Saturday, 27 August 2011 02:39


The Union County Health Department offers a wide variety of educational materials and information to help keep our residents safe.  Our resident safety information covers topics like bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, motor vehicle safety and traffic crash statistics, car seats for infants and children, sports injury topics, and emergency preparedness.

Click on any one of the topics to the right to learn more.


Injury Prevention Program Annual Reports are available by clicking on the links below:

Injury Prevention Program Annual Report 2013

Injury Prevention Program Annual Report 2012

Injury Prevention Program Annual Report 2011

Injury Prevention Program Annual Report 2010


Childhood Injury Prevention Report is available by clicking on the link below:

Childhood Injury Report 2014

Saturday, 27 August 2011 02:23


boy with hoseOne of the main obligations of Public Health is protecting the health of our community. Local health departments like the Union County Health Department use a multi-faceted approach to fulfilling this obligation. Our Environmental Health Division inspects restraunts, pools, spas, campgrounds, and other recreational facilities to ensure your experience is a healthy one. Our Nursing Division monitors communicable disease rates and provides recommended vaccines to ensure our community is protected from dangerous diseases like tuberculosis, measles, and the flu. Our Health Education Division provides programs, activities, and infrastructure within our community to improve chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The Help Me Grow Division helps children and families with developmental delays get on the right path for school and life. And our Vital Statistics Division tracks all births and deaths in Union County to identify any alarming trends.

Within this Community Health section of our website, you will find information on communicable diseases, foodborne illness, health statistics, and much more.

Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:45

Emergency Preparedness

The Union County Health Department has many types of emergency response plans.  If you are interested in reveiwing any of these plans and/or providing any feedback, please contact Rick Roush at (937) 645-2035.


Winter Driving Safety Tips
The Union County Health Department wants you to be safe on the roads this winter. To help you be prepared, UCHD shares the following tips from the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Be Prepared! 
  • Ice and Snow LogoKnowledge:  Before leaving home, find out about the driving conditions.  Safe drivers know the weather, and their limits.  If the weather is bad remember, Ice and Snow, Take it Slow, or just don’t go.
  • Clear:  Remove any snow on your vehicle’s windows, lights, brake lights and signals.  Make sure you can see and be seen.
  • Inspect:  Check your vehicle’s tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses.  A breakdown is bad on a good day and dangerous on a bad-weather day.
  • Time:  Leave plenty of time to reach your destination safely.  It’s not worth putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation just to be on time.
  • Kit: Keep an emergency kit in your car. The kit should include jumper cables, ice scraper and snow brush, shovel, abrasive material for traction (such as kitty litter or sand), flashlight, flares, blankets, extra clothing (coat, hat, gloves), food, water, and cell phone.

Caution: Slippery When Wet!

  • First Snow or Ice:  Drivers often aren’t prepared for winter driving and forget to take it slow.  Remember to drive well below the posted speed limit and leave plenty of room between cars.
  • Black Ice:  Roads that seem dry may actually be slippery – and dangerous.  Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady areas – all are hot spots for black ice.  Remember, Ice and Snow, Take it Slow.
  • Limited Visibility: Stay attentive and reduce speed.  Know what’s going on around you.
  • Four-Wheel Drive:  On snow and ice, go slowly, no matter what type of vehicle you drive.  Even if you have an SUV with four-wheel drive you may not be able to stop any faster, or maintain control any better, once you lose traction.  Four-wheel drive may get you going faster, but it won’t help you stop sooner.

Staying Safe Around Snowplows

  • Distance:  Give snowplows room to work.  The plows are wide and can cross the centerline or shoulder.  Don’t tailgate and try not to pass.  If you must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the snow cloud.
  • Speed:  Snowplows travel below the posted speed limit.  Be patient.  Allow plenty of time to slow down.  Remember, Ice and Snow, Take it Slow.
  • Vision:  A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted.  You may see them, but they don’t always see you.  Keep your distance and watch for sudden stops or turns.

Proceed with Caution!

