Commissioner's Corner Archives - 2012

Department of Health
Kari Reiber, MD, Acting Commissioner


2012 Commissioner's Corner Articles (Poughkeepsie Journal's Healthy Living Section)


December 9, 2012 - Dealing with the Holidays

I recently spoke with Andrew O’Grady, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Dutchess County. As you may know, the body and the mind are inseparable, but often we view physical health as being independent of mental health, and that is just not the case. Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. With the holiday season well on its way, we thought this would be a great opportunity for him to share some tips for dealing with the stress we often find ourselves in the midst of during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

In addition, the 2012 Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting Services - Communities across the globe will be joining in The Compassionate Friends 16th Worldwide Candle Lighting on December 9, 2012. - Locations will include:

Wappingers Falls – Mid Hudson Bereaved Parents of the USA
December 9, 2012 - 6:45 PM at Mount Hope Grange, 212 Myers Corners Road, Wappingers Falls, NY
Readings, live music, and reading of children's names.
Feel free to bring a picture or small remembrance of your child and a finger food to share after the ceremony.
See our Facebook page for more information "Mid Hudson Bereaved Parents of the USA." -
Contact: Patti Tucker, Tel: 845-226-1586,  Email:


Red Hook – Burnett & White Funeral Homes
December 9, 2012 - 7:00 PM at Burnett & White Funeral Home, 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY
There will be a time of sharing for those who wish to do so. We will have a table of remembrance, so please bring photo and/or memorabilia to share.  There will be light refreshments.
Contact: Ken Giek or Bruce Troy, Tel: 845-876-3193,  Email:



Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene – Helpline (24/7) 845-485-9700

Mental Health America of Dutchess County - 845-473-2500
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (HV Chapter) - 914-417-7993
Affordable Care Act - National Prevention Strategy (NPS)

National Prevention Strategy Priority - Mental and Emotional Well-being


Grief & Loss Resources:

Mid Hudson Bereaved Parents of the USA -
Mid Hudson Bereaved Parents of the USA Facebook -


Depression Resources:

National Institute of Mental Health -

Mayo Clinic -


Seasonal Affective Disorder Resources:

Mayo Clinic -
National Mental Health America -


November 11, 2012 - Prepare Now for Power Outages and Future Storms


Since Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter have just impacted us, I want to review how you can prepare and protect yourself, your family, and your business for future storms and prolonged power outages.

Overall, we were fortunate in Dutchess County last week with Hurricane Sandy. I was in the Emergency Operations Center for two days with County Executive Molinaro, our Emergency Response Coordinator Dana Smith, and many of our partners in government and business to coordinate our efforts to quickly identify storm damage, people in danger, and to fix or mitigate problems as they occurred. We were there before, during and after the storm, and we are still carefully monitoring the entire county, especially the Dover and Pawling areas until every last home has their power restored.  There is always someone to help you at our 9-1-1 Center but please make sure to only use 9-1-1 for a true emergency.

To prepare for future weather events, disasters and power outages, I suggest the following websites:

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
This is a great time to remind everyone to make sure that they have a battery-backed CO detector on every level of their homes.  CO poisoning is more prevalent with power outages but it can creep up at any time so please make sure to protect your family today.  (

American Red Cross -
     Hurricane Readiness App by ARC - iPhone/Android
     First Aid App by ARC - iPhone/Android

Emergency Preparedness -
     FEMA App for Android/Blackberry/Mobile Web
     Be Ready for Kids -

Weather Information - NOAA - (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association)
     MobileWeb App Available -

Mobile Apps - USA.Gov -


October 14, 2012 - Cancer CAN be Prevented!


We all want our families and loved ones to be safe and healthy and we want to help them to live long healthy lives without the threat of disease, especially cancer.  But is cancer prevention really possible?  Absolutely!

