Health Briefs, Nov. 26,2013

Food safety for holidays

Food not properly prepared, served or stored can make you sick, according to Mesa County Health Department.

The health department is offering a few food safety tips for staying healthy during the holidays.

The number one cause of food-borne illness is germs from dirty hands. To avoid getting sick, it’s important to follow certain storage, sanitation and cooking tips when preparing food, the health department said in an advisory. 

Bacteria can grow on food that isn’t kept at the correct temperature, was prepared on unclean surfaces, or by people who are ill. 

To stay healthy while preparing or enjoying holiday food, follow these guidelines:

■ Always wash your hands before food preparation and sanitize surfaces and utensils.

■ Keep hands, work surfaces and utensils clean. 

■ Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing them. 

■ Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.

■ Select meats last to keep them cold and bag them separately in plastic.

■ Store raw meats and eggs below other foods in your refrigerator.

■ Cook foods to the proper temperature to kill parasites, bacteria and viruses that might be in the meat. Use a food thermometer to check.

■ Fish, shellfish, beef, pork and lamb should be cooked to 145 degrees. Hamburger and sausage needs to be 155 degrees, and poultry, stuffed meats and casseroles should be cooked to 165 degrees.

■ Once cooked, keep hot food hot, or above 140 degrees. Also, keep cold food cold, below 40 degrees.

Free heart screenings


Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, according to Colorado Heart Healthy Solutions, 602 Bookcliff Ave.

The program provides people with the tools and support they need to live a “heart healthy life,” Colorado Heart Healthy Solutions said in a release.

Colorado Heart Healthy Solutions offers free cardiovascular screenings to all adults over the age of 18.

The screenings include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level, body mass index and risk of heart attack or stroke.

The program also offers free phone support and education to help people manage their health.

All services are provided at no charge, even if individuals have health insurance, saving them the co-pays and deductible costs.

Call (970) 244-0839 for more information.

Learn to draw blood


Join the growing field of healthcare by becoming a phlebotomist — a certified healthcare professional who takes blood samples and processes them for testing. Phlebotomists work in medical offices, hospitals, laboratories, blood centers, and nursing homes.

St. Mary’s Hospital is now accepting applications for the next training course of the Western Slope School of Phlebotomy.

Download an application and instructions from St. Mary’s website:

The deadline for applications is Saturday. Accepted participants will attend classes Saturdays from Jan. 4 through April 5, 2014, and complete a five-week, 100-hour internship.

For more information, call (970) 298-2867.

City recognizes HopeWest


The Grand Junction City Council declared November National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and recognized HopeWest Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado for its continued devotion to providing “outstanding care and comfort to people of all ages who face serious illness and grief,” HopeWest said in a news release.

For more than 20 years, HopeWest has offered extraordinary hospice services to the people of Western Colorado and its reputation is built on a number of significant factors, including:

■ The only local nonprofit hospice with comprehensive grief programs for adults and children.

■ Serving more patients and families than ever before – more than 2,500 families in the last year.

■ The most experienced hospice organization on the Western Slope

■ Recognized for Outstanding Achievement from Colorado Center for Hospice and Palliative Care.

■ More than 88 percent of eligible nurses and CNAs certified in palliative care.

■ Led by nationally recognized hospice experts.

■ Nine physicians specializing in palliative care.

■ Over 1,400 volunteers coming together for our community.

■ A Best Company to Work for in Colorado for the third year in a row.

Hearing loss impacts health


More than 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can affect overall health.

Recent studies show a link between hearing loss and cognitive functioning, according to Dr. Jennifer Bebee at Western Colorado Hearing Clinic, 2139 North 12th, Unit 4.

The studies found hearing loss can be a precursor to both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe straining to decode sounds overwhelms the brain, leaving patients at a higher risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s, BeBee said.

Recent research has also determined a link from hearing loss to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression. 

Bebee is an audiologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of hearing and other ear-related disorders in infants, children, and adults. 

Taking the time to see an audiologist for regular hearing screenings and knowing the signs of hearing loss can not only protect hearing for years to come, but may also help delay or ward off diseases related to cognitive thinking. 

Call (970) 549-4660 for more information.

Depression talk scheduled


Clinical depression is a serious health concern. It is not just feeling blue for a short time, but has a very intense and overwhelming effect on someone’s entire life, according to Dr. Scott Rollins.

Suicide is always a concern when depression is serious. Mesa County has a much higher than average suicide rate, Rollins said.

Depression can be short or lengthy, it can affect anyone and is usually brought on by some type of loss. 

With the upcoming holidays, Rollins is offering programs that could be of help to people and their loved ones who are depressed.

Rollins will present Depression: Cause & Cure at 5 p.m. Dec. 5 at 58128 Colorado Highway 330 in Collbran, in the upstairs conference room.

Call Carol Anderson, director of the Plateau Valley Resource Center at (970) 487-3827 for more information.


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