  • Speed:  The faster you’re going, the longer it will take to stop.  When accelerating on snow or ice, take it slow to avoid slipping or sliding.  Ice and Snow, Take it Slow.
  • Distance:  Give yourself space.  It takes extra time and extra distance to bring your car to a stop on slick and snowy roads.  Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Brake:  Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly and never slam on the brakes.  If you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it.  If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal.  Either way, give yourself plenty of room to stop.
  • Control:  When driving on ice and snow, do not use cruise control and avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.  When merging into traffic, take it slow.  Sudden movements can cause your vehicle to slide.
  • Vision:  Be aware of what’s going on well ahead of you.  Actions by other vehicles will alert you to problems more quickly, and give you that split-second of extra time to react safely.
Click on the document below for a Safe Winter Driving fact sheet from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
icon SafeDriving
Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:45

Motor Vehicle Safety

The Union County Safe and Sound Coalition, which is led by the Union County Health Department, focuses a large amount of its time on traffic safety in Union County. Priorities range from seatbelt safety and education, to impaired and distracted driving education, to reviewing all traffic fatalities that occur in Union County to determine if changes can be made to decrease the likelihood of a similiar crash occurring again.
If you are interested in getting involved with the Safe and Sound Coalition, please contact Shawnna Jordan, Chairperson of the Safe and Sound and Safe Routes to School Committees, at 937-642-2053 or via email at

In 2010, there were 299,918 crashes across Ohio: 1,076 people were killed and 10,175 people were seriously injured. The economic cost to Ohio was more than $8.7 billion.

Ohio's ultimate goal is to eliminate all fatalities. The short-term goal is to reduce the number of fatalities by 5 percent by 2015. By achieving this goal, more than 150 lives will be saved over five years. We can achieve this goal by targeting key crash types in each county.
Many of the crashes that occur each year can be prevented through safer driving behavior. Many injuries and deaths can be prevented by increasing seat belt use, and decreasing speeds and alcohol use.

In Union County...
Between 2008 and 2010, there were 3,658 crashes in Union County.
* Among these crashes, 13 people died and 149 people were seriously injured.
* Fixed object crashes were the #1 cause of fatalities (62%) and the #1 cause of serious injuries (33%).
* The most common fixed objects struck were a ditch, utility pole, or guardrail (in that order).
* A significant percentage of the crashes involved young drivers, speed, and unbelted drivers and passengers.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is a strong partner with the Safe and Sound Coalition.  Much of our traffic fatality and crash data is obtained from their office.  

Please click here for the complete Ohio State Highway Patrol  stats for Union County

Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:45

Pedestrian Safety

The Union County Health Department, as the lead agency for the Union County Safe Communities/Safe Kids Coalition, promotes pedestrain safety throughout the county, and especially near schools.

Here are some pedestrian tips:

How to be a Safe PEDESTRIAN
1. Obey all traffic laws.
2. Walk on sidewalks or designated paths.
3. Cross in crosswalks and at marked intersections at the light.
4. Check for turning vehicles when crossing, especially those making wide right turns.
5. Walk facing oncoming traffic in the berm when there are no sidewalks.
6. Be aware of blind spots on cars, trucks and buses.
7. Allow space and time for trucks, cars, motorcycles and bicycles to stop.
8. Wear something light and bright such as a yellow or orange reflective vest and carry a flashlight for night walks.
9. Watch for cars when crossing driveways.
10. Make eye contact with drivers.

Please click here for the complete Safety Tip Sheet

For more pedestrian safety tips or if you are interested in getting involved with our pedestrian safety programs, please contact Shawnna Jordan, Chairperson of the Safe Communities/Safe Kids Coalition and Safe Routes to School Committees, at 937-642-2053 or via email at



Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:44

Bicycle Safety

The Union County Health Department, as the lead agency for the Union County Safe Communities/Safe Kids Coalition, promotes safe bicycle riding for all ages. Annually the coalition hosts a Bicycle Rodeo which educates novice riders on proper bicycle and helmet fitting as well as agility while on a bike. For more tips or if you interested in getting involved with bicycle safety programs, please contact Shawnna Jordan, Chairperson of the Safe Communities/Safe Kids and Safe Routes to School Committees, at 937-642-2053 or via email at


Easy Steps to Properly Fit a Bicycle Helmet
click here for a printable version
DOT HS 810 600
September 2006

It’s not enough to simply buy a bicycle helmet – it should be properly fitted, adjusted, and worn each time you ride. 

The Proper Helmet Fit
Helmets come in various sizes, just like hats. Size can vary between manufacturers. For the most comprehensive list of helmet sizes according to manufacturers, go to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) site:

To select and properly fit a bicycle helmet, follow the helmet fitting instructions below. It may take some time to ensure a proper fit.

