Burnet County Wisconsin
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Burnett County
Government Center
7410 County Road K
Siren, WI 54872
In the News
PrEP-A Preventative Action for HIV
While new testing technologies and many other accomplishments have increased the percentage of persons living with HIV who know their status and have access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care services; HIV remains a health concern in our community.  More than 7,900 people are estimated to be living with HIV in Wisconsin, including an estimated 1,000 people who are unaware of their HIV infection.

PrEP is a daily medication that can reduce the chance of getting HIV. PrEP may be a useful medication in a variety of circumstances/lifestyles, for instance gay/bisexual men, heterosexuals, and injection drug users. Find out more by viewing the PrEP 101 factsheet. You can also visit the HIV/AIDS Page from the CDC.

Flu Season
Flu Cases on the Rise in Wisconsin

Flu cases are on the rise, and health officials are urging people to take precautions. Simple steps, including getting a flu shot, help protect against the flu.

There have been 161 influenza cases to date this flu season, and 95 influenza-associated hospitalizations, including 8 children and 78 adults ages 50 and older. Of those hospitalized with influenza, 63 percent were ages 65 years and older.

“Getting a flu shot is still one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family and friends against the flu and potential complications,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. “There are also many simple steps people can take now to avoid spreading the flu to family and friends, and to keep from getting it themselves, including practicing good handwashing hygiene, covering your cough, and not sharing drinking cups and straws.”

View the entire press release.

Who Can You Protect This Flu Season?

“When someone gets their flu shot they’re not only protecting themselves, but also their family, friends, and co-workers from serious illness,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. “There have already been a number of reported cases of influenza in Wisconsin including some hospitalizations, which underscores the importance of going in early to get your flu shot.” 

View the entire press release.

Pledge To Be Safe in 2017
Beginning with the celebration of the new year, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services offers these tips to help you be safe if you drink alcohol any day of the year:
  • Wait until age 21. The youth and young adult brain, heart, and liver aren’t developed enough to appropriately process the alcohol in beer, wine, and spirits.
  • Don’t be a party to teenage drinking. Adults should neither buy alcohol for underage family and friends nor serve them alcohol at parties.
  • Avoid alcohol while pregnant.  There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant 
  • Avoid mixing alcohol and drugs. The combination can be deadly. 
  • Sip, don’t chug. The ability to make healthy decisions is quickly impaired when drinking too much, too fast. 
  • Never drive after drinking. Plan to get home safely before you have the first drink – designate a sober driver, schedule a taxi ride, know the bus routes.
If your drinking habits impact school, work, and relationships, help is available. The Department of Health Services supports many prevention, treatment, and recovery programs across Wisconsin.

Learn more about preventing the misuse of alcohol.

Opioid Crisis

Recently the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced their #HopeActLiveWI campaign to address the opioid crisis. With this they have created five steps to protect health and safety:
1) Talk with a health care professional about other ways to manage pain
2) Never take opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed
3) Avoid taking opioids with other drugs, including alcohol
4) Store opioids in a secure place and out of the reach of others
5) Dispose of unused opioids at a medication drop box

The find out more about their campaign view their entire press release.

Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

In 2015, over 27 million people in the United States reported current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, and over 66 million people (nearly a quarter of the adult and adolescent population) reported bingei drinking in the past month.1 Alcohol and drug misuse and related disorders are major public health challenges that are taking an enormous toll on individuals, families, and society. Neighborhoods and communities as a whole are also suffering as a result of alcohol- and drug-related crime and violence, abuse and neglect of children, and the increased costs of health care associated with substance misuse. It is estimated that the yearly economic impact of substance misuse is $249 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use.

View the entire executive summary or report.

Fewer Wisconsin youth are smoking cigarettes than ever before, but more of them are reporting using e-cigarettes, according to the 2016 Youth Tobacco Survey, a report released by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

View the entire press release on E-cigarettes.

U.S. HUD Announces Final Rule to Make Public Housing Smoke-Free

All 3,100 public housing agencies in the U.S. will be required to go smoke-free in the next eighteen months thanks to a new rule released by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on November 30, 2016. The rule requires that the agencies enact smoke-free policies that apply to all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of buildings.

Health advocates say smoke-free policies are necessary to protect all residents from secondhand smoke, which can leak into non-smoking units from neighboring units where smoking occurs. In addition, the policies reduce the risk of fire since smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the country.

The new rule is expected to improve the health of more than 2 million public housing residents, including 760,000 children. It’s also estimated to save $153 million annually in health care, home repair, and fire costs.The rule protects the most vulnerable, including children, from the effects of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains more than 70 substances known to cause cancer and over 7,000 other chemicalssaid Elizabeth Hagen.

While members of Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco Free Living Coalition (W3TFL) expressed overall enthusiasm for the rule, they also noted there was room for improvement. “Electronic cigarettes are not included in the new rule, however housing authorities do have the option to include e-cigarettes into their individual policies and we highly encourage them to do so!” said Elizabeth Hagen.

Additional benefits beyond improving health include reducing cleaning and maintenance costs. New data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services also shows that three quarters of adults living in multi-unit housing want a no-smoking policy

Elizabeth Hagen also shared that Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco Free Living Coalition (W3TFL) is available to help public housing make the switch. We can also assist private property owners to develop a smoke-free policy for their properties as well. We can help notify tenants, decide what areas their policy will cover, set up enforcement procedures and provide model lease language.

View the rule.

Secondhand emissions from electronic smoking devices are not harmless

Cities, states, businesses should prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices in smokefree spaces 

On December 8th 2016 in a landmark report, the Office of the Surgeon General affirmed
the growing body of research about the health hazards of electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. 

"E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General" is a call to action for governments and institutions to close gaps in smokefree policies that leave people exposed to secondhand smoke or secondhand e-cigarette emissions. 

 “Secondhand aerosol from electronic smoking devices is not harmless water vapor,” said Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy at the press conference announcing the report. “The aerosol created by e-cigarettes can contain ingredients that are harmful and potentially harmful to the public’s health, including: nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. State and local leaders should take action to address e-cigarette use and exposure to secondhand aerosol by including e-cigarettes into smokefree policies and laws, preventing access to e-cigarettes by youth, price and tax policies, retail licensure, regulation of e-cigarette marketing likely to attract youth, and educational initiatives targeting youth and young adults."

This report reaffirms why Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) has long advocated for  protecting nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol in venues like airplanes, workplaces, and other smokefree spaces.   “Regardless of the debate over whether these products serve a  role in tobacco smoking cessation, there is simply no need to use them inside shared air spaces where others are then subject to the hazardous secondhand emissions,” said Cynthia Hallett, MPH, President and CEO of ANR.  “E-cigarettes create a new form of indoor air pollution and should be used in ways that do not negatively impact the health of nonsmokers.” 

Today, more than 566 localities and 10 states now specifically prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices in all smokefree spaces, and it is now a standard component of smokefree indoor air laws. 

E-cigarette industry proponents, including tobacco companies, aggressively lobby to allow use of their products inside smokefree environments.  Their goal is not public health, but rather to maximize profits by enabling product consumption inside otherwise smokefree environments and to create a new generation that is addicted to nicotine.  While smoking rates continue to decline across the U.S., the rates of e-cigarette use are increasing among youth and young adults, as confirmed by today’s Surgeon General’s Report.

Research shows that e-cigarettes and vaping devices produce high levels of harmful ultra-fine particles that can damage the respiratory system.  E-cigarette proponents may falsely claim that the chemical aerosol emitted by these products is completely harmless and only contains “water vapor.” In fact, these products produce a dense visible aerosol of liquid sub-micron droplets consisting of glycols, nicotine, volatile organic
compounds, and carcinogens (e.g., formaldehyde, metals like cadmium, lead, & nickel, and nitrosamines).  

While some may believe the product is “safer” than a conventional cigarette, the use of and exposure to e-cigarettes certainly isn't harmless or risk-free.  Even substances used to flavor e-cigarette liquids that might be safe for eating have not been tested for safety as a heated, inhaled aerosol.

E-cigarettes and vaping devices are unregulated – there is simply no way to know what is in one device vs. the thousands of others. They are not one standardized chemical product, but thousands of different ones - many of which are produced off-shore, then bought and sold with no requirement for ingredient disclosure or quality control.  These devices can also be used to vape a wide range of substances from nicotine e-juice and hash oil to flakka (a synthetic drug).  Some devices even have multiple chambers for vaping different products.

