Thursday, May 30, 2013

Prevent Animal-Borne Diseases

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds residents that with summer and warm weather upon us, so is the risk of contracting certain animal-borne diseases. Rabies, West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Bubonic Plague, Tularemia, and Colorado Tick Fever are all diseases that can be carried by various animals and insects (rodents, mosquitoes or ticks) and then transmitted to humans.

They are also more common during the summer when people tend to be outdoors more often and wild animals and insects are active. JCPH recommends everyone help control the presence of rodents and mosquitoes around their home; and, when heading outdoors, particularly to areas where wild animals and insects are active, wear insect repellant, appropriate clothing and protect your pets from fleas and ticks. Remember not to handle sick or dead animals or animal waste. A few precautions go a long way towards preventing animal-borne disease. To learn more about animal-borne diseases, please read our news release, brochure or visit our website.

Growing Healthy with WIC

Women , Infants & Children Program

The JCPH Nutrition Services Woman, Infants & Children (WIC) Program provides nutrition education and support for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women. This program also helps infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. In addition, WIC has teamed up with Cavity Free Families to help implement good oral health habits. At Jefferson County Public Health , our WIC educators are here to help you. If you or anyone you know might benefit from WIC services, call 303-239-7143 to set up an appointment at our Edgewater, Lakewood or Arvada clinics.

Be sure and visit one of the Health and Produce fairs being held this summer for low-income residents and seniors who may not otherwise have access to fresh fruits and vegetables:

Healing Waters Family Center
6475 W. 29th Ave 
Wheat Ridge, CO, 80214-8002 
(between Wadsworth & Sheridan on W. 29th Avenue)
Friday, June 14; Friday, July 12 and, Friday, August 9
9:00 am-11:00 am.

Please note that while there is no income or residential requirement to participate, JCPH trusts that the goal of providing nourishment and education to low-income residents will be respected and supported. The produce fairs are coordinated by the Produce and Health Fair County Collaborative: Food Bank of the Rockies, Cooking Matters, CSU Extension, Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, City of Thornton and Tri-County Health Department.

The Bounty of Jefferson County

In Jefferson County we all know how lucky we are to be located at the base of the grand Rocky Mountains where we have access to the very best activities, beautiful sunsets and fresh produce! Buying local is good for our community and eating fresh fruits and vegetables is great for your health. Check out the following local Farmer’s Markets in your Jefferson County City.

Golden Arvada Lakewood Wheat Ridge Evergreen

While you’re out shopping for local produce, consider the possibility of planting your own garden! Gardening can help you get the physical activity you need, provide healthy meals and educate your entire family. For more information about the benefits of gardening and tips to do it safely, visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

JCPH Offers No Charge HIV Testing for National HIV Testing Day

Do you know your status? Join the nation and find out on National HIV Testing Day, Thursday June 27th. On this day, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) will offer HIV testing and counseling for no charge. Call 303-232-6301 to make your appointment!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 18.1% of people aged 13 years and older living with HIV infection do not even know they are infected. Getting tested, and encouraging your partner to get tested is the best way to make sure you are both safe. For more information, visit the Jefferson County Public Health website.

National Home Safety Month

Every year, the National Safety Council pegs June as National Home Safety Month. This year’s theme, “Safety Starts with Me,” is a reminder to educate yourself and your family about preventable injuries around your home. Jefferson County Public Health’s Injury Prevention program has information on safe sleep and car seats for your child, preventing elderly falls, and teen driving.

For more information about preventing injuries in your home and community, please contact Myria Normann at 303-239-7067.

Protect Your Pets

One of the best ways to show your pets how much you love them is to make sure they are protected from rabies. Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system in animals and humans. If you do not vaccinate your pets, you are putting your entire family at risk. It is also important to keep your pets on leashes when they are out in the community.

Rabies in wild animals is on the rise, especially in bats and skunks in the state of Colorado. These wild animals can infect your pets if they are not protected. The Foothills Animal Shelter provides low cost vaccinations as well as links to other vaccination clinics throughout the county. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Kids Page on Rabies or read our JCPH Rabies brochure.

