National Women’s Health Week, celebrated May 12-18, serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build healthy habits for life. The Jackson County Department of Public Health supports this week and encourages all women to be as healthy as possible.

There are many steps that women can take to improve their physical and mental health. Some of these steps include:

• Visiting a doctor or nurse for an annual checkup, preventative screening and vaccines. JCDPH offers many programs, such as the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, Family Planning Program, Maternal Health Program, and Immunization Program that can help women meet these needs.

• Getting active. Find an exercise routine that fits your lifestyle and goals.

• Eating healthy. If you need help in developing healthy eating habits, consider reaching out to JCDPH’s registered dietitian. There are many nutrition programs, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program, Diabetes Self-Management Education, and Medical Nutrition Therapy, that can help you make healthy eating choices and manage any diagnoses you may have.

• Paying attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.

• Practicing safe behaviors such as not texting while driving, taking steps to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections, and quitting smoking. JCDPH employs a Tobacco Cessation Specialist who can assist you with your smoking cessation goals.

These steps are the foundation for a lifetime for good health. During National Women’s Health Week, consider taking them to help you be as healthy as possible. For questions, call JCDPH at 586-8994.

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Every May, the Jackson County Department of Public Health and Safe Kids Jackson County recognize Child Passenger Safety Technicians in honor of CPS Technician Month.

CPS technicians are a valuable community resource, working to:

• Educate families at checkup events.

• Answer questions and make referrals.

• Provide community presentations.

• Participate in health and safety fairs.

• Provide current, culturally-sensitive materials and information.

Six CPS technicians are available at the Health Department to assist with child safety seat checks, provide educational information on child safety seats, and assist with the purchase and installation of a new child safety seat. Technicians are on duty from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every Thursday. To make an appointment, call 587-8289. If interested in getting certified to become a CPS technician, visit cert.safekids.org/become-tech/find-or-register-course.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases for blindness in adults. It can cause a disease of the eye called diabetic retinopathy. In its early stages, you may not notice symptoms or changes to your eyesight which is why early detection is very important to prevent blindness.

To help raise awareness of this issue and prevent blindness, the Jackson County Department of Public Health has partnered with Prevent Blindness North Carolina to provide free retinal screenings to those that qualify from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 at the Health Department (154 Medical Park Loop in Sylva). Those who wish to participate should call 587-8289 to make an appointment.

To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old and have not had an eye exam in the past two years and:

• Have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes,

• Have been diagnosed with diabetes, or

• Have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

For questions about the screening or to make an appointment, call 587-8289.