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

Free Lunches in the Inland Northwest During COVID-19

A number of school districts in our area will be distributing free lunches throughout this time. Check out the list below for resources in your area (please visit each website to confirm availability):


Spokane Public Schools:

Spokane schools will begin distributing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals every weekday at schools beginning Thursday, March 19 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. These meals are offered to any child 18 years or younger. To see where these meals are being handed out, click here.

Central Valley School District:

The Central Valley School District has 11 designated locations for meal pickup, beginning Tuesday, March 17. These meals are open to any student – even those not registered in the CVSD. However, parents and/or guardians must bring the children with them during pickup to receive those meals. To see a full list of those pickup locations, click here.

East Valley School District:

The East Valley School District is still determining how it will support students and their families during the closure. At this time, no meal pickup plans have been put into place. To read a letter from Superintendent Kelly Shea discussing the district’s plans, click here.

West Valley School District:

West Valley schools will provide breakfast and lunch meals to students in the district beginning Tuesday, March 17. All of the district’s elementary schools, Centennial Middle School, and West Valley High School will distribute meals between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. More information is available here.

Mead School District:

Meal service for Mead schools will begin Monday, March 23. Meals will be delivered to various hubs throughout the school district, but those locations have not yet been determined. You can read more information on the district’s response here.

Deer Park School District:

Breakfast and lunch grab-and-go meals will be offered to students in the Deer Park School District beginning Thursday, March 19. Distribution will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Deer Park Elementary, Deer Park Middle, and Deer Park Home Link (beginning Monday, March 23). Students needing meals are asked to fill out a form to the district is prepared with enough meals ahead of time. A link to that sign-up sheet and more information is available here.

Cheney School District:

Breakfast and lunch meals will be distributed beginning Wednesday, March 18 between 9 – 10:30 a.m. No specific pickup location or times have been determined yet. You can read more from the district here.

Medical Lake School District:

Meal pickup plans have not been finalized by the district. The Medical Lake School District will have an update by Thursday, March 19, with how it’ll proceed with services like meal distribution. You can read the latest from Superintendent Timothy Ames here.

Pullman School District:

Each school in the Pullman School district will be open for meal pickup beginning Wednesday, March 18, between 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. The district will also send vans out into the community to deliver meals to designated locations for those who cannot get to the schools. The breakfast and lunch meals will be grab-and-go style and free to any student. Families are free to pick those meals up at any school in the district. To see more information on those distribution locations and times, click here.

Moses Lake School District:

The district said food service plans are in progress to have a neighborhood meal program for breakfast and lunch, but no further specifics have been shared. Read more here.

Coeur d’Alene School District:

Breakfast and lunch meal pickup will begin Wednesday, March 18, at several different schools throughout the district between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. You can find those specific locations here.

Moscow School District:

Students in the Moscow School District are on spring break from March 16 – 20. However, the schools will be closed through April 6. In a letter to district families, Superintendent Gregory Bailey says the district is working to make lunch available to students once spring break is over. More information is expected closer to the end of spring break. You can read Bailey’s letter here.

Additionally, the Mad Greek restaurant is offering free lunches for kids for the next three weeks. Those lunch meals include a slice of pizza or a cup of soup. Meal pickup is available from 2 – 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. More information is available here.

Lewiston School District:

Meal pickup will be available from March 16 – 20 at Jenifer Jr. High and Sacajawea Jr. High for any Lewiston School District students and members of their household 18 years and younger from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Family members older than 18 will be able to purchase meals from the schools. More information is available here.

Winter Weather Safety

Winter is here and kids are excited to get outside and play in the snow. Parents know that the cold temperatures can also bring potential dangers. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your family safe this time of year.

 

Dress for the Weather:

-Dress children in layers when they go outside to help them stay warm and dry. This should include a hat, gloves or mittens, warm socks and waterproof boots. Make sure to remove and replace any wet clothes right away.

– Remember that sun sunscreen and sunglasses are important this time of year because the snow reflects the sun’s UV rays.

-Give your child a snack before they go outside. It’s also a good idea to have children come inside about once every hour to warm up and drink fluids.

 

Use Caution when Participating in Winter Sports:

-Children and teens should wear a properly fitted helmet for skiing, snowboarding and sledding.

-Avoid sledding on steep hills or areas where there are trees, large rocks, or busy streets nearby.

-The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that teens younger than 16 should not operate snowmobiles and children younger than 6 should not ride on them.

 

Be Aware of Signs of Danger:

-Signs of frostbite are pale, grey or blistered skin. Frostbite most commonly occurs on the ears, nose, fingers, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite, seek medical care.

-Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, clumsiness and confusion. If you suspect your child has hypothermia, call 911 immediately.

 

Keep Your Family Safe Inside the Home:

-Make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and in working order on every level of the home and in all sleeping areas.

-Be careful around fires. Put a protective gate around the fireplace if there are small children in the house.

-Keep an emergency kit at home and in the car. Stock the kit with extra blankets and clothes, flashlights, batteries, matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, and non-perishable food.

 

Washing hands frequently and keeping your family’s immunizations up to date are also important ways to stay healthy this winter.

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

 

Weight Gain – 5 tips to get back on track

Blame it on the wild winter we had. Or perhaps you were too stressed about something in your life to worry about what you were eating? Maybe you had “just a sliver” of a few too many desserts, cakes, slices of pizza, etc. – because a little bit won’t hurt, right? Or to borrow an outdated Jamie Foxx lyric, “blame it on the a a a a a alcohol.” Whatever the excuse, it happened and you’ve acquired some excess weight over the past few months.

It’s easy to get in to a mode of sedentary lifestyle and casually eating when you aren’t even hungry. I mean, cheddar and sour cream chips are so darn tasty – why not?

We’ve worked with our providers to put together a solid plan to get you back on track. Here are our top 5 tips to get you back on track:

  1. Give yourself a break – You aren’t a bad person for switching off the exercise and food intake side of your brain for a bit. You’re a person – it happens to everyone. Too often people throw in the towel because they feel they’ve blown it or it’s too hard. They then give themselves permission to continue to over-indulge thus making it more difficult! No one is perfect and we all fall away from our best intentions and eat the wrong things, skip the gym or get a bit lazy and make excuses. The most important thing to remember is not to berate yourself about it but rather spend the energy getting back on track.
  2. Learn from the experience – If you don’t recognize what led you to fall off the healthy eating wagon, you’ll probably react the same way the next time the situation arises. Write down a list of the situations that trigger you to overeat, and plan an alternative for each. For example, if parties are your downfall, have a healthy snack beforehand to keep your appetite in check.
  3. Be kind – Don’t try to punish yourself with incredibly restrictive diets and over exercise. You may lose weight short term this way, but usually this sets up a pattern of gaining and losing weight. Look at the big picture and understand that weight loss requires a small decrease in calories over a longer period of time. Also, don’t deprive yourself. If you go out once or twice a month to Zips, it won’t kill your diet (depending on how much you drown your meal in tartar sauce-but that’s more of a personal issue. Guess who might be going to Zips tonight…). Just be sure that the majority of the time you’re getting a good dose of fruits, veggies and protein.
  4. Plan ahead – When you get hungry, that’s the moment you tend to overeat. Plan some healthy snacks throughout your day. If you’re away from home, be sure to bring a snack pack or two with options such as carrot sticks, trail mix, almonds, or fruits.
  5. Shake a leg – Can’t make it to the gym, don’t have time for a run? Do something small during a break. Go for a 15-minute walk, take the stairs, etc. Every little bit adds up to the bigger picture of being more active. It can also relieve stress you may have been building up (another reason people tend to overeat). When it is exercise time, try to find something you enjoy. There are a ton of activities out there, you just have to find the right one.

by Bill Bomberger and Matt Grebe

Spring Allergies- Symptoms and Treatment

Spring season brings the blooming of many plants and flowers and that means the blooming of spring allergies. What are allergy symptoms and how can you treat them? The most common allergy symptoms to look for are:

  1. Runny nose
  2. Watery eyes
  3. Sneezing
  4. Coughing
  5. Itchy eyes and nose
  6. Dark circles under the eyes

If you experience these symptoms during the spring allergy season, you should visit your primary care provider who can refer you to an allergist for tests. There are two forms of common allergy tests including a skin test, also known as a prick test or a blood test.

The skin test involves either a pricking of the skin with a tiny amount of allergen, or injecting a small sample of a diluted allergen under the skin of your arm and back. If you are allergic to the substance, a small red bump, also known as a hive, will form. The blood test is also another common option for an allergen test.

If the symptoms are caused by an allergy, there are over the counter prescriptions and medications that a provider can prescribe to ease the symptoms.

This is the 3rd part in a 4 part allergy series, be sure to follow for more!

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

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