health tips

Healthy You Tips

Air Quality Awareness Week!

Educate: Wildfires are a part of life in the west, and a single wildfire can burn thousands of acres before they are contained. Some wildfires are necessary for ecosystem health, but wildfires always produce smoke. Particulate matter, a term for small particles suspended in the air, are the primary pollutant in smoke from wildfires.

 

Enact: Particulate matter may lead to respiratory issues, even in healthy individuals, and may aggravate pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality works with other agencies to monitor wildfire activity and evaluate potential impacts from smoke.

 

Empower: While the average Wyoming resident cannot fight a wildfire themselves (unless of course they are on a fire response team) there are strategies for reducing smoke exposure. AirNow recommends, among other things, staying indoors and running an air conditioner with a clean filter if possible. To see current air quality conditions in Wyoming for particulate matter and other pollutants visit http://www.wyvisnet.com/.

 

Additional sources:

Healthier You Tip #10

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It is tick season once again! Check out CDC’s web site for information about ticks and how to avoid contact with ticks.

 

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It’s also not too early to start thinking about canning season.  The CDC has information on safe home canning.  Refresh your memory about canning here by using proper techniques and materials.

Healthier You Tip #9

We deal with thunderstorms every summer.  They can be deadly.

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Some points to remember:

  •  Lightning can strike you even with the main thunderstorm 10 miles away.
  •  Lightning can travel through sprinkler pipe, fences and anything metal.
  • Take cover during a thunderstorm.

 

More information on lightning safety can be found at the following website:

http://www.cdc.gov/features/lightning-safety/

Check out the “more information” portion of that site for additional resources about lightning and thunderstorm safety.

 

So all of  you with outdoor activities remember to “Read and Heed.”  Are you taking a scout or youth  group out camping?  Know the dangers of lightning and what you can do to be safe.

 

–written by Dean Burnham

Healthier You Tip#8: Wood Tick Season

written by: Dean Burnham

Wyoming and its Spring Time!!!

 

You just got to love it!    Wyoming has a rough time jump starting into spring.  It can be sunny and warm, cloudy and rainy, cold, cloudy and snowing all within a few hours.

You have been waiting for the warmer weather so you can get out and go hiking, enjoying the out-of-doors, taking photos of nature, yard work or just plain kicking back and enjoying the change in the weather.

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Remember it is wood tick season.  Make sure you use an insect repellent with “deet” and make sure you spray areas  where wood ticks can enter.  Waist and leg openings, shirt collar, arm openings.  Wood ticks can hitch a ride when you brush up against vegetation.  Open ridges, side slopes, aspen stands and forested areas are home to wood ticks.

RockyMtWoodPair

 

So have fun outdoors this spring and summer but take care not to bring any of these little guys back with you.

Healthier You Tip #5

Tip #5: Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke

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When wildfires burn in our region they produce smoke that may reach our communities.  Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials.  Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

 

Who is at greatest risk from the wildfire smoke?

 

People who have heart or lung diseases, like congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (including emphysema), or asthma, are a higher risk from wildfire smoke.

 

Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke.  This may be due to their increased risk to heart and lung diseases. 

 

Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke.  Children’s airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.  In addition, children often spend more time outdoors engaged in activity and play. 

 

Steps you can take to decrease your risk from wildfire smoke:

 

Keep indoor are as clean as possible.  Keep windows and doors closed.  Run an air conditioner and keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.  If you don’t have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or stay with family or friends away from the wildland fire and/or smoke. 

 

Follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare providers about medicines and about your repertory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease.  Consider evacuating the area if you have having trouble breathing.  Call for further advice if your symptoms worsen.

 

Do not rely on dust masks for protection.  Paper dusk masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles like sawdust.  These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

 

If you have to evaluate from the area take any prescriptions drugs you will need, clothing, personal items, and take your pets with you or make arrangements with others to take care for your pets. 

 

Check other web sites for additional information on what to do in case of evacuation.  (www.FEMA.gov, Lincoln County Emergency Management, www.NIFC.gov, Prevent wildfires, www.smokeybear.com to mention a few)  

Healthier You Tip #6

TIP # 6

 Got Mice? 

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Seal, Trap and Clean up to Control Rodents
 
It is getting colder outside and rodents may enter your home to find food and shelter. Seal up holes or gaps in your home, trap any existing rodents and clean up any sources of food or water and items that might provide shelter for them. Mice are pesky critters that can enter your home through small holes or gaps. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel! 
 
Rats! What to do About Rodents!
 
If you find signs of rodents or their droppings in your home, take precautions to clean up the area safely.
 
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Remember, you can’t always rely on your kitty friends to take care of your mouse problems for you. So be proactive and follow these tips to deal with rodents or the possibility of rodent visitation in your home.

 

Healthier You Tip #7

TIP # 7

Flu Season in Progress

 
Did you get your flu shot? 
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu season is upon us. CDC reports (as of December 21, 2013) 10 states have widespread flu reports occurring. Wyoming is one of them. Of the lower 48 states, Wyoming is the only state in the West that has widespread outbreaks. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana have local outbreaks. Go to Flu View on the CDC website to see weekly reports and how Wyoming stacks up to the rest of the Nation. 
 
You should consider getting a flu shot to combat the flu. Young people are more susceptible to the N1H1 flu strain that is out there in the world of viruses this year. 
 
According to a CDC official health advisory from November to December 2013, there are a number of reports of severe respiratory illness amount young and middle-aged adults, many of whom were infected with Influenza A (N1H1). Multiple cases have request intensive care unit admission and some fatalities have been reported related to influenza. 
 
Wyoming for the week of December 21, 2013: there were 192 cases of flu reported by the State. The Laboratory confirmed 171 cases of Influenza A, 5 cases of Influenza B, and 16 cases of unknown Influenza. So far this flu season there have been 460 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza. Those cases are the ones identified by the Wyoming State Lab. Many cases in Wyoming go unreported. 
 
It is recommended by the CDC that everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot. Shots are still available at Public Health. Please call us at 885-9598 to make your appointment.
 
 Do your part to protect your health and the health of people too young or who are unable to receive the flu shot.