Emmet County Iowa Public Health

Emmet County Public Health Office

508 South 1st Street
Estherville, IA 51334
ph: 712-362-2490
fax: 712-362-7160


  • It is a community based approach to health care serving individuals, families or groups.
  • Services are provided in the client home, in the office, schools, worksites or meeting places.
  • The goal of Public Health Nursing is to promote maximum health and long life for residents of Emmet County.

  • People of all ages living in Emmet County may request services by contacting the Public Health Office at the phone number or address listed above.
  • Referrals are accepted from patients, families, friends, ministers, doctors, or social workers.

Emmet County Public Health Information and Links

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    Emmet County Board of Health

    Members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and their function is to establish policy, promulgate and enforce rules and regulations to enable the Department of Health to control those factors which could be a hazard to the public's health.

    Members include:

    • Gene Haukoos, Chairman
    • Mary Tirevold, Vice Chairman
    • Lela Kruse, Secretary
    • Dr. Keith Probst
    • Pam Caboth

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    Emmet County Public Health Personnel


    • Kathy Preston, RN - Administrator
    • Sharon Hooge, RN - Staff Nurse
    • Corrin Preston, RN - Staff Nurse

    Office Personnel:

    • Mary Moorman - Office Manager
    • LeAnn Dietrich - Office Assistant

    Certified Nursing Aides:

    • Paula Myhre
    • Dawn Ukasick
    • Rhonda Russell

    Environmental Health Specialist:

    • Ben Huntley

    Contact Emmet County Public Health


    ph: 712-362-2490

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    Available Emmet County Public Health Community Services

    The following services are provided in the home:

    Assistance With Daily Needs

    A Homemaker Home Aide assists clients with:

    • Bathing
    • Meal planning and preparation
    • Budgeting
    • Family management
    • Therapeutic exercises
    • Light housekeeping

    Community Education and Activities

    • Classes for expectant parents
    • Home visits to new parents
    • Adult and Childhood immunizations
    • Blood pressure screening
    • Free STD testing/treatment
    • Communicable Disease Control
    • Programs on health topics
    • Coordination with other community services
    • Health data
    • Bioterrorism preparedness planning
    • Tobacco cessation program
    • Breast & cervical cancer prevention program
    • Lead screening and education
    • Presumptive Medicaid Applications
    • Flu clinics

    Contact Emmet County Public Health


    ph: 712-362-2490

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    Helpful Health Links

    Communicable Disease Information: cdc.gov

    Medicare Benefits: medicare.gov

    Breast & Cervical Cancer: komen.org & stopbreastcancer.org

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    Emmet County Public Health Payments

    Fees for services vary according to the service provided.

    Medicaid and private insurance pay for some services. Arrangements are made for payment of other services.

    Some services are provided at no charge.

    For more information call 712-362-2490 or click the "email" button below.

    Contact Emmet County Public Health


    ph: 712-362-2490

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    Volunteers - "I Can Help!"

    Emmet County Emergency Preparedness Task Force is looking for Volunteers for Emmet County in the event of an Emergency. Likely areas where volunteers would be used:

    • Special needs shelters
    • Clean up
    • Medication, supply, or food distribution centers
    • Traffic control
    • Food preparation for workers
    • Telephone banks
    • Communication
    • Medical Care
    • Resource management
    • Damage assessment

    If you can say "I CAN HELP" please register as an Emmet County Emergency Response volunteer.

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    Summer Cookouts Require Extra Attention to Food Safety

    Emmet County citizens urged to take simple steps to prevent food poisoning

    For many Iowans, summer means grilling season. For public health workers, this time of year also means the beginning of an increase in foodborne illnesses.

    Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director, Tom Newton, MPP, REHS. ³We know foodborne diseases increase in Iowa as people start to barbeque.

    Last year, IDPH reported 80 percent more cases of E. coli O157:H7 between May and September than other months of the year. During the same time period, there were 68 percent more cases of shigellosis, 63 percent more cases of campylobacteriosis, and 35 percent more cases of salmonellosis. All of these illnesses can be caused by food that has been improperly handled or prepared.

    Newton urges all Iowans to practice safe food handling practices to ensure that this summer is a healthy one.

    Helpful tips include:

    • Wash hands before preparing food or eating, and after using the bathroom. Rub them together using soap and warm running water for about 20 seconds.
    • When grilling, it is best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked; at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for steaks, 160 degrees for hamburgers, and 170 for poultry breasts. If a thermometer is not available, make sure that all meat is cooked until there is no pink left and the juices run clear.
    • Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables under running water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.
    • Don't use the same platter or utensils that previously held raw meat or seafood.
    • If food that should have been refrigerated is left out for more than two hours, throw it away.

    For more information, including recommended temperatures for other meats and seafood, visit foodsafety.gov.

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    West Nile Virus

    As summer brings the warm weather, attention turns to two summer public health threats in Iowa, mosquitoes and ticks. Health officials say now is the time to plan the action steps you and your family will take this year to minimize your risk.

    Although mosquitoes can carry several diseases, most of the attention has been placed on West Nile Virus (WNV). Over the last five years, over 250 Iowans have been diagnosed with WNV and 12 of those have died.

    According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, "West Nile season does last until the first hard frost," Quinlisk said. "That is several months away, so Iowans need to continue to take steps to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes." "The peak West Nile season is late summer and early fall, but West Nile can be spread anytime mosquitoes are present."

    Protective measures include:

    • Using insect repellent with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Check repellent label for correct use.
    • Avoiding outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
    • earing long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.
    • Eliminating standing water around the home because that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.

