Broome County Health Department Public Health Educator Chelsea Reome-Nedlik and Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs coordinator Jaime Welch are the guests on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up for a 'public health double feature'.

The end of October was Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, but Welch says local residents should be aware of the hazards of lead exposure all the time.

She says it should be considered that any home built before 1978 has lead paint and could be a potential health danger to young children who inhale the dust or ingest paint chips.

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While New York requires children ages one and two to be tested for lead but, Welch says, Broome lags way behind many parts of the state in testing.

Lead can be absorbed by the body, especially if certain nutritional factors are lacking, and result in kidney, neurological and developmental issues.

The Health Department is available with information on dealing with lead during renovations, if encountered by tenants and nutrition guidelines that could help reduce lead being absorbed by the body. Call the Division of Environmental Health at (607) 778-2847.

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In the second half of the health-focused conversation, Public Health Educator Chelsea Reome-Nedlik has vital information about the flu vaccine and COVID-19.

Nedlik stresses there is no vaccine yet to prevent the new coronavirus but there is a preventative for influenza.  The two viruses share a concern, however, since there are already reports of some people getting both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

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She says getting the flu shot is especially important now since fewer people needing hospital care for the flu keeps more beds free for potential COVID patients.

Nedlik also touches on availability of vaccines, both the regular and high-dose, side effects and the myth about "getting the flu" from the shot.

Southern Tier Close Up airs Sunday at 6 a.m. on 99.1 The Whale.