Thursday, January 22, 2015

Get Your Heart Into It . . . Wear Red on February 6, 2015

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually. Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease which is roughly the equivalent of a September 11th- like tragedy repeating itself every 24 hours, 365 days a year. But, heart disease is preventable and manageable.

Jefferson County Public Health recently completed a comprehensive health assessment and cardiovascular disease is also the leading cause of death in Jefferson County. It accounted for more than 24 percent of all deaths in 2011. Heart disease and stroke are the most common types of cardiovascular disease. Although cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Jefferson County, the number of deaths has declined over the past 10 years. Heart disease can often be prevented. Tackling known risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and inactive lifestyle can greatly reduce risks for illness and death from heart disease.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds everyone that Friday, February 6, 2015 is National Wear Red Day. Wearing something red on February 6, is a simple, powerful way to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke.

JCPH is organizing a photo opportunity at the Jefferson County Courts and Administration Building, 100 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 12 noon. Please join us and wear your favorite red.
Jefferson County Public Health is committed to promoting health, preserving the environment and preventing injury and disease for the residents of Jefferson County, Colorado. Please call 303-232-6301 or visit our web site at jeffco.us/public-health for more information.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Free “Getting Ready to Quit Tobacco” Class in Golden, CO

The City of Golden, Colorado, has recently taken another step forward in its goal to become a healthier place to live, work, and play. As of January 1, 2015, more public places in Golden are smoke free! Golden also joins other Jefferson County, Colorado cities, including Edgewater and Lakewood, which have prohibited the use of vaporizing devices as part of their smoke-free laws.

Jefferson County Public Health is offering a FREE “Getting Ready to Quit” class in Golden, Colorado for those interested in preparing to stop smoking and/or using chew tobacco. Participants are encouraged to call 303-275-7555 to register for classes or for more information.

“Getting Ready to Quit” helps participants design their own approach to preparing for and quitting tobacco use. The focus is on gaining the skills needed to be a healthier, confident and successful non-tobacco user.

FREE “Getting Ready to Quit” Class

When: January 15, 2015
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: 1470 10th Street, Golden, CO 80401 (Golden Community Center)

To register for class or for more information, please contact:

Donna Viverette, JCPH Tobacco Prevention Initiative at 303-275-7555 or email: dviveret@jeffco.us

Monday, December 22, 2014

Prepare for the Everyday: Snow Shoveling Safety


Prepare for the Everyday: Snow Shoveling Safety


by Kelly Keenan, JCPH Emergency Preparedness Program


Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) believes that it's important for individuals to prepare for emergencies that may impact themselves and their families. While we often think about major events when we talk about preparedness, it is also important to plan and prepare for some of our more routine activities so that they don’t become emergencies. One example of this is shoveling snow during a winter storm. 

Many of us consider shoveling to be a chore rather than exercise; however it is basically lifting weights at an aerobic pace. Shoveling snow for just 30 minutes can burn between 180-266 calories, which is comparable to downhill skiing or swimming. Every year people hurt themselves while shoveling, from minor injuries to fatal heart attacks[1], so it is important to take shoveling snow seriously.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe while shoveling snow:

Dress warm, but not too warm. It is important to stay warm to avoid frostbite and hyperthermia, however being too warm can be hazardous as well. It is common to sweat while being active even if it is very cold outside. Sweating will cause the body to chill, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid. Dress in layers so that garments can be removed as the intensity of the activity increases.

Use proper technique. Start each movement by bending at the knees, like you are about to sit into a chair. Keep your back straight and engage the core (this feels similar to “sucking it in”). Stand up by using your legs to push you up rather than by trying to pull the snow up with your back. Alternate the side of the body the shovel is on to help keep your upper body balanced.  

Know your limits. Take your time and take breaks as you need them. If you feel any warning signs of a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately.
 
View the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web page on winter outdoor safety.
Jefferson County Public Health  Health Communications/PIO 303-239-7137.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Jefferson County Supports Nursing Mothers and Breastfeeding

Jefferson County Public Health is committed to promoting and supporting optimal breastfeeding practices toward the ultimate goal of improving the public's health. Public health professionals recommend breast milk exclusively for the first year of an infant’s life due to the health benefits it provides both mothers and infants. In an effort to increase breastfeeding rates throughout the county, Jefferson County Public Health’s WIC (Women, Infants, Children), Facilities and Breastfeeding Support programs have worked together to provide Quiet Rooms where mothers can breastfeed in various locations around the Jefferson County Government Campus. The Quiet Rooms are located in the Jefferson County Public Health Arvada and Lakewood WIC clinics, the Laramie building and the Courts & Administrative building.

Colorado’s breastfeeding law passed in 2008 states, “A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.” In addition, under the Affordable Care Act, Section 4207 requires employers to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk.” All employers, regardless of their size or number of employees, must comply with the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law.

