Tuesday, September 6, 2016

SNAP Now Accepting at Some Farmer’s Markets…

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves more than 485,000 Coloradans each month. Jefferson County Public Health is leading a food security project allowing recipients of SNAP to redeem their benefits at farmer’s markets through the fall of 2017. The project has been a huge success at the Arvada Farmer’s Market in Olde Town Arvada, where over $300 in SNAP benefits were redeemed this summer!

JCPH also partners with LiveWell, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting obesity by increasing access to healthy food and physical activity. The collaboration helps promote the Double Up Colorado program to farmers’ market managers. SNAP clients purchases are matched with a voucher worth up to $20 per visit to put toward Colorado-grown fruits and vegetables. Double Up Colorado increases the amount of food that recipients of SNAP can purchase in an effort to encourage them to eat healthier. Arvada’s Farmer’s Market and more farmer’s markets are applying for Double Up Colorado Funding for the 2017 season.

Next year, the 40 West Farmer’s Market at Colfax and Pierce will also begin accepting SNAP. JCPH hopes to continue to increase food access throughout our county and to spread the message that farmers’ markets are for everyone! To get involved, join Food Policy Council is to influence policy to increase equitable access to healthy, local and affordable food and support a sustainable community food system.

Colorado adults remain leanest in the nation

Colorado remained the leanest state in the nation in 2015, with a 20.2 percent adult obesity rate, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Colorado’s obesity rate increased dramatically from 2000 through 2010 but since then has leveled off. Nevertheless, one in five Colorado adults is obese, and obesity rates are higher for African-American (27.7 percent) and Hispanic (28.3 percent) Coloradans.

“Our efforts seem to be contributing to a growing awareness across Colorado of the health costs of obesity and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,” said Joan Brucha, manager of the health department’s Healthy Eating Active Living Unit. “But we can see there’s clearly more work to be done to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.”

Obesity is a complex problem, with many causes and consequences. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer -- some of the leading causes of preventable death.

Colorado is the second-fastest growing state in the nation, according to new Census Bureau data, attracting people drawn to its outdoor opportunities, abundant sunshine and active lifestyle. Coloradans rank first in physical activity according to United Health Foundation’s annual health rankings. But it has experienced the same growth in the prevalence of obesity as other states in the nation.

Gov. Hickenlooper’s 2013 State of Health Report named statewide obesity prevention and reduction a priority, as he called for making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and local public health agencies also have prioritized obesity reduction.

For more information on Jefferson County Public Health programs working to encourage physical activity and healthy eating check out www.healthyjeffco.com. For access to the Jefferson County Public Health Nutrition Services Program and WIC be sure to visit the Jefferson County Public Health website.

Public Health Invites Jeffco Students to Get Involved in Health and Tobacco Prevention

Jefferson County, CO--As a new school year begins, youth in Jefferson County are ramping up for another year of activities to reduce the toll of tobacco in their schools and communities. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and nearly nine out of 10 people who use tobacco start by the age of 18. If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age, or one in every 13, are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. Additionally, studies suggest that nicotine acts to prime or sensitize the adolescent brain for addiction, indicating that effective prevention programs and interventions not only prevent smoking but also decrease the risk of youth progressing to illicit drug use and dependence.  

Both youth and adults in Jefferson County have many opportunities to get involved in the effort to end the tobacco epidemic and help make the next generation tobacco-free.

Opportunities for Youth to Get Involved
Breathe Easy (BE) Teams are youth clubs working on sustainable solutions to the problem of tobacco. Supported by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), BE Teams work towards healthy, tobacco-free environments and preventing youth from initiating tobacco use. Currently, BE Teams exist at five Jefferson County high schools including Golden, Jefferson, Lakewood, Pomona and Wheat Ridge. For questions about the BE Team or to get involved, contact Zach Dunlop, Youth Engagement Specialist at JCPH at zdunlop@jeffco.us or 303-239-7169.

Both youth and adults are invited to get involved with the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance (TFJA), a group of individuals and organizations addressing tobacco use in Jefferson County. As part of the TFJA, youth are encouraged to participate in meaningful ways, such as taking on leadership roles within the Alliance. This year, two BE Team students, Morgan Lester and Brittany Willis, earned youth co-chair roles for the TFJA. Please join Morgan, Brittany and the TFJA at the next quarterly meeting on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. For more information about the meeting, visit www.TobaccoFreeJeffco.com.

Youth Leader Highlights
Lakewood High School senior, Morgan Lester, has been a dedicated BE Team member and tobacco prevention advocate for over two years. She has skillfully engaged her peers, the Lakewood High School Parent Teacher Association and elected officials in various communities to support the BE Team’s tobacco prevention movement. One of her many successes involved helping to organize a cigarette butt pick-up at a local park, followed by a presentation of the outcomes to community leaders that successfully inspired change. Morgan also advocated in favor of a smoke and vapor-free public places ordinance in the City of Wheat Ridge, which successfully passed in October 2015.

Brittany Willis, a junior at Golden High School, has been a leading member of the BE Team for more than two years and is passionate about tobacco prevention. As part of the BE Team, Brittany recruited a number of her peers to join in the efforts to reduce the toll of tobacco in Jefferson County. She has also presented to the Golden City Council about the importance of strong smoke and vapor-free policies that protect everyone. On a personal level, she has helped family and friends quit tobacco and has brought the community together over shared values of health and wellness. During her free time, Brittany volunteers as an intern for the JCPH Tobacco Prevention Initiative.

NEW Paid Opportunity for Youth
This fall, the Tobacco Prevention Initiative will be able to give a few motivated youth part time, paid positions as members of the new Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). These youth will work a few hours each month to help promote health in Jefferson County! Youth who have faced challenges because of income, race, language, or other circumstances and youth who are bilingual are encouraged to apply. We are seeking students who are interested in teen health issues, leadership and making a positive difference. Students can apply at www.surveymonkey.com/r/96BF5L8. We encourage applications from youth between the ages of 13 and 20 who have strong communication skills, dedication, an interest in tobacco prevention and a desire to learn. For questions, contact Zach Dunlop at zdunlop@jeffco.us or 303-239-7169. JCPH supports workplace diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or any other protected class.

Upcoming Youth Advocacy Workshop
As part of a kick-off to the school year, JCPH sponsors an annual, intensive half-day Youth Advocacy Workshop (YAW) that includes skill-building activities and leadership training to support BE Team students in their advocacy and outreach efforts throughout the school year. This year’s workshop will take place on Saturday, October 8, 2016, from 9am to 1:30 p.m at the Jefferson County Courts and Administration Building in Golden and will include lessons on policy change, social justice, professionalism and public speaking. The workshop also allows for teambuilding and fun. For more information about the workshop, contact Zach Dunlop at zdunlop@jeffco.us or 303-239-7169.

Tobacco Education Program for Teens
Concerned about youth tobacco use? Consider Second Chance, a web-based tobacco education program for middle school and high school youth. It is a FREE online, interactive and self-directed program intended to be used as an alternative to suspension. Second Chance may also help teens that have experimented with tobacco to recognize the harms of tobacco use and find support to quit. Ask your school administration if they offer the program or contact Jen Bolcoa at jjbolcoa@jeffco.k12.co.us or 303-982-6505.

Jefferson County Public Health continues to work toward reducing the toll of tobacco in our
communities through sustainable solutions to the problem of tobacco use and exposure.
To learn more about current initiatives and how to get involved, visit
tobaccofree@jeffco.us, or call 303-275-7555.

Want to share your story?

Jefferson County Public Health wants to hear from you! The health communications is working on a video that will have stories of clients and community members talking about their challenges with housing, income, finding a job, having enough food, getting healthcare, or other challenges that affect living healthy in Jefferson County.

Your story is important and we want to hear it!! It could help us enhance our current programs, change policies and improve more lives! If interested, please leave your name and phone number below and we will contact you. If you are available today, please call Tony Aaron Fuller at 303-239-7059 or Nancy Braden at 303-239-7137. We are hoping to begin videotaping as early as Wednesday September 7, 2016 and will have several days after that available as well. 

5 Things You Need To Know About Zika Virus

Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes.  You can also get Zika through sexMany areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can spread Zika virus. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and can also bite at night. Also, Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners.


The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellent. It works
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
  • Remove standing water around your home.

Zika is linked to birth defects: Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth. If you are pregnant and have a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, do not have sex, or use condoms the right way, every time, during your pregnancy.

Pregnant women should not travel to areas with ZikaIf you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

Returning travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites.  During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in a person’s blood and can pass from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.  Couples with a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika should take steps to protect during sex.

For information on communicable disease in Jefferson County, please contact Public Health Nurse Kyle Brown at 303-239-7086 or via email at kbrown@jeffco.us

Growing Older with HIV…

At the start of the epidemic more than 30 years ago, people who were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS could expect to live only 1-2 years after that diagnosis. This meant that the issues of aging were not a major focus for people with HIV disease.

But today, thanks to improvements in the effectiveness antiretroviral therapy (ART), people with HIV who are diagnosed early in their infection, and who get and stay on ART can keep the virus suppressed and live as long as their HIV-negative peers. For this reason, a growing number of people living with HIV in the United States are aged 55 and older. Many of them have been living with HIV for years; others are recently infected or diagnosed. According to CDC, people aged 55 and older accounted for more than one-quarter (26% or 313,2000) of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. in 2011.

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day is observed each year on September 18. Want to get involved in this observance?

Complications Associated with Aging

So the good news is that people with HIV are living longer, healthier lives if they are on treatment and achieve and maintain a suppressed viral load. However, with this longer life expectancy Individuals living with long-term HIV infection exhibit many clinical characteristics commonly observed in aging: multiple chronic diseases or conditions, the use of multiple medications, changes in physical and cognitive abilities, and increased vulnerability to stressors.

Complications associated with long-term HIV infection

While effective HIV treatments have decreased the likelihood of AIDS-defining illnesses among people aging with HIV, HIV-associated non-AIDS conditions are more common in individuals with long-standing HIV infection. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, lung disease, certain cancers, HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), and liver disease (including hepatitis B and hepatitis C), among others.

In addition, HIV appears to increase the risk for several age-associated diseases as well as to cause chronic inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, lymphoma, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers are working to better understand what causes chronic inflammation, even when people are being treated with ART for their HIV disease.

HIV and its treatment can also have profound effects on the brain. Although AIDS-related dementia, once relatively common among people with HIV, is now rare, researchers estimate that more than 50 percent of people with HIV have an HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND). HAND may include deficits in attention, language, motor skills, memory, and other aspects of cognitive function that may significantly affect a person’s quality of life. People who have HAND may also experience depression or psychological distress. Researchers are studying how HIV and its treatment affect the brain, including the affects on older people living with HIV.

Jefferson County Public Health offers screening, diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at our Lakewood site, 645 Parfet Street or check out the HIV and AIDS Information on our website

Protect against Rabies

September 28 is World Rabies Day, a global health observance that seeks to raise awareness about rabies and enhance prevention and control efforts. First co-sponsored by CDC and the Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC) in 2007, World Rabies Day has been celebrated in countries throughout the world, including the U.S.

World Rabies Day is an excellent time to take steps that can help prevent and control rabies, such as vaccinating pets including dogs and cats and providing education on how to avoid the animals that typically transmit rabies: raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes.

Show your pets how much you love them by honoring September 28th and getting them vaccinated.

The Foothills Animal Shelter offers rabies vaccinations for your dog or cat for only $15. Vaccines can be given during an appointment, or the shelter offers walk-in hours on Tuesdays and Fridays from 3 to 4pm. Please visit their website or call 303-278-7575 for more information.

Steps to Prevent Rabies: 

  • Residents are urged not to handle wild animals and to beware of any bats or skunks seen during day light hours. Bats that are active during the day (seen in places where bats are not usually seen, i.e. indoors, on the lawn) or any bat that is unable to fly should be considered possibly rabid and reported to the appropriate animal control agency. 
  • Pet owners should be sure their pets have current immunizations for rabies and keep their pets from roaming free. Vaccination is essential to protecting pets and preventing further spread of the disease. 
  • Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. 
  • Have all dead, sick, or captured bats/skunks tested for rabies if exposure to people or pets is suspected. 
  • Keep wild animals from entering homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might contact people and pets. Seal up holes that might allow bats into your living quarters. Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch should be caulked. Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft-guards beneath doors to attics, fill electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool or caulking, and ensure that all doors to the outside close tightly. 

For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local Animal Control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control at 303-271-5070

For more information on rabies and prevention tips please visit our Animal-Borne Disease Rabies page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rabies page, or call the JCPH Animal-Borne Disease Program at at 303-271-5700.

September is National Food Safety Month!

This year’s theme for National Food Safety Month is “Notorious Virus”! Join us as we explore how to protect yourself, family and friends from some of the leading causes of foodborne illness – Norovirus and Hepatitis A!

People can get viruses from food, water, or any contaminated surface. Foodborne illnesses from viruses typically occur through fecal-oral routes. Such is the case with Norovirus, one of the leading causes of foodborne illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 20 million people get sick each year with Norovirus.
It is very contagious and only a small amount of the virus is needed to make someone sick. Norovirus is frequently transmitted through airborne vomit particles.

Hepatitis A is another leading cause of foodborne illness. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is found in the stool (feces) of people with HAV infection. It enters the body through the mouth after someone handles something contaminated with HAV, or eats or drinks something contaminated with HAV.

People usually get hepatitis A by having close contact with a person who is infected, from food or drinks prepared by someone who is infected, or by eating shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated water.

In the USA, hepatitis A infections have declined by 90% since the hepatitis A vaccine first became available in 1995. However, it is still a public health concern and everyone should take precautions to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A and Norovirus:


One of the best ways to avoid getting sick with norovirus or Hepatitis A is to follow public health guidelines when washing hands. This is especially important after using the restroom.

Clean, Clean CLEAN and sanitize food-contact surfaces.

Eaton Senior Communities plans for emergencies with Jeffco Public Health!

Eaton Senior Communities, Inc. is an award winning assisted living home in Lakewood, CO. They are well known for their emergency preparedness efforts spearheaded by their Chief Operating Officer Diana Delgado MSHSA, CASP. On August 9, 2016, the facility took their preparedness plans even further by hosting a pilot exercise with Jefferson County Public Health’s (JCPH) Emergency
Preparedness and Response Program. 

This pilot was to test a recently updated manual created by Emergency Preparedness and Response Coordinator, Christine Billings, MPH, Regional Emergency Planner, Pam Stephens, MA, and Colorado School of Public Health practicum student, Sara Dunn. The manual is used for Closed Points of Dispensing (PODs) utilizing a “just-in-time” activation model.
PODs are locations where medication is dispensed in response to a public health emergency, such as a bio-terrorism event. Two different kinds of PODs exist: 1) Open PODs are open to the public and will be located at many locations throughout the county, and 2) Closed PODs are for a specific organization’s clients, staff, and staff’s family members and are not open to the public.
The Just in Time Closed POD Manual includes step-by-step instructions on how to run a POD.

This pilot exercise tested the efficacy of the manual by having Eaton Senior Communities host a full scale exercise of a POD with staff and residents utilizing the Just in Time Closed POD manual. Through this exercise, JCPH’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Program was able to take away many lessons learned which will be used to make continued progress on the manual and processes that will ultimately better serve Jefferson County’s residents during a public health event.

Here Comes the 2016-2017 Influenza Season. Be sure you and your family get vaccinated against the flu!

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

Here is what is new this flu season: 

  • Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use this season.
  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
  • There will be some new vaccines on the market this season.
  • The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year, preferably in the fall before the U.S. flu season begins. Flu season can begin as early as October and can last as late as April or May. Remember that influenza is a respiratory illness that can cause life-threatening complications.

Do your part to stop the flu by getting an annual flu vaccination, washing your hands frequently with soap and water (use anti-bacterial gel if soap and water are not available), and covering your sneezes and coughs with a tissue or your elbow.

And, take extra care of yourself as the temperatures change and cold and flu season begins:
  • Get extra rest; 
  • For aches, take whatever your doctor or pharmacist recommends; 
  • For cough and mucus, run a humidifier (especially in this dry Colorado air!); and, 
  • Drink 8-12 glasses (8 oz) of fluids daily, such as water or juice. 
Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent flu illness this season. Flu vaccines are offered at JCPH by appointment and there is an administrative fee of $21.68 per vaccine. Make an appointment by calling JCPH’s clinic appointment line at 303-239-7078. Get more information by visiting the JCPH influenza web page.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

One in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.

Make a difference for kids: Spread the word about strategies for preventing childhood obesity and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

We can all use this month to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and show people how they can take steps toward a solution. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to make small changes, like keeping fresh fruit within their children’s reach or going on a family walk after dinner.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools healthier. Help them provide healthy food options and daily physical activities for students.
  • Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by supporting programs to prevent childhood obesity
Last year, Jefferson County Public Health, Triad Early Childhood Council, and Culture of Wellness in Preschools formed the Healthy Preschool Partnership (HPP). The partnership has been working together to support the health and well-being of children and staff in early care and education settings. In 2015-2016, the Health Preschool Partnership worked with 17 early care and education sites in Jefferson and Gilpin County to increase physical activity and healthy eating practices. This partnership is planning on continuing early childhood obesity prevention work and partnership in the upcoming year.

Culture of Wellness in Preschools continues to do great work in Jefferson County Head Start Programs and throughout the Denver area.

Another partner organization, Go Farm, is a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that is working with Early Care and Education sites to increase access to healthy foods for preschoolers and their families in Jefferson County through their Go Farm to Families program.

September is a great time to access 5210 Jeffco. 5210 Jeffco is a simple, easy-to-remember message to improve child health by promoting healthy eating and physical activity in Jefferson County. Adopted from 5210 Let’s Go!, a program out of Maine, 5210 Jeffco reminds families of four healthy habits to aim for each day:

The 5210 message works in many settings to reach families and children where they live, learn, work, and play. The goal is that 5210 Jeffco will not only get the word out about healthy habits for children to live by, but also inspire community change through policies that support healthy environments for all. Let's work together to give everyone the same opportunity to make the healthy choice the easy choice in Jefferson County.