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September is Food Safety Education Month

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In observance of Food Safety Education Month, CDC is sharing information on the risk of foodborne illness and steps people can take to protect their health. Everyone is at risk of food poisoning, but some groups are at higher riskChildren under the age of 5, adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get a foodborne illness, and to get seriously ill.

We advise people to see a doctor if they experience severe symptoms such as high fever (over 101.5°F), bloody diarrhea, frequent vomiting, diarrhea lasting more than three days, or signs of dehydration.

Help increase food safety awareness in your community by sharing key messages through social media, on your website, and in your newsletters.

You can also:


Food Safety and Dining Out

eating out

Planning to enjoy a meal out at a restaurant? When choosing a restaurant, pick one that keeps food safety on the menu. Here are three things to look for:

  1. Inspection scores
  2. Certificates that show kitchen managers have completed food safety training
  3. Food that is properly cooked 

Learn other food safety tips for eating at restaurantsalso available in Spanish, and how to report a foodborne illness.






Protect Children: Store & Use Medicines Safely

Approximately 60,000 young children are brought to Emergency Departments each year because they got into medicine when an adult wasn’t looking or because they were given the wrong dose by mistake.

Protect Children: Store & Use Medicines SafelyThis National Safety Month and always, healthcare providers, parents and caregivers of young children should prioritize safe medication use and storage – which is key to preventing unintentional medication overdoses.

“Dosing errors (when a parent or other caregiver gives too much or too little medicine) are the type of medication error that most often brings children into the Emergency Department,” says Dr. Shonna Yin, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine.

To help prevent dosing errors, medical professional organizations recommend that clinicians use only milliliter (“mL”) units when prescribing liquid medications, and use mL-only when talking with families about dosing instructions. To learn more about safe dosing, read this Safe Healthcare Blog post from Dr. Yin:

Parents and other caregivers can help prevent errors by using the dosing device (e.g., oral syringe, dosing cup) that comes with their child’s medicine. It’s also important to remember to relock safety caps and to return medicines to a safe storage location that is up and away out of sight and reach of young children after each and every use. Find more tips here:










News Release






Contact: Kathy Babcock 641-394-4053



Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act Marks 10th Anniversary


The Iowa Smokefree Air Act turns 10 years old July 1, 2018. Iowa is one of 25 states that have enacted comprehensive smoke-free laws addressing secondhand smoke exposure in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed the Smokefree Air Act into law in 2008. On the Act’s five-year anniversary, a poll by the American Cancer Society Action Network found 82 percent of registered Iowa voters indicated their support of the law banning workplace smoking and said it had made Iowa a better place to live. “The Smoke Free Air Act was the catalyst for many smoke-free initiatives,” said  Kathy Babcock, RN, BSN,  Chickasaw County Public Health and Home Care Services Administrator. “Iowans are now protected from second hand smoke not only in the workplace, but in hundreds of parks and outdoor entertainment areas, and smoke-free rentals are listed on the Smoke Free Homes Registry.”

For more information about the Smoke Free Air Act, including frequently asked questions about the law, visit To access the Smoke Free Homes Registry, go to and if you are ready to quit tobacco, call Quitline Iowa at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or visit Registration specialists and Quit Coaches® are available 24 hours a day.


Warmer Weather Prompts Public Health Reminder

With temperatures expected to rise near or above 90 degrees beginning today and lasting through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans to keep health in mind during the hot weather.

People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough,” said IPDH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “Although people with cardiac and other medical problems are especially at risk, even young and healthy individuals can have a heat-related illness if they are very active during hot weather or the heat index is very high.” To protect your health when temperatures and humidity are high, remember to keep cool and use common sense. The following tips are important:

  • Increase fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. The best way to tell you are well-hydrated is if your urine is light yellow. If it gets dark, stop and rehydrate by drinking water immediately.
  • If experiencing a lot of sweating, replace salt and minerals by eating foods like bananas and salty crackers, or drink rehydrating beverages that contain salts such as sports drinks and special rehydration fluids.
  • Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and wear sunscreen.
  • Wear hats that shade your face such as sun hats, visors, etc.
  • Keep in the shade or air conditioned areas as much as possible.
  • Work slowly if you are not used to working or exercising in heat and humidity. Stop immediately if you get dizzy, nauseated or feel weak. Go into an air conditioned space and drink cool liquids.
  • Use a buddy system. Watch others for heat-induced illness, since some people may not realize that they are suffering heat-related illnesses and can become confused or lose consciousness.

As Iowans enjoy more outdoor recreational opportunities and events, it’s important to remember some basic summer safety guidelines, which can be summarized with the word “SHADE”:

  • S – Sunscreen. Put on sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and reapply throughout the day, especially if swimming or sweating.
  • H – Heat safety. Drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic, sugar-free fluids; wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing when outdoors, especially when active; and when temperatures soar, stay in the shade or air conditioning as much as possible.
  • A – Animal contact. Remember to wash your hands after touching animals at places like petting zoos or county fairs. Avoid stray and wild animals; they may carry diseases like rabies.
  • D – DEET.  To prevent being bitten by ticks and mosquitoes that can carry diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus, use insect repellent with DEET (follow the label directions when using, especially on children).
  • E – Eating outdoors. Grill all meats until thoroughly cooked and always keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. 


For more information about preventing hot weather health, visit





PT Home Health Aide/Homemaker

Chickasaw County Public Health and Home Care services is seeking a FT/PT Home Health Aide/Homemaker
  • to assist clients in Chickasw County area with personal cares, such as bathing, dressing,exercises, and other cares as supervised by a nurse
  • Assist clients in light housekeeping, laundry, meal prep, errands and shopping

Applicants requires a 75 hour Certified Nurse Aide Certificate, must be High School Graduate or GED. Able to work independently in a rewarding environment with daytime hours. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Applications are available online at or Applications can be picked up at the Auditor's off in the courthourse or at the Chickasaw County Public Health office.

Send completed application to the Chickasaw County Public Health and Home Care Services, P.O. Box 355, 260 East Prospect, New Hampton IA or the Auditor's Office, 8 East Prospect, New Hampton. E.O.E

Chickasaw County Application for Employment

Chickasaw County Public Health and Home Care Services
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Chickasaw County Application for Employment

ACA Healthcare Reform Impact Study

As uninsured Iowans become enrolled in new health plan options available through the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan (IHAWP) and the Marketplace, IDPH anticipates that some healthcare services the Department has historically funded may become covered benefits under new plans, changing the demand for IDPH-funded services.IDPH contracted with the Milliman actuarial firm to better understand the impact of state-level healthcare reform on certain IDPH programs and healthcare services. While the exact impacts of the ACA remain complex and difficult to predict, this ACA Impact Study represents an initial step in understanding the multiple complex considerations IDPH has identified related to the direct healthcare services the Department has historically funded, and will help IDPH quantify likely changes in the demand for its services and related program and funding implications. A summary of the Milliman study will be posted to the IDPH web page soon.

Check your inbox

The Title V Needs Assessment Prioritization Survey is now open for public input and will close December 8th. To ensure a comprehensive assessment of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) population needs, we are soliciting input from a wide variety of stakeholders. A survey link will be emailed to stakeholders this week. Participants will be provided with links to Data Detail Sheets to assist in learning about each topic area and the needs statements. Each need statement will be ranked using six criteria selected by the needs assessment team. Results of the prioritization survey will be used to direct the MCH and Child Health Specialty Clinic (CHSC) programs for the next five-year project period.

Get screened

The Iowa Department of Public Health’s Iowa Get Screened: Colorectal Cancer program, the American Cancer Society, and the Iowa Cancer Consortium have launched a free online training to teach providers and healthcare professionals how to engage their entire staff, implement policy and system changes, utilize a continuous improvement model to measure practice progress, and receive useful tools and resources to help increase cancer screening rates in busy practices. This training uses interactive, audiovisual demonstrations to show providers how they can engage their entire staff to identify appropriate patients, provide recommended screenings and encourage timely follow-up for recommended cancer screenings.

Quality improvement success

The IDPH Ryan White Part B program kicked off its formal Quality Management Program by hosting the first quality management team meeting. The team will meet quarterly, and will examine performance measures and continuous quality improvement activities for the Ryan White Part B program.

All Title V contractors with a school-based dental sealant program will now use the same data recording system to submit standardized data to the IDPH Bureau of Oral and Health Delivery Systems (Oral Health Center).This system was initially developed for sealant contractors in order to allow IDPH to have consistent reporting of the program results, oral health status, and other indicators. The data recording system has been fine-tuned and by extending it to the additional programs, it will provide a more comprehensive, statewide review about the program benefit and the oral health of Iowa schoolchildren.

Congrats and kudos

Gloria Vermie, director of the Iowa State Office of Rural Health, has received the Distinguished Andrew W. Nichols Awardfrom the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), given each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to NOSORH.

Binnie LeHew of the IDPH Sexual Violence Prevention program has begun a one-year term as President-Elect of the Safe States Alliance, representing injury and violence prevention professionals.

IDPH Communications Director Polly Carver-Kimm has been elected Vice-President of the National Public Health Information Coalition. She was also re-elected as Region 7 Director.

IDPH and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have received the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (APA) award for the I-WALK program.  I-WALK has helped more than 30 Iowa communities assess their walkability infrastructure with the ultimate goal of initiating improvements.

IDPH Office of Minority and Multicultural Health Advisory Council Member Lou Ellen Brown has received the Karen Packer Award from the Iowa Cancer Consortium.

Stay informed, share your story

To get Quick Reads directly in your inbox, please send a blank e-mail to To contribute a news item or smart practice, please write to Polly Carver-Kimm at


Give Chickasaw County Public Health and Home Care Services a call at 641-394-4053 to double check with us.



Chickasaw County Public Health Nursing Services • New Hampton, IA • (641) 394-4053