Friday, November 30, 2012

Wash your Hands, Get your Flu Shot and Stay Home if you’re Sick!

It’s the season for joyful celebrations with family and friends. It’s also flu season and a common time for the spread of disease and illness. Following basic public health practices during the holidays, such as washing hands, staying home if you’re sick and adhering to proper food handling and preparation techniques, can help you and your family from getting sick or from spreading illness to others.

You can also protect yourself and your family by getting flu shot. It is not too late to get immunized. Call Jefferson County Public Health to schedule your flu shot at 303-232-6301 or click here for more information.

Candy and Cookies and Fudge! O My!

The Holidays are here! Many of us will be going to parties, hosting family gatherings and eating more than usual. Jefferson County Public Health reminds everyone that moderation is important when it comes to what you are consuming.

JCPH’s Portion Plate Guide can help you keep track of how much you’re eating.

Keeping fruits and vegetables in your kitchen, instead of sugary snacks are a great way to curb your sweet cravings.

Food isn’t the only thing that we tend to overindulge in this time of year, sugar-laden drinks also tend to abound. Help your friends and family members rethink their drink.

Speaking of drinking, alcohol is also often consumed in excess during the holidays. Pay attention to how much alcohol you drink and know the health effects of excessive alcohol use. If you want to quit drinking alcohol, be sure to seek professional help, as withdrawing from alcohol can be life threatening without medical attention.

For those who smoke tobacco, try cutting back or take steps towards quitting instead of increasing your habit during the holidays, contact the Colorado Quit Line for more information. And, although this time of year gets incredibly busy, be sure to schedule time for a little exercise. Not only can physical activity help attack holiday weight gain, it can also help reduce stress --something that can certainly sneak up on us this time of year.

Keep Children Safe This Holiday Season

Picking the perfect toy for that special child in your life can be fun. Knowing that the toy is safe and won’t cause a tragic injury is priceless.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency created to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with some 15,000 types of consumer products, including toys.

Choking on small parts, small balls and balloons remains a leading cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. Here are some tips to help you with your toy selection:
  • To prevent injuries, choose toys that are safe for the age of the child.
  • Look for labels to help you judge which toys might not be safe, especially for infants and children under age three. The law bans small parts in toys for children under three and requires an explicit, prominent warning label on toys with small parts for children between the ages of three and six. In addition, balls with a diameter smaller than 1.75 inches are banned for children under three years old.
  • For children of all ages, consider if the toys are suited to their skills and abilities. 
For more information, download the JCPH Toy safety flyer.

Know Your Status

December 1st is National World AIDS day. Jefferson County Public Health asks you to recognize the day by knowing your HIV status.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV and 1 out of every 5 aren’t even aware that their status is positive. They also estimate 50,000 Americans are newly infected every single year.

This is why Jefferson County Public Health urges you and your partner to get an HIV test. The only way for someone to know if they have HIV is to take the HIV test. Knowing your status can prevent you from inadvertently infecting someone else. There is no cure for HIV, but there are new treatment options allowing people to live productive lives while living with HIV.

Get HIV counseling and testing at low cost at one of our conveniently located HIV testing clinics. With a rapid test, you can even get results during your visit. Make an appointment today by calling 303-239-7078.

Helping Families Grow Healthy

Jefferson County Public Health offers nutrition counseling and education for all families through its Women Infant Children Program, also known as WIC. Moms, Dads, Grandparents and legal guardians can participate in the program if they:
  • Live in Colorado 
  • Are pregnant, breastfeeding and/or have a child under 5-years-old. 
  • Have a family income less than the WIC guidelines
WIC helps keep families healthy by providing personalized nutrition consultants, breastfeeding information, checks for free healthy food and referrals for health care, housing and much more. This program also offers help with meal planning, weight management, and caring for a new baby. If you need help with your family’s nutritional needs, please do not hesitate to get more details at one of our WIC clinics.

JCPH Nutrition Services also offers nutritional assistance for families with children with special needs. Please call to make an appointment or visit us online:

Lakewood- 303-239-7143
Arvada- 303-275-7510
Edgewater- 303-271-5780

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Does Your Insurance Cover?


Many of us were taught at an early age to take charge of our health, our bodies and our minds. That is why many of today’s sexually active women rely on family planning services.  Unfortunately, for so many women the pocketbook gets in the way of making responsible choices when it comes to the use and availability of contraception choices.  Getting on a birth control pill, the patch, an IUD or any other female form of birth control involves visiting a healthcare provider.  Even if you have insurance, contraception and family planning services may not be covered. 

Under the The Affordable Care Act, insured women are meant to have better coverage and access to  preventive services including birth control.  Not necessarily. Recently, a friend of mine found out that her policy does not and will not cover contraception.  During a recent visit to get birth control services for her college-aged daughters, who are covered under her plan, she was told that despite having insurance there was no form of contraception that would be covered.  She was confused.  How is better and more affordable access possible if your plan denies coverage?

Upon further research, my friend discovered that because her insurance provider, through her spouse’s employment, was faith based they were exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement.  In fact, any plan sponsored by certain religious employers or group health insurance in connection with such plans, do not have to cover contraceptive services.  So with health insurance that doesn’t cover contraception, my friend and many others are left wondering how best to take care of their and their children’s reproductive health needs.

Fortunately, Jefferson County Public Health does provide family planning services, including contraception to individuals regardless of race, religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or marital status.  All services are confidential and fees are based on your ability to pay- no one will be denied services for inability to pay. 

Calling your insurance company to find out whether or not you are covered is the first step when it comes to taking charge of your reproductive health.  If you find that you are not covered, rest assured that Jefferson County Public Health can help.  For more information on Jefferson County Public Health clinic and other services, please call 303-232-6301.