Winter time may present us with many challenges, some might be weather related or just the hectic times that come with the season. One thing that doesn't change is the need for each and everyone of us to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. With the new year just around the corner, please review the information in the following articles. If you have been putting off recommended screenings, get them scheduled; if you have not tested your home for radon, kits are available; if you are participating in large family meals, make sure that you keep things safe and healthy. Most importantly, schedule down time so you can relax and re-energize. Have a safe and Happy 2016!
Kevin Grieme, Director
University of Iowa's Innovative for Sustainable Communities -
In collaboration with the University of Iowa, and SIMPCO, SDHD aims to decrease the number of homes in Woodbury County with high radon levels. Students in the University of Iowa's Geography Department assisted SDHD by researching and mapping information about radon concentrations on a finer scale during the fall semester. The students used Geographic Information Systems to map the concentration of radon at the zip code level in neighborhoods throughout Woodbury County. Formal results were presented to SDHD staff on Dec. 8th. As a reminder January is national Radon Month and radon kits are available at SDHD's front office for $5.00. (Public Health Standard: Protect Against Environmental Hazards).
Free Hand Washing Posters Available
Hand washing involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry), that help to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illnesses so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. It's quick, it's simple and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs. Free hand washing posters are available on Siouxland District Health Department's web page for you to print and hang in your office, school, childcare or church bathrooms. (Public Health Standard: Prevent the Spread of Disease)
Healthy Siouxland Initiative
Healthy Siouxland Initiative (HSI) is a coalition that has been meeting since 1998, with a mission "To build partnerships that assure a healthy and safe community." The group meets at noon on the 4th Thursday of the month at SDHD to network and discuss health related topics, policies and initiatives and assists with the Community Health Needs Assessment every few years. This assessment then helps SDHD to develop a Health Improvement Plan to focus on the next few years.The December meeting was held jointly with Siouxland Cares and met at Jackson Recovery Center's Child and Adolescent Hospital. Guest speakers for the meeting were Shelly Lewis from Sioux City Community Schools on their Project Aware Grant, and Jacob Bossman who provided an update on Senator's Grassley's initiatives. If interested in attending future HSI meetings please contact Michelle Lewis at SDHD.(Public Health Standard: Community Assessment and Planning)
Bats in Siouxland
In Siouxland it's not uncommon to hear of someone having bats in their home, apartment, church, or other building. Although some may just think of them as a minor nuisance they are also a public health threat as they could possibly be carrying the Rabies virus. If you suspect that you have been bitten by a bat you can call the SDHD Laboratory to assist with follow-up details. For more information on Rabies or "bat-proofing" your residence visit the Iowa Department of Public Health's web page. (Public Health Standard: Prevent Epidemics and the Spread of Disease)
Staff Quality Improvement Workshop
In October all SDHD staff participated in a one-day Quality Improvement (QI) training at Dorothy Pecaut Center. Sarah Pavelka provided the training which looked at the essential elements of change, the fundamentals of waste identification as well as tools and resources that can be utilized to assist the health department's development of QI projects. As part of an Iowa Department of Public Health grant SDHD will be developing an agency quality improvement plan in the coming year.(Public Health Standard: Administration)
Care for Yourself Program
The Iowa Care for Yourself Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (IA BCCEDP) is part of a national program that helps reduce deaths from breast and cervical cancer and heart disease. To reduce your risk, you must have regular screening tests.
The IA BCCEDP exists to increase the number of women age 50 - 64 who are screened for breast and cervical cancer. Siouxland District Health Department coordinates this program locally and across neighboring counties by providing enrollment and case management services.
If the Care for Yourself program is right for you, our program staff can help you schedule: clinical breast exams, mammograms, pelvic exams and Pap tests. If the tests you receive through the Care for Yourself Program show you have breast or cervical cancer, our staff will help you find treatment options.
For eligibility information please visit the Siouxland District Health Department’s web page. (Public Health Standard: Promote Healthy Behaviors)
Great American Smokeout
November 19th, was the Great American Smokeout. The Great American Smokeout was created to encourage smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life. As part of the Great American Smokeout, SDHD’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Community Partnerships grant partnered with local worksites to provide employees cold turkey sandwiches to encourage workers to quit using tobacco. These worksites are looking to adopt tobacco free policies over the next year. For more information on tobacco free policies, or Quitline Iowa, please visit Siouxland District Health Department’s web page. (Public Health Standard: Promote Healthy Behaviors)
Walking School Bus SDHD employees volunteered as Walking School Bus leaders at Irving Elementary School in Sioux City for a week this fall. Staff were at their assigned bus stop by 7:30 each morning to greet their student walkers. It was a great way for both students and staff to get exercise in during their day. Currently SDHD staff are also working with coalitions at Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Woodbury Central Community Schools to continue their Walking School Bus programs. (Public Health Standard: Promote Healthy Behaviors)