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- Is it an Allergy or a Cold?

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.

  1. Length of symptoms. Colds last 1-2 weeks while allergy symptoms can go on for weeks or months.
  2. You will not get a fever, chills, or body aches with allergies, however these are common symptoms of colds.
  3. A common symptom of allergies is itching: itching skin, itching eyes, itching throat, and itchy nose.  This does not occur with a cold.
  4. 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

Pokémon Go, For Your Health?

If you’ve seen an increased number of people walking and biking around town with their phones glued to their faces, there’s a strong chance they are searching for a Charmander, Snorlax, or one of the other 151 Pokémon varieties. Of course we’re talking about Pokémon Go, the latest interactive app to blow up your Facebook and Twitter feed. The coolest part of the app (aside from finding a Squirtle in your backyard), is it’s actually helping people to get outside and exercise more.

Released last week, Pokémon Go is an interactive game that uses your phone’s GPS, camera,  and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around using augmented reality. The Pokemon that the players catch can be powered up and used to take over or train at local gyms (usually monuments, churches, other public spaces). Different types of creatures appear as you move around your city, with the variety changing as you move from block to block. You’re literally chasing Pokémon around your city, which is making this game a huge hit and an excellent addition to your exercise regimen.

Many people using the app have seen significant increases in their steps since they began playing.

In addition, some Pokémon Go players are seeing mental health benefits. Simply by getting outside and taking a short walk (sometimes with friends) players are helping themselves to battle anxiety and depression. The game can be played solo or with a group of friends/strangers.

Tumblr user Ari is one of them. She has anxiety and depression and for the past three years has avoided leaving the house unless absolutely necessary.

“I have struggled with motivation and energy since I was 9, when I developed severe depression. After that, when I was 15, I developed CPTSD [complex post-traumatic stress disorder] from an abusive relationship that left me completely socially phobic, and starting then I was barely able to leave my house for fear of seeing people.

“But as soon as I got Pokemon Go I was able to leave the house, and I walked outside for hours and suddenly found myself enjoying it. I had the instant rush of dopamine whenever I caught a Pokémon, and I wanted to keep going. Then today and yesterday I purposely put myself in social situations, going to the mall, just to play. And best of all I enjoyed it.

“I think it’s partially because it gives an instant reward. It’s not like going out, having an awful experience, and getting praise after. It’s going out and getting that instant positive affirmation that makes going outside a good experience. I guess most people get that with being social or doing other activities.”

 

Of course the exercise is a side effect of playing Pokémon Go, which is at its core an incredibly fun way  to try and see if you can “catch ‘em all”. It brings back a sense of nostalgia, childhood wonder, and lets players explore their environment.

Now, if someone can help me find a Pikachu in Spokane, that would be amazing.

-Matt Grebe & Rachael Chambers, CHAS Health Communications Team

Welcome to Summer!

 

Helmets– Are highly recommended with all wheeled sports. You only have one head and need to protect that brain for many years to come. If you happen to get in a wreck, get help to make sure you don’t have a serious injury.

Swimming– We have so many awesome lakes, rivers, and pools within a short distance which is why it’s important to practice good water safety. Even if you’re a good swimmer, make sure someone is around to watch you.

Sunblock- We recommend you use a sunblock that covers both UVA and UVB; and an SPF of 70 would be best (with the way most people put on sunblock you only get about half the SPF number listed on the bottle). Don’t forget to drink lots of cool water when the heat rises outside or if you’ve been sweating more than usual! Be sure to stay hydrated to keep your body from overheating.

Camp Physicals-Summertime is a great time to go to camp! Ask your parents to call and schedule an annual physical appointment now so you’re ready for all your activities at camp – and get a jump on the next school year.

Summer Treats– What summer is complete without a few sweets? Remember that we don’t get a summer break from brushing our teeth; we have to do it every day. If you haven’t been into the dentist in a while, now is a great time to let your tooth shine. For extra protection, remember we also have fluoride supplements for kids from 6 months old until 16 years old.

Last, but not least, make sure you talk with your parents about expectations for summer, make sure you know your home address, parent’s phone, and who to contact in case of emergency. Have a fun and safe summer!

Senator Maria Cantwell stops by CHAS Health to talk about Basic Health.

United States Senator Maria Cantwell stopped by CHAS Health’s Maple Street Clinic to urge Washington State to bring back Basic Health Plan.

Basic Health is a federal program that was modeled after Washington State’s Basic Health Plan, which went away when the WA HealthPlanFinder Marketplace website was implemented. This program would help patients who have had difficulty affording the cost of Marketplace Plans.

Cantwell was joined by Washington State Representative Marcus Riccelli, CHAS Health CEO, Aaron Wilson, the Native Project CEO, Toni Lodge, and other advocates urging the state to adopt the affordable insurance program again. Cantwell said it could help about 162,000 people in Washington, who earn between $16,242 and $23,540 annually, which is just above the Medicaid eligibility rate. “The Federal Basic Health Plan will help patients maintain affordable coverage and will also reduce unnecessary health system costs by enabling patients to maintain continuity of coverage instead of churning between the Apple Health program and the exchange plans” says Wilson.Cantwell press conference chas

“Our state has been an innovator in health care in so many ways, and Basic Health is just another example of that.” Cantwell said, now that we have the basic health plan as a federal option, currently a family of 4 in Spokane with an income of 48,000 per year could have these options. Right now, paying a monthly premium of $259/month for a private plan on the exchange, that same family in New York under the Basic Health Plan is paying just $20/month. If the Basic Health Plan had similar premiums…that family could save over $2886/per year.”

Many families are, “literally one broken arm away for their kids to sending them in to financial hardship.”

It’s a plan that saves the consumer money, improves the overall health of our community, and it saves the state money. There could be more than 10,000 people in Spokane that would qualify for the Basic Health Plan.Cantwell press conference chas 3

 

Preventing Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” in the newborn.

whopping-cough-babies-2160x1200

 

Pertussis, also called “Whooping Cough” is a bacterial infection that you or your baby can catch when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Infected droplets can travel through the air, and if you inhale the droplets you can become infected with pertussis.  Whooping cough begins like a cold, with a mild fever and runny nose.  Most adults do not have severe symptoms, but they can pass pertussis on to a newborn very easily without realizing it.

Whooping cough is especially dangerous for a newborn because their immune system is not fully mature and they cannot fight this infection.  Babies cannot get the vaccine for pertussis until they are two months old.  Even after they start the vaccinations, they are not fully protected by the vaccines until they are a year old and have had three vaccinations for pertussis.  Whooping cough in a newborn is a very serious illness, and it often requires that the baby be admitted to the hospital for breathing problems or pneumonia.  Some babies who get whooping cough do not cough at all – they just stop breathing.  Newborns can die from whooping cough.

The entire family can help protect your newborn from whooping cough.  All teenagers and adults who are around your baby should get a pertussis booster, called Tdap.  The Tdap shot is a tetanus vaccine that includes pertussis.  If you are pregnant, the best time to get the Tdap vaccine is between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy.  Your body will have time to make antibodies against pertussis.  These antibodies are passed through the placenta to protect your baby.  You can protect your baby with antibodies long before your baby is old enough to get the pertussis vaccine.  After the baby is born, the antibodies are passed through your breast milk.

For more information:  http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife

5 Things You Can Do To Prepare for Bloomsday!

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.

Bloomsday

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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