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Department: Health Education & Nursing

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  • Health - Nursing
    • What services does the township offer children with no medical coverage?

      The Well-Child clinic is held once a month at the Nurse's office at the West Milford Town Hall via appointment only. Childhood vaccinations are available for families without health insurance or with NJ Family Care Part A. Please call the Nursing Division of the Health Department to schedule an appointment.  The nurses can be reached at 973-728-2720 Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

    • What is Melanoma Skin Cancer?

      What is Melanoma Skin Cancer?  Melanoma is a cancer that starts as a certain type of skin cell. To understand melanoma, it helps to know a little about the skin.  Normal Skin is the largest organ in the body.  It does many different things.  It covers and protects the organs inside the body, helps to keep out germs, helps keep in water and other fluids, helps control body temperature, sends messages to the brain about heat, cold, touch and pain.


      The skin has 3 layers. Form the outside in, they are epidermis, dermis, subcutis. The top layer of skin, the epidermis, is very thin and protects the deeper layers of skin and the organs,  The epidermis itself has 3 layers.  The bottom layer is made up of basal cells. These basal cells divide from keratinocytes, which make a protein called keratin.  This protein helps the skin protect the body. The outermost part of the epidermis is called the stratum corneum, or horny layer. It is made of dead keratinoycytes that are shed as new ones form. The cells in this layer are called squamous cells.

      Another type of cell, the melanocyte, is also foundint he epidermis.  These cells make the brown pigment called malanin. Melanin makes skin tan or brown and protects the deeper layers of the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun.  Melanocytes are the cells that can become melanoma.

      A layer called the basement membrane separates the epidermis from the deeper layers of skin. The basement membrane is important because when a cancer becomes more advanced it grows through this barrier. 

      Melanoma skin cancers: 
      Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes. Because most of these cells still make melanin, melanoma tumors are often brown or black.  But this is not always the case, the melanomas can also hve no color.  Melanoma most often starts on the trunk (chest or back) in men and the legs of women, but it can start in other places, too.  Having dark skin lowers the risk of melanoma.  But it does not mean that a person with dark skin will never get melanoma.

      Other skin cancers:
      Skin cancers that are not melanoma are sometimes grouped together as non-melanoma skin cancers because they start in skin cells other than mlanocytes.  These cancers include basal and squamous cell cancers. They are much more common than melanoma.  Because they rarely spread, basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are less worrisome and are treated differently than melanoma. 

      Skin tumors that are not cancerous: 
      Most skin tumors are not cancer (they are benign).  These rarely, if ever, turn into cancer. 

      Some of them include:
      Seborrheic keratoses - tan, brown, or black raised spots with "waxy" texture, or rough surface
      Hemangiomas - benign blood vessel growths often called strawberry spots or port wine stains.
      Lipomas - soft growths of benign fat cells
      Warts - rough-surfaced growths caused by a virus 
      Moles (also called nevi) - benign skin tumors that start from melanocytes
      Spitz nevus - a kind of skin tumor that somethimes looks a lot like melanoma

      Last revised: 3/29/2010 www.cancer.org

    • Enterovirus-D68

      Perhaps you've heard recently about a virus that is especially affecting children.  It is called Enterovirus-D-68.  Enteroviruses are very common viruses.  In the United States, people are more likely to get infected during the summer and fall.

      We are currently in the middle of the enterovirus season.  Infants, children, and teenages are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become sick because they do not have immunity from pervious exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, body and muscle aches. Severe symptoms may iclude difficulty breathing and wheezing.  those with asthma may experiience worsening asthma. 

      Adults can also get it, but they are more likely to have no symptoms or mild symptoms.  Here's how to protect yourself and your family:

      * Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds especially after changing diapers
      * Hand sanitzer is NOT effective against Enterovirus-D-68
      * Avoid touchng eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
      * Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are
      * Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, and toilet handles, especially if someone is sick

      Please call the Health Department at 973-728-2725 for more information.

      See also attached a link from NJ Dept of Health which will give updates on Ebola   https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/vhf/index.shtml
      October  9, 2014


    • Ebola - line of defense

      " Knowledge is the best line of defense", the West Milford Health Department believes storngly in this statement. We would like to educate the community on with the facts on Ebola.

      Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease that can occur in humans and some animals, caused by a viral infection.  Ebola is spread with direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected, symptomatic person.  It can also be spread through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.  Ebola is NOT transmitted through the air, food or water. During outbreaks of Ebola, those at highest risk include health care workers and the family and friends of the infected person.

      The symptoms of Ebola include:
      Joint & muscle aches
      Stomach pain
      Lack of apetite
      Red eyes
      Difficulty breathing adn swallowing
      Bleeding inside and outside the body

      Symptoms can appear somewhere from 20 to 21 days after exposure to the virus, but it should be noted that 8 to 10 days is most common.  If  symptoms start later than 21 days after exposure, the patient likely does not have Ebola.

    • How do I keep my Kidneys healthy?

      March is National Kidney Health Month – How to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
      The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid. The urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two thin tubes of muscle called ureters, one on each side of the bladder. The bladder stores urine. The muscles of the bladder wall remain relaxed while the bladder fills with urine. As the bladder fills to capacity, signals sent to the brain tell a person to find a toilet soon. When the bladder empties, urine flows out of the body through a tube called the urethra, located at the bottom of the bladder. In men the urethra is long, while in women it is short.
      Why are the kidneys important?
      The kidneys are important because they keep the makeup of the blood stable, which lets the body function. They
      prevent the buildup of wastes and extra fluid in the body
      keep sodium, potassium, and phosphate levels stable
      They also make hormones that help:
      regulate blood pressure
      make red blood cells
      bones stay strong
      How do the kidneys work?
      The kidney is not one large filter. Each kidney is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron filters a small amount of blood. The nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The nephrons work through a two-step process. The glomerulus lets fluid and waste products pass through it; however, it prevents blood cells and large molecules, mostly proteins, from passing. The filtered fluid then passes through the tubule, which sends needed minerals back to the bloodstream and removes wastes. The final product becomes urine.

      Information from: https://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/
      The steps you take to keep your kidneys healthy help the rest of your body too. Talk to your health care provider to find out the steps that are right for you.
      If you are at risk for kidney disease, the most important steps you can take to keep your kidneys healthy are:

      • < >Get your blood and urine checked for kidney disease.< >Manage your diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.< >Keep your blood pressure at the target set by your health care provider. For most people, the blood pressure target is less than 140/90 mm Hg. This can delay or prevent kidney failure.< >If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose level.< >Keep your cholesterol levels in the target range.< >Take medicines the way your provider tells you to. (Important! Certain blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors and ARBs may protect your kidneys. Ask your health care provider for more information.)< >Cut back on salt. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.< >Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.< >Limit your alcohol intake.< >Be more physically active.< >Lose weight if you are overweight.< >If you smoke, take steps to quit. Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse.http://nkdep.nih.gov/learn/keep-kidneys-healthy.shtml
        Some people are also at risk for developing certain diseases of the kidney. For more information on risk factors, please see: The National Kidney Foundation