Public Health News

Food council needs donations from gardeners

Plant a Row for the Hungry, coordinated locally by the Ottawa County Food Policy Council, is a program for gardeners to donate a designated row of their garden to food banks and soup kitchens. Gardeners grow produce as they have in the past; and when they harvest, at various points in the growing season, they bag up the designated produce and bring it to a local food resource center. Pledge to Plant a Row for the Hungry and find participating locations at or call (616) 393-5799. “According to the Feeding America Ottawa County Hunger Study, 60% of pantries said fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive to purchase. The Plant a Row program is a way for pantries to get fresh, locally-grown produce at no cost” said Amy Sheele, Health Educator at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.



Congratulations to…

Congratulations to Stew Whitney, Environmental Health Supervisor with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Stew was one of 15 people selected to receive a scholarship to attend the National Environmental Health Association Annual Conference this summer in Orlando.  “Environmental Health has a direct positive impact on the environment as well as public health. I find value in the fact that we get to run programs that make a measurable difference in our community,” said Stewart Whitney.


It’s Tick Season – Watch out for the bite!

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well. (Source)



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