Each one of us can reduce our risk of cancer, no matter how young or old we may be. Many different types of cancer can be prevented with education and changes to your daily routine.  In this month's Poughkeepsie Journal article, I provide a list of things we can all do to reduce our risk of being affected by cancer.  Additionally, I have found some recent news on the risk of indoor tanning and a few more resources to assist you in cancer prevention.


Dutchess County Health Commissioner’s Corner -

Dutchess County Cancer Coalition -

American Cancer Society -

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -

Prevent Cancer Foundation -


Analysis: Common skin cancers associated with indoor tanning.

USA Today (10/3, Szabo) reports, "At least 170,000 cases of skin cancer each year are linked to indoor tanning, according to an analysis published online Tuesday in the British medical journal BMJ." These "cancers include basal-cell carcinomas and squamous-cell carcinomas, two common types of non-melanoma skin cancers that aren't usually life-threatening, the study says. People who have ever used indoor tanning are 29% more likely to develop basal-cell carcinomas than those who have never used tanning salons," the study found.

HealthDay (10/3, Reinberg) reports, "The use of tanning beds was associated with a 67 percent increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent higher risk of basal cell carcinoma, compared with never using a tanning bed, the researchers found." Investigators from the University of California-San Francisco "estimated that indoor tanning in the United States accounts for about 3.7 percent of cases of basal cell carcinoma (more than 98,000 cases) and 8.2 percent of cases of squamous cell carcinoma (about 72,000 cases) each year." What's more, "using tanning beds before age 25 appears to significantly increase the risk for basal cell carcinoma, the researchers noted."

WebMD (10/3, Mann) points out that to arrive at these conclusions, the study authors "reviewed 12 studies in medical literature published since 1985." The piece adds, "As it stands, the World Health Organization states that ultraviolet tanning devices cause cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers indoor tanning a Class 1 carcinogen."

MedPage Today (10/3, Petrochko) reports that an accompanying editorial "noted that nonmelanoma skin cancers are less aggressive than malignant melanoma, but the treatment and costs associated with BCC and SCC are still substantial." The editorialists commented, "Young people in particular should be made aware that the use of sunbeds for short-term cosmetic tanning carries the long-term price of an increased risk of skin cancer." Meanwhile, "a second commentary...pointed out that a 'tan tax' levied by the Obama administration in July 2010 seems to have reduced the use of indoor tanning facilities" and suggested that countries in the European Union may wish to implement something similar.


September 9, 2012 - Creepy, Crawly, Itchy Lice! (.pdf)


Fall is the season for reading, writing, arithmetic … and head lice?!  Back-to-school time of the year is when head lice are most commonly transmitted with more than six million people infected each year.  Lice are creepy and they cause a lot more anxiety than any physical illness.  Lice are tiny, brown and gray parasites that cause itching and scratching, especially on areas of the body covered with hair, such as the scalp, neck and behind the ears.  If your child’s hair is involved, you might be able to see the tiny lice eggs (called “nits”) which look like white grains of sand attached to the hair shafts.

Head lice do not fly or hop. It takes head-to-head contact to get them, such as contact with clothing, bed linens, combs, brushes and hats shared by an infected person.  Lice bites may cause inflammation and itching and can become infected.   Check out the resources below to help prevent lice from entering your home:


Photo of Coin and Lice           Lice Diagram

Photo of Lice and Coin       Lice Diagram 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -

The National Pediculosis Association -

KidsHealth - information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years for parents, kids, teens and educators.


August 12, 2012 - Help Us FIGHT Pertussis! (.pdf)

This month, I really need your help!  Are you a new parent or grandparent?  Or maybe a new aunt or uncle?  Do you work with babies or visit family and friends with newborns?  Well, Whooping Cough (Pertussis) is back with a vengeance and I want you to know about this threat and help me spread the word on how we can push this bacteria out of town!

Pertussis is almost completely preventable through vaccination.  Make sure you get your Tdap vaccine now and know that you are doing your part to protect our precious new additions to Dutchess County.  Just last week, three young babies developed serious complications from pertussis and needed emergency care.  Thankfully, they are all likely to survive.  Please help us protect our little ones!  Vaccinations are the #1 way to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from disease, illness, and death.  Thank you for your help as I really don’t want to ever see another family have to suffer through such a traumatic experience again.


Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention – Pertussis information  -

Pertussis Vaccine information  -

Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDs) Online web page “Pertussis (Whooping Cough)” (2012)  -

NYS Department of Health – Pertussis information -

CDC’s Vaccines & Immunizations Homepage -

CDC’s Vaccination Recommendations for Everyone -

New York State Immunization Requirements for School Entrance/Attendance -  

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)  -


July 8, 2012 - Dutchess County Maternal Child Health Programs (.pdf)


The Dutchess County Department of Health has a primary mission to promote health and wellness in the community through a variety of health education and health promotion programs.  Today I’ll be reviewing a few of the special programs we offer to you, highlighting our focus on prevention, health education, health promotion and targeted outreach to help every child reach their fullest potential for growth and development.  

Maternal Child Health Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics - Click on the “healthy children” section with information for parents.

Astor Services  - Information for parents and caregivers regarding early childhood services including Early Childhood Development Program and behavioral and mental health services.

Healthy Child Care America - HCCA Safe Sleep Campaign, information regarding infant safe sleep and SIDS prevention.

La Leche League International -  Breastfeeding information, education, encouragement, and mother-to-mother support.

March of Dimes  - Information resource for preconceptual health, pregnancy and baby care.

Maternal-Infant Services Network - Links women to maternal child services and resources, including assistance with insurance applications and breastfeeding support.

New York State Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program - Information and referral source for families of children with special health care needs.

New York State Department of Health Lead Poisoning Prevention  - Information lead poisoning and prevention.

Parent to Parent of New York State - Parent support organization for families of children with special health care needs.

Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc. - Provides emotional support, education and resource information for women at risk for prenatal and postpartum depression.

Safe Kids - Parent section with infant, child and teen safety basics by age group, safety guides and information regarding product recalls.

SUID/SIDS Resource Center Safe Sleep - Has information in English and Spanish regarding infant sleep safety and SIDS prevention.

Text4baby  -  A free service in English and Spanish of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies coalition that sends informational messages to your cell phone through out pregnancy and your baby’s first year.  - Information on women’s health topics including preconception health, pregnancy, breastfeeding, newborn care and safety and violence against women.

Zero to Three  - Information and resources for behavior and development of children age 0 to 3 years old.


June 10, 2012 - Food and Waterborne Illnesses (.pdf)

With summer upon us, I thought it would be a good time to review some basics about keeping our food and water safe for our family and our friends. Food and waterborne diseases are caused by infectious agents or other contaminants transmitted through tainted food or beverages or as a result of poorly treated drinking or waste water. Severe weather conditions particularly those resulting in flooding contribute to the likelihood of contaminated water sources. With more than 250 known causes of food and waterborne diseases including some of the more commonly reported agents to the Department, such as norovirus, salmonella, campylobacter, Eschericia coli (E. coli), and giardia, planning and prevention are key!

The Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (home of "Mr. Yuk") at UPMC:
  - Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning
  - E. coli enteritis

The Partnership for Food Safety - Fight Bac! Program

Water Disinfection Videos by Texas Department of Insurance - Each disinfection method has specific instructions which can be found at

In addition - three great websites for more information about all health topics A to Z:
  - US Department of Health & Human Services -
  - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -
  - UPMC (includes Medical Procedures) -


May 13, 2012 - Rabies (.pdf)

We love to be out and about with nature all around us.  In fact, you may just spot an animal in the woods or in your neighborhood. We have the tendency to want to “get up close and personal” with the animals around us, especially if they look injured or sick.  You might run over to check on it, and suddenly, the animal bites you and runs away. Now you need to call for help because you may have just been exposed to one of the most dangerous viruses known, rabies. Visit the sites below to find out how you can protect yourself from animal bites and rabies:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -

New York State Department of Health -

NYSDOH’s Catch A Bat! – Low Quality

NYSDOH's Catch A Bat! - High Quality

NYSDOH's Catch A Bat! - MPEG-4


Pub Med -

World Health Organization -

Kid’s Health -


April 8, 2012 - Two Little Windows:  Eye Injury and Prevention (.pdf) 

The hallmark of public health is prevention of diseases and injuries. So much of what happens to us is due to our own personal choices and not just some random bad luck. We can actually predict who is more likely to get sick or injured based upon how often they make poor health choices or take risks. Too many of us don't take the time to make even small changes to properly protect ourselves from injuries. This month's article focuses on how easy it is to protect your eyes and how much more needs to be done to reduce the burden of these injuries in the United States, and the following resources provide resources on how to protect these two little windows to the world:

Eye injuries by MedlinePlus -

Kids Health -

Eye Protection – Get Eye Smart -

Eye Diseases by MedlinePlus -

Eye Infections by MedlinePlus -


March 11, 2012 - Bullying Does Not Have to be a Rite of Passage (.pdf)

Bullying is a serious problem in our schools and community, escalating since the American Medical Association declared bullying to be a public health issue ten years ago.  We may think of bullying as the abuse of children by other children yet bullying can happen anywhere, in any setting and between anyone.  Visit the following webites for ways you can help prevent bullying from occurring in our community.

The Mediation Center of Dutchess County: is an official U.S. Government Web site managed by the Department of Health & Human Services in partnership with the Department of Education and Department of Justice:

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center:
Founded in 1977, PACER Center was created by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help other parents and families facing similar challenges. Today, PACER Center expands opportunities and enhances the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families. PACER is staffed primarily by parents of children with disabilities.

With assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals, and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education for all children, PACER's work affects and encourages families in Minnesota and across the nation.

The National Crime Prevention Council:

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network:

Todd Middle School – Spackenkill:  (See an example of an anoymous reporting for bullying.)

ATA Martial Arts: – Bullying Prevention Videos

The Dignity for All Students Act:


February 12, 2012 - Get heart-healthy this Valentine's day (.pdf)

February is heart month, when we are reminded heart disease is still the biggest public health problem we have.  We lose friends, loved ones and coworkers every day in our community due to this devastating killer.  Did you know nearly 40% of people who are diagnosed with heart disease get their diagnosis on the day they die?  That’s right!  Sudden death is sometimes the very first indication that someone has heart disease. Give your special valentine this information and help them and help yourself to get on the road to a healthier you. I know we all want to be around for our families for as long as we can.  We can live healthier and longer lives, and I want to give you the tools to make this happen. Visit the many websites below for steps you can take.

American Heart Association –

Cholesterol -

New York State Smoker’s Quitline 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487)

Dutchess Rail Trails -

American Diabetes Association –

Life: The Diabetes Health Company –

Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure -

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Obesity) -

Fats and Cholesterol - What Should I Eat? - The Nutrition Source ...

Additional resources for this month's article (AHA’s Heart-Healthy items for loved ones* section):

#2  Heart Healthy Recipes

Heart-Check Mark -

#3  Dining Out

#5  Give up Smoking  New York State Smoker’s Quitline 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487)

#6  Eat Fish

*AHA’s Entire Heart Healthy Valentine’s List


January 8, 2012 - Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As we are in the midst of cold weather and the indoor heating season, it’s important to prevent the deadly threat of carbon monoxide (CO) in our homes.  Recent snow storms and power outages have resulted in the death of one individual and a number of injuries here in Dutchess County.  Take a few minutes to visit these websites for way to protect your home from carbon monoxide poisoning:

- NY State Department of Health -

- NYSDOH  Fact Sheet: What You Need To Know about Carbon Monoxide

- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - 

- Frequently Asked Questions -

- US Environmental Protection Agency -

- Poison Control Center - 1-800-222-1222 -

- CO & Generators (video)



A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH,Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH
Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health
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