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Fight the Bite

When enjoying time outdoors, it is important to be aware of ticks and take steps to protect yourself. You can take several steps to "Fight the Bite" and prevent getting ill from ticks. This includes using personal protection, removing ticks as soon as possible, and getting rid of ticks in your yard. Ticks are typically most active in Wisconsin from May to September, but it is still important to use caution year-round.

If you spend time outdoors often, download the Tick App(link is external), a free smartphone app from our partners at the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease (link is external) that allows people living in areas with a high risk of Lyme disease to report ticks, learn tick bite prevention tips, and help researchers understand ticks and the illnesses they spread.

Ticks may carry bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can also cause serious health problems. Lyme disease is the most common illness caused by ticks in the U.S.  Typical symptoms (signs) include fever, skin rash, headache, and being tired.  If you do not get treated, the infection can sometimes spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

In the United States, West Nile virus is the most common disease spread by mosquitoes. West Nile virus can cause flu-like symptoms (signs) or cause serious illnesses that affect the brain, even resulting in coma and paralysis. In rare cases, it can even cause death.

Here are more detailed tips to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks:

  • Insect repellent, when used properly, can keep mosquitoes and ticks off your skin. Use repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and adults should help apply repellents to children under 12.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks to keep bugs off your skin.
  • Check for ticks daily after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Check all parts of your body carefully, including your armpits, scalp, and groin. Remove ticks immediately using fine-tipped tweezers.
  • Early morning, late afternoon, and early evening are peak biting times for mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus. It’s especially important to use repellent if you’re outdoors at these times.
  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, even in small containers. Walk around the outside of your home at least once a week and empty any water that’s collected in toys, pet food and water bowls, birdbaths, buckets, and other objects. Check under bushes and other hard-to-see places. Get rid of old tires and other objects that can collect water.
  • Create a tick-safe zone around your home. For example: remove leaf litter and clear grasses and brush around your home and the edge of the lawn, and place mulch between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks off the places you work and play the most.
  • Check for and repair holes in window and door screens.
  • Avoiding mosquitoes and ticks doesn’t mean that you have to stay inside, in front of the TV. Work and play outside, but remember to apply an effective repellent to exposed skin and clothing.

For more information, visit our Disease Control age: https://www.vilaspublichealth.com/index.php?page=community-health-2

To pick up a "Fight the Bite" kit, stop at the Public Health Department (330 Court Street, Eagle River). Kits will be provided throughout the county in the upcoming months.

 

Do You Focus on #4Mind4Body?

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. A lot of what we do physically impacts us mentally.  It’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

This May is Mental Health Month focus is on raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme #4Mind4Body. Topics include pets, humor, spirituality and religion, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections to help boost mental health and general wellness.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent or help with mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help people recover from these conditions.

There are things you can do that may help. Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, playing with a pet, or working from home once a week can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.

Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can happen by taking baby steps and build on your achievements.  Finding the balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health and mental health, can help you on the path towards focusing both #4Mind4Body.

Fact Sheets:

And for more information, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

 

Indoor Mold

The Key to Mold is Moisture Control

Tiny mold spores are all around us, both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores travel easily through the air and begin to grow indoors when moisture is present. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores from the indoors, so the best way to control mold growth is to control indoor moisture. When indoor conditions are just right, mold spores can grow and become a problem. By taking important steps, you can prevent and control mold growth inside your home.

Mold spores need three things to grow:

  1. Moisture
  2. A nutrient source (i.e., wood, paper, or other materials)
  3. The right temperature

Of these three conditions, the most important to control is moisture. Indoor mold growth is really a sign that moisture is present. If indoor moisture is controlled, mold will not grow.

Fixing the Mold Problem

Since moisture is essential for mold growth, do all you can to quickly identify and fix any source causing too much indoor moisture. Common household problems that lead to indoor moisture issues include:

  • Roof leaks.
  • Leaking pipes or plumbing fixtures.
  • Condensation due to high indoor humidity.
  • Indoor flooding.

After all moisture and water problems have been fixed, clean the moldy area and keep the area dry.

If you cannot identify the moisture source, or if you are dealing with a large mold and water problem, consider a professional home inspection. Visit our Wisconsin Mold Contractor's page for a listing of indoor air consultants and mold remediation contractors.

Preventing Mold Growth

Important actions can be taken to prevent indoor mold from becoming a problem:

  • Keep indoor spaces well ventilated and dry. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can help.
  • Keep indoor humidity levels below 50%.
  • Clean bathrooms often and keep surfaces dry. Run the bathroom ventilation fan during and after showers.
  • Promptly fix water leaks.
  • Clean up and dry your home fully and quickly (within 24-48 hours) after any flooding event.

Testing for Mold

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services does not recommend testing for mold because:

  • Federal standards or limits for airborne mold concentrations or mold spores do not exist.
  • Mold spores are everywhere around us, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold testing can be expensive.

If you see or smell mold, it is present. In any situation, your approach should be to find the moisture source, fix it, and clean what you can.

Fact Sheets:

For more information, visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mold/index.htm

 

Tri-County Coaster Campaign to Promote Mental Health Services for Men

 

On February 1, a tri-county effort was kicked off through a coaster campaign in local bars and taverns.  The campaign focuses on men getting help for mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety.  The strategy is provided by the Community, Outreach, Prevention, Education Coalition (COPE) Coalition.  The coalition is a tri-county, Forest, Oneida, and Vilas Counties, that provides education, prevention, and outreach on the issues of mental health and AODA.

This is one of the strategies for suicide prevention for middle-aged males.  According to the 2016 Centers for Disease (CDC) data, suicide rates for males 55-64-year old is the 8th leading cause of death. Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health (WISH) data ranks Vilas County as the second highest (per 100,000) rate in Wisconsin, which is almost double the national rate at 21.2/100,000; national rate is 14 and WI rate is 13. 

The coaster is a resource that may provide hope to someone and possibly save a life.  The front of the coaster, has a link to the https://headsupguys.org website.  The site provides information and resources on mental illness and suicide.  It’s easy to follow and includes ways to obtain support, such as therapy or medication management in the community in which you reside.

The back side of these coasters provides patrons with our local Tri-County Crisis number  1-888-299-1188 (sponsored by Human Health Services) and the National Crisis Line, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), so they have access to support 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.

It takes a village and we would like to sincerely thank all bars and taverns that supported this strategy in our three counties!

Tips for Food Safety in a Power Outage:

https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/2015/05/power-outage.html