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For all media inquiries, please contact Marie Grucelski via e-mail mgrucelski@broomfield.org or call 303.944.6604.
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June 22: Fight the bite: Tips to protect yourself from mosquitoes this summer 


With warm weather arriving, many of us will be spending more time outdoors. Insects like mosquitoes can be a nuisance and can also spread diseases like West Nile virus. While this is a great time to enjoy summer activities, please consider these safety tips to help keep you and your family healthy. Many of these problems can be prevented by basic precautions, including using insect repellent. 

 Do your part to “Fight the Bite” by following the Four D’s:
  • Dusk and Dawn are when mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Defend yourself by using DEET or another effective insect repellent. Always follow label instructions carefully. 
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active. You can also treat outer clothing and outdoor gear with permethrin when in an area of very high risk for mosquito or tick-borne diseases.
  • Drain standing water around the house weekly since that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Be sure to empty old tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, and toys where puddles can occur.
Fight the Bite logo                                                                                          
For more information about the West Nile virus, visit broomfield.org/westnile or call the Broomfield Public Health and Environment at 720-887-2220. 


May 15:

Broomfield Partners on New Public Health Campaign That Takes on Mental Health Stigma


The "Let's Talk Colorado" Campaign Works to Reduce the Stigma Around Mental Health so that People Who Need Care Are More Likely to Access It

Broomfield, CO - Broomfield's Public Health and Environment Division is working with a coalition of partner organizations on a new public health campaign called "Let's Talk Colorado." The campaign spotlights the stigma around mental health so that the people who need this type of help are more likely to seek it.

"Mental health challenges are very common and are similar to physical health challenges," said Jason Vahling, Public Health Director. "When someone breaks their leg we don't expect them to 'just snap out of it' or think they somehow brought it on themselves. Like physical health conditions, mental health conditions need treatment and the people who confront them need our support."

Let's Talk Colorado launched earlier this month, Mental Health Month, and urges everyone to talk openly about mental health issues and to talk with people who are impacted by mental health. One in five people struggle with a mental health condition. In fact, people with mental health challenges like anxiety, depression or eating disorders are as common as silver cars.

Let's Talk Colorado includes a web site, LetsTalkCO.org, that consists of ideas on how to talk about mental health, a toolkit of resources including a video, mental health stigma presentation, fliers and a newsletter article. The materials, created after a series of focus groups, draw from an award-winning campaign from Minnesota called MakeItOK.org.

People who need immediate support due to a mental health crisis should contact, or have a family member or friend contact, Colorado Crisis Services at 1.844.493.TALK(8255). This agency has trained counselors who are available 24/7/365 to work with persons in crisis and the people supporting them.

Start having a conversation today by visiting LetsTalkCO.org and follow us on our B Healthy Broomfield Facebook page to learn more.

Let's Talk Colorado logo


Let's Talk Colorado Campaign Partners
9Health Fair, Aurora Mental Health Center, Boulder County Public Health, City and County of Broomfield Public Health and Environment, Centura/Denver South Group, Children's Hospital Colorado, Clinica Family Health, ClinicNet, Community Reach Center, Denver Public Health, Doctors Care, Douglas County Government, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Mental Health Center of Denver, Metro Community Provider Network, SCL Health, Sheridan Health Services, Tri-County Health Department and West Pines Behavioral Health.

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May 10, 2017:  

Rabid skunk and bat found in Broomfield prompts warning

Broomfield, CO - On Tuesday, May 9, Broomfield Public Health and Environment confirmed two additional rabies cases in Broomfield. One case involved a rabid skunk, the other, a rabid bat. Broomfield residents called Animal Services when they noticed the wildlife appearing disoriented and active during the daytime. Normally, nocturnal wildlife such as skunks, foxes and bats are active at night.

"We are seeing a significant increase in skunk rabies throughout Colorado this year, and it is important for residents to stay away from wildlife," said Jason Vahling, Public Health Director. "If you see wildlife, including skunks, bats, raccoons, or coyotes, that look sick or are acting unusual, you should call Animal Services immediately."  

Broomfield's first case of rabies occurred in a skunk back in February. This year, there have been 37 animal rabies cases in Colorado, including 34 skunks along the Front Range. Broomfield Public Health and Environment suspects there will be additional cases in the area throughout the summer and want residents to take precautions.

Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals, and is nearly always fatal without treatment. Animals with rabies can show several symptoms, including: disorientation, staggering, excessive drooling, aggressive behavior, and losing their fear of humans. All humans, pets and wildlife are susceptible to rabies from a bite, scratch, or through contact with the saliva of an infected animal. If you believe that you or your pet has come in contact with a rabid animal, contact your doctor or veterinarian for prompt medical treatment.

