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Virginia Department of Health


We Would Like to Hear From You

Take this quick survey and tell us about the health needs and strengths in your community. This survey will help guide the Virginia Department of Health’s priorities for improving the health of Virginia’s families for the next five years.

The survey will be open until September 1, 2014. It is anonymous and only takes 10 minutes to complete.

Stay Safe and Healthy While On Vacation

vacation destination

Photo by Pedro Szekely / CC BY-SA 2.0

Vaccinate before your vacation. Make sure your vaccinations are current. Many places in the world recommend specific vaccines before you visit. Some diseases that are not common in the United States still exist in other parts of the world. You should get vaccines at least two weeks before you travel.

Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention

Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention

Planning to cool off at the swimming pool or plan a trip to the beach? Learn about ways that swimmers, parents, pool owners and operators, and public health can maximize the health benefits of water activity, while avoiding water-associated illness and injury:

Virginia Health Information
'Virginia Health Information' is a resource for patients and consumers looking to learn about and compare options on everything from obstetrical services, to heart care, to pricing information on commonly performed medical procedures. Virginians can use VHI information to make informed health care purchasing decisions and as the basis for an informed conversation with their health care providers. Learn more>>

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Ebola: What You Need to Know

Ebola is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease. Sporadic cases and outbreaks of Ebola have been reported throughout Africa. No cases of human illness have ever been diagnosed or spread within the U.S.

Ebola is NOT readily transmitted through the air from person to person like the flu or common cold. Rather, it is transmitted by contact with the blood and other body fluids (such as vomit, urine and stool) of an ill person. So it's unlikely that someone would catch Ebola from simply being on the same plane or in the same public space with someone who was affected.

The countries in Africa struggling with Ebola have limited resources and a lack of modern medical care or facilities. This is one of the main reasons health care workers are having difficulty getting the outbreak under control.

If someone with Ebola came to the U.S., it is unlikely it would turn into an outbreak like in West Africa. That is because the U.S. has a strong health-care infrastructure.

Modern hospitals use procedures to prevent the disease from spreading, and public health officials would work to identify those at risk of infection to prevent them from spreading it to other people.

The Virginia Department of Health has a plan in place to work with its partners in the event a suspected case of Ebola is reported in the state.

Still, Ebola is serious and health officials are working with health care providers to make sure that travelers returning to the U.S. who could possibly have the virus are quickly identified, and that disease control measures are quickly put into place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people not to travel to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, if at all possible.

More information:

National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life!

Infant feeding is one of the most important decisions a family can make.  Research shows that babies who receive only breast milk for the first six months of life are less likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases, including ear infections, diarrheal diseases, asthma, obesity and respiratory illnesses. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding with a decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. When mothers and babies succeed in their breastfeeding plans, they can enjoy a lifetime of benefits.

Learn More about Breastfeeding:

Staying Healthy During Hot Weather

Heatstroke Prevention

Summer temperatures in Virginia normally climb into the upper 90’s and even reach over 100 degrees at times. The hot temperatures and high heat indexes can cause ill health effects.

The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause cramping, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death. It is important to stay hydrated and seek cool temperature environments until the heat subsides. 

Read more tips to avoid heat-related illness during the summer.

woman gardening

7 Ways to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes can make you sick through their bites. Mosquitoes spread malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya through their bite. Prevent mosquito bites by controlling the number of mosquitoes around you and protecting yourself from their bites. Remember to:

  1. Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
  2. If possible, stay inside when mosquitoes are biting.
  3. Use bug spray with the smallest percentage of DEET needed for the amount of time you are exposed to mosquitoes. Use according to the manufacturer’s directions and DEET should not be applied to infants under 2 months old.
  4. Turn over or get rid of containers in your yard where water gathers, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
  5. Remove standing water on tarps or flat roofs.
  6. Clean out birdbaths and wading pools once a week.
  7. Clean roof gutters and downspout screens.

Last Updated: 08-12-2014

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