Healthy people, families, and communities.



From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website

Young blonde boy carrying an American Flag over a wooden Bridge.

The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate Uncle Sam, enjoy the summer weather, and spend time with family and friends. Keep these five things in mind as you plan your Fourth of July celebration.

Prevent fireworks injuries

Fireworks can cause death and injury, including burns, cuts, bruises, and foreign objects in your eyes.

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
  • Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper, which often means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumers.
  • Make sure you and your family watch fireworks displays from a safe distance.
  • Call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

Beat the heat

In hot temperatures your body may be unable to properly cool itself. This could lead to serious health problems.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher – the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.
  • Stay in the shade!

Don’t let a stomach bug slow you down

The summer months typically see a spike in reports of foodborne illness. Keep the food safe at your 4th of July picnic or BBQ.

  • Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry and ready to eat foods, like raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs.
  • Don’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours – one hour if the outside temperature is over 90 degrees. Keep perishable food in an insulated cooler packed with ice or ice packs.

Prepare to take the plunge

Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1 to 4 years old than any other cause except birth defects.

  • Designate a responsible adult to watch all children swimming or playing in or around water. Drowning occurs quickly and quietly, so adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Always swim with a buddy. Whenever possible choose swimming sites that have lifeguards.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous.

Fight the bite

Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, and some flies can spread diseases like Zika, dengue, and Lyme disease.

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET for protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks for maximum protection.
  • Check yourself and your children for ticks. Ticks are easy to remove.

You can find more tips for a safe and healthy summer by contacting your local health department in the North Georgia Health District: Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County -- or log onto the CDC website. Happy 4th of July!

One-Stop Spot for School State Health Requirements! 

CherHDBacktoSchool flyer July2018 for WebIs your child ready for the upcoming school year? The Cherokee County Health Department is conducting a Back To School Rush Health Clinic on Tuesday, July 24th from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at public health department locations in both Canton and Woodstock. The required Hearing, Dental, Vision and BMI/Nutrition Screenings will be available: Total cost for screenings is $50. Also, immunizations will be provided for school-age children for $21.90 each (for uninsured or underinsured). Medicaid (including Amerigroup, Caresource, Peachstate and Wellcare), Peachcare for Kids, HUMANA, AETNA, United Health Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ambetter, CIGNA and Coventry are accepted. The health department location in Canton is 1219 Univeter Road and the address in Woodstock is 7545 North Main Street. For more information, please call (770) 345-7371 in Canton or (770) 928-0133 in Woodstock.

Gov. Nathan Deal Proclaims June 25 - 29 , 2018 as Environmental Health Week in Georgia

What does local Environmental Health do for you?

Let us COUNT the ways!


EHW smExactly what is Environmental Health?  Most people are  surprised to learn about all the  different things we do to protect the health of people in the North Georgia Health District. We enforce regulations but we also provide many services to the public. We are part of public health but overlap with areas of environmental protection. At any time, you just might find us:

1. Inspecting a restaurant (click HERE for latest Restaurant Scores in North Georgia)

2. Giving advice to a homeowner on asbestos or lead paint

3. Investigating a complaint

4. Issuing a septic system permit

5. Interviewing a victim of West Nile

6. Reviewing a subdivision

7. Sending off the head of a raccoon for rabies testing

... and many more activities. We’ve come a long way from the days when most of environmental health concerned simple sanitation. For more information, you can click on the page of your local Environmental Health office in North Georgia in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County.


Many thanks to Gov. Nathan Deal for proclaiming June 25 - 29, 2018 as Environmental Health Week in Georgia!

Environmental Health Week 2018


peeking sun


Five Minutes or Less for Health Weekly Tip: Be Summer-Savvy

Summer brings a lot of fun and a lot of health and safety challenges. Take a few minutes to be safe and healthy.



1. Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets on the water.

2. Put on sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin from the sun.

3. Drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty.

4. Put on insect repellent.

5.  Wash your hands often.


- - - - - - - - - - - -


NGHD Logo New Style 2017 SMIt's also important to visit your local county health department to make sure you are keeping up with all the immunizations, health screenings and testing that are essential for your health and the health of the ones you love. The public health departments within the North Georgia Health District are located in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. Just click on the name of your county for access to health department information, including all available public health services and the health department's address and phone number.

Learn More

 YOU could be HIV positive. Get FREE Testing! 