    For more information about West Nile virus, visit idph.iowa.gov.

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    Iowa is having an increasing number of cases of cryptosporidium this year. This has caused the public health department to alert the community in an effort to prevent the spread of the illness.

    Cryptosporidium is found in the feces of infected people and animals can contaminate soil, food, water, or surfaces. An individual becomes infected with the Cryptosporidium parasite by accidentally swallowing contaminated food or water or having contact with other contaminated objects. We know that Cryptosporidium may be transmitted through swimming pools and lakes when swimmers swallow contaminated water. Within households and day care facilities we know that Cryptosporidiosis is easily spread person-to-person. For example, in a household setting a family member with diarrhea who uses the toilet and does not wash his or her hands, can contaminate food or surfaces that will then spread the germ to other family members. In a typical day care setting, diapering, shared toys, lots of hand-to-mouth contact and poor hygiene allows transmission of the germ between children. Hand washing is the most effective means of preventing Cryptosporidium transmission. Wash hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.

    The symptoms of cryptosporidiosis include diarrhea, loose or watery stools, stomach cramps, upset stomach, and a slight fever. For many people, symptoms can be mild. Symptoms generally occur within 2 to 12 days of infection. They last about two weeks, but may go in cycles of getting better then worse before the illness ends. Many have a brief recurrence of symptoms after the initial round of symptoms has resolved. People may excrete the parasite for up to two weeks after diarrhea has stopped. The infection may be very severe in people with impaired immune systems. Persons with persistent symptoms above should consult their health provider if they are ill and need clinical advice for managing their illness.

    Once introduced into a community, Cryptosporidium can be spread for months if the public is not vigilant about the key hygiene measures needed to stop the spread of the germ. Therefore, public health interventions have focused on measures known to help control the spread of the disease.

    Persons with Cryptosporidiosis should avoid close personal contact with persons in their household especially if the household member has a weakened immune system. If persons with weakened immune systems become infected, Cryptosporidium can be a life-threatening disease. Persons with the illness should take care to drink plenty of fluids to avoid the dehydration from diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium. They should consult a health care provider for information on preventing dehydration.

    Preventing the Spread from one person to the next:

    Voluntarily isolate yourself from others while you are ill:

    • Stay home if you are ill. Keep children home from school or daycare until the diarrhea/nausea/ vomiting/ and abdominal pain are resolved.
    • Do not prepare or serve food to others while you are ill


    • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food.
    • Wash hands after changing diapers. Take extra care to wash hands and clean surfaces if caring for someone with diarrhea, especially diaper-or toddler-aged children.

    Day cares and school:

    • Children with diarrhea should not be dropped off at daycares or school.
    • Employees in daycare or schools with diarrhea should be excluded from work.


    • Do not swim when ill with diarrhea or for two weeks after the end of diarrhea. Cryptosporidium is chlorine resistant.
    • Do not swallow pool/lake/river water.
    • Practice good hygiene (i.e. shower before swimming).
    • Drinking Water:

      • Avoid drinking untreated water from shallow wells, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds and streams.
      • Restaurants:

        • Employees should wash hands after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
        • Employees with diarrhea should be excluded from food preparation or serving activities.
        • Cleansing:

          • Households with persons that have the illness should use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to clean toys and environmental surfaces; bleach is not effective.

          For more information, individuals may call the Emmet County Health Department at 712-362-2490 or click the "email" button below.

          Contact Emmet County Public Health


          ph: 712-362-2490

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    How Germs Spread

    The main way that illnesses like colds and flu are spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. This is called "droplet spread."

    Stop the Spread of Germs

    In a nutshell: take care to

    • Cover your mouth and nose
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away
    • Clean your hands often
    • Remind your children to practice healthy habits, too
    • Stay home from school and work when you have the flu or you have a fever

    The "Happy Birthday" song helps keep your hands clean?

    • Not exactly. Yet we recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. That's about the same time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice!

    Alcohol Based Hand Wipes and Gel Sanitizers Work Too!

    • When soap and water are not available, alcohol based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores.

    Stay Healthy

    • Eat healthy foods
    • Get plenty of sleep (8-9 hours per day)
    • Drink plenty of water (try 5-6 glasses per day)

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    Bats: Beneficial to Iowans, but Unwelcome House Guests

    Bats are beneficial to Iowans because they eat insects, including many farm pests. One bat can eat up to 2,000 insects per night! Unfortunately, many populations of bats have been destroyed and many species are now endangered.

    The prevalence of rabies in bats is very low. However, most of the recent rabies cases in the United States have been caused by bat-associated rabies viruses, thus any bat should be considered a risk for rabies. Bat should be prevented from entering homes and everyone should avoid touching bats. Information on how to peacefully coexist with bats by "bat proofing" homes can be found through Bat Conservation International at www.batcon.org/.

    If a sleeping person, a non-verbal child, or a mentally incapacitated person is found alone with a bat in the same room the bat should be tested for rabies. The exposed person may need to be treated with post exposure anti-rabies treatments if the bat can not be tested, or if rabies test results are positive.

    If you have any questions or have a possible bat bite please call your physician.

    If you have questions please call Emmet County Public Health at 712-362-2490 or click the "email" button below.

    Contact Emmet County Public Health


    ph: 712-362-2490

    For more information on rabies and post exposure treatment, see:

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    Vaccine Information Statements

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    Tobacco Cessation

    Smoking cessation information: