Friday, May 29, 2015

Your Skin, the Summer Sun & Skin Cancer Prevention

Skin cancer is the most common diagnosed cancer in the United States. Melanoma, which is responsible for 75% of all skin cancer deaths, is the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Colorado. And, Colorado’s annual rate of new melanoma diagnoses was 15% higher than the national average from 2002-2006. About 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime, and it is estimated that about 117 people in Colorado die of melanoma each year.

Prevention is key when it comes to skin cancer! An ounce of prevention, such as avoiding unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and early detection, goes a long way in decreasing the potential of developing skin cancer. Below is a list of the most effective skin cancer prevention action steps:
  • Do Not Burn: Overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer;
  • Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds: UV light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling; 
  • Use Sunscreen: Always remember to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Reapply at least every two hours and after swimming and sweating; 
  • Cover Up: Wear protective clothing when out in the sun, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses (with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection); 
  • Stay in the Shade: Retreat to the shade when the sun’s UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and, 
  • Watch for the UV Index: Plan outdoor activities around the index to prevent overexposure to the sun. 

Summer food sites to provide free, nutritious meals to kids

Summer should be a fun and enriching time for all Colorado kids and teens, but for many it represents a time when they are at the greatest risk of experiencing hunger due to lost access to school meals. More than 500 community sites across the state will provide summer meals at no cost to children up to 18 years old.

The Summer Food Service Program was established as a safeguard for children during the summer months. It is funded by the USDA, administered by the Colorado Department of Education, and supported by Hunger Free Colorado and hundreds of organizations across the state.

Beginning in late May, Colorado families can find nearby summer food sites by calling the statewide, bilingual Hunger Free Hotline toll-free at (855) 855-4626 or by using the interactive map at (reprinted from Hunger Free Colorado, May 2015)

It’s Farmer’s Market Time . . . Buy local, eat healthy

Communities across the country, and in Jefferson County, are seeing the many benefits of local farmer’s markets. Markets are an opportunity for residents and visitors to purchase locally-grown produce that is healthy and in season; meet and greet neighbors, business owners and local farmers; learn new recipes or ways of cooking healthier; and to buy local. Nearly 100 farmer’s markets dot the state’s landscape; to find out about local farmer’s market in Jefferson County, go to:

Golden Arvada Lakewood Wheat Ridge Evergreen

Attention Farmer’s Market Managers!
Ensuring all incomes can shop at farmer’s market is a great way to grow community and support local economies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables through farmer’s markets a priority in recent years. Many farmer’s markets across the country now accept SNAP benefits. For more information on this, go to Apply online to accept SNAP benefits . See if you are eligible to receive FREE equipment to accept SNAP, credit & debit.

For more information about a Jefferson County Public Health project that is working to increase SNAP redemption at Jefferson County farmer’s markets, contact Molly Hanson at

Know Where You Stand and Your Status: Your Power Over HIV

Did you know that there are approximately 11,000 people known to be living with HIV/AIDS in Colorado? And, what’s more- this number only reflects those aware of their infection, not the fact that 1 in 5 people living with HIV/AIDS are unaware of their status.

Do you know your status? 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.

Join the nation and find out on National HIV Testing Day, Saturday June 27, 2015. On Friday, June 26th, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) will offer HIV testing and counseling for no charge. Call 303-239-7078 to make your appointment!

For more information, visit the Jefferson County Public Health website.

Jefferson County Public Health Releases New Youth-Focused Media Campaign, “Tobacco is Even Scarier”

Afraid of snakes? Guess what? … They kill about 8 people in the United States per year while cigarettes kill almost half a million. In a new youth-targeted media campaign, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) intends to put common fears of snakes, bears, sharks and spiders into perspective and expose tobacco as the real threat.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more deaths are caused by tobacco use than by all deaths from illegal drug use, alcohol use, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. According to the Surgeon General, nearly 9 out of 10 people who smoke start by age 18, and 99% start before the age of 26.  Most recently, teen use of nicotine-delivering electronic smoking devices (ESDs) has increased dramatically. This April 2015, the CDC released data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey reporting that high school and middle school use of ESDs tripled from 2013 to 2014.
The new “Tobacco is Even Scarier” campaign is intended to discourage young people from starting tobacco and to help current tobacco users to get help with breaking free from nicotine addiction, including addiction caused by the use of ESDs. This summer, the campaign will feature digital and mobile advertisements in addition to movie theater public service announcements. View video here: Area youth are actively working on reducing the toll of tobacco and nicotine addiction in their schools and communities. Jefferson County Breathe Easy (BE) Teams are youth clubs supported by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative. BE Teams educate community members about the problem of tobacco and advocate for sustainable solutions, including policy change.
·         For more information about youth tobacco prevention, visit
·         To learn more about how youth can get involved in local efforts, visit
·         Youth can learn the facts about tobacco and make the decision early to live a tobacco-free life by visiting
·         For help with quitting tobacco, consider some of the following resources:
o   For telephone support, coaching and resources to help you or a loved one become tobacco-free; call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).  The QuitLine also offers web-based support at This free service provides information and tools to develop your own personal plan for quitting.
o   The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment offers, an online web hub that connects visitors to a variety of resources and topics including cessation services and information on preventing secondhand smoke exposure and youth tobacco use.
o   COQuitMobile is a free text-based program that places you on the path to a life free from tobacco.
o   Attend a free tobacco cessation group hosted by Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge on Tuesdays at 12:00 p.m.  This is a six week drop-in group that provides adults who want to quit smoking with tools and support to achieve their goals (You do not need to attend all six weeks in order to participate).

o   You may also visit the Thinking of Quitting page on the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Website for a list of additional resources and videos that will encourage and help you to quit.