Natl HIV Testing Day 2018 graphic for webNorth GA - Why should you get an HIV test?

Because, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials, about one in seven people in the United States is HIV positive and they don’t know it. If you are age 13 to 64, you should get tested for HIV at least once. *People at higher risk should get tested more often.

 National HIV Testing Day on Wednesday, June 27th is your opportunity in North Georgia to get HIV tested for FREE at your local public health department in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties or at The Living Bridge Center in Dalton. Just click on the above LOCATIONS tab to find your health department or The Living Bridge Center hours of operation, phone number and location, or call the North Georgia Health District at (706) 529-5757.

 Our HIV testing is fast, safe and confidential.

 National HIV Testing Day is an annual occasion to encourage people to get an HIV test. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. *People with certain risk factors should get tested more often. People who test HIV positive can take medicines to stay healthy and greatly reduce their chance of transmitting the virus. People who test negative can continue to take steps to prevent HIV infection, such as always using a condom during sex.

FarmersMarketsthis Summer in North Georgia!

 Farmers Markets in Jasper Aug 21 website

 Come get your delicious fresh fruits and vegetables this summer at several Farmers Markets presented by North Georgia's Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services.

Affordably priced and locally grown, these fresh fruits and vegetables come with free recipes for preparing healthy, nutritious and scrumptious meals!

Families on the WIC program who attend will be provided $30 worth of produce one time this year.

Participating farmers are from Brown’s Produce of Tunnel Hill and R & A Orchards of Ellijay.

Farmers Markets in North GA for Web enlargeThe Farmers Markets will be held this summer on these dates at these locations:

  • Dalton's Mack Gaston Community Center, 218 N. Frederick Street, Dalton - Thursday, June 14th, 8 AM - 2 PM
  • Murray County Health Department, 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth  - Tuesday, June 19th, 8 AM - 2 PM
  • Pickens County Health Department, 60 Health Way, Jasper - Tuesday, June 19th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Whitfield County Health Department - Thursday, June 21st, 8 AM - 2 PM
  • Fannin County Health Department, 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge - Thursday, June 21st, 8 AM - Noon
  • Gilmer County Health Department, 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay - Tuesday, June 26th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Canton Health Center, 1219 Univeter Road, Canton - Tuesday, July 3rd, 8 AM - Noon
  • Dalton's Mack Gaston Community Center, 218 N. Frederick Street, Dalton - Thursday, July 12th, 8 AM - 2 PM
  • Pickens County Health Department, 60 Health Way, Jasper - Tuesday, July 17th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main Street, Woodstock - Wednesday, July 18th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Fannin County Health Department, 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge - Thursday, July 19th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Whitfield County Health Department, 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton - Thursday, July 19th, 8 AM - 2 PM
  • Murray County Health Department, 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth - Tuesday, July 24th, 8 AM - 2 PM
  • Gilmer County Health Department, 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay - Tuesday, July 31st, 8 AM - Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Canton Health Center, 1219 Univeter Road, Canton - Wednesday, August 1st, 8 AM - Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main Street, Woodstock - Wednesday, August 15th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Fannin County Health Department, 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge - Thursday, August 16th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Pickens County Health Department, 60 Health Way, Jasper - Tuesday, August 21st, 8 AM - Noon
  • Gilmer County Health Department, 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay - Tuesday, August 28th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Canton Health Center, 1219 Univeter Road, Canton - Wednesday, September 5th, 8 AM - Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main Street, Woodstock - Wednesday, September 19th, 8 AM - Noon


For more information, call (706) 370-4700.


Georgia WIC

NGHD Logo New Style 2017 SM

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During this time of social distancing due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, North Georgia WIC is implementing alternative services for our clients to receive their vouchers. Please call (706) 370-4700.


All the latest guidance and recommendations from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC can be found on the North Georgia Health District website at



See these WIC APPROVED FOOD CHANGES due to COVID-19 until September 30, 2020

COVID 19 WIC Changes thru May 31       WIC Change 2

Help When Help is Most Needed

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program is a federally-funded health and nutrition program© for:

  • Infants and Children age 1 to 5 years (including foster children)
  • Pregnant Women
  • Breastfeeding Mothers (up to 1 year)
  • Postpartum Women (up to 6 months)

How Do I Qualify For WIC Benefits?

