Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington, Massachusetts Lexington, Massachusetts

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Lexington Healthy Communities Project

Current News:

Together We're Ready - Massachusetts Prepared

for emergency events

Ticks and lyme disease

Landscaping to reduce ticks

Household Hazardous Waste Days scheduled monthly.

Important information for food establishments draft planning guide 'Food Service Plan During Emergencies'

Health Division

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

General Information Line:  781-698-4533

FAX:  781-861-2780

Directory: all numbers are in area code 781

Health Director Gerard Cody 698-4503 email
Health Agent Kathy Fox 698-4507 email
Public Health Nurse David Neylon 698-4509 email
Health Clerk Linda Rainville 698-4508  
 Dial 211 for MA health/human services information & referral.

 hotline logo links to 211 website

Make Smoking History

Medical WastePRESS RELEASEMedical Waste Collection Events, Spring 2015.

The Lexington Board of Health, Office of Community Development, Senior Center & Human Services Department, Department of Public Works and JRM (Hauling & Recycling) will be sponsoring two “Medical Waste Disposal Events” this spring.  On Saturday, March 28th, from 09:00 AM to 12 Noon and Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM in the rear parking lot (near the bike path) behind the Lexington Town Office Building, 1625 Massachusetts Avenue. Lexington residents may drop off, FREE OF CHARGE, household medical waste items, such as syringes, needles, sharps, and expired / unwanted medicines for disposal. For additional information please contact the Health Director, Gerard Cody at 781-698-4503.

Community Conversation on Mental Health and Mental Illness in Lexington
Monday June 1, at the Lexington Historical Society, 13 Depot Square starting at 7:00 PM

Lexington Public Health, Human Services and School Department staff and representatives of Lexington Youth and Family Services, Edinburg Center and Basic Needs US have been working together for almost a year and are planning a community conversation on mental health in Lexington. We need your input to spark an ongoing dialogue on mental health and illness in Lexington, identify the gaps in services for people with mental illnesses and identify what we as a town can do about it.

“In 2012, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that All Mental Illness, (AMI) in the United States could be as high as 43.7 million adults aged 18 or older. This represented 18.6 percent of all U.S. adults.” said Joy Gallon, Director of Community Intervention Services, from the Edinburg Center of Lexington. This includes neighbors, friends, classmates, and colleagues at work, elderly, and those living with other chronic conditions. Mental illness can include but not be limited to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. A community wide survey from a 2013 Lexington Public Health prevention planning grant also revealed that Mental Health was a top concern in town.

Please join us on Monday June 1 at the Lexington Historical Society Function Hall, 13 Depot Square for the start of an important conversation on mental health and what we can do to in our town to address gaps and increase awareness and access to the services that are available. Doors open at 6:30 for refreshments and the program will begin at 7:00 P.M. where we will summarize the work we have been doing so far, and have small and large group dialogues about the Town’s greatest unmet needs and what we can do about them as a community. The evening will be facilitated by Richard Dougherty, Ph.D., President of Basic Needs US and DMA Health Strategies, based here in Lexington.

We look forward to seeing you there. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter further, you may contact Gerard F. Cody, REHS/RS Health Director at (781) 698-4503 or gcody@lexingtonma.gov.

Gerard F. Cody Charlotte Rodgers Marsha Lazar Richard Dougherty Jill Gasperini Public Health Human Services LYFS BasicNeeds US Public School Health Services

Funding for this Community Conversation has been made possible from the Healthy Communities Implementation Grant from the Northwestern Suburban Health Alliance, CHNA 15 obtained and managed by the Lexington Health Division and Board of Health.

Norovirus Prevention Tips

Norovirus, sometimes called viral gastroenteritis or “stomach flu”, is a viral illness that causes acute diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain in humans. Norovirus is very contagious, and is spread through contaminated food or water, by contact with an infected person, or by contamination in the environment. Individuals can become infected with norovirus and spread it to others for 24-48 hours before they begin exhibiting symptoms. Infected individuals usually have symptoms of norovirus for 1-2 days, but may shed the virus in their stool for up to 2 weeks after recovering. Outbreaks of norovirus are common in communal settings such as schools, daycare facilities and nursing homes.

Good hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the transmission of norovirus.  Hands should be washed with warm water and soap for 15-20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used in addition to hand washing to help prevent the transmission of norovirus.

