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Monday, December 29th, 2014
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Norovirus hitting hard this season - prevention measures are stressed


Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in All Health & Wellness

As if colds, influenza and other respiratory infections weren’t enough to make Minnesotans ill in winter, this is also the time of year when digestive tract illness caused by a family of germs known as noroviruses tend to increase. This year, norovirus seems to be hitting the state especially hard.

Approximately 40 outbreaks of norovirus illness have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) since the beginning of November. The outbreaks have occurred in a variety of settings, including restaurants, schools, nursing homes, and private gatherings.

Noroviruses are the most common cause of food-related illness in Minnesota, and reported cases peak during the winter months. Symptoms of a norovirus infection can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, a general run-down feeling, and a mild fever. People typically become ill 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus, and symptoms usually last anywhere from one to three days.

Although people commonly refer to norovirus illness as “stomach flu”, the illness is not the same as influenza. Influenza is primarily a respiratory illness, characterized by symptoms like high fever, body aches, sneezing, a runny nose or a sore throat.

When people think of “stomach flu,” they often don’t appreciate that they could have gotten their illness from food or that they could pass the virus to others through food. Prevention of norovirus infections is simple in principle, officials say. Just practice good personal hygiene and observe appropriate food-handling procedures.

“People need to remember to wash their hands, thoroughly,” said Dr. Kirk Smith, who heads the Foodborne Diseases Unit at MDH. “Wash your hands after using the toilet, before consuming food, and before preparing food for yourself or others. If everybody did that, we could prevent a majority of the illness caused by these viruses.”

Noroviruses are present in the stool and vomit of infected people, Dr. Smith said. They are spread primarily through person-to-person contact, or contamination of food prepared by a person with the illness.

Precautions that can help prevent the spread of noroviruses include:

•Washing your hands after using the toilet.

•Washing your hands before handling food or ice.

•Washing your hands before eating.

•Excusi .....
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Housing program for people with disabilities hits major milestone

Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in All Health & Wellness

More than 1,000 people with disabilities will spend this holiday season in safe, affordable homes of their own because of a program sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and The Arc of Minnesota. Housing Access Services helps Min ..... 
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Getting covered is good for families in rural Minnesota: sign up by January 15 for health insurance coverage that starts February 1!

Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014
Posted in All Health & Wellness

Living in a rural community shouldn’t have to come with a hefty price tag for healthcare. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it no longer has to. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already making a difference in the lives of millions of rural Ame ..... 
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Red Cross blood donation opportunities

Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014
Posted in All Health & Wellness

The American Red Cross asks eligible blood donors to make a resolution to give blood regularly in 2015, beginning with National Blood Donor Month in January. National Blood Donor Month recognizes the importance of giving blood and platelets while ..... 
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MNsure site issues

By Marvin Eggert

Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014
Posted in All Health & Wellness

Monday is the deadline for signing up for insurance through MNsure. I would like to provide a customer perspective on how the site is performing this year. Based on press reports related to failures of the service in 2013, MNsure replaced upper le ..... 
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Goal exceeded by nine at Harmony blood drive

Mon, Dec 8th, 2014
Posted in Harmony Health & Wellness

Thank you to all the donors who contributed to the success of the bloodmobile held in Harmony on December 2, 2014. Our goal for the day was 38, and with 48 donors presenting (including three first-time donors), we succeeded in collecting 47 units. I ..... 
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Bloodmobile in Harmony on December 2

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014
Posted in Harmony Health & Wellness

Harmony will be hosting a bloodmobile at the Harmony Community Center from 1-7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. All donors will be required to provide identification before donating, so please remember your donor card or driver’s license. Typi ..... 
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Celebrating National Homecare Month

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014
Posted in Preston Health & Wellness

Good Samaritan Society Home Care of Preston is happy to be celebrating in the month of November not only National Homecare month, but also the ongoing 20 year celebration of their existence. This service which was somewhat unique in 1994 is more the ..... 
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Simply dial 2-1-1. Get connected, get answers

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014
Posted in All Health & Wellness

Great Rivers 2-1-1 Always Here for Support The winter holiday season in the Midwest is a truly beautiful time as communities put up their lights and decorations and the snow creates lovely winter scenes. For most people this is a time of exciteme ..... 
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