Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Downtown Streets

Safety, walkability, transportation, and aesthetic design are all important components of planning a downtown commercial area, whether in a large city or a small town. Downtowns and “Main Streets” can, if well planned, boost tourism and enhance quality of life for residents. Therefore the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Colorado Department of Transportation teamed up to produce the guidebook Colorado Downtown Streets: A Tool for Communities, Planners, and Engineers, which you can view online from our library. The agency partners provide the following summary:

Great streets are more than infrastructure: they are the fundamental building blocks of successful communities. [Colorado Downtown Streets is] designed to help local leaders, community members, and technical professionals work together to transform their streets into safe, accessible, and vibrant places.

Use this guidebook to learn how well-planned streets can promote health, increase tax revenue and property values, attract tourists, and contribute to the life of the community by giving the city or town its own identity. Design considerations, such as bike lanes, traffic flow patterns, on-street parking, landscaping, lighting, and signage, are provided along with examples from towns and cities around the state. Tips for planning, implementing and funding are also provided, as are tools for enhancing “placemaking” and revitalizing historic areas.

To supplement the guidebook, a webinar and several companion videos were created, which you can view here. The guide was published as a component of the Colorado Main Street Program, which you can learn more about on the Department of Local Affairs’ website. You can also find more resources from state agencies about city planning and transportation by searching our library’s online catalog.

 

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Vital Statistics and Health Data

What is the leading cause of death in your county? The life expectancy? The number of live births?

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has several interactive tools on their website that can help you find this information and much more. Their Vital Statistics website includes a state map which you can use to retrieve birth and death data for each county, or statewide. Also on the site, you can find links to reports and data on a variety of topics such as drug overdose deaths; cesarean section deliveries; infant mortality; race/ethnicity and poverty characteristics of birth mothers; and statistics on the number of marriage licenses and divorce decrees in each county.

CDPHE also offers the Colorado Health Information Dataset (CoHID), which you can use to query more in-depth data on births and deaths. For instance, birth data can be viewed back to 1990. In addition to county data, the site also offers birth data for Denver neighborhoods. Death data is also available back to 1990 and can be sorted by location, cause of death, and characteristics such as age, gender, and race/ethnicity. CoHID also includes sections on general population data; behavioral risk factors; pregnancy and birth defects; cancer incidence; and injury hospitalizations.

Finally, for more data on a variety of Colorado health topics, see CDPHE’s CO Health and Environmental Data website. And, of course, search our library’s online catalog for health-related publications.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

New Report on Youth Suicide Prevention

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office just released a new report, Community Conversations to Inform Youth Suicide Prevention: A Study of Youth Suicide in Four Colorado Counties, which is now available to view online from our library. The report examines the growing rates of youth suicide in El Paso, La Plata, Mesa, and Pueblo counties, which have the state’s highest rates of teen suicide. In El Paso County alone, the number of suicide deaths in the 10-18 age group doubled from 2014 to 2017, according to the report, which analyzed statistical data as well as information from focus groups, interviews, and community feedback. Statistical data analysis was conducted from “death certificate, hospitalization and emergency department data, the Colorado Violent Death Reporting System, the Colorado Child Fatality Prevention System and the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.” The latter three programs are all sponsored by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment, whose website includes data as well as resources on prevention.

You can also find more information on youth suicide in these other resources from our library:

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Coloradans and Tobacco

If quitting smoking is your new year’s resolution, the State of Colorado has new resources to help you.

Colorado QuitLine is a tool that Coloradans can use to get free products and coaching. According to a news release from the Colorado Department of Health & Environment, QuitLine has recently  been updated.

New online resources are available for free through the Colorado QuitLine. Thomas Ylioja, clinical director for the Colorado QuitLine, said, “As the needs and preferences of smokers change, QuitLine services are changing to meet those demands. We’ve added new features such as e-coaching, where clients can chat with a coach online rather than over the phone, if that’s what they’d prefer. Or, they can enroll online in a few minutes and receive coaching calls over the phone. Clients also can order nicotine patches or gum online and get it delivered to their door for free.”

Another helpful tool is Tobacco Free Colorado. This site also offers free support. It also contains information on how to help a friend or loved one quit smoking.

