Preventing illness during your summer vacations

Submitted by Riley Black,RN

Summer has arrived and with it for many families comes the time of year to pack up the camper or RV and hit the road. To avoid having your summer vacation ruined by illness, Lincoln County Public Health (LCPH) has some tips to help you stay healthy and free of disease during your summer travels.

Regardless if you are traveling across state lines or are just making a quick trip to the lake, illness and disease are all around and may turn your dream summer into a miserable experience. During this time of year, certain diseases are more likely to be acquired due to normal summer activities.

If you are traveling then you are more likely to be exposed to the following illnesses and diseases:

Giardia and Campylobacteriosis:

Causes extreme diarrhea,  vomiting, and abdominal pain

Can get from drinking out of streams, rivers, or lakes

Salmonella, E.Coli, Norovirus, and Hepatitis A:

Causes violent diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain

Can get by eating contaminated foods or food that has been improperly chilled or cooked


Causes muscle spasms, contractures, respiratory failure, and death

Can get through punctures, wounds, and burns

Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever:

Causes rash, joint pain, weakness, and coma

Transmitted by tick bites

Rabies exposure:

Causes fever, headache, paralysis, and death

Can get by touching or being bitten by infected animals like bats or skunks

Respiratory Infections, colds, and vaccine preventable diseases

Causes coughing, fever, sore throat, headache

Can get from person to person in highly populated areas like airports and theme parks

These are just a few of the most common illness that are acquired during the summer months. Like with any disease, prevention is extremely important.

To prevent these diseases, make sure you follow these guidelines:

Wash your hands often; particularly before cooking, after using the bathroom and after being in congested or crowded places

Carry hand sanitizer or cleansing wipes to use between hand washing

Don’t drink from untreated water sources like lakes, rivers, streams, or unknown water sources

Maintain proper food handling practices like washing hands, keep food cold, and cooking food completely

Get vaccinated against Tetanus at least two weeks before traveling to maintain immunity from infection. Adults should be vaccinated every 10 years

Wear protective clothing and use bug sprays to prevent tick bites. Always properly remove a burrowed tick immediately

Do not feed, entice, or try to pet wild animals, they may bite you. If you see an animal behaving strangely, avoid it and report it to local Animal Control.

Drink lots of fluids, about 10-12 cups a day, to avoid dehydration. Healthy fluids include water, tea, and 100% fruit juices. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and energy drinks

Eat as healthy as you can to maintain a strong immune system

Make sure your family is current on their vaccinations at least 2 weeks before traveling

If you are unvaccinated, avoid states or countries with epidemics of diseases

If you have further questions about these diseases or how to prevent them, call LCPH at (406) 283-2447.

It is highly recommended that all persons carry their complete vaccination record with them when they travel, even if you are staying within the United States.

If you need to check your families vaccination records, need to get a copy, or would like to get vaccinated before your trip, call our nurse at (406) 283-2447.




Mushroom picking ongoing on Kootenai National Forest

Submitted by Willie Sikes

We are quickly approaching the end of the commercial mushroom season, which ends on July 7.

Although commercial mushroom permits will no longer be available after July 7, Personal Use permits are available until September 30, 2018 on the Kootenai National Forest. So far the Forest has issued approximately 630 Personal Use permits. A Personal Use permit is required for those harvesting more than five gallons for the season.

Incidental picking of mushrooms is allowed through the calendar year and allows small amounts of mushrooms to be collected without a permit. You may collect up to one gallon per day with a maximum of five gallons total for the year and you may do so without purchasing a permit.  Incidental picking of mushrooms is allowed on all National Forest System lands in Montana unless otherwise restricted.

Those harvesting mushrooms under a Personal Use permit or incidentally must cut their mushrooms in half lengthwise. Sale of mushrooms which are collected incidentally or under a Personal Use permit is prohibited.

Forest law enforcement officers will continue to enforce mushroom permit terms and conditions, as well as rules and regulations that protect resources. Safety of all Forest users continues to be a priority, along with sanitation and food storage.

Many fire areas have mixed land ownership.  Mushroom pickers are reminded to ensure your location, to avoid trespassing on private lands. The public is encouraged to report any resource concerns, sanitation issues or other violations to your local Ranger District office.

Please visit the Kootenai National Forest website for more information, including maps of commercial mushroom areas and mushroom permit regulations, at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/kootenai/.


Nursing skills fair held at CPMC

Submitted by CPMC

As a way to keep up with the ever changing field of healthcare and the constant updating of equipment in the medical field, Cabinet Peaks Medical Center recently held a Nursing Skills Fair.

The skills fair was an opportunity for the staff at Cabinet Peaks to be trained on any new equipment and processes at the facility.  The fair was offered in 2 separate sessions in order to accommodate the schedules of each and every registered nurse on staff.   Additionally, the event was videoed and is available for those who could not attend or who would like a refresher on the topics and equipment discussed.

“It is important for each department to be on the same page, stated CPMC’s Clinical Educator, Infection Prevention, and Employee Health Coordinator, Stacy Wood, RN, BSN .  “With updated equipment and greater understanding of that equipment we can provide better care here at Cabinet Peaks.  Additionally, this type of education helps to bring the entire team’s knowledge base to the next level.”

The main purpose of this program, and many other programs available to the employees at Cabinet Peaks, is for quality improvement.  “Expanding our nursing staff’s knowledge, skills, and abilities is the best way to improve the quality of care our patients receive,” Wood explained.

Anita Ivankovig, Chief Operating Officer at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center also emphasized the importance of these events.  “With the continuous changes happening in health care, it is vital that we at Cabinet Peaks offer ongoing education to our nurses in order to maintain the highest quality of care for our patients.  Offering these skills days give our nurses a chance to enhance and/or review their knowledge with hands on experience.”

The Nursing Skills Fair will become a part of the education provided regularly at the hospital.