Health Talks

The Importance of Immunizations

One of the most important things you can do to protect your health is to receive recommended immunizations and flu shots-on time. Vaccines have been proven as one of the most effective tools to help people live longer and have healthier lives. They work by preventing infectious diseases, some of which have the potential to cause long-lasting or permanent health problems, or even death.

At Granite Falls Municipal Hospital, the staff is regularly vaccinated with the appropriate medicine, but there have been cases where patients were admitted and their disease could have been prevented (or the severity decreased) with a single shot.  Some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are rare because we have been vaccinating against them.

Vaccinate to protect yourself, children, grandchildren and their grandchildren. With one disease, smallpox, we “stopped the leak” in the boat by eradicating the disease. Children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to end the serious effects of certain diseases.  A single sick child brought into a community can trigger a widespread outbreak. The 2009 H1N1 outbreak in Minnesota brings this issue home.

U.S. Flu Facts

*An estimated 10-20% of the population contracts the flu each year.

*Approximately 36,000 annual deaths in the U.S. are attributed to influenza complications.

*The highest rates of complications, hospitalizations and deaths occur primarily in patients older than 65.

*Increased rates of complications, hospitalizations and deaths also are observed in young children.

Sources of immunization information include:

The National Immunization Program (NIP)

The National Network for Immunization Information (NNii)

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)

The American Academy of Pediatrics

The CDC Contact Center at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) English and Español
Questions about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases frequently asked by people calling the TTY Service Hotline at 1-888-232-6348.

Make sure your vaccinations are up to date and you have had this year’s flu shot.  It may save your life.

Handwashing: The First Line of Defense Against Germs

Think about all of the things that you touched today — from the telephone to the toilet. Maybe you blew your nose and played with your dog. Whatever you did, you came into contact with germs. So it’s easy for germs on your hand to end up in your mouth (maybe when you ate a handful of popcorn with teammates right after basketball practice).  December is national Handwashing Month and Granite Falls Municipal Hospital wants you to keep your hands clean this winter.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you don’t wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself. You’re at risk every time you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. In fact, one of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after the cold virus has gotten on their hands.  If people don’t wash their hands frequently (especially when they’re sick), they spread germs to other people or onto surfaces. And before you know it, everyone is coming down with something!

Hand hygiene practices are key prevention tools in healthcare settings, in daycare facilities, in schools and public institutions, and for the safety of our food.  Handwashing can prevent infection and illness from spreading from family member to family member and, sometimes, throughout a community. The basic rule is to wash hands before preparing food and after handling uncooked meat and poultry, before eating, after changing diapers, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose into a tissue, after using the bathroom, and after touching animals or anything in the animal’s environment.

Wash Your Hands The Right Way:

●       Wet your hands with clean, warm running water and apply soap.

●       Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.

●       Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

●       Rinse hands well under running water.

●       Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.

●       Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

If soap and clean water are not accessible, however, use an alcohol-based product containing at least 62% alcohol to clean hands.

When Using Hand Sanitizer:

●       Apply product to the palm of one hand.

●       Rub hands together.

●       Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

Handwashing is simple and keeping hands clean prevents illness at home, at school, and at work, be aware of your hands’ cleanliness today!

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month

At Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor, we want all of our community members, from the youngest to the oldest to have a safe and wonderful holiday season.  But each year, children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. Choking is a particular risk for kids ages 3 or younger, because they tend to put objects in their mouths. Here are some purchasing guidelines to keep our kids safe.

●       Read all tags that are attached to stuffed animals. Most of them are restricted to ages three and up. If you are giving it to a child that is an infant or under two, please be sure that the animal is smaller in height and “mass” than the child. Purchasing toys that are age appropriate for infants will not only help you find developmentally appropriate toys, but also toys that are safe for infants. Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant. Stuffed toys should be washable.

●       Look for safety precautions and warnings on the box. Toys, for example the “Easy Bake Oven” needs adult supervision and assistance with the cooking. Make sure the gift is acceptable for the specific age group. Pay very close attention if the gift has sharp edges.

●       Examine the pictures of toys on boxes, for example Legos may contain small pieces that a kid may place in their mouths. Determine if there are any choking hazards on the toy. An easy way to determine if a toy or a part of a toy can pose a choking hazard is to see if the toy or toy part will fit inside of a cardboard toilet paper tube. If the toy or toy part fits easily in the tube, then the toy or toy part can be a choking hazard, which are not safe for infants.

●       Avoid getting anything that has excess string or cords, such as slingshots. Never consider BB guns as toys for kids.

●       Inspect all gifts as children open them.

●       Look for information on toy recalls. The website for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has information on infant toy recalls at . You can search by specific toy, manufacturing company or toy description. You can also look for any recalls in a particular month and year.  Any toy that has been recalled should be deemed unsafe for an infant or any other child.

●       Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint.

●       Art materials should say nontoxic.  Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that they’ve been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

●       Steer clear of antique, older toys, even hand-me-downs from friends and family. Those toys might have sentimental value, but they may not meet current safety standards and may be so worn from play that they can break and become hazardous.

●       Make sure a toy isn’t too loud for your child. The noise of some rattles, squeak toys, and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn — even louder if a child holds it directly to the ears — and can contribute to hearing damage.

If you are donating to Santa’s Sleigh Program this year, please keep these tips and guidelines in mind.  Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!


November is Diabetes Awareness Month

As U.S. waistbands expand, so do the numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes.  With over 24 million Americans living with diabetes and thousands more who have it and are not yet aware of their diagnosis. November is American Diabetes Month by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The mission of the American Diabetes Assn. is to prevent and cure diabetes, improve lives, raise awareness about diabetes (Type 1 and 2) and to support the community through educational programs, advocacy, comprehensive resources and fundraising to support research and care.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes affects hundreds of millions of people around the globe not just victims but the friends and family that also have to live with those who suffer from it. When diagnosed with diabetes—either type I or type II—life changes have to be made in order to adjust to blood sugar readings and dietary restrictions along with new routines that help you (or your child) manage this disease.

According to the ADA, it is estimated that 57 million people in the USA are at risk for type II diabetes, the type that occurs later in life instead of during childhood as type I is often found. Experts predict in the near future that possibly one of every three children born will have to live with diabetes at some point in his or her life because of the rapid spread of this disease.

Although the disease doesn’t immobilize most people and is usually managed with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and regulating medication; it is not always the case. Diabetes gives patients a larger risk for stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, and even more serious issues like blindness or amputation, which is why we need to fight this disease.  The Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Home Care department works with and monitors clients with diabetes.  Consider some ways to cut some of the unnecessary sugars and fats from your holiday table as a courtesy to your family and friends.

The American Diabetes Association’s American Diabetes Month focus is, “I Raise My Hand to Stop Diabetes”.
There are plenty of ways you can become involved in American Diabetes Month and the Stop Diabetes movement this November.  There is no time to waste. Diabetes is a disease with deadly consequences. Drastic action is needed from everyone. Tools are available to help spread the word for companies, community organizers and health care professionals. Find out how to get involved, visit, check out their Facebook page or call 1-800-DIABETES.

Think Pink This October!

It is October, which means it is time to THINK PINK! According to the American Cancer Society, one in every 8 women will get breast cancer. Granite Falls Municipal Hospital wants to remind local patients that it offers digital mammograms, which can help screen for this disease.

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor through a generous grant from Prairie’s Edge Casino offers FREE mammograms to qualifying women.  The screening program is a comprehensive screen program to increase the proportion of age-appropriate women who are screened for breast cancer by…

●       Providing FREE screening to uninsured women

●       Reaching out to women without regular healthcare providers

●       Educating about screening importance

●       Raising awareness among health professionals

●       Must have no previous breast abnormalities or issues

●       Must not have had a mammogram for at least 1 year

This month, the X-Ray and Imaging department will also be giving away a $100 gift card for any of our mammogram patients who register for the drawing and have their mammogram in October. The X-Ray and Imaging Department of Granite Falls Municipal Hospital provides the highest quality diagnostic imaging services to all Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor patients and residents.  Remind your family, friends and neighbors to schedule mammograms in October, appointments are available Monday through Friday, call 320-564-6241.  This simple screening could save a life!

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