3-16-2020 – Gov. Ricketts Media Release

Latest DHHS News Releases

Beatrice Office Moves Location!

The Public Health Solutions Beatrice office, home of Healthy Families Gage and Jefferson Counties program is moving!

Starting July 1, you can find them at their new home, 516 Court Street. This location will be more accessible for the public, community partners, and most importantly for the families being served through the program! Phone numbers will remain the same in case you need to contact our staff at their new location.

An open house will be scheduled in July. More information to come!

Are you ready for tick season?

With warmer weather comes tick season. If you plan on any outdoor activities, it may be a good idea to brush up on tick prevention information to keep yourself and your family safe. Tick are normally found near the ground in bushy or wooded areas. Though they cannot jump or fly, they still manage to find a way to a host. Ticks will climb tall grasses and shrubs and wait for a host to brush up against them. At that point, ticks will make their way to your skin and attach.

So how can you protect yourself from these opportunistic arachnid? If you know you’ll be outdoors, particularly in wooded or bushy areas, prevention is key!

  • Use insect repellent with DEET.
  • Wear permethrin-treated clothes.
  • Treat dogs for ticks.
  • Check for ticks after outdoor activities.
  • Shower soon after coming indoors.

If you do find a tick has attached to you, there are safe ways to remove ticks. Tick removal steps include:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the tick’s mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with clean tweezers.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

If you develop a rash or fever within a few weeks of after removing a tick, be sure to visit your primary care physician. Make note of when you were bit and where you most likely got bit.

For more information, read this pamphlet on tick-borne illness or contact our offices.

Spring Weather Hazards


As spring weather arrives, so do its weather hazards. These can include severe weather such as thunderstorms, flooding, tornadoes, hail, and severe wind.

Understanding Severe Weather Hazards: TORNADO - tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that can destroy buildings and cause significant injury or death. ACTION: Take shelter immediately in a sturdy structure. LARGE HAIL - hail can damage vehicles, crops, buildings, and cause injuries. ACTION: Move indoors away from windows. STRONG WIND - strong wind can knock over trees and damage buildings. ACTION: Move indoors away from windows. HEAVY RAIN - Heavy rain can cause flash flooding. ACTION: Avoid rising creeks and water-covered roads. LIGHTNING - Lightning strikes can cause significant injury or death. ACTION: Move indoors if you hear thunder.

Public Health Solutions hopes everyone can stay safe by following the recommendations and alerts from the National Weather Service. We also recommend downloading the FEMA app if you have a smartphone. The FEMA app sends you additional prompts to help keep you safe during a severe weather event. For more information, please visit weather.gov and learn more about what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this spring!


Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2019 - Facebook - no logoMay 20–26, 2019 is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. This year’s theme is “Pool Chemistry for Healthy and Safe Swimming.” Learn how to stay healthy and safe when swimming! 

Swimming is a fun, healthy way to stay physically active and spend quality time with family and friends. Healthy and Safe Swimming Week highlights the roles that swimmers, parents of young swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials play in preventing disease outbreaks, drowning, and pool chemical injuries.

Preventing Disease Outbreaks

Chemicals like chlorine are added to pool water to kill germs and stop them from spreading, helping to keep swimmers healthy. However, mishandling pool chemicals can cause injuries. Operators of public pools, hot tubs/spas, or water playgrounds and owners of residential pools or hot tubs/spas can take steps to prevent pool chemical injuries, such as reading and following directions on product labels of pool chemicals before using them.

Swimmers and parents of young swimmers can also promote healthy and safe swimming through pool chemistry. When swimmers don’t shower before getting in pools, hot tubs/spas, or water playgrounds or pee in the water, free chlorine (the form of chlorine that kills germs) combines with pee, poop, sweat, dirt, and personal care products. This means there is less free chlorine to kill germs and unwanted chemical compounds are produced. One example is a group of irritants called chloramines, which can makes eyes red and sting, skin irritation and rashes, and respiratory problems. These chloramines are different from the type of chloramine that is sometimes used to treat our drinking water.

Tips for Healthy Swimming

  • Check out the latest inspection score. You can typically find inspection scores online or onsite.
  • Do your own mini-inspection. Use test strips to check disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) level and pH before getting in the water. Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell test strips.
  • Shower for at least 1 minute before you get into the water. This will remove most of the dirt and sweat on your body.
  • Check yourself! Keep the pee, poop, sweat, blood, and dirt out of the water.
  • Don’t swim or let children swim when sick with diarrhea
  • Don’t swallow the water.  Just one mouthful of water with diarrhea germs can make you sick for up to 3 weeks.

Download CDC’s health promotion materials and order FREE posters to help spread the word about staying healthy and safe in the water this summer and all year long!

(This article has been adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and can be found at: cdc.gov)

February Is American Heart Month

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a public health crisis— affecting more than 356,000 people outside hospitals each year, including over 7,000 youth under age 18—but death can be averted if people nearby act quickly. Today, only one in 10 victims survives, but with immediate CPR and use of an AED, survival rates can triple. If you see an adult or teen suddenly collapse, and the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, Call 911, Push hard and fast on the chest, and use an AED as soon as it arrives at the scene.

Offices Closed due to Weather

Public Health Solutions offices in Crete and Beatrice are closed today due to weather conditions. For assistance, please call the PHS main line at 402-826-3880. Follow prompts to leave a message or reach the Health Director in case of emergency. Offices will reopen at 8:00am tomorrow 1/23/2019.

West Nile Virus Update

Mosquito Pool in Gage County Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Nebraska DHHS has reported that a mosquito pool collected in Gage County has tested positive for West Nile Virus. This is the first report of a positive mosquito pool in the PHS district this season.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with the virus do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. To date, PHS has confirmed two cases of neuro-invasive WNN in the district and one blood donor has screened positive for the virus.

Late summer is typically when we see increased cases of WNV in our area. Taking steps to prevent mosquito bites remains the best defense against West Nile Virus.

* Use insect repellent containing Deet when you are outdoors

* Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants & socks when outdoors

* Avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active

* Eliminate standing water around your homes and in the community

If you have questions regarding West Nile virus or mosquito prevention, please contact Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3880 or email Kate Lange.

Free Training: Stop the Bleed/Bloodborne Pathogens

Please register in advance!