The Surgeon General’s Report confirms that we have enough science to make an intelligent decision that secondhand aerosol from electronic smoking devices is not harmless and that it is a new source of air pollution. Communities and states should take the opportunity to protect public health from exposure to secondhand aerosol by prohibiting the use of electronic smoking devices in all smokefree spaces.

View the report or visit the website.

Thank You Tobacco Retailers!

On behalf of Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco-Free Living (W3TFL), we wish to thank all the tobacco retailers that were checked in 2016 and did not sell tobacco to minors during the Wisconsin Wins tobacco compliance checks. 

The rate of retailers that sold across the state in 2016 is 7.2%; meaning 92.8% of the tobacco retailers across the state are in compliance with the law!

 Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco-Free Living completed the compliance checks in Barron County, Burnett County, Pierce County, Polk County, Rusk County and St. Croix County.  Overall between the six counties 38 retailers sold to minors during our checks this year, which means 85.4% of the establishments checked within the six counties are in compliance with the law which prohibits sales of tobacco to anyone under the age of 18! 

  • Barron County had 1 sale to a minor – 97.8% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
  • Burnett County had 1 sale to a minor – 96.7% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
  • Pierce County had 11 sales to minors – 65.6% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
  • Polk County had 9 sales to minors – 84.5% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
  • Rusk County had 3 sales to minors – 86.4% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
  • St. Croix County had 13 sales to minors – 82.2% of retailers are in compliance with the law!

Thank you again to the retailers who help keep tobacco out of the hands of our youth! 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a press statement informing of a possible local-borne Zika virus transmission in Texas. Be sure to take precautionary steps to help prevention Zika virus infection.

Read the full press release.

Take Health Precautions When Escaping Wisconsin's Chill
Many Wisconsin residents use schools' winter breaks as a time to take a break from the Wisconsin winter. The Department of Health Services (DHS) wants to remind travelers of precautions they should take, especially if their trip is taking them to an area where the Zika virus is spreading

Read the full press release and read about Zika precautions for traveling.

Salmonella Infections
As of November 28, 2016 there have been 12 identified cases of Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to contact with dairy calves in the state of Wisconsin. View the CDC's Salmonella Page to find out more about the infections and preventative measures, such as proper hygiene.

This section is only intended to provide some basic information and limited information on some recalls. There are numerous recalls that occur. If you would like to find out more about recalls you may visit the FDA website where you are also able to sign up for alerts.

According to the FDA Website the following are different types of recalls:
  • Class I recall: a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
  • Class II recall: a situation in which use of or exposure to a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.
  • Class III recall: a situation in which use of or exposure to a violative product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.
  • Market withdrawal: occurs when a product has a minor violation that would not be subject to FDA legal action. The firm removes the product from the market or corrects the violation. For example, a product removed from the market due to tampering, without evidence of manufacturing or distribution problems, would be a market withdrawal.
  • Medical device safety alert: issued in situations where a medical device may present an unreasonable risk of substantial harm. In some case, these situations also are considered recalls.
  • Recalls
    As of December 23, 2016: A Class I recall has been issued for Gold Medal Packing Inc. on some Veal Products Due to Possible E. coli Contamination. View the news release to find out specific information.

    Environmental Health

    Radon Exposure Is The Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

    Exposure is leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers

    Exposure to radon gas is one of the major contributors to lung cancer nationally, yet many people aren’t aware that an easy-to-use test kit can tell them if their home has high radon levels. That’s why Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed January National Radon Action Month for Wisconsin residents.

    “Fortunately this cause of lung cancer is largely preventable, and the first step is to test your home,” said Dr. Jon Meiman, chief medical officer of the bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health in DHS. “If elevated radon is found, it can be easily and effectively corrected.”

    Radon causes more lung cancer among non-smokers than second-hand tobacco smoke. An estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year among non-smokers are caused by radon, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General.

    Radon, an odorless radioactive gas naturally present in the ground, can enter buildings through their foundations. “Any home having contact with the ground should be tested,” Meiman said. Radon concentrations in air can be measured with simple, inexpensive test kits available from hardware stores and local public health agencies.

    To view the full press release.