Step 1 - Size: 
Measure your head for approximate size. Try the helmet on to ensure it fits snuggly. While it is sitting flat on top of your head, make sure the helmet doesn’t rock side to side. Sizing pads come with new helmets; use the pads to securely fit to your head. Mix or match the sizing pads for the greatest comfort. In your child’s helmet, remove the padding when your child’s head grows. If the helmet has a universal fit ring instead of sizing pads, adjust the ring size to fit the head.

illustration shows measuring the helmet with 2 fingers Step 2 - Position: 
The helmet should sit level on your head and low on your forehead—one or two finger-widths above your eyebrow.
illustration - centering the buckle under the chin Step 3 - Buckles: 
Center the left buckle under the chin. On most helmets, the straps can be pulled from the back of the helmet to lengthen or shorten the chin straps. This task is easier if you take the helmet off to make these adjustments.
illustration - adjusting the slider Step 4 - Side Straps: 
Adjust the slider on both straps to form a “V” shape under, and slightly in front of, the ears. Lock the slider if possible.
illustration - buckling the chin strap Step 5 - Chin Strap: 
Buckle your chin strap. Tighten the strap until it is snug, so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap.
illustration - final fitting

Step 6 - Final Fitting:

  1. Does your helmet fit right? Open your mouth wide…big yawn! The helmet should pull down on the head. If not, refer back to step 5 and tighten the chin strap. 
  2. Does your helmet rock back more than two fingers above the eyebrows? If so, unbuckle, shorten the front strap by moving the slider forward. 
    Buckle, retighten the chin strap, and test again.
  3. Does your helmet rock forward into your eyes? If so, unbuckle, tighten the back strap by moving the slider back toward the ear. Buckle, retighten the chin strap, and test again.
  4. Roll the rubber band down to the buckle. All four straps must go through the rubber band and be close to the buckle to prevent the buckle from slipping.

illustration of bicycle helmet

  • When to Replace a Helmet.
    Replace any helmet that has been involved in a crash or is damaged.
  • The Helmet Should Fit Now.
    Buy a helmet that fits your head now, not a helmet to “grow into.”

Replace any helmet that has been outgrown.

  • The Helmet Should Be Comfortable.
    If it feels small, put in the thinner sizing pads or purchase a larger helmet. Ideally, select a helmet brand and size that fits well prior to any adjustments. If you buy a helmet that you find comfortable and attractive, you are more likely to wear it. 
  • The Helmet Must Cover Your Forehead.
  • The Chin Strap Must Be Tight and Properly Adjusted.
  • The Helmet Should Not Rock Forward or Backward on Your Head. 
    If it does, see step 6

A bicycle helmet can protect your head and brain ONLY if you wear it each time you ride!

Helmet Laws
Many States and local jurisdictions have bicycle helmet laws; please refer to your State or local jurisdiction. To find this information go to

A bicycle crash can happen at any time. A properly fitted bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.

More children age 5 to 14 go to hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with bicycles than with any other sport. Many of these injuries involve the head. Helmet laws ensure the safety of our children.

Model Safe Behavior
Everyone—adult and child—should wear bicycle helmets each time they ride. Helmets are the single most effective way to prevent head injuries resulting from bicycle crashes. Wearing a helmet each ride can encourage the same smart behavior in others.

Helmet Certification
Buy a new helmet that has been tested and meets the uniform safety standard issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); use an old helmet only if it has a seal from one or more of the voluntary bicycle helmet standards, such as ASTM, Snell, or ANSI. Look for the certification seal labeled on the helmet.

illustration of bicycle helmet
For more information on bicycle safety, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site at:
NHTSA logo
Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:44


The Union County Health Department is dedicated to helping you reach your breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding is truly a family endeavor and is more successful when there is a strong support system for the person doing the feeding. That is why the Union County Health Department provides free breastfeeding support and consultation to all families. Our Certified Lactation Counselor is available to answer questions, provide counseling, educate on best practices, and link you to the many local resources available to Union County breastfeeding families. To speak to our Certified Lactation Counselor, please call Susie Knox, RN at (937) 645-2059. 


Breastfeeding Support Group

Memorial Hospital and the Union County Health Department also partner to offer a breastfeeding support group. Pregnant, breastfeeding, or pumping mothers can enjoy the support of other mothers in a comfortable learning environment. Led by a trained breastfeeding counselor, this free interactive group offers education and a chance to have your questions answered. You can have your baby weighed, learn proper technique, have your questions answered, and talk with other breastfeeding mothers. The group is free to join and siblings are welcome. Call (937) 578-2329 for more information. 

