Thursday, January 31, 2013

Keeping Your Food Safe in Jefferson County

Did you know that Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) offers food handling classes and has created a food forum to help prevent foodborne illness in Jefferson County?

Excellence in Food Safety is a training class designed to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and unsafe food handling practices. The class is specifically developed for food service personnel, but anyone interested in food safety is encouraged to attend. Please see our brochure for more information.

The Food Safety Forum is a group of food service operators, consumers and JCPH food program staff who meet once a year to collaborate and develop innovative strategies to reduce the risk factors associated with foodborne illness. The next Food Safety Forum meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. If you would like to attend, please contact Matthew Garcia at or 303-271-5762.Check out for more information on our food safety programs.

SMOKELESS . . . NOT Harmless Great American Spit Out

The Great American Spit out is February 21st. On this day, chew tobacco users are asked to skip the dip and go just one day without tobacco. The thought of quitting for good may be a lot to think about. But, what about quitting just for one day? Jefferson County Public Health encourages you to try. Spread the word and take the pledge to join the Great American Spit Out! This day is just one component of Through With Chew Week, which begins on February 17th.

 For more information about chewing tobacco and its effects on your health, visit us online at Watch a 5 minute video from the CDC showing the many tactics used by the tobacco industry to entice young and old to this deadly product.

Get Your Heart into It

February is recognized as national heart month. Cardiovascular disease (heart disease & stroke) is the leading cause of death in Jefferson County and the nation. The good news is 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. It’s important that individuals talk to a medical provider about risk factors, screening tests, lifestyle changes, and treatment services to prevent heart disease.

For more information on heart disease and prevention, please visit the American Heart Association
  • The health department also has handouts and other educational materials on heart health and reducing your risk factors:

Friday, January 11, 2013

A New Year...A Healthy You!

I had a plan on New Year's Eve. I knew exactly what had to be done. I was thinking about my plan all day on December 31, and I even discussed my plan with fellow co-workers who committed to the same idea. We were dedicated in our insight to make this next year happen with earthquake changes in our lives...and it all was going to start on New Year's Eve with a big plan.

I told everyone I knew about my plan for New Year's Eve: staying home, watching a movie, popping some corn, lighting some candles, and most importantly and dramatically, writing out a life plan. At the stroke of midnight, instead of a notebook of goals, resolutions, changes, and detailed plans, I looked down at my blank page and then looked at the clock. It wasn't the only the beginning of a new day, but the beginning of a whole new year. And, so far, I had nothing written down to start the day with.

This was a grand idea, but when I look back on my ambition to write out goals and resolutions that required extraordinary actions on my part to make incredible changes in my already complicated life, I realized that the change is in the small things. It made me think that big changes rarely happen without the baby changes we make everyday. It's one day at a time, living in the moment, being present in the now, making the change for that instant second that results in the dramatic effect in our lives.

Looking back on my New Year's Eve experience, I think I am beginning to understand what appreciating the moment is all about. Reflecting on what is happening in the present moment can also be a meditative way to start out the new year while embracing the life time experiences of the past year.

I know many people who make New Year's resolutions that enhance their appearance by trying to commit to unrealistic diet plans and fantastically outrageous exercise plans. Don't worry! I'm not about to recommend some impossible goal for you. All it takes is for you to be present in the now and take the appropriate action. Getting tested for HIV can be frightening and intimidating for some people, but knowing your HIV status can put you in the driver's seat and back in control of your life. Taking advantage of the opportunity to know more about your health and accessing resources to help you build a better life is what knowing about HIV status is all about. Quitting smoking, starting to exercise, decreasing alcohol intake, eating a more balanced diet are all great goals, but taking an HIV test is something you can do right now, in the present, to change your life for the better.

Learn something about yourself today...make the change today...get tested today....know your HIV status today. Start changing your life today.

Wishing you the very best of 2013!

Until next time.

Written by: William Tinley - Public Health Nurse
To read more of William's blog posts, visit Stop HIV Jeffco.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January is National Radon Action Month

Test Your Home with a Free Test Kit from Jefferson County Public Health!

via Storify -- January 09, 2013 at 11:31AM

It is Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot!

Stop the Flu: Get Vaccinated, Wash Your Hands, Stay Home When Sick

via Storify -- January 09, 2013 at 10:14AM

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why's Your Trash Up In My Grill?

Monday mornings usually hit quicker than many of us would like.  I often spend my commute thinking about what the day will bring, trying to remember what I left on my desk Friday afternoon as I dashed out the door to enjoy the weekend.  This morning, however, my thoughts were interrupted by the driver in front of me.  The motorist, in a new powder blue Jeep Cherokee, was using the highways as a trash bin.  At first, there was a cigarette butt, sparks flying as it bounced across the pavement.  A mile down the road, came the left overs and containers of McDonald’s breakfast items. Paper, cardboard and yellow arches flying into the grill of my car. 

I’m not sure why it bothered me so much, it was not the first time I’ve experienced littering drivers, but this time, I wanted to let the driver know the action had not gone unnoticed.  The signal on the Cherokee indicated that the driver was about to get over to my right.  I just HAD to see who this person was. This person who felt like the world was a trash can.  Was it a man? Woman?  Old? Young?  Did they not know about littering?

As I inched up to get a look, I saw the culprit. The driver was a woman in her late 40’s with pulled back hair and modest makeup.   As I steadied my car, even with hers, she looked at me with a shocked look.  She probably had no idea why I was shaking my head at her and giving her that same look of disapproval that I give to my little pug dog when he’s been naughty.

