Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jefferson County Public Health Consolidates Its Clinical Services

Jefferson County Public Health announced today that it will be moving the clinical services housed in Arvada to its new location in Lakewood on 645 Parfet Street. While the clinical services, including immunizations, family planning, STD and HIV counseling at the JCPH Arvada site, currently located at 6303 Wadsworth Bypass are moving, the JCPH Arvada WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program will remain at the 6303 Wadsworeth Bypass location. This has been a year of moving for many health department employees and programs. The new offices at 645 Parfet street are filling up and all of us are happy to be able to serve the public from our new location with clinic, environmental health, WIC and other services.

We apologize for any inconvenience this latest move may cause and will do our best to minimize any disruptions to services provided. Stay tuned for any updates at jeffco.us/public-health or call 303-232-6301. We look forward to serving Jefferson County residents with their clinic services needs from our new location at 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood, Colorado.

View 645 Parfet Street on map

Reminder: WIC is not moving from Arvada location, just the clinical services at this time.

Tick Activity Increases with the Return of Spring

This article is adapted from “Hot topics in Epidemiology, April-2014” produced by the Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Colorado residents who spend time outdoors this spring and early summer should avoid tick bites to prevent some diseases. The primary vector of tick-borne diseases in our state is the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni. The Rocky Mountain wood tick is generally found in sagebrush, juniper and pine habitats in areas that have moderate amounts of shrubs and grasses from elevations of 4,000 to 10,000 feet. The adult tick readily feeds on human blood, and can transmit Colorado tick fever (CTF) and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). Cases of CTF are common in Colorado, whereas cases of RMSF are not. CTF is not a reportable condition, but RMSF is.

Adult Rocky Mountain wood ticks usually come out from their overwintering sites beginning in March and tick activity peaks in April. We expect most tick activity to end in June because of hot, dry conditions though this is weather dependent. Ticks wait on grasses and shrubs for animals (or people) to pass by and brush up against the vegetation, than the tick hitches a ride. The tick crawls up until it finds an area of skin to bite. Ticks are often found behind the knees, at the waistband and groin area, around the armpits and at the nape of the neck.

Both CTF virus and the bacteria that causes RMSF are found in rodents in nature. Immature ticks (larvae and nymphs) feed on infected rodents and become infected themselves. Adult ticks will feed on larger animals such as deer and humans. People are at risk of getting sick when an infected adult Rocky Mountain wood tick bites them. Unlike people, rodents and other animals infected by these disease agents do not become sick.

If you are bitten by a tick carrying CTF virus or the RMSF bacteria you may become ill. The time from the tick bite to when symptoms begin can be as short as one to two days, or as long as two weeks. Symptoms for these two diseases are similar, with patients experiencing fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and lethargy. Less than 20% of people with CTF will have a rash on their body, whereas up to 90% of RMSF patients will have a rash. Many patients with CTF will become better on their own within a few weeks, and there is no treatment because CTF is caused by a virus. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a more serious disease than CTF, it is caused by bacteria and should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. People should consult their healthcare provider if they develop a fever and become ill after a tick bite or after having been in tick habitat. Many people who become ill do not recall being bitten by a tick, so they should be sure to mention that they’ve been in tick habitat even if they don’t think they were bitten by a tick.

Recommendations for avoiding tick bites include using a tick repellent and taking a shower after being outdoors. A factsheet about ticks and tick-borne diseases in Colorado is available from the Colorado State University Extension Office. Additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about avoiding tick bites can be found here. Information about different tick-borne diseases found in the United States is available from the CDC here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Earth Day is Every Day at Jefferson County Public Health

"Some people who talk about the environment talk about it as though it involves only a question of clean air and clean water. The environment involves the whole broad spectrum of man's relationship to all other living creatures, including other human beings. It involves the environment in its broadest and deepest sense.”
- Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day

Public Health is all about preventing illness and disease in our communities and while this year’s earth day, April 22, 2014, has come and gone,  every day is earth day at Jefferson County Public Health. Creating healthier communities involves taking a close look at what makes us healthy or sick to begin with. The Jefferson County Public Health 2013 annual report highlights some of the work we are doing to improve health for everyone in the county.  A recent report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Time to Act: investing in the Health of our Children and Communities urges that we integrate health into community development, especially for low-income neighborhoods.  JCPH is committed to working with agencies, businesses and the community towards creating a healthier county for all to live, work, play and age.

