February is American Heart Month!

In celebration of American Heart Month this February, the Forest County Health Department, in collaboration with community partners is offering activities to 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 has created a month long challenge to help you increase your physical activity. The goal of the challenge will be 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 find the tracking calendar at our office, on our website or Facebook page.

There are several scheduled events this month to help you reach your goals and provide you with more information.

Holli from the health department will be visiting each Senior Meal Site this month to offer blood pressure screenings and information. February 6th 11 am at the Wabeno Town Hall, February 12th 11 am at the Laona Town Hall, February 13th 11am at the Crandon Community Building, February 20th 10:30 am at Armstrong Creek Community Building, and February 22nd 12 pm at the Alvin Town Hall. You can also walk in to the health department Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5 pm to have your blood pressure checked.

February 5th – Walk with Ease class and registration at 10 am at the courthouse.

February 10th 8am to 8 pm – Raise the Bar Fitness Center in Crandon Open House.

February 21st 6 pm- The Crandon Pickleball Club will be offering a Pickleball demo at the Crandon Elementary.

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 7 pm at the Laona School there is Free Zumba class with C.J. Sorenson.

Visit our Facebook page or call us for more information at 715-478-3371

Click here for a printable version of the Activity Calendar

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Prevent and Protect Against Seasonal Influenza (the Flu): Stay Home When Sick!

The Forest County Health Department is reminding people that they can take steps now to stop the spread of influenza, and one of the biggest steps they can take is Stay Home When Sick!

Influenza activity has been increasing across the state. So far, Influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been the most common flu viruses circulating this season. H3N2 predominant flu seasons have been associated with more severe illness, especially among children and adults age 65 and older.

Symptoms of influenza are similar to cold symptoms, but come on more swiftly and are more pronounced. Symptoms can include cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, chills, feelings of extreme tiredness, and fever. It should be noted that not everyone with the flu will experience fever.

It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.

Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer
  • Cover your cough and sneeze
  • Throw tissue out after one use
  • Never share drinking cups, straws, or utensils
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, phones and faucets
  • When possible, avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms
  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Do NOT smoke
  • Get plenty of rest

If you have been exposed to someone with influenza, or who are experiencing symptoms of influenza, consult with your health care provider immediately to determine if antiviral drugs may be helpful. Treatment with antiviral medications can sometimes lessen the effects of influenza, if treatment is started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Antibiotics are not effective against influenza.

Click below to view a video featuring Influenza Coordinator, Tom Haupt from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for an update on the current flu season and for recommendations.



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January is National Radon Action Month

Radon comes naturally from rocks and dirt in the ground. There’s always some radon in the air around us. It can become a problem when radon gas from beneath your home leaks in through cracks or gaps in the foundation and builds up in your home. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon and breathing in high levels of radon can raise your risk of lung cancer. In the United States, radon is the #2 cause of lung cancer after smoking and it is estimated to cause over 20,000 deaths each year.

Smoking makes radon even more dangerous. Radon and tobacco smoke from cigarettes (and cigars and pipes) can damage your lungs. When they are combined, smoking and radon are more dangerous than either one on their own. Smokers who live in homes with high radon levels have a risk of lung cancer that is 10 times higher than nonsmokers who live in homes with high radon levels.

Testing your house for radon is easy. A simple test will tell you if your home has a high radon level. Most tests last between 2 and 7 days. It’s as easy as opening a package, and putting the test kit in the right place. After sending the kit back to the address in the package, the company will send your test results in about 2 weeks.

If your house has a radon problem, it can be fixed. Fixing a radon problem reduces the risk of lung cancer for you and your family.

Radon test kits can be purchased at the Forest County Health Department for $8.00.

Take action today. Encourage your friends and family members to do the same.

Please call the Forest County Health Department at 715-478-3371 with any questions.

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What You Need to Know About Tobacco

Starting Sunday November 26, 2017, the major U.S Tobacco Companies will run federal court mandated TV and print ads highlighting the negative health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke, as well as how the tobacco industry designed cigarettes to be more addictive. The Tobacco companies involved include Altria, its Philip Morris USA subsidiary and R.J. Reynolds.

These ads are a result of a 2006 Federal court ruling which ordered the tobacco companies to issue “corrective statements” after finding that they had violated civil racketeering laws (RICO) and deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking and industry plans to market tobacco to kids! This case and the corrective statements are a timely reminder both that tobacco use remains an enormous public health problem in the United States-it is the No. 1 cause of preventable disease and death-and that tobacco’s horrific toll stems from the harmful practices of the tobacco industry.

Make no mistake: The tobacco companies are not running these ads voluntarily or because of a legal settlement. These ads are being run under Federal court order that is forcing tobacco companies to run the ads, after 11 years of using appeals to delay and weaken the ruling.   The tobacco industry’s unwillingness to do the ads is obvious in how they display the ads, they are not like the usual cigarette ads that feature bright colors, attractive models, and the promise of fun. These court mandated ads almost seem designed to be ignored-simply featuring plain text over a white background.

There will be five corrective statements issued by the tobacco companies about how they deliberately deceived the public about:

  • The adverse health effects of smoking
  • The addictiveness of smoking and nicotine
  • The lack of significant health benefit from smoking “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light,” “mild” and “natural” cigarettes (products that have been deceptively marketed as less harmful than regular cigarettes)
  • The manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery
  • The adverse health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke

The TV ads will run 5 times a week for one year Monday through Thursday between 7p.m. and 10 p.m. on one of 3 major networks (CBS, ABC, or NBC). In addition; the tobacco companies must place full page print ads in the Sunday editions of more than 50 newspapers across the nation as specified by the court. Five ads-one on each of the corrective statements-will be published over a four-month period starting on November 26, 2017. The ads must also appear on the newspapers websites. Of the 50 newspapers displaying the ads, those available to our local community members include: Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Milwaukee Courier.

Electronic cigarettes. Little cigars. Sweet candy flavors. The next generation of addictive tobacco products is here, and most of them don’t look anything like a pack of cigarettes. Tobacco has evolved so fast, it’s tough for parents to recognize tobacco when they see it—and even tougher to talk to your kids about the terrible damage tobacco products can do. But that can change right here.

Get to know the new face of tobacco. It’s the first step to helping your kids stay healthy and tobacco-free.

We are encouraging the public to get involved by visiting the website for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids at https://www.tobaccofreekids.org. Tobacco users can get free help by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

For more information visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobaccoischanging/index.htm

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Forest County Public Health Department at 715-478-3371 or visit our Facebook page for more information.

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month!

Diabetes is a serious disease that can often be managed through physical activity, diet and the correct use of insulin and other medications to control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications including premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and amputation of toes, feet, or legs. Average medical costs for a person diagnosed with diabetes are about $13,700 per year. About $7,900 of this amount is attributed to diabetes.

The CDC reports: “More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes.” In Wisconsin 9% of adults have diabetes, 34% have prediabetes.

What is Prediabetes? Prediabetes means that you blood sugar is higher than normal, but not yet diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented in people with prediabetes through lifestyle changes that include eating healthy, and exercising regularly.

How can you tell if you have Prediabetes? You can take a short online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org https://doihaveprediabetes.org/ to see if you are at risk.

If you score 3-8 points you are at a low risk now. Keep your risk low by keeping your weight down, exercising regularly, and not using tobacco, eating low fat meals with fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods. If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure talk to your health care provider about your risk for type 2 diabetes.

If you score 9 or more points you are at high risk for having prediabetes now and you should see your healthcare provider soon.

You can be tested for Prediabetes by seeing your healthcare provider.

For more information on Diabetes and Prediabetes you can visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes.

If you have any questions feel free to call the Forest County Health Department at 715-478-3371.



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