Public Health Nursing


At the Polk County Health Department Public Health nurses offer a variety of services to the public. Click on topic below to learn more about how the Public Health Nurses can help you and your family.

Children & Youth with Special Care Needs
Polk County Health Department works with families of children and youth with special health care needs so each child achieves his/her highest potential. Services are tailored to each child and family's needs. Public Health Nurses will work with you and your family to:

  • Help you locate services for your child and your family
  • Work with your child's other care providers
  • Consult with the school to help with the development of student health plans including education of school staff on health needs and management

If you know a family member who would benefit from these services OR you are a professional and would like a family to have these services, call 715-485-8400 for more information.
Communicable Disease Program
As a Public Health Department we strive to keep you, the residents of Polk County healthy and safe. One thing that we do to help ensure this safety is by reporting and following up on Communicable Diseases as they occur in Polk County.

Some examples of communicable diseases are:

  • Food & Water Borne Diseases (example: Salmonella)
  • Hepatitis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Tuberculosis
  • Vaccine Preventable Diseases (example: whooping cough)

Click here for a full list of reportable communicable diseases.

Health Care Professionals are required to report specific communicable diseases to the Health Department. Once the information is recieved, one of PCHD's Public Health nurses will contact the person named in the report to provide follow up services. These services may include an interview to:

  • Determine the source of the disease and where it possibly spread
  • Education on the disease and treatment
  • Education on ways to reduce exposure to the disease
  • Referral for further medial care if needed

The Public Health nurse may also need to follow up with other people or groups who have been exposed to this illness and may be at risk.

PCHD Public Health nurses are required by state statute to keep this information confidential (they can't tell the public who you are) and remain professional when following up with these situations. The nurses are available to answer questions and to help guide you to recovery. For more information call 715-485-8400.

Preventing Tickborne Disease

Links for more Information

Jail Health
Lead Prevention
Lead poisoning can affect anyone but is most harmful to children under age 6. Lead poisoning can affect almost every system in the body. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death.

The CDC recommends that all children be tested at least twice before age 5 years. The first test is usually performed around age 1 with second at age 2. The Health Department provides simple lead screening by a finger stick for children ages 1 - 5 years on WIC program and by request for children not on WIC. The health department also provides:

  • Education on sources of lead, prevention of lead poisoning, and safe renovation of housing to prevent lead exposure.
  • Case management services for children with elevated blood lead levels (education, referral for medical and financial assistance).
  • Environmental inspections of housing of children with elevated blood leads

Call 715-485-8400 for more information.

How are Children Exposed?

The major source of lead exposure among children is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. However, approximately 24 million housing units in the United States have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million of these dwellings are homes to one or more young children.

Who is at Risk?

All children under the age of 6 years old are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths.

Can Lead Posioning be Prevented?

It is important to not only look at the age of the house where you live but also where your child may spend a large amount of time (grandparents or daycare). In housing built before 1978, assume that the paint has lead in it unless tests show otherwise.

  • Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  • Remove all toys or other objects that have been recalled for containing lead from your home. Check the links below for a list of items that have been recalled.
  • Pregnant women and young children should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation or the clean up after work is completed.
  • Close and lock doors to keep children away from chipping or peeling paint on walls. You can also apply temporary barriers such as contact paper or duct tape, to cover holes in walls or to block children's access to other sources of lead.
  • Regularly wash children's hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
  • Prevent children from playing in bare soil; if possible, provide them with sandboxes. If possible parents should plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips. If using a sandbox, parents should also cover the box when not in use to prevent cats from using it as a litter box. This will also help protect children from exposure to animal waste.


Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP)