Vilas County Public Health - Home

It's National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 11-17, 2018!

Life as we know it would be impossible without groundwater. It is the world's most extracted natural resource, and it supports our ecosystems. Groundwater is water found under the ground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. Approximately 70% of Wisconsin uses groundwater for drinking. Check out this video for more information:

Vilas County Public Health Department would like to use this year’s National Groundwater Awareness Week to remind well owners to test their water every year to prevent illness caused by bad water.

Vilas County offers the following tests:

 Special sampling bottles must be used for water testing and are ready for pick-up at the Vilas County Public Health Department, 330 Court Street, Eagle River, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:00pm. Water samples should be taken the same day as they are brought in for testing and can be dropped off at the the Health Department, Monday-Thursday, from 8:00am-3:00pm.



It's National Nutrition Month and "Go Further with Food" is this year's theme!  

Whether it's starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Prepare your foods to go further, plan meals and snacks ahead of time, to waste less food.  

Key Messages:

  1. Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  2. Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  3. Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
  4. Be mindful of portion sizes.  Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  5. Continue to use good food safety practices.
  6. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  7. Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

For more information, visit:

Tobacco Products Hit a New Low with E-Cigarettes that look like USB Flash Drives

Teachers are used to dealing with disruptions in the classroom – things like passing notes, using cell phones, talking out of turn, etc. Teachers now have a new one to worry about – JUUL e-cigarettes. This alarming upward trend of kids smoking e-cigarettes or “vaping” is occurring in middle schools, high schools and college campuses nationwide. This practice of inhaling through a vape pen can also be referred to as “JUULing,” named after a brand called JUUL, which make devices that are easily concealed.

Students could have these products in the classroom and discretely use them without the teacher even knowing. They are so small, they can be hidden in pens and highlighters and are often mistaken for USB flash drives. They can actually be charged on a laptop or computer.

These products comes in “kid friendly” flavors like cool mint, wild berry and mango. Flavoring these products has been a successful strategy in getting youth to use new tobacco products. In Wisconsin, 96% of middle schoolers say they probably wouldn’t try an e-cigarette – the most popular tobacco product among youth today – if it wasn’t flavored.

The state recently launched a new campaign called the “Tobacco is Changing” to raise awareness of how candy flavors and deceptive packaging are successfully luring kids into a lifetime of addition. You can learn more about the “Tobacco is Changing” Campaign.

We are in the Midst of Flu Season

Flu season is upon us! Healthcare providers throughout the State have already seen people ill from the seasonal flu.  Call the Vilas County Public Health Department to schedule your flu shot.  The cost of the flu shot is $25.00 and can be paid with cash or checks.  We also bill Medicare Part B, Medicaid and some Medicare replacements.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

The following steps can also be taken to stay healthy this flu season:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners can also help.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100°F or 37.8°C) or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
  • Follow public health advice in regards to school closures, avoid crowds and other social distancing measures.

Please feel free to contact the Vilas County Public Health Department at 715-479-3656 with any questions regarding the flu shot clinics. We also have pneumonia shots available for individuals 65 years of age and older. There are some restrictions.  Please call us for more information.  

Tips for Food Safety in a Power Outage:


Protect your family from carbon monoxide this winter!

Winter is here. Vilas County Public Health Department wants to remind everyone of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially those who will be headed to the hunting cabin or to another location where there may not be carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most common cause of deadly poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 450 people die each year and 20,000 experience other injuries because of CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide is often called the “invisible killer” because it is odorless and some of the symptoms are similar to the flu. People can be exposed to CO when charcoal, gas, oil or wood are burned in poorly ventilated areas.

About 50% of all CO Poisonings occur in the home. Other places include cars, cabins, and tents. No matter where you live, prevent exposure and know the symptoms. Common signs of CO poisoning might include headaches, dizziness, and weakness. CO may also cause sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and disorientation. At very high levels, it causes loss of consciousness and death. If you think you may be experiencing CO poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.

Following these tips can help you and your family avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. CO alarms are not replacements for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and the sound of CO alarms.
  • Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is working properly and vents outside of the home.
  • Never run an engine in an enclosed space. If a car, snowmobile, generator or lawn mower is running, you must have a door open to the outside.
  • Generators should be run a safe distance from the home. Never run a generator in the home, garage, or right next to windows or doors.
  • Put a carbon monoxide detector in your camper, cabin or tent. With hunting season almost here hunters and other campers are encouraged to put a battery powered CO detector in their cabin, tent, RV or wherever they may be sleeping.
  • Do not use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal burning device inside your home.

For more information about carbon monoxide, visit: 


Survivors of Suicide Support Group Meets in Rhinelander

Has someone you love taken their own life?  Are you troubled with questions like, “why?”, “what brought this on?”, “why my family?”.  Do you find yourself with no one to talk to about your frustrations and confusion regarding the suicide of your loved one?  Then you are a Survivor of Suicide (SOS) and have a safe place to go to discuss your issues.

The SOS support group was started in July of 2005.  The group is facilitated by Sue Mackowski, a Certified Bereavement Specialist and Consultant.  The group originated as a result of the co-founder’s need for support after the death of her son.  Tina Werres, a Rhinelander native, lost her son Paul to suicide in 2001.  In the months following his death, she struggled with the loss and understood the need for people suffering from the unique backlash of suicide to have a gathering place to meet their needs.  Those needs planted the seeds for the formation of the Survivors of Suicide support group.

The Rhinelander based Survivors of Suicide support group meets once a month, the third Saturday at the Curran Building, 315 S. Oneida Avenue, Rhinelander.  The meetings are from 10am-12 noon.  The SOS support group offers a safe and confidential environment to discuss the unique grieving process experienced by those whose lives have been touched by suicide.  It is a place where survivors tell their stories, share their experiences, and help each other move forward in their grief journey.  The meetings are informal and confidentiality is the primary guideline.  The SOS support group is free and open to the public.

Since its inception, our group has served families and individuals from the Northwood’s area.  Our goal is to provide a “safe haven” for those dealing with the death of a loved one due to suicide.  In addition to group discussions, we have a small library of books, pamphlets, and other literature dealing with grief and loss, specifically loss due to suicide that is available to attendees.

We invite all of you who are struggling with the death of a loved one who has taken their life to join us. 

If you have any questions regarding the meeting schedule or content, please call Sue Mackowski, 715-275-5399 or Tina Werres, 716-499-3002.  Remember, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.