The North Shore Health Department Highlights for 2/14/2017

Did You Know?

Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy American Heart Month!  Did you know that hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) affects one out of every three adults over the age of 20?  Damage to your blood vessels from undetected or uncontrolled high blood pressure (HBP) can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other serious health threats.

Some of the risk factors that could increase your chances of developing this largely-symptomless disease are:

·    Family history—parents or other close blood relatives with HBP

·    Age—as you age, blood vessels lose elasticity, increasing the chance of HBP

·    Gender--until age 45, men are more likely to have HBP; from age 45 to 64, men and women have similar rates of HBP, and at 65 and older, women are more likely to have HBP

·    Race—in the US, African-Americans tend to develop HBP more often than people of any other racial background

·    Lack of physical activity--not getting enough physical activity increases your risk of HBP

·    An unhealthy diet—a diet too high in sodium (salt), calories, saturated fat and sugar increases your risk of HBP, but healthy food choices can lower blood pressure

·    Being overweight or obese—extra weight puts extra strain on your heart and can cause HBP

·    Drinking too much alcohol—can cause HBP and many other health problems

·    Smoking and tobacco use—cause an increase in blood pressure

·    Excess stress--may contribute to HBP or encourage behaviors mentioned above (poor diet, inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use), which contribute to HBP

·    Preexisting medical conditions—some medical conditions (including pregnancy, some heart defects, kidney disorders, sleep apneas) or medications taken for other medical conditions may cause HBP

The American Heart Association provides a free health risk calculator where you can calculate your High Blood Pressure Health Risks, and plan lifestyle changes to decrease your risk: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandSymptomsRisks/Calculate-Your-High-Blood-Pressure-Health-Risks_UCM_301829_Article.jsp

The North Shore Health Department offers free blood pressure clinics (no appointment needed) at area locations.  See our website for locations and times:  http://www.nshealthdept.org/Clinics.aspx

The North Shore Health Department Highlights for 2/7/2017

Did You Know?

Knowing a loved one is struggling with addiction is heartbreaking and scary. As a support person, it is important to get informed and know where to turn for help. Fortunately, addiction is considered a highly treatable disease and recovery is attainable. If you suspect someone you love is addicted to alcohol or drugs, here are steps to take:

  •          If your loved one has asked for help, start by finding a treatment provider https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ and schedule an assessment appointment.
  •          If your loved one is resistant to help, attempt to interest them in an assessment with a health care provider. Often people will listen to a trusted professional rather than family or friends. Ensure this provider is comfortable speaking with their patients about addiction. If not, ask for a referral to another doctor with more expertise in the area of addiction.
  •          If your loved one is not ready for an assessment, locate an appropriate physician or health professional, and leave this information in a place your loved one can find it when they are ready.  

For extra support: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs


Help us take 1 Billion Steps!

Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve your health — and it’s more fun if we do it together. That’s why we are participating in APHA’s 1 Billion Steps Challenge. We’ve created a team called North Shore Health Department. When you join you’ll be able to track how many steps you take, see total steps for our team and the collective progress of all teams toward the goal of 1 Billion steps. You can synch your step counting device or enter steps manually if you don’t have a device. So register today, and let’s get walking! We’ll have a lot of fun, improve our heath, and walk more than any other team! You can view the link to sign up on our website: www.nshealthdept.org

The North Shore Health Department Highlights for 1/31/2017

Did You Know?

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only heart-related celebration in February.  Since 1964, February has also been known as American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. However, heart disease and other cardiovascular disease can often be prevented by making healthy choices and managing your health.  Some of the healthy lifestyle changes include many of the things that people make New Year’s resolutions about.  Renew your resolutions this month and protect your heart at the same time.  Some tips:

  • Watch your weight: Calculate your personalized healthy body mass index (BMI) at tinyurl.com/BMIcalculatorCDC.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke: Find five steps to quitting at www.smokefree.gov/steps-on-quit-day.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure: Check your levels, keep up with medical appointments, and take medications, if prescribed.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation: Moderate consumption is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
  • Get active: Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.
  • Eat heart-healthy and lower salt: Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes and non-tropical vegetable oils in your diet.

The North Shore Health Department offers adult health risk screenings, which include cholesterol and blood pressure checks, at both locations.  Call 414-371-2980 to make an appointment.  The cost is $30.  

North Shore Health Department Highlights for 1/24/2017

Did you know?

Teens who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who are not taught about the dangers. Light & Unite Red (LUR) is a local campaign led by the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division in parternship with several community organizations and local ehalth departments. LUR puts the spotlight on the dangers of substance abuse and unites our community to engage in preventon, encourage treatment and support recovery. During National Drug & Alcohol Fact Week (January 23-29, 2017), join us as we light the way for a lifestyle without substance abuse. Together we can prevent addiction and provide hope that recovery is possible. Follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NSHealthDept/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/NSHealthDept) all week to learn more. Messages are aimed at parents, teens and educators. 

Visit county.milwaukee.gov/BehavioralHealthDivi7762/Light-and-Unite.htm to get printable information sheets, watch informational videos and find activities happening all around Southeastern Wisconsin this week.  

The North Shore Health Department Highlights for 1/17/2017

Did You Know?

There has been an increase in mumps cases in 2016. The rise in cases have been clustered in Iowa, Illinois, and Arkansas. Mumps is an acute viral illness and is spread from person to person through the air or by direct contact with saliva or infected droplets.  Symptoms of mumps usually appear 12 to 25 days after exposure and cause inflamed, swollen and tender salivary glands. Other signs and symptoms of mumps infection may include fever, fatigue, weakness, cough, or pain with chewing or swallowing. Some mumps patients may even be asymptomatic. 

Vaccination is the best way to protect against mumps. This vaccine is included in the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). MMR is a 2 dose vaccine series usually given in childhood beginning at 1 year of age with the second dose between 4-6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination. Outbreaks and cases of mumps can still occur in vaccinated individuals. The mumps component of the MMR vaccine is about 88% effective after 2 doses. This does not mean the vaccine is ineffective, high vaccination coverage helps to limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks. To check if you are up to date on your MMR vaccine visit the Wisconsin Immunization Registry at: https://www.dhfswir.org/PR/clientSearch.do

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of mumps, notify your physician to get tested. Individuals who are being tested for mumps should be advised to refrain from work and other public activities until mumps can be ruled out.  Individuals are considered infectious 2 days prior to the onset of swelling (counted as day zero) through 5 days after the onset of swelling.

To learn more about mumps, visit the following websites:



The North Shore Health Department Highlights for 1/10/2017

Did You Know?

January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Month.  Every year millions of people in the US participate in winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice skating and hockey.  Besides being fun activities that encourage physical activity, the high speeds and slippery surfaces can also lead to serious injuries.  TBIs result in an alteration of brain function, usually due to a violent blow or jolt to the head. Concussions are one type of TBI.

Brainline.org offers some injury prevention tips to protect yourself and your loved ones when participating in winter sports:

1.     Always wear a properly-fitted helmet and replace it after a serious fall.

2.     Have fun, but know your limitations—start slow, take lessons if new to a sport, and make sure children are supervised.

3.     Be familiar with your surroundings and stay alert to blind spots or changes in terrain.

4.     Know the warning signs of a concussion:

·        Headaches

·        Weakness or numbness

·        Coordination or balance impacted

·        Confusion or slurred speech

·        Nausea and/or vomiting

·        Not feeling “quite right”

5.     If you or a loved one has a concussion, take time to recover before putting yourself into a high risk situation again. 

For more information on brain injuries, including concussions, visit the CDC’s website at: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/index.html

The North Shore Health Department Highlights for 1/3/2017

Did You Know?

January is Radon Action Month! Indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon-induced lung cancer kills 21,000 Americans every year.  Smoking combined with radon exposure poses additional lifetime risks of getting lung cancer.

If you want to start the year off healthy, do it from the ground up and test your home for radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is present in the ground and can enter homes through their foundations. It forms naturally from the decay of radioactive elements which are found at different levels in soil and rock around the base and under the home. That is why radon levels vary from home to home, and the only way to know if you have high levels is to test your own home.

Radon levels are usually highest in the basement and levels peak in the winter months when windows and doors that would otherwise help to vent the gas are closed. To assess the magnitude of the problem in your home, it is therefore, best to test in the winter months.

The health department has radon kits available for $6.00 at the Shorewood and Brown Deer offices. If you have questions about radon you can call us at 414-371-2980 or you can visit the following websites: