Radon Testing and Mitigation

Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department wants you to keep your family safe from radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is a radioactive gas in the soil that can leak into homes. It cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled. So the lower the radon level, the better. Testing for radon is the first step for home owners to find out if the radon levels in their homes are safe.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests taking action when the radon levels in your home get higher than 4.0 pCi/L. In Nebraska, almost 6 out of every 10 homes have levels higher than 4.0 pCi/L and most homes in Nebraska have radon levels at 6.0 pCi/L or above. Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department serves Burt, Cuming, Madison, and Stanton Counties where the average radon level in the past has been at 7.5 pCi/L or higher.

About five years ago, Roger Foster of Madison remembers picking up a radon test kit for his home after a neighbor’s basement had tested high for radon. Sure enough, Roger’s radon levels were also high. Roger decided to be safe and have a professional put in a unit to lower his radon level. These radon mitigation units are set up in the lowest level of the home, and pump radon safely outside. When asked about the process of installing the system, Roger said that it was clear-cut and “one afternoon was all it took.”

Years after installing the system, Roger re-tested his home for radon. This time, the results came back clean, almost as low as normal outside levels. His unit is working, and he can breathe easy.

To learn more about radon or how to get a radon test kit, call Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department at 402.529.2233 or visit our website at www.elvphd.org.


One West Nile Virus Case Confirmed

One human West Nile Virus case has been confirmed in Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department’s service area this past week. For the period 2003-2015, there were a total of 82 human cases of West Nile Virus in the health district. Most people who are infected with West Nile have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. The most common types of West Nile include West Nile fever and West Nile encephalitis. West Nile fever includes flu-like symptoms, such as fever and muscle weakness. Symptoms of West Nile encephalitis include inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions, and paralysis. Less than one out of 150 people who get bitten by an infected mosquito and become infected will get seriously ill. However, people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious effects.

The most important way to lower your risk is to prevent mosquito bites. The public is reminded to take the following precautions:

  • Use mosquito repellent when outside (containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus)
  • Wear long sleeved shirts, pants, and socks
  • Avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when mosquitos are most active
  • Remove standing water to reduce mosquito breeding sites

A study recently released by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that insect repellents that are 25% DEET can repel mosquitos for up to 8 hours and ticks for up to 5 hours with one application. The same study shows that insect repellents that are at least 5.75% Picaridin, 20% IR3535, or 30% Oil of lemon eucalyptus will last about the same amount of time.

A limited supply of FREE DEET mosquito wipes and mosquito dunks for standing water are still available at all Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department locations in Wisner, Norfolk, Tekamah. Limited supplies are available as well at UNL Extension offices in each of our four counties: Madison, Stanton, Cuming, and Burt. For questions please contact Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department at 402.529.2233.

Health Department Seeks Public Comment

{Wisner} The Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department (ELVPHD) 2016 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and Community Health Assessment Report (CHA) is now available in the “Featured Content” section of the home page of the ELVPHD website (www.elvphd.org).

The CHIP sets the priorities for the health department for the next 3 years. ELVPHD invites the public to view the department’s preliminary CHIP and Assessment Report and to report any comments or suggestions at info@elvphd.org. Public input on the CHIP and the CHA is being sought through July 1, 2016. The final CHIP and CHA will serve as the department’s guiding document in addressing the public health needs of ELVPHD communities.

For more information, please contact the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department at (877) 379-4400. ##

Health Department Seeks Public Input

{Wisner} The Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department (ELVPHD), in partnership with the hospitals in their service area, is conducting a survey to capture the public’s input regarding health issues important to individuals and families. The survey is for adults who live in Burt, Cuming, Madison and Stanton counties. Your input will help identify the key health needs throughout the four-county service area and will help guide activities and plans in the future. Please take advantage of this opportunity to share your views and to help improve current programs and define priorities for the future.

The survey takes no more than 25-30 minutes to complete. As a thank you for taking the time to complete the survey, participants may enter the drawing to win one of four $200 grocery gift certificates at the end of the survey. The online survey can be taken at: www.elvphd.org or a paper copy of the survey can be requested by calling 1-877-379-4400. The survey is also available in Spanish.

For more information please contact the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department at (877) 379-4400.

Alcohol Compliance Rates Backsliding

Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI), is a substance abuse prevention coalition, serving Burt, Cuming, Stanton, and Madison Counties. HCI reports that the rates of alcohol compliance failure for businesses selling alcohol to underage youth has been increasing in the past two years. Alcohol compliance checks are a type of prevention strategy that deters alcohol outlets from selling alcohol to underage youth. The Nebraska State Patrol or local police officials supervise undercover youth who try to buy alcohol; if the attempt is successful, the business is penalized. Compliance rates in 2013 were 96% and they have decreased to 88% in 2015. Selling alcohol to a minor is against the law. Allowing a person who is under the legal age of 21 to buy alcohol not only puts the business at risk, it also puts its staff and our youth at risk.