Generally, WIC is available to:

  • low income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women
  • low income parent or guardian who is the sole provider of children under age five who are at nutritional risk and who are at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level

You can take the WIC Eligibility Assessment to see if you qualify* or contact your local WIC office to make an appointment and find out which documents you will need to bring with you. (To find your local WIC agency use the clinic listing)  At your appointment, WIC staff will check to see if you and your family qualify).

*This online tool is only a preliminary assessment – only Local WIC Agency staff can determine if you qualify for WIC services.

What WIC Provides

  • Special checks to buy healthy foods from WIC-authorized vendors – milk, eggs, bread, cereal, juice, peanut butter, and much more (see Authorized Foods)
  • Information about nutrition and health to help you and your family eat well and be healthy
  • Support and information about breastfeeding your baby
  • Help in finding health care and other community services

How to Locate Services within the North Georgia Health District

WIC has offices in all our North Georgia public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties - click on the name of the county nearest you for your North Georgia WIC contact information or dial 1-866-942-9675.

Interested in finding out about Zika?  Click here.

Contact Information at the Georgia Department of Public Health

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
2 Peachtree Street, NW
10th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303
Participants should call: 1-800-228-9173
Vendors should call: 1-866-814-5468

Office of the Inspector General
Email Reports of Fraud, Waste & Abuse


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Notice of Non Discrimination web buttonNotice of Non Discrimination web button Sp

For CDC WIC Info visit the CDC page.


From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Time to take steps to be healthier, but you're NOT alone!

Two men playing baskeballNational Men’s Health Week is observed each year leading up to Father’s Day. This week is a reminder for men to take steps to be healthier, but they don’t have to do it alone! Whether it’s your husband, partner, dad, brother, son, or friend you can help support the health and safety of the men in your life.

For more information, contact your local North Georgia public health department in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County (click on county name to link to health department page and contact information).

Set an Example with Healthy Habits

You can support the men in your life by having healthy habits yourself and by making healthy choices.

  • Eat healthy and include a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
  • Regular physical activity has many benefits . It can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers, and can improve your mental health and mood. Find fun ways to be active together. Adults need 2½ hours of physical activity each week.
  • Set an example by choosing not to smoke and encourage the men in your life to quit smoking. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. You lower your risk for different types of cancer, and don’t expose others to secondhand smoke—which causes health problems. Call your state’s tobacco quitline (for English speakers, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW [1-800-784-8669]; for Spanish speakers, call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA [1-855-335-3569])
  • Help the men in your life recognize and reduce stress.Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that causes you to feel threatened or anxious. Learn ways to manage stress including finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

Tell Men to Use a Condom, Every Time

Although Zika is primarily spread through mosquitoes, it can also be spread through sex by a person with Zika to his or her sex partner(s). If you’ve traveled to an area with Zika, use a condom to protect against infection every time you have sex (vaginal, anal, and oral sex). This is especially important if your partner is pregnant because Zika can cause serious birth defects. Learn more about Zika and Sex, including how to use a condom and how long you should use condoms after travel. Condoms can also protect against HIV and other STDs.

Remind Men to Get Regular Checkups

Encourage men to see a doctor or health professional for regular checkups and to learn about their family health history.

  • Men can prepare for doctor’s visits and learn which preventive tests or screenings they need. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups help identify issues early or before they can become a problem.
  • It’s important for men (and women) to understand their family health history, which is a written or graphic record of the diseases and health conditions present in your family. It is helpful to talk with family members about health history, write this information down, and update it from time to time.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. Know the signs of a heart attack and if you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack call 911 immediately. Major signs of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

Encourage Men to Seek Help for Depression

Depression is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide for both men and women. Learn to recognize the signs and how to help the men in your life.

  • Signs of depression include persistent sadness, grumpiness, feelings of hopelessness, tiredness and decreased energy, and thoughts of suicide.
  • Those that suffer from depression or anxiety should seek help as early as possible. If you or someone you care about is in crisis, please seek help immediately.
    • Call 911
    • Visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider’s office
    • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor

Mens Health Month 2018 3 Take Aways 4web

394083A7 E980 4E97 8563 3C7CC20DCA3CWe are joining organizations across the country to team up for Men’s Health!

To celebrate Men’s Health Month, North Georgia Health District joins Men’s Health Network, the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus, and hundreds of other local and national organizations to educate the public about the many preventable health problems that affect men and boys, and empower them and their loved ones to move towards a healthier, happier life.