To prevent exposure to rabies, please take the following precautions to protect you and your family:
  • Avoid contact with any wild animals, especially any that appear to be acting unusual. A healthy wild animal will generally avoid human contact.
  • Report any wild animal acting strangely to Broomfield Animal Services at 303.438.6400.
  • Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all pets and livestock.
  • Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision and on a leash during outside activities.
  • Contact your veterinarian if your pet or livestock is bitten or scratched by a wild animal.
  • Avoid leaving food or garbage outside as it often attracts stray animals and wildlife to your yard.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you are bitten or scratched by an animal, or had any contact with a wild animal, then contact Broomfield Public Health at 720.887.2220. Rabies post-exposure vaccinations may be needed immediately to prevent the development of rabies.
For more information about rabies, please visit broomfield.org/rabies or call COHELP, the statewide public health information line at 1.877.462.2911.

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May 4, 2017: 

Broomfield partners with Good Samaritan Medical Center (GSMC) to launch Colorado’s inaugural FitKids360 program


Good Samaritan Medical Center (GSMC) and the City and County of Broomfield jointly announced today the launch of Colorado’s inaugural FitKids360 program, a community health collaboration promoting healthy lifestyles among children.

Kicking off Thursday, May 4, the free seven-week FitKids360 program provides youth, ages 7 to 15, and their parent(s) or guardian education about nutrition, behavior and exercise to help participants eat better, develop healthy habits and become more active.

GSMC and the City and County of Broomfield partnered with local physician practices, which provided referrals to children with a BMI (Body Mass Index) at or above the 85th percentile. A total of 18 youths will be participating alongside their parent(s) or guardian in the program.

Volunteer mentors will be paired with a child and their family to offer goal setting, healthy lifestyle ideas and encouragement throughout the program. A total of 12 mentors from GSMC, the SCL Health system office and Broomfield Health and Human Services have undergone training specific to goal-setting techniques, diet, nutrition and exercise.
 
“GSMC regularly conducts community health needs assessments, and ‘Exercise, Nutrition & Weight’ consistently falls among the top five greatest health needs of our surrounding communities,” said Sandy Douglass, Vice President of Mission and Community Relations, GSMC. “FitKids360 is a comprehensive and engaging program to help children and their families make long-term health goals and decisions that can last a lifetime.”

The City and County of Broomfield’s Public Health Director Jason Vahling said, “This is an exciting opportunity for our community to work together to promote healthy and active living for families in need at no cost to them. The focus of Broomfield’s Public Health Improvement Plan is to increase opportunities for healthier lifestyles for all of our residents.” 

FitKids360 was created in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has expanded to include the SCL Health FitKids360 program, which is made possible with the generous support of: Broomfield Health and Human Services, Broomfield Parks and Recreation, Dr. Thomas Peterson, Good Samaritan Medical Group, and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Physicians (SCLP).  

Contact the SCL Health FitKids360 site coordinator at 303-689-5437 or email FitKids@sclhs.net for more information. For more information about FitKids360, visit: healthnetwm.org/programs/fitkids360.

About SCL Health
SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve, especially the poor and vulnerable. Our $2.4 billion health network aspires to provide comprehensive, coordinated care through our 10 hospitals, more than 160 physician clinics, home health care, hospice, and other healthcare services in Colorado, Kansas and Montana. We proudly partner with other organizations to improve quality and the patient experience. SCL Health provides more than $208 million a year in community benefit. SCL Health was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, who opened their first hospital in 1864. To learn more, visit www.sclhealth.org.

About The City and County of Broomfield’s BHealthy Initiative. 

The City and County of Broomfield is committed to promoting and strengthening a healthy community through the Public Health Improvement Plan. Plan goals include: increasing community outreach and public awareness related to obesity prevention and improving nutrition and physical activity among Broomfield residents, among others.  Visit Broomfield.org/BHealthy for more information. 

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March 17, 2017: Plague activity found in Great Western Reservoir Open Space

On Friday, March 17, Broomfield Public Health and Environment reported plague activity near the Great Western Reservoir Open Space related to a prairie dog die off. This is the first incident of plague activity seen in Broomfield this season. The open space and nearby residential homes have been posted with signs listing precautionary measures to avoid exposure to fleas potentially infected with plague.

Plague occurs naturally in Colorado and is an infectious bacterial disease spread by fleas when they bite wild rodents and other small mammals such as squirrels, rats, prairie dogs and rabbits. Plague can also spread to humans when an infected flea bites a human. As this is the first plague activity found this season in Broomfield County, public health officials want to remind residents to protect themselves and their pets against plague.

"Plague is commonly transmitted from infected fleas and the public should take precautions to reduce the risk of exposure," says Jason Vahling, public health director. "It is important to avoid touching any sick or dead animals and taking safety measures to protect your family and pets."

Plague is easily treated in humans with antibiotics when recognized early. Typically one to six days after being infected with plague, people will become ill with the following symptoms: sudden onset of high fever, muscle pain, extreme fatigue, and painful swollen lymph nodes. If you observe these symptoms in a person or pet, it is important to contact your health care provider or veterinarian immediately.

