Warren County Combined Health District, Lebanon Ohio

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Use this page to get answers to the most common questions we hear each day. Click on a question to see the answer. To select another question, click 'Back to Top'.

 

General
What Is Public Health?

Environmental
What do I do if I have Mold in my house?
What do I do if I think I have bedbugs?
What do I do if I am bitten by an animal? Do I need to be concerned about rabies?
Do I need a plumbing permit if I am just replacing a kitchen or bathroom sink?

If I live in Warren County but also in the City of Middletown, who do I call for Public Health Services?
I got sick after eating at a restaurant, how do I report this?
What do I need to open a restaurant?
I want to operate a food service from my home, is that allowed?

Housing and Nuisances
How do I file a complaint on my neighbor?
What do I do if I have a maintenance issue in the apartment I rent and I cannot get the landlord to fix it?
My landlord is not fixing my maintenance issues, can I stop paying rent?
What is the temperature requirement for heat to be supplied to my rental house or apartment?
How do I report a smoking violation I observed?
I have a private water system (well, cistern, etc.).  How do I get my water tested?

Community Health Readiness
What items hsould you have in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit?
What should a Family Communication Plan consist of?
What is "Shelter-in-Place"?
How will I know when to Shelter-in-Place?
Where can I get more information?

Community Health and Education
Hepatitis B Faqs for the Public
Hepatitis C Faqs for the Public
How Can We Prevent Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)?


What is Public Health?
public health n. The science and practice of protecting and improving the health of a community, as by preventative medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures, and monitoring of environmental hazards. (The American Heritage Dictionary)

The most common and effective public health activities are in the area of primary prevention, health promotion and health protection.

Primary prevention is any activity or action that will keep people from becoming sick if they are exposed to a disease. Primary prevention includes immunizations, prenatal care, child and adult clinics. Seasonal flu vaccinations and even the H1N1 vaccination programs are primary prevention.

Health promotion includes health education and the fostering of healthy living conditions and life styles. Outreach and activities are most commonly directed toward individuals, families, groups or entire communities. Activities include helping people identify needs, get useful information and resources, and take action to achieve change. It also includes educating the public about programs to assist them in time of need.

Health protection services and programs control and reduce the exposure of the population to environmental or personal hazards, conditions or factors that may cause health problems. Health protection includes infectious disease surveillance and investigations, water purification, sewage treatment, inspections of public facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, swimming pools, campgrounds and manufactured home parks.

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What do I do if I have Mold in my house?
Mold cannot grow without a moisture source, so first identify where the water is coming from. Do not spend money to test for what type of mold you have when you can put that money to better use eliminating the mold problem. There is an information pamphlet on the Fact Sheet page that explains Mold and what to do to eliminate it. As always, if you have questions you can contact our Environmental Health Staff at 513-695-1220.

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What do I do if I think I have bedbugs?
Bed bugs are often found near our sleeping areas and while you may not see the actual bed bug you may see dark spots where the bed bug has defecated on the edge of the mattress or cast off shells where the bed bug has molted. There is an excellent informational sheet and pamphlet on the Fact Sheet page that clearly shows what bed bugs look like and what other evidence looks like. If you have what you believe to be is evidence of bed bugs or an insect you believe to be a bed bug one of our Public Health Environmentalists can do an inspection of your sleeping area or examine any bed bug you may have captured in a container or zip lock bag. We have neither the time nor the staff to conduct inspections of any house or apartment if you have not at least identified some evidence of bed bugs. Contact us at 937-425-1220 or 513-695-1220.

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What do I do if I am bitten by an animal? Do I need to be concerned about rabies?

All animal bites to humans must be reported to the local health department to protect the victim from the possibility of rabies exposure. While it is extremely unlikely a domestic animal, such as a dog or cat, is going to have rabies it is not a certainty. Due to the seriousness of someone contracting rabies, the animal must be quarantined for 10 days from the date of the bite to insure the animal does not have rabies. Click here to access the animal bite report.

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Do I need a plumbing permit if I am just replacing a kitchen or bathroom sink?

You do not need a plumbing permit when you are replacing fixtures (like sinks, toilets, etc). The exception is if you are replacing a hot water heater or a water softener, you do need a permit.

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If I live in Warren County but also in the City of Middletown, who do I call for Public Health Services?
The Warren County Health Department provides services to all residents in Warren County except those residing within the city limits of Middletown.  Those residing in the City of Middletown fall under the jurisdiction of the Middletown City Health Department, who can be reached at:

City of Middletown
1 Donham Plaza
Middletown, OH 45042
513-425-1818

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I got sick after eating at a restaurant, how do I report this?
To report a possible foodborne illness from a restaurant located in Warren County, you can complete our Food Operation Complaint Form or contact the Health Department at 513-695-1220.  Upon receipt of a complaint of a possible foodborne illness, we will immediately send an inspector to the restaurant or grocery to conduct an unannounced inspection of the operation.

