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Why get a flu shot?

CHAS Health recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to lower the risk of getting the flu and limit flu exposure to others.

Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. People of all ages can catch the flu, and now more than ever, no one wants to expose others to illness-causing germs.

Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics

This year CHAS Health will be hosting Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics on Saturdays in the months of October and November for you and your kids. These Drive-up clinics are available for patients and non-patients of CHAS Health. It is as easy as driving to the location for that Saturday and receive your flu shot. All from the comfort of your car! Dates and locations are as follows:

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Washington)

DateLocationTime
October 10thValley Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 10thMaple Street Clinic2:00pm – 5:00pm
October 17thNorth Central Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thDenny Murphy Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 24thNorth County Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 24thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stValley Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stPerry Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 7thSouthgate Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
November 7thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
November 7thCheney Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm
November 14thMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 14thValley Clinic2:00pm – 5:00pm
November 21stMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
November 21stDenny Murphy Clinic2:00pm – 5:00pm

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Idaho)

DateLocationTime
October 17thLatah Community Health9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thLewis & Clark Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm

If you are unable to make one of our Saturday Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics you can stop by at your medical primary care clinic beginning October 1st. Simply drive up and follow the directions.

COVID-19 & Influenza

Influenza kills and hospitalizes thousands of adults and children every year. COVID-19 can also be deadly and there is no vaccine available at this time. Both viruses are respiratory pathogens. It is possible to be infected with both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, a situation to be avoided for everyone, not just the elderly or those with chronic diseases. If you have questions about whether or not you or your child should stay home due to any illness, please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Telling the Difference Between a Cold & the Flu

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, but there are some symptom differences:

Fever

Often the flu includes a fever while a cold does not. A fever is the body’s way of fighting infection. Fever is the most common reason adults stay home from work and why most parents keep their children home from school. The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 or higher, however some schools and daycare centers have their own standards. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from work or school until the fever is gone and the ill person’s temperature has returned to 98.6 degrees.

Upper Respiratory

Adults and children may contract several different cold viruses each winter. Typical cold symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat and cough. Most people with these symptoms can participate in school without restrictions. Coughs may linger for several weeks after the other symptoms have resolved. It is important to remember the importance of coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue, and to practice proper hand washing techniques to limit the spread of germs.

The flu is similar to a cold, but is accompanied by high fevers and body aches. It can also include extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms that diminish the body’s ability to function normally. If an adult or child has the flu, they should stay home until their symptoms have disappeared.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

When the flu brings vomiting and diarrhea, both adults and children should stay home until these symptoms have resolved. Adults and older children with only mild diarrhea (who are able to use the toilet and wash their hands on their own), may go to work and school if they don’t have other symptoms.

Illnesses are a normal part of life for both adults and children, but they are no fun to experience. We can’t keep ourselves or our children home for every sniffle and sneeze, yet we want to minimize the spread of germs to others. That’s why getting an annual flu shot is so very important.

For more information about the 2020-2021 flu season, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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Remote Learning | Tech Tips from IT

What the heck is “remote learning” anyways? So many new terms, so many new letters (oh yeah, acronyms) like WFH, Wifi, hotspot, Ethernet cable, signal strength, MS Teams, Goggle Classroom. When did we become so dependent on our internet connection and the speed of our signal?  Right… since COVID locked everything down, including schools.

So, if I have to work from home (WFH), do I have to also teach my kids from home?  Well, I really don’t have it too bad. My oldest in high school can really manage for herself; she’s responsible. My youngest, that’s another story. ADHD also makes is extremely difficult for someone to sit at a computer for 6 hours and rarely leave the bedroom. As a parent, how can I help my kids be successful in school while learning on-line?  How can I be a real contributor at the office if I’m not “in-person”? Do I have to be “tech support” for my kids?

And, don’t experts say that “too much screen time is not good for your kids”?  But now, they are asking them to sit on 5 different zoom classes a day with a 30 min lunch over a 6 hour day.  Just checking to see if anyone else thinks that’s odd too.


Here are a few things that I have picked up that might help us ROCK this school year… well, at least make the best of it. 

  • There are really no school supply lists like before, so just make sure they have a notebook and pencils to make notes. Everything else is on-line.
  • Invest in good internet!  Email or google searching over your home internet take up only a small bit of data, but streaming audio and video uses more data and is much less forgiving when its interrupted. So, consider contacting your local internet provider (Comcast, CenturyLink, etc) to see if you can get at least 10 MB download speed and at least 5 Mb upload speed with a low “ping time” (50ms or less).  Use www.speedtest.net to check your speed.  If you are rural, you may not have many options, but you can try to get a Verizon hotspot or jetpack.  It’s a device that uses the cellphone data network, but this is often capped at 15-30Gb per month before you get throttled down to slower speeds. (so no Netflix on the hotspot).
  • Set an alarm for 2-3 mins before each class to remind your kid of the next online class.
  • Lunch – get them a good lunch. Even if they are home, they may need some help so they don’t eat only junk food.

Well, we are all “learning from home”, each and every day.  Its gonna be okay, just be patient with yourself and your teachers.  They are doing the best they can.

by CHAS Health IT dept.

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What does a Dietitian eat in a day?

Ever wonder what a dietitian eats in a day?

From people wondering how to improve their diets and eat healthier I get this question a lot- what on earth do I eat? The answer is that it’s going to look very different from person to person! There is no “one best way” to eat or any such thing as a “perfect diet”.

In general a healthful diet:

  • is abundant in a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • contains foods from different food groups including vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, proteins, dairy, and healthy fats
  • provides enough calories for an individual to thrive and maintain a healthful bodyweight
  • is tasty and enjoyable
  • is sustainable long term
  • focuses on water as the primary source of hydration
  • limits highly processed foods

Combining foods in different ways to make them tasty and enjoyable is one of the best ways to prevent food boredom and truly enjoy a healthy diet! One of my best pieces of advice is to get in the kitchen. The best, most nutritious meals can be made right at home using whole food ingredients and simple techniques.

Here is an idea of what I eat in a day- this is by no means prescriptive but instead a source of idea/inspiration on how fun and tasty it can be to eat healthy!

In the morning, the first thing I like to do is make myself a big jar of ice water and chug some. A couple of ways to make water more enjoyable:

  • make it extra cold by adding lots of ice!
  • add fresh or frozen fruit to add flavor- like strawberries, lemon, pineapple, mango, kiwi, limes
  • add fresh herbs like basil or mint
  • add a reusable straw (IDK why this helps me drink more but it does!)

Breakfast

Next comes arguably the most important meal of the day- breakfast! I hear from quite a few people that they don’t enjoy breakfast or don’t feel hungry in the morning. I’d encourage you to take a look at what other times of day you are feeling hungry. Are you extra hungry for dinner? Or find yourself snacking late in the evening? Evidence shows that eating a balanced breakfast every day can help prevent these feelings of “hangriness” later in the day. Breakfast eaters also have a lower incidence of obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. Score!

For breakfast- I recommend including quality protein, heart-healthy fat, filling fiber and fruit, or vegetables! My breakfast this morning was (my fave!) a slice of toasted sourdough bread with smashed avocado, chopped green onion, red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of feta, and a fried egg. On the side, I enjoyed some blueberries and strawberries and of course, coffee. This is brewed black coffee with about ¼ cup frothed oat milk to give it a bit of creaminess.

This breakfast covers all of the previously mentioned bases:

  • Protein- egg
  • Healthy fat- avocado
  • Fiber- berries and toast
  • Fruit or vegetable- strawberries, blueberries, green onion, avocado
  • And also, it was DELICIOUS.

Lunch

After a few hours of work and a hard workout, I was more than ready for lunch. Today’s lunch is another one of my standbys and perfect for the approaching fall weather.

For those of you who have gotten tired of steamed, mushy veg may I strongly suggest roasted!? Drizzling veggies with olive oil and seasonings and roasting them at high heat (425) for about 25 minutes gives them crispiness and deeper flavor that is simply irresistible!

Today’s lunch bowl included:

  • quinoa (a fabulous high-protein grain)
  • roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli (roasted with olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt)
  • 1/2 of an avocado and a handful of Kalamata olives (gotta love that healthy fat!)
  • a sprinkle of dried cranberries for chew and roasted pumpkin seeds for crunch
  • a vinaigrette made with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper

Snack

An afternoon of work flew by and I was feeling quite hungry by 4:30 pm. I knew I would be over-hungry if I didn’t have a little snack to tide me over till dinner so I snacked on some grapes and a Kombucha tea while making dinner. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is very low in sugar and calories and rich in probiotic bacteria- aka those friendly little critters that promote gut health!

Dinner

For dinner, I made a delicious lemongrass noodle salad! Tons of fresh veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and scallions, tossed with thin brown rice noodles, peanuts, crispy tofu, basil, cilantro, and a zippy lemongrass dressing. I will link to the recipe below, I highly recommend- it was so flavorful and filling!

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Dessert

I almost always save a little room at the end of the day for a small sweet snack like a piece of dark chocolate, some toasted coconut chips or a few chocolate covered almonds. Today was a little more indulgent with a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

I strongly encourage including portion-controlled sweet snacks in your diet. Including these foods instead of restricting can:

  • help you feel more satisfied
  • prevent the urge to binge
  • promote a way of eating that feels sustainable and realistic
  • I ate this cookie and enjoyed every single bite!