Breastfeeding Support Group Schedule

9:30 a,m. - Second & Fourth Wednesdays

6:30 p.m. - First and Third Mondays

Group meets at Memorial Hospital, Meeting Room E. Use Entrance E (Sleep Center Entrance, lower level)


Online Breastfeeding Community

Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to join a closed Facebook group to get help and support 24/7. The Breast Information group is led by breastfeeding moms who help each other any time day or night. The closed group is moderated by a certified lactation consultant, so you can be sure to get accurate information. Visiit the group at and ask to join if you are a breastfeeding parent.


Breastfeeding Resource

We encourage parents looking for credible breastfeeding information on the web to visit This site has information on all types of breastfeeding questions. Please know that help is only a phone call away. Please call our certified lactation counselor at (937) 645-2059 if you have any questions, encounter any barriers, or find online searches to be overwhelming. 

Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:43

Women, Infant & Children

What is WIC?

WIC is a nutrition education program.. WIC provides nutritious foods that promote good health for pregnant women, women who just had a baby, breastfeeding moms, infants and children up to age 5.

Who is Eligible for WIC?

Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a baby less than 6 months old, and infants and children up to 5 years old are eligible to apply for WIC.  Fathers are welcome to apply for WIC for their children up to age 5.

To qualify for services you must:

  • Live in Ohio
  • Meet WIC income guidelines
  • Have certain nutritional or health risks

What Does WIC Provide?

  • Nutrition education and support
  • Breastfeeding education and support
  • Referral for health care
  • Immunization screening and referral
  • Supplemental foods such as:
    • Cereal
    • Eggs
    • Milk
    • Whole-grain foods
    • Fruits and Vegetables

 How Do I Apply?

Make an appointment

Call Union County WIC at 937-645-2064 to schedule an appointment with a WIC staff member.

See if you qualify

All it takes is a visit to your local WIC clinic to see if you qualify for services

Receive WIC coupons

If you are eligible, you will receive coupons to buy healthy foods at WIC-approved grocery stores.

What Do I Bring to My First Visit?

  • Proof of income (current pay stubs, approval letter for Healthy Start, Ohio Works First, Food Stamps or current Medicaid card)
  • Proof of address (utility or credit bill, or Ohio driver's license)
  • Proof of identity for you and any other applicants (birth certificate, driver's license, Medicaid card, crib card or shot record)
  • All family members applying for WIC services
  • If pregnant, a doctor's statement showing due date
  • Children's shot records




Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:43

Newborn Home Visits

About the program

A newborn home visit is an opportunity for families to get peace of mind and ask in-depth questions about the health and safety of their new baby. The visit is conducted by a public health nurse who is specially trained in working with families with new babies. Newborn home visits are free and are provided soon after the baby comes home from the hospital. To schedule a newborn home visit, please call Susie Knox at (937) 642-2053. 

What the nurse will do:

 Each visit is unique and focuses on the needs of the family. Some families may have lots of questions, and some families may just want reassurance. Every family receives the New Mom and Baby book and goodies to welcome the new baby into our community. The visit may include: 

  • Assessing your baby's weight, development and general health
  • Assisting with any of your health needs or concerns
  • Providing information about breastfeeding and feeding support
  • Providing education about health, development, and safety
  • Linking your family to helpful programs and resources
  • Scheduling follow-up visits if additional support or information is needed or requested


How we can help

Newborn home visit provide peace of mind during the exciting, but challenging first few weeks of parenthood.  Newborn home visits are proven to increase parents' knowledge about caring for an infant and promote healthy family behaviors.  For your participation in this program you will receive an infant appropriate gift.

Who is eligible for visits

Visits are available for all Union county families with new babies.  These visits are provided FREE.

How to receive a visit

Upon the birth of your baby, the hospital may give you an information packet.  For parents who deliver at Memorial Hospital there is a visit form in your discharge packet.  Just fill out the form and give it to a hospital staff person.  If you are delivering elsewhere, and would still like a visit, simply call the Union County Health Department at 937-645-2059 and ask to speak to the Newborn Home Visit Nurse.  The nurse will schedule the visit with you when you call.




Saturday, 27 August 2011 01:42

Diseases From Animals & Pests


Rabies/Animal Bites
Bed Bugs


About Rabies

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.


One of the best way to protect your family from rabies is to vaccinate your pets. Community rabies vaccination clinics are held each May in Union County at a variety of locations. These clinics offer low-cost, one-year rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs 4 months of age and older. The clinics are made possible through a partnership between the Union County Health Department, the Union County Humane Society, and local Union County veterinarians who generously donate their time.

icon Rabies-Flier

Reporting Animal Bites

icon Bite Report Form           icon Vet Form

In the State of Ohio, all animal bites shall be reported within 24 hours to the local health department. If a victim seeks medical attention, these bites will be automatically reported to the appropriate authorities.

