Vilas County Public Health - Home

It's That Time of the Year!

Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines

This year the cost for the seasonal flu shots will be just $25.00. We bill Medicare Part B, Medicaid and some Medicare replacements. Please call the Health Department at 715-479-3656 for flu shot availability.  

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

Please take the following precautions to protect your health: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

1) Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

2)  Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can spread this way.

3)  Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

4)  Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100°F or 37.8°C) or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).

5)  Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

Pneumonia shots are available for individuals 65 years of age and older. There are some restrictions.  Please feel free to contact the Vilas County Public Health Department at 715-479-3656 with any questions regarding the flu shot clinics.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

We want all families to follow the ABCs of infant safe sleep: alone, on the back, in a crib or Pack ‘n Play®, and in a smoke-free environment. Intended for parents and families with infants.

For more information:


In the News: Vaping

What You Need to Know

  • As of October 22, 2019, 1,604 lung injury cases associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported to CDC from the District of Columbia, one U.S. territory (USVI) and 49 states (all except Alaska).
  • 34 deaths have been confirmed in 24 states.
  • All patients with these lung injuries have reported a history of using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
    • THC is present in most of the samples tested by FDA to date, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing products.
  • The latest national and state findings suggest e-cigarette, or vaping, products containing THC, especially the ones purchased off the street or from other informal sources (e.g., friends, family members, illicit dealers) are linked to most of the cases and play a key role in this outbreak.
    • No single compound or ingredient used in e-cigarette, or vaping, products has emerged as the cause of this outbreak. 
  • CDC recommends that people should not:
    • Use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC.
    • Buy any type of e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC, off the street.
    • Modify or add any substances to e-cigarette, or vaping, products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.
  • Since the specific compound or ingredient causing lung injury are not yet known, the only way to assure that you are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
  • CDC continues to refine recommendations based on emerging data. Update information and recommendations can be found at:

Also, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently put out a health advisory to let the public know about the alarming statistics on current e-cigarette use among youth in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, current e-cigarette use among Wisconsin high school students increased 154% between 2014 and 2018. In 2014, just under 8% of Wisconsin high school students were using e-cigarettes. In 2018, that number has skyrocketed to 20% (or 1 out of every 5 students).

Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, recently described being exposed to nicotine during adolescence can harm the developing brain, which continues to develop until around age 25. This in turn can affect learning, memory, and attention.

The e-cigarette aerosol that users inhale and exhale can expose both the user and those around the user to other harmful substances, including heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.

E-cigarettes now take many forms. Some e-cigarettes resemble flash drives, while others are about the size of a credit card. E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver other drugs, like marijuana.In 2016, a third of U.S. middle and high school students who had ever used e-cigarettes reported using them for marijuana.

For more information and resources specific to parents, teachers, healthcare providers, and the public, please visit: WI DHS Tobacco Advisory


October is National Dental Hygiene Month

We are recognizing the hard work dental hygienists do and to help raise awareness on how important it is to have good oral health.

This year, the awareness month is focusing on four routines that can help people maintain healthy smiles: brush, floss, rinse and chew. According to, the ADA’s consumer website, brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of the brush should fit the mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.

The proper brushing technique is to:

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

Also, clean between your teeth once a day to remove plaque that is not removed by brushing. Plaque can eventually harden into calculus or tartar.

Teeth alone account for less than half of the mouth, so rinse your mouth in order to help get rid of biofilm and bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot.

Rinsing often, along with brushing and flossing, may help reduce the chance of dental decay and infection. For more information, visit:


Fight the Bite

When enjoying time outdoors, it is important to be aware of ticks and take steps to protect yourself. You can take several steps to "Fight the Bite" and prevent getting ill from ticks. This includes using personal protection, removing ticks as soon as possible, and getting rid of ticks in your yard. Ticks are typically most active in Wisconsin from May to September, but it is still important to use caution year-round.

