Health Briefs, Nov. 5, 2013

Air watch begins in western Colorado

Western Colorado’s wintertime air quality advisory program - the Western Slope Air Watch ­— began Friday.

The program, which runs through Feb. 28, asks residents to voluntarily refrain from using wood stoves and fireplaces on days when there is a temperature inversion, which could trap wood smoke in the air.

The program does not apply to residents who use gas logs, gas fireplace inserts or EPA-certified woodstoves and pellet stoves or if such a device is their sole source of heat.

Residents of Grand Junction and Fruita with conventional fireplaces or non-certified woodstoves are required to refrain from burning during periods declared “no burn.”

Wood smoke contains compounds that can cause short-term and long-term respiratory problems and may increase the risk of cancer. Problems are more likely to develop in infants, small children, people with existing respiratory problems and the elderly.

Mesa County Health Department will issue advisories at least weekly, more often when necessary due to weather.

Residents can check the current status by calling a 24-hour pre-recorded information line at 248-6990 or by checking

Gluten free group meets Wednesday


Gluten Free Grand Valley is a community group that provides support for the gluten-free population in the Grand Valley and raises awareness about gluten-free needs within the community.

November marks one year of the organization helping people in the Grand Valley with gluten-free eating. This month’s meeting, Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Masonic Center, 2400 Consistory Court, will focus on children who live a gluten-free lifestyle and the parents who walk beside them everyday. Two parents and their children will give examples of their struggles to remain gluten free and how they deal with them. Gluten-free treats from Berna B’s will be provided.

More information on Gluten Free Grand Valley can be found on Facebook by searching for “Gluten Free Grand Valley,” including recipes, restaurants and more. For more information, contact Angela Wetzel at 216-0351.

Delta West Nile wrap-up


The Delta County Department of Health and Human Services reports a year-to-date total of 14 human cases of West Nile virus and no fatalities through the week of Oct. 31 compared to 35 cases and one fatality in 2012.

The cases involved people with an age range of 25 to 74, including seven males and seven females. Thirteen of the cases involved uncomplicated fever and one involved hospitalization. The first case was reported June 19 and the last case on Oct. 30.

For more information, go to or call 877-462-2911.

Joint panel lauds VA Medical Center


The Grand Junction VA Medical Center was named a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by the Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the U.S.

The medical center was recognized for exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for certain conditions. The clinical process review at the facility focused on care for pneumonia and surgical care.

The medical center is one of 1,099 hospitals in the U.S. earning the distinction of Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for Attaining and Sustaining Excellence.


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