Monday, November 3, 2014

Physical Activity Truth . . . Let’s Move Jeffco Youth

Encouraging an active lifestyle for children beginning at a young age can create an overall healthier life with reduced risk for many chronic diseases. National guidelines determined by the CDC suggest that children need 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. Not only can regular physical activity help defend against childhood obesity and chronic illnesses, a new study has recently shown that it will improve children’s mental or “cognitive” skills, too.

The study, published in Pediatrics in September, reported improvement in memory, focus, attention and the ability to switch back and forth between tasks in 100 children (ages 7 to 9) involved in an after-school program of a little over an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every weekday for almost the entire school year. While an hour a day of exercise may sound like a lot, rethinking how we define and categorize exercise can help.

Meeting a child’s daily physical activity goal can include activities such as informal, active play to organized sports. Here are some great tips from the CDC on creating a supportive environment for children to succeed:
  • Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself;
  • Make physical activity part of your family's daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together;
  • Give your children equipment that encourages physical activity;
  • Take young people to places where they can be active, such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts;
  • Be positive about the physical activities in which your child participates and encourage them to be interested in new activities;
  • Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything your child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. Activities can range from team sports or individual sports to recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities or free-time play;
  • Instead of watching television after dinner, encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase or riding bikes; and,
  • Be safe! Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads or knee pads and ensure that activity is age-appropriate.

TISH: Sexual Health Information for Jefferson County via Text

TISH, Text Information Sexual Health, is a service for youth and young adults to receive answers about their sexual health through text. Jefferson County Public Health nurses receive and answer texts about sex, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), testing and all other topics regarding sexual health.

The text line is confidential and trustworthy, providing reliable information on sensitive topics that teens and young adults may otherwise be uncomfortable inquiring about. 

Here’s how it works: First, text the word “question” to (720) 446-TISH (8474) anytime. Once you receive a response, text your question and a Public Health Nurse will respond between the hours of 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. That’s it!

For more information on TISH, visit our Go Ask TISH website.

An online tutorial on TISH and how to use it is available in our Go Ask TISH Video.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Stop the Flu!

Get Your Flu Shot, Wash Your Hands, Stay Home When Sick

Now is the time to start paying close attention to protecting yourself and your loved ones from influenza (flu). Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. While it is impossible to say just how severe the 2014-2015 season will be, public health officials expect flu to be circulating and urge everyone to do their part in preventing its spread.

Seasonal Flu Immunization Clinics: Vaccines are our best prevention tool against flu. Get your annual flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends everyone six months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccine. Schedule your vaccination through your healthcare provider, stop by a local pharmacy or call Jefferson County Public Health to schedule an appointment.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) provides seasonal flu vaccinations for individuals 6 months and older at our Lakewood clinic. Vaccinations are available by appointment only, so please call 303-239-7078 to make an appointment. There is an administrative fee of $21.68 per vaccine. Vaccine fees for adults and children vary depending on the vaccine requested and insurance coverage. Service will not be denied due to inability to pay for any child qualifying for publicly funded vaccine, and fees may be waived. We can bill for Medicaid, Medicare, CHP+, and a number of private insurances. Please inquire about coverage when making an appointment.

Remember, influenza is a respiratory illness that can cause life-threatening complications. Do your part to stop the flu!
  • Get a seasonal vaccination; 
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (use anti-bacterial gel if soap and water are not available); 
  • Cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue or your elbow; 
  • Avoid others with respiratory illnesses; and, 
  • Unless it’s an emergency, call a health care provider about your flu-like symptoms. The best option may be to stay home until your illness has resolved.
For more information on influenza, visit: or call 303-232-6301.

Wonder if you have the flu or just a bad cold? Download our flu or cold brochure.

Make this Year’s Great American Smokeout be the Day YOU Quit Tobacco

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) strongly encourages all tobacco users to quit the use of tobacco or, if not ready to quit, to prepare for quitting by reducing use. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes or use other tobacco products, the Great American Smokeout on November 20, 2014, is the perfect time to make a plan to quit tobacco use altogether, or to even quit for just a day.
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States and Colorado. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke causes 480,000 (or 1 in 5) deaths every year in the United States, and for every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking.
In honor of the Great American Smokeout, JCPH is promoting its “Day I Quit” campaign which aims to motivate tobacco users to quit so that they can “have more, do more, and be more”.  The campaign will be running between the months of November through January and will feature transit, movie theater and online advertisements.
If you wish to take the tobacco-free challenge, there are steps to take now to help you prepare and significantly increase your chances of successfully eliminating tobacco from your life.