If you spend time outdoors often, download the Tick App(link is external), a free smartphone app from our partners at the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease (link is external) that allows people living in areas with a high risk of Lyme disease to report ticks, learn tick bite prevention tips, and help researchers understand ticks and the illnesses they spread.

Ticks may carry bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can also cause serious health problems. Lyme disease is the most common illness caused by ticks in the U.S.  Typical symptoms (signs) include fever, skin rash, headache, and being tired.  If you do not get treated, the infection can sometimes spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

In the United States, West Nile virus is the most common disease spread by mosquitoes. West Nile virus can cause flu-like symptoms (signs) or cause serious illnesses that affect the brain, even resulting in coma and paralysis. In rare cases, it can even cause death.

Here are more detailed tips to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks:

  • Insect repellent, when used properly, can keep mosquitoes and ticks off your skin. Use repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and adults should help apply repellents to children under 12.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks to keep bugs off your skin.
  • Check for ticks daily after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Check all parts of your body carefully, including your armpits, scalp, and groin. Remove ticks immediately using fine-tipped tweezers.
  • Early morning, late afternoon, and early evening are peak biting times for mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus. It’s especially important to use repellent if you’re outdoors at these times.
  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, even in small containers. Walk around the outside of your home at least once a week and empty any water that’s collected in toys, pet food and water bowls, birdbaths, buckets, and other objects. Check under bushes and other hard-to-see places. Get rid of old tires and other objects that can collect water.
  • Create a tick-safe zone around your home. For example: remove leaf litter and clear grasses and brush around your home and the edge of the lawn, and place mulch between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks off the places you work and play the most.
  • Check for and repair holes in window and door screens.
  • Avoiding mosquitoes and ticks doesn’t mean that you have to stay inside, in front of the TV. Work and play outside, but remember to apply an effective repellent to exposed skin and clothing.

For more information, visit our Disease Control page:


Indoor Mold

The Key to Mold is Moisture Control

Tiny mold spores are all around us, both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores travel easily through the air and begin to grow indoors when moisture is present. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores from the indoors, so the best way to control mold growth is to control indoor moisture. When indoor conditions are just right, mold spores can grow and become a problem. By taking important steps, you can prevent and control mold growth inside your home.

Mold spores need 3 things to grow:

  1. Moisture
  2. A nutrient source (i.e., wood, paper, or other materials)
  3. The right temperature

Of these three conditions, the most important to control is moisture. Indoor mold growth is really a sign that moisture is present. If indoor moisture is controlled, mold will not grow.

Fixing the Mold Problem

Since moisture is essential for mold growth, do all you can to quickly identify and fix any source causing too much indoor moisture. Common household problems that lead to indoor moisture issues include:

  • Roof leaks.
  • Leaking pipes or plumbing fixtures.
  • Condensation due to high indoor humidity.
  • Indoor flooding.

After all moisture and water problems have been fixed, clean the moldy area and keep the area dry.

If you cannot identify the moisture source, or if you are dealing with a large mold and water problem, consider a professional home inspection. Visit our Wisconsin Mold Contractor's page for a listing of indoor air consultants and mold remediation contractors.

Preventing Mold Growth

Important actions can be taken to prevent indoor mold from becoming a problem:

  • Keep indoor spaces well ventilated and dry. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can help.
  • Keep indoor humidity levels below 50%.
  • Clean bathrooms often and keep surfaces dry. Run the bathroom ventilation fan during and after showers.
  • Promptly fix water leaks.
  • Clean up and dry your home fully and quickly (within 24-48 hours) after any flooding event.

Testing for Mold

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services does not recommend testing for mold because:

  • Federal standards or limits for airborne mold concentrations or mold spores do not exist.
  • Mold spores are everywhere around us, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold testing can be expensive.

If you see or smell mold, it is present. In any situation, your approach should be to find the moisture source, fix it, and clean what you can.

Fact Sheets:

For more information, visit:

Tips for Food Safety in a Power Outage: