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Search Tips

To perform a simple search, type one or more words in the Search box at the top of the page and press Enter. Search returns a list of web pages that contain one or more of your words. Search finds singular and plural forms of words and corrects minor misspellings.

If you need to refine a search, an Advanced Search can be launched from the Search Results page.

What is Being Searched?

Our Search covers only pages under the Health Services department of Contra Costa County, including Public Health, Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials and Emergency Medical Services. For most other county web pages, use the search function on the Contra Costa County home page.

Effective search strategies

To make your search more effective, do the following:

  • Be specific. Try using words that are unique or try adding descriptive words. For example, a search for insurance may give you too many results. If you're really looking for dental insurance, specify that.
  • Try using synonyms. If you get too few results or Search doesn't find what you're looking for, try synonyms for your original words. For example, instead of searching for health classes, try health education.
  • Check your spelling. A misspelled or mistyped word can change your results.

Our search box isn't case sensitive, so don't worry about capitalization. It will even correct for slight misspellings.

Improving your search words

Exact phrase searches

Add double quotes (" ") around specific phrases to focus your search on the exact phrase. A phrase search can greatly reduce the number of results. For example, you could enter:

"West Nile Virus"

This query returns only pages that have the exact phrase "West Nile Virus" in them, not all pages that mention a virus.

Including and Excluding Words

To help limit your results to specific information you can include special modifiers that require certain words be included or excluded. Do not leave any space between the sign and the word, but leave a space between search words.

+ (plus sign)

Use a + sign at the beginning of a word to require that the word appear in all pages in the results. For example, you could enter:

+perinatal +providers

The results must contain pages with perinatal and providers.

- (minus sign)

Use a - sign at the beginning of a word to exclude all pages with that word. For example, you could enter:

+perinatal +providers -Antioch

The results contain pages with perinatal and providers but not Antioch.

Expanding your search with a wildcard

Look for words that begin with the same letters by using an * (asterisk) as a wildcard. A wildcard search is useful for finding pages with words that have multiple endings. For example, you could enter:


The results contain pages with words that have the prefix comput, such as compute, computer, computing, computation, and computational.

Asterisks can be used only at the end of a word or word fragment.

Narrowing down your search

After you search, there is an option to search a second (or more) time within the original results. Perhaps your search on cancer gave you too many results, so you could select the search within results option, and try lung.

Using advanced search

Use Advanced search for greater control over your search. Complete the form as follows:

  1. Search for: Type one or more words. The plus sign (+), minus sign (-), and double quotes (" ") are ignored in Advanced search. Also select the criteria you want to use:
    • Choose all of the words to request a narrower search. Each result contains all of your search words in any order.
    • Choose any of the words to request a broader search. Each result contains one or more of your search terms in any order.
    • Choose the exact phrase to request a search of a phrase in the order you enter the words. Each result contains the exact phrase.
  2. Search within:
    • There is now the option to search only within certain specialized areas of the website, such as Hazardous Materials and Environmental Health content. These options are available in a drop-down box on the Advanced Search page and the search results page.
  3. Language:
    • Choose a language from the list if you don't want the one chosen for you. To search in any language, choose Any. Most of our content is in English or Spanish. In special cases, we publish information in a number of other languages which are represented in Contra Costa County.
  4. Display:
    • Choose the number of results to display.