My Life, My Quit is a program specifically for teens to help them quit nicotine


Idaho teens who want to quit tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vapes, now have a program specifically made for them and to help them on their quit journey. It’s called My Life, My Quit, and it launched for Idaho teens in December.

Is this the first program to help teens quit tobacco in Idaho?

It is – in fact, there aren’t many resources in the nation that are available specifically for teens if they want to quit tobacco. We have come to realize that teens have a very different quit journey than adults do. In Idaho, nearly half of all high school students have used e-cigarettes at least once, and there has been a surge in tobacco violations in schools across the state. We want to give teens the tools they need to help them make healthy choices. Continue reading “My Life, My Quit is a program specifically for teens to help them quit nicotine”

What should Idahoans know about the 2019 novel coronavirus?

The national and international situation with the novel coronavirus is rapidly evolving, with the number of cases and deaths changing daily. Public Health officials around the world are working around the clock to understand this new respiratory virus so they can contain it and keep more people from getting infected.

How high is the possibility of people in Idaho getting sick with this virus?

The general risk here in Idaho is fairly low at this point, but public health officials want people to be aware so they can take appropriate precautions. We’re asking you to follow steps you are probably already taking for flu – stay home if you’re sick, avoid sick people, and cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue (not your hands). Wash your hands frequently, especially after you have been in the public and touched door handles, stair railings, money, grocery carts, elevator buttons, and other items that lots of other people may also have touched. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.

If you think you’ve been exposed, should you go to a clinic or doctor’s office?

If you or someone you know has been in one of the affected areas, believe you may have been exposed to someone who was sick and develop symptoms, call your medical provider to determine next steps. Don’t just head to the clinic or doctor’s office because you risk infecting more people in those settings. Continue reading “What should Idahoans know about the 2019 novel coronavirus?”

It’s American Heart Month. Do you know your heart health?

It’s probably no coincidence that February is American Heart Month. It’s a good time for conversations about matters of the heart, and it’s a great time to talk to your healthcare provider about your blood pressure and cholesterol so you can figure out if you are at risk for heart disease. Nationally, heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults.

Heart disease, as we all know, can lead to a heart attack. Can you remind us about the symptoms of a heart attack?

Not everyone who has a heart attack will have all of these signs. In fact, men and women often have different symptoms. The most common signs of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, pain or discomfort in the upper body, trouble breathing, feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting, stomach ache or heartburn, feeling light-headed or unusually tired, and breaking out in a cold sweat.

If you have any of these symptoms and think you might be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

How can symptoms be different for women?

Just like men, the most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. Women may instead experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in their lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure, or extreme fatigue. Continue reading “It’s American Heart Month. Do you know your heart health?”

Cervical cancer screenings prevent cancer – every woman should be screened regularly

All women, especially those over the age of 30, are at risk for developing cervical cancer, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s also the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent. Regular screenings are the most effective way to find the disease early and treat it. Unfortunately, Idaho has the lowest rate for cervical screening in the United States. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to learn more and get screened!

Who is most at risk?

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. HPV is so common that most people get it at some time in their lives. For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer. Other factors increasing the risk of cervical cancer are not getting screened, being HIV positive, and smoking. Smoking doubles a woman’s risk of getting cervical cancer.

What are the most common symptoms?

There are typically no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. That’s why regular screening is so important. Continue reading “Cervical cancer screenings prevent cancer – every woman should be screened regularly”

2 out of 5 Idaho homes tested for radon show dangerous levels of the gas

Radon gas is an odorless, tasteless gas that is present in many homes in Idaho. It’s dangerous in high levels – it is the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers. It’s a serious health issue in Idaho, and it causes more than 20,000 deaths a year in the United States. The only way to know it’s in your home is to test for it, and the testing is simple and inexpensive.

How does radon get into homes?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium. It seeps from soil into homes and buildings through crawl spaces and cracks and openings in foundations. It builds up the most in winter, when homes are closed against the cold and get less fresh air.

Why should we care about this in Idaho?

High levels of radon have been found in every county in the state. Since radon is found throughout Idaho, it’s important to have your home tested so you can remove it if levels are high. Continue reading “2 out of 5 Idaho homes tested for radon show dangerous levels of the gas”

Idaho is seeing an increase in whooping cough cases. Are you immunized?

We are starting to see an increase in the number of whooping cough (also called pertussis) cases in Idaho, specifically in the southwest part of the state. So now is a good time to remind everyone to get immunized, especially if you will be meeting a newborn member of your family during your holiday gatherings.

I thought pertussis was dangerous for babies, but not so much for adults?

Adults get pertussis too! While many adults can shake it off, in some cases the cough can last for weeks or months, and it can land you in the hospital with pneumonia or other complications. Plus, babies can’t start getting vaccinated until they’re two months old, and they don’t have high levels of protection until they are 6 months old. If adults are vaccinated, there is less of a risk of passing the highly contagious disease to an infant.

Why is pertussis so dangerous for babies?

Babies are most at risk for getting very sick or dying. About half of infants younger than a year old who get the disease need to be hospitalized. About 1 in 4 infants hospitalized with pertussis get pneumonia, and about two-thirds will have slowed or stopped breathing. In a small number of cases, the disease can even be deadly. Infants are most often infected by family members or members of the same household. In fact, a person with pertussis will infect almost everyone in their household who isn’t immunized. Continue reading “Idaho is seeing an increase in whooping cough cases. Are you immunized?”

Wash your hands, because it’s gross if you don’t! (And it might make you sick)

Given the news we recently heard that something like a quarter of all cooks don’t wash their hands, and the fact that we’re in the middle of flu season, it’s time for our annual plea and reminder about how important it is to frequently wash your hands. It’s truly one of the best things you can do (besides getting immunized) to avoid getting sick or spreading germs to others.

Let’s start with the basics. When should you wash your hands?

You should wash them after using the bathroom and when you are preparing food or are getting ready to eat. You should also wash up before and after caring for someone who is sick, after changing a diaper, after touching an animal, and after blowing your nose or coughing or sneezing into your hands.

Is there a right way to wash your hands?

Wash your hands
Wash your hands often with soap and water, but especially after going to the bathroom and before you eat.

This might seem like overkill, but to effectively kill germs and get clean, there are five steps to washing your hands: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, and Dry. You should use soap and water and vigorously rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds, which also is the length of the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end, twice. Hum it while you scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails each time you wash to make sure you get rid the germs. Continue reading “Wash your hands, because it’s gross if you don’t! (And it might make you sick)”