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. 
Tularemia is on the rise throughout Colorado as evidenced by the increased incidence of infection in wildlife, domestic animals and humans in 2014. Causing a zoonosis frequently referred to as ‘rabbit fever,’ the bacterium can infect over one hundred species of wild mammals, birds and insects. The disease is maintained in rabbit and rodent populations and is transmitted between animals by insect bites, direct transmission, and inhalation or ingestion of the bacteria. The infective dose of the bacterium is very small and it can persist for long periods of time in the environment in water, soil and carcasses.
Hantavirus cases occur year-round, but most people are exposed during the spring and summer months. Hantavirus symptoms begin one to six weeks (average 2 weeks) after exposure to infected rodents or their excreta (urine, droppings, or saliva) and often associated with domestic, occupational, or recreational activities. Although not all patients will give a history of rodent exposure, reports of increases in mouse populations around their residence or exposure to mice infested buildings are common among Hantavirus patients.
Most animal-borne diseases occur more often during the spring and summer months, 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 repellent, 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 visit our website.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Protect Your Pets from Rabies

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. Livestock may also be exposed to rabies and owners should be vigilant in monitoring health issues in their animals, and discuss any animal health concerns with their local veterinarian.

Rabies in wild animals is on the rise, especially in bats and skunks in the state of Colorado. As of April 17, 2015, Colorado State University and CDPHE laboratories have confirmed rabies in 24 animals (two bats, 20 skunks, one raccoon and one cat) in Colorado. Of these, nine (38%) rabid animals were known or strongly suspected of exposing 20 domestic animals and 20 humans.

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.

Residents and visitors are advised to avoid all stray or wild animals, keep pets (dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock) vaccinated against rabies and, don’t allow pets to roam free. Everyone is advised not to handle wild animals. If bitten or scratched by a pet or wild animal, immediately wash any wounds with soap and water and contact your family doctor.

For additional information on rabies, contact Jefferson County Public Health Zoonosis Program at 303-232-6301.

In addition to rabies vaccinations for pets and livestock, here are some additional precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:

  • Do not feed, touch, or handle wild animals.
  • If you find a bat inside your home, do not let it out or discard of it. Call animal control so that the animal can be tested. Otherwise, exposure is assumed and quarantine and/or prophylaxis will be required.
  • If you must remove a dead animal on your property, wear rubber gloves or lift the carcass with a shovel or other tool, and double-bag it for the trash. Do not directly touch the animal with bare hands.
  • Call your local animal control office to remove stray animals from your neighborhood.
  • Teach children to leave wildlife alone.
  • Do not leave pet food or livestock feed in areas accessible to wildlife.
  • Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in your community.
  • Rabies vaccination should be considered for horses and other equines, breeding livestock, dairy cattle or other livestock.
  • Call the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife at (303) 297-1192 if you have problems with wild animals.
If you are concerned that you or one of your animals might have been exposed to rabies, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.


What the New 2015 Dietary Guidelines Mean for You

The 2015 U.S. Dietary guidelines could have a major impact on heart health, diabetes risk and obesity reduction. In the latest recommendations, fruits and vegetables get a boost, sugar takes a hit, fat content shifts, eggs win a reprieve and meat loses ground. The Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is now available. The public is encouraged to submit written comments to the federal government on the Advisory Report. Public comments will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. E.D.T. on May 8, 2015.

The new guidelines suggest a healthy diet is high in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat and nonfat dairy, seafood and legumes and nuts. Additionally, a healthy diet is lower in red and processed meats, and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains.
New guideline “winners” for 2015:
  • Vegetables & fruits: Beneficial across all health outcomes, including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension;
  • Whole grains: A great source of much needed fiber, vitamins and minerals;
  • Dairy: Provides calcium and many other necessary nutrients;
  • Coffee: Associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and,
  • Eggs & shellfish: While high in cholesterol, eggs and shellfish are low in saturated fat. And, most interestingly, cholesterol in food doesn’t appear to raise blood cholesterol levels, but saturated and trans fats do, which is bad for heart health.
For more information:

Results from the Colorado Maternal and Child Health Needs Assessment

Every five years, the Colorado Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program conducts a statewide needs assessment of the health and well-being of Colorado’s women, children and youth, including children and youth with special health care needs. The process involves collecting data to assess the health status of the MCH population as well as state and local capacity. The process led to the selection of seven MCH priorities for 2016-2020:

These priorities, identified by the Advisory Group, will drive state and local public health work around maternal health issues for the next five years.  Many of Jefferson County Public Health’s programs and services work to improve maternal and child health in the County, including:

For more information:

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 various forms of 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 can include: 
  • 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:

New report shows poverty increases risk of dying from cancer

Poverty continues to be an important risk factor in cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival, according to a report recently released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Cancer and Poverty: Colorado 2001-2012, shows that Coloradans living in high poverty areas of the state were more likely to be diagnosed with advanced cancer. People living in poor areas of the state were also more likely to die of their cancer within the first five years after diagnosis, regardless of the stage at which they were diagnosed. 

Among other things, health insurance coverage was a key factor affecting stage at diagnosis, particularly for those younger than 65. 

To download the report, go to Cancer and Poverty: Colorado 2001-12.

To learn more, go to the Colorado Central Cancer Registry or contact John Arend at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment