Monday, June 27, 2016

Colorado Celebrates Ten Years of Clean Indoor Air

Communities Still Working to Better Protect Coloradans’ Health

Jefferson County – July 1, 2016 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (CCIAA), a bipartisan state law designed to help protect Coloradans from exposure to secondhand smoke. The CCIAA went into effect on July 1, 2006, and prohibits smoking in most indoor public places such as restaurants, bars and workplaces.

While the CCIAA has helped to protect the health and safety of Coloradans, there is still more work to be done to protect everyone from exposure to secondhand smoke and the aerosol emitted by electronic smoking devices (ESDs), such as e-cigarettes. Exemptions in the state law still permit smoking and vaping in certain workplaces, such as cigar/hookah bars and retail tobacco businesses, and too many workers and patrons are still exposed to secondhand smoke and aerosol. Additionally, outdoor areas, such as restaurant patios, entryways, parks, playgrounds and trails, are not currently covered by the CCIAA. Studies show that exposure to outdoor smoke can rival exposure to indoor secondhand smoke and lead to negative health effects.

The U.S. Surgeon General states that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Nationally, secondhand smoke kills 41,000 nonsmokers each year. Despite gains made in tobacco prevention in years past, tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and in Colorado. Nearly 500,000 deaths in the U.S. and 5,100 in Colorado can be attributed to smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoke-free laws protect everyone from the harms of secondhand smoke, support people in quitting tobacco and help prevent initiation of tobacco among youth.

The Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance is a group of community members, organizational partners, health advocates and tobacco prevention and control specialists working to reduce the toll of tobacco in Jefferson County and across Colorado. “We know that eliminating secondhand smoke and aerosol exposure is critical to protecting public health,” stated Alliance Co-Chair Dr. Lorrie Odom, MD. “The Tobacco-free Jeffco Alliance recommends communities adopt policies, such as strengthening smoke-free and vapor-free laws, in order to protect everyone from the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke or the aerosol from e-cigarettes.”

In an effort to protect people better, some Jefferson County communities have implemented local laws which make more workplaces and public places, including some outdoor public spaces, smoke-free. The cities of Arvada, Edgewater, Golden, Lakewood and Wheat Ridge have also prohibited the use of ESDs wherever smoking is not allowed. Community members are invited to get involved with the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance to continue improving the health of our communities. Alliance Co-Chair Dr. Charmaine Brittain, MSW, Ph.D. states, “The Alliance joins with our community to make Jefferson County the healthiest place to live and bring up our children. We encourage our community members to get involved and help us make it so."

Jefferson County Public Health continues to work toward reducing the toll of tobacco in our communities through sustainable solutions to the problem of tobacco use and exposure. To learn more about current initiatives and how to get involved, please visit www.tobaccofreejeffco.com, email tobaccofree@jeffco.us,
or call 303-275-7555.




Hit the Trail to End Hunger this July!


Get ready to Hike for Hunger! The statewide event and fundraiser, taking place July 1-31, 2016 is open to people of all ages, abilities and locations. All funds raised will benefit Hunger Free Colorado's mission. 
 
Registration is FREE for individuals and teams, but those who fundraise and/or participate in Hike for Hunger events and organized hikes will be eligible to earn swag and awards, including an award for the best #HikeforHunger photo or story. Participants can set their own hiking or walking goal for the month of July, and then secure pledges and support as they hit the trail to help ensure no Coloradan goes hungry. (Check out our fundraising tips for some creative ways to get started.) Register online (or by mail) and start fundraising today at HikeforHunger.org

Splish. Splash. Practice Healthy Swimming Behaviors This Summer!



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 illness, skin, respiratory, neurological and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea. Diarrheal illnesses can be caused by germs such as Cryptosporidium, Girardia, 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 it 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.
  • Apply sunblock thoroughly and often, especially after swimming 
For more information about Recreational Water Illness Prevention and Healthy Swimming, call
303-271-5700.

Information can also be found on the Centers for Disease Control web site at: www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming

World Hepatitis Day is July 28, 2016

Worldwide, over 400 million people are living with hepatitis B or C and over 1.2 million people die each year from hepatitis B or C-related liver diseases. These deaths could be prevented through increased education and understanding on how to prevent hepatitis. Learn more about the global campaign to eliminate the different types of hepatitis.

What is Viral Hepatitis?

“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A Hepatitis B , and Hepatitis C  .

Keep Children Healthy through Hydration


It is estimated that more than half of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are not getting enough hydration, most likely because they are not drinking enough water.  View Harvard School of Public Health study.

Water and sufficient hydration are essential for physiological processes such as circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, and waste removal.  Drinking enough water is especially important in Colorado, where we live at elevation and the climate is arid, dry and hot during the summer months.  

Jeffco Sips Smart is a new coalition working to increase healthy beverage, especially water, availability and consumption in Jefferson County through education, partnerships and supportive policies. Why are healthy beverages so important? Hydration is essential to health and well-being and yet too often the drinks that are available contain a lot of added sugar.  Sugary drinks cause serious health concerns. Consuming just one sugary drink per day can add an extra 39 pounds of sugar in a person’s diet each year! This added sugar from just one sugary drink a day can lead to cavities, weight gain, diabetes and heart disease for both adults and children. 

What is a healthy beverage? The basic definition is one with no added sugar. The best options include tap water, water with fruit, sparkling water with natural flavor, unflavored milk, and unsweetened tea or coffee. 100% juice has a lot more sugar than people may think, thus, it is best if consumed in 4-6 oz. servings just a few times per week, especially for children. Sugary drinks include all beverages sweetened with various types of sugar that add calories, including carbonated sodas, sports and energy drinks, lemonade, sweetened teas and coffees and other sweetened fruit juice drinks. 


Try a Jeffco Sips Smart solution for improving hydration and carry a reusable water bottle with you and have your children do so as well.  Drinking more water will help improve overall health. 

Fight the Bite . . . Adhere to the 4 Ds of West Nile Virus Prevention

Mosquito season is here and with it comes possible exposure to West Nile Virus.  The best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from mosquito bites and the potential of contracting West Nile Virus is to follow the four Ds: Drain, Dusk/Dawn, Dress, DEET

·         DRAIN: Even the smallest containers like coffee and soda cans can be enough water for mosquitoes to lay eggs so everyone should thoroughly inspect all areas around their home and work for standing water and drain or empty all standing water.
·         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.
o   Follow label instructions.
o   Apply repellants to exposed skin and/or clothing.
o   Never use repellants over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
o   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.
o   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.

In 2015, as reported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a total of 101 cases of human West Nile Virus (WNV) infection were identified across the state of Colorado.


For more information about West Nile Virus, please visit the JCPH website or the Colorado Fight the Bite website.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Colorado Sees a Surge in Homelessness

by Jaclyn Zubrzycki
(This article is reprinted from the Colorado Trust. )

Nearly 25,000 Colorado children were homeless during the 2014-15 school year.

That’s more than twice as many as were homeless just seven years ago, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report, which takes stock of the well-being of children in the state.

The growth in homelessness comes even as the number of Colorado children living in poverty decreased for the second year in a row.

Colorado is not alone. According to the National Center for Homeless Education, which is part of the federal education department, school districts around the country have been reporting increases in homelessness for several years: 1,129,791 students in the 2011-12 school year; 1,216,888 in 2012-13; and 1,298,450 in 2013-14. National data for the most recent school year is not yet available.  

The authors of America’s Youngest Outcasts, a 2014 report on youth homelessness, attribute that increase to a combination of high poverty rates, lack of affordable housing, racial disparities, the challenges of single parenting, domestic violence and other traumatic experiences, and the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

A similar set of factors hold true in Colorado, said Kim Easton, CEO of Urban Peak, a nonprofit that offers services and shelters for homeless youth in Colorado Springs and Denver.

But the stark increase here seems particularly tied to what observers are calling a crisis in affordable housing, said Sarah Hughes, research director for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, a Trust grantee that publishes the KIDS COUNT report.

“Growth can be a good thing, but I think it’s important that we not lose sight of unintended consequences,” she said.

Chaer Robert, manager of the Family Economic Security program at the Colorado Center for Law & Policy (CCLP), also a Trust grantee, said the high cost of housing combined with stagnant wages has created an untenable situation for many families.

In Denver, for instance, housing prices and rental costs have skyrocketed. And while the rate of children living under the poverty line has decreased, the percent of children and families living in extreme poverty—a household income of $12,000 or less for a family of four—remained about constant.

For families who can’t find affordable housing, “their only option is doubling up,” Robert said, referring to the practice of sharing space with other persons due to economic hardship.

Robert said Colorado’s landlord-tenant laws are also more favorable to landlords than in many states. Landlords only have to give tenants on month-to-month leases seven days of notice before raising their rent, for instance. Those laws affect more families now than ever: 38 percent of Colorado families did not own their homes in 2014, up from 30 percent in 2006, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report.

That instability for families shows up in the KIDS COUNT child homelessness figures. Denver, Mesa County and Pueblo counties saw the biggest increases in the percent of children without permanent housing over the last year. Adams and El Paso counties also saw significant increases in the number of homeless youth.