Community Needs Assessment
for the Town of Newtown, CT
in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings
HELPFUL RESOURCES from the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services:
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE for
IMPORTANT INFO about our effort to BLAST Tick-borne Disease out of our lives!!!
See our Tick Information & Test Result page for more info and helpful links
Be a Tick Fighter...BLAST Tick-Borne Diseases out of our lives!
Tick season is here and the Newtown Health District is promoting the BLAST Tick-Borne Diseases program. BLAST stands for the five most important things YOU and your family can do to stay safe from tick-borne diseases.
It is important to BE AWARE of the risks of Tick-borne Disease – Everyone should understand that we live in an area where Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are widespread. The good news is that tick-borne disease is preventable. We should be aware of how the disease is transmitted, what to look for, how to minimize contact with ticks and what steps to take if you suspect you have become infected. Education and awareness will greatly improve your ability to prevent tick-borne disease.
- B stands for bathing soon after spending time outdoors. A recent study showed that people who bathed or showered within 2 hours of coming indoors did not contract Lyme disease as frequently as those who did not bathe or shower soon.
- L reminds everyone to look their bodies over for ticks daily and remove them properly. Speedy removal helps avoid disease transmission. Remove ticks carefully by their mouth parts with a tweezer and save them in a plastic bag for identification. Contact your local health department for tick-testing policies and notify your physician if you have any concerns. “L” also reminds us to look for expanding rashes and reported them to your physician in a timely manner. The painless erythema migrans (EM) rash sometimes seen with Lyme disease can often go unnoticed and will eventually disappear while the infection remains. Other early symptoms include fatigue, headache, fever and achy muscles and joints.
- A encourages you to avoid ticks when possible, and to become educated about repellants and apply them appropriately. Know where ticks live and avoid those areas: Ticks don’t like sunny, dry areas; they like shade, shelter and moisture. ~Ticks can be found in leaf litter, shaded gardens, weeds, tall grass, shrubs, low trees, and ground cover like pachysandra. Dress properly when entering potentially tick-infested areas: Wear long pants that are light-colored to allow easy identification of ticks. ~Tuck your pant legs into socks and shirt into pants. ~Tape pant legs and wear long sleeves when working near the ground. ~Cover hair with a hat. ~Tie long hair back. Apply repellent. Studies have shown that applying 30-40% DEET-based repellant to skin is effective at
repelling blacklegged (deer) ticks. Application of 0.5% permethrin-based insecticide to clothing is highly effective at repelling and even killing ticks. Clothing treated with permethrin can be washed several times and still retains its repellant properties. The use of repellants, while proven effective is a personal decision. For more information on tick repellants, visit the National Pesticide Information Center's website.
- S stands for safeguarding your yard to reduce your possible tick exposure. Spraying the yard can reduce tick abundance. Homeowners should consider the benefits of applying pesticide to the perimeter of their yards. Studies have shown that even one application of pesticide at the right time of year and in the best location can reduce blacklegged tick populations by 85 – 90%. Complete information on tick management is available at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website. Additional safeguards include creating a “Tick Safe Zone”, in which the homeowner manages their yard to make it less hospitable to ticks, by doing the following: remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edges of lawns; place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration to recreational areas; mow the lawn and clear brush and leaf litter frequently; keep the ground under bird feeders clean; stack wood neatly and in dry areas; and
keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees. Deer play an important role in the tick’s life cycle, often serving as the third and final blood meal. Deer should be discouraged from migrating into your yard by using deer-resistant plantings and residents should not feed deer. The Health District has an excellent brochure that can guide homeowners with making changes in their yards.
