Monday, August 18, 2014

Creating a Multi-purpose Emergency Kit

How an emergency will impact you often depends on how prepared you are. One very important component to personal preparedness is having an emergency kit. While most people are aware of the importance of having a kit, they either haven’t actually put one together completely or they haven’t checked their kit in years. Kits have to be checked frequently because items can expire, get damaged or go missing.  Truthfully, kits can be expensive initially and then challenging to maintain, which is why I recommend creating a multi-purpose emergency kit.  

Since I work in emergency preparedness, everyone assumes that I am really prepared. However, I really struggled finding the time and money to put together my own kit. It wasn't that I didn’t know the importance of a kit, other things somehow always took priority (like getting more camping gear). 

In Colorado, summer means camping. We voluntarily leave the comforts and conveniences of our homes to spend the night sleeping outside, on the ground, without access to water or power. While camping is something we do for fun, in an emergency may possibly put us in a similar situation. In emergencies we can lose access to power or water, or have to evacuate our homes. We can suddenly be forced to live without the comforts and conveniences that we normally relay on. While going camping and being impacted by an emergency are completely different things, how we prepare for them isn't all that different.

After a camping trip last year I realized that I did actually have a personal preparedness kit! It was the three large, plastic containers that contain my camping gear. They already contain pretty much all the items I would need for a kit and they are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Each summer I get to use almost everything in the kit, plus I regularly check and replace items as needed (like bottled water, dog food, and matches). All I had to do was add a few items (like copies of important documents) to my camping gear, and it instantly became the perfect emergency kit! Using your camping and outdoor gear also as an emergency kit is a great option for anyone that (like me) is struggling with the expense and maintenance of pulling it together!! 

by - Kelly F. Keenan

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Safe Sex

Access to sexual and reproductive health services is essential for healthy populations. JCPH supports all women’s and men’s rights to such access. The Family Planning Program provides comprehensive contraceptive services to Jefferson County residents. Services include education, counseling, medical examination, treatment and birth control methods for men and women.

Reproductive health and birth control (family planning) services are available at our Arvada and Lakewood locations. Services are provided on a sliding fee scale and to people with Medicaid. No one is denied services due to the inability to pay. In addition to providing birth control pills and condoms to prevent unintended pregnancies, the department offers alternatives through long acting birth control methods, including no scalpel vasectomy for men. Remember, some activities are definitely high risk for HIV, STIs and Hepatitis infection. Protect yourself and your partner . . . wear a condom and get tested!

Splish. Splash. Practice Healthy Swimming Behaviors

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages healthy swimming behaviors to reduce the risk of recreational water illnesses. Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) are illnesses that are spread by swallowing, breathing or having contact with contaminated water from swimming pools, spas, lakes, rivers or oceans. RWIs can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including gastrointestinal, skin, respiratory, neurological and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea. Diarrheal illnesses can be caused by germs such as Crptosporidium, Giradia, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli.

Practice healthy swimming behaviors:
  • Refrain from swimming when ill, especially if you have diarrhea.
  • Avoid swallowing pool water or even getting in your mouth
  • Shower before swimming and wash hands after using bathroom or changing diapers. Change diapers in bathroom and not at poolside or near water. 
For more information about Recreational Water Illness Prevention and Healthy Swimming, contact Leslie Frank, Environmental Health Specialist at 303-271-5776 or email at: 
In some areas of Jefferson County, a substantial number of residential dwellings receive water from private wells. The department recommends that well water be tested for certain contaminants. JCPH Water Quality page:

Children’s Diets a Prescription for Ill Health

Did you know that more than 1/3 of American children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are overweight or obese? How about that, children consume twice the recommended amount of sodium per day? High sodium intake is associated with the risk of high blood pressure in children and adolescents and may raise blood pressure even in infants. Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium, so eat more fresh foods! We all can improve health by making healthier food choices.

Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. Food day works throughout the year to educate and build support around healthy food policies and culminates each year on October 24 with events held across the country. View this Food Day Infographic on Children’s Diets to learn more. Download this educational handout with tips for reducing salt and sodium intake. Visit the JCPH Nutritional Services web page and begin making healthier food choices today.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It is Hot Outside! Stay Cool. Stay Hydrated. Stay Informed.

As summer temperatures rise, so do the risks of heat related illnesses. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion often begin suddenly, and may include: Feeling faint or dizzy, nausea, heavy sweating, rapid, weak heartbeat, low blood pressure, cool, moist, pale skin, low-grade fever, heat cramps, headache, fatigue, dark-colored urine. See these tips on preventing heat related illness from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and have a safe and cool summer.

Elderly people (65 years and older) and Infants and young children are more prone to the effects of extreme heat. Take precautions:
  • Never leave anyone in a closed parked vehicle. Never leave infants or children in a vehicle, even if the windows are open. 
  • Never leave pets in a parked car - they can suffer heat-related illness too. 
  • Drink plenty of water 
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. 
  • Call 911 or emergency medical help if fainting, confusion or seizures occur, or if fever of 104 F or greater occurs with other symptoms.
More information:  >> Download CDC brochure

Do You Know the 4 D’s of West Nile Virus Prevention?

The best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from mosquito bites, is to follow the four D’s: Drain, Dusk/Dawn, Dress, DEET.

DRAIN: Drain or empty standing water around your home and neighborhood, since that is where mosquitoes lay their eggs

DUSK/DAWN: Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning (dusk and dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times when mosquitoes are most active

DRESS: Dress in long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn or in areas where mosquitoes are active. Wearing light-colored clothing may also help prevent being bitten.

DEET, Picariden or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus: Wear insect repellant containing either DEET, Picariden or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Follow label instructions 
  • Apply repellants to exposed skin and/or clothing. 
  • Never use repellants over cuts, wounds or irritated skin 
  • If using DEET, choose the concentration that best fits the amount of time spent outside. 25 percent DEET lasts up to 5 hours, 5 percent lasts 45-90 minutes. Use a concentration of 30 percent or less for children. 
  • DEET should not be used on children less than 6 months of age. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children less than 3 years of age.
For more information:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jefferson County Public Health Consolidates Its Clinical Services

Jefferson County Public Health announced today that it will be moving the clinical services housed in Arvada to its new location in Lakewood on 645 Parfet Street. While the clinical services, including immunizations, family planning, STD and HIV counseling at the JCPH Arvada site, currently located at 6303 Wadsworth Bypass are moving, the JCPH Arvada WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program will remain at the 6303 Wadsworeth Bypass location. This has been a year of moving for many health department employees and programs. The new offices at 645 Parfet street are filling up and all of us are happy to be able to serve the public from our new location with clinic, environmental health, WIC and other services.

We apologize for any inconvenience this latest move may cause and will do our best to minimize any disruptions to services provided. Stay tuned for any updates at or call 303-232-6301. We look forward to serving Jefferson County residents with their clinic services needs from our new location at 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood, Colorado.

View 645 Parfet Street on map

Reminder: WIC is not moving from Arvada location, just the clinical services at this time.