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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Flu Season 2017-2018

Everyone 6 months and older should receive a yearly flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. It is the single best way to prevent influenza.

Virus strains included in the 2017–18 vaccines will be two Influenza type A (H1N1 & H3N2) and two Influenza type B-like virus. There are several brands and types of flu injections available, but live vaccine (flu mist) is still not available this year.

Benefits of Getting Vaccinated:

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu, and reduce risk of flu-associated hospitalization.
  • Flu vaccination is especially important for people with chronic health conditions.
  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy. Vaccination also protects the developing baby during pregnancy and for several months after the baby is born.
  • Flu vaccination may make your illness milder if you do get sick.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with chronic health conditions.

Ways to Prevent the Flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Clean or disinfect surfaces that are touched often at home, work, or school
  • Get plenty of sleep, stay physically active, eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of fluids

Like us on Facebook (Forest County Health Department) to receive updates!

For more information visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm or call us with any questions at 715-478-3371.

The Forest County Health Department will be offering flu vaccines at community clinics and walk-ins at the Health Department Monday-Friday 7:30 – 11:30 am & 1:00- 5:00 pm


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The Importance of Adult Vaccinations

Vaccines play an important role in protecting communities from disease. Many people think that vaccines are just for children, but did you know that there are a number of vaccinations recommended for adults? Adults, especially those that are older, may be more susceptible to certain diseases than other individuals. Therefore it is essential that adults get vaccinated to protect not only themselves, but also their friends and family from serious illness. Some vaccines recommended for adults are:

  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis) – Usually given around age 11 or 12, people who did not get Tdap should get it as soon as possible. A tetanus booster should be given every ten years. Tdap may be given as one of these boosters if you have never gotten Tdap before.
  • Influenza (flu) – All people ages 6 months and older are recommended for annual vaccination with rare exceptions.
  • Hepatitis B – If not completed during childhood or adolescence.
  • Shingles – Recommended for people age 60 and older
  • Pneumococcal – Recommended for children and adults 2 to 64 years of age
  • with certain health conditions and for all adults 65 years of age and older.

Unsure of whether you are up to date on your vaccinations? You can access your immunization records online with your social security number using the Wisconsin Immunization Registry at https://www.dhfswir.org/PR/clientSearch.do?language=en. You can also call the Forest County Health Department to determine your vaccination  status.

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