- T reminds everyone about treatment. In general people who begin medical treatment soon after becoming infected, have a quicker and more complete recovery from Lyme and other tick-borne disease. Learning to recognize the symptoms and receiving early medical treatment will help to prevent more serious illness. Erythema migrans (EM) is a rash and can be the first symptom of Lyme disease. The telltale rash starts as a small red spot at the site of the bite and gets larger over a period of days or weeks and forms a red rash shaped like a circle or oval. Not everyone gets or sees the rash. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, stiff neck, body aches and tiredness. Although these symptoms may be like those of common viral infections such as the flu, Lyme disease symptoms tend to continue longer
or may come and go. Lyme disease can also affect your nervous system, causing symptoms such as stiff neck, severe headache (meningitis), temporary paralysis of the facial muscles (Bell’s palsy), numbness, pain or weakness in the limbs and poor muscle movement. Other more serious long term affects may include memory loss, difficulty with concentration and change in mood or sleep habits. Less commonly, people who have not taken antibiotics may develop heart or other problems weeks, months, or even years after they were infected with Lyme bacteria. Receiving early medical treatment is the key to preventing long term health effects. It is also important to treat your pets. Local veterinarians offer a variety of methods for protecting animals from tick-borne diseases. Dogs and cats increase one’s chances of exposure to Tick-Borne Disease. Pets can carry ticks in to the home on their fur. Pet owners should be cautious about sleeping with their pets.
For additional information on the BLAST Tick-Borne Disease prevention program, contact Donna Culbert at the Newtown Health District. Phone 203-270-4291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Make everyone in the family a Tick-Borne Disease fighter this year. BLAST Tick-Borne Disease.
For more information about staying safe and healthy after a disaster or storm, visit
RE: Food and Water Safety after Storms/Extended Power Outages
With thousands of households in town without power, it is important to prevent
getting sick from food that has spoiled or water that has been contaminated. The Department of Public Health provides the following tips to stay healthy:
Food Safety: When in doubt, throw it out!
- The refrigerator will keep food at proper temperature for about four hours if the doors are not opened. A full freezer will hold a safe temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full).
- If the temperature in your refrigerator or freezer goes above 40 degrees, throw away perishable foods such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and cut fruits and vegetables.
- Food can be safely refrozen if it still has ice crystals on it or has stayed below 40 degrees.
- Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. This includes
packaged food items in plastic, paper, cardboard, cloth, and similar containers that may have been water damaged, as well as beverage containers with screw-caps, snap lids, crimped caps (soda bottles), twist caps, flip tops, and home canned foods, as these tops cannot be disinfected appropriately. In addition, lids of commercially canned foods should be sanitized (bleach and water solution) prior to use.
- As always, if there is any doubt as to the safety of the food, it is best to discard the food rather than take a chance of contracting a foodborne illness. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!
- The public water supply in Newtown has remained safe for drinking and bathing. If that condition changes, an advisory will be issued.
- If an advisory is issued concerning contaminated water, use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, food preparation, and hand washing.
- Homeowners in flooded areas whose private wells have flooded (flood waters submerged their wells) should consider their wells contaminated. For information on disinfecting flooded wells, go to www.ct.gov/dph/floods or call the Newtown Health District at (203) 270-4291.
Throw away any bottled water that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.
Toilet Flushing During an outage, you may flush a toilet, then pour water into the toilet tank (not the bowl) before flushing again. Turn off the water supply to the toilet before flushing. Toilet tanks vary and hold several gallons of water, so plan accordingly.
TEMPORARY FOOD EVENT NOTICE
As warmer weather approaches and with summer just around the corner many groups and organizations are preparing for seasonal events such as church fairs, fund raising picnics and carnivals. The Newtown Health District wants to help make these events healthy, safe and successful by ensuring that food served at these events is safe for the public to consume. To do this the health district requires that any operation offering food to the public obtain a temporary food service license. If your facility rents space to groups serving food to the public, please advice them to contact the health district.
Organizers may obtain an application for a temporary food service license from the health district or online (see above) and should submit it at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event. Every applicant will receive a Temporary Food Service Guide containing basic food safety information and personal instruction on proper food handling. To review specific details regarding upcoming events please contact Suzette Le Blanc @ email@example.com or by calling the health district at 203-270-4291.
The Newtown Health District is located at 3 Primrose Street in Newtown. Please contact Newtown Health District for more information and to obtain a Temporary Food Service License application (download application above).