Monday, May 4, 2015

Protect Your Pets from Rabies

One of the best ways to show your pets how much you love them is to make sure they are protected from rabies. Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system in animals and humans. If you do not vaccinate your pets, you are putting your entire family at risk. It is also important to keep your pets on leashes when they are out in the community. Livestock may also be exposed to rabies and owners should be vigilant in monitoring health issues in their animals, and discuss any animal health concerns with their local veterinarian.

Rabies in wild animals is on the rise, especially in bats and skunks in the state of Colorado. As of April 17, 2015, Colorado State University and CDPHE laboratories have confirmed rabies in 24 animals (two bats, 20 skunks, one raccoon and one cat) in Colorado. Of these, nine (38%) rabid animals were known or strongly suspected of exposing 20 domestic animals and 20 humans.

Wild animals can infect your pets if they are not protected. The Foothills Animal Shelter provides low cost vaccinations as well as links to other vaccination clinics throughout the county. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Kids Page on Rabies or read our JCPH Rabies brochure.

Residents and visitors are advised to avoid all stray or wild animals, keep pets (dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock) vaccinated against rabies and, don’t allow pets to roam free. Everyone is advised not to handle wild animals. If bitten or scratched by a pet or wild animal, immediately wash any wounds with soap and water and contact your family doctor.

For additional information on rabies, contact Jefferson County Public Health Zoonosis Program at 303-232-6301.

In addition to rabies vaccinations for pets and livestock, here are some additional precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:

  • Do not feed, touch, or handle wild animals.
  • If you find a bat inside your home, do not let it out or discard of it. Call animal control so that the animal can be tested. Otherwise, exposure is assumed and quarantine and/or prophylaxis will be required.
  • If you must remove a dead animal on your property, wear rubber gloves or lift the carcass with a shovel or other tool, and double-bag it for the trash. Do not directly touch the animal with bare hands.
  • Call your local animal control office to remove stray animals from your neighborhood.
  • Teach children to leave wildlife alone.
  • Do not leave pet food or livestock feed in areas accessible to wildlife.
  • Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in your community.
  • Rabies vaccination should be considered for horses and other equines, breeding livestock, dairy cattle or other livestock.
  • Call the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife at (303) 297-1192 if you have problems with wild animals.
If you are concerned that you or one of your animals might have been exposed to rabies, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.


What the New 2015 Dietary Guidelines Mean for You

The 2015 U.S. Dietary guidelines could have a major impact on heart health, diabetes risk and obesity reduction. In the latest recommendations, fruits and vegetables get a boost, sugar takes a hit, fat content shifts, eggs win a reprieve and meat loses ground. The Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is now available. The public is encouraged to submit written comments to the federal government on the Advisory Report. Public comments will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. E.D.T. on May 8, 2015.

The new guidelines suggest a healthy diet is high in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat and nonfat dairy, seafood and legumes and nuts. Additionally, a healthy diet is lower in red and processed meats, and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains.
New guideline “winners” for 2015:
  • Vegetables & fruits: Beneficial across all health outcomes, including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension;
  • Whole grains: A great source of much needed fiber, vitamins and minerals;
  • Dairy: Provides calcium and many other necessary nutrients;
  • Coffee: Associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and,
  • Eggs & shellfish: While high in cholesterol, eggs and shellfish are low in saturated fat. And, most interestingly, cholesterol in food doesn’t appear to raise blood cholesterol levels, but saturated and trans fats do, which is bad for heart health.
For more information:

Results from the Colorado Maternal and Child Health Needs Assessment

Every five years, the Colorado Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program conducts a statewide needs assessment of the health and well-being of Colorado’s women, children and youth, including children and youth with special health care needs. The process involves collecting data to assess the health status of the MCH population as well as state and local capacity. The process led to the selection of seven MCH priorities for 2016-2020:

These priorities, identified by the Advisory Group, will drive state and local public health work around maternal health issues for the next five years.  Many of Jefferson County Public Health’s programs and services work to improve maternal and child health in the County, including:

For more information:

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Nearly half of all pregnancies in Colorado are unintended, meaning they occur sooner than desired or occur when no pregnancy is desired at any time.  For teens the percentage is even higher, with the vast majority being unintended. Research shows that science-based, comprehensive sexuality education, contraceptive access and youth development programs can help young people make choices that can protect them from unintended pregnancy.
Jefferson County Public Health’s Family Planning Program offers reproductive health services including various forms of birth control at its new Lakewood location at 645 Parfet Street. Please call 303-232-6301 to make an appointment. Walk-in hours are also available.  Services are provided on a sliding-fee scale.  No one is denied services due to the inability to pay. Youth and young adults in Jefferson County can also use Go Ask TISH to get answers about their sexual health. It's confidential, just text your questions to 720-446-TISH (8474) and get answers from a public health nurse. We also have created videos to help educate teens and young adults on reproductive health, watch the JCPH “Sex Ed with Mel” video series.
Consequences of Unintended Pregnancy can include: 
  • birth defects
  • low birth weight
  • elective abortion
  • maternal depression
  •  increased risk of child abuse
  •  lower educational attainment
  • delayed entry into prenatal care
  • high risk of physical violence during pregnancy
  •  reduced rates of breastfeeding

 Additionally, teen mothers are less likely than their peers to earn a high school diploma or GED.

