January 15, 2008

Manicures and pedicures can be risky luxuries

York Region advises consumer awareness during National Environmental Public Health Week
NEWMARKET – York Region public health inspectors are involved in a variety of education and enforcement initiatives that strive to protect the health and safety of local residents. 
 
York Region public health inspectors are responsible for routinely inspecting businesses to ensure compliance with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Personal Service Settings Protocol. 
 
This protocol applies to any personal service where there is a risk of exposure to blood or body fluids.  This includes: hairdressing and barber shops, tattoo and body piercing studios, electrolysis and acupuncture services and various aesthetic services including nail salons.  The protocol has been developed for the safety of workers and their clients.  Its intent is to prevent the transmission of serious blood-borne infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
 
When receiving a manicure or pedicure there are procedures that might purposely or inadvertently cut or break the skin.  Once the skin is broken or cut, there is a risk of exposure to the above mentioned infections, as well as contagious nail or fungal infections.
 
York Region Community and Health Services encourages residents to keep the following in mind when receiving a manicure or pedicure.  Choose a salon that:
• Is well-lit and maintained in a clean and sanitary manner
• Maintains a sanitary environment where work surfaces, equipment and instruments are clean and in good working order
• Ensures mandatory proper hand washing of workers before each new customer
• Properly cleans and stores all reusable tools (clippers, cuticle cutters, metal cuticle pushers, manicure scissors, pedicure files etc.) after each client use
• Discards single use items (nail files, toe separators, pumice stones, buffing block and birchwood/orange sticks) after each client use
• Properly cleans and disinfects footbaths after each client use
• Launders all towels, reusable slippers and linens after each client use
• Dispenses lotions and creams that do not contaminate the remaining lotion or cream (single pump)
• Encourages its personal service workers to be immunized against hepatitis B and to get their annual flu shot
• Does not offer nail services to any client who has a nail mould or fungus, including those with discoloured nails, indicative of a potential infection
• Residents should consult with their physician before visiting a salon for any nail service or treatment
 
Each year, the third week in January is designated as National Environmental Public Health Week.  York Region joins communities across Canada in recognizing and celebrating the services provided by public
health inspectors during this week. 
 
The 2008 National Environmental Public Health Week theme is “The Changing Face of Environmental Health Inspection – Past Present and Future.”  This theme reflects the rapidly changing and expanding profession of public health inspection.
 
The responsibilities of public health inspectors have evolved over the years and will continue to expand as the field of public health changes.   From collaborating with government agencies to investigate uninspected and ungraded food products, to promoting clean air initiatives, the ability of public health inspectors to adapt and accept new challenges in the field of public health is invaluable for York Region and our residents.
 
During National Environmental Public Health Week, additional public service announcements will be circulated to the media highlighting more of the important work York Region public health inspectors do to help keep residents healthy and safe.
 
For more information on this or any other health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-2717
 Email:  Jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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