Allergies or a Cold?

Joe-UsePresented by Joe Dayton, Physician Assistant

Bear Lake Family Care Clinic
208-847-4495 or

Cokeville Clinic
(307) 279-5852

You’ve got a cough, runny nose, and congestion.  Do you have allergies or is it a cold?  Sometimes it can be hard to tell because the symptoms of colds and allergies can be very similar.  Although cold and allergy symptoms can be much the same, the causes are very different.  The information below may be helpful to determine if you are simply fighting a cold or if allergies are your problem.

Colds – Colds are caused by many different viruses.  When your body begins to attack the virus, the effects of this immune response are common symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and coughing.  You may also develop fever, aches, and pains. Colds are contagious and you can pick them up when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or shakes your hand.  Your immune system fights off a cold in a couple of weeks, at the most, and then you should stop having symptoms.

Prevention and treatment of colds:  To prevent cold symptoms, try to prevent the cold-causing virus from entering your system.  Keep your distance from people who have colds and wash hands often.  If you have a cold, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, where the germs can dissipate and die, to prevent spreading the virus to other people.  There is no cure for a cold, but over-the counter cold medication can be helpful. It is also helpful to rest and get plenty of fluids.

Allergies- Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system.  For some unknown reason, your body mistakes particles such as dust or pollen for germs, and then attacks them. Your body releases a chemical known as histamine, which is what happens when you are fighting a cold.  This usually causes swelling of nasal passages, coughing, runny nose, and sneezing. Itchy eyes are also a common symptom of allergies, but rarely a symptom of a cold.  Allergies do not cause aches and pains as the cold virus usually does.  Allergies are not contagious, but some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.

Prevention and Treatment:  Try to avoid substances you are allergic to, called allergens.  Avoid going outside on days when pollen is high, and re-wearing clothes worn outside.  Common allergens include: pollen, mold, animal dander, and dust mites.  There is no cure for allergies, but symtpoms can be significantly controlled.  Treatment may include the use of over-the-counter allergy meds to prevent symptoms (i.e. Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra), antihistamines to treat current symptoms, nasal spray steroids, decongestants, and/or allergy shots. Avoid use “Afrin” or “4- way” types nasal sprays as these can actually worsen symptoms when used regularly.

If you tend to get a chronic “cold” that develops suddenly and at the same time each year, you may actually have a seasonal allergy.  Usually, a physical examination can determine which condition you have.

 

Do you suffer from Migraines?

Crane-UsePresented by Dr. Peter Crane, buy Family Medicine
Bear Lake Family Care Clinic 208-847-4495

If you suffer from migraine headaches, you are not alone.  Between 12 and 16 percent of people in the U.S. experience migraines.  Migraine headaches are three times more common in women than in men. Migraines may happen only once or twice a year, or as often as daily.

Migraines can be classified as “classic” or “common.” Classic migraines start with a warning sign, called an aura.  About 20 percent of people with migraines experience this before a migraine.  The aura may include flashing lights or bright spots, zigzag lines, changes in vision, or numbness or tingling in the fingers of one hand, lips, tongue or lower face. Auras can also cause temporary muscle weakness and even changes in speech.  Symptoms of aura typically last five to 20 minutes and rarely last more than 60 minutes. The headache occurs soon after the aura stops. Common migraines do not start with an aura.  Common migraines start more slowly than classic migraines and they usually last longer.  The pain of common migraines may be only on one side of your head.

Other symptoms of migraine can be: intense throbbing or dull aching on one or both sides of your head, nausea or vomiting, blurred vision or blind spots, pressure behind one or both eyes, being bothered by light or noise, feeling tired or confused, feeling cold or sweaty, stiff or tender neck, and lightheadedness.

Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors which include: stress, menstrual periods, physical exertion, fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger, certain foods, smells such as perfumes,  and some  medications. Doctors also believe that changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin can be a trigger for migraine headaches. People who have frequent migraines may benefit by keeping a “headache diary”, which can be used to determine what triggers a migraine and what treatment or course of action helped to relieve it.

Treatment for migraine depends upon the frequency, severity, and symptoms of your headache. There are two types of medicines for migraine treatments.  One type focuses on stopping the headache from becoming severe and relieving the pain.  This type of treatment is most effective if medication is taken when the signs of migraine first appear.  Preventative treatment includes medicines that are taken on a regular basis, sometimes daily, to reduce how often headaches occur.  Talk to your doctor about which type of medication is best for you.

In addition to taking medication, you can do some things at home to help manage migraine pain.  Try putting a cold compress or cloth over your eyes, forehead, or on the back of your neck. You can also try massaging your scalp, using a lot of pressure.  Lying down in a dark, quiet room is also beneficial to many migraine sufferers.

 

BLMH launches TeleHealth initiative to support ICU patients

040114 telehealth12Bear Lake Memorial Hospital in launching a new service by contracting with Intermountain Healthcare to provide an extra level of support to critically ill patients in BLMH’s Intensive Care Units. With the implementation of TeleHealth Technology, a secure interactive audio and video system, critical care patients and their caregivers now have 24/7 support from the Critical Care TeleHealth Center located at Intermountain’s Supply Chain Center in Midvale, Utah.

 

Experienced critical care doctors and nurses serve as a second set of eyes, supporting local physicians and nurses to proactively round on, and monitor the vital signs and data of, critically ill patients. This program also allows BLMH’s staff to consult with critical care specialists through cameras and audio links in both ICU rooms, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

Dr. Bill Beninati, the Medical Director of Intermountain’s Critical Care TeleHealth Program states, “We work directly with the bedside medical team to determine the appropriate course of action for each patient, serve as real-time clinical decision support, ensure best practices and consistency of care in a high-stress environment, and provide a safety net for bedside staff and patients.   If a patient needs to be transferred, we’ll work with your doctors and nurses to help prepare the patient for the smoothest transfer possible.”

 

This service has been implemented in other rural hospitals and will add no additional costs to those being cared for in the hospital’s ICUs. TeleHealth will help avoid the inconvenience and high costs of emergency transfers while providing direct access to the big-city specialists.

 

BLMH CEO Rod Jacobson adds, “We want the community to know we are capable of caring for them and their loved ones at all levels and I feel the new service will increase our abilities to be the Most Caring Hospital on Earth.”

 

The TeleHealth system is set to go live on Thursday, June 2, 2016. The first post-surgery ICU patient is scheduled for mid-June. Bear Lake Memorial Hospital and its staff are looking forward to utilizing this critical care service for all of their ICU patients.

Danger of Energy Drinks

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Dr. Lance Hansen – Family Physician
Bear Lake Family Care Clinic
208-847-4495
A recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that more than 20,000 patients (including many teenagers) visited the ER in 2011 with “energy drink-related” problems. Forty-two percent of these visits involved energy drinks and drug abuse.  The number of ER visits involving energy drinks doubled from 10,068 in 2007 to 20,783 in 2011.
Energy drinks are sold in large sizes and pack a potent dose of caffeine.  They resemble soft drinks in flavor and coloring, making them appealing to children and teens.  This gives the impression that there is no harm in consuming them, even though large amounts of caffeine can cause serious problems such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, muscle tremors, and seizures.  A 16-oz. can of Red Bull, Monster Energy Assault, and Rockstar holds about 160 milligrams of caffeine.   More than 100 mg. of caffeine, a day is considered unhealthy for teens. (A typical cup of coffee packs a punch of 100 mg. of caffeine.)  Many energy drinks contain sugar, ginseng, and guarana, which enhance the effects of caffeine.
Many young people frequently mix energy drinks with alcoholic beverages. The high levels of caffeine found in energy drinks can mask the symptoms of being intoxicated (i.e. being lethargic). Young people may incorrectly believe that energy drinks can “undo” the effects of alcohol consumption and that the energy drink makes it safe to drive while drinking. In addition, research has shown that, among college students, there is an association between energy drink consumption and behaviors such as marijuana use, sexual promiscuity, prescription drug misuse, fighting, smoking, and drinking.
Dr. Kwabena Blankson, an adolescent medicine specialist at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, and a lead author of the report on energy drinks said, “Energy drinks contain too much caffeine and other additives that we don’t know enough about. Doctors and parents need to intelligently speak to teenagers (and children) about why the energy drinks may not be safe.”
Find out if your children are consuming energy drinks and talk to them about safe alternatives such as getting adequate amounts of sleep, exercising and eating a healthy diet.

Summer Safety Tips – Alex Moss, PA-C

dr_moss

Alex‘s practices medicine at

Bear Lake Family Care Clinic

and Bear Lake Physician’s Clinic

 

Sun Safety

  • The best line of defense against harmful sun exposure is covering up
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during 10a.m.-4 p.m.
  • On sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Remember that just a few sunburns can increase a person’s risk of skin cancer later in life.
  • Take a water break every twenty minutes while being active in the heat.
  • Wear loose, light-weight, light-colored clothing.

Water Safety

  • Never swim alone. Never leave children alone, even for a moment when swimming.
  • For younger children, use “touch-supervision.” Never be more than an arm’s length away from a small child who is near the water.
  • When boating, always wear a properly fitted life vest. Blow-up toys or devices should not be substituted for a life vest.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.

