March 20th Kick Butts Day

Today is Kick Butts Day! We are joining thousands of youth around the country who are standing up against the e-cigarette epidemic sweeping through our schools.

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Question. Persuade. Refer.

Three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide.

Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. 

Suicidal individuals are suffering from an overwhelming sense of helplessness and hopelessness, usually complicated by a clinical depression and often triggered by a major loss.  While in this health crisis, clear thinking is near impossible, and individuals often times suffer from “tunnel vision” which does not allow them to see a way out of their situation. 

QPR is advanced suicide prevention training and is designed to detect persons who are in the thinking or ideational phase of their suicidal plan, and provide clear steps to aid the sufferer to the help that is needed.

If your business, club, team, or group would like a free instruction of QPR provided by Forest County Public Health, please call 715-478-3371.  You could save a life!

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March 18-22 Marks Flood Safety Awareness Week

During Flood Safety Awareness Week, The Forest County Health Department is reminding residents on how to stay safe during flooding events. 

“Wisconsin has seen a great deal of precipitation this winter, and we are expecting flooding this spring when it all melts,” said Jacee Anderson, Health Officer/Director. “It’s important for residents to prepare now before flooding starts.”

Follow these tips to prepare before a flood:

  • Stock an emergency supply kit.  Kits should include a three-day supply of food and water, cell phone and charger, flashlight and batteries, can opener, first aid kit, extra cash, and a change of clothes.
  • Move electronics off the floor. If there is an active flood warning, move electric appliances off the floor and make sure your sump pump is working and has a battery-operated backup.
  • Consider adding flood insurance. Standard insurance policies generally don’t cover flooding.  Flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters, and business owners through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Follow these tips during and after a flood:

  • Do not drive through flood waters.  It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a car. When you encounter flood water, turn around, don’t drown.
  • Stay out of flood waters. Flood water can contain bacteria, sewage, sharp objects, and other dangerous items.
  • Drain basements slowly. Basements containing standing water should be emptied gradually – no more than 2-3 inches per day. If a basement is drained too quickly, the water pressure outside the walls will be greater than the water pressure inside, which may cause the basement floor and walls to crack and collapse.
  • Shut off electrical power if you suspect damage to your home. Even if the damage isn’t easily seen, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns to light homes rather than candles. Candles could trigger an explosion if there is a gas leak.
  • Use generators at least 20 feet from your home. Generators createcarbon monoxide.  In enclosed spaces, the carbon monoxide can build up and cause sickness or death.    
  • Throw out food if you can’t be sure it’s safe. Throw out any refrigerated food if your power was out for four hours or more.  If frozen foods still have ice crystals, they can be refrozen.Any food that was touched by floodwaters— even canned food— should be thrown out.
  • Look out for mold. Follow the recommended steps for cleaning mold growth.
  • Check your water supply. If you have municipal water, run your faucet for at least five minutes before using it.  If you have a well that touched flood water, follow steps to disinfect it.

For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Flood Hazards and Recovery page.

View this video to learn more about preparing and staying safe during a flooding event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmCnXWN0Dwc

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March is National Nutrition Month!

To celebrate National Nutrition Month, we would like to encourage healthy eating habits for busy families. One of the hardest things about working full time and being part of a busy family is providing nutritious, good tasting meals that everyone can sit down at the end of the day and eat together. Time is precious to us all, so making meals should not be something that uses a lot of time.  Using a slow cooker is a great way to cook food while you’re doing other things. Slow cooker recipes will specify the heat level (low or high) and how many hours to cook the food. Busy families will love the “set it and forget it” convenience that slow cookers bring!

Eating more homemade meals, and less fast food, can ensure that kids get the fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy their growing bodies need. A slow cooker does all the work of cooking for you while you’re at work or busy with the kids, minimizing time spent in the kitchen.

Slow cookers aren’t just for winter chili’s, soups and stews-you can make appetizers, side dishes, fillings for sandwiches and tacos, and even desserts in a slow cooker. A slow cooker gives off very little heat beyond its base, so your kitchen will stay cool when it’s hot outside.

Try these tips to make the most of your slow cooker:

  • Prep the ingredients in advance: chop vegetables, soak beans and trim meats on Saturday or Sunday when you have extra time. Be sure to cut pieces all the same size for even cooking, and store prepped ingredients in airtight containers or zip lock bags in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Make ahead when possible: If your slow cooker has a removable insert, assemble the ingredients the night before and refrigerate the entire insert overnight. Starting with cool ingredients might lengthen the cooking time.
  • Reinvent leftovers: Instead of serving the same recipe two nights in a row, turn last night’s dinner into something new. If you make a large roast, serve the leftovers as a filling for quesadillas or sandwiches.  

Whenever using a slow cooker, be sure to follow good food safety practices to ensure your food cooks to safe temperatures and to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

For more healthy food ideas go to www.eatright.org.

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February is American Heart Month

In celebration of American Heart Month this February, the Forest County Health Department wants to help increase awareness of high blood pressure, which is often times referred to as the “silent killer.”  Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less.  Nearly half of the American population over age 20 has high blood pressure and many do not even know it.  You may not feel that anything is wrong, but high blood pressure could be quietly causing damage that could threaten your health.  Certain risk factors for high blood pressure cannot be controlled, such as, family history, race/ethnicity, age and gender.  The good news is that you can do some things to improve your blood pressure.  Don’t smoke and avoid second hand smoke, reach and maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, reduce your daily intake of sodium, be more physically active, limit alcohol intake.  

High blood pressure can lead to stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart attack, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction.  The best prevention is knowing your numbers and making changes to prevent and manage high blood pressure.  For more information please go to the American Heart Association website http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

The Forest County Health Department would like to encourage you to increase your activity level this month. Challenge yourself to get 150 minutes of physical activity per week.  This might sound like a lot if you haven’t been active this winter but you can start small with 10 or 15 minutes and work your way up.  If you are looking for a place to walk, try your local school.  All of them allow the public to walk inside during certain hours- you will need to sign a waiver and check into the hours.  You could also try walking on your lunch break or walking in place at home. You can track your times by jotting them on the calendar each day, you will be amazed at how it adds up, even just 10 minutes three times a day.

 Holli from the health department will be visiting each Senior Meal Site this month to offer blood pressure screenings and information about ways to control blood pressure and information about conditions that affect heart health.  February 5th at 10:30-11:30 at the Armstrong Creek Meal site, February 7th 2:30-3:30 at the Alvin Town Hall, February 12th at 11:00-12:00 at the Laona Senior Citizen Center, February 19th at 10:45-11:30 at the Wabeno Town Hall, and February 20th at 11:15-12:00 at the Crandon Community Building. You can also walk in to the health department Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5 pm to have your blood pressure checked.

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