  • Colorado offers numerous resources to help you quit smoking or quit using other tobacco products.  Visit to learn more or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). 
  • COQuitMobile is a free text-based program that places you on the path to a life free from tobacco. 
  • Attend a free tobacco cessation group hosted by Lutheran Medican Center in Wheat Ridge on Tuesdays at 12pm.  This is a six week drop-in group that provides adults who want to quit smoking with tools and support to achieve their goals.  (You do not need to attend all six weeks in order to participate.) 
 Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative is working with students, parents and community members to educate about the harms of tobacco in our communities and to promote tobacco-free living. For more information or to get involved, please visit:, email us at or call Donna Viverette at 303-275-7555.

Happy & Healthy Eating Reminder: Preventing Foodborne Illness this Holiday Season

No matter how large or small your holiday guest list may be this year, it is important to be aware of safety issues when thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking your turkey and other holiday meal additions. A few simple steps can help keep foodborne illness off the menu this Thanksgiving. 

  • Safe Thawing:  Thawing turkeys must be kept out of the "danger zone" temperature (between 40 and 140°F) — this is the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. See Safe Methods for Thawing, (Spanish version). 
  • Safe Preparation:   Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.
  • Safe Stuffing:  Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F, possibly resulting in foodborne illness. Follow these steps to safely prepare, cook, remove, and refrigerate stuffing; Spanish language instructions.
  • Safe Cooking:  Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. For more information on safe internal temperatures, visit's Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Other resources:
JCPH turkey time handout or view the JCPH Food Safety web  page

Healthy Habits Prevent Spread of Disease

Our hands are exposed to germs with our every action. Keeping hands clean through proper handwashing practices is one the most effective and important steps taken to control spreading germs and/or getting sick. People often touch their eyes, nose, and mouth-- places where many germs exist—with their hands numerous times each day without even noticing. Germs can also make their way onto our hands after using the toilet, handling raw foods, shaking hands with another person, or touching any object someone has sneezed or coughed on or around, for example. 

With the height of flu season just ahead and other viruses and illnesses threatening our health this fall, it’s important to use the most basic sanitary practices to stay well. Simply washing hands with soap and clean, running water can prevent the spread of many diseases, illnesses and conditions and help people and communities stay healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and nearly 1 out of every 6 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia.

For more information on the correct handwashing procedures view this brochure.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse Can Help You in a REAL Emergency

Halloween is just around the corner, meaning in just a few weeks, our streets will be full of zombies, ghosts and ghouls. While you shouldn’t really worry about a zombie apocalypse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds everyone that preparing for a zombie apocalypse can help you in a real emergency.

You Can Prepare

Anyone can be impacted by an emergency such as a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or disease outbreak. You can take steps now to help you prepare for an emergency and better cope if an emergency happens.
Build a Kit
If a disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. It’s important to maintain an emergency kit with enough supplies for at least 72-hours. It is also important to consider your family’s unique needs, like medications or food for your pets.
Make a Plan
Families can cope with disasters by preparing in advance and working together as a team. If something were to happen, how would you contact one another, how would you get to a safe place, what would you do in different emergency situations? Planning what to do before a disaster strikes provides the best protection.
Stay Informed
It is important to understand what emergencies are likely to occur in your area and specific ways to respond to each one. You should also understand the ways you can get information about potential threats, such as through text alerts, emergency sirens in your community, or other methods. Jefferson County residents are urged to sign up for CodeRed.

You Can Stay Safe

Emergencies can be both stressful and dangerous, and they can expose us to dangerous situations.  It is important to remember that there are things you can do to keep yourself safe during an emergency.
Emergencies can expose us to dangerous situations where we could be injured. It’s important to use caution at all times, and learn basic first aid skills before an emergency. Stressful situations may trigger a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event in some individuals. The most important thing you can do during an emergency is to be able to recognize the signs of a cardiovascular event and act immediately by calling 9-1-1.

It is also important to avoid food-borne illness during an emergency. Keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40°F and frozen food at or below 0°F. This may be difficult when the power is out. A refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. When in doubt, throw it out.