Baby & Me Tobacco Free is a program for helping pregnant women in Colorado quit smoking. Learn more about the dangers of smoking during pregnancy at CDPHE’s Quit Smoking for Baby and You webpage.

You can find additional resources at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE)’s Quit Tobacco webpage.

——————–

So, how many Coloradans use tobacco? While cigarette use has declined in recent years, new electronic vaping products have increased in use, especially among youth, according to an inphographic from CDPHE. A 2017 CDPHE report, Adult Tobacco Use and Exposure, also examines recent smoking rates and trends.

——————-

In 2006 Colorado passed the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking inside most public places. If you’re concerned about secondhand smoke, however, you can find out about your legal rights and how to protect yourself at CDPHE’s Secondhand Smoke page. Property owners and managers can also set no-smoking policies for multi-unit housing; for more information, see this guidebook.

——————-

Finally, here are some additional resources on smoking and tobacco, available from our library:

 

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

1918 Influenza

Cañon City High School students don masks during the 1918-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy History Colorado.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the great Spanish influenza pandemic that claimed the lives of an estimated 50 million people worldwide — more people than died in combat in both World Wars combined. I have several relatives who died of the 1918 flu, and you probably do, too.

Despite the name, the influenza didn’t start in Spain, but rather began its deadly spread very near Colorado, on the farms of Kansas near the Kansas-Oklahoma-Colorado border. Scientists and historians believe that the influenza originated from swine in the hog farms of Kansas. The hogs may have picked up the flu from migrating birds, according to researchers at the Smithsonian. The bird flu wasn’t spreadable to humans, but when it infected the hogs it changed enough genetically that it was able to spread to people.

Given the deadly flu’s origins so close to the Colorado border, our state was hit hard. The first Colorado cases were reported in September. Then, several thousand Coloradans died of the flu in just the three months between October and December of 1918, according to an essay by Stephen Leonard in the 1989 edition of Essays and Monographs in Colorado History, which you can check out from our library. In total, over 49,000 Coloradans, out of a total state population of 906,000, became infected with the flu.

Some of Colorado’s first cases of the 1918 flu were at the University of Colorado in Boulder, which set up quarantines in fraternity houses. You can read about the University of Colorado Medical School’s response to the pandemic in The University of Colorado School of Medicine: A Centennial History, available for checkout from our library. Other Colorado cases spread through the army camps and among civilians who had traveled outside the state to locations where the flu was widespread. Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and other cities ordered schools, churches, theaters, and other public gathering places to close temporarily, and many outdoor public gatherings were banned. Even some trains required all passengers to wear masks. One Coloradan who nearly died of the flu was Katherine Anne Porter, a Rocky Mountain News columnist. She would go on to write Pale Horse, Pale Rider, arguably the most famous novel written about the Spanish flu.

The flu spread so quickly and so widely around the world in large part because of the Great War. American soldiers brought it to Europe, where, it is believed, the strain may have mutated. Then, when the war ended, the soldiers brought the mutated strain back to America. Estimates for the numbers of persons infected and killed by the Spanish influenza are difficult to determine because for many sufferers, if the flu itself didn’t kill them, it turned into pneumonia. Therefore many death certificates list pneumonia as cause of death when in actuality the pneumonia was brought on by the flu. Estimates suggest, however, that the pandemic caused the death of at least 8,000 Coloradans, over 675,000 people across America, and 20 to 50 million worldwide. The 1918 flu remains one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in recorded history.

  

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Mindsource Brain Injury Network

If you’re looking for resources and information on brain injuries, the Colorado Department of Human Services has a new website that may be of help. The MINDSOURCE Brain Injury Network, mindsourcecolorado.org, is a site for Coloradans with brain injury and their families and caregivers. “MINDSOURCE manages the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund, provides training and technical assistance regarding brain injury for public and private entities, and manages the federal traumatic brain injury grant.” Visit the site for resource links and training information; grant programs; state reports; and a newsletter.
For further Colorado resources on brain injury search our library’s online catalog or see our recent blog post.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Marijuana Facts for Parents and Caregivers

Last month the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched a new awareness campaign, Responsibility Grows Here, for teaching parents and caregivers about the responsible use of marijuana, including information for pregnant and breastfeeding women, responsible use around children, and how to talk to youth about marijuana. From the CDPHE’s press release:

