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

Five Healthy Habits for Summer

Five Healthy Habits to Incorporate this Summer

Summer sets the stage for creating healthy habits while having fun in the sun! Take advantage of these five tips to help you incorporate a healthier lifestyle that you may continue even beyond the summer months.

1. Get outdoors

It is no secret that spending time outdoors is good for many aspects of life, particularly for our mental health. There is no better time to get outdoors than during the beautiful summer months when the weather is warm and the days are long. Sun exposure is important for getting our daily dose of vitamin D, a vitamin that many of us are lacking. Vitamin D is essential for keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. To get your daily dose of vitamin D, all it takes is 10 minutes of direct sun exposure to your arms and legs.

2. Be more active

In the summer months, the possibilities are endless: walking, hiking, swimming, playing Frisbee, or even outdoor yoga. The important thing is to choose something you like to do, you can and will do. When you choose an activity you enjoy, it is much easier to meet the physical activity guidelines for Americans. For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. If 150 minutes a week seems like a lot to fit in, consider breaking it up into smaller 10-15 minute bouts of exercise throughout the week.

3. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies

Produce is especially delicious in the summer months when most varieties are in season. Chances are fruits and veggies will be more locally sourced and more affordable during the summer months too. Eating more produces helps to lower your chances of developing chronic disease. Aim for 7-10 servings of fruits vegetables each day. Include at least one serving of dark leafy greens, reach for the real deal rather than juice and choose options prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.

4. Drink more water

During the warm summer months, it is important to stay hydrated. Hydration is essential for supplying nutrients throughout the body, removing waste, blood circulation and maintaining body temperature. There is no one size fits all formula for daily water intake. The amount you should drink daily depends on your body, health conditions, medications and other factors like activity level. A good standard is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.

5. Make time for sleep

Good quality sleep is more important than you may think and has many benefits beyond providing energy for the day. In the long term, getting enough sleep can help boost immunity, maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing chronic disease. For most people, enough sleep is approximately 7 hours but can range between 5-10 hours per night. Spending time outdoors during the day can promote better sleep quality as well as having a consistent bed/wake up time every day. To help you fall asleep faster, avoid strenuous activities, artificial light (electronics) and large meals an hour before bed.

The summer months set the stage for creating healthy habits such as increased physical activity, increased fruit and veggie intake, improved hydration and better quality of sleep. You will feel the benefits of improved mental, physical and emotional health. Get outside and enjoy all the fun that summer has to offer!

Alison Fenske, MS, RDN, CD

Pharmacy – During COVID-19 | Alternative pick up

All CHAS Health Pharmacies are open during regular business hours (see chas.org/services/pharmacy for the full list). If you are not able to pick up prescriptions in person due to COVID related barriers, we can deliver medications to you. Either through curbside pick-up at our clinics or mailing them to your house. We can schedule a one-time shipment, or setup refills to be mailed to you as needed. Please call our Pharmacy at 509.462.6577 or your clinic’s pharmacy to make arrangements. If you are running low on medications and are not able to see your provider in person, we may be able to give you a temporary refill. 

Friendly Faces in New Spaces

During COVID-19, a great number of CHAS Health staff found both their workplaces and roles transformed.  With nonessential services suspended and many office visits converted to telephone or virtual visits, the need to check in patients at the front desk diminished and had the potential to compromise patient and staff safety if continued.  Toni Hites from the CHAS Latah Community Health clinic in Moscow, Idaho found herself still greeting patients, but instead of operating from the comfort of the clinic’s front office, she was now something like an extremely friendly healthcare bouncer–posted outside the clinic front door, donned nose to knees in protective gear.

“I have been enjoying my new role as a greeter, because I get to meet all of the dental people. It has been great getting to know my co-workers who I would not usually get to work with this closely. I have also gotten to know my pharmacy co-workers as well.  We have a great team here at Latah CHAS, and they have made this fun even in these difficult times.  I have also gotten to hear from the patients how they appreciate all we do for them, like running in to get their prescriptions for them.”

If you are a CHAS Health patient needing pharmacy services, give as a call at (509) 444-8200 in Washington or (208) 838-8300 in Idaho.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

Skin Care in Spring

Spring is finally in the air in the Inland Northwest. The sun is starting to make appearances, as is the snow, rain, hail, wind – all in the same afternoon. It’s that time of year we eagerly anticipate future seasons and don gym shorts in 45-degree weather – fooling ourselves that it’s warm enough for this attire, am I right? In the same day, wearing a winter coat rated for -50 degrees is more than acceptable. Going between the icy temperatures of the morning, balmy afternoons, wind, and Gobi Desert of the indoors, the skin on your hands and lips starts to become dryer and rougher. As someone who’s dealt with psoriasis a majority of their adult life, I’ve often struggled with dry skin and keeping my condition under control. With the help of several dermatologists throughout the years, I feel like I have a solid plan of action when it comes to protecting my moisture –starved skin.

