January is National Radon Action Month

Radon comes naturally from rocks and dirt in the ground, you cannot see it or smell it. 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. 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 home 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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Are You Prepared for Winter Weather?

Winterize Your Home

Winter weather can bring extreme cold, ice, snow, or high winds. If bad weather hits,is your home ready? Take time before winter weather arrives to winterize your home:

  • Make sure your walls and attic have enough insulation. This preparation will help keep you warm in extreme cold. As a bonus, you can reduce energy waste and save on your electricity bills!
  • Caulk and weather-strip your doors and windows.
  • Keep indoor space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Never heat your home with a stove.

Learn more about winter weather safety here.

Prepare for a Power Outage

Severe winter weather may cause power outages. Are you ready if the lights go out? Prepare now to make sure you stay safe if you lose power.

  • Make a list of anything you need that uses electricity; plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Plan if you have medication that needs to be refrigerated. Talk to your doctor about what to do with medicine if you lose power.
  • Make sure to have a flashlight and extra batteries at home.
  • Have enough non-perishable food and water for your family.
  • Keep mobile phones charged and gas tanks full.

For more information to prepare now, survive during, and be safe after a power outage, go to: https://www.ready.gov/power-outages.

Recognizing Frostbite

Winter is almost here! If your area experiences extreme cold, you could be at risk for developing frostbite when you spend time outdoors. It’s important you know the signs if you or something you know develops frostbite:

  • Redness or pain in any skin area may be the first sign of frostbite.
  • Other signs of frostbite include numbness, white or gray skin, and firm or waxy skin.
  • The body parts most affected by frostbite are your nose, ears, toes, cheeks, chin, and fingers.
  • If you or someone you know has frostbite, go to a warm room. Soak in warm water or use body heat to warm. Don’t massage or put a heating pad on frostbitten skin.

To learn more about recognizing and responding to frostbite, click here.

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a costly and devastating chronic illness. Approximately 356,000 adults and 6,500 children and teenagers in Wisconsin have been diagnosed with diabetes. Two out of five adults are expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. It is estimated that an additional 138,000 have diabetes but are undiagnosed. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Wisconsin, incurring an estimated $5.5 billion annually in health care and lost productivity costs. Each year, more than 1,300 Wisconsin residents die from diabetes and many more suffer disabling complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and amputations. This burden is higher among minority populations. Much of the health and economic burden can be averted through prevention measures.

About one third of adults have prediabetes, yet nearly 90% do not know it. Prediabetes means that your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not yet diabetes.  Without simple lifestyle changes such as: healthier eating habits, increasing activity and losing weight, the prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes within five years.

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, not using tobacco, and 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  and www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/diabetes/prediabetes.htm

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September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. The Forest County Health Department would like to take this time to give our community members pointers on being prepared for emergencies that could happen.

We all like to think that we will never have to be faced with a weather related emergency such as storm related power outages, floods, or tornadoes or a public health threat such as disease outbreaks or have to deal with the after effects of a hazardous material spill. but what if we do? The best thing we as a community can do is be aware and be prepared.

Here is a list of things to do:

  • Create an emergency plan for your family, including a checklist of what needs to be done and assign tasks to each member
  • Keep an emergency phone list that includes numbers for a doctor, the emergency department, fire and police
  • Note local TV channels and radio stations with frequent news broadcasts
  • Check the Forest County website for information on emergency situations
  • Create a Three Day Emergency Kit. Go to www.ready.wi.gov for info on what to have in your three day emergency supply kit
  • Have a buddy system in place. A buddy system can be set up with neighbors, friends and family. Plan ahead for how you will help each other in an emergency. Give your buddy a key to your home

Emergencies can happen at any time. Having the tools and plans in place before an emergency occurs could save your life. Please call us at 715-478-3371 if you have any questions. Like us on Facebook to stay informed and to get more tips on Emergency Preparedness

Follow the links below for more information

Three Day Emergency Supply List

FEMA Family Emergency Plan



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Forest County Quiet Waters Project

Kayaking and Canoeing provides excellent recreational value as well as health benefits for paddling. Forest County is blessed with 824 named lakes and many un-named lakes and ponds. In addition to the lakes and ponds we have 850+ miles of streams with a variety of water levels, rapids and stream impediments to navigate.  Many of the lakes and streams provide access to remote portions of our forest with very little settlement, making them “Quiet Waters” for you to enjoy.

The serene quality of our “Quiet Waters” is a tribute to the past generations of Forest County who managed our vast forest and who conservatively farmed our lands to improve and protect our water quality. In recognition of these efforts and the healthy benefits of paddling quiet areas, the Forest County Land and Water Conservation Department has worked with the Forest County Health Department to develop “Quiet Waters”, a program to promote paddling sports including kayaking and canoeing and the healthy aspects of such sports in the county.

“Quiet Waters” provides photos from, mapping and directions to areas and water accesses that have little development, little motorized use and a variety of water conditions from serene lakes, to wetland-wildlife impoundments, to streams requiring a variety of skill levels. The mapping utilizes Google Maps and can be downloaded directly to your phone or tablet.

The Land Conservation Department will welcome organizations or businesses to include the links to their websites to promote our area. We also welcome comments, suggestions of additional areas and submission of photos from the sites to add to the links. Land Conservation hopes to expand the project to include areas across the county and your assistance will be appreciated, please contact us at the e-mail above.  The following are the direct links:

Quiet Waters of Forest County- Lakes


Quiet Waters of Forest County- River Routes


Quiet Waters of Forest County- Impoundments and Wildlife Areas


Forest County Quiet Waters Brochure 


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