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Department of Health Services Issues Warning About Synthetic Cannabinoids

Substance often called "fake weed" or "K2" can cause severe bleeding and possibly death. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is warning people about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids (link is external), often called “fake weed”, “K2”, and “spice”. Severe bleeding has been reported in people who have used synthetic cannabinoids, including one confirmed case in Wisconsin, and two deaths in Illinois. These products are found across the U.S. in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and online.

Synthetic cannabinoids are not one drug. Hundreds of different synthetic cannabinoid chemicals are manufactured and sprayed on dried plant material or sold as liquids to be inhaled in addictive tobacco products like e-cigarettes or other vaping devices. New ones with unknown health risks are available each year. Synthetic cannabinoid products are unsafe, and the health effects from using them can be unpredictable, harmful, and even life threatening.

Call 911 or go to the emergency department right away if you or someone you know has a serious reaction to synthetic cannabinoids.

 

Dose of Reality Week

April 22 - 29, 2018 is Dose of Reality Week.  Safely getting rid of unwanted prescriptions is crucial to prevent abuse. And it’s easy to find a drop off spot in your own community.

When you properly dispose of prescription painkillers, it helps to make sure they do not fall  into the wrong hands. Pay careful attention to how you can store your medications, and plan a trip to a Drug Take Back Location on Saturday, April 28: https://doseofrealitywi.gov/drug-takeback/find-a-take-back-location/

 

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:

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

 

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”.