Public Health Department

Notice – Health Department Office Schedule

 Please take note that the City-Cowley County Health Department Offices

(Ark City & Winfield) will be closed:

Thursday November 26, 2015 & Friday November 27, 2015

 in observance of Thanksgiving.



Job Openings:

The City-Cowley County Health Department is currently recruiting 2 part-time (24 hour) Office Assistants.

An Office Assistant performs duties that support the various programs at the Health Department in both the Arkansas City and Winfield offices.

The minimum education requirement for the position is a High School diploma or GED.

Thorough knowledge of modern office practices, procedures, and equipment operation are also required. Bi-lingual candidates are sought. A full job description can be found on the City-Cowley County Health Department web page. Applications can be completed at either health department office during normal office hours. Please include a resume if available. Positions remain open until filled.   OFF ASST I


Health Department Happenings 


November, 2015:  A chill is not the only thing in the air! – Beware of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

As we move into winter and our furnaces and other heating devices are called upon to keep us warm I hope that everyone takes special care to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide or “CO” is an odorless, colorless gas – it is called the silent killer. CO poisoning is the most common type of “air” poisoning. CO poisoning symptoms are described as “flu-like;” headache, dizziness, upset stomach, chest pain, confusion.  If you breathe too much you will pass out and may die.  If you are sleeping and CO builds up in your home you can die before you have symptoms.  Each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional – non fire related CO poisoning, over 20,000 people visit emergency rooms with symptoms and more than 4,000 people are hospitalized. Everyone is at risk.

CO is produced by combustion of fuel – natural gas, propane, gasoline, wood, charcoal anything that burns. Stoves, fireplaces, furnaces, lanterns, small and large engine all produce CO which is present in their exhaust fumes.

CO is heavier than air, in our homes the CO will settle in the air near the surface (which is what we breathe).  When we inhale CO it will chemically bind to our blood and replace vital oxygen which is the basis for CO poisoning.

During the winter we tend to tighten up our homes sealing out air leaks and taking steps to keep warm air in and cold air out.  We need to be really careful that we do not have exhaust from water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, space heaters or any combustible source entering our homes or other enclosed spaces (garage, work shed, hunting blind, etc).   Make sure heat exchangers are not ruptured, that vents operate properly and that combustion fumes are expelled from enclosed spaces.

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to have your furnace, water heater, and fireplaces all professionally inspected to make sure they are properly vented and operating correctly.  You also should have CO detectors properly installed in your home especially near sleeping areas.


Portable heating devices that burn fuel;

Charcoal grills;

A gas range for heating;

A gasoline powered generator;

A camp stove or fuel operated lantern indoors.


Winter can be a wonderful time of year – plan now to stay safe in the place you feel most secure – your home.

To learn more about CO safety – call the Health Department, we are here to help.


Stay Well!


Tom Langer – City-Cowley County Health Department






October has been a busy month and the Health Department has conducted more than 20 flu shot clinics around Cowley County.

If you have not been able to get your flu shot  please stop by either office (Ark City or Winfield) and we will be happy to help you.




October 2015 – The flu shot who needs it? You do!


The case for getting a seasonal flu shot.


The days are growing short, there’s a chill in the air and our bodies are getting ready to once again battle the viruses that cause colds and flu. This is the time of year I ask everyone, “Have you had your flu shot?”   Maybe you feel lucky and seem to never get sick, but I know for certain that you will be exposed and for protection – you need to get the flu shot.  In the same way that we take care of our homes and cars preparing for the cold of winter so too should we help our bodies prepare for the coming illness prone days ahead.


Flu viruses are constantly changing. Each year medical experts predict which strains of flu are most likely to infect us in the coming months and the vaccine manufacturers produce vaccines for us to use.  This year’s vaccine is now available just in time to help us prepare.  This season a flu shot will contain protections for the H1N1 virus and at least two or three other flu strains.  There are “High Dose” vaccines that are designed to offer added protection for people who are 65 or older and vaccines in nasal mist form that are easier to give to children or people who have problems with getting a shot.


So if you are still asking, “Why get the shot?” – The simple answer is to stay healthy.  The flu is a respiratory infection that can cause serious health issues, particularly to young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent the flu and its complications.  Remember, you will be exposed – at home, at work, at school, at church, shopping, anywhere you interact with other people.  If the flu gets a hold of you can expect to feel miserable. High fever, chills, coughing, sneezing, body aches, physical exhaustion, headache and chest pain; none of these symptoms are fun.   At best you will be out of action for at least a week and likely much longer.


So to prevent getting the flu, schedule your flu shot with the health department today. Be aware that it takes at least 2 weeks after receiving the shot for your body to build the needed antibodies to fight the flu effectively  - so the sooner you get vaccinated  the better off you will be.  The health department will be holding more than 20 different flu shot clinics throughout Cowley County during October (see our Facebook page City-Cowley County Health Department or call us for details) and we hope you take the time to get a flu shot this month.   The cost of the vaccine is covered 100% by most health insurance plans and if you are having hardships and truly cannot pay, the health department will work with you and find a way to get you vaccinated.


The bottom line is that we want Cowley County to be a healthy place to live and work and that means helping each of you avoid the flu this season.  The first step in doing so is to be vaccinated.


Stay well!

Thomas Langer – Administrator / Public Health Officer

City-Cowley County Health Department




Breastfeeding is Everyone’s Business

Many Kansas mothers do not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. This may cause many mothers to wean early or not breastfeed at all. Each year, an estimated 3000 to 7000 Kansas infants are adversely affected by little or no breastfeeding. To learn more about breastfeeding in public go to the Breastfeeding is everyone’s business video.

Businesses and organizations can also help. The Business Case for Breastfeeding ( offers free assistance to employers to aid with compliance of the Kansas law protecting breastfeeding employees. In addition to workplace support, community awareness plays a large role, as well.  The Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign ( not only welcomes breastfeeding mothers and families to area businesses, but also provides free training for employees and an avenue for business to reach out to the breastfeeding community at large.

Strategies to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases: The CDC Guide to Strategies to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies is an update of the 2005 The CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions. It provides state and local community members information to choose the breastfeeding intervention strategy that best meets their needs.

Support for breastfeeding is needed in many different arenas including hospitals and birth centers, worksites, and communities. This Guide builds upon the research evidence demonstrating effective intervention strategies and offers relevant information for each including program examples and resources.

The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition recently recognized Winfield as one of six Kansas communities to receive designation as a “Community Supporting Breastfeeding” (CSB).  Winfield demonstrates exceptional support to its mothers, babies and families, as defined by the six CSB criteria–a local breastfeeding coalition (BACC), peer support group (La Leche League of Winfield), William Newton Hospital’s certification as a High 5 for Mom & Baby hospital, 20 licensed community child care providers who have received special training in supporting nursing moms and babies, 19 community businesses participating in the state-wide “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” program, and 5 community employers that have received a “Breastfeeding Employee Support Award” from the Kansas Business Case for Breastfeeding .

There is an abundance of research showing the physical, emotional and financial benefits to breastfeeding–a breastfed child’s risks of asthma, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis are lower than that of his or her formula-fed peers.  A breastfeeding mother lowers her own risk for both breast and ovarian cancers.  The American Pediatric Association’s recommendation is that infants breastfeed for at least one full year (with no supplementing or solid foods for the first six months), and the longer a mom is able to breastfeed the more benefit both she and baby reap.

In Kansas and locally, approximately 80% of new moms start out breastfeeding.  Giving babies the best start possible in life is something that moms and families in our communities value.  It is something that our communities must value as well.

The Breastfeeding Advocates of Cowley County coalition formed in 2011 to address childhood health issues related to early nutrition.  Its membership is comprised of community health providers, moms and partner organizations who share a vision that all of Cowley County will accept breastfeeding as a vital part of the health and development of children, their families and the community.  BACC recognizes that in order for mothers, babies, families and our communities to benefit from breastfeeding, support and education are necessary.




Workplace Wellness


Want to learn more about how you and your employees can reap the benefits of good health?  Contact the Health Department and we can discuss the ways in which you can create a “Workplace Wellness Program”  The benefits include lower health insurance costs, greater productivity and improved employee morale.  We are here to help!    

 Click Here to see more –> EWP

Prevent – Promote – Protect


What You Need To Know About Childhood Vaccines: Who & When

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Immunizations have had an enormous impact on improving the health of children in the United States. Most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a family or community. While these diseases are not common in the U.S., they persist around the world. It is important that we continue to protect our children with vaccines because outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can and do occasionally occur in this country.

Kansas Health Matters

Kansas Health Matters is a one stop source of non-biased data and information about community health in Kansas. It is intended to help hospitals, health departments, policy makers, community planners and members learn about issues, identify improvements and collaborate for positive change.”

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