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Rabid Skunk in Larimer County (Feb. 2018)

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has confirmed a skunk as the first positive rabid animal in Larimer County of 2018. The skunk was found in a neighborhood on the southeast side of Fort Collins near Portner Reservoir, and is the first rabid skunk identified in Fort Collins in the past five years. The property owner's dogs had possible contact with the skunk, but are up to date on their vaccinations, so no quarantine is necessary. No human contact was reported with this rabid skunk.

Skunk rabies may pose a greater risk to pets and people because -- as ground-based animals -- they may interact more with people and pets than a rabid bat would. Rabies can infect any warm-blooded mammal, but in Larimer County it is most commonly found in bats and skunks.

If you see a skunk or bat that's behaving strangely, keep your distance and call the Larimer Humane Society's animal control number at 970-226-3647, #7. Unusual skunk behavior can include being out during the daytime, being aggressive, turning in circles, or appearing tame and unafraid of people or pets.

The Department of Health and Environment reminds pet owners to keep their animals' rabies vaccinations up to date to prevent lengthy and costly quarantines -- or even euthanasia -- if pets have an encounter with a rabid animal. Livestock owners should check with their veterinarians about rabies vaccinations for their horses, cattle, and other livestock.

Ways to protect you and your family:
  • Do not feed or touch wildlife.
  • Teach children to observe wildlife from a distance and to notify an adult if there is a wild animal in the area or if they are bitten or scratched.
  • Eliminate food sources for wild animals by not feeding pets outdoors, closing pet doors (especially at night), and tightly closing garbage cans and feed bins.
  • Ensure that your pets, horses, and livestock are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.

  • For the latest information on rabies in Larimer County, visit the county website.
     
    Mental Health Speaker Series, Feb. - April (2018)

    The community is invited to a free mental health education series, along with dinner, hosted by Connections. In this seven-week series, you will learn about important mental health issues in our community and how you can help yourself and others who may be dealing with these issues. Sessions will be led by licensed clinicians. Feel free to attend one or all of these.

    Topics include:
  • 2/28 Eating Disorders -- Learn about the complex issues surrounding eating disorders and how to bridge mind, body, and spiritual healing.
  • 3/7 ADHD -- An overview of depression in adults.
  • 3/21 Anxiety -- Learn what anxiety is and what to do about it. Strategies to prevent, minimize, and cope with the anxious mind.
  • 3/28 Opioids -- What does the opioid crisis look like in our community?
  • 4/4 Couples Communication -- Learn key principles in communicating as a couple.
  • 4/11 Trauma -- The effects of trauma in people's lives and on their brain.
  • 4/18 QPR - Question, Persuade, and Respond -- Suicide information and prevention training.

  • Meets Wednesday evenings, 5:30-6:30pm at the Health District, 120 Bristlecone Drive in north Fort Collins. For more information and to reserve a space, email Brian at blothrop@healthdistrict.org. The series is hosted by Mental Health Connections, a partnership of the Health District and SummitStone Health Partners.
     
    Health District Offers Free Cholesterol Tests to Residents in Feb. (2018)

    To help northern Colorado residents keep track of their cholesterol, the Health District regularly offers cholesterol testing at locations across Fort Collins. During American Heart Month in February, the Health District will offer free cholesterol tests for people who are Health District residents (Fort Collins, Wellington, Laporte, and northern Larimer County).

    A fingerstick test is used to obtain results for total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and blood glucose. During each 20-minute appointment, a registered nurse runs the cholesterol test and also checks blood pressure and provides health education materials. The test itself takes about 5 minutes, and the RN will explain your results, assess risk for diabetes and heart attack, and provide follow-up recommendations.

    During February, cholesterol tests are free for Health District residents. Those who live outside of the Health District pay only $15. An 8-hour fast is recommended, and water and medications are permitted. For more information about testing times and locations, go to the Health District website. To schedule an appointment, call the Health District at 970-224-5209.
     
    Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Continues Through Jan. 12, 2018

    Larimer Health Connect is a free service that helps people find the best options for health insurance to meet their family's health needs and budget. Our trained staff provides free, impartial, in-person assistance finding health insurance, including plans from the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace. We can also determine your eligibility for Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid Program) and CHP+.

    We can help you shop for coverage and complete the application process for health insurance offered through the Marketplace, as well as go over the financial assistance options that are available only through Connect for Health Colorado. We cannot offer advice on what plan to choose, but we can answer your questions about your options. To make an appointment, call 970-472-0444. Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance coverage is Nov. 1, 2017-Jan. 12, 2018.

    With the headlines out of Washington, you might have questions about what the latest developments mean for you and your health coverage. Call us, and we can help.

    Larimer Health Connect is a project of the Health District of Northern Larimer County, a public special district dedicated to improving the health of our community. For information, visit the Larimer Health Connect website.
     
    Start 2018 Smoke-Free!

    Every year, people all across the country make New Year's resolutions to change and improve their lives. Many of these people renew their commitment to quitting smoking, one of the best things you can do for better health.

    If you are one of those who would like to make 2018 the year that you finally kick the habit for good, there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of success:
  • First, start by making the decision to believe that you can quit smoking. One of the most important characteristics of successful "quitters" is their belief that they truly have the ability to quit smoking.
  • Remind yourself that quitting smoking is an adventure. If you approach it with this attitude, planning for that adventure can be good experience.
  • Pick a quit date. You may wish to contact your doctor for information on smoking-cessation medications/nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as gum or patches.
  • Enroll in a quit-tobacco program to increase your chances of success. See the information below about the Health District's Quit Tobacco program.
  • Work to improve your nutrition and increase your physical activity. Breaking out of old patterns will help improve your health and fuel your success.
  • Finally, no matter how important it is to you to quit smoking, no matter how confident you are of your ability to succeed, your desire to quit is secondary unless you step up and just do it! Don't give up. Most smokers try several times before they are finally successful at giving up smoking for good. Quitting smoking is a process. Even lapses along the way can be used as learning experiences. Remind yourself that you can quit smoking.

  • It's a new year, it's a new beginning, and it's a great time to make that resolution to quit that tobacco habit! Best wishes for a happy, prosperous, and smoke-free New Year!


    The next Health District Quit Tobacco class begins Wednesday, Jan. 17, 6:00-7:30pm, at the Health District offices, 120 Bristlecone Drive in north Fort Collins. The six-week class includes free nicotine replacement patches, gum, or lozenges.

    If you are unable to attend this class, we offer classes periodically throughout the year, and individual counseling is also available by appointment.

    The cost for the program for residents of the Health District is $10-$100 per person, depending on income. Out-of-district residents pay $100. A "buddy discount" of 25 percent is available for district residents who enroll in the program with a friend or family member.

    For more information and to register, call 970-224-5209 or visit healthdistrict.org/quitsmoking.
     

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