For questions, contact:, 303-271-5700

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Help Prevent Hepatitis A, B, and C

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and the name of a group of viral infections that affect the liver. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that an estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis, however many do not know they are infected. The only way to know if you have hepatitis is to be tested. If you know you have hepatitis, you can take steps to keep from spreading it to others.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitas A (HAV) is primarily transmitted by the fecal-oral route. This can be by person-to-person contact or consumption of contaminated food or water. The best way to protect yourself from hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. Recovering from HAV requires a lot of rest, usually over a period of several months. Currently, there is no cure for HAV. For more information, including symptoms and who may be at risk for HAV, please read JCPH’s brochure on HAV.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B (HBV) is transmitted through activities that involve a puncture through the skin or l contact with infectious blood or body fluids including semen or saliva. You can protect yourself from HBV by using a condom and not participating in injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment. HAV can also be transmitted through contact with blood or open sores of an infected person, to a baby from an infected mother or sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person. The best way to protect from yourself from hepatitis B is to get vaccinated. To learn more about HBV, visit the CDC’s website.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C (HCV) is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States. According to the CDC there are approximately 3.2 million people chronically infected. Most of these people do not look or feel sick, so they are unaware that they are infected. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injection drug use. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. This is why the CDC recommends that everyone born between 1945 - 1965 get a hepatitis test. More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C – accounting for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus. For more information read JCPH’s Hepatitis C Brochure. For more information on hepatitis, please contact the Jefferson County Public Health Department at 303-232-6301. If you feel you are at risk, get tested as soon as possible or talk with your health care provider. Early treatment can help stop the spread of hepatitis and save you from liver disease.

Jefferson County Produce & Health Fair

Jefferson County Public Health Nutrition Services has organized three produce and health fairs again this year for low-income residents and seniors who may not otherwise have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Last year the JCPH Produce and Health Fairs distributed food and information to over 1,980 households in Jefferson County. This year, as in previous years, the produce and health fairs will be held at:

Healing Waters Family Center
6475 W. 29th Ave 
Wheat Ridge, CO, 80214-8002 
(between Wadsworth & Sheridan on W. 29th Avenue)
Friday, June 14; Friday, July 12 and, Friday, August 9
9:00 am-11:00 am.

Please note that while there is no income or residential requirement to participate, Jefferson County Public Health trusts that the goal of providing nourishment and education to low-income residents will be respected and supported. The produce fairs are coordinated by the Produce and Health Fair County Collaborative: Food Bank of the Rockies, Operation Frontline Colorado, Adams County Food Distribution, Immaculate Heart of Mary Food Bank, Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health and Tri-County Health Department. Please contact JCPH Nutrition Services, Nancy G. Obrien at 303-239-7126 with any questions. To view pictures of previous produce fairs click here.

Spring Cleaning and Hantavirus

Spring season is often a time for cleaning, which is why Jefferson County Public Health reminds everyone that there are some important steps to take to protect against the respiratory disease, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Hantavirus is carried by rodents, most commonly the deer mouse in Colorado. People can get HPS when they are exposed to infected rodents or their urine or droppings. Not all deer mice carry the virus and there is no way to tell if a mouse is infected, thus the best way to prevent HPS is to eliminate or minimize contact with rodents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hantavirus has a mortality rate of 38% and begins with symptoms of fatigue, fever and muscle aches especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal and can begin anytime between 1 to 5 weeks of exposure. JCPH encourages everyone cleaning out garages, sheds, cabins, trailers and other places that have been ignored for most of winter, to keep their eyes open for any evidence that deer mice have been present and to take the necessary precautions.

Hantavirus can be stirred up in dust and breathed in by people. Sweeping up mouse droppings or wiping out areas where rodents have been present can stir the virus into the air where it can be inhaled.

Use the following steps to clean any areas you suspect have been contaminated:
  • Use latex, rubber or vinyl gloves and thoroughly wet the areas with a bleach solution or household disinfectant. Spray the urine and droppings with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water and let soak 5 minutes. The recommended concentration of bleach solution is 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
  • Once wet, contaminated materials can be taken up with damp towel and then mopped or sponged with bleach solution or household disinfectant. Contaminated gloves should be disinfected before taking them off. 
  • After taking off the clean gloves, wash hands with soap and warm water. 
“These steps are especially important as vacuuming an area without first wetting it down can stir up dust and will not provide the necessary protection against Hantavirus,” said Dave Volkel, JCPH Zoonosis (animal-borne disease) program specialist.

