Health Observances

 March is National Nutrition Month

Good nutrition is essential in keeping current and future generations of Americans healthy across the lifespan. People with healthy eating patterns live longer and are at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. For people with chronic diseases, healthy eating can help manage these conditions and prevent complications.

Healthy Eating Tips for Families

  1. Plan your meals. Plan out your meals before the week starts.
  2. Let everyone help. Younger kids can mix ingredients, wash produce, or set the table, while older kids can help with preparation. Everyone can help clean up.
  3. Serve and eat a variety of foods. Include choices from each food group: fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and fortified soy alternatives in meals and snacks throughout the week.


 Healthy Eating Tips for Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women:
  1. Make smart seafood choices. Choose options lower in methylmercury, like cod, salmon, or tilapia. Learn more at FDA’s Advice About Eating Fish webpage.
  2. Ask about supplements. Your doctor may recommend a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement to help you meet your needs.
  3. Keep food safe. You and your baby are at higher risk for foodborne illness. Only eat foods that have been cooked to the proper temperature and avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or juice, raw sprouts, unwashed produce, cold deli meats, or soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk. See for more information.
  4. Avoid all alcohol. Women who are or may become pregnant should not drink any alcohol.

 Resources for individuals and families seeking food assistance:

  1. Hunger hotline from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for information on meal sites, food banks, and other services near you. Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) for Spanish. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday.
  2. Hunger hotline text option. Text 97779 with a question that contains a keyword such as “food” or “meals”. The automated response will include resources located near an address and/or zip code.
  3. Central Valley Food Bank Food Locator for free food assistance programs for children and families
  4. Meals on Wheels for individuals with diminished mobility who are generally aged 60 and older, although age requirements can vary. Find a provider online

 Additional Resources:

USDA: Start Simple with MyPlate (ENG | SPAN)

FDA: The Nutrition Facts Label (ENG | SPAN)

DGA: Healthy Eating is Important at Every Stage of Life (ENG | SPAN)

DGA: Eat Healthy – Pregnancy or Breastfeeding (ENG | SPAN)


February is Children’s Dental Health Month

Tooth w. Cavity

Cavities, also known as caries or tooth decay, are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Untreated cavities can cause pain, infections, and can lead to problems when eating, speaking, and learning. More than 1 in 5 children, aged 2 to 5 years, has at least one cavity in their baby teeth. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don't. However, cavities are preventable. You can protect and maintain your child's teeth by following these steps below: 


For Babies: 

  • Wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and in evening before bed. This helps to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities.
  • When teeth come in, start brushing twice a day with a soft, small-bristles toothbrush and plain water. 
  • Visit the dentist by your baby's first birthday to spot signs of problems early. To find a dentist in your area, visit the American Dental Association (ADA).
  • Talk to your dentist or doctor about putting fluoride varnish on your child's teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. 

*For children under 2 years, first consult with your doctor or dentist regarding the use of fluorideChildren brushing teeth toothpaste. 

For Children: 

  • Brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Help your child brush until they have good brushing skills.
    • If your child is under 6 years, it is recommended to watch them brush and make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and to always spit while brushing. 
  • Ask your child's dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate. 
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride. To see if your community's water is fluoridated, view your water system on the CDC's My Water's Fluoride website.

To learn more about Children's Dental Health visit: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association, and/or Smile California.


MCH Oral Health: A Healthy Smile for Your Young Child (ENG | SPAN)

APD: Dental Health Tips for Parents (ENG)

ADA: Brush, Floss, Smile (ENG | SPAN)

How to Teach Your Child to Brush



January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Birth defects are structural changes in the body that can affect how the body looks, works, or both. Birth defects are present at birth and can affect almost any part or parts of the body (e.g., heart, brain, foot). 

Birth defects can occur during any stage of pregnancy. For some birth defects, we know the cause. But for most birth defects, we don’t what causes them. Risk factors that might increase the chances of having a baby with a birth defect include:

  1. Smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking certain drugs during pregnancy.
  2. Having certain medical conditions, such as being obese or having uncontrolled diabetes before and during pregnancy
  3. Taking certain medications
  4. Having someone in your family with a birth defect
  5. Having certain infections during pregnancy
  6. Experiencing fever greater than 101oF or having an elevated body temperature due to heat exposure
  7. Being an older mother

Risk Factor

Having one or more of these risks doesn’t mean you’ll have a pregnancy affected by a birth defect. Also, women can have a baby born with a birth defect even when they don’t have any of these risks. Not all birth defects can be prevented. But there are things that you can do to reduce the risk of having a baby born with a birth defect:

  1. See your provider regularly and start prenatal care as soon as you think you might be pregnant
  2. Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, starting at least one month before getting pregnant
  3. Don't drink alcohol or smoke
  4. Talk to a healthcare provider about any medications you are taking or thinking about taking.
  5. Be proactive in identifying and treating fever when ill or after getting a vaccine. Avoid hot tubs, saunas, or other environments that might cause overheating
  6. If possible, be sure any medical conditions are under control, before becoming pregnant

Prenatal Care


If you're pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your risk of having a pregnancy with a birth defect. To learn more about birth defects please visit: the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention or the March of Dimes.


CDC: Preventing Birth Defects

CDC: 10 Things You Need to Know About Birth Defects



January is Cervical Health Awareness Month 

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus. Anyone with a cervix is at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in people over age 30. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. HPV usually causes no symptoms so you can’t tell that you have it. For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer.

Women's Reproductive Chart

 What can I do to reduce the risk of cervical cancer? 

Female Doctor


  1. Get vaccinated against HPV
  2. Get regular screening tests
    1. The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for any abnormal or precancerous changes in the cells on the cervix. Women should start screening with the Pap test at age 21.
    2. The HPV test can find high-risk types of HPV that are most commonly found in cervical cancer.
  3. Don't smoke
  4. Use condoms during sex

To learn more about cervical health, please visit: the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention or the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.


CDC: Cervical Cancer Factsheet

NCCC: How Can I Prevent Cervical Cancer


December is National Influenza Vaccination Week

December 5th - 9th, 2023

Influenza (also known as the “flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu virus spreads mainly by tiny droplets made when people cough, sneeze, or talk. People who are sick with the flu may feel some or all of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than in adults.

The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. Flu vaccination can keep you and your family from getting sick and reduce the severity of illness and risk of flu-associated hospitalization. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccine. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor about which flu vaccine options are best for you and your family. To learn more about flu vaccinations, please visit: the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.



The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant people than the average healthy adult. The flu may also be harmful to a pregnant person’s developing baby. The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu is by getting vaccinated every year. Flu vaccines can be given during any trimester of pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can help protect you and your baby. To learn more about flu vaccinations during pregnancy, please visit the: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention or the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

To find a flu vaccine clinic near you, click here to visit My Turn or the Fresno County Immunization Clinic.


Pregnant? Top 3 Reasons You Need the Flu Vaccine


November is Prematurity Awareness Month

Babies that are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are called preterm. In Fresno County, 1 out of every 9 babies are born premature. Babies who are born prematurely are at high-risk for physical and mental disabilities, low birth weight, and even death before the baby's first birthday. If your pregnancy is healthy, it's best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks. To learn more about preterm birth, please visit: the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention or the March of Dimes.




March of Dimes: Health Action Sheet - Signs & Symptoms of Preterm Labor

November is Tobacco Awareness Month

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. If you're pregnant and smoke, your baby can be at high-risk of dying or being born very sick. By saying NO to tobacco, you give yourself and your baby a better chance in life. To learn more about the impact of tobacco use, please visit: the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention or Don't Blow it Fresno.


For support in quitting, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources, call 1-800-QUIT-NOT (1-800-784-8669).



Kick it CA: Top 10 Tips to Quit Smoking

Kick it CA: Making Your Home & Car Smoke-Free

 Kick It CA