Those experiencing symptoms of norovirus should stay home from school or work while they are ill. They should continue to be vigilant about hand washing even after they are feeling better, as norovirus can still be transmitted once they have recovered. Those who are involved in food preparation should remain home for 72 hours after they feel better, as food and drink contaminated with norovirus is a common way the disease is spread. Sharing of food and drink, or communal food should be stopped while norovirus is being experienced in your community.

Besides remaining at home while contagious, another way to prevent the spread of norovirus is proper cleaning of environmental surfaces contaminated with norovirus. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours and it only requires a small amount of the virus (<100 viral particles) to infect someone.

If a vomit or fecal spillage occurs, the area should be sanitized with an Environmental Protection Agency approved disinfectant or a freshly prepared sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution. The bleach solution should be a 1:50 dilution; mix 1/3 cup bleach with 1 gallon water. For heavily soiled surfaces, use a dilution of 1:10, or 1 2/3 cup bleach to one gallon of water. Allow the solution to be in contact with the surface for 10-20 minutes or until it has air dried. Materials that may be put in children’s mouths (e.g. toys) should be rinsed. For porous surfaces such as upholstered furniture, carpets or clothing, clean visible debris with an absorbent, double-layer material. Steam clean or wash the contaminated surface at 158° F for 5 minutes or 212° F for 1 minute.  Staff should wear disposable gloves when cleaning areas contaminated by feces or vomitus. Throw away all disposable materials in sealed bags. Bathrooms and other communal spaces should be cleaned more frequently during suspected norovirus outbreaks. Frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, telephones, and computer mice, should be disinfected with an approved product (as noted above).

For More Information:
Please contact the Office of Community Development, Health Division, Gerard Cody, Health Director at 781-698-4503 or gcody@lexingtonma.gov .  You may also visit the CDC page on Norovirus: http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html or review the MDPH fact sheet:

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/nlv.pdf . The Lexington Board of Health brought this important message to you.


The East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project will be conducting a helicopter application of the biological larvicide, Bti, to control mosquito larvae over large wetlands in Lexington. Wetlands currently being evaluated include Tophet Swamp, Hayden Woods, the Five Fields Area, Great Meadows, the Meagherville Conservation area and the upper Vine Brook area. The application will take place between April 21 and April 29.

The Bti will be applied in a granular formulation by a helicopter flying low directly over the wetlands. Residents do not need to take any special precautions for this application. The material to be applied Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis) is a natural bacterium found in soil. The EPA classifies Bti as a relatively non-toxic pesticide. Bti is considered a target selective and environmentally compatible pesticide that affects mosquito larvae and a few closely related aquatic insects in the fly family. Once applied Bti stays suspended in water for 24 to 48 hours and then biodegrades as it settles to the bottom. The Bti product name is VectoBac G (EPA Reg. #73049-10).

For further information contact the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project at 781-899-5730.

Check yourself for ticks when you are done with your outside activities.

Wear light-colored long sleeves, pants and socks so it’s easier to spot ticks. Tuck your pants in your socks.

Wear a hat and keep long hair pulled back. Stay on designated trails when hiking.

May 2015 CDC recently announced that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Whether it’s hiking in the woods or just working in your yard, you are at risk for contracting Lyme disease.

The Lexington Office of Community Development, Health Division and the Board of Health want to educate its citizens of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease and what you can do to prevent it. Annual confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Lexington average in the low teens and have remained constant over the last few years.

Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating bacterial infection spread through the bite of an infected deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). Most humans are infected through the bite of immature deer ticks called nymphs. Deer ticks wait in the tall grass or bushes for a mammal to pass by so that they may hitch a ride and at the same time, have a nourishing blood meal. While extracting blood from the human host, a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) from the tick’s internal systems is transferred. Both nymph (baby) and adult deer ticks can spread the disease, and often go unnoticed because of their small size (no larger than a sesame seed). First recognized in the mid 1970’s it was named after an unusual outbreak of arthritis near the Town of Lyme, Connecticut.  Lyme disease has become well established in this region mostly due to the number of deer populations.

Warning signs of Lyme disease often include a rash that resembles a “bulls eye”, aches and pains in your muscles and joints, headache, fatigue, fever, and chills. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics but the quicker it is recognized the better the prognosis. Deer ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard to see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the deer tick must be attached for thirty-six (36) to forty-eight (48) hours before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.

If you can see any part of the deer tick remaining under your skin, call your doctor. Keep in mind that dogs are also susceptible to Lyme disease and if you have any questions or notice any change in your dog’s behavior, it is best to contact your veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ticks

What should I do if I find a tick on myself or a friend?

The longer a tick remains attached to someone, the greater the chance it will be able to spread a disease-causing germ. Therefore, any attached tick should be removed as soon as possible.

Using needle-nose, or pointed tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Slowly pull the tick away (this takes patience and often takes several minutes – pull slowly to allow the tick to release from the skin). Once you have the deer tick, it may be placed in a jar filled with a few ounces of rubbing alcohol which will both kill the tick and preserve it for future testing by your doctor, if necessary. To avoid spreading the bacterium, don’t squash the tick with your bare hands.

Should I be treated after removing an attached tick?

Although not routinely recommended, taking antibiotics after a tick bite may be beneficial for some persons. If you answer “yes” to the following questions, discuss the possibilities with your health care provider:

a.) Can the tick be identified as a deer tick?

Review the MDPH Tick Identification Card to see what ticks look like.

b.) Was the tick attached for at least one full day?

c.) Has it been less than three days since you removed the tick?

Your health care provider must determine whether the advantages of prescribing antibiotics after a tick bite outweigh the disadvantages.

After I remove an attached tick, what symptoms should I look for?

Whenever someone removes an attached tick from their body, they should watch for the appearance of any type of rash, fever or flu-like symptoms. Immediately seek the advice of a health care provider should any symptoms occur, especially if the tick was attached for more than 24 hours.

How can I prevent diseases spread by ticks?

Ticks generally cling to plants near the ground in brushy, wooded, or grassy places. The edges of woodlands and leaf litter are high risk areas. The ticks, which cannot jump or fly, climb onto animals and people who brush against the plants.

If you cannot avoid areas likely to have ticks, the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick is to check your entire body for ticks after returning indoors and to remove any attached tick as soon as possible. Pay particular attention to areas between the toes, back of the knees, groin, armpits, neck, along the hairline, and behind the ears. Review the MDPH Tick Identification Card to see what ticks look like.

Apply repellents that contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) or permethrin before you go outside to reduce the risk of tick bites. DEET is safe and effective in repelling ticks when used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Choose a product that will provide sufficient protection for the amount of time you plan to spend outdoors. Product labels often indicate the length of time that someone can expect protection from a product. Repellents should not be used on children less than two months of age.

Permethrin-containing products kill ticks but are not designed to be applied to the skin. Clothing should be treated and allowed to dry in a well-ventilated area prior to wearing. Because permethrin binds very tightly to fabrics, once the fabric is dry, very little of the permethrin gets onto the skin.

You can reduce the number of ticks around your home by keeping your grass cut short and clearing brush. For more tips on preventing tick bites and reducing the number of ticks around your home, review the MDPH brochure Preventing Disease Spread By Ticks.

For more information or to receive a free “tick identification card” please contact the Office of Community Development, Health Division, Gerard Cody, Health Director at 781-698-4503. You may also visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/index.htm ,

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/j-l/lyme.pdf or

http://www.cdc.gov/mmWr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6416a7.htm. The Lexington Board of Health brought this important message to you.


Prepare for severe weather, natural disasters and other emergency events.

  • Check out online resources on the Mass. Dept. of Public Health website.
  • Log onto the CodeRed website to add cellphone numbers or emails to this Emergency Notification System.
  • Contact Region 4A MRC Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Corkery to find out more about assisting with non-medical as well as medical needs in the community as part of Lexington's Medical Reserve Corps.

Description of Services:

The Health Division works with the Board of Health (the appointed decision- making body) to:

  • Assess the health needs of the town; 
  • Develop initiatives to protect the public health;
  • Monitor communicable and infectious disease;
  • Provide annual flu vaccine clinics;
  • Respond to general nuisance complaints;
  • Respond to housing complaints;
  • Inspect summer camps for children
  • Monitor mosquito control programs;
  • Inspect semi-public swimming pools;
  • Monitor the "Old Reservoir" swimming beach;
  • Inspect food establishments;
  • Staff the household hazardous and medical waste collection programs;
  • Manage a Medical Reserve Corps; and
  • Participate in Emergency Preparedness Planning with other agencies in town. 


Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington, Massachusetts Lexington, Massachusetts Lexington, Massachusetts