Boston PUblic Health Commission


‘Health Of Boston’ Mixes Good News And Bad: Teen Births Down, Racial Gaps Loom

This just in from the Boston Public Health Commission: The new “Health of Boston report is out, and mixes the good news with the bad:

Fewer Boston teens are having babies, fewer Boston public high school students are smoking, and fewer city children have elevated blood lead levels, according to the 2011 Health of Boston report released today by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

But amid the good news about the health of Boston residents in the 398-page report prepared by the Boston Public Health Commission were troubling signs that racial disparities persist. In 2009, the asthma hospitalization rate for black children ages 3 to 5 was four times the rate for white children; the tuberculosis rate for Asians was three times the rate for Boston residents overall; and the heart disease hospitalization rate for Latino males was more than twice the rate for white males. In 2010, a higher percentage of black and Latino adult residents were obese compared to white and Asian adult residents, while a higher percentage of adult smokers were white compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

“The Health of Boston report is always a sobering reminder that our work is far from finished, though every year we continue to see areas of progress,’’ Mayor Menino said. “This report will help us set our public health priorities so that we align resources where they are most needed.’’

Among the bright spots for Boston residents: Continue reading

Breaking: ‘Probable’ Bacterial Meningitis In Boston Latin Student

This just in from the Boston Public Health Commission, suggesting that we’ll know more after 11:

MEDIA ADVISORY: Press Availability on Probable Case of Bacterial Meningitis

BOSTON – Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission, will be available at 11 a.m. today, Monday, Nov. 21, for interviews to discuss the probable case of bacterial meningitis involving a student at Boston Latin Academy.

Here is the CDC page on meningitis, and Fox news reports on the Boston Latin case here:

“The school’s director of media relations says a probable case of bacterial meningitis was diagnosed over the weekend. The Boston Public Health Commission is calling the risk of transmission very low.
Parents should look out for symptoms such as fever, headaches, stiff neck and vomiting.
Last week, Hopedale announced a case of meningitis in their school district.”

‘Don’t Get Fat-Smacked!’ Boston Blitz Targets Sugary Drinks

Ever since my daughter’s second-grade class learned there were 16 teaspoons of sugar in a big glass of Coke, she refuses to touch the stuff. Now Boston mayor Tom Menino is aiming to have a similar effect, writ large, on the city’s youth.

From the Boston Public Health Commission:

As Boston prepares to phase out sugary drink sales in city-owned buildings, Mayor Thomas M. Menino today unveiled a hard-hitting public awareness campaign to get residents to reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which he and public health officials link to rising obesity rates and its impact on higher health care costs.

The campaign, developed by the Boston Public Health Commission, targets parents and caregivers who often make grocery-buying decisions for the household, and teens and young adults who consume more sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and other sugar-sweetened beverages than any other age group, according to a new US government nutrition study.

“With the launch of this campaign, I’m asking all parents in the city of Boston to join me in taking responsibility for helping young people choose healthier foods and beverages. And I’m asking youth – especially teenagers – to take a leadership role among your peers and push them to make healthier choices,” Mayor Menino said. Continue reading

Boston Issues New Nail Salon Health Rules

You may want to bring these along on your next mani-pedi. The Boston Public Health Commission has put out new rules aimed at protecting nail salon workers from chemical fumes and their clients from infection. Among them are:

  • All chemicals used in the salon shall be properly labeled and stored, including chemicals that have been removed from their original containers.
  • A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that lists the ingredients in each chemical and the risk of exposure must be kept on site and readily available for review by public health inspectors and salon employees.
  • Multi-use tools, including manicuring instruments, must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Single-use tools may not be reused.
  • Foot spas must be sanitized before and after each client and at the end of the day.
  • Nail technicians must wear impermeable gloves when handling chemicals that are potentially damaging to the skin or when performing any procedure that has a risk of breaking the client’s skin.

As WBUR reported this morning, the regulations are not aimed at closing salons down, but rather at keeping everybody — workers and clients — safe.