Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

August 14, 2013

Healthy & Happy Outdoors at the Iowa State Fair

3Des Moines Water Works is a supporter of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Healthy & Happy Outdoors (H2O) program and was present when Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds kicked off the H2O program at the Iowa State Fair. The H2O program helps you get connected to Iowa outdoor destinations, including Water Works Park, and recreational activities for a healthier life! Helping Iowans improve physical and mental health through outdoor recreation is an important goal for DMWW.  Above photo:  IDNR Deputy Director Bruce Trautman, Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds

Here’s how the H2O program works: After you register on H2O website, you can record your outdoor activities in Iowa parks and recreational areas. Each recorded activity counts as an entry into a prize drawing for outdoor gear– from bikes to binoculars to a vacation getaway. The more outdoor activities you register, the more chances you have to win. Log in today to get started! Participants who log activities between now and August 31, 2013 are eligible to win an Iowa State Park camping coupon book.

1Des Moines Water Works and Iowa DNR is providing free water at the Iowa State Fair in the Department of Natural Resources building. Bring your reusable water bottle to the Fair and fill up!

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Environment, Health, Parks July 4, 2013

Avoiding Extreme Heat

woman drinking fountainMost people think of 97 degree highs when they hear the words “extreme heat,” but even temperatures in the upper 80s can cause health problems. When the temperatures are high, and especially when the humidity is high, your body’s ability to sweat and cool itself off decreases. This means that your body temperature can quickly rise to dangerous levels that can cause damage to your brain and vital organs.

Keep your home cool by following these tips:

  • Install temporary window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades or awnings. Outdoor awnings can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
  • Keep storm windows up in the summer.
  • Avoid using appliances such as washer and dryer (if on the main level), dishwasher and stove during the hottest periods of the day.

To avoid heat related illness or death, follow these simple tips:

  • Drink lots of fluids – don’t wait until you are thirsty. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
  • Try to limit outdoor activities to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas to let your body cool down.
  • Never leave children or pets in a car, even if the windows are cracked or open.

The most important thing you can do is check on people you know who might be at risk, such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases, or people who are obese. Especially check on those who are reluctant to use or do not have an air conditioner. Remember, just a few hours in air conditioning can prevent heat related illness and death.

For more information, call Polk County Health Department at (515) 286-3798 or Polk County Emergency Management at (515) 286-2107.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Health May 2, 2013

Get Healthy and Happy Outdoors Today!

Healthy&HappyOutdoorsIf you’re looking for a way to get healthier, a new program from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in partnership with Des Moines Water Works and several Iowa organizations, provides you resources and recognition for spending more time outdoors.

The Healthy & Happy Outdoors initiative, or H2O, connects you to Iowa’s natural resources and helps you enjoy an active lifestyle.

It’s easy to get started:

  1. Register online at www.iowadnr.gov/h2o.
  2. Get outside. Log your outdoor recreation activities on the H2O website.
  3. Need some recommendations? Find more than 1,600 recreation locations across the state in an interactive map (including Water Works Park and Maffitt Reservoir Park) along with suggestions for outdoor opportunities you might enjoy.
  4. Win prizes! Each activity you log counts as an entry for regular drawings of outdoor-themed prizes, with a first-year celebration of H2O at the Iowa State Fair in August 2013.

The DNR and the program’s partners aim to have 1,000 participants sign up for H2O in the first year, and 50,000 participants by 2016. Program partners include the Healthiest State Initiative, Des Moines Water Works, Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Transportation, and Iowa Tourism Office.

“Our goal is to help Iowans increase mental and physical health through outdoor recreation in Iowa’s natural spaces,” said Chuck Gipp, DNR Director.

The H2O website will continually grow with tips, healthy resources, additional activities and more. You can also help improve the map – if you visit a recreation area not shown on the map, just include it in your activity log and the H2O team will add it.

Des Moines Water Works is pleased to be a part of this exciting initiative. Get healthy and happy outdoors today!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customers, Environment, Health, Parks April 1, 2013

Water’s Role in Public Health

Des Moines Water Works celebrates public health during National Public Health Week (April 1-7, 2013), a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. In a world where an estimated 3 million people die every year from preventable waterborne disease, our water systems allow us to drink from virtually any public tap with a high assurance of safety. Each community water supply meets rigorous federal and state health protective standards.

Drinking water quality has a major influence on public health. Improvements in drinking water quality have dramatically improved the public’s health in the United States. However, some old challenges remain and new ones are emerging. Access to plentiful healthy source waters treated for drinking water are becoming limited by the increased presence of contaminants, new and more stringent regulations, and aging infrastructure. The public costs to safeguard our drinking water supply will be high without changes in land use that prevents the continued increase of contaminants from reaching our water sources, but the costs associated with failing to do so are likely to be much higher.

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is committed to protecting public health by assessing water quality in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds and mitigating the public’s exposure to contaminantsthrough treatment.We work with landowners to help identify appropriate barriers for controlling contaminants that do not focus on expensive treatment processes, but rather consider a range of options that may result in improved water quality and in our ability to ensure quality drinking water after treatment. This is a holistic approach of managing water resources from our source to your tap.

For 40 years, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) has been the regulation by which drinking water utilities adhere to, to protect public health. When the SDWA became law in 1974 it required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set enforceable standards for health-related drinking water contaminants. The SDWA has been reauthorized in 1986 and 1996. In fact, the drinking water industry is one of the most regulated industries in the United States. In addition to meeting EPA drinking water standards, DMWW is proactively monitoring emerging contaminants that may require regulations in the future.

Protecting public health is the reason that the drinking water industry exists. The public health effects of current and future contaminants is the motivation behind the need for sustainable infrastructure, skilled operators, technical expertise, leadership and improvement and protection of the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds.

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Health, Public Policy, Water Quality July 18, 2012

Fill’er up! DSM H2GO Mobile Water Filling Stations

Be on the lookout for mobile water filling stations, operated by Des Moines Water Works at upcoming community events. Enjoy quality Des Moines water on the go. Each DSM H2GO station features six water spigots to fill your reusable water bottle, one drinking fountain and a dog bowl for your thirsty pets!

Des Moines Water Works tap water doesn’t just taste great:

It’s clean:  Des Moines Water Works ranked number one on Forbes.com list of U.S. cities with the cleanest drinking water.

It’s healthy:  Water contains zero calories, zero sugar and zero fat. A typical 12-ounce can of soda contains about 150 calories and the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. Sports drinks, which are marketed as healthy alternatives, have as many calories as sugary beverages and usually contain high levels of sodium.

It’s affordable:  Des Moines Water Works tap water is a great deal. At approximately one penny per gallon, it is about 1,000 times less expensive than bottled water.

It’s green:  Plastic water bottles produced for the U.S. use 1.5 million barrels of oil a year – enough to power 250,000 homes or 1000,000 cars all year. And it takes more than 3 liters of water to produce each liter of water.

It’s convenient:  Quality water is available right from the tap. DSM H2GO mobile water stations will be available at upcoming community events, making staying hydrated easy and affordable. Look for the DSM H2GO station at Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday, July 21.  Free water bottles will be given out while supplies last.

Live healthy. Be green. Drink tap!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers, Environment, Green Initiatives, Health May 6, 2012

Take Back the Tap Pledge

Although it may be convenient, choosing bottled water is not always better. Celebrate Drinking Water Week – May 6-12, 2012 – by pledging to Take Back the Tap.

Tap water is clean. In fact, Des Moines Water Works ranked number one on Forbes.com list of U.S. cities with the cleanest drinking water.

Tap water is inexpensive. If you drank bottled water every day for 70 years, it would cost a startling $101,000. If you drank tap water, it would cost less than $40.00.

Tap water is convenient. Increasingly, you can find cafés, shops and other venues that will refill your reusable water bottle. Locate a venue near you with a TapItWater.com mobile app.

Des Moines Water Works encourages customers to pledge to Take Back the Tap and show your commitment to drinking quality water from Des Moines Water Works.  Stop by the DSM H2Go water station this Friday at Gray’s Lake from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and get a free reusable water bottle for signing a Take Back the Tap pledge, or submit an online pledge form by June 15, to be entered into a drawing to win a Des Moines Water Works prize pack!

Remember to choose tap water over bottled water whenever possible and when you are away from home and must choose a beverage in a non-reusable container, please recycle the bottle or can.

Also, stay informed about water quality.  Des Moines Water Works produces an annual water quality report, also known as a Consumer Confidence Report.  This report, required by law to provide water quality information, is mailed to customers every June.  A copy of this year’s report can be found at http://www.dmww.com/water-quality/water-quality-data/water-quality-reports/.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Education, Environment, Health April 26, 2012

Prepare Yourself for Wild Weather

Reprinted with permission by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Iowa Newspaper Foundation

Iowa is no stranger to wild weather.  Prepare yourself with this helpful hints and terminology.

THUNDERSTORMS
All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightening which is one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States.

LIGHTENING
Remember the 30/30 Lightening Safety Rule: go indoors if, after seeing lightening, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thundering.  Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.  If you cannot get indoors, here are tips for staying safe outside:

  • In an open area:  Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Watch out for flash flooding.
  • On open water:  Get to land and find shelter immediately.
  • Anywhere you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightening is about to strike):  Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact to the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.

FLOODS
Flooding happens during heavy rains, when rivers overflow, snow melts too fast or levees break.  This is the most common natural weather event. Here are few tips:

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • If you’re in a car and floodwaters rise around it, get out of the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.

TORNADOES
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.

