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Blog

January is National Radon Action Month

Iowa has the highest percentage of homes scoring above a safe radon level, with 71.6 percent of homes potentially at risk. That’s according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). The high levels of radon in Iowa are the result of ancient glaciers that ground down granite rocks over time and deposited them in the form of soil.

Radon is a gas that occurs as the end product of radium decay. Radon poisoning occurs when large amounts enter the body and cause harmful physical changes. As a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, radon is undetectable by human senses. Radon poisoning does not cause the same harmful, obvious symptoms as other radioactive substances. Instead, radon exposure can lead to the development of lung cancer.

Radon occurs throughout most environments in very small quantities. However, it can amass in buildings, particularly basements in homes. Radon accounts for the majority of most people's exposure to ionizing radiation.

Health Effects

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer, after smoking.

Radon tends to enter buildings at their lowest point. It often makes its way in through splits in foundations, cracks in walls, gaps around pipes, cavities inside walls and the water supply. The gas is likely to build up in poorly ventilated, airtight buildings.

Some estimate that 1 in 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated levels of radon. Radon test kits are widely available and generally cheap or even free.

Five Things You Can Do During National Radon Action Month

  1. Test your home - EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive.
  2. Spread the word
  3. Spend time during National Radon Action Month encouraging others to learn about radon and test their homes.
  4. Tell your family and friends about the health risk of radon. Encourage them to test their homes.
  5. View or order EPA's free radon publications.

(Information in this blog comes from the EPA and Medical News Today)

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Podcasts

BIRTH DEFECTS AWARENESS AND PREVENTION WITH DR. KARL HASIK

01/16/20

Dr. Karl Hasik, OB-GYN, FACOG, with Crawford County Memorial Hospital discusses awareness of birth defects and simple steps moms can take to help prevent them.

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News & Events

CCMH FAMILY COUNSELORS OFFERS TIPS TO PREVENT OR REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS

(Denison, IA) – Controlling holiday stress begins with “trying to stick to as normal of a routine as possible”, said Jill Wonder of Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH). Wonder is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who offices at CCMH City Center Clinic in Denison.

“A lot of times that overwhelming holiday feeling comes from too many activities. Learning how to say ‘No’ to the things you don’t really need to do can help reduce your stress“, Wonder commented.

Jim Greenwood, also a licensed mental health counselor with CCMH, suggests good physical health can lead to good mental health.

“The holiday season is as important as any other time of year to be aware of how our mental health is connected to our physical health. As much as possible, maintain a routine of physical exercise. Simply taking the time to walk more daily can reduce stress,” Greenwood said.

Wonder also noted that getting enough sleep can be very helpful to combat holiday anxiety. “Stick to your sleep patterns to keep from getting exhausted.”

For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one during the past year, Wonder said a key stress reliever is talking about the friend or family member missing from the holidays.

“Reaching out and trying to keep those traditions going, seeing family members, and celebrating that life and remembering that loved one and those happy times, is hugely important.”

Financial stress also plays a significant role around the holiday time, Wonder said. “It’s important to set a budget and then stick to it. Have that cash in your account and don’t put those purchases on credit cards”, she explained. “Talking about the emotions around holiday spending can help us identify – is it really about presents or is it about spending time with our loved ones? We lose the focus of spending quality time with each other around the holidays.”

Wonder warns that if the stress becomes too much, it might be time to see a counselor.

“If you’re not wanting to get up in the morning, if you are isolating yourself, if you’re not going to the holiday gatherings you used to enjoy, those are signs you should reach out to a mental health professional.”

“I think it’s important we do our best to enjoy this time of year. It can be hard with personal and financial stress. I encourage people to just to enjoy the moment. Do something with your family that doesn’t cost a lot of money but creates lifelong memories”, Wonder added.

Greenwood concluded, “If practical for your situation, try doing some volunteer work in the community to assist those less fortunate or are isolated from others. Including children in activities can help them develop a sense of empathy sharing.”

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Our Medical Staff

Attached to the hospital is the CCMH Medical Clinic – Main Campus, which is a provider-based rural health clinic. The Main Campus clinic currently has three family medical physicians, John Ingram, MD; Todd Woollen, MD, FAAFP; and John Lothrop, MD; and Dr. Elizabeth Brandt, a board –certified pediatrician. In addition, three advanced practitioners, Kathy Berens-Brownmiller, PA-C; Julie Graeve, ARNP; and Jill Kierscht, ARNP, are available to ensure the best care for patients of all ages. Drs. Ingram and Woollen also provide obstetrics services for their patients.

The CCMH Medical Clinic – City Center is located at 115 North 14th Street in uptown Denison. The City Center clinic is staffed by two advanced practitioners, Erin Schechinger, DNP and MacKenzi Smith, PA-C. The City Center clinic also houses Jim Greenwood and Jill Wonder. Both are licensed mental health counselors who provide child, family and adult counseling services. The CCMH Emergency Department is headed up by Craig Simons, DO. Dr. Simons is the Medical Director of CCMH Emergency Services.

Our Specialty Staff

CCMH Medical Clinic – Main Campus provides 24-hour coverage for community-based services for orthopaedics, obstetrics/gynecology and general surgery. A recent 6,000 square foot addition provides ample space to accommodate the needs of patients requiring these specialty services. Bradley Lister, MD, orthopaedic surgeon; Lori Johannsen, PA-C, orthopaedics; Douglas Bolda, MD, orthopaedic surgeon; Karl Hasik, MD, OB-GYN; David Wright, DO, general surgeon; and Michael Thorstenson, MD, general surgeon, staff these services for CCMH.