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  • Writer's pictureDr. Clifford Brown

National Radon Action Month

Colorado Volunteer Mobilizer: Monthly digest

From Koral O’Brien, Volunteer Coordinator January, 2024; 303-916-2494

Table of Contents

National Radon Action Month 

National Blood Donation Month 

One Health Awareness Month 

Winter Storm Readiness 

Canine Respiratory Disease 

National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month. What is radon? Radon is a

radioactive gas produced when uranium in soil decays; it can be

found all over the United States. Radon gas moves up through the

ground into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation,

becoming trapped inside. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

estimates that about one out of every 15 homes has elevated radon

levels, and approximately half of Colorado homes have radon gas

levels that exceed the EPA's action level. You can’t see, smell, or

taste radon, but it can be harmful — it is the second leading cause of

lung cancer in the United States among the population as a whole

and the primary cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is

estimated to cause 500 lung cancer deaths each year in Colorado.

The best way to protect yourself against radon is to test your home, and winter is a good time.

When windows and doors are sealed tightly, radon levels inside your home can rise.

National Blood Donation Month

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs a blood

transfer due to illnesses, surgeries or injuries every two seconds, and since one

donation has the chance of saving up to three lives, it’s crucial that donors give

when they can. As an example, one of our team member’s families has three

children with a rare blood defect (story shared with permission, but name

withheld to protect the family’s privacy).

An infection with the common cold sent the three children into aplastic crisis,

followed by another incident of hemolytic crisis. The three children received 8

transfusions over five weeks, and their grandmother shares, “It certainly was a

scary and a very stressful time. I’m glad for the selfless blood donors, without

them, these beautiful children would not have survived.”

January is National Blood Donor Month, please donate, you will make an

incredible impact on lives in your community.

One Health Awareness Month

January is One Health Awareness Month! The health of people, animals, plants and our environment are all connected - and One Health highlights that.

Communication, coordination, and collaboration among partners working in

animal, human and environmental health, as well as other areas are critical. A

successful approach to public health  involves many experts working together to

improve the health of people, animals - including pets, livestock, and wildlife-

plants, and our environment. The CDPHE Zoonoses and One Health Program works with a wide variety of partners, including veterinary professionals, animal health agencies, environmental health professionals, and academic researchers to support Colorado's One Health approach to public health.

Animals share our risk of some diseases and environmental hazards. Because of this, they can

sometimes serve as signs of potential human illness. For example, birds can die of West Nile virus before people in the same area are ill. Even the fields of chronic disease, mental health, injury, occupational health, and non-communicable diseases benefit from a One Health collaboration. This approach works because it addresses health threats from all possible angles: human, animal, and environmental. By protecting one, we can protect all.

Be prepared for a winter storm

Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice,

and high winds. They create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia,

frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from over exertion.

Canine respiratory disease

In the last few months veterinarians have reported an elevated number of canine respiratory

disease cases in the state. Other states, including Oregon, Florida, and New Hampshire, are

seeing a similar pattern.

The dogs experience prolonged coughing which can last weeks to months with minimal

response to treatment. In some cases, the dogs have progressed to contracting pneumonia and

require hospitalization, and in rare cases, some have progressed to death. Colorado State University (CSU) Veterinary Hospital is investigating the causative  agent, for more information,

please visit CSU's site or the Colorado Department of Agriculture Canine Respiratory Disease site.


Note: minor formatting modifications and a deletion of the departmental greetings have been made in the above text. Table of Contents items remain otherwise unchanged.



Clifford Brown, OD, MPH, FAAO(D)


Director of Public Health

Custer County

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