  • If you are at home, go to your pre-designated shelter area that you and your family determined, most likely the basement. If you do not have a basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Do not open your windows.
  • If you are in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.
  • If you are outside with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.

TERMS TO KNOW

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch:  Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to happen. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or TV for information.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning:  Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate danger to those in the path of the storm is likely and they should seek shelter.
  • Flood Watch or Flashflood Watch:  Flooding may happen soon. Stay tuned to the radio or TV news for more information.
  • Flood Warning:  You may be asked to leave the area. A flood may be happening or will be very soon.
  • Flashflood Warning:  A flashflood is happening. Get to high ground right away.

Sources: American Red Cross, www.ready.gov  

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Environment, Flooding, Health April 12, 2012

Replace Sports Drinks with Good, Old-fashioned H2O

Reprinted with permission by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Iowa Newspaper Foundation

You’ve probably reached for a sports drink thinking it was the healthy thing to do. But water is actually a better choice for you.

A common myth is sports drinks are needed during and after a game or workout to recover. The fact is unless you workout hard for more than one hour, the fluids lost through sweat can be replaced with plain water.

Sports drinks and vitamin waters are advertised as healthy drinks for athletes because they replace carbohydrates and electrolytes lost through sweating. And, for kids who have tough fitness programs or participate in a high-energy sport like basketball or soccer, they may be beneficial.

Carbs are broken down in your body into sugar, which is then used to feed your muscles and give you energy.  One carb is equal to 4 calories. If you haven’t burned up the calories in your workout equal to the calories you eat or drink, you end up with extra calories.  Drinking sports drinks when you don’t need them can lead to gaining weight.

Electrolytes are made up of potassium and sodium. These nutrients help restore fluid balance lost during sweating. However, because sweat is 99 percent water and only 1 percent electrolytes, you may actually consume more electrolytes than you need.

Experts say most kids get the electrolytes and carbs needed for sports and other activities through a balanced diet.  Hydration should come from drinking plenty of water before, during and after the activity.

Sports drinks may be appropriate for kids in competitive sports that last more than one hour. But during the school day and at most sports practices, water is the best drink for kids.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, “HealthHints”

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Health March 1, 2012

Cheers to H2O and Your Health

All cell and organ functions in the human body depend on water. In fact, water makes up over half of the weight in the human body. If water is not consumed regularly, your body may become dehydrated – a life threatening condition.  A glass of water, available straight from the tap is the best and most inexpensive way to supply the body with fluid.

To reduce the risk of dehydration, most adults should consume six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water, or about 1 quart of water daily. More water may be necessary when exercising, during hot weather, when humidity is low, in high altitudes, when on a “high fiber” diet, or when consuming beverages containing alcohol or caffeine. Carbonated and caffeinated beverages have a dehydrating effect, so it is best to consume a glass of water for each one of these beverages you drink.

Another great way to earn your daily supply of fluids is through the foods we eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables can provide up to 39% of the daily requirement.

  •  A ripe pineapple is soaked with up to 86% water
  • Strawberries and peaches both contain about 90% water
  • Watermelon, so aptly names, packs up to 99% water
  • Lettuce contains 96% water
  • Adding cucumbers, radishes and tomatoes to your salad not only adds flavor, but can be counted in your daily intake of water

What else can H2O do for you?

  • Water provides the base for body fluids, such as the fluids in joints and saliva.
  • Water helps to regulate body temperature.
  • Water helps to utilize key nutrients.
  • Drinking plenty of water reduces fluid retention.
  • Water helps to reduce the effects of aging.
  • Water helps to boost energy.
  • Water helps to dilute and dispel toxins in the system.
  • Water plays an active role in reducing the risk of kidney stones, urinary tract cancer, bladder cancer and possibly even colon cancer.
  • The magnesium in water has been found to help  prevent heart attacks, asthma and migraine headaches.
  • Water helps to fight off colds by keeping you hydrated enough to trap cold viruses in the mucus lining of your throat and helps to soothe and relieve a cough.
Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Health January 11, 2012

Neti Pot News

Its stuffy nose season, and you may be in the habit of using a neti pot to clean your sinuses. However, we want you to be safe.

Recent news has reported two people in Louisiana who died after using a neti pot with amoeba-inhabited water.

Like Louisiana’s health authorities, Des Moines Water Works recommends neti pot users boil (then cool!) water before using it to irrigate your sinuses. 

Naegleria is an amoeba that lives in natural water throughout the world.  The Louisiana warning notes that Naegleria fowleri infections are very rare. In the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, 32 infections were reported in the U.S. However, people can contract it in Iowa as well as in other states.  Tap water varies in its purity from one water utility to another.  Finished drinking water provided by DMWW is nearly sterile, but there exists a miniscule chance that a Naegleria cyst could be present in some of the water. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you always bring water to a rolling boil and cool prior to using in your neti pot.

It is important to note that water for drinking or bathing presents no danger from Naegleria.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Health, Water Quality