And that’s a wrap! A full day of eating. I didn’t show it in every picture but I did keep refilling my yummy fruit-infused water all day long and ended up drinking 90oz. The recommended minimum water intake is 64oz/day but it is certainly okay to exceed this, especially if you are active!

My motto in life is to “count colors not calories”. Mindful eating, appropriate portions, and an abundance of colorful veggies and fruits is how I stay on track and lead a balanced lifestyle. I hope this visual and comprehensive day of eating helps picture what types of foods and meals you’d like to incorporate into your day-to-day.

Drop any questions you have in the comment section- we love questions!

by Erica Baty, RDN, CDE

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Welcome Back to School!

As the temperatures outside start to cool off, we often start to see changing priorities for families. Time for school and a consistent daily schedule, time for some of our favorite sports and outdoor activities to start back up, and time to thinking about germs. Now I know everyone is already tired of talking about COVID-19 and the impact it has had on our lives but it reminds us that we are all in this together. Our decisions impact everyone around us, especially those that we love and care for.

Germs are and will continue to be part of our world but there are many everyday things we can do to protect others.

  • Wash your hands- Just because things look clean… doesn’t mean that they are. Always use soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) and when you can’t, try to use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze- There is much talk about masks these days and as a medical provider worried about colds, flu, and COVID I recommend wearing them, especially during this time. We know from the time that we are small children that many germs come from our mouths. Covering our mouths to prevent spreading our germs to others is just one more step we can take to protect those around us. 
  • Be careful what you touch- Germs, although microscopic, can have a huge impact on our health. Germs exist in the air as well as on surfaces. Think about those things that you touch all of the time… and try to sanitize things that are touched all of the time by many people.
  • Flu vaccine- This year more than ever we need to consider what a fever will mean for those around us. The more we can do this fall to prevent illness will really help get and keep our lives on track. Consider getting your child in for their annual Well visit or even getting in when appropriate to keep them up to date with vaccinations… your Pediatricians thank you!

– Dr. Dan Moorman

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Are you ready to Vote?

While it may seem odd that a health center is reaching out to you to make sure you are registered to vote and participate in this year’s election, it actually makes perfect sense. On the ballot every year, there are initiatives and positions that directly impact our communities and patients. Policymakers at all levels of government greatly impact health care funding and delivery in our communities. 

Many initiatives and important decisions at local, state, and federal levels are critical to providing access and support to our patients. A recent example is the CARES Act at the Federal level, which helped increase access to our patients in these unprecedented times.

Your voice really does count when helping to decide policies and who will be making those decisions, and your vote matters!

If you aren’t registered to vote, it’s a quick and easy process and can be done online at https://vote.gov

If you are registered to vote, research candidates, proposed measures and initiatives. Vote at every opportunity and vote as soon as you are able to.

Voter resources:

Washington: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/

Idaho: https://idahovotes.gov

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Take the Census TODAY!

Make sure you fill out your Census Form! https://2020census.gov

A census aims to count the entire population of a country, and at the location where each person usually lives.

The census asks questions of people in homes and group living situations, including how many people live or stay in each home, and the sex, age and race of each person. The goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.

The United States census is so much more than just a head count. It is a snapshot of America that determines how congressional seats are apportioned, how state and federal dollars are distributed, where businesses choose to ship products and where they build new stores. To do all that properly, the count needs to be accurate.

An undercount of the population would have a big impact. The data helps to determine the congressional representatives each state is apportioned and their representation in state legislatures and local government bodies. It would shape how billions of dollars a year are allocated, including funds for schools and hospitals. And undercount would undermine the integrity of a wide variety of economic data and other statistics that businesses, researchers and policymakers depend on to make decisions, including the numbers that underpin the forecasts for Social Security beneficiaries.


Federal and State Spend

The federal government bases a large amount of its spending decisions on census data. Researchers concluded last year that in the 2015 fiscal year, 132 government programs used information from the census to determine how to allocate more than $675 billion, much of it for programs that serve lower-income families, including Head Start, Medicare, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Pell grants for college and reduced-price school lunch programs. Highway spending is also apportioned according to census data.


Planning for various health and wellness programs

Low response rates from any one demographic group would undermine the validity of various population-wide statistics and program planning.

Scientists use census data to understand the distribution of diseases and health concerns such as cancer and obesity across the United States population, including drilling down to race and ethnicity to identify health patterns across demographics. Public health officials then use the data to target their interventions in at-risk communities. Inaccurate census data could lead public health officials to invest in solving a problem that does not exist — or worse, to overlook one that does.


