North Shore Health Department Highlights 12/05/2017

Did You Know?

World AIDS Day is observed each year on December 1 and is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely and once you get HIV, you have it for life. An estimated 1,122,900 adults and adolescents were living with HIV at the end of 2015 in the United States.

HIV can be transmitted by:

  • Sexual Contact
  • Sharing needles to inject drugs
  • Mother to baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Protect yourself from HIV:

  • Get tested once or more often if you are at risk
  • Use condoms every time you have sex
  • Limit your number of sex partners
  • Don’t inject drugs, if you do, do not share needles
  • Get tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases
  • If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV within the last 3 days, ask a health care provider about postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) right away. PEP can prevent HIV, but it must be started within 72 hours.
  • If you are at high risk of getting HIV consider taking Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP). PrEP is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.

Currently, there is no effective cure for HIV. With proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). If taken the right way, every day, ART can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy, and greatly lower their chance of infecting others.

To learn more visit: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.html  

North Shore Health Department Highlights 11/28/2017

Did You Know?

The North Shore Health Department (NSHD) strives to promote and protect the health and safety of the people in the North Shore. One of the ways we protect the health and safety of our residents is by responding to communicable/infectious diseases. A communicable disease, also known as an infectious disease, is an illness transmitted through direct contact with an infected individual or animal – or indirectly through contact with a vector such as a mosquito, tick or plant, with blood or bodily fluids, or by breathing in an airborne virus or bacteria. As part of Wisconsin State Statute, 252 – Communicable Diseases, the NSHD is required to follow up and respond to all Category I and II diseases and conditions considered to have significant public health impact.

Some reportable diseases include Salmonella, E.coli, Mumps, Measles, Tuberculosis, etc. Some diseases are preventable through vaccination (i.e Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox). If you are unsure if you have been vaccinated for a certain disease you can visit the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) at https://www.dhfswir.org to access your immunization record. If you do not have a record, your physician can order antibody testing to test for immunity. The presence of IgG antibodies means a person is immune through either vaccination or a past infection. The presence of IgM antibodies shows a current or recent infection.

If you are diagnosed with a reportable disease, your local health department may be contacting you. It is important to help stop the spread of germs by avoiding close contact with people when sick and staying home from work and school. This will help stop the spread of disease and also allow time for you to get well!

Visit CDC.gov for more tips and information.

North Shore Health Department Highlights 11/21/2017

Did You Know?

National Diabetes Month is observed every November so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 1 out of 4 of them don’t know they have it. There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but a healthy lifestyle can help reduce its impact on your life. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at higher risk for serious health complications including heart disease and stroke, blindness and eye problems, kidney disease, and amputations. You can help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and losing weight.  Unfortunately, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can’t be prevented. Controlling your blood sugar levels can help you avoid or delay these serious health complications. Living with diabetes can be difficult, but health lifestyle choices can give you more control over them. Some tips include:

Every day: stay active, eat a healthy diet, and take medication if prescribed; check feet for redness, swelling, pain, or sores.
Each health care visit (several times a year): get a blood pressure check and foot check.
Twice a year: get an A1C test and dental checkup.
Once a year: get a cholesterol test and kidney function test, visit your podiatrist (foot doctor) and eye doctor.

If you have any of the following diabetes symptoms, see your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested: urinate (pee) a lot, often at night, are very thirsty, losing weight without trying, are very hungry, blurry vision, numbness or tingling hands or feet, feeling very tired, very dry skin, sores that heal slowly, and have more infections than usual.

To learn more about diabetes visit: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/home/index.html , https://www.niddk.nih.gov/ ,

North Shore Health Department Highlights 11/14/2017

Did You Know?

The American Cancer Society has set aside the third Thursday of November for the Great American Smokeout event. This event encourages smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance to stop smoking that day. By quitting, even for 1 day, smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk. Take the first step on November 16th.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers, and is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women. You can lower your risk of lung cancer by quitting smoking, getting your home tested for radon, avoiding exposure to cancer causing chemicals, and eating a healthy diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables. Some common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that does not go away/coughing up blood
  • Chest pain/shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Infections (bronchitis, pneumonia) that keep coming back

The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to quit smoking. About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age.

