Georgia Department of Public Health encourages “eclipse glasses” for 2017 total eclipse

solar glassesNorth Ga. – On Monday, Aug. 21, Georgia will be among 14 states to experience a total eclipse of the sun. The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds those who will watch the solar eclipse that it’s never safe to look directly at the sun, or eye damage may occur. 

Viewing the solar eclipse should be done through “eclipse glasses” that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. See the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers for a list of dealers of eclipse glasses. To find out which libraries near you are distributing free eclipse glasses, see the library map on the STAR_Net website.

Retinal damage to eyes may occur while attempting to stare at the sun. Solar retinopathy is a result of too much ultraviolet light flooding the retina. Never look directly at the sun without proper protection – using ISO 12312-2 lenses. If you damage your eyes trying to view the solar eclipse, please contact your healthcare provider.

NASA’s additional recommendations for safe eclipse viewing are:

  • Stand still, and put on your eclipse glasses before looking up at the eclipse. Turn away to remove your eclipse glasses — do not remove them while looking at the sun.   

  • Do not look at the eclipse through a camera, a telescope or binoculars while using your eclipse glasses — the sun will damage the filter and your eyes.

  • Always inspect your eclipse glasses before use; if scratched or damaged, do not use.

  • Supervise children viewing the eclipse.

  • Remove your eclipse glasses only when the moon completely covers the sun and it gets dark. Then, as soon as the sun begins to reappear, put your eclipse glasses back on.

The last time the U.S. saw a total eclipse was 1979. During this year’s eclipse, the moon will fully block the sun for two minutes and 40 seconds. Only the northeast corner of Georgia will experience this; the rest of the state will see a partial eclipse. The moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, blocking all or part of the sun, for up to three hours.     

Learn more about safely viewing the solar eclipse at:

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North Georgia Health District, County Health Departments close early to the public on solar eclipse day

Solar EclipseNorth Georgia – The North Georgia Health District office in Dalton and our health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties will close early to clients and visitors on Monday, August 21st in the interest of public safety during the solar eclipse. The health departments will close at 12 PM and the district office will close at 1 PM. This closing applies to all public health services in the district, including Environmental Health, WIC and Children’s Health services.

If viewing the solar eclipse, residents are urged to follow these safety precautions:


  • Do not look directly at the sun
  • Sunglasses do not provide sufficient protection
  • Only look at the sun through an approved solar filter
  • For even safer viewing, observe indirectly by projecting the sun’s image onto a blank sheet of white paper with a pinhole camera or with binoculars


For more safety information, log onto NASA’s website at

Public Health urges two separate shots against Chickenpox

chickenpox childTakes 2 Shots to Beat Chickenpox!

N. GA Health District - Chickenpox is highly contagious and the majority of confirmed cases are in children who are not vaccinated. Chickenpox and shingles are both caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults and people with weakened immune systems.


The best way to protect against chickenpox is to get the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine, and the CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults. Children should receive the first dose at 12 through 15 months old and a second dose during ages 4 to 6.


The North Georgia Health District and County Health Department officials urge that if anyone or their children have not yet received the recommended doses of chickenpox vaccine, contact the local county health department (contact information is accessible by clicking the above LOCATIONS tab) or call a private healthcare provider.


Chickenpox spreads easily from infected people to others who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine. Chickenpox spreads in the air through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters.


Just as with other vaccine preventable diseases, the best prevention of chickenpox is vaccination, and even though some people who have been vaccinated against chickenpox can still get the disease, their symptoms are usually milder with fewer blisters and with low or no fever. Before the vaccine, chickenpox was very common in the United States. About 4 million people would get chickenpox every year with over 10,000 hospitalizations and 100 to 150 deaths.


Two doses of vaccine are about 90% effective at preventing chickenpox. When vaccinated, people protect themselves and others in their communities. This is especially important for people who cannot get vaccinated, such as those with weakened immune systems or pregnant women.


Chickenpox most commonly causes an illness that lasts about 5-7 days. The classic symptom of chickenpox is a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs. The rash may first show up on the face, chest, and back then spread to the rest of the body, including inside the mouth, eyelids, or genital area. It usually takes about one week for all the blisters to become scabs. Other symptoms that may appear a day or two earlier are fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache. Children may miss 5 to 6 days of school or childcare due to chickenpox.


Find more information about chickenpox from the CDC at


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