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Beware of Bed Bugs in "Free" Furniture

We are rapidly approaching moving season in downtown Madison. Students leaving their apartments will be dragging all their unwanted furniture on to the street, turning many streets into outdoor marketplaces for free stuff. This phenomenon has, for many years, been called hippy Christmas. The furniture, ranging from the good to the bad to the ugly is free for the taking.

The bad news is that some of these freebies may come pre-infested with bed bugs. Bed bugs can be found anywhere, which is a sign of the insect's talent to efficiently travel between locations by hitching a ride on clothing, luggage, furniture, and other items. Don't let a freebie from hippy Christmas provide bed bugs the opportunity to make themselves comfortable in your home. Check for bed bugs before taking free furniture.

Bed bugs are small reddish brown insects that feed solely on the blood of people. Their flat bodies allow them to fit into tiny cracks and crevices throughout the infested area but they are most often found in bedding, mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dressers, and nightstands. Once in your home they become enormous nuisances and are extremely difficult to get rid of.

Many do it yourself approaches to getting them out of your home range from dangerous to simply ineffective. The best approach is to hire a qualified pest control professional. If you are a renter, call your landlord. If the landlord does not address the problem, call your local building inspector. In the City of Madison, call (608) 266-4551 to reach a building inspector. Outside of the City of Madison, check with your municipal government for help. If you don´t have access to a building inspector, call Public Health Madison & Dane County at (608) 242-6515.

For detailed information about bed bugs and how to get rid of them:

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Swimming in Dane County Lakes

One of the great assets of the Madison and Dane County area is the many beaches located throughout Dane County. Public Health Madison & Dane County monitors all public beaches during the swimming season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, to assure safe water quality and minimize public health risks from water-borne pathogens and toxins.

In order to keep yourself healthy while swimming, observe the warning or closing signs concerning possible contamination. Occasionally, particularly after heavy rain or flooding, illness causing microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa and blue-green algae may be present in the water.

For more information about Dane County beaches and current water quality and conditions, visit:

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new directions for phmdc

Chronic disease, preventable injury and mental and emotional well-being have become critical concerns to the social and economic well-being of communities across the country. In response to changing community needs, Public Health Madison & Dane County is responding in kind, investing in what the CDC, the Institutes of Medicine, and major national funding organizations have endorsed as ways to move toward addressing the root causes of illness and disease. This monograph outlines the blend of existing public health functions with new capacity we are building to boost prevention and community well-being over time.