 

Moisturize

I hate putting lotion on, I hate the feeling, I hate the smell, I hate rubbing it in! However, it’s the first line of defense against dry skin and can be very effective. Whenever I am lax about putting it on, I notice my skin start to crack, so I have embraced it as a reluctant friend. Recommended: CeraVe, O’Keeffe’s Working Hands, Vaseline, Eucerin, Nivea Cream (particularly effective with cracking). After you wash your hands, slap some lotion on ‘em!

Cover-up

Trap that moisture in! Even when the wind isn’t whipping, the sheer cold on your skin dries it out. Slip on some gloves whenever you are going outside. I’m very techy (always on my phone) so I find this particularly annoying. However, there are some great gloves for relatively cheap (around $10) that work well with touch screen devices and keep the variety of temperatures from chapping your hands.

When you are at home, you can also wear gloves to help create an occlusive barrier (traps moisture). Slip some cotton gloves on after you put lotion on. Even wearing them for a few minutes while you read or watch the entire season of Stranger Things can vastly improve your hands (or go for that medical professional look and put a pair of medical exam gloves on while you sleep – no one can judge your look under covers). Keeping in moisture is the look you’re going for here.

Speaking of moisture, choose your soap carefully; many popular soaps can in fact dry your skin out terribly (I’m looking at you AXE). I’m a big fan of Dr. Bronners, Nubian Heritage African Black Soap and dead sea soaps. Take a bath once in a while instead of a shower, and gently pat dry if you are having very dry flare ups. Also, turn the temperature down on your showers. Taking a warm shower vs a hot shower makes a big difference.

 

Exercise

Since I have young kids at home, exercise took a back-burner (okay, to be fair it was never on the front burner), so it has been difficult to regularly try to stay fit and healthy. It is such an important piece to keeping your skin healthy though. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital.

Exercise can be rough when the weather is unpredictable, but try to get out and burn some extra calories; go for a walk, run, bike ride, enjoy the outdoors while you can- you never know, it could completely change in an hour. Indoors can also offer some great exercise opportunities; in home, with an exercise ball, kettlebells, yoga mat. Or branch out of your norm, join a gym, see what classes are available at the YMCA, join a yoga studio, or even check out CrossFit. Another idea is to walk the mall, if you can avoid the temptation of buying a new set of shoes, doing laps around the mall can be an amazing way to burn calories in a warm environment. Whatever your choice, try to get that heart rate up this time of year.

 

De-stress

Be sure to take time for yourself and relax. Take time to stop and enjoy what you have and those around you.

Don’t be embarrassed.

People can be the worst. It’s so frustrating when you are just starting to feel good about your skin and the guy at the store asks you, “dude, what happened to your hand?”

  1. a) That’s none of your business
  2. b) I thought it was starting to look pretty good…so, thanks.

It only makes it worse for people to comment on your skin or wonder what they’re thinking. Let it go. You can’t control what comes out of people’s mouth. All you can do is your best at keeping your skin healthy. J
*See your provider before making changes to your skin care and exercise routine.

 

by Matt Grebe, Content Manager

 

Spring Allergies- What am I Allergic to?

Spring is officially here, flowers and plants are blooming and that means spring allergies are on their way but how can you prevent allergy symptoms?  The best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to avoid allergens (things you are allergic to).  The most common allergies are listed below with some tips on how to avoid them:

Pollen:  Try to avoid time outside when pollen counts are high.  Pollen is worse in the spring when flowers are blooming, on hot and windy days, worse in the morning, and better after rain and on cooler days.  You can track the pollen counts online.   Always keep windows shut to prevent pollen from entering your house.  Recirculate air in your car so the pollen outside doesn’t get inside.  Change clothes and take a shower after spending a lot of time outside to wash away any pollen.  Never dry clothes outside.

Dust:  Wash all bedding every 1-2 weeks in hot water.  Vacuum frequently and use a damp cloth to dust all flat surfaces (furniture, blinds, woodwork).  Remove carpet from the bedroom if possible.  Remove all stuffed animals from the bed.  Make sure your air conditioner has a clean HEPA filter.

Mold:  Keep humidity low in your house. Make sure to clean humidifiers frequently, and try to keep moisture from collecting anywhere in your house.  If you do notice mold in a small area, use bleach to try to get rid of it.  Avoid decomposing plants, such as jumping in leaves in the fall.

Pets:  Remove carpets because animal dander often gets trapped in carpet.  Keep the pets out of the bedroom.  Bathe your pets often.  Make sure to wash your hands after petting your animal.

If you have been avoiding allergens and your symptoms continue, talk to your doctor about possible treatments or to have allergy testing to determine the allergen your body is reacting to.

This is the 1st part in a 4 part allergy series, be sure to follow for more!

 

By Sarah Giomi, Communications Intern and Bill Bomberger, PA-C