Is It Magic….or Public Health

Video Script developed by the NJ Health Officers Association

Every day local health department personnel work to prevent the spread of disease. Who checks the air, water and soil? How do parks, streets, schools, lakes and restaurants stay safe and clean? How does all this happen? IS IT MAGIC… OR PUBLIC HEALTH?”

Did you know there are over 2,000 strains of salmonella, alone?

Thousands report food-borne illnesses in New Jersey every year and your health department responds to local reports and investigates potential sources of outbreaks. Do you expect the people who prepare and serve you food in restaurants to know about safe food handling practices? That doesn’t just happen. Every health department routinely inspects food establishments AND actively educates the workers about safe food practices.

Local public health workers visit every school, examine vaccination records, and ensure that all NJ school children are protected from diseases such as measles, mumps, polio and whooping cough.

The flu season can present health risks to the elderly. Each year local health departments administer thousands of flu vaccinations and other adult vaccinations against life-threatening diseases like pneumonia and hepatitis.

“Ahhh.. Fresh air.”
So who watches the environment? Is it MAGIC… or public health that keeps our air, soil and water clean?

Your local health department investigates toxic spills, air pollution, contaminated water and even radioactive materials. Public health officials control environmental problems and nuisances such as rodents, insects, noxious weeds, stray or hostile animals, solid waste, water pollution, air pollution, noise, hazardous materials and hazardous waste –around your community.

That tastes good. Ever have to go without water? We all take safe drinking water for granted. Your local health department inspects the water and wastewater systems to keep drinking water safe and clean and protect the ground from contamination.

Speaking of safe clean water – how about NJ beaches?

Just know that while you enjoy the sun, sand and water, local health departments are checking the water quality by taking countless water samples to make sure ocean water and even lakes and streams, meet public heath standards.

Oh, and those lifeguards at the beach, a lake, camp grounds or a public swimming pool – yes – the health department is there, too, keeping public recreational bathing areas staffed with well-trained and certified lifeguards.

Here’s a little more magic…Did you know that local health departments help guarantee safe public workplaces? Many local health departments inspect tanning facilities, tattoo shops, body piercing establishments and beauty salons for compliance with state laws for safe and sanitary procedures.

During the last few years local health departments have increased surveillance for biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Local health departments across the country are part of a national response team coordinating plans with police, fire and emergency response agencies to help assure preparedness for such an incident or a natural disaster, like floods, storms, or hurricanes.

When you think about local public health, think about all this. And think about pet licenses, rabies clinics, animal control services, blood pressure screening and health education. Local public health personnel are busy with all this and much more as new and unexpected challenges emerge everyday. So how do they do it? Is it MAGIC… or Public Health? 

Even if you don’t think about it, we will. We’re your local public health professionals.

Last Reviewed: 6/14/2016