Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mumps Cases on the Rise in Colorado

Nearly twice as many cases of mumps have been reported in Colorado so far in 2017 as in all of 2016, according to the Colorado Department of Health. As of February 9, 2017, 27 cases of mumps had been diagnosed, and that number is expected to grow. 

On February 9, the state health department sent a letter to school nurses statewide to send home to inform families about the mumps outbreak and encourage vaccination

In 2016, 17 cases of mumps were reported statewide - a number that far outpaced the Colorado five-year average of 5.6 cases per year. And, even though 2017 has already eclipsed last year, 2016 was a bad year for mumps across the country. In the U.S., there were 5,311 cases of mumps. Eight states reported more than 100 cases.

“Because of the high numbers of mumps cases across the country, it is especially important to make sure your children are vaccinated,” said Rachel Herlihy, director of the Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in a news release from the CDPHE. “Both adults and children should make sure they are up to date on their mumps vaccine.”

Orlando Lucero, 7, watches as Mountain View Fire Rescue fire-medic Micah Arnold applies a bandage to
the site of his vaccine at the Shots for Tots and Teens clinic Feb. 4, 2017 in Arvada.
Photo by Nikki Work

The MMR vaccine, as well as many other immunizations, are offered Monday-Friday at the Jefferson County Public Health Clinic, 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood. To learn more about JCPH clinic services, call (303) 239-7078 or visit http://jeffco.us/public-health/healthy-families/immunizations/.

Low cost immunizations will also be offered at the Shots for Tots and Teens clinic on Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Arvada Fire Station #2, 5250 Oak Street. To learn more about this program, call (303) 239-7078 or visit www.shotsfortotsandteens.org.

According to a new survey about 80 percent of Americans support mandatory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines for children in public schools, MedlinePlus reported.

A sticker sits on the table where children received their vaccines February 4, 2017
at the Shots For Tots and Teens clinic in Arvada.
Photo by Nikki Work

But the support varies by age group, education level and even race. For parents of young children, only about 50 percent believe the risk of the vaccine is low. For adults without children under 18, that number jumps to about 70 percent.

Wealthier Americans and those with higher education levels also support vaccines more. Black Americans, like parents of younger children, showed doubts about its safety.

The public health benefit of vaccines depends on very high immunization rates, said study lead Cary Funk. That’s why it’s important to know who does and doesn’t have reservations about these vaccines, so more information can reach these groups.

So far in 2017, 14 cases of mumps have been reported in Colorado, a number that’s expected to rise as the investigation of the outbreak continues. That’s nearly as high as the 17 total cases reported in 2016. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the five-year average of mumps cases in the state is 5.6 cases per year.

APHA to hold conference on climate change and health

Climate change has been identified as a top concern for public health, and on January 26, an announcement from the American Public Health Association underlined its importance.
In December, the Centers for Disease Control cancelled the national Climate and Health conference without explanation. But several organizers, including the American Public Health Association and former Vice President Al Gore, announced on January 26 that the conference will go on. Instead of taking place over a three-day span at the CDC, it will occur Feb. 16 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Today we face a challenging political climate, but climate shouldn’t be a political issue,” said Gore, Climate Reality Founder and Chairman, in an APHA news release. “Health professionals urgently need the very best science in order to protect the public, and climate science has increasingly critical implications for their day-to-day work. With more and more hot days, which exacerbate the proliferation of the Zika virus and other public health threats, we cannot afford to waste any time.”
Last year, 2016, was the hottest year on record, and it was the third in a row to hold that title. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years have occurred since 2001, according to the release. The purpose of the Climate and Health Meeting is to bring public health and climate industry officials together to discuss what hotter years mean for a variety of health topics, from the infectious Zika virus to asthma and air quality to extreme weather events.

Climate change is already affecting our health,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA, in the release. “This meeting fills an important void and will strengthen the public health response to this growing threat.”

To learn more about the event, go to https://www.climaterealityproject.org/health.

APHA compiles resource for ACA repeal info

The American Public Health Association (APHA) recently compiled a resource for those looking for more information about what a repeal of the Affordable Care Act could mean for American’s health.
The information is presented on a Storify, a social media format which compiles links, Facebook and Twitter posts, videos and more to create an interactive display with sources from all over the web.
To see the Storify and learn more, go to https://storify.com/APHA/aca-repeal

Wear Red Day event hosted by JCPH is a success

Jefferson County Public Health held its annual Wear Red Day photo opportunity February 3 in the atrium of the Jefferson County Courts and Administration Building, 100 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden. The event, a local commemoration of the national observance to raise awareness for cardiovascular health, was a success.
Two Jefferson County Commissioners, along with county employees and Public Health staff, participated and the photos turned out great. Thanks to all the JCPH partners throughout the county who helped promote cardiovascular health and this event.
Check out all the photos here.