Bicycle Safety

  • To guard against serious injury, a helmet should always be worn, no matter how short the bike ride. Many serious injuries have occurred in the driveway or sidewalk adjacent to the person’s home.
  • Helmets should be fitted properly, not too large or small. The strap should be fastened so that two fingers can fit between the chin and the strap.
  • A bicycle should be the right size. Oversize bicycles are especially dangerous.

 All-Terrain Vehicles

  • Children who are too young to have a driver’s license should not be allowed to operate off-road vehicles. Children are involved in about 30 percent of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room treatments.
  • Because their nervous systems and judgment have not fully developed, off-road vehicles are especially dangerous for children younger than 16 years.
  • Never ride double. Most ATV’s are designed to carry only one passenger.
  • All riders should wear helmets, eye protection and sturdy shoes.

Lawn-mower Safety

  • Only use a lawn mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.
  • Wear sturdy shoes when mowing.
  • Pick up objects from the lawn before mowing to prevent injury from flying objects. It is best to wear eye-protection when mowing.
  • Never attempt to remove clumped grass while the mower is on.
  • Never allow children to drive a riding lawn mower.

Bug Safety

  • Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water.
  • To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently back it out by scraping it with a credit card.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related diseases.
  • The current CDC recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10% to 30% DEET. (The higher the concentration, the longer the duration of protection.) DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age.
  • Always check for ticks at the end of the day when you have been in the woods. Check pets for ticks as well.

Campfire Safety

  • Adults, not children, should start campfires.
  • Children need to be supervised when using sticks, especially metal sticks, when roasting hot dogs or marshmallows. A hot stick placed in the mouth can cause serious burns.
  • Never leave a child unattended around a campfire.
  • A fire should never be left unattended.
  • Put out fires with water and/or by shoveling dirt on and around the fire.

Outdoor Safety

  • Never drink water from an outdoor stream unless an adult says it is safe to drink. Even water that looks crystal-clear can be contaminated. Bottled water is best.
  • Never eat wild berries. Some are poisonous and it can be difficult to know which are safe.  Take your own snacks when you are hiking or camping.
  • Wearing layers of clothing is a good idea. That way, you can take off some layers if you get too hot, but you will also have enough if the weather turns cold.
  • Stick with a group when hiking. Carry along a whistle and use it if you get separated or lost.  If you do get lost, wait in a safe area and stay there until you are found.

Protecting Yourself from the Sun – Dr. Jacobson

DRJacobsonDr. Jacobson‘s office is located in the Physician’s Clinic.

Being out of doors means being exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, even on cloudy days.

UV rays from the sun, an invisible form of radiation, can damage skin and ultimately cause skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States.

Sunburn results when UV rays exceed the ability of melanin to protect the skin. People with fair skin can sunburn very quickly , less than 15 minutes, in midday sun exposure. The first signs of sunburn may not appear for a few hours, with the full effect to the skin taking 24 hours or longer to become evident.  Symptoms of sunburn are usually temporary, but the skin damage is permanent and can have long-term effects. By the time the skin starts to become painful and re, the damage has been done.  Pain is worst between 6 and 48 hours after sunburn.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your skin protected from the sun:

  • The sun’s rays are strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sun’s rays are also strongest at higher altitudes and lower latitudes.  Reflection off water, sand, or snow can make the sun’s burning rays stronger.
  • Infants and children are very sensitive to the burning effects of the sun.
  •  Some medications can make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.
  • There is no such thing as a “healthy tan” ,  including tans obtained by use of tanning beds.   Unprotected UV exposure, from the sun or tanning beds, causes early aging of the skin.
  • Skin cancer usually appears in adulthood, but is caused by sun exposure and sunburns that began as early as childhood.

 

Sunburn is better prevented than treated.  Ways to prevent sunburn include:

  • Use a  broad spectrum sunscreen with and SPF of 30 or higher.  Broad spectrum sunscreens protect from both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Apply sunscreen in generous amounts and fully cover skin.  Reapply every 2 hours!
  • Apply sunscreen after swimming or sweating, even in cloudy weather.
  • Wear a hat and other protective clothing.  Light colored clothing is best.
  • Stay out of the sun during midday hours.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.

Severe sunburns can cause second or third degree burns.  You should seek medical attention if:

  1. Extreme pain lasts for more than 48 hours
  2. Severe sunburn covers more than 15% of the body
  3. Dehydration occurs
  4.  Fever of 101 degrees or higher develops

 

 

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