WSMA President Bill Hirota, MD, on the 5 things your doctor wants you to know about coronavirus. A public service message from Washington State Medical Association and the Washington State Hospital Association.
It’s been real. But, it’s time to welcome back short days, crisp air and colorful leaves of fall time. Time to stow away swimsuits in favor of sweaters for apple picking. Fall is incredible in the PNW; beautiful weather, colorful leaves and fall foliage make it for a great time of year for both exercise and wonderfully fresh seasonal foods. Here are some tips to make your fall a healthy and happy one:
All hail The Great Pumpkin!
Pumpkins are more than just pies and jack-o-lanterns, they are rich with vitamins A and C. Of course pumpkin seeds are a wonderful and healthy fall treat. There are a ton of possibilities with pumpkins. Check some of these healthy recipes out:
Get your flu shot and yearly check-up.
This one is pretty simple. You don’t want to be sniffling, aching, coughing and sneezing all winter long. Get your shot, keep the flu away. Schedule your appointment today by calling 509.444.8200
Boost your immune system! Hydrate throughout the day. adequate hydration has a huge impact on your immune system. Water helps all of your body’s systems function at optimum levels. Eat foods that add to your immune system with probiotics and vitamin C such as yogurt, oranges, peppers, garlic, yes even pumpkins can pack vitamin C.
Get outdoors. The bright colorful leaves on the trees add a visual treat to your walks as do the crunching of leaves under foot. What better season to put on a beanie and get active? In addition, outdoor time increases vitamin D levels, which can make you happier and improve concentration according to Harvard Medical School
Keep the treats in check. When you are stuck inside with delicious Halloween candy everywhere, it can be hard to resist eating 10 mini Snickers in a row. Don’t resist entirely, just don’t become a sugar zombie. Also, when it comes to game days make healthier choices by setting out veggies and dip instead of chips. You can also cut some of your favorite unhealthy snacks in to smaller portions.
With the spring season here and pollen in the air, there are a few daily activities you can do to minimize allergy symptoms including:
Eat healthy foods- Improper eating habits aggravate many health problems, including asthma and seasonal allergies. Foods that contain antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables can help battle inflammation which helps with controlling allergies.
Reduce stress– When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones which sends signals to various parts of your body to prepare for actions. If this is a common occurrence in your body and there is not a physical release, the stress can affect your immune system. In addition, a weakened immune system increases your chances of allergic reactions.
Use your air conditioner– Having windows or doors open is a common way to bring allergens inside your home so instead close your windows and use an air conditioner.
Clean door mats– Cleaning your door mats prevents mites, mold, and fungus- all common allergens, from being tracked into the home.
Spring clean– Dust is a common allergen and cleaning in those tough to reach areas can help minimize allergy symptoms.
These are simple tasks you can do to minimize allergy symptoms, but if you still suffer from symptoms, seek treatment from your health care provider.
By Sarah Giomi, Communications Intern and Bill Bomberger, PA-C
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:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes and nose
- 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 is here and so are allergies but how do you know your child’s runny nose is from allergies instead of a cold?
Colds are caused by a viral infection, while allergies are caused by your immune system overreacting to harmless substances. Several of the symptoms are the same for colds and allergies, however there are a few differences that may give you a clue to the true culprit.
- Length of symptoms. Colds last 1-2 weeks while allergy symptoms can go on for weeks or months.
- You will not get a fever, chills, or body aches with allergies, however these are common symptoms of colds.
- A common symptom of allergies is itching: itching skin, itching eyes, itching throat, and itchy nose. This does not occur with a cold.
- Colds tend to develop thicker nasal secretions, while allergies tend to have clear watery discharge.
Understanding the differences can help you decide what steps to take to give your child the right treatment they need!
This is the 2nd part in a 4 part allergy series, be sure to follow for more!
By Sarah Giomi, Communications Intern and Bill Bomberger, PA-C
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
Presents have been unwrapped; cookies cooked and consumed, memories of joy on faces remain in your phone. But now that the festivities are over and it’s time to start taking down the lights, are you feeling down? It’s no surprise that the decrease in celebration and excitement can certainly affect moods, causing disappointment or even sadness. “It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, so if you are feeling that way, you are not alone,” says Martha Nelson, CHAS Health Behavioral Health Provider.