Mothers are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. labor force and several studies have indicated that support for lactation at work benefits not only families, but employers as well by improving productivity; enhancing the employer’s public image; and decreasing absenteeism, health care costs, and employee turnover.

For more information about the quiet rooms or the Jefferson County Public Health Breastfeeding program, please visit the JCPH Breastfeeding Education and Support page or call Kelsey Rivera, RD, IBCLC at 303-239-7139.

What is Emergency Preparedness and Response?

Jefferson County Public Health’s (JCPH) Emergency Preparedness and Response Program works year-round to help prepare the county for any public health threats, from a biological Anthrax attack, to a foodborne outbreak of E. Coli, to a global pandemic. JCPH’s epidemiologists, emergency response planners and health communications team work together to ensure we are prepared and ready to respond.

Disease Detectives

Commonly known as disease detectives, infectious disease epidemiologists investigate infectious disease outbreaks in the community. By investigating outbreaks, epidemiologists can contain the spread of the disease in the population and help prevent a similar outbreak from happening in the future. JCPH’s epidemiologists investigate approximately 25 to 30 outbreaks from Norovirus to E. Coli., and respond to over 150 disease complaints each year.

Every disease outbreak is unique, however most investigations follow the same process. JCPH works in coordination with health and medical systems across the county and throughout Colorado. Working together they use robust surveillance systems to quickly identify potential outbreaks. Diseases that are particularly concerning are classified as reportable conditions. This means that anytime someone is diagnosed with one of these diseases, it must be reported to the local health department. This helps health departments quickly identify potential outbreaks so they can be rapidly contained.

If there is an outbreak, the epidemiologist will start an investigation. The epidemiologist will interview the index case to determine what he or she has been doing, or where they have been and who they’ve come into contact with. This helps to determine how the person may have become infected, and who else they may have infected while they were contagious. This is called contact tracing. The epidemiologist will use the information they gather during contact tracing to develop a scientific hypothesis or explanation about the source of the outbreak. They will research their hypothesis and use their findings to help the health department determine how they will control the outbreak.

Public Health Emergency Response Planners

Public health emergency response planners plan for the worst public health disaster that they can possibly imagine. From a biological anthrax attack to a fictional zombie apocalypse, public health planners work to ensure that the community is prepared for any type of public health disaster. Planners start their work by analyzing the threats to the community so that they know what the most likely potential threats are. They work alongside Emergency Management, Fire Departments, EMS, Law Enforcement Agencies, and Healthcare Agencies to find effective and efficient ways to prepare the community.

Public health planners focus on public health threats and provide expertise about the public health impact of any disaster, such as smoke inhalation during a wildfire. They write plans, train professionals and the public, and conduct drills and exercises to test their plans and their trainings. At the end of the day, emergency response planners create a more prepared community.

Take Steps Now to Eliminate Radon Gas from Your Home . . . January is National Radon Action Month

Jefferson County Public Health encourages all residents to have their homes tested for radon gas, a naturally occurring gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 500 Coloradans each year.

Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes all across the country. In Colorado, 52 of its 64 counties are at high risk for radon. Due to the gas’s unpredictable nature, two houses right next to each other may have very different radon levels. Testing is the only way to know for certain if you and your loved ones are at risk.

January is an excellent time to test your home. Testing requires all windows and doors be closed, but is simple to do. Residents in Jefferson and Gilpin counties can purchase short-term test kits for $10.00 at Jefferson County Public Health. Visit the Lakewood office at 645 Parfet Street, Lakewood, CO  80215, to pick-up your testing kit. Long-term test kits are also available at local hardware stores, supermarkets and other retail outlets.

For more information on radon, radon testing, and radon mitigation call 1-800-846-3986 or JCPH Environmental Specialist John Moody at 303-271-5714.

Resources:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for the people living with HIV, and to commemorate those that have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half a million people have died of AIDS in the U.S. since the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic– that is equivalent to the entire population of Jefferson County.

Did You Know?
  • More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) are unaware of their infection.
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, particularly young black/African American MSM, are most seriously affected by HIV.
  • By race, blacks/African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV. 
CDC estimates that 1,144,500 persons aged 13 years and older in the U.S. are living with HIV infection, including 180,900 (15.8%) who are unaware of their infection. That means the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS is still very much present. So, this December 1st, Put the Red Ribbon back on and join in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Resources:

Jefferson County Public Health offers screening, diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at our Arvada and Lakewood locations. If you have ever had a sexually transmitted disease, you may be at risk for HIV infection. JCPH also offers anonymous and confidential HIV counseling and testing. For more information or to make an appointment, call: (303) 232-7078. Also, download the JCPH HIV Testing and Counseling brochure.

For more statistics and information, visit CDC’s HIV in the United States page.