Jefferson County Public Health's Environmental Health Services (EHS) works to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling harmful environmental factors in Jefferson County.  EHS prevents, investigates and responds to health threats in the County from environmental sources such as our air, land, water, the food we eat and the  domestic and wild animals and insects we encounter. EHS also inspects facilities including schools, daycares and restaurants for adherence to public health safety and disease control measures.  Information, resources and referrals are available from specialists in water quality, air quality, consumer protection and environmental protection. 

Resources and services include, but are not limited to, the following topics; air pollution, water pollution, individual sewage disposal systems, solid waste, drinking water, food borne illnesses, food service inspections, child care inspections, recycling and radon mitigation. For more information on any environmental health service, please call 303-232-6301 or visit the JCPH EHS web page.  
Every division in Jefferson County, including the health department, practices environmental stewardship through reuse, recycling, energy conservation, and water conservation.  These actions are good for people and the planet.  Everyone has a role in protecting our earth and natural resources.  Consider bringing your own shopping bag to the store,  recycling household hazardous waste as well as other household items, using water thoughtfully and saving energy when possible.  Together we can make a difference. 

Learn more about Earth Day and its founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson.   Earth Day . . . The making of the modern environmental movement.  www.nelsonearthday.net    Accessibility on the web continues a Gaylord Nelson focus of making environmental knowledge freely available to all citizens so that local and national decisions could be informed, collaborative, and effective.


May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Nearly half of all pregnancies in Colorado are unintended, meaning they occur sooner than desired or occur when no pregnancy is desired at any time. For teens the percentage is even higher, with the vast majority being unintended. Research shows that science-based, comprehensive sexuality education, contraceptive access and youth development programs can help young people make choices that can protect them from unintended pregnancy. Jefferson County Public Health’s Family Planning Program offers reproductive health services including birth control at its new Lakewood location at 645 Parfet Street. Please call 303-232-6301 to make an appointment. Walk-in hours are also available. Services are provided on a sliding fee scale. No one is denied services due to the inability to pay. Youth and young adults in Jefferson County can also use Go Ask TISH to get answers about their sexual health. It's confidential, just text your questions to 720-446-TISH (8474) and get answers from a public health nurse. We also have created videos to help educate teens and young adults on reproductive health, watch the JCPH “Sex Ed with Mel” video series.

Consequences of Unintended Pregnancy:
  • birth defects
  • low birth weight
  • elective abortion
  • maternal depression
  • increased risk of child abuse
  • lower educational attainment
  • delayed entry into prenatal care
  • high risk of physical violence during pregnancy
  • reduced rates of breastfeeding
Additionally, teen mothers are less likely than their peers to earn a high school diploma or GED.

We all have a role in helping our youth become successful adults. Parents, teachers, friends, employers and others are invited to take time this May to help prevent teen pregnancy. Engage the youth in your life in conversation, get teens thinking about how a pregnancy might affect their life and help them come up with a plan for avoiding pregnancy.

For more information on Teen Pregnancy:

Health is more than Health Care . . .

Access to healthy food makes a big difference
by Erika Jerme, JCPH Planner

Health is more than health care. How healthy we are, and whether or not we will get sick, is shaped by the houses and neighborhoods we live in, the schools and worksites we spend our days in, and the communities in which we play and age.

One way these places shape our health is through our access to healthy food. Think about where you go to get your groceries. How do you get there? How long does it take you to get there? How do you get your groceries home? If you have a car, these questions probably aren’t that big a deal. But imagine if you didn’t have a car: how would that change your experience of buying groceries? Would you still be able to shop at the same store, or would you have to shop somewhere closer to home, even if that meant the selection or prices were not as good?

Many neighborhoods in the US don’t have grocery stores within a half-mile radius, a reasonable distance to walk with a couple bags of groceries. The US Department of Agriculture has a name for these neighborhoods: food deserts. Across the US, low-income neighborhoods have 25% fewer supermarkets than do middle-income neighborhoods, while predominately African-American neighborhoods on average have half the number of supermarkets found in predominately white neighborhoods.[i] Although low-income neighborhoods may have smaller food stores, fresh fruits and vegetables generally cost more, are of lower quality, and are less available at small stores than at supermarkets or large grocery stores.[ii]

What do these food deserts mean for health? We know that eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is important for healthy living. People who live near supermarkets or other food stores that sell fresh produce eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and have lower rates of chronic diseases than people with limited access to healthy food.[iii] Moreover, as the price of fresh fruits and vegetables rises, consumption of these healthy foods decreases.[iv] For someone who doesn’t drive or doesn’t own a car, getting to a store that sells affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables can be very difficult.

