Health Dept. Holding Community Meeting On Opioid Crisis Tues at 2:30PM

Photo: Opioid abuse.

The Belmont Health Department is holding a public forum on Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. to determine the town’s opioid needs assessment.

The meeting will take place in the Board of Selectmen’s Meeting Room located in Belmont Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave.

The meeting – funded through the Mt. Auburn Hospital Community Health Department – is designed to gather insights and ideas for Belmont’s response to the statewide opioid epidemic, and to strengthen collaborations addressing the issue.

The forum will focus on:

  • The overview of epidemic
  • Review of findings from local needs assessment
  • Local efforts and resources
  • And a discussion on what is needed from the town and its residents to battle the crisis.                

To let us know you are coming, please call 617-993-2720 or email

Belmont Health Issues Warning on Mosquitos as West Nile Virus Detected

Photo: What to watch out for.

It’s nearing mid-summer and with the recent rainstorms that passed through the region, it’s certain that in time at all, outdoor activities will be impacted by an influx of mosquitoes. The Belmont Department of Health has issued this press release to warn residents of the danger the insect can inflict on people:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced [Thursday, July 24] that West Nile virus has been detected in mosquito samples collected from Waltham, Brookline, Reading and Richmond. 

WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.

As always, there are a few precautions people can do to help to protect themselves and their families:

  • Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, if possible, as this is the time of greatest mosquito activity.
  • If you must be outside during that time, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. If you choose to apply a chemical based repellant containing DEET, follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.  Parents should NEVER use DEET on infants; use a 10 percent or less DEET concentration on children and 30 to 35 percent or less on adults.
  • Make sure as much skin as possible is covered when children are outdoors and cover baby carriages with netting.
  • Fix all holes in screens and make sure doors and screens fit tightly.

To reduce the mosquito population around your home, eliminate all standing water that is available for mosquito breeding and follow these simple guidelines:

  • Dispose of, or regularly empty, any metal cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots and other water holding containers.
  • Pay special attention to discarded tires that may have collected on your property. Tires are a common place for mosquitoes to breed. For that reason, it is a violation of the Nuisance Regulations to leave tires stored outdoors.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters; remove leaves and debris that would prevent good drainage. This may be the single biggest source of mosquitoes in any neighborhood.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Swimming pools should be kept properly filtered and chlorinated. They should never be allowed to remain stagnant. Mosquito “dunks” can be purchased at many hardware stores to treat pool water if you must leave your pool unattended for keep the pool cover on for a significant period of time.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate areas of standing water on your property. Reducing insect harborage is one of the goals of the Health Department’s nuisance regulations, which ask that residents remove piles of rubbish, debris, yard waste, etc. from their yards.

            If you have any questions, please call the Health Department at 617 993-2720   

Rabies in Pair of Animals Has Health Department Issue Warning

Photo: Fox.

The Belmont Health Department has issued a warning to residents of an outbreak of rabies after a second non-domesticated animal tested positive for the illness in the past month.

A fox captured by Belmont Animal Control Officer John Maguranis on Monday, July 13 and a skunk on June 21 were infected by the very serious viral disease found in animals that can spread from an infected animal to a person.

Rabies is disperse through the saliva of an animal and can be transmitted from a bite, or when the animal’s saliva comes in contact with a person’s mouth, eyes or an open sore, according to the Health Department. 

The department and Belmont Police Department are urging residents to protect their families and pets by taking the following steps: 

  • Make sure your dogs and cats (including inside only cats), are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. 
  • Keep your children, loved ones, and pets from approaching, touching, or feeding wild or stray animals. 
  • Garbage should be contained in garbage cans that are closed and secured to avoid attracting wildlife. 
  • Do not feed or water your pets outdoors. Empty bowls will attract wild and stray animals. 
  • Do not let your cats and dogs roam freely. 
  • Keep your chimney capped and repair holes in attics, cellars, garages and porches to help keep wild animals like bats and raccoons out of your home. 
  • Report any animal that behaves oddly, looks sick, injured or orphaned to the Animal Control Officer or the Health Department at: Belmont Animal Control 617-993-2724. Belmont Health Department 617-993-2720. 
  • If the Animal Control Officer or Heath Department cannot be reached, notify the Belmont Police at 617-484-1212. 

If a bite or other significant exposure to rabies does occur, quick action can prevent progression to rabies disease.

• If a person has been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal or an animal suspected of having rabies, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and then seek medical attention. If you find a bite or wound on your dog or cat that cannot be explained, take your animal to a veterinarian. 

Belmont Raises Age for Tobacco, E-Cig Sales to 21 in 2015

Joining surrounding towns and large municipalities like New York City, Belmont will prohibit the sale of all tobacco products and nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21 beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.

The move approved unanimously by the Belmont Board of Health at an afternoon meeting on Wednesday; Sept. 17, also impose guidelines on the sale of flavored cigar wrappers and associated products favored by younger buyers to make smoking more enjoyable.

Anti-smoking advocates believe the new regulations will place a damper on older teens and young adults from experimenting with smoking when they are vulnerable to becoming addicted to tobacco.

“Needham has had a 21 [limit] for a decade and the smoking rates for kids there has gone down,” said Stephen Shestakofsky   of Edwards Street who has long been an anti-smoking advocate.

“We know that if you become addicted to tobacco at a younger age, it is much, much harder to quit. So this will make it harder for teens to ‘cheat’,” said Shestakofsky.

Belmont becomes the 30th Massachusetts town or city to adopt the 21 year old sales prohibition.

“We are not going to be an [island] … where kids say ‘well, I’m not going to you I can go [out of town],” said Dr. David Alper, vice chair of the Board of Health, noting that nearby Arlington, Newton, Winchester and Brookline have existing 21 year old sales restrictions while Waltham and Watertown are currently looking to raise their age limits.

The town also placed nicotine delivery vehicles such as e-cigarettes (which heats nicotine and water into a vapor without the cancerous byproducts from cigarettes) since there has not been long-term studies to show they are either safe while also being seen as a “gateway” to tobacco addiction. 

What’s important to note is that the regs are aimed at keeping young adults away from the products. This wouldn’t prevent adults from using it but it will teens,” said Shestakofsky.

Help Belmont’s Health Dept Survey Public Health Concerns

What are your public health concerns?

The Belmont Health Department is seeking residents input to an online survey to determine what community health education resources town citizens would like to come from the department. 

You can take the survey here or going to the Health Department’s web page

Get Rid of Your Household Hazardous Waste This Saturday

Half-used paint, mothballs, antifreeze and insecticides are just a few of the common household products that are hazardous waste that most residents have in their homes or garages.

Belmont residents looking to clear their homes of these harmful chemicals will have an opportunity this Saturday, Aug. 16 as the Belmont Health Department is registering households that will allow them to haul the material to Lexington’s Minuteman Hazardous Products Facility site at no cost. 

Once you sign up by calling the Health Department at 617-993-2720, the department will mail the required “free ticket” to residents to enter the Minuteman facility. Because the next pickup date is this Saturday, the department is requesting anyone interested in utilizing the service to call them “ASAP.”

Here is a list of acceptable and unacceptable materials as well as a video.

West Nile Virus Found in Belmont

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced today, Thursday, July 24, that West Nile virus has been detected in one mosquito recently collected from Belmont, according to a press release from the Belmont Health Department.

“WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection,” according to the state.

The first detection of the virus was in Clinton on July 3.

As always, there are a few precautions people can do to help to protect themselves and their families:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours: The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.

Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water: Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Make sure rain barrels are covered or screened. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens: Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2014 can be found on the MDPH website . Recorded information about WNV is also available by calling the MDPH Public Health Information Line at 1-866-MASS-WNV (1-866-627-7968).