Trusted adults ― parents, family, teachers and others ― can have an enormous influence on whether a young person uses marijuana. Health department surveys show young people with parents who feel marijuana use is wrong are four times less likely to use it. Those young people who have family rules about marijuana use, parents they can talk to and supportive teachers are much less likely to use marijuana.
To take advantage of these strong relationships, the health department’s trusted adult campaign shows these role models how important their voices can be and provides them resources they need to talk to their kids about marijuana. Responsibility Grows Here has tips on how trusted adults can start a conversation about marijuana; listen to the concerns of their children; and share information about the health and legal consequences of underage marijuana use. It also provides tips on discussing how marijuana use can get in the way of finishing school, building a career or pursuing other life goals. 

Parents and caregivers can find additional marijuana information by viewing the following resources:

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Health First Colorado Member Information

If you are one of the 1,276,946 members of Health First Colorado, the state’s Medicaid program, there are many resources available online to help you understand your benefits and services under the program. For an overview, see the Member Handbook, available in both English and Spanish. You can also view a benefits and services chart and FAQs, and visit their page for contact information and where to get help. The Health First website also includes a series of videos which cover topics such as teen depression screening; substance use disorder benefits; and how to keep your information up to date. On this page you can also subscribe to the Health First e-newsletter.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), which administers the Health First program, has a variety of other resources on their website to help you navigate the program. If you’re searching for a provider, they offer a Find a Doctor database on their website.

Colorado’s Medicaid program turns 50 years old this year. Learn more about Medicaid in Colorado, including statistical information, on HCPF’s Fifty Facts webpage. For more detailed statistics on enrollment, see the Medicaid Client Caseload by County monthly statistical summaries or view HCPF’s annual report.

Finally, you can go to HCPF’s website to download a mobile app for managing your benefits.

Health First Colorado

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Summer Ozone and Pollution

Wondering what you can do to help reduce ozone and improve our summer air? The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Regional Air Quality Council have launched a new campaign that can help Coloradans take simple steps toward better summer air. In fact, that’s the name of the campaign and its new website – SimpleStepsBetterAir.org. Check out the website for tips on what you can do. For instance, while “take fewer car trips” might be fairly obvious, there are probably some things that you’re doing that you’re not even aware are affecting our summer ozone. For example, do you know which household products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? Which man-made activities produce the highest levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx)? And what ground-level ozone can do to your health? In addition to learning all about summer ozone, you can also use the website to download interactive tools such as the OzoMeter for logging car trips, and sign up for real-time ozone and air pollution updates.

Want to learn even more about ozone and summer air quality? You can find many helpful resources in our library, including

Items listed above without URLs can be checked out in print from our library or on Prospector. For lots more titles on ozone and air quality, search our library’s online catalog.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's New "Hot Car" Law

It’s only the beginning of June, but with temperatures already into the 90s, it looks like it’s going to be a very hot summer! With hot temperatures come heat dangers, one of the most significant being the danger of a hot parked car. On a hot day, temperatures inside parked cars can rise to lethal levels in just a matter of minutes, leading to heat stroke and suffocation. Pets are especially vulnerable, so it is never safe to leave a pet alone in a locked car on a hot day, even with the windows cracked.

In 2017, the Colorado General Assembly passed a new law, HB17-1179, which provides “immunity for a person who renders emergency assistance from a locked vehicle” – in other words, making it legal to break into a locked car to rescue a dog or cat, or an at-risk person. (At-risk persons are defined in Colorado law as persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or persons over 70 years of age). This law came about because of citizens’ concerns over the frequency of dogs left in hot cars while the owners were elsewhere. Colorado is now one of 28 states with laws regarding pets left in hot cars. Some counties and municipalities, including Denver, also have their own ordinances regarding protection of pets from the elements. If you are concerned about a pet (or person) locked in a hot car, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Summer heat provides a variety of other dangers to pets in addition to hot cars. Dehydration, sunburn, and hot pavement are also dangerous to pets. Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital offers tips on keeping your pet safe in summer months, including warning signs that your dog is suffering from heat stroke.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

What's In Your Drinking Water?