- Busyness – It’s a crazy hectic time of year. You just finished having so many people to get the perfect present for, the perfect meals, and attended too many functions. It’s such a wonderful time, but also, exhausting. Coming down from the busyness and hype is tough.
- Family – Family is the best! Family is the worst! All kinds of feelings come up during the holiday season and it can certainly take an emotional toll. Do you have family members that are stressful to be around? “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst,” most definitely applies here. Even the most incredible families can cause some levels of exhaustion.
- Memories – Holidays bring past memories, and often a sense of nostalgia for good times that have passed and loved ones that may be gone.
- Fatigue – Fatigue is a common contributing factor for holiday depression. It can be a packed time of year, with normal routines and exercise out the window. Additionally, it’s cold outside (and so warm under the blankets). No wonder you can feel fatigued. It’s the time of year I personally put off a lot of things in exchange for sleeping in or going to sleep early.
- Sugar and food – So many good treats! So many good foods! During this time of year, there is so much to eat, drink, and be merry with. It’s easy to go overboard, throw your routine out the window, and over eat (or under eat if you swap eating something good in order to splurge on a dessert). The amounts of blood sugar spikes can lead you feeling crabby, hungry and a little bit sad.
Ideas to help cope with post-holiday depression:
- Take what you enjoyed during the holidays and continue it throughout the year. If you enjoyed spending time with friends and family, invite them over soon for a meal, play some games, or watch a movie.
- Have fun! Go to a movie, see a play, go to the Museum of Arts and Culture, ski or do some tubing at Mt. Spokane.
- Start or continue your exercise routine. Sometimes exercise goes out the window during the holidays (sometimes it goes out the window well before the holidays too). But, now is a perfect time to re-start or get in to a new routine. Include a buddy so you have company and someone you look forward to hanging out with and to hold each other accountable.
- If you’ve gained weight, don’t worry about it. There were a lot of good treats around. No regrets. It doesn’t mean you are weak, worthless, or irresponsible, it means there were some awesome cookies around…gotta live a little. Right? However, it’s never too late to get back on track with a healthy eating plan.
- Plan something each week to look forward to.
- Take care of yourself, including eating well (don’t confuse this with not eating), exercising and getting enough sleep. Have a good attitude as well; it’s easily to slip in to negative notions.
- If the post-holiday blues hang on for too long, consider reaching out to a behavioral health specialist. Seasonal affective disorder is a legit issue that many people deal with. As we roll in to 2017, remember to make the resolution to highlight health and happiness.
By Matt Grebe and Martha Nelson
Everyone loves screen time. Whether it is watching a movie, playing a video game, reading the news, or talking with friends, technology is at the center of all of our lives. Media and screen time, like most things, should be used in moderation. While technology use is important in most facets of life today, too much screen time has been linked to obesity, difficulty sleeping, problems in school, aggressive behavior, and bullying. It is important to help your child find a healthy balance. A few simple guidelines can help keep screen time in check for you and your family:
- Remove all screens from the bedroom. Kids with TVs in the bedroom have been found to watch 1 ½ hours more TV than kids without TVs in the bedroom. TVs in the bedroom have also been linked to obesity. Availability of internet and texting in your child’s bedroom gives them unmonitored access to anything on the internet. Keep all screens (including your own) out of the bedroom. Try setting up a charging station for all devices in a common area.
- Monitor what your children are doing during their screen time! Just like you would ask who they are spending time with on the weekend, ask who they are spending time with on social media. It is important to teach children what is and is not appropriate to share on social media. Also, be aware of the websites they are going to and the apps they are using. Play apps and video games with them! Then you know what they are doing and if it is appropriate.
- Make sure screen time is age appropriate and educational. Not sure if a movie or video game is good for your child? Check out commonsensemedia.org. This website is run by a nonprofit organization that provides independent ratings for movies, TV shows, video games, and apps. It provides you with a summary of the game or video and suggested ages for appropriate use.
- Limit screen time for everyone in the family. All children should spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen for non-school purposes. Think of things you can do as a family that does not involve a screen: go for a walk, play a board game, go to the park, or read a book together. Any activity that provides family interaction is preferred to screen time!
- No screens after dinner. We know that looking at a screen keeps your body from releasing melatonin. Without melatonin you don’t feel sleepy when bedtime comes. Sleep is important to help with mood, concentration, and learning. If sleep is a problem for your child, try a screen fast (by eliminating electronic device use for a few weeks) to see if this helps restore a good sleep pattern.