We all have a role in helping our youth become successful adults. Parents, teachers, friends, employers and others are invited to take time this May to help prevent teen pregnancy.  Engage the youth in your life in conversation, get teens thinking about how a pregnancy might affect their life and help them come up with a plan for avoiding pregnancy.  

For more information on Teen Pregnancy:

New report shows poverty increases risk of dying from cancer

Poverty continues to be an important risk factor in cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival, according to a report recently released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Cancer and Poverty: Colorado 2001-2012, shows that Coloradans living in high poverty areas of the state were more likely to be diagnosed with advanced cancer. People living in poor areas of the state were also more likely to die of their cancer within the first five years after diagnosis, regardless of the stage at which they were diagnosed. 

Among other things, health insurance coverage was a key factor affecting stage at diagnosis, particularly for those younger than 65. 

To download the report, go to Cancer and Poverty: Colorado 2001-12.

To learn more, go to the Colorado Central Cancer Registry or contact John Arend at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Monday, April 27, 2015

Earth Day is Every Day at Jefferson County Public Health

"Some people who talk about the environment talk about it as though it involves only a question of clean air and clean water. The environment involves the whole broad spectrum of man's relationship to all other living creatures, including other human beings. It involves the environment in its broadest and deepest sense.”
- Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day

Public Health is all about preventing illness and disease in our communities and while April 22, 2015, is reserved as Earth Day, every day is earth day at Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH). Creating healthier communities involves taking a close look at what makes us healthy or sick to begin with. The Jefferson County Public Health 2013 annual report highlights some of the work we are continually doing to improve health for everyone in the county.  A report released in 2014 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Time to Act: investing in the Health of our Children and Communities urges that we integrate health into community development, especially for low-income neighborhoods.  JCPH is committed to working with agencies, businesses and the community towards creating a healthier county for all to live, work, play and age.

Jefferson County Public Health's Environmental Health Services (EHS) works to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling harmful environmental factors in Jefferson County. 
EHS prevents, investigates and responds to health threats in the County from environmental sources such as our air, land, water, the food we eat and the domestic and wild animals and insects we encounter. EHS also inspects facilities including schools, daycares and restaurants for adherence to public health safety and disease control measures.  Information, resources and referrals are available from specialists in water quality, air quality, consumer protection and environmental protection. 

Resources and services include, but are not limited to, the following topics; air pollution, water pollution, individual sewage disposal systems, solid waste, drinking water, food borne illnesses, food service inspections, child care inspections, recycling and radon mitigation. For more information on any environmental health service, please call 303-232-6301, or visit the JCPH EHS web page

Every division in Jefferson County, including the health department, practices environmental stewardship through reuse, recycling, energy conservation, and water conservation.  These actions are good for people and the planet.  Everyone has a role in protecting our earth and natural resources.  Consider bringing your own shopping bag to the store, recycling household hazardous waste as well as other household items, using water thoughtfully and saving energy when possible.  Together we can make a difference. 

Learn more about Earth Day and its founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson.   Earth Day . . . The making of the modern environmental movement.    Accessibility on the web continues a Gaylord Nelson focus of making environmental knowledge freely available to all citizens so that local and national decisions could be informed, collaborative, and effective.


Do You Ever Wonder, “Is Mold Okay to Eat?”

For many foods it actually is OK to just cut away the mold and eat the rest, but some molds are dangerous and can be toxic. These molds can cause respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal illness, and some allergies, too. Hard foods that are safe, if you pare away the bad spots, include:
  • Carrots
  • Firm cheeses
  • Pears

As a general rule of thumb, hard foods are harder for mold to penetrate. Softer foods, like soft cheeses, are easier and cutting mold away does not ensure you’ve gotten rid of the mold. So, if you’ve got some grapes and there’s mold on a couple of them, throw the bunch away. Below is a list of foods generally regarded as safe once you’ve cut away the mold:

Mold on hard fruit/veggies: Cut about ½ inch around the mold to get rid of it.
Hard cheese: cut about ½-1 inch around mold, rewrap cheese with new covering
Hard salami/dry cured ham: OK to use, mold adds flavor to the salami, can scrub the mold    off the coating of the ham.
Gorgonzola/Bleu cheese: Cut out the moldy spot.

However, once you’ve cut away the bad part and eaten your fill, make sure to place the food in a new package, not the old package in which it was previously stored. This is because there could be traces of mold left behind that will contaminate the cheese and/or food. You should also clean the entire vegetable bin if you’ve found a piece with mold on it.

Not OK, even if there’s just a bit of mold:
  • Brie, Camembert
  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon
  • Casseroles
  • Leftovers
  • Pasta
  • Jams/jellies
  • Yogurt/sour cream
  • Lunch meat
  • Cooked meats
  • Soft fruits/ veggies/ even mold on orange rinds
  • Bread/baked goods
  • Sliced, shredded, cubed cheese
  • Nuts/nut butters

Finally, according to the USDA, you can minimize mold growth by:
  • Using leftovers within 3 to 4 days.
  • Cleaning your refrigerator every few months with 1 tablespoon baking soda dissolved in a quart of water.
  • Scrubbing visible mold using 3 teaspoons of bleach in a quart of water.

For more information on food safety, food safety inspections, and food safety courses, please visit our Food Safety website