Health briefs for June 28, 2014: Life-change events can impact insurance eligibility

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Colorado residents who have had a life-change event in the past month may qualify for health insurance coverage through Connect for Health Colorado outside of the open enrollment period.

Among the possible conditions:

• Marriage, birth, adoption and placement for foster care

• Your previous insurance plan or Medicaid coverage was canceled or ended

• You changed jobs and lost your employer-sponsored insurance

• You gained citizenship or immigration status

• You experienced a change in incarceration status

• You moved to Colorado

For more information or to meet with a health coverage guide, call 970-871-7664 in Moffat County or 970-871-7638 in Routt County.

June is Colorado Bike Month

Throughout June, multiple agencies are supporting Colorado Bike Month as a way to increase the recreational activity for the purposes of fun and health, as promoted by Colorado Department of Transportation’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs and Federal Highway Administration.

The exercise from regular, moderate cycling can help people avoid significant health issues, and other health benefits can be found from the lessened effect on the environment.

For more information, call 303-757-9982 or visit coloradodot.info/programs/bikeped.

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is in session

The National Weather Service is promoting Lightning Safety Awareness through Saturday to remind people of all ages of the dangers of lightning.

On average, lightning kills and injures more people in the western portion of the United States than any other thunderstorm hazard. Although lightning can occur at any time of the year, it is most common during the summer months.

More than 260 people were killed by lightning between 2006 and 2013 in the United States, according to a study performed by National Weather Service. The majority of these people were engaging in outdoor leisure activities at the time, many of whom were fishing, boating or camping.

NWS also features a slogan for lightning safety to encourage finding shelter as quickly as possible: “When thunder roars, go indoors!”

For more information, visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.

Hantavirus, rabies can affect rural areas

With warmer weather comes a greater chance for contact with wildlife, which also can mean greater exposure to diseases animals may carry.

Hantavirus is a serious respiratory disease carried by deer mice, which are brown on top and white underneath with large ears. Be careful when doing spring cleaning and before opening up cabins, buildings, sheds and barns.

You can become infected when you inhale dirt and dust contaminated with deer mice droppings. Air out rodent-infested buildings or areas at least 30 minutes before cleaning. Use a solution of household bleach — one cup bleach per gallon of water — to spray materials you have used for cleaning mouse droppings.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/hantavirus.

Bats, foxes, porcupines and other small rodents can have rabies, meaning you should never touch these animals. Rabies is a deadly disease transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually from bites.

Most human cases of rabies in the United States are caused by bats. Bites leave a small wound but require urgent medical attention. If bitten, wash the wound with soap and water and call your doctor.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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