Residents Should Pick up a Free Radon Test Kit during Radon Action Month

Radon can't be seen, smelled, or tasted, but high levels of radon gas may be in residents’ homes, increasing their risk of lung cancer. Fortunately, testing is easy, and high radon levels can be lowered.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of radium. Radium, in turn, is a natural decay product of uranium. Both radium and uranium are found in almost any kind of soil and rock, often in very small amounts. Radon moves up through the soil and enters buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation, floor, or walls, including at floor/wall joints, sump openings, and other openings caused by plumbing, wiring, or ductwork.

Outdoors, radon is diluted by the atmosphere to safe levels. Indoors, it tends to be more concentrated. These higher levels can be unhealthy, because radon can cause lung cancer—it is the second leading cause of lung cancer (smoking is the first), but it is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It is very important for residents to know their home’s radon level and to take action to lower it if it’s too high.

According to a Michigan survey, high levels of radon are expected in one out of eight homes in Michigan. In some counties, as many as 45 percent of the homes have had radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended action level (4 pCi/L). The only way to know if a home has high radon levels is to test it.

Easy, do-it-yourself radon test kits are available for free to residents of Barry and Eaton counties during January, which is Radon Action Month. There is a limit of one kit per address. Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and supplies are limited. Residents can pick up a kit at one of the below locations. After using it at home, they should send it to the lab for testing!

Hastings: Health Department, 330 W. Woodlawn Ave (269) 945-9516, select 3, then 5

Charlotte: Health Department, 1033 Healthcare Dr (517) 541-2615

Lansing: Delta Township Hall, Assessing Department, 7710 W. Saginaw Hwy (517) 323-8520

For more information about radon, residents can visit https://www.barryeatonhealth.org/healthy-homes or call or visit the Barry-Eaton District Health Department in Hastings at 330 W. Woodlawn Ave. ([269] 945-9516, x 35) or in Charlotte at 1033 Health Care Dr. ([517] 541-2615).

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on January 2nd 2017. - Article Permalink

Confirmed Hepatitis A Case in Eaton County

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is reporting a confirmed case of hepatitis A in an Eaton County resident, the first during 2017. At this time, it is unknown if the case is related to the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in southeast Michigan. Additional laboratory testing to confirm or disprove a link to this outbreak is currently underway. The individual is not considered to be at high risk of spreading hepatitis A to others and is undergoing appropriate treatment.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease. It is often spread through the ingestion of food or water contaminated with infected feces or by oral contact with contaminated objects. Transmission can occur easily among household contacts and sexual partners. Risk factors for getting hepatitis A include homelessness or use of transient housing, illicit drug use, and incarceration. Men who have sex with men and sex workers and their clients are also at high risk. While the risk of getting hepatitis A is higher among these specific populations, BEDHD recommends that all individuals be vaccinated against the disease.

Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. Illness generally occurs two to six weeks after exposure to the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms includes fatigue, abdominal pain, yellow skin (jaundice), dark urine, and pale stool. Some people have no symptoms. Vaccination against hepatitis A and thorough hand washing can prevent infection.

“Outside of vaccination, handwashing is the most important step that everyone can take to protect themselves from hepatitis A,” said Dr. J. Daniel Woodall, BEDHD Medical Director. “With other contagious diseases like the flu, whooping cough, and gastrointestinal illnesses currently in our area, proper handwashing is the key, everyday action that people can take to keep healthy this holiday season.”

People who believe they have been exposed to hepatitis A or who have symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Anyone who wants to be vaccinated should contact their healthcare provider or BEDHD’s Eaton County office at (517) 541-2630. For more information about hepatitis A, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/.

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on December 21st 2017. - Article Permalink

ERMC achieves Level IV trauma designation

On Thursday, December 7, 2017, Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC) received official notice from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) verifying the hospital as a Level IV trauma facility. To receive the trauma center designation, a hospital is required to have 24-hour availability of an emergency team consisting of specially trained healthcare providers who have expertise in the care of severely injured patients. Notably, ERMC was the first hospital in the state to pass the designation survey with zero deficiencies.

According to the MDHHS, trauma is the leading cause of death in people ages one to 44 in the nation and it accounts for 47 percent of all deaths in this age group. In Michigan, crash related deaths alone cost $1.04 billion per year. The overall goal of the Michigan Statewide Trauma System is to reduce the incidence and severity of injury as well as to improve health outcomes for those who are injured. Michigan has been engaged in formal trauma system development since 2000 to ensure the right patient gets to the right place at the right time.

A letter from the Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness Director Dr. Jacqueline S. Scott states, “The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services would like to congratulate Eaton Rapids Medical Center on its verification and designation as a Level IV trauma facility for a period of three years. The MDHHS recognizes this important achievement and the integral part Eaton Rapids Medical Center has in building a regionalized, coordinated and accountable trauma system in Michigan.”

“This was a two year process in the making,” explained Angela Ackley, MSN, RN Emergency Manager at ERMC. “By being a Level IV trauma facility, we have proven that our team can quickly stabilize critically injured patients and expedite transfers to higher levels of care. We have demonstrated that injury prevention education and process improvement are valuable to ERMC. We should all be so proud of this accomplishment.”

Article posted on December 13th 2017. - Article Permalink

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