Once the bite has occurred, the victim, animal owner, medical officer, or another responsible party should fill out a bite report form. All information should be filled in. If some information is unknown, be sure contact information for all parties involved is included. The health department will try to fill in the missing information.

Letters will be sent to the animal owner informing them of the next requirements. The animal owner will be required to place their animal under a 10-day (minimum) quarantine. They will also need to show proof of a current rabies vaccination.

QUARANTINE - the animal must be restrained at all times it is not in the home. Socialization outside immediate family members is not permissible. Animal should be housed separately from other household pets.

RABIES VACCINATION - If the animal is not current on its shots, a rabies vaccination will be required AFTER the 10-day quarantine period. Do not administer the vaccination during the quarantine period. The rabies vaccination must be administered by a licensed veterinarian. If the dog is current on its vaccination prior to the bite incident, proof of the vaccination will be required. Acceptable means of proof are this form filled out by a veterinarian, copy of certificate of vaccination, or a copy of the animal's record from their veterinarian.

FOLLOW UP VISIT - Once the 10-day quarantine period has passed the animal must be seen by either a health department employee or a veterinarian. If the vaccination is current, the vet form is filled out after the 10-day period and the dog was actually taken to the vet's office, then the signature on the form signifies the animal is healthy and the animal is released from quarantine. If the dog is not seen by a vet, please call (937) 642-2053 to set up an appointment for a Union County Health Department (UCHD) employee to visit the dog. The employee will come to you and it only takes a few minutes. Any paperwork that may be required (such as proof of vaccination) can be turned in during this visit.

Once proof of vaccination is shown, the animal is viewed, and the quarantine period has passed, the animal is free to resume its normal routine. Failure to follow the procedures can result in prosecution.

Any animal that dies within the 10-day quarantine period, whether naturally or intentionally shall have its head submitted to the Ohio Department of Health laboratories. The UCHD shall transport the head. The removal of the head is the owner's responsibility. UCHD can provide information if this service is needed.


Rabies Prevention & Protection Regulations for Union County, Ohio

The Union County Board of Health, at their October 13, 1993 meeting, adopted a Rabies Prevention & Protection Regulation for Union County, Ohio. As part of the regulation, any person who owns, keeps, or harbors a dog or ferret in Union County shall have that animal currently immunized against rabies. Any person who owns a cat in Union County shall have that animal under control. In the event of a rabies outbreak the Health Department may order the humane destruction of any unvaccinated dog, cat or ferret, and may immediately require the mandatory vaccination of all owned and harbored cats.

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american dog_tickTicks prefer wooded and bushy areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter. Avoid these areas if possible. When avoidance is not possible, the following tips can help:

• Use insect repellent with 20% - 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing to prevent tick bites. Permethrin is another type of repellent. It can be purchased at outdoor equipment stores that carry camping or hunting gear. Permethrin kills ticks on contact! One application to pants, socks, and shoes typically stays effective through several washings. Permethrin should not be applied directly to skin.

• Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily. Tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing. If you'll be outside for an extended period of time, tape the area where your pants and socks meet to prevent ticks from crawling under your clothes.

• Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors. To kill ticks that you may have missed, wash your clothes with hot water and dry them using high heat for at least one hour.

• Perform daily tick checks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Inspect all parts of your body carefully including your armpits, scalp, and groin.

If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting a disease is extremely small. But just to be safe, monitor your health closely after a tick bite and be alert for any signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness.

Diseases associated with ticks in Central Ohio include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (American dog tick and brown dog tick), tularemia (American dog tick) and more recently, Lyme Disease (black legged tick)

More information can be found within the Center for Disease Controls website at or

Removal of tick:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.

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The Union County Health Department does limited surveillance of the mosquito population in Unoin County through trapping and testing. Mosquito traps are placed within the county during the summer months. The trapped mosquitoes are sent to the Ohio Department of Health for testing of West Nile Virus. (There is no longer any testing or surveillance of West Nile Virus amongst birds within Ohio.) The species of mosquito known to carry West Nile Virus tends to be found in open grassy areas. Residents who have large open grassy areas can request mosquito trapping by calling (937) 642-2053 or emailing

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a disease carried by mosquitoes than can be passed to humans when the female mosquito bites a human. For more information, read this factsheet about WNV.icon or visit the Ohio Department of Health's webpage

LaCrosse Encephalitis is a vector-borne disease that is carried by the tree hole mosquito and is also transmitted through the female mosquito's bite.

There are several steps that you can take to prevent bites from mosquitoes.

Personal Protection:

  • Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear light colors, long sleeves, and long pants when spending time outside in mosquito-infested areas.
  • Use a DEET based repellent when outside where mosquitoes are present (pay attention to usage instructions)
  • When camping or spending time outdoors, consider Permethrin treated bed-nets, tents, or clothing.
  • Avoid perfume, colognes, or other heavy scents that may attract mosquitoes.

Reduce breeding habitat:

  • Anything that holds water longer than 7 days, such as bird baths, baby pools, and buckets, should be changed weekly or stored upside down. Pools should be chlorinated or drained.
  • Fill any low areas in the yard. Provide proper drainage.
  • Make sure gutters are clear and drain properly.
  • Do not store rimless tires where they can hold water. Make sure tire swings have holes drilled to allow water to drain.
  • Fill cavities in trees with soil, sand, or gravel.

West Nile Virus activiity and other mosquito-bourne diseases can be tracked through USGS Disease maps.

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Bed Bugs

bed-bugsBed bugs (Cimex lectularius) have been around since the 17th century. After World War II the widespread use of synthetic insecticides, such as DDT, greatly reduced their numbers. The use of baits rather than insecticide sprays is a factor that has been implicated in their return. International travel and commerce have also facilitated their return. Bed bugs are frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover. Such infestations usually are not a reflection of poor hygiene or bad housekeeping.

Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened and about 3/16 to 1/5 inch long. The adults have small, nonfunctional wing pads. They are fast moving, nocturnal blood feeders. While the bite is painless, the salivary fluid injected typically causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed. Rows of three or so welts on exposed skin are characteristic signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease.

PREVENTION: There are several steps that can be taken to help prevent a bed bugs infestation.

While traveling:

  • Carefully inspect your hotel room. Look in the mattress seams for signs of red spots. This is a sign that the room has, or had, a bed bug population.
  • After you return from a trip, check your luggage for insects that might have hitched a ride.

At home:

  • Inspect antiques and secondhand furniture thoroughly before bringing them into your home.
  • Change bed linens at least once a week, and wash in hot water of at least 120 F.
  • Vacuum around the home at least once a week, paying special attention to areas surrounding bed and furniture posts.
  • Caulk holes in floors and walls.
  • Eliminate any neighboring bird and bat habitats that may serve as a refuge for bedbugs, especially following an extermination attempt.

INSPECTION: A thorough inspection may be needed to determine if you have a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are extremely flat and small. They have been found along picture frames, between the glass and frame itself.

  • Beds: Dismantle the bed and inspect linens, blankets, mattress, box springs and headboards.
  • Dressers and furniture with drawers: Pay attention to cracks, crevices, imperfections, joints, screws and corners. This requires full removal of the drawers.
  • Upholstered furniture: Pay attention to zippers, skirting, fabric seams and crevices under cushions.
  • Electronics: Inspect all holes, corners, cracks and edges.
  • Other items that should be inspected include drapes, pictures, stuffed animals and toys.

CONTROL: If you do have a bed bug problem the following steps may help:

  • Employ the regular services of a professional exterminator.
  • Dismantle and either treat or discard any old furniture, including bed frames and mattresses. However, professional inspection and extermination may be best.
  • Steam cleaning is effective at controlling all stages of bed bugs. Use a commercial unit on carpets, curtains, upholstery and in crevices.
  • Wash clothes and other washables in as high of temperature as possible but limited to fabric rating. Dry all items, even those that aren't washable, in a dryer at the hottest setting for at least 30 minutes.
  • Freeze infested articles, like stuffed animals, at a minimum of 23 F for 5 days.
  • Steam cleaning is not always recommended for mattress because if it is not properly dried, the high moisture levels within the mattress by contribute to mold and mildew. Seek the advice of a professional.
  • Approximately 2 weeks post clean-up, another inspection is required to confirm that all bed bugs were eliminated. The inspection should be as thorough as the preliminary inspection.

The Union County Health Department can identify a bed bug if you believe you have an infestation. Bring the bug in a sealed container to the health department for identification anytime, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 4pm.

Additional information is available in thisicon this brochure.  

For traveling tips, download iconBedbug Travel Tips