The best way to prevent the risk of Hantavirus infection is to control the presence of rodents in and around the home. JCPH also advises that residents rodent proof their homes by plugging holes and entry points where mice can get inside; eliminating food sources for rodents; and removing abandoned vehicles and wood, brush and junk piles where rodents hide.
  • Currently there is not an effective treatment for Hantavirus, so take precaution when cleaning this spring. For more information, please see our Hantavirus webpage or call the Zoonosis Program at 303-271-5700.
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment questions and answers: Q & A

World No Tobacco Day

Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship 

May 31, 2013, marks World No Tobacco Day - an annual day of observance that highlights health risks caused by tobacco use and encourages advocacy for policies that will reduce tobacco use. This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on the importance of banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Jefferson County Public Health joins WHO in taking a global stand against tobacco and asks that your business or organization make a commitment to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Jefferson County Public Health is committed to making our community a healthier place to live, work and play. Tobacco use remains the most preventable cause of death, and by banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship we can work together in reducing the harms of tobacco in our communities. To get more information on World No Tobacco Day, please visit the WHO website. For resources on quitting tobacco, visit the JCPH website.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Preventing Teen Pregnancy

We can all celebrate recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that teen birth rates in the U.S. are down and have been declining for the past 20 years. Good news indeed, but hold the applause, the CDC also points out that the teen birth rate in the U.S. remains nine times higher than in other developed countries. Furthermore, while the number of pregnancies may have declined, the number of teens who are having a second child, or third, before they are 20-years-old is on the rise. This is called a repeat birth. The data show that one out of five teen moms have repeat births. According to the CDC, every day in the U.S., 183 "repeat" teen births occur with the majority of these (86 percent) being second births and 13 percent being a third child. Teen pregnancy and repeat births among adolescents are an important public health issue because they are closely linked to a number of negative social and health outcomes including, poverty and income, child well-being, responsible parenthood, health issues, education, child welfare, and others. Preventing unplanned pregnancies is considered a Colorado and Jefferson County winnable battle. 

Jefferson County Public Health’s Family Planning Program has been reaching out to teens and their parents with reproductive health education and services since the 1970’s. Different birth control methods, the importance of spacing pregnancies, how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and abstinence education are all topics that one of the JCPH family planning nurses can help with. Parents and teens are encouraged to call our clinic at 303-232-6301 with any questions about our family planning services or to make an appointment. As the month of May is Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month, JCPH would like to remind all of its residents that the best way to prevent teen pregnancy is through education. For more information, please visit our website or call 303-232-6301. Also, check out our “Teen Health Matters” educational display in several county libraries and the Courts and Administration Building.

10 Year old Inspires Others to Reach out and Read

Fourth grader, Colin Barber likes to read books. “I like the way you can learn new things and meet different people. I like to go to new places in my books.” At only 10-years old, Colin understands why reading is so important in child development and he wants to share his love of books with other children. That is why Colin chose the Reach Out and Read Program as his community service project, part of his black belt testing requirements for Taekwondo. “I heard about a girl who didn’t have any books and I thought maybe I could change that.” And that is exactly what he did. With a little help from his parents, Colin set up collection boxes for used or new books at his school, his church and his Taekwondo school, Ken Caryl ATA Martial Arts. “I had a goal of collecting 300 books, because that is how many books I have and I reached my goal.” Not only did Colin reach his goal, but he surpassed it, collecting 511 beautiful children’s books. Colin arrived at the Jefferson County Public Health Immunization clinic recently to donate all 511 of those books. The modest smile on his face as he handed over the boxes of books said it all. Thank you, Colin Barber for the wonderful books and for sharing your love of reading with other children.

Jefferson County Public Health’s Immunization Program nurses and staff are advising parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children and also providing age-appropriate books to take home. JCPH is one of the more than 180 participating clinics in the Reach Out and Read Colorado program. This non-profit distributes more than 143,000 books to more than 82,000 Colorado children annually.
For More Information: