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Douglas County Video Tour

Cold Weather Should be Taken Seriously

            Winter has made itself known in eastern Nebraska and the Douglas County Health Department urges you to prepare for cold weather safety if you must be outdoors.

            “Please plan ahead to be safe outdoors in cold weather,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “Things can change quickly.”

            Cold weather safety recommendations include:

  • Limit outdoor time and move to a warm location whenever possible.
  • Dress in layered clothing for the best protection.
  • Loose fitting clothing is better than tight clothing that reduces blood circulation.
  • Make a special effort to protect your ears, face, hands and feet in extreme cold.
  • A hat will help prevent you from losing heat.
  • Wear waterproof boots, insulated socks or two pairs of socks to protect your feet.

            As temperatures fall, remember the elderly and infants are most at danger of suffering serious injury from the cold. DCHD encourages everyone to check on their elderly neighbors, but remember, staying inside also can have its dangers.

            “Portable heating devices that use combustible fuel should not be used indoors. That includes lanterns and grills,” Dr. Pour said. “Fires should not be left in unattended fireplaces and never leave children alone with candles.”

            Cold weather also creates travel concerns. If the Weather Service has issued a warning, consider delaying your trip. If you must travel, tell friends or relatives about your planned route and estimated time of arrival. Take a cell phone, be sure it is charged, and make sure your car is ready for winter. Keep a full gas tank and have a safety kit that includes blankets, booster cables, a flashlight, and maps.

            If you are stuck in the snow and have to stay in your car to keep warm, run the engine for no more than 10 minutes per hour, keep a downwind window slightly open, and be sure the tailpipe is not blocked. 

             “Planning ahead could save your life,” Dr. Pour emphasized.

Douglas County Updates Improved STD Rate

 When the Douglas County Health Department released STD rate for 2017 earlier this year, there was encouraging news. The infection rate for chlamydia appeared to be leveling off. That was a positive sign after more than a decade of battling what the Board of Health has labeled an epidemic.

Now there is even better news as recently released updated census data for 2017 shows a population increase in Douglas County. That population increase changes the infection rate. DCHD and the Adolescent Health Project now can report a decrease in chlamydia rates for last year from 662.2 per 100,000 population to 658.5 per 100,000 population.

“This is a time to recognize our success,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “This means we have been doing the right thing, but our work is far from over. We will continue to educate, test, and provide outreach to as many people as we can.”

Among the most successful programs has been free condom distribution. The health benefits of community condom distribution programs have been realized. And in the past 15 months, more than 1 million condoms have been distributed through the Adolescent Health Project. Free condoms are available at all STD testing locations as well as at more than 150 locations throughout the Omaha metro.

 “An increase in sexual health knowledge and improved health outcomes are results of providing unrestricted access to STD testing and treatment as well as free condoms to reduce STDs,” said Brenda Council, Adolescent Health Project Manager at the Women’s Fund of Omaha.

As part of the Adolescent Health Project, an initiative of the Women’s Fund of Omaha, the Douglas County Health Department and other clinical partners make STD testing accessible by screening people at locations that are convenient to them, including public libraries. There are an average of 40 outreach testing sites offered by DCHD throughout the county each month in addition to normal testing hours at the health clinic.

“This slight decrease is a bright light for our continued work in the community. We are optimistic that with access to education and safer sex resources, more people will be able to take control of their sexual health,” Dr. Pour said. “We know the only way to maintain this trend is to continue with our hard work and create sustainable, community-wide changes.”



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