Respond to the census now: https://2020census.gov

Census Facts vs. Fiction: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/08/2020-census-visiting-homes-and-sending-emails

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Have you heard of Pandemic EBT? | Food Assistance Funds for Children

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is a one-time food benefit for children who qualified for free or reduced-price school meals when schools were closed last spring. P-EBT provides funds (up to $399 per eligible child) to help low-income families buy groceries. It works like a debit card and can be used at any store or farmers markets that accept food stamps (SNAP). Children are eligible for P-EBT regardless of citizenship or immigration status; it is not a public charge for a child or their family if they use P-EBT.

If an eligible family does not already receive food stamps (SNAP), they must complete a simple application to receive P-EBT. Apply via DSHS online (www.WashingtonConnection.org) or by phone (877-501-2233, 8am – 5pm Monday-Friday). P-EBT applications must be completed by Friday, Sept. 11 by 5pm.

Almost 219,000 eligible Washington children have not yet applied for P-EBT — please help families learn about and apply for this critical food benefit before Sept. 11!


Spread the word to your school districts, local community-based organizations, faith communities, mutual aid organizations, and more so our communities can help make sure low income families get help to feed their kids.

Click the link below to learn more about how the program works and who is eligible (note: application deadline has been extended to Sept. 11). OSPI also has a P-EBT Communications Toolkit with FAQs and outreach materials in 12 languages to include in all Back to School communications with families. https://medium.com/@waOSPI/what-is-pandemic-ebt-a7a086fcaf94

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National Health Center Week | Stakeholder Appreciation Day

Policymakers at all levels of government greatly impact health care funding and delivery in our communities. At CHAS we want to share our appreciation to our federal delegation, Senators Cantwell and Murray, and Representative McMorris-Rodgers from Washington, and Senators Crapo and Risch, and Representative Fulcher from Idaho. With the passing of the CARES Act, the Community Health Center Program was extended through November which has been critical to providing access to our patients in these unprecedented times due to the pandemic.

The House Capital Budget Committee has a work session regarding Dental Capacity Grants, February 27, 2020.

When data showed that adult dental Medicaid utilization rate was very low across Washington, CHAS worked closely with our State Legislators and the Washington Association for Community Health to fund dental capacity grants. With legislative support, CHAS was able to garner funding to help build East Mission Dental and Family Dental which increased thousands of additional dental visits for low-income patients. Additionally, working with past and current Spokane City Council Members and Mayors and state legislators, local and state funding was secured to help build the East Central Dental Clinic set to open in October.

These are just a few examples of why we are very grateful to have the support of elected officials at all levels of government and from all sides of the political spectrum. Without their continued help, CHAS would simply not be able to continue to improve the overall health of the communities we serve. During National Health Center Week we wanted to take a moment to say thank you to our elected officials and their hardworking staff for their partnership and efforts!

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History of Health Centers | NHCW 2020

Health Centers began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society Program in 1966 and were first known as ‘neighborhood’ health centers. The program was developed to provide access to affordable, high-quality preventive and primary care in medically underserved communities and for underserved populations, including millions of individuals without health insurance. The Health Center program was permanently authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law March 2010.

Health Centers have a proud history of bi-partisan support. President George W. Bush championed the ‘Presidential Five-Year Initiative to Expand Health Centers’ (2002-2006), effectively doubling the size of the program. Under President Barack Obama’s Administration, the Health Center program continued to experience unprecedented growth. Health Centers were the only health care providers to receive direct funding in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which granted $2 billion to construct and expand Health Centers. The next year, the ACA was signed into law mandating $11 billion in new Health Center funding over five years (2011-2015). In April 2015, Congress passed legislation to continue Health Center funding for an additional two-years, reflective at the amount of additional annual funding received through the ACA.

We are proud of our roots and so thankful to every one of our patients we have the privilege to serve.

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Healthcare for the Homeless Day | NHCW 2020

Today is Healthcare for the Homeless Day. We wanted to take this opportunity to honor our unhoused patients and the staff who directly serve them. CHAS Health began as a two-exam room clinic serving Spokane’s homeless population in 1994. Since then, the organization has grown to operating sites throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. CHAS’s mission is to improve the overall health of the communities we serve by expanding access to quality health and wellness services. Our downtown location that serves many of our homeless patients and our homeless outreach team.

Those experiencing homelessness have higher rates of chronic disease and live on average 12 years less than the general US population. However, CHAS Health and community health centers around the nation are on the frontlines providing increased access to care for this vulnerable population.

Our Outreach Team (Ilze and Sabrina) is focused on connecting to those without a home to check on their wellbeing, providing much-needed support, supplies, and access to the care they may need.  Learn more about this important role:

Additionally, every winter solstice CHAS hosts a Homeless Memorial, a ceremony where we gather together community leaders, clients, and staff to honor our unhoused patients who passed away the previous year.