As she exited the highway, I continued on and gathered my composure. This had made me angry and we all know getting angry while driving is dangerous. No need for road rage.  Still, wasn’t protecting our environment all of our jobs? What was going on with this woman that made her comfortable with throwing her trash out of her car window, on the highway and the top of my car? (By the way, throwing any object on a highway is punishable by law and usually involves a large fine and possible jail time.) 

In my office at the Jefferson County Public Health Department, we try very hard to get information and resources to the public that will help keep them safe and healthy.  However, keeping the public healthy is not something any agency or single organization can do on its own.   This collaborative effort involves every individual in our community.  The littering driver this morning wasn’t single handedly putting the health of the public at risk.  However, her single action when multiplied by potentially thousands of others who decided not to be conscious of the environment and their community are. 

Public health has its roots in sanitation and cleaner environments.  Hundreds of years ago, people recognized that polluted water and improper disposal of waste were causing disease and death and came together to do something about it. Obviously we still have lots of work to do, but let’s begin by going back to some basics. Trash belongs in trash cans and not on the highways, cigarette butts go in an ashtray and should be completely extinguished, and common courtesy, even on a Monday morning, goes a long way.
For more information on Public Health and how you can make a difference in creating a healthier Jefferson County visit

by Tina Thorpe
Jefferson County Public Health

Thursday, January 3, 2013

You Have a New “Friend Request” Waiting From JCPH!

Getting information has never been easier!  Get the latest on health updates, community events, emergency information, healthy recipes and much more by visiting one of our social media sites.



Or sign up for on monthly Public Health Newsletter!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cervical Cancer is Highly Preventable

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical Cancer is highly preventable due to the HPV Vaccine and screening tests. However, every year in the United States, about 11,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 die from this disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex and skin to skin contact and can cause cervical cancer. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives. To learn more about the HPV vaccine and cervical cancer, click here for an informational video.

Jefferson County Public Health offers both cervical cancer screenings and the HPV vaccine through its Family Planning program. Call to make an appointment with Jefferson County Public Health at 303-232-6301. For more information, please visit,

A Deadly Killer

January is National Action Radon Month.  You can’t see, smell or taste radon gas, but it can seep into your home.  Radon  is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, second only to smoking.  Jefferson CountyPublic Health urges everyone in the community to protect their families and have their homes tested for radon.    The Environmental Protection Agency and JCPH offer the following suggestions for taking action.
  • Test your home - EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon.  Testing is easy and inexpensive. Learn more about  testing your home with a kit from Jefferson County Public Health.  Call 303-271-5700.
  • Spread the word - spend time during National Radon Action Month encouraging others to learn about radon and test their homes.  Tell your family and friends about the  health risk of radon.  Encourage them to test their homes.

  • Buy a radon-resistant home - If you are considering buying a new home, look for builders who use radon-resistant new construction. Read  more about radon-resistant new construction, "Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide to Build Radon-Resistant Homes".
For more information, call 303-271-5700 or email John Moody at

Cutting Calories? Drop the Soda!

If you are cutting calories, you may want to take a look at what you are drinking. It is easy to lose track of the calories you are consuming in the drinks you have. Cutting back on sugary drinks can cut over 600 calories a day! Check the nutrition label on your drink. What you find may surprise you!

For a general idea, check out the chart below. (Find more information by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Imagine, if you skipped drinking your soda 2 times a day and replaced it with water… You could save up to 284 calories every single day!

If you are watching the drinks you consume, you may also want to pay attention to your caffeine intake. Especially when it comes to energy drinks. Keep in mind that these drinks are not only loaded with caffeine but other stimulants like vitamin B and sugar. For more information, see the Jefferson County Public Health brochure on caffeine.

Perfect Time to Quit!

Anytime is the perfect time to quit smoking, however a lot of people are inspired by the New Year.  For those who want to quit, there are several helpful resources available.
  • Colorado Quitline - 1-(800) QUIT NOW – This service offers free phone coaching over multiple sessions to help you quit with a trained cessation specialist.  It also includes help to get nicotine patches.
  • The American Legacy Foundation’s web-based support offers another free resource for those ready to quit.
  • Kaiser Permanente has a series of free webinars to support quitting. Break Free for Life, Freedom from Tobacco, and Quit Tobacco Successfully are designed for the busy person who wants to customize their own plan and get ongoing support.
  • For spit or chew tobacco users, try for a self-help approach to quitting.
  • High school students wanting help with quitting should check with their school counselor or contact the American Lung Association of Colorado about Not On Tobacco groups. These 10 session series help teens with skills and resources to navigate the quitting process and stay quit. Visit or call the Colorado office of American Lung at (303) 388-4327.
  • Get more resources on how to quit here.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general.  But there is good news for those who can drop the habit.  Quitting smoking has immediate as well as      long-term benefits for you and your loved ones.  Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help or utilize the resources listed above! For more information on tobacco, please visit us online at

Do You Know Your BMI?

A new year is here.  For many, this means a New Year’s resolution to shed some extra pounds.  Loosing those pounds can help prevent and control high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and stroke!
But exactly how much do you need to lose?  One of the best ways to find out is by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). We’ve taken the calculation out of the equation and provided a simple BMI chart below!

Find your height and weight to get your BMI. A high BMI (over 25) usually means you have a higher amount of body fat and a higher health risk.  

If your BMI is higher than 25, and you would like to lower it, there is help. Visit Eat for tips on weight loss and JCPH Nutrition Services for healthy eating information.   Enjoying the beautiful outdoors in Jefferson County is another way to not only reduce your stress and get fresh air, but a great start to getting active and lowering your BMI.  Check out Jeffco Outdoors for a list of parks and trails that are close to you!