Men die five years younger than women, on average, and die at higher rates for nine of the Top Ten causes of death. Men are the majority of workplace injuries, less likely to be insured, and far less likely to see a doctor for preventive care. All of this impacts their ability to be an involved father, supportive husband, and engaged member of their community.

“This year continues to be a pivotal one for men’s health—new guidance on prostate cancer screenings and the declining mortality rates for large groups of men means awareness and education is paramount,” says Ana Fadich, Vice President at Men’s Health Network.

More information is at our health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. Click on the above LOCATIONS tab to find the one nearest you. 

June is also National Men’s Health Week (NMHW), passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. It starts Monday, June 11, and ends on Father’s Day, June 17, 2018. Additional support comes from governors and mayors who issue proclamations for Men’s Health Week in their jurisdictions. You can find the proclamations here: You can also find more information on a variety of health issues at the Men’s Health Resource Center: and health profiles of men and boys in each state can be found at

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-Story by Raymond King, Director of Environmental Health, North Georgia Health District 1-2

Once flood waters in an area have receded and the most immediate safety hazards have passed, it's time to address the secondary health issues that can develop as a result of floodwater pollutants.

Be sure to protect your home, family and business by following these environmental health guidelines.

Keep Away from Flood Waters
Avoid any contact with flood waters, such as swimming, after a flood. Flood waters can contain large amounts of contaminants of all kinds, which can be hazardous. Fishing and other non-contact activities would not be affected.

Sanitize Flooded Areas

Floors, walls, equipment and furniture that have been covered with flood waters should be cleaned and sanitized to kill any bacteria or viruses. Wear gloves, eye protection and boots when working with contaminated areas and items. Items should be cleaned with soap and water, rinsed and then sanitized with a solution of a quarter cup of household bleach and one gallon of water. Do not mix bleach with any ammonia product and work in well-ventilated areas.


Mold is the most long-lasting effect of flooding. Unless a home's structural materials are completely dried, mold will grow behind the walls and under the floors. Do not replace sheet rock and other materials until the wood is dry, or mold will grow. If mold is already growing, spray the area with a household bleach solution. Keep the area vented and wear eye protection, gloves and boots. Contact your local county environmental health staff for more information about mold.

Well and Spring Contamination

If a well or spring was covered with flood waters, it must be considered contaminated. Do not drink or prepare foods with water from a well until it is disinfected and tested. Buy bottled water to drink and use for cooking.

The first recovery step is to pump out the well thoroughly, letting it run for at least 24 hours or until the water has no obvious color or smell. An outside faucet may be left on to run slowly for long periods of time so no damage will occur to the well pump.

Disinfect well water systems with two gallons of plain household bleach. Remember to not drink, bathe or cook with the water while bleach is in the system. Pour the bleach into the well or spring. Run all faucets until the bleach smell comes through in the water, then shut them off. Let the bleach stay in the water system for at least eight hours. To rid the system of bleach, turn on an outside faucet and let it run until all the bleach is gone, which may take 24 hours or longer. Only use an outside faucet to discharge the bleach water. Once the bleach is gone, make sure that the well or springhouse is sealed.

It may take two or more bleach disinfection procedures to rid the well or spring of contamination. For more information, contact the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office in your county.

Septic System Failures

In most cases of septic system failure, the only thing that can be done is to wait for the water levels in the soil to fall. If sewage comes to the top of the ground, the tank could be pumped for temporary relief. Usually, it does not take long for the system to function properly again. If flooding washed away the soil around the system, the system may need to be repaired or replaced. Call the local environmental health office with questions about a septic system.

Spoiled Food and Food Poisoning

If any flood waters have touched foods, throw them out. If the temperature in a refrigerator was at 60 degrees or higher for more than two hours, do not eat the food inside. There's no reliable way to tell if food will make you sick by looking at it or smelling it. When in doubt, throw it out.


Flooding leaves pools of water that are ideal for breeding mosquitoes, which can carry diseases like West Nile virus. Dump any water-filled containers around your home to discourage mosquitoes. Water that cannot be drained can be treated with certain insecticides and biological control agents. Always follow the label instructions for pesticides. 

For more information about preventing health hazards after a flood, please call your local environmental health office (see contact info by clicking on above LOCATIONS tab) or visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website