May 6-12, 2018 is National Drinking Water Week.  From lead to fluoride, from private wells to public water systems, there are many consumer issues related to the water you drink.  If you are interested in learning about drinking water in Colorado, start with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Drinking Water: Consumer Information webpage.  Here you can find links to information about how drinking water is treated, regulated and tested, and what substances can be found in your water.  For more resources, search our library’s online catalog

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: In Search of the "Climate Cure"

Today we often think of early settlers coming to Colorado seeking wealth, but in fact, just as many — if not more — were seeking health.  Respiratory diseases, especially tuberculosis, were widespread in America and Europe in the nineteenth century. At that time, medical professionals did not understand that tuberculosis was communicable. Instead, they believed that Colorado’s dry, fresh mountain air could cure the disease, and as a result, thousands emigrated to the state in search of the “climate cure.” According to an article in the Colorado Encyclopedia, “Although scientists discovered Mycobacterium tuberculosis – tuberculosis’s disease-causing agent – in the 1880s, doctors struggled to explain why and how it spread.” It wasn’t until the 1940s that antibiotics were developed for the treatment of the disease, and Colorado’s own Dr. Florence Sabin was among the country’s most influential tuberculosis researchers. (For data on tuberculosis in the 1940s and ’50s, see my previous Time Machine Tuesday post).
Colorado health reports from the 1870s, now available online from our library, offer a fascinating look at the extent of the medical professions’ knowledge about tuberculosis before it was understood or extensively researched.  The report of the State Board of Health from 1876 — the year Colorado became a state — is particularly interesting because it contains a lengthy essay discussing forty-four cases of tuberculosis, or “pulmonary consumption” as it was then called. The case studies provide a wealth of historical information on the disease, its characteristics, and the people it affected. Also included in the 1876 report were essays on climate’s influence on asthma, another respiratory disease; the healing benefits of Colorado’s mineral hot springs; and an article entitled “Altitude: Its Influence on Health,” all highlighting Colorado’s perceived role as a health destination for sufferers of respiratory diseases and other ailments. These essays offer an insightful look at the state of medical knowledge and practice in the late nineteenth century.

Before antibiotics, doctors thought that fresh air could cure tuberculosis, so sanatoriums like the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society (JCRS) on West Colfax were established where patients could spend much of their time convalescing outdoors. Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.
Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Salmonella Outbreak

It’s not a pleasant topic, but it’s certainly an important one for cities and towns to learn from.  Exactly ten years ago, in March and April 2008, the city of Alamosa experienced a deadly Salmonella outbreak that caused at least 442 confirmed illnesses and, according to estimates, as many as 1,300 people – 15{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} of Alamosa’s population – may have gotten sick.  One person died.  The cause?  Contaminated drinking water.  “Alamosa’s drinking water comes from deep artesian wells in an aquifer considered to be a protected groundwater source. Prior to the outbreak, the city’s drinking water was not chlorinated for disinfection. A waiver from the statewide requirement for disinfection was granted to Alamosa in 1974,” according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). CDPHE conducted a major cleanup, investigation, and review of the incident and set forth recommendations for strategies that local water systems can use to help reduce the likelihood of waterborne disease outbreaks.  These strategies, along with data and an explanation of the 2008 Alamosa event, can be found in the CDPHE’s report Waterborne Salmonella Outbreak in Alamosa, Colorado, March and April 2008: Outbreak Identification, Response, and Investigation, available online from our library.

Alamosa Water Works. Photo courtesy CDPHE.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Pesticide Safety

This is National Poison Prevention Week, and if you work in the agriculture industry, one of the poisons that you will most frequently encounter is pesticides.  If you are someone who handles or administers pesticides, or are an employer of those who do so, here are some resources from the State of Colorado that provide helpful tips on how to stay safe around pesticides.  Resources listed without web links can be checked out in print from our library or through Prospector.

