Health briefs for Oct. 12, 2013: TMH to honor breast cancer survivors

The Memorial Hospital will offer a free luncheon at noon Friday to pay tribute to those who have survived breast cancer.

Hosted by the hospital’s Women’s Health Services program, the event is part of National Mammography Day and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Staff members will be wearing pink as part of the effort, and anyone currently or previously afflicted with breast cancer is welcome.

Among those speaking will be Jackie Smith, TMH’s nurse navigator, who also is a breast cancer survivor.

TMH, along with Rocky Mountain Radiology, continues to offer discounted mammograms throughout October.

For more information on the luncheon, call 970-824-9411. To schedule a mammogram, call 970-826-3150.

Free flu shots for veterans

American Legion Post 44, VFW Post 4264 and the VA Telehealth Clinic in Craig will be providing free flu shots for Routt County veterans from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Veterans needing flu shots should plan on getting their shots at this time. Not only do veterans get the flu shots free, there also will be an opportunity to learn about and sign up for VA health care. This is important, as VA health care meets the standards of the Affordable Care Act, so veterans enrolled in VA health care will not have to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards.

The flu shots are free to all veterans, and no appointment is needed at the walk-in clinic. Also, you don’t need to be enrolled in the VA health care system. However, veterans should bring proof of military service or an American Legion or VFW membership card. Those serving in the Reserves or National Guard also are eligible for free shots if their units were deployed to a war zone during a military conflict. For more information about the flu shots or VA health care, call Mike Condie, Routt County veterans service officer, at 970-879-5489.

Radon Awareness Week begins Oct. 20

Radon Awareness Week is Oct. 20 to 26. This program will bring knowledge about radon, its dangers and solutions to the issues of radon. It also will provide information about resources the public can use. Radon Awareness Week is an effort to increase public participation in the reduction of this problem.

Radon is a colorless, radioactive gas that is a derivative of the decay of uranium. It becomes dangerous as it builds up in homes and is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. According to Adam Neale, of Swat Environmental in Massachusetts, "Radon is actually the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking."

Radon occurs in 20 percent of American homes. Because radon does not have a taste, smell or color, it is not easily detected. Radon levels are often found in caves, mines and water treatment facilities. Radon Awareness Week organizers also want the public to realize that people receive the greatest radon exposure in houses as radon escapes into homes through cracks in the cement, sump pumps, floor drains and gaps in the floor. The highest level of radon is found in the basement.

Radon Awareness Week points out findings of the World Health Organization regarding radon with stress on lung cancer. Radon Awareness Week can enlighten the public on the steps WHO provides to reduce radon. These include increasing ventilation, eliminating radon from entering the basement, putting in a sump pump to remove radon, sealing walls and floors and installing a positive pressurization system.

The emphasis of Radon Awareness Week is protection from radon emissions. If a living area is in the basement, it is wise to conduct a radon test. The short-term test consists of taking air samples for three days and sending it for analysis in a lab.

Radon Awareness Week encourages homeowners to contact state offices of radon safety in the states for more information about procedures to reduce the level of radon. One solution is a system of pipes and fans to remove radon from the bottom level of the house.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/radon or www.radonplan.org.

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