Friday, November 6, 2015

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.

Quit Tobacco for a Day or Quit for Life During this Year’s Great American Smokeout

In honor of the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is encouraging people who use tobacco to quit for the day or quit for life on November 19, 2015.

Tobacco products and their ingredients are designed to be addictive with nicotine serving as the primary chemical compound that causes dependence. According to the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report, most people initiate tobacco use before the age of 18, and because the teen brain is still developing, youth are more vulnerable to nicotine addiction. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure cause more than 480,000 deaths each year.

Regardless of the age of initiation or the length of time a person has used tobacco, quitting is possible and worth it. According to the CDC, the number of people who have quit smoking successfully exceeds the number of people that currently smoke. Quitting takes practice, and, even though it often takes more than one attempt to quit successfully, chances of success increase with each quit attempt. It is never too late to quit, and the body begins to heal shortly after stopping any form of tobacco.

If you or someone you care about is interested in being tobacco-free for the Great American Smokeout on November 19, 2015, preparing for the day in advance increases the chances of success. JCPH recommends using this nine day quit guide to help with planning a quit date. For additional support with quitting tobacco, consider using some of the following free resources:
·         Call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit
·         Attend a free tobacco cessation group hosted by Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge on Tuesdays at 12:00 pm or 5:30 pm. 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.)
·         Visit the Thinking of Quitting page on the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Website.
·         Visit for additional information about secondhand smoke, Colorado tobacco laws, and resources to help with breaking free from tobacco addiction.

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.

Friday, October 2, 2015


The Hungry For A Change Summit 2015, hosted by Hunger Free Colorado, was attended by two of theJCPH Nutrition Services/WIC staff on September 29, 2015. Hunger Free Colorado leads efforts to connect families and individuals to food resources and to fuel changes in systems, policies and social views, so no Coloradan goes hungry. Hunger Free Colorado is the state’s leading anti-hunger organization leveraging the power of collaboration, system change, policy change and social change to end hunger in Colorado. Below are a few highlights from the summit.

  • The Hunger Free Colorado Partnership with Kaiser Permanente connects patients to food and nutrition resources. At child wellness visits, patients are screened for food insecurity by asking: “When was the last time you worried whether your food would run out before you had money to buy more?”  Patients with positive screens are referred electronically to a community specialist, who assess for other social needs and also (with client permission) fax a referral to Hunger Free Colorado who will reach out to each referred member and connect them to nutritional assistance programs or other nutritional resources. 
  • “We Need to Think of Food Stamps as Medicine.” By reducing food insecurity, food stamps can  decrease a child’s risk of:
    • Hospitalization
    • Poor health
    • Iron deficiency anemia
    • Deficits in cognitive development
    • Behavioral and emotional problems
  • 1 in 7 Coloradans struggle with hunger, facing times when there is not enough money to buy food
  • 1 in 5 kids are hungry and those under the age of 6 are most likely to be in poverty 
  • More than 1 in 7 Colorado Seniors are unsure of when or where they will get their next meal.
Other topics at the Hungry for A Change Summit included:
  • Take Action To Address Childhood Hunger
  • Yes, We Can Impact Federal Policy
  • Creation of the Colorado Food Pantry Network
  • Helping Our Future by Helping Our Kids - Creative ways to expand access to summer and after-school meals that help benefit children’s cognitive abilities, physical development, school readiness and future eating habits. 
  • Around the State in 50 Minutes - An interactive session to share and learn what others around the state are doing to alleviate and solve hunger. 
For more information about Hunger Free Colorado and to learn how you can help
go to  For an overview on the summit, including powerpoint presentation, story compilations and social media posts, visit the website.



Raising Awareness Around Mental Health and Illness

Jefferson County Public Health promotes living healthy, active lives, and this includes having a happy, healthy mindset. Health begins within each individual and their ability to cope with everyday stresses and life in general, and their ability to make healthy choices for themselves. Many people around the world, within the United States, and even right here in Colorado, suffer daily with mental illness. Did you know that Colorado lost 1,058 people to suicide last year? This is the highest number in state history. That puts Colorado’s suicide rate at 19.4 per 100,000 residents — seventh highest in the country.

Suicide kills more Coloradans each year than homicide, car crashes, diabetes, breast cancer, flu or pneumonia. It is the seventh leading cause of death for all Coloradans and second leading cause of death for young Coloradans.

Each year, The National Alliance on Mental Illness celebrates Mental Illness Awareness Week during the first full week of October, which is the 4–10 of this year. The week’s 2015 theme revolves around building a movement through the new Stigma Free initiative. Being Stigma Free means learning about and educating others on mental illness, focusing on connecting with people to see each other as individuals and not a diagnosis, and most importantly, taking action on mental health issues.

In support of Mental Illness Awareness Week and mental health awareness in general, Jefferson County Public Health will be hosting its second Mental Health First Aid class open to the public! If you have not yet taken the course this will be a great opportunity to sign up and be a part of a larger discussion centered around how to increase mental wellness within our community.

The goal of the course is to support County community members by having improved mental health literacy! By completing this course you will have a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how this impacts a person’s daily life, and what helps a person experiencing these challenges move toward wellness.

Mental Health First Aid Curriculum Highlights:
  • Dispel myths about mental illness.
  • Educate participants about prevalence of mental illness.
  • An educational and interactive training.
  • Address the following mental health problems:
    • Depression, self-harm, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety disorders, panic attacks, psychosis and psychotic disorders (including schizophrenia), substance use disorders. 
  • Give participants an action plan to address these mental health problems:
A: Assess for risk of suicide or harm

L: Listen non-judgmentally

G: Give reassurance and information

E: Encourage appropriate professional help

E: Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Mental Health First Aid teaches participants to recognize symptoms of mental health problems, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person to appropriate treatments and other supportive help. Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to be therapists.

Class Date: October 15th 1:00pm to 5:00pm and October 22nd 1:00PM to 5:00pm

Class Location: Jefferson County Courts and Administration, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80401

Class will be held in rooms 1566/67 Westminster/Edgewater. They are on the 1st floor and you will not need to pass through security.

To register for either of the upcoming courses, click here

Public Health Encourages Participation in International Walk to School Day

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages parents and children around the county to join in a country-wide effort to celebrate International Walk to School Day on October 7, 2015. This fun walking or biking event promotes safe routes to school and emphasizes the physical, mental and environmental health benefits of walking or bicycling to school.

The event works by getting teams at schools to organize walking school buses and bike trains that promote and facilitate walking and bicycling to school. The teams work with local officials, parents, and school children to map safer routes to school by painting cross walks, removing debris from sidewalks, and having adults accompany groups of children on their journey to and from school. The program also includes bicycle and pedestrian safety education to teach children the skills they need to stay safe around traffic.

Walking or bicycling to and from school can be a first step to changing community culture and creating environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old. Here are some reasons to support walking and bicycling to school:

  • Enhance the health of kids. Increased physical activity can combat a host of health problems facing kids today.
  • Improve air quality. Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can help reduce air pollution.
  • Create safer routes for walking and bicycling. Sidewalks, education programs and traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve conditions for young students.
Information on Walk to School Day is also available at

Test Your Home for Radon with a Free Radon Test Kit From JCPH

JeffersonCounty Public Health (JCPH) 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), exposure to radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

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 unpredictable nature of the gas, 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.

Protect yourself & your family by testing for radon in your home. Please call (303) 271-5700, or e-mail John Moody at to order your free radon test kit. Kits can also be picked up today at JCPH, 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood.  For more information on Radon, visit our website.