Here in Colorado, people are taking action to make sure everyone has access to healthy food, regardless of what neighborhood they live in. For example, the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund can support a wide range of activities that improve access to healthy food retail. Some examples include: business start-up and expansion costs; opening a new store; keeping a store open under new ownership; new or upgraded equipment and displays; land assembly; and developing an innovative business concept. Click here for a program overview, detailed program guidelines with eligibility criteria, or the pre-application form.

Just down the street from Jefferson County Public Health in Lakewood’s Two Creeks neighborhood, Sprout City Farms has broken ground on a brand new urban community farm at Montair Park.  Mountair Park is located at 14th & Depew St., and  approximately 1.25 acres will be converted to farm. This farm will bring much-needed fresh produce to the neighborhood. And many Jeffco neighborhoods have community gardens where people can grow their own food, even if they don’t have a yard.
To get involved in increasing healthy food access in your neighborhood, email us at healthyjeffco@jeffco.us

1 Powell, LM, Slater, S, Mirtcheva, D, Bao, Y, & Chaloupka, FJ (2007). Food store availability and neighborhood characteristics in the United States. Preventive Medicine, 44, 189–195.
2 Odoms-Young, AM, Zenk, SN, Karpyn, A, Xochitl Ayala, G & Gittelsohn, J (2012). Obesity and the Food Environment Among Minority Groups. Current Obesity Reports, 1(3), 141-151.
3 PolicyLink & The Food Trust (2010). The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why it Matters. Available at http://www.policylink.org/atf/cf/%7B97C6D565-BB43-406D-A6D5-ECA3BBF35AF0%7D/FINALGroceryGap.pdf.
4Odoms-Young, AM, Zenk, SN, Karpyn, A, Xochitl Ayala, G & Gittelsohn, J (2012). Obesity and the Food Environment Among Minority Groups. Current Obesity Reports, 1(3), 141-151.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) . . . Strengthening families for 40 years

The special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a public health nutrition program under the USDA that provides nutrition education, nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals for income-eligible women who are pregnant or post-partum, infants, and children up to age 5. The national WIC office is celebrating 40 years of strengthening families. Watch the overview video of the WIC Program. Jefferson County WIC has offices in Arvada, Edgewater and Lakewood. If you or someone you know could benefit from this nutrition education program, please call 303-239-7143 for more information. Many working families qualify.

Jefferson County WIC provides:
  • Quality nutrition education and services. 
  • Breastfeeding promotion and education. 
  • A monthly food prescription (package). 
  • Access to maternal, prenatal, pediatric and other health care services. 
  • Screenings and referrals as needed

“Breastfeeding Support . . . The First Six Weeks”

A special class for new moms offered by Jefferson County Public Health

Jefferson County Public Health and the rest of the public health and healthcare world want moms to breastfeed because of the health benefits of breastfeeding. The JCPH WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program offers "Breastfeeding Support . . . The First 6 Weeks" at its Arvada, Edgewater and Lakewood locations. All new moms are invited to come and bring their babies. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant will provide breastfeeding help and support as well as answers to any questions about breastfeeding.

Making the decision to breastfeed is one of the best things a mother can do for her baby. Not only does breast milk provide essential vitamins and nutrients, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it reduces an infant's risk of childhood obesity, diabetes, ear infections and respiratory illnesses. Breastfeeding also reduces the odds of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by as much as 36%. Studies show that getting early breastfeeding support helps moms reach their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding can also help financially. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that Mom's who breastfeed for the first full year of an infant's life can save between $1,200 and $1,500 on infant formula.

Get help with Breastfeeding at Jefferson County Public Health.

"Breastfeeding Support . . . The First Six Weeks" is a one time class free to all WIC families and only $3.00 for those not enrolled in WIC. Come and learn why positioning and latch are important, how to know what your baby needs, why sleep is so important and other important information to help you breastfeed successfully.

For a class schedule, please contact the Breastfeeding Support coordinator, Cindy Kisselman, BSN, RN, IBCLC at ckisselm@jeffco.us or text Cindy at 720-257-4885. For locations of the Jefferson County WIC offices, see below:
  • Arvada, 6303 Wadsworth Blvd. Arvada, CO 80003
  • Edgewater, 1711 Sheridan Blvd. Edgewater, CO 80214
  • Lakewood 645 Parfet St. Lakewood, CO 80215