Call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW (800-784-8669) for more information and resources on quitting.
For more information on lung cancer visit www.cancer.org

Health Insurance Market Place Deadline Reminder

If you don’t have health insurance through your employer, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered. The 2018 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. For more information visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/

North Shore Health Department Highlights 11/7/17

Did You Know?

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, but use of other tobacco products also increases the risk. Although cigarette use is dropping among Wisconsin’s youth, other newer tobacco products are gaining popularity fast. And that’s not good, because there’s no such thing as a safe tobacco product. Designed to deliver nicotine—a highly addictive additive that can keep kids hooked for life—these new tobacco products come in a wide range of shapes and styles and are designed to mimic common candies and mints. Thirteen percent of Wisconsin high school students report using e-cigarettes, compared to 8 percent who use conventional cigarettes according to the 2016 High School Youth Tobacco Survey. Among those who use e-cigarettes, over 88 percent of high school teens say they wouldn’t try e-cigarettes if they weren’t flavored.

You don’t have to be an expert to talk to your kids about the dangers of tobacco use. Let your kids know how you feel about tobacco and make sure they have the facts they need to make healthy decisions on their own. Here are a few tips that can help:

Make it personal: Most people who use tobacco want to quit. If you or someone you love has struggled with nicotine addiction or a tobacco-related illness, talk to your kids about it.

Focus on right now: Young people can have difficulty imagining long-term health effects, like cancer or lung disease. The immediate costs of tobacco use—shortness of breath, mouth sores, yellow teeth, and addiction—are much easier for them to relate to.

Talk about social costs: Nobody wants to smell bad, have yellow teeth and bad breath, or get red and itchy eyes. Encourage your child to think about the impact tobacco can have on first impressions.

Remember, tobacco-free is popular: There are so many tobacco products in stores and ads and YouTube videos, it’s easy for kids to believe that “everybody is doing it.” In fact, most Wisconsin youth have never used tobacco. Remind your kids that living tobacco free is the popular choice.

Ask them to ask: Make sure your child knows they can always ask you about tobacco products (instead of turning to Google, YouTube, or classmates and friends). You may not know everything, but you can find the answers together.

The Department of Health Services (DHS) has launched a campaign to inform parents about brightly packaged, candy-flavored tobacco products targeted to appeal to children. Learn more about the “Tobacco is Changing” campaign, including photos of the flavored products at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobaccoischanging/index.htm

North Shore Health Department Highlights 10/31/2017

Did You Know?

It’s time once again to “fall back” – to end Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, November 5th. This is also the perfect time to remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and check your carbon monoxide detectors. The value of having reliable smoke alarms in our home is well known. However, having smoke alarms is not enough. Making and practicing an escape plan is important so that everyone in your household knows what to do during a fire. Every home also needs a carbon monoxide detector. In Wisconsin, all homes and duplexes are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement, but no the attic or storage areas. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas, which can cause illness and death. It is produced any time fossil fuel is burned such as in a car, generator or furnace. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, and can lead to mental confusion, loss of consciousness and death. It is especially important to be aware of CO during the winter months due to many deaths resulting from poorly operated home heating devices.

How can you prevent CO poisoning?        

  • Install a CO alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home
  • Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
  • Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping.
  • Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skill and tools

For more information on carbon monoxide visit: http://www.cpsc.gov/ and http://www.cdc.gov/co/

For more information on smoke alarms visit: http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms/Safety-messages-about-smoke-alarms


North Shore Health Department Highlights 10/24/2017

Did You Know?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Intimate partner violence is a serious preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans and occurs across the lifespan. Intimate partner violence includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, stalking, and emotional or psychological abuse by a current or former intimate partner. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples. It exists along a continuum from a single episode of violence to severe episodes over a period of years. One in four women and one in nine men in the United States have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, and reported that the violence in that relationship impacted them in some way. Unfortunately, half of domestic violence cases go unreported usually due to fear of retaliation from the abuser.  The goal is to stop intimate partner violence before it begins.

You can help stop domestic violence by taking these steps:

  • Call the police if you see or hear evidence of domestic violence.
  • Speak out publicly against domestic violence.
  • Maintain a healthy, respectful romantic relationship as a model for your children and others.
  • Refer your neighbor, co-worker, friend, or family member to a domestic violence outreach organization if you suspect abuse.
  • Educate others on domestic violence

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a technical package that includes collection of strategies that represent the best available evidence to prevent or reduce public health problems such as violence. To learn more about the package, visit:  https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv-technicalpackages.pdf

Some Resources in Milwaukee: 

Sojourner Family Peace Center https://familypeacecenter.org/

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233) ) http://www.thehotline.org/

Visit http://city.milwaukee.gov/health/staysafe/health/directory#.We9uH1tSyM8 for more resources in Milwaukee.

