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January is Radon Action Month – Has Your Home Been Tested?
You can’t see, smell or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year. In fact, the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon. Iowa has the highest percentage of homes with elevated radon levels in the nation.
Radon is a breakdown product of uranium found in soil, rocks, and water. Radon gas seeps into a house from the soil around and under the home; through cracks in the foundation, floor or walls; through hollow-block walls; and through openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. Radon has been detected in new homes and in old homes, and in homes with or without basements.
Radon test kits are simple to use and inexpensive. Short-term test kits are put in place for three to seven days, and then sent to a lab for analysis. It is very important to follow the instructions for placement of the kit. Siouxland District Health sells these kits at our office for $7 each, and this includes the kit, the postage, and the lab analysis. If the result comes back elevated, or greater than 4 pCi/L, it is recommended to follow up with another test. If the average of the results is still elevated, there are steps you can take to mitigate the radon level in your home. For more information, look at our Radon Fact Sheet.
The EPA has designated January as National Radon Action Month to encourage people to test their homes, fix elevated radon levels, and build radon-resistant homes. Information about reducing radon hazards in your home as well as a listing of licensed measurement and mitigation specialists can be found at http://idph.iowa.gov/radon.
IOWASic Hotline Goes Live For Reporting Foodborne Illnesses
Feeling queasy? Call, it's easy! Call 1-844-IowaSic
Do you feel like you are sick because of food that you've eaten? Report it using a new hotline 1-844-IowaSic or call us here at Siouxland District Health Department at 712-234-3908.
Millions of people get food poisoning each year and approximately 125,000 are hospitalized in America because of these illnesses.
By reporting your illness, you help public health officials investigate and identify sources of the illness and prevent others from getting sick!
Updated: October 18, 2016
ZIKA VIRUS Updates
Here's the latest recommendations
Pregnant women and their sexual partners should consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus is actively being transmitted. This includes most of the countries south of the United States as well as Miami-Dade County in Florida.
If postponing travel isn't possible, every precaution needs to be taken to prevent mosquito bites while in these areas. Remember, the types of mosquitoes that are transmitting Zika are daybiting mosquitoes. So protection against bites is necessary all day long.
- Pregnant women who have sex partners that live in or who have traveled to an area with active Zika transmission, should consistently and correctly use barriers to prevent infection or abstain from sext for the duration of the pregnancy. Such barriers include male and female condoms for vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
- Pregnant women should consult their doctors if they have traveled to Zika affected areas. Your doctor can consult with public health officials regarding testing for Zika.
Couples wanting to become pregnant:
- All men with possible Zika exposure (travel to area with ongoing transmission) should wait 6 months before trying to conceive.
- Women with possible Zika exposure should wait 8 months before trying to conceive.
Testing for Zika virus is available only for those suspected of having disease and pregnant women. It is not available for family planning purposes. Testing must be initiated by your medical doctor and coordinated by Iowa Department of Public Health.
Your healthcare provider has access to more detailed information and you can find out much more here: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html
To see the latest countries considered "Zika affected areas", click here: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html