Our library also has a series of Pesticide Application and Safety Training Study Guides from the Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of AgricultureEach guidebook covers a single subject, such as weeds and insects, and application area, such as forest, rangeland, household, ornamental/garden, aquatic, and agricultural. Search our library’s online catalog for a list of titles.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Falls, car accidents, and sports injuries can all be causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which affects all ages.  Statistics from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show that the 15-24 age group has the highest number of hospitalizations for TBI, but people over 85 had the highest number of TBI-related deaths. Our library has many helpful resources for learning about brain injury, including information for specific age groups:
Babies and toddlers:

Children and Youth:

The elderly:

General population:

Helpful websites:

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana Industry

One of the most frequently accessed publications in our entire library collection is the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s 2017 Guide to Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana IndustryAs the industry grows (no pun intended) in our state and in many other parts of the nation, more and more people are finding employment in this industry.  If you are one of them, be sure to check out this helpful resource, which includes information to

  • Assist in the recognition of occupational health hazards that might be present within the marijuana industry.
  • Identify specific existing federal, state, and local safety and health related regulations that may apply to the marijuana industry
  • Provide initial recommendations for engineering, administrative and personal protective equipment controls that can be used to help eliminate or reduce hazards in the marijuana industry.
  • Provide information and resources to assist employers in developing written workplace safety and health programs.
  • Provide information to help develop marijuana worker safety training programs.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Influenza: It's Not Just for Humans

As you work to protect yourself from the flu this season, don’t forget about your pets and livestock.  While animals don’t get our human strains of flu, there are separate strains that can affect different species:

Avian influenza, or bird flu, most often affects waterfowl such as ducks and geese, but these birds can transmit the disease to poultry flocks.  Some strains of bird flu can be transmitted to humans and other mammals, so the disease is closely monitored.  The Colorado Department of Agriculture has information on avian influenza on their website.  You can read more about avian influenza in these publications available from our library:

Canine influenza, or dog flu, was first found in the United States in 2015.  Don’t be fooled by the name; according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats can also be susceptible to dog flu.  Dog flu can be highly contagious so many kennels and pet care facilities now require canine flu vaccinations.  Dog flu is not transmissible to humans.

Equine Influenza usually isn’t fatal to horses, but can still be a problem especially for competition and show horses, who would have to miss events if ill, according to Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.  They have posted equine vaccination guidelines on their website.

Swine Influenza affects pigs but is also thought to be the type of flu that caused the 1918 influenza epidemic.  You can read about it in the article The Zoonotic Potential of Swine Influenza, from CSU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.  Also see the fact sheet H1N1 Influenza and Pigs and the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Swine Emergency Disease Response Plan.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

February is American Heart Month

One quarter of all deaths in the United States occur from heart disease, and it remains the leading cause of death for both men and women.  Yet there are many things you can do to help prevent heart disease and stay healthy.  Each February the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart Month to bring awareness to heart disease and related conditions, including educating Americans on signs of heart disease as well as how to help prevent it.

Here are some resources from the State of Colorado that describe local efforts to track and prevent heart disease, along with tips for keeping your heart healthy:

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Test Your Home for Radon

January is National Radon Action Month and YOU should test your home for radon.  It doesn’t matter whether you live in an old building or new construction; radon “can enter homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings and can accumulate unless properly mitigated,” says the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).  The invisible, odorless gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and is responsible for more than 500 lung cancer deaths in our state each year, according to the CDPHE.  You can find everything you need to know at the state’s official radon website, coloradoradon.info, including where to buy a test kit; how to find a contractor if mitigation is required; the laws concerning radon and real estate transactions; health information and data; mitigation financial assistance for low-income households; and more.  Our library also has many resources that can help you learn about what radon is and why it so important to test your home or other property for radon:

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)

Depending on federal budget actions, the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), a low-cost health plan for qualifying children and pregnant women, could be eliminated.  This month the Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee approved short-term funding that extends CHP+ at least until the end of February.  The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which administers the program, has set up a Future of CHP+ webpage that includes updated information as well as FAQs.  If you are a member of CHP+ or are considering enrollment, be sure to check this page often for updates.

The CHP+ program has been available to Coloradans for the last twenty years.  Search “child health plan plus” in our library’s online catalog for hundreds of reports on the program, including monthly and quarterly statistics; annual reports; various analysis reports; member benefits information; statutorily required reports; and much more.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

New Laws in Effect January 1

On New Year’s Day several new laws, passed during the 2016 and 2017 legislative sessions, went into effect.  The new laws are:

The 2018 legislative session will begin on Wednesday, January 10.