Health Briefs: Red Cross offers holiday cooking safety tips |

Health Briefs: Red Cross offers holiday cooking safety tips

Millions of people will gather for Thanksgiving this week to enjoy time with loved ones and a delicious holiday dinner. With cooking being the number one cause of home fires, the American Red Cross recommends everyone observe the following fire safety steps.

• Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check alarms each month. Replace all batteries at least once per year if the smoke alarm requires it.
• Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking. Never leave frying, grilling or broiling food unattended. When leaving the kitchen, even briefly, turn off the stove.
• Check simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food regularly.
• Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
• Keep children and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
• Keep anything that can catch fire — pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from the stove and oven, or any other kitchen appliance that generates heat.
• Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup.
• Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home ensure stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
• Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the fire department for training in the proper use of extinguishers.

The Red Cross First Aid App provides expert advice for common mishaps or emergencies, including cuts, burns and choking. Download the free app in the app store, or text GETFIRST to 90999.

Organization reports increase in medical plan selections

Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, more than 22,000 Coloradans selected health coverage for 2018 through the state health insurance marketplace, according to data released by Connect for Health Colorado.

“I am glad to see the number of initial sign-ups during the first two weeks of open enrollment,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “There has been some confusion about health care coverage this year. I want everyone to know that the financial help to buy health insurance is still available for next year. I urge everybody buying their own health insurance to take a minute on our site,, to check to see if they qualify and then review their options and complete their enrollment before the last-minute rush.”

The pace of sign-ups is running about 33 percent higher than last year, Patterson said. The two-week period saw 22,650 medical plan selections, compared to 16,987 selections for a comparable period in 2016. Fourteen percent of the plan selections were by customers who are new to Connect for Health Colorado, and 86 percent were renewing customers.

Both new enrollments and renewals must be completed by Dec. 15 for coverage Jan. 1 and to avoid coverage gaps. Open enrollment continues through Jan. 12.

After Jan. 12, individuals cannot purchase health insurance, except in the case of a qualifying life-change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing employer-sponsored insurance or relocation to Colorado.

For more information, visit

Dental care available to adults through Medicaid

Colorado’s Medicaid program is helping Coloradans recover from years of no dental care resulting in increased economic and social opportunities made possible with improved oral health.

“Coloradans benefit each day from adult dental coverage through the Medicaid program. This expansion has been crucial to providing preventive and ongoing dental care to hundreds of thousands of Coloradans,” said Carol Morrow, DDS and president of the Colorado Dental Association. “This program helps Coloradans stay healthier and saves money for Medicaid and the state of Colorado.”

A new social media campaign has been launched to share stories of the impact of dental care on adults.

“In sharing these stories, we want to show the importance of this program and, more broadly, the connection between dental care and our overall health,” Morrow said.

Beginning April 1, 2014, Colorado adults enrolled in Medicaid gained access to dental coverage. Colorado expanded this benefit due to the importance of dental care and strong evidence that good oral health is substantially linked to overall physical health.

New stories will be shared each week on Facebook at, on Twitter @TeethMatterCO and on the Colorado Dental Association website,

Group present prescription drug checklist

The National Institute on Aging recommends checking the following seven things when filling a prescription, especially for a new medication.

• Ensure the label included the correct name and the instructions from the prescribing physician. If instructions are missing, talk with the pharmacist before taking the medicine.
•  If the medication has been taken before, see if it looks the same. If the medication looks different, ask the pharmacist to double check that it is correct.
• Those who have trouble swallowing pills should ask if a liquid alternative is available. Do not chew, break or crush pills before consulting a doctor or pharmacist.
• Read and understand the medication’s name, directions and any warning stickers on the bottle. If the label is difficult to read, ask the pharmacist to use a larger type.
• Be sure the container can be easily opened. If not, and if there are no children in the house, ask for containersw that are easier to open.
•  Ask if the medication needs to be stored in a particular way, such as in a refrigerator or a dry area.
• Give the doctor and pharmacist an up-to-date list of any allergies and other medications.

For questions about a medication or any of the written information that comes with a prescription, talk with the pharmacist or doctor.
For more information about taking medications safely, visit the NIA website.

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