Popular downtown hot dog vendor dies of flu

Chad Rattray, a hot dog vendor who helped keep downtown Spokane fed from outside the front of the Bank of America building, died Tuesday from flu complications. Read more

Latest stories

Ask Doctor K: Abdominal adhesions may cause pain

DEAR DOCTOR K: I had abdominal surgery last year. Soon after, I started experiencing severe pain and swelling in my abdomen. It turns out I have abdominal adhesions. I’d never heard of them. What are they, and how are they treated? DEAR READER: Abdominal adhesions are bands of fibrous scar tissue. They can cause organs that are normally not connected to stick to one another or to the wall of the abdomen. Read more

Doctor K: Testicular cancer one of curable kinds

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m in my 30s. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. What should I know about this cancer? Should I be screened for it? DEAR READER: Testicular cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both testicles (testes). Nearly all testicular cancers start in germ cells. These are the cells that make sperm. Read more

Zorba Paster: Eating fish provides health boost

If you take fish oil every day for your heart, then pay attention. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows it’s a dud. It’s not worth the money you’re paying. I, for one, am disappointed. I’ve been swallowing these super large capsules for years assuming I’ll have a stronger heart and live longer. Every time I had a fish oil burp, I thought, “Good for me. Good for my heart. I can take it.” Read more

Ask Dr. K: Have teeth checked twice yearly

DEAR DOCTOR K: I take good care of my teeth, brushing and flossing regularly. Do I still need to have regular dental checkups? DEAR READER: Even if you brush your teeth three times a day and floss daily, regular checkups with a dental professional are a must. For most people, two checkups per year are enough. That’s what I have. Read more

House Call: Surviving sore throat season

Just before winter break, some local school classrooms were down by five or more students daily due to sickness. It is a sure sign that we are in high gear for cold and flu season. That means that you, a friend of yours or someone in your family may be experiencing a sore throat. Most sore throats are caused by these viral infections, and will resolve by themselves over time. Other viral illnesses causing sore throat include mononucleosis, measles and chickenpox. Sore throats caused by viruses will not go away faster with antibiotic treatment. A sore throat may also be caused by bacterial infections like strep throat, whooping cough or diphtheria. In these cases, a visit to your health care provider is necessary for treatment to get rid of the infection. Untreated strep throat can result in rheumatic fever and heart damage. Whooping cough and diphtheria can be deadly in very young children. Read more

Grief differs from person to person

DEAR DOCTOR K: My spouse passed away last year, and I am still grieving. Is this normal? DEAR READER: By coincidence, I’m writing this reply to your question on the 51st anniversary of my father’s death. He died very young. This is a sad day – at least for me, this grief never fully ends. Read more

Health bulletin board www.spokesman.com/livewell

New listings Orthopedic Seminar - Learn about the Joint Restoration Centers at Deaconess and Valley hospitals. Seminars will be held from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday and Feb. 11 and March 11 at Deaconess Health and Education Center, 910 W. Fifth Ave.; Jan. 22, Feb. 12, March 12 and April 9 at Valley Health and Education Center, 12606 E. Mission Ave. To register, visit RockwoodHealthSystem.com or call. Free; light refreshments will be served. (509) 473-5755. Read more

Easing pain of Morton’s neuroma

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have something called Morton’s neuroma. Can you explain what it is, and what I can do to relieve the pain? DEAR READER: A neuroma develops when a nerve is compressed, injured or pinched, causing swelling and pain. A neuroma in the area between the third and fourth toes, or between the second and third toes, is known as a Morton’s neuroma. Read more

Dr. Zorba Paster: Loneliness can weigh heavily on elderly

Imagine what it must be like to be old and alone. Not a pretty picture, is it? Now imagine that your loneliness causes your body to decay. The picture looks worse doesn’t it? Now imagine that same loneliness makes you more likely to die early. Isn’t that a miserable thought? I hate to tell you, but research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows just that — loneliness causes mental distress, physical deterioration and premature death. Read more

For healthier eating, establish kitchen regimen at home

People who eschew takeout for home cooking eat healthier foods, whether they aim to or not, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins University. “When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” said Julia A. Wolfson, the lead author of the study and a fellow at the Center for a Livable Future at Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read more

Ask Dr. K: Bladder condition treatable

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have interstitial cystitis. Medications have helped, but not much. What else could help relieve my symptoms? DEAR READER: Interstitial cystitis is a puzzling bladder condition in which the bladder wall becomes irritated or inflamed. We don’t know what causes the condition. Read more

Experts sound alarm on sugar as source of disease

Is sugar making us sick? A team of scientists at the University of California in San Francisco believes so, and they’re doing something about it. They launched an initiative to bring information on food and drink and added sugar to the public by reviewing more than 8,000 scientific papers that show a strong link between the consumption of added sugar and chronic diseases. Read more

Health Bulletin Board www.spokesman.com/livewell/

New Listings “Living with Spondylitis?” - An educational meeting for those with ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases supported by the Spondylitis Association of America. Information and resources will be available to assist with education and management of the disease. Literature and materials will be provided. Jan. 17, 10 a.m.-noon, Woman’s Club of Spokane, 1428 W. Ninth Ave. Free. (509) 838-5667. Read more

Side effects aside, statins can offer big benefits

Dear Doc: Every time my doctor recommends a statin, I cringe. It seems that all you doctors do is push drugs. Look, I don’t smoke, I jog every day and I eat a super-low-fat diet. My doc wants me on the drug because my cholesterol is high and my brother had his first heart attack at 48. But the side effects I read about on the Web scare me. Read more

A last-gasp effort, a first Christmas

SEATTLE – A Seattle baby was home in time for Christmas after local doctors bet on a last-chance, once-discarded treatment that uses liquid, not air, to inflate the collapsed lungs of fragile newborns. Tatiana Saiaana, now nearly 4 months old, smiled and stared with big brown eyes at a sparkling tree in her family’s Seward Park-area home this week, safe in the lap of her mother, Elise Pele, 28. Read more

Get second pneumonia vaccination

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m 70 years old. I already had a pneumonia vaccine, back when I was 65. At my checkup last week, my doctor said I need to get another one. Why? DEAR READER: I always like to hear that adults are staying up to date with their vaccinations, as you did when you received a dose of the PPSV23 (Pneumovax) vaccine at age 65. Pneumovax helps protect against pneumonia caused by one common type of bacteria, called pneumococcus. Read more

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