Health briefs: Free one-on-one Medicare counseling offered |

Health briefs: Free one-on-one Medicare counseling offered

Casey’s Pond Senior Living and the Routt County Council on Aging are hosting free Medicare counseling at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Casey’s Pond, 2855 Owl Hoot Trail.

In coordination with the state health insurance program, the one-on-one counseling and assistance is for Routt County residents with Medicare or those who need help getting enrolled. Participants can review their coverage options and get questions answered.

To RSVP or for more information, call April at 970-879-0633, ext. 4, or email

Connect for Health help sessions throughout Routt County

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will host help sessions for Connect for Health Colorado insurance marketplace.

A certified health coverage guide from the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will be available for one-on-one free consultations about health insurance.

Dates and locations include:

• 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Steamboat Springs High School

• 2:30 to 4 p.m. Monday at North Routt Community Charter School

• 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday at the Clark Store

• 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 5 and 6 at Hayden Elementary School

Call 970-871-7624 or visit for more information.

Drop-in flu clinics offered across Routt County

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will hold several drop-in flu clinics across Routt County this season.

These are for all insured adults and children, and the insurance will be processed, so bring your insurance cards. For uninsured adults and children, the shots will cost $21.50. Children younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHP+, cash or check are accepted.

• 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Steamboat Springs High School

• 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays until further notice at 940 Central Park Drive, Suite 101

• 2:30 to 4 p.m. Monday at North Routt Community Charter School

• 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday at the Clark Store

• 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 5 and 6 at Hayden Elementary School

Call 970-871-7624 or visit for more information.

CDPHE reminds small-game hunters about tularemia risk

October is the beginning of small-game hunting season in Colorado. As the number of human tularemia cases in the state continues to rise, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reminds small-game hunters to “hunt healthy” this year.

“We haven’t seen this many tularemia cases in Colorado since the 1980s,” State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer House said. “Historically, we see cases of tularemia in hunters, and the disease is so widespread this year, we want to make sure our hunters understand the risks.

“In the last 10 years, Colorado has averaged three human cases of tularemia a year. So far in 2014, we have had 11, and additional suspected cases are under investigation.”

Local health departments have received numerous reports of rabbit and rodent die-offs across the state this year, according to a news release. Animals from 12 counties tested positive for tularemia, a bacterial disease that can affect small-game animals. It commonly causes illness and death in rabbits and rodents such as squirrels. People can get tularemia if they handle infected animals or are bitten by ticks or deer flies, the release stated.

People also can be exposed to tularemia by touching contaminated soil, drinking contaminated water or inhaling bacteria. Hunters are most at risk when skinning game and preparing and consuming the meat.

Hunters should:

• Harvest only small game that looks and acts healthy. Beware of lazy rabbits.

• Avoid hunting in areas where dead small game has been found.

• Wear gloves when handling small game animals, and wash your hands after removing your gloves.

• Cook all game meat thoroughly to 160 to 170 degrees.

• Notify your public health department or local wildlife office if you notice sick or dead rabbits or rodents.

Symptoms of tularemia include abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, vomiting, dry cough and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms are skin ulcers, swollen and painful lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, mouth sores, diarrhea or pneumonia.

Tularemia often is overlooked as a diagnosis because it is rare, and the symptoms are similar to other diseases. Nine of the 11 people infected with tularemia this year were hospitalized for treatment.

Anyone who becomes ill after exposure to a sick or dead animal, or after spending time in areas where sick or dead wild animals have been seen, should talk to a health care provider about the possibility of tularemia.

Tips on how to avoid exposure to rabies

Rabies is a deadly virus transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Most bats do not have rabies, but most human cases in the U.S. are caused by bats. Rabies is a preventable disease.

To avoid exposure to rabies:

• Never touch a wild bat or any other wild animal. If you can touch the animal, chances are it is sick.

• Teach children who find a bat to leave it alone and tell an adult.

• Do not pick up a bat with your hands, even if you’re wearing gloves. Use a shovel.

• If you are bitten by a bat, suspect you’ve been exposed to bat saliva or awake to find a bat in the room where you are sleeping, contact your medical provider.

• Keep your doors and windows covered with intact screens. Do not leave screenless doors or windows open in the evening.

• If you have bats in your house, call a professional trapper who has experience eliminating bats from homes.

• Keep your pets up to date on rabies vaccines. If you are unsure your pets are up to date, call your veterinarian.

For additional information on rabies, visit

Baby and Me Tobacco Free Program offered through VNA

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is offering the Baby and Me Tobacco Free Program.

This free program offers four prenatal smoking cessation sessions. Expectant moms who quit smoking and stay smoke free during their pregnancy and after their baby is born will receive a monthly voucher for free diapers, for as many as 12 months.

For more information, call Hope Cook, RN, at 970-871-7622.

Casey’s Pond Senior Living in need of bingo prizes

Donations now are being accepted for jewelry, small stuffed animals or similar items to be used as bingo prizes at the Doak Walker House at Casey’s Pond Senior Living in Steamboat Springs.

Drop them off at the concierge desk or call Celia with questions at 970-457-4883.

Support group for parents grieving loss of an infant offered

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is starting a support group for parents grieving the loss of an infant.

This group will meet weekly and offer support to any parent who has experienced the premature loss of an infant through miscarriage or other circumstances.

Call Katy Thiel at 970-871-7628 to register for this group. A date and location have not yet been determined.

Parkinson’s exercise class is every Wednesday

The Parkinsons’s exercise class consists of exercises developed by neuroscientist Becky Farley ( and Gary Sobol (who has Parkinson’s and is the founder of GZ Sobol’s Parkinson’s Network: to specifically address Parkinson’s symptoms (eg., dexterity, rigidity, balance, bradykinesia, voice softness). The class participants warm up their muscles, focus on big, powerful movements and loud voices, and work together as a group to encourage one another, share tips and revel in good humor.

The classes are from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. Wednesdays at the United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs, Eighth and Oak streets. Use the alley entrance.

The first class is no charge, and after that, it’s $10 for drop in and $80 for a 10-punch card. Care partners are no charge. Contact Jacqueline Teuscher at 303-829-2869 or or Eva Gibbon at 970-846-9887.

LiveWell program to help families with healthy eating

LiveWell Northwest Colorado is helping families be healthy by working to improve eating habits and to be more physically active through the “Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0” program. The program sets the goal each day of eating five or more fruits and vegetables, watching two or fewer hours of TV, getting an hour or more of physical activity and drinking zero sugary drinks. For more information about the program, visit or call LiveWell Northwest Colorado Community Coordinator Barb Parnell at 970-819-4110.

Planned Parenthood can help with annual exam costs

Planned Parenthood can cover the cost of an annual exam for women who are uninsured or underinsured, according to a news release. Call 970-879-2212 for information or to make an appointment or stop by the health center on 11th Street between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street.

Northwest Colorado VNA offers options to help quit tobacco

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association offers options for those looking to quit smoking. The VNA has counseling available to help tobacco users of all ages to quit using cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Quitting tobacco usually takes multiple attempts, but studies show cessation support can significantly improve a person’s chance for success. Counseling helps tobacco users set quit goals in a judgment-free environment. Participants also may receive support for weight management, nutrition, heart health and stress control. There is no fee for this service. It is available in English and Spanish. To be connected with a Cessation Counselor in Steamboat Springs or Craig, call 970-871-7634.

Other programs the VNA offer include:

• The Colorado QuitLine, which offers free personalized cessation phone support for smokers. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

• SmokefreeTXT program provides free personalized text message support. Text the word QUIT to IQUIT (47848).

Tai chi classes offered through Aging Well program

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association’s Aging Well program is offering a tai chi class at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Tai chi helps strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance and confidence, reduces stress and encourages relaxation. Tai Chi for Health: Practice the Art is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays with Nancy Smith. The classes are free, but a $3 donation is suggested. For more information, call 970-871-7676.

Support groups to meet this week

• A bereavement support group meets from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday at Rollingstone Respite House. The group is open to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one. Call 970-871-7628 prior to attending your first meeting.

• A domestic violence support group for women is from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays at Advocates Building Peaceful Communities. Call Diane at 970-879-2034 before attending.

• A Caregiver Cancer Support Group is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the community room at Natural Grocers, 355 Lincoln Ave. For more information, call 970-846-4717.

• The Steamboat Meditation Recovery Group meets Sundays at 5:30 p.m. at the Buddhist Center of Steamboat Springs, 2250 Copper Frontage Road, No. 202. The group will explore recovery through meditation, book study and all open discussion. Meetings are open to all faiths and addictions. For more information, call 720-670-8642.

To submit a health brief, email

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