations are available.
Breastfeeding friendly workplaces are also good for business, because breastfed babies are less likely to get sick throughout childhood and, as a result, their parent or guardian miss less work due to a child’s illness.
To nominate an employer, public place or other site outside the home for the awards, please visit the Breastfeeding Friendly Place Awards nomination page. Nominations will be accepted through May 31, 2023, and the awards will be announced during World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2023.
Health Department Updates
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank- March Speaker Series
This event was held virtually on Tuesday, March 14, from 10-11 a.m. The webinar discussed the programs and services of the Food Bank, with an emphasis on new initiatives, such as:
- The Market (onsite food pantry at the Food Bank’s headquarters in Duquesne)
- Referral opportunities for neighbors that visit The Market
- Walk-in distributions
- The Partner Excellence Academy (online learning platform that increases organizational capacity and skill building on a variety of topics)
- Eight-part series of nutritional cooking videos that will be available for partners that highlight cooking with common items on the Food Bank’s inventory list
The recording can be found here.
Our next speaker series will be held on Tuesday, April 11, from 10-11 a.m. The speaker series is our launch for the Live Well Allegheny ReThink Your Drink Campaign. Register here.
Live Well Partner Resources
American Lung Association Launches New Patient and Care Giver Network
Are you a person with lung disease, or a caregiver of someone with lung disease? The American Lung Association has launched a new patient and care giver network provides critical support, education, and access to vital resources, including emerging research and clinical trials. The network aims to support the more than 34 million Americans that live with COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer and other lung diseases.
Resources include disease-specific online communities, on-demand and live webcasts, lung disease management tools, and regularly scheduled e-newsletters. Visit the American Lung Association website.
Chronic Disease Spotlight
According to the CDC, six in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease and four in 10 adults have two or more chronic diseases. Each month this section will highlight a common chronic disease and provide educational resources.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Tobacco smoke is the primary cause of COPD in the United States.
Since 2011, seven percent of adults in Allegheny County (about 70,000 people) annually report ever having received a COPD diagnosis from their physician. Chronic lower respiratory disease, primarily COPD, was the fourth leading cause of death during this time period. These rates are consistent with state and national estimates.
Symptoms of COPD
- Frequent coughing or wheezing
- Excess phlegm, mucus, or sputum production
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble taking a deep breath
For more COPD information and resources visit: COPD-CDC.