Public health officials recommend the following precautions to reduce the likelihood of being exposed to plague:
  • Avoid contact with any sick or dead wild animals.
  • Use insect repellant that contains DEET to prevent flea bites.
  • Tuck pant cuffs into socks to prevent flea bites.
  • Protect your pets by using preventive flea treatments.
  • Keep your dogs under direct supervision and on a leash when outside.
  • Contact your veterinarian if your pet becomes ill.
  • Prevent rodent infestations around your house by clearing away debris and trash.
  • Seek medical attention if you become ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Report any unusual wild animal activity to Broomfield Animal Services at 303.438.6400.
For more information about plague, please visit broomfield.org/plague or call COHELP, the statewide public health information line at 1.877.462.2911.
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February 28, 2017:

Skunk found in Broomfield tests positive for rabies


On Monday, February 27, a skunk tested positive for rabies at the Lac Amora Park area in Broomfield. A resident alerted Broomfield Animal Control after noticing a skunk roaming around during the day. This is first skunk ever to test positive for rabies in Broomfield. In 2016, 25 skunks tested positive throughout Colorado.

"Rabies, particularly in skunks, foxes, raccoons, and coyotes increases the risk of rabies exposure to pets and humans," said Jason Vahling, public health director. "If you see wildlife that looks sick or is acting unusual, you should call animal control immediately."

Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals, and is nearly always fatal without treatment. Animals with rabies can show several symptoms, including: disorientation, staggering, excessive drooling, aggressive behavior, and losing their fear of humans. The classic sign that they demonstrate is to show unusual behavior; for example, skunks that are usually only seen at night may be seen in the daytime. All humans, pets and wildlife are susceptible to rabies from a bite, scratch, or through contact with the saliva of an infected animal. If you believe that you or your pet comes in contact with a rabid animal, contact your doctor or veterinarian for prompt medical treatment.

In addition to ensuring pets are vaccinated against rabies, here are additional steps you can take to protect you and your family:
  • Visit your veterinarian on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, dogs, horses, and livestock.
  • Avoid contact with any wild animals, especially any that appear to be acting unusual. A healthy wild animal will generally avoid human contact.
  • Report immediately any wild animal acting strangely to Broomfield Animal Control at 303.438.6400.
  • Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision and on a leash when engaging in outside activities.
  • Contact your veterinarian if your dog, cat, or ferret is bitten or scratched by a wild animal.
  • Observe wild animals from a distance. Never feed or handle stray, wild, or unfamiliar animals even if they appear friendly.
  • Avoid leaving food or garbage outside as it often attracts stray dogs, cats, and wildlife to your yard.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you are bitten or scratched by an animal, or had any contact with a wild animal, then contact Broomfield Public Health at 720.887.2220. Rabies post-exposure vaccinations may be needed immediately to prevent the development of rabies.
For more information about rabies, please visit broomfield.org/rabies or call COHELP, the statewide public health information line at 1.877.462.2911. 
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January 12, 2017:

1 Juice Drink Has the Same Amount of Sugar as 8-10 Cookies 


Learn more at Hidden-Sugar.org

Many parents and caregivers are not aware of the hidden sugar in the beverages that they give to their children. That's why the Healthy Beverage Partnership is promoting a new campaign aimed at educating parents and caregivers about the harmful effects of sugar and informing them of the high sugar content in many of the beverages they may be giving to their kids. 

Just one 20-ounce juice drink or one fruit punch beverage, or one soda can contain as much sugar as 8-10 chocolate chip cookies or three large donuts. By drinking just one sugary drink a day, a child has 25% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, 55% greater risk of being overweight or obese, and 150% greater risk of developing fat deposits in their liver, contributing to diabetes and heart disease. This is particularly alarming considering that one in five Colorado children has at least one sugary drink per day.

"We are coming together as a community to let people know how much sugar is in some of the beverages we drink, and offer suggestions to parents on how to choose healthier drinks for their kids," said Jason Vahling, public health director. 

Through simple graphics, the Hidden Sugar campaign compares the sugar levels of sugary drinks like juice drinks, sports drinks, and soda to the sugar levels found in sugary foods and desserts, such as cookies, donuts, popsicles, and more. The campaign also promotes healthier options including tap or fruit infused water. 

Details about the Hidden Sugar campaign can be found at Hidden-Sugar.org. Everyone, but especially those who make beverage decisions for children, is encouraged to visit the site, learn more about the alarming amounts of sugar hidden in juices, sports drinks, sodas and punches, and take a pledge to do without sugar-laden beverages.


About the Healthy Beverage Partnership
The Healthy Beverage Partnership is made up of six lead agencies, Boulder County Public Health, City and County of Broomfield Public Health and Environment, Denver Environmental Health, Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health and Tri-County Health Department. Each county is facilitating local coalitions to engage everyone in this effort to improve dietary habits, shift norms and build healthier communities together. 

In July 2015, a grant received from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided funds to local health departments to work on decreasing sugary beverage consumption. The grant has three components that are supported by regional and local coalitions: 1) conducting baseline assessments of food and beverage environments and policies in community institutions and settings, 2) providing technical assistance to community institutions to adopt healthy food and beverage policies, and 3) implementing an educational and public information campaign.