Recent Articles

Flu Fighter Clinics begin Sept. 19

Flu vaccinations offered at all Minnesota Lunds & Byerly’s stores

Flu season is returning to the Northern Hemisphere. It won’t be long before the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) start issuing weekly influenza bulletins. Don’t get caught off guard this flu season. A flu vaccination is the best defense against the respiratory virus, and now is the time to get vaccinated. Health Fair 11 and the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) are once again joining forces to offer Flu Fighter Clinics across the Twin Cities region. Continue Reading →

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Diabetes rates have nearly doubled in 20 years

People of color especially at risk
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) estimates that about 80,000 adults in Minnesota may have diabetes without knowing it. Given the seriousness of the disease, the Minnesota Department of Health is encouragingMinnesotans to ask themselves whether they are at risk for diabetes and to take steps to improve their health. The percentage of adults in Minnesota who are living with diabetes nearly doubled between 1994 and 2010, and these numbers under-represent the true number of people living with the condition. About 290,000 adults in Minnesota, or 7.3 percent, say they have been told by their healthcare team they have diabetes. National data show that only 75 percent of adults with diabetes know that they have the disease. Continue Reading →

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Childhood trauma can negatively impact adult health

More than half of Minnesotans have had an adverse experience in their childhood that could have a lifelong impact on their health and well-being, according to data recently released by the Minnesota Department of Health. The department surveyed 13,520 Minnesota adults in 2011 and found that 55 percent of them reported having at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) such as divorce or separation of their parents; an incarcerated household member; a mentally ill parent; domestic violence against a parent; a household member with an alcohol or substance abuse problem; or verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. “The significance of this study is that it shows that these experiences, which can significantly affect the health and well-being of adults decades later, are much more common in Minnesota than one might expect,” said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota commissioner of health. “Our task now is to learn from this information and use these insights to better identify and support children and families at risk.”

The four most common adverse experiences reported by adults include verbal abuse at 28 percent, a drinking problem in the household at 24 percent, mental illness in the household at 17 percent, and physical abuse at 16 percent. With the collection of these data, Minnesota is one of 18 states that have surveyed residents in an effort to better understand the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the health and well-being of adults. Continue Reading →

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Radioactive gas: a persistent health risk in Minnesota

Governor Dayton has declared January “Radon Action Month” to encourage testing

Minnesota homes need to be tested for radon; winter is the best time to do it. Every 25 minutes, one person in the U.S. dies from radon-related lung cancer. It is the largest environmental cancer risk and t‹he leading cause of lung cancer among non smokers. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable. More than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas, and state health officials say every home should be tested. Continue Reading →

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Norovirus: the holiday ‘gift’ nobody wants, but many get

‘Tis the season of giving, but too many Minnesotans this time of year are giving and receiving something nobody wants: norovirus infection and the nasty illness that comes with it. Noroviruses are a group of viruses that can cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines, leading to vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Other symptoms can include low-grade fever or chills, headache, and muscle aches. Noroviruses are very contagious and are the leading cause of food-borne illness outbreaks in Minnesota, infecting thousands of people each year, said state health officials. Found in the stool (feces) or vomit of infected people, the viruses are transferred to food, water or surfaces by the hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom. Continue Reading →

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State’s Black teens show health gains, including reduced pregnancies

However, wellness gap remains between White youth and youth of color
Collectively, Minnesota’s teens are doing better today on key health measures than they were in the 1990s, according to a recent analysis by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Since the 1990s, students 12 to 19 years old from all racial and ethnic groups have experienced substantial declines in rates of smoking cigarettes, binge drinking, sexual activity, hitting or beating up another person, carrying a weapon on school property, drinking pop or soda, and riding in a car without a seat belt, according to The Health and Well-Being of Minnesota’s Adolescents of Color and American Indians: A Data Book (PDF: 3.62MB/86 pages) from the MDH. One exception is the level of emotional distress, which has remained basically the same since the mid-1990s. This marks the first time the MDH has systematically compared the health of teens from different ethnic and racial backgrounds — White, Latino, African American, Asian, and American Indian — and found a persistent wellness gap between Minnesota’s White adolescents and its adolescents of color and American Indians. “This teen fact book shows that efforts in some targeted areas have been working to protect adolescents of color and American Indians, but it also shows that much more needs to be done,” said Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota commissioner of health. Continue Reading →

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