Screen use is here to stay. Help your child form good, healthy screen habits!
-Ashlee Mickelson, MD Pediatrician
How do you get prepared for Bloomsday? Training for any race takes dedication and hard work. With Bloomsday just around the corner, we put together a list of 5 things you can do to get prepped for the big race.
- Get started on a running or walking program
There are endless options out there to improve your endurance when preparing for a long distance run or walk, so find one that best caters to your needs and goals. Interval training is a great way to get your heart rate up and give your body the boost it needs to keep running during steady periods of time. If you plan on walking, it’s a good idea to get into a weekly or even daily walking routine to prepare your muscles and joints for the 7 mile trek through Spokane streets—it’s also a great excuse to do some sightseeing as the weather begins to warm up!
- Join a team or get a partner
Exercising with other people can often be a lot more fun than just going by yourself. When we have a reliable teammate or partner to push us, we tend to reach past our own expectations and reach our goals for efficiently. Find someone who is going to give you that push you need and you may just build a lifelong exerciseship.
- Increase your water intake
It is recommended that the average person drinks between 5-8 eight ounce glasses of water a day. When preparing for the big race, it’s important to consistently drink water throughout the day and get in the habit of drinking water BEFORE you are even thirsty. Though Bloomsday doesn’t take place during a hot month, 7.5 miles often takes a lot of sweat—refuel and recharge.
- Visit your physician
Though Bloomsday participants run and walk at all levels, it’s a good idea to visit your health care provider before starting a training program to make sure your heath is not at risk. They can also let you know if your finish time goal is reasonable and give you tips for proper training.
- Start stretching regularly
It is always good to stretch before and after doing any strenuous physical activity, but daily stretching is great at increasing flexibility to prevent future injury. If you don’t have much experience with stretching, taking up a Yoga class or even finding a TV program that teaches stretching, Yoga or Pilates at home could be beneficial to your Bloomsday experience.
Katiah Peterson, Communications Assistant
In the lungs of Spokane County sits an underestimated college town with a full-time residential population of around 12,000. During the school year, that number jumps up to a hefty 17,600 as Eastern Washington University brings in students from all over the country and through all walks of life.
Cheney is known for its small town charm that hails from the vast agriculture and rail ties as it sits at the highest point on the railroad between Spokane and Portland. In connection, Benjamin Pierce Cheney, a Boston railroad industrialist who became the director of the Northern Pacific Railroad, was the inspiration for Cheney’s well-known name today.
Although this little town does not seem to thrive as much as it did in the past, it is home to a historic downtown district, an evolved university district, and the occasional Seattle Seahawks practice. With EWU students hard at work by day, the town booms with fluorescent lights by night – awake and in constant celebration.
Through an abundance of agricultural appeal, Cheney boasts community rodeo days and farmers’ markets through the summer season. It’s filled with parks and trails for the outdoorspeople, and the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge – which homes basalt outcrops, canyons, ponderosa pine forests, and some of the last breeding habitats available in the eastern Washington area.
As Eastern Washington University continues to be the largest employer in the city of Cheney, it has grown to offer state of the art facilities with many more remodels underway. The Spokane Transit Authority provides efficient public transportation to, from and around the Cheney area that aids in daily commutes and the ever present “think green” initiative.
Cheney has been home to quit a few notables including: Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson who grew up in Cheney and became an aircraft commander and instructor pilot for the Air Force. With his abundance of medals and honors, he found himself an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in February of 2003. I trip that gave him purpose, but took his life.
Another notable resident of Cheney was NFL football player Steve Emtman who played for the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Bears. Born in Spokane, Steve then grew up in Cheney and eventually came to be a star athlete. He won both the Outland and the Lombardi Award and was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Although full of injuries, Emtman’s NFL career landed him into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He is also the founder of his company Defender Developments, LLC in which he established the 1,312 unit housing development, Terra Vista, located on the south side of Cheney.
Among others, Cheney has been home to geologists, authors, Olympians and scholars. Currently, it houses sports teams, diverse restaurants, a grocery store, a hotel for travelers, a red football field, 4 dentists and now, with the addition of the new CHAS clinic, 2 medical clinics. Close to the airport and now boasting a beautifully crafted CHAS clinic, Cheney merits a visit or two.
Written by: Katiah Peterson