Category Archives: Health

Public drinking water notice rescinded for Carbondale

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has rescinded a public drinking water notice for the city of Carbondale, Kan. The notice was issued because of low levels of microcystin, a blue-green algae toxin being detected in the drinking water. While the levels and water remained acceptable for drinking, food preparation and household uses, the EPA and KDHE believed it was important to inform consumers.

Samples collected by the city of Carbondale have indicated microcystin levels below laboratory detection levels for drinking water since July 1, 2019. The city’s drinking water has remained below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 10-day health advisory levels of 0.3 micrograms per liter and was acceptable for drinking, food preparation and all household use for the entire public notice period.

Microcystins entered the supply due to blue-green algae blooms occurring in Strowbridge Reservoir, the source water for Carbondale’s water supply. The Carbondale Public Water Supply has joined the KDHE Public Water Supply Harmful Algal Bloom Voluntary Monitoring Program and will continue to treat and monitor the public water supply for microcystins through October 2019.

Water systems purchasing water from Carbondale, including the city of Scranton and Osage County Rural Water District No. 5, should be aware of the rescinded notice and be assured the water is acceptable for use.

For more information, contact your local water supplier or KDHE Public Water Supply Section at 785-296-5514.

Eat Well to Be Well: Why choosing cow’s milk still matters

Going to the grocery store to “get milk,” is not always what it used to mean. Open up the refrigerator in many homes, and the “milk” might instead be a nondairy milk alternative. From soymilk, almond, coconut, rice, cashew, oat, hemp, quinoa, or hazelnut, just to name a few, cow’s milk has competition.

Traditional cow’s milk still dominates the milk market, but research shows that U.S. nondairy milk sales are growing, causing cow’s milk sales to sag. Nondairy milk alternatives have gained popularity among consumers. But are nondairy milk alternatives as healthy for us as cow’s milk and why are consumers dropping dairy milk for plant-based alternative milks anyway?

Reasons for the switch to nondairy milk alternatives

The consumer consumption switch on buying more nondairy milk alternatives is being fueled for several reasons:

  • People with a milk allergy have a safe alternative to cow’s milk.
  • People with lactose intolerance – however, dairy milk manufacturers make some varieties of cow’s milk with the lactose already broken down.
  • People who are vegans and consume no animal products.
  • People who have health concerns over consuming dairy milk believing it is fattening or unhealthy.
  • There is public perception that nondairy milk alternatives are healthier than dairy milk.
  • Some consumers question modern milk production practices.

How does the nutritional profile of cow’s milk compare to plant-based milks? This is where it is very important for consumer’s to read the nutrition facts label on all types of nondairy milk alternatives. While it’s tempting to follow the trend of drinking plant-based milk alternatives, before deserting cow’s milk, know the nutritional differences between them.

Let’s be clear, cow’s milk is still the gold standard with a high nutritional profile for several reasons:

Stomach ache serious, yet common horse ailment from many causes requiring awareness

Colic in horses in simple terms means a bellyache. It is a much more complicated and serious issue, according to Dr. James Moore, University of Georgia veterinarian, Athens, Ga.

“Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, or most simply a stomach ache. But it is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis,” Moore said.

The term colic encompasses all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal aches.

“Most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance,” Moore clarified.

There are a variety of different causes of colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention.

“Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare,” the veterinarian said.

An indication of colic is when a horse frequently looks at and even nips at the flank.

Among domesticated horses, colic is the leading cause of premature death. “Incidence of colic in the general horse population is between 4 and 10 percent in their lifetime,” Moore said.

Numerous clinical signs are associated with colic. The most common include pawing repeatedly, kicking, looking at the flank, lying down, rolling, and curling the upper lip.

Other indications of colic are repeatedly raising a rear leg, kicking, sweating, arching the neck, and stretching out.

Additional apparent colic signs include straining to defecate, distention of the abdomen, loss of appetite, depression, and decreased bowel movements.

“It is uncommon for a horse with colic to exhibit all of these signs,” Moore said. “Although they are reliable indicators of pain, particular signs do not indicate which portion of the gastrointestinal tract is involved.”

A diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment begun only after thoroughly examining the horse.

Eat Well to Be Well: Why making every bite count matters more as we age

Humorist, novelist, and journalist Mark Twain was famous for his wit and wisdom. One of my favorite quotes he coined was, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” However, what does matter is how healthfully we age, at least to me. I personally hope to live a long healthy life, with the emphasis on “healthy.”

So, is healthy eating more important as we get older? Good nutrition is important at every stage of life. But as the decades go by, likely, health issues will start to appear. Your food choices often have a significant role of what we may or may not develop. Smart nutritional choices do make a difference. That’s why it’s never too late to start afresh with eating habits promoting your health.

When you look at each decade of life nutritionally, they bring certain phases and changes to focus on. Anyone who has lived long enough has seen and felt bodily changes. That’s why starting young is best for building a strong nutritional foundation. Let’s look at what to focus on as the years go by:

Use ancient technology to explain about new technology: Talk to your kids

Submitted by Kari Wedel
SOS Community Relations Coordinator

As the school year winds down and summer begins, kids will be spending more time unsupervised. Evolving technologies present new challenges for parents with children of different ages. But no matter the age, all families face a similar dilemma when dealing with young adolescents on digital devices. The internet and online gaming platforms are now so accessible that many parents are struggling to shield their kids from inappropriate content. Therefore, developing and maintaining clear boundaries becomes paramount to your child’s safety.

Having constructive conversations about the negative impact of social media and sexting are crucial in a digital world where our youth are virtually surrounded by dangerous influences and perverse behaviors. When adults are not fully aware of their daily activities, kids will often follow their peers or even seek attention from complete strangers to better “fit in” by using popular forms of modern entertainment.

Smart phones, tablets and laptops are unfiltered opportunities for kids to make choices that may cause irreparable damage. There are numerous harmful behaviors that are now synonymous with using the internet, such as sexting, sending pornographic images or cyberbullying. Sexting occurs when multiple individuals are sharing suggestive images or messages that may seem innocent but can result in long-term dysfunction or legal consequences. Furthermore, private pictures or messages meant for a single person can quickly become widely dispersed among thousands, creating embarrassment and emotional trauma for years to come.

Mission: Rescue victims of human trafficking

By Sue Anderson 

The number of juveniles, both girls and boys, entrapped in human trafficking is growing in the United States, and Kansas is not immune.  Libby Adams, representing the Topeka Rescue Mission, brought this powerful message to members and guests of the Osage County Republican Women last week at the group’s regular business meeting held June 6, 2019, at the Lyndon Community Building.

Adams emphasized that most citizens are unfamiliar with the signs of human trafficking and don’t realize it can happen in our own communities. Yet, it is citizens themselves that can help by reporting unusual or suspicious activities to local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 888-373-7888.

Unlike a drug commodity that can be sold only once, Adams said, a person entrapped becomes a commodity of trafficking and can be sold again and again, thus being more profitable for the trafficker. It is estimated that human trafficking is a $150 billion per year industry. The traffickers are driven by money, and they use force, fraud or coercion to increase their profits.

Adams presented an overview of not only the situations of those exploited, but also steps being implemented to disrupt the trafficking networks and restore hope to the thousands ensnared. On the local level, this includes facilitating human trafficking awareness training, and enabling volunteers with training to be of assistance to those who escape or are rescued from trafficking rings.

Reminder for annual test to help prevent deadly horse disease spread

“All horses must have a Negative Coggins Test in order to participate in any activities on the show grounds.” That’s a common note on announcements for horse events or rodeos sponsored by many groups around the Midwest.

At first often annoyance to horse owners, requirement’s importance becomes apparent when a disease positive horse is identified. Alarm sounded loudly a couple of years ago when several Western Kansas horses were confirmed positive for Equine Infectious Anemia.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health received that confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

“EIA is an incurable, infectious disease caused by a virus afflicting equine species,” said veterinarian Dr. Robert N. Oglesby.

The deadly disease, also called swamp fever, affects horses, donkeys and mules.

“There are typically a small number of EIA cases in the United States every year,” Oglesby said. “But, the disease is common in other parts of the world.

“EIA is controlled in the U.S. by regular testing before traveling across state lines and before exhibition,” Oglesby explained.

That analysis for EIA is generally referred to as a Coggins Test.

“The EIA virus destroys red blood cells and is spread through blood-to-blood transfusion, not close proximity or contact,” Oglesby informed.

Clinical signs of EIA include fever, anemia and edema. However, affected horses may not show symptoms.

“All infected horses, including those which are asymptomatic,” Oglesby said, “are carriers of the disease. Transmission of the virus can be from an infected equine to a ‘clean’ equine by biting flies.”

Additionally, spread of the virus can be from using contaminated medical instruments, or through a blood transfusion.

The disease does not affect humans, KDA-DAH officials emphasized at the time of EIA confirmations in Kansas. Research has shown that the EIA virus survives for a limited time on the mouth parts of the fly vectors.

Eat Well to Be Well: The harms of going gluten-free when you don’t have to

In case you haven’t noticed, the gluten-free market has exploded within the past five years. This tidal wave of gluten-free popularity took off with endorsements from food blogs and social media hash tags. Even the food industry has played a significant role. Extensive labeling of foods as gluten-free or not has amassed such a following, an estimated one in five Americans include gluten-free foods in their diet.

Yet, most people pulling gluten-free foods off grocery store shelves do not have sensitivity to wheat, barley or rye. In fact, experts estimate that only about seven percent of Americans benefit from avoiding gluten. That means many of us eating gluten-free really don’t need to. Despite this fact, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, gluten-free alternatives to traditional foods accounted for nearly $1.6 billion in sales in 2015. Most of this growth is driven by consumers believing gluten-free is healthier and may aid weight loss. So, who should go gluten-free and who should not?

Who benefits from following a gluten-free diet?

Any person diagnosed with celiac disease through an intestinal biopsy will need to follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of their life. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye that can damage the lining of the small intestine by causing inflammation. When the damage occurs, it reduces the ability of the intestinal lining to absorb nutrients, which can lead to problems such as anemia, osteoporosis, or growth delays in children.

A food label shows this product is not gluten free: Wheat flour and whole wheat flour are derived from gluten-containing wheat. USDA graphic.

Another form of celiac disease called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), also warrants going gluten-free. DH can trigger the immune system to attack the skin, causing a chronic, itchy bumpy rash that can be quite painful.

One other reason to avoid gluten is to reduce symptoms of gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity is not an autoimmune disease; instead it’s the inability to process gluten, resulting in unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, and constipation.

Anyone who believes they may benefit from a gluten-free diet should be evaluated by their family physician and a gastroenterologist to determine if they have celiac disease, DH or gluten sensitivity. If they do, following a gluten-free diet will help them feel better with fewer symptoms.

Eat Well to be Well: Build brainpower with brain-healthy foods

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” This very wise and aptly spoken quote from Buddha makes perfect sense in the world today when a greater percentage of our population is developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

We always hear talk about heart health but what about brain health? Our brain needs our attention too. It needs to be nourished and fed the right kind of foods to keep us thinking clearly, focused, feeling energetic and functioning at our best.

As dementia and Alzheimer’s disease continue to rise in the United States with no cure in sight, the earlier we begin making healthy food choices, the better. Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death with 5.3 million Americans living with this condition. It is predicted that unless a cure is found, 16 million Americans will have the disease by 2050.

The brain needs adequate blood flow to enhance memory and cognitive thinking. Many studies have been conducted demonstrating how a healthy diet with proper food choices does indeed make a remarkable difference in how we think and feel, giving us a brain boost we can benefit from. By adding in foods to boost brain health, this is one way we can participate in keeping our brains healthy. Here are five foods for protecting, promoting and preserving brain health:

Drug Take-Back Day: Turn-in unused medications Saturday at Lyndon, Overbrook

LYNDON, Kan. – Local law enforcement officers will join others across the state in collecting unused medications for safe disposal 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019. The collection events are part of a nationwide effort to safely dispose of leftover medications to prevent accidental or intentional misuse.

In Osage County, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office, 131 W. 14th St., Lyndon, and Overbrook Police Department, 102 W. Santa Fe Trail, Overbrook, will be collection points for the national Drug Take-Back Day.

Since the Drug Take-Back Day program began in 2010, more than 81 tons of unwanted medications have been collected and destroyed in Kansas.

“Unused medications are dangerous for kids, pets and the environment,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “Diversion of opioid painkillers, in particular, can contribute to the misuse of these drugs that has become a serious nationwide problem. Getting leftover medicines out of the medicine cabinets and safely destroyed keeps them from falling into the wrong hands and makes our communities safer.”

The National Drug Take-Back Day is coordinated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which collects and safely destroys the medications.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates opioid overdoses kill 130 Americans every day. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, pharmaceutical opioids are a leading cause of drug poisoning deaths in Kansas.

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that traditional methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards and should be avoided.

Unused prescriptions can be turned in year-round at many local law enforcement locations. For more information about local collections of unused medications, contact the Osage County Sheriff’s Office at 785-828-3121.

Eat Well to Be Well: Hormones in beef – Should you worry?

When it comes to food, everyone has an opinion and each of us has many questions. Take beef for instance. It seems you either eat it or you don’t. And if you choose not to, one concern for avoiding it could be the fear of hormones in beef.  How do we know beef is safe to eat and why are hormones used anyway?

The ‘beef’ over eating meat

The sensationalism surrounding beef being filled with hormones is just that – an over exaggeration.  It’s important to understand all living things – plants, animals, and people – produce hormones. Hormones are special chemical messengers necessary for controlling most major body functions from hunger to reproduction. The hormones used in beef production are only those that are also naturally produced by cattle. They include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as synthetic versions of them.

Why are hormones used?

The simple answer why cattle are implanted with hormones is to help the cattle grow faster. These growth-promoting hormone pellets, about the size of an Advil tablet, contain a small amount of hormones and are put under the skin on the backside of the ear – cattle ears are never used in food production, thus they do not end up in the food we eat.

If you’re worried about the amount of hormones in these pellets, don’t be. The amount is a fraction of the natural production of mature bulls or heifers. A 1,300 pound steer is implanted with 30 milligrams of estrogen to last 150 days and that’s it. Compare this to the amount of ingested hormones a woman on birth control pills takes for months or years. Also, hormones don’t build-up in the cow’s system so there is no residue from the pellets in your meat.

These hormones not only help the animal gain weight faster, but they also have less of an impact on the environment than a non-treated animal. This means less time, food, and water are used to finish the animal, making them less expensive to produce, a cost-savings passed on to us as consumers. Research from Iowa State University found that hormone implants have no effect on beef quality or safety.

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