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Health Notes: Lighthouse Center celebrates 100 years

Report: Minnesota expensive for smokers

Minnesota is one of the country's more expensive states in which to be a smoker, according to a personal-finance website.

According to the WalletHub report, "The Real Cost of Smoking by State," a lifelong smoker in Minnesota will spend almost $2.5 million to support the habit, or close to $49,000 per year — given income loss, health-care costs and out-of-pocket costs.

It's the 46th highest cost among all states plus the District of Columbia. Wisconsin, at a little more than $2 million for a lifetime and around $40,500 per year, ranks 36th.

The website notes that the economic and societal costs of smoking total more than $300 billion a year nationally.

Lighthouse Center celebrating a century

The Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss is celebrating its 100th year in 2019, beginning with a technology open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at its site, 4505 W. Superior St.

The event showcases high- and low-tech devices to make life easier with vision loss, such as wearable "smart" glasses that can read text aloud.

It will start with a 30-minute overview, followed by an hour for attendees to rotate between stations to try various devices. It is open to the public, but space is limited; call (218) 624-4828.

Dental group produces opioids brochure

Minnesota's dentists are responding to the crisis of opioid misuse by publishing a brochure on pain management and the dangers opioids can present, the Minnesota Dental Association reports.

The news release notes that medications such as NSAIDS, aspirin, Tylenol and topical anesthetics are commonly recommended as the first treatment option after any dental procedure.

To learn more, visit and click on "Opioid & Pain Management Brochure."

Virginia hospital joins baby-friendly ranks

Essentia Health-Virginia has been recognized as a baby-friendly hospital, according to an Essentia Health news release. The recognition was developed by the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization.

It means the hospital "meets the gold standard in breastfeeding and bonding practices between mother and child," according to the news release.

More than 550 hospitals and birth centers across the U.S. have been designated as baby-friendly, according to the news release, but Essentia Health-Virginia is the first in the Iron Range.

Flu scoreboard

The "geographic spread" of influenza in Minnesota has increased from "local" to "regional," according to the latest report from the state Department of Health. That's one step below the "widespread" designation.

However, the numbers for this flu season remain relatively low. The health department reported 29 hospitalizations in the week that ended Jan. 5, and a total of 165 to that point. In 2017-18, for the entire flu season, 6,446 people were hospitalized in Minnesota.

No pediatric deaths have been reported due to influenza in the state, and only seven total — also unusually low for this point in the season.

One person was hospitalized in Northeastern Minnesota, according to the report, bringing the total to five for the season.