North Shore Health Department Highlights 10/17/2017

Did You Know?

October 15-21 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (aged 15-18) in the US. Drivers between the ages of 16-19 are more likely to be in a motor vehicle crash than other age groups. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, in Wisconsin alone, every three hours a teen is injured or killed in a crash. 

Here are some tips for safe driving:

  • Keep your cell phone off. Even using a hands-free phone is distracting. An average text takes 4.6 seconds of time not looking at the road. That includes no texting while stopped at a stoplight—a good driver needs to pay attention to the road even when stopped.
  • Drive with your headlights on. This increases your visibility, daytime or nighttime.
  • Obey the speed limit. Speed kills--especially when you’re in an unfamiliar area, or in heavy traffic.
  • Minimize distractions. Besides the cell phone, eating or drinking or playing loud music can cause a disconnect with your surroundings, which makes a car crash more likely.
  • Drive solo. Research shows that other teen passengers are distracting to the driver. Wisconsin’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) law prohibits teen drivers from having more than one peer passenger for their first nine months driving.
  • Learn to drive defensively. Just because you’re following the rules, doesn’t mean that other drivers are. Maintain adequate following space so you can stop in time. Remember that wet or icy roads need even greater distance between vehicles. And steer clear of aggressive drivers—they’re more likely to cause a crash.

If you have a teenager, make it a point to talk to your teen about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel. The greatest dangers for teen drivers are alcohol, inconsistent or no use of seatbelts, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers.

For more information on Wisconsin’s Graduated Driver License requirements and restrictions, please visit: http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/teen-driver/yr-frst-lcns/gdlfaqs.aspx

Parents can get more safe driving tips at:


North Shore Health Department Highlights 10/10/2017

Did You Know?

With school in full swing, it is important to discuss the infectious respiratory illness called pertussis (whooping cough). Pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms, but after 1-2 weeks, pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and a person is forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. This extreme coughing can even cause vomiting and leaves a person very tired.  The bacteria that cause pertussis are carried through the air on droplets of saliva and are spread by a sick person coughing or sneezing, or by spending time near an infected person.

Pertussis is commonly treated by antibiotics. Patients requiring treatment should be excluded from activities including school/day care until 5 days of appropriate antibiotic therapy has been completed. People who have a known exposure to pertussis should contact their physician. In some cases, prophylactic antibiotics are given to high risk contacts to prevent infection.

The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. Children normally get 5 doses of the DTap vaccine (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis) administered between 2 months and 6 years of age. Preteens, teens, and adults should get vaccinated with a boosted vaccine called Tdap. Tdap should also be administered to pregnant women during each pregnancy.

Read more about pertussis at http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/signs-symptoms.html

Read more about pertussis vaccines at https://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/pertussis/index.html


Health Insurance Market Place Deadline Reminder

If you don’t have health insurance through your employer, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered. The 2018 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. For more information visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/

North Shore Health Department Highlights 10/3/2017

Did You Know?

October 1-7 is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. One in five adults experiences a mental illness in any given year. Those problems can contribute to onset of more serious long-term conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Approximately one-half of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14. Unfortunately, long delays—sometimes decades—often occur between the time symptoms first appear and when people get help. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.

 Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as MIAW, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness. This year the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is promoting the theme "Into Mental Health: Inspired, Informed, Involved" during MIAW. The campaign focuses on the power of starting inspiring conversations, getting informed to know the right thing to say and encouraging people to proudly proclaim that they are #IntoMentalHealth!

One way to get involved locally is to join REDgen this Thursday at Dominican High School for a screening of the documentary “Angst: Breaking the Stigma Around Anxiety.” See more details and RSVP at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/redgen-angst-documentary-screening-tickets-37147436984

Learn more about MIAW at NAMI’s website: https://www.nami.org/miaw


Health Insurance Market Place Deadline Reminder

If you don’t have health insurance through your employer, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered. The 2018 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. For more information visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/