In February, Perform a Random Act of Kindness

February is Random Acts of Kindness Month, and Jefferson County Public Health is joining Jefferson County Department of Human Services in encouraging you to be kind in whatever ways you can in an effort to improve mental health and happiness.

Research shows that people who perform acts of kindness feel positive emotions — as do the recipients.
Some ideas for random acts of kindness, according to andthenwesaved.com, are to:
1.      Compliment a stranger.
2.      Adopt an animal from a shelter.

3.      Send paper thank you notes.
4.      Pay for the coffee, the toll or the bus fare for the person behind you in line.
5.      Let people merge in during traffic.
6.      Let your partner or roommate watch their show.
7.      Make extra copies of photos and send them to the people in the images.
8.      Offer to help a friend unpack or move.
9.      Donate to a shelter, or give blankets, warm clothes, shoes or boots to the homeless.
10.  Walk the cart back to the front of the store.
11.  Tell a well-behaved child’s parents how good their kid is being — be sure to do it in front of the kid to raise self esteem.
12.  Leave nice comments on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
13.  Tip generously.
14.  Smile at people.
15.  Give the handyman, painter, electrician, etc., a glass of water or snack.

For a full list of ideas, click here.

Prevent HPV-Related Cancers . . . Public Health Launches new Campaign

Every year, more than 30,700 women and men are affected by a cancer caused by HPV — that’s about one new case every 20 minutes.
Despite the fact that HPV vaccine prevents cancer, only 7 percent of youth ages 11 and 12 in the Denver Metro area are fully covered by this important vaccine. To increase awareness and adoption of HPV vaccine uptake, the Metro Denver Alliance for HPV Prevention — a collaborative group of five local public health departments and partners, including Jefferson County Public Health — has launched a campaign to educate parents about this important cancer-preventing vaccine and to encourage them to talk to their child’s doctor for more information.
The launch coincides with National Cancer Prevention Month. It includes a mix of radio, digital and out-of-home advertisements that will run from February through September 2017. Social media posts will feature the hashtag #HPVFreeCO. For more information, visit HPVFreeCo.org.
The Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention is also seeking health care providers for an innovative project to increase practice’s HPV vaccination rates. Participating providers may earn FREE Maintenance of Certification and CME credits along with access to campaign materials such as posters and rack cards. You can view program details here.

In addition to ensuring they’ve received the HPV vaccine, another important step individuals can take to manage their risk for cervical cancer is getting regular screenings. The CDC recommends women between the ages of 21 and 65 be regularly screened for cervical cancer. 
There are two screenings/tests that can help detect cervical cancer early:
  • The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
  • The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.

Recently, a study out of Johns Hopkins University found that deaths in the U.S. from cervical cancer may be underestimated, according to a release from MedlinePlus. The current projections say about three white women of every 100,000 and six black women of every 100,000 will die of cervical cancer. The new estimates, which don’t include women who’ve had a hysterectomy in the total population, a methodology deemed more accurate by researchers, project five white women of every 100,000 and 10 black women of every 100,000 will die of cervical cancer.
“This is a preventable disease and women should not be getting it, let alone dying from it,” study leader Anne Rositch said in the release. “These data tell us that as long as a woman retains her cervix, it is important that she continue to obtain recommended screening for cervical cancer since the risk of death from the disease remains significant well into older age.
That’s why prevention — including vaccination, screenings and accurate research — is so important, researchers said. 
Public health professionals recommend women start getting Pap tests regularly at age 21. If you are 30 years of age or older, you may choose to have an HPV test along with the Pap test. Both tests can be performed by your healthcare provider at the same time. 
If you have questions or would like to schedule a Pap test or a HPV vaccination, call the JCPH clinic at 303-239-7078.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

This February, make your children’s teeth a priority for National Children’s Dental Health Month.
According to the American Dental Association, an easy way to keep teeth healthy is to drink fluoridated tap water. An optimal level of fluoride in community tap water prevents tooth decay by at least 25 percent. Fluoridation in tap water was named one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other steps that can prevent cavities and tooth decay in children are:

·         Reducing the number of sugary beverages your children drink can also help protect their teeth. To learn more about steps you can take to limit sugary beverages, go to www.healthyjeffco.com/healthy-beverages.
·         Ensure kids get an annual dental check up.
·         Ensure kids brush and floss each day.
·         Ensure children have dental insurance.

Flu activity increases in Colorado during January

Throughout January, flu activity continued to increase across the state of Colorado.
So far this flu season, which started Oct. 2, 2016, 1,041 people in Colorado have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of influenza. More than half of those cases occurred in January. Jefferson County accounts for 110 of the state’s 1,041 lab-confirmed flu cases this year, about one-tenth.  
Be a Flu Fighter
It is not too late to protect you and your loved ones from the flu. JCPH offers regular immunization clinics at 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood. Please call 303-239-7078 and make an appointment today.

For the latest information on influenza in Colorado, go to https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/influenza-data.

Volunteers help shoulder the burden of broken hearts

It was 10 o’clock on an April night. The 9 p.m. news had just finished, and Andrew Aldrich’s face felt funny. 
He looked in the bathroom mirror and started talking to himself. Aldrich was stumbling, his mouth and tongue not forming the words the way his brain was telling them to. His wife, Patricia, came to the bathroom door and asked him who he was talking to. He told her, the words like mush in his mouth and the dread like ice on his back, that it was time to go to the hospital. 
At Porter Adventist Hospital, just a short distance from his home, doctors told Aldrich he’d suffered a stroke. Four weeks later, he underwent aortic valve replacement.
When he was in the hospital, he was visited by a volunteer for Mended Hearts, an organization that aims to soothe cardiac patients by pairing them with others who have recovered from heart procedures or events. Two years later, he started volunteering with the organization. He began visiting scared patients and their families who, just like he did, need to hear five words:

“It’s going to be alright.”

Aldrich is now the president of the Denver chapter of Mended Hearts. In the Metro Area, about a dozen regular volunteers, all former heart surgery patients, now visit six area hospitals: Porter Adventist Hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital, Medical Center of Aurora, Swedish Medical Center, University of Colorado Medical Center and Lutheran Medical Center. 
There’s no one better for heart patients to hear it from than someone who’s been there, Aldrich said.
 And he’s been the one on the operating table and in the waiting room. His wife, Patricia, had the same aortic procedure done two years earlier.
Both Patricia and Aldrich’s parents had heart trouble, so they chose to live healthy lifestyles. They were active. They ate well. Neither one of them smoked. Patricia’s valve problem was strictly genetic. Aldrich’s was a mystery — he had no blockages, no known damage — until the stroke. 

Non-modifiable risk factors such as age, sex, genetics, race or ethnicity are causes we cannot change. These are also risk factors that determine only about 30 percent of our overall health.
However, modifiable risk factors, such as individual behaviors, our physical environment, our social surroundings and our access to healthcare, determine 70 percent of our health.
Poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and diabetes are some of the leading risk factors for cardiac problems.
For most suffering from cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke), which is the No. 1 killer in Colorado,  it's these modifiable risk factors that public health focuses on helping people to change.
When Aldrich visits hospitals, he too focuses on something people can do to help prevent heart disease, he gives them the piece of advice that helped him the most during his recovery. 
Walk every day.

“The best thing you can do is walk,” Aldrich said.

Now, both he and Patricia, both seniors, try to stay as active as they can.
Aldrich visits Porter Adventist once a week, where he makes his rounds to meet with patients and their families.

Mended Hearts

To learn more about Mended Hearts, including how to get involved, go to mendedhearts.org.

Tips for healthy hearts

To learn more about how to keep your heart healthy, go to jeffco.us/public-health or click here.

Jefferson County Public Health Warns Parents and Caregivers About Hidden Sugar in Beverages

Many parents and caregivers are not aware of the hidden sugar in many of the beverages that they give to their children. That’s why the Healthy Beverage Partnership in conjunction with Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is promoting a new campaign aimed at educating parents and caregivers about the harmful effects of sugar and informing them of the high sugar content in many of the beverages they may be giving to their kids. 
Sugary beverages are the single largest contributor of calories to our diet. By drinking just one sugary drink a day, a child has 25 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, 55 percent greater risk of being overweight or obese, and 150 percent greater risk of developing fat deposits in their liver, contributing to diabetes and heart disease. 
“The ‘Hidden Sugar’ campaign was designed to bring to light the many surprising places where sugar can hide,” said Allison Wilson, JCPH Healthy Beverage and Food Specialist. “You would never give your child 10 cookies for breakfast, but that’s exactly what you’re doing when you give them a 10 ounce bottle of fruit punch. And most parents don’t realize that.” 
Through simple graphics, the Hidden Sugar campaign compares the sugar levels of sugary drinks like juice drinks, sports drinks, and soda to the sugar levels found in sugary foods and desserts, such as cookies, donuts, popsicles, and more. The campaign also promotes healthier options including tap or fruit infused water. 
Andrea Perez signs the Hidden Sugar pledge.
Photo by Christy Steadman
A full story about the Hidden Sugar Campaign recently ran in 17 newspapers around the Metro Area — see it here — and featured information about a pledge parents can take, in which they pledge to serve fewer sugary drinks to their family for the next 30 days. Anyone who takes the pledge will be entered to win some amazing passes to family-friendly places in the metro Denver area.
Details on the Hidden Sugar campaign can be found at Hidden-Sugar.org. For further information on the local Sip Smart Coalition or the Healthy Beverage Partnership you can contact Allison Wilson at Jefferson County Public Health at 303-239-7007 or via email at awilson@jeffco.us.