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What do I need to open a restaurant?
Prior to construction, you will first need to submit the Plan Review Application and Guidelines Packet  and submit plans which include a menu of foods to be served, a floor plan showing doors plumbing fixtures and equipment, a lighting schedule or reflective ceiling plan, a surface finish list detailing what the floors, walls and ceiling will be finished with, and make or model numbers (or cut sheets) for all equipment so that NSF approval can be determined.  Plans will be reviewed and an approval, or disapproval, letter will be sent to the plan submitter within 30 days of our office receiving a complete set of plans.  Once you are ready to open (construction complete, all permits obtained, etc.) contact our office or the inspector assigned to the area your facility will be located for an opening inspection.  Preliminary inspections of the facility can also be requested at any time.

To begin operating a mobile food service, plans must also be submitted and the Mobile Plan Review Application will need to be completed.  Mobile Food Service allows you to operate anywhere in Ohio. The mobile food service cannot sit on any one site for more than forty (40) consecutive days.

To request a temporary food service license the Temporary Food Service Packet and Application will need to be filled out and submitted to our office.  A temporary food service operation is defined as any place that prepares and/or serves food, for a charge or required donation, for a period of not longer than 5 consecutive days. If you sell food in Warren County, you are required by Ohio law to apply for and obtain a temporary license from the county health department. You may apply for up to ten (10) licenses per year, one per event.

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I want to operate a food service from my home, is that allowed?
A food service can only be operated from the home under very specific guidelines.  For more information on these requirements, please contact the Warren County Health Department at 513-695-1220.

The State of Ohio does allow for Cottage Food operations under specific guidelines, for more information please read the Cottage Food Production Operation Fact Sheet, or contact the Warren County Health Department at 513-695-1220.

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How do I file a complaint on my neighbor?
The Warren County Health Department regulations and codes to establish minimum standards for housing, premise maintenance, refuse, and sewage treatment systems.  To file a complaint, complete and submit the Nuisance Complaint Form, or contact the Warren County Health Department at 513-695-1220.

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What do I do if I have a maintenance issue in the apartment I rent and I cannot get the landlord to fix it?
Make sure you document your request to have maintenance completed in your rental dwelling unit by sending it to the landlord in writing with a date on the request. If the landlord does not respond in a timely fashion, you can submit a housing complaint to our office and we will contact you to make arrangements for an inspection by one of the health inspectors. Once we verify the problem and that it is a code violation, we will issue orders to the landlord to complete the maintenance and pursue action in Court if the landlord refuses to comply with the code.

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My landlord is not fixing my maintenance issues, can I stop paying rent?
Any failure to pay rent can be grounds for eviction.  Consult with a lawyer or contact the Legal Aid Society at 513-241-9400 for advice on dealing with landlord/tenant disputes.

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What is the temperature requirement for heat to be supplied to my rental house or apartment?
The owner, operator or agent in charge of a multi-family dwelling, rooming house, or hotel who rents or leases any dwelling unit or rooming unit therein under an agreement, expressed or implied, to supply or furnish heat to the occupants thereof, shall supply heat adequate to maintain an inside temperature of not less than seventy degrees Fahrenheit (70°F) (+ or - 3°F) in all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms whenever the outside temperature falls below fifty degrees Fahrenheit (50°F).

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How do I report a smoking violation I observed?
Smoking complaints must be submitted to the Ohio Department of Health by calling the Smoking Ban Enforcement Line at
1-866-559-OHIO (6446) or by email at NoSmoke@odh.ohio.gov.  When our office receives the referral, an inspector will be assigned to investigate the complaint.

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I have a private water system (well, cistern, etc.).  How do I get my water tested?
Water samples are collected on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.  Your water can be tested for bacteria and/or chemical parameters.  For more information including fees and appointments contact the Warren County Health Department at 513-695-1220.

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What items should you have in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit?

  • Water, one gallon per person for three days.
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Flashlight and battery powered radio and extra batteries for both.
  • First aid Kit.
  • Prescription medication and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for you pet.
  • Cash and important family documents
  • Can opener, matches, sleeping bags, change of clothing.
  • Mess kits, paper or plastic cups, utensils, plates and paper towels
  • Paper and pencil, maps
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted 9 parts water to one part bleach, the mixture can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency you can treat water using 16 drops of liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented bleach, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

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What should a Family Communication Plan consist of?
During an emergency your family may not be together initially. Consider a plan where each family member calls or emails the same relative in the event of an emergency. Have an out of town contact if possible for a back-up. Be sure each family member knows the number to call the emergency contact. Have a pre-planned meeting place should your home be evacuated.

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What is “Shelter-in-Place?
"Shelter-in-place" means to take immediate shelter where you are - at home, work, school, or in between. It may also mean "seal the room"; in other words, take steps to prevent outside air from coming in. Choose a room in advance for your shelter. The best room is one with as few windows and doors as possible. A large room, preferably with a water supply is desirable. Something like a master bedroom that is connected to a bathroom.

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How will I know when to shelter-in-place?
Fire or police department warning procedures could include:

  • "All-Call" telephoning - an automated system for sending recorded messages, sometimes called "reverse 9-1-1".
  • Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts on the radio or television.
  • Outdoor warning sirens or horns.
  • News media sources - radio, television and cable.
  • NOAA Weather Radio alerts.
  • Residential route alerting - messages announced to neighborhoods from vehicles equipped with public address systems.

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Where can I get more information?

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