HCI provides FREE Responsible Beverage Service Training classes to On Premise and Off Premise businesses. This class, TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) is free to all business owners, managers, and staff involved in the sale of alcohol and liquor. TIPS training is designed to help liquor license holders and staff in identifying intoxicated customers, checking ID’s, confidently intervening and resolving troublesome situations. The training is a one-time 3-5 hour class. TIPS training is approved by the Nebraska Liquor Commission and taught by local certified trainers. Persons successfully passing the TIPS training are certified for three years.

Businesses that recently failed the alcohol compliance checks have been contacted by HCI and encouraged to attend a TIPS training. The class is provided free of charge and are scheduled at the convenience of the business. Businesses that recently passed the compliance checks are also invited to attend a TIPS training. It is important that all servers and sellers of alcohol learn how to encourage responsible drinking.

This FREE training is being made available through grant funding provided to the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department. If you are interested in attending a TIPS training, please contact Kathy Becker at 402-529-2233 or email her at kathy@elvphd.org.

Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department Disaster Volunteer Training

Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department is conducting disaster volunteer training in various locations on upcoming dates in September. This free training will provide an overview of public health’s role in disaster response and will explain what the requirements are for public health volunteers during an emergency event. 

               Training dates, times and locations are as follows:


               Thursday, September 10, 2015

               6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

               Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Dept. 2104 21st Circle, Wisner, NE


               Thursday, September 17, 2015

               6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

               Northeast Community College

               Lifelong Learning Center

               801 East Benjamin Ave, Norfolk, NE


               Tuesday, September 22, 2015

               6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

               Horizon Inn and Suites

               301 Plaza Drive, West Point, NE


               Thursday, September 24, 2015

               6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

               Oakland City Auditorium

               401 N. Oakland, Oakland, NE


               Monday, September 28, 2015

               6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

               Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Dept. 2104 21st Circle, Wisner, NE


Registration for this training is REQUIRED! Please register at least two days in advance of these trainings as seating is limited; there will be a waiting list for those not able to register for their desired date. To register, please email Melanie Thompson at melanie@elvphd.org or call 402/529-2233.

Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department Affordable Care Act

The 2015 Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period starts on November 15, 2014 and ends on February 15, 2015. Coverage ends for 2014 Marketplace plans on December 31, 2014. Coverage for 2015 can begin on January 1, 2015. If you have questions please call ELVPHD at 402-529-2233.

Creating Healthier Worksites

Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department (ELVPHD) is pleased to highlight the successes of several businesses in Burt, Cuming, Madison and Stanton counties that they have worked with to create wellness programs over the past several years.   “We have had the pleasure to work with businesses throughout our four county area to help them get started with or expand upon worksite wellness programs that address the unique health goals of their workforce,” says Kori King, Public Health Nurse with Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department.

Three years ago, ELVPHD began contacting businesses to determine their interest in worksite wellness and offering the health department’s assistance in getting worksite wellness started or expanded. Over the years, many businesses signed on to the program and began their journey towards a healthier workplace including: Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District (Norfolk), Beed Trucking (West Point), First National Bank Northeast (Lyons), Liberty Centre Services (Norfolk), Citizens State Bank (Wisner), Northeast Research and Extension Center (Norfolk) and Midtown Health Center (Norfolk). Over 200 employees took part in the worksite wellness efforts and many more individuals were reached as often spouses/family members participated in various ways as well.

Policy development was an important strategy to assist businesses with creating a healthier workplace environment.   Four of the companies implemented lactation break policies, 2 adopted paid exercise breaks and 3 implemented healthy vending policies. Additionally, most incorporated annual employee assessment and blood work screenings so wellness priorities for the upcoming year could be set. Finally, most of the businesses adopted ongoing challenges or newsletters to keep employees informed and motivated.

For more information about worksite wellness and how you can begin or expand wellness efforts please visit our website at www.elvphd.org or call 402-529-2233.

West Nile Found in Madison County

Two mosquito pools in Madison County testing positive for West Nile Virus have been reported to the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department. There has been no West Nile activity reported in birds or humans at this time. West Nile cases in humans are most often reported as summer draws to an end during August and September. Humans get West Nile Virus after being bitten by an infected mosquito that was feeding on an infected bird.

The easiest way to prevent West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, use mosquito repellent, and wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Standing water should be removed as it provides a place for mosquito breeding. West Nile Virus has flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and rash. Less than 1% of infected people will develop a severe illness. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk for becoming seriously ill if infected with West Nile. Contact the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department at 402-529-2233 for more information.

Meeting Notice

The Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department will hold its Board of Health meeting on Monday May 19, 2014 at the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department, 2104 21st Circle, Wisner, NE., beginning at 4:30 pm. The meeting agenda which shall be kept continuously current shall be available for public inspection during normal business hours at 2104 21st Circle, Wisner, NE.

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