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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tracking heredity: Family health history matters

Do you really know your family health history, or are you guessing when the doctor asks? With the upcoming holidays, take a moment to ask relatives about past conditions – from diabetes and cancer to heart issues. Write it down, tell your physician, and act on what you can do to reduce risk factors.

House call: Navigating the supplements road

Long gone are the days when your nutritional supplement choices were limited to Flintstones for the kids and One-a-Day for yourself. There are multivitamins formulated for men, for women, and for seniors. There are individual supplements like vitamin C, niacin, lysine and fish oil. In addition to good old tablets, there are chewable supplements, gelcaps, gummy supplements, and liquid supplements. Some are reasonably priced and some are downright exorbitant.

Mayo expert on pediatric appendicitis treatment

A recent study published in JAMA Surgery suggests when chosen by the family, nonoperative management is an effective treatment strategy for children with uncomplicated acute appendicitis.

Insect bites can do much more than bug you

Bug bites are an itchy nuisance, but they are also potentially life threatening – especially for people with damaged immune systems, children and the elderly. This is not just a problem in other countries where there is malaria. Mosquitoes here in the Northwest can carry West Nile virus, western equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis. All of these can cause brain swelling, confusion and fevers. Additional diseases carried by mosquitoes in other regions of the United States include eastern equine encephalitis, California encephalitis and (rarely) malaria. In Yosemite Valley in California, you also need to protect yourself from flea bites, which can carry the bubonic plague.

Why do children die? New Idaho team searches for links

BURLEY, Idaho – The death of any child warrants a closer look to search for ways to keep Idaho’s children safer. And there are many, the new Idaho Child Fatality Review Team concluded this spring.

Seeking solutions to allergy symptoms

Stuffy nose? Itchy eyes? Mucus going down the back of the throat? If you’re prone to wheezing, perhaps you’re experiencing a wheeze or two? Or three? Or four? Or maybe you’re just tired and miserable all the time at this time of year? Of course, you know what I’m talking about: allergies. They come with the season, just like mosquitoes and those pesky flies.

Help your kids get serious about playing healthy

Swimming, lacrosse, hockey, track, rock climbing, karate and volleyball are only a few of the sports your child could participate in this year. Whether your child is involved in an organized team sport or individual sport, takes P.E. at school or enjoys active play with friends on the weekend, you probably know that staying physically active is an important part of good health, and a great habit to develop in childhood. While keeping your child active, encourage some other healthy habits to go along with exercise.

Don’t enjoy the sun without the screen

Sunshine is one of the most enjoyable things about this time of year in Spokane. We had a beautiful, sunny day for Bloomsday. I have been out in my garden almost daily for the past month, and I can hardly wait for the outdoor pools to open. Although protecting yourself and your family from the skin damage the sun causes should be something to keep in mind all year long, you may be thinking about it more as the sunshine returns, making sure you have hats, umbrellas for days by the water and plenty of sunscreen. I go through my cupboard to pitch the expired containers of sunscreen and stock up on what we will need for the coming summer days. When I talk with patients about sun protection, they want to know which sunscreen to buy. Answering this question is easier if I first explain how the sun damages your skin.

Course of action to stop diabetes

Toni Pille lives on a 40-acre farm in Espanola, north of Medical Lake, where she and her husband raise sheep, cut hay and eat local: potatoes they grow, meat from the farmer around the corner. She’s a “from-scratch cook” who’s never been interested in preparing one meal for herself and another for her husband, she said. And she’d “fought the weight battle” all her life,

Need for clean diapers goes beyond preventing rash

Durga and Manju Ghalley speak limited English after moving to Spokane from Bhutan two years ago. But it was easy to explain why the couple picked up a dozen free diapers at Mission Community Outreach Center last week for their daughter, Suprena, who’ll turn 2 this summer: “To protect her,” Durga Ghalley said.

House Call: Keys to prenatal infection prevention

In the previous column about taking care of yourself before and during pregnancy, I mentioned avoiding infections. Today’s column will cover details about infections, their potential consequences, and prevention. Influenza has been in the news a lot lately as it has caused several deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations and doctor visits in our region. Pregnant women are highly susceptible to flu and serious complications from flu. Wash hands frequently. Flu vaccine during pregnancy can protect both you and your baby because you will pass some immunity to the baby before birth. Pregnant individuals should not receive the nasal spray vaccine.

Coeur d’Alene woman’s AirAllé machine offers new approach to attacking lice

Lice happened twice to Brianne Ball’s family, and it was a commitment for everyone involved: her three daughters, her husband, herself. One child would come home infested, and it would spread to the whole family. And, as daughters put their heads together, it would spread again. The lice proved especially commited, chemical treatment after treatment, painstaking comb-out after comb-out.

School districts adjust ‘no-nit’ policies, focus on effective treatments at home

Head lice will find few defenders. The parasites – found on human heads, eyebrows and eyelashes – survive by biting their hosts and feeding on their blood, and just the thought of them can make the skin crawl. But they’re not a health hazard, according to pediatricians and school nurses groups – and they’re not worth missing school over.

Child abuse rates climbing in Spokane County

Child abuse rates are on the rise in Spokane County, according to a recent report by the Spokane Regional Health District. “We’re actually statistically significantly higher than what the state rate is,” said Elaine Conley, director of the district’s Community and Family Service programs. “It’s just a significant problem in Spokane County.”

Teens are smoking and drinking less, but plenty use pot

One in six Washington youth ages 12 to 17 has seriously considered suicide, and 8 percent of students in eighth and 10th grades have attempted suicide in the past year, according to a state Department of Health survey. The figures are the result of an October 2012 survey. The survey included about 200,000 students from across the state and addressed sexual activity, drug and alcohol use, depression and commitment to school.

Abortion parental notification bill gets hearing

OLYMPIA – A hearing on a bill that would require minors to notify their parents before terminating a pregnancy pitted those who argued it was an issue of parental rights against those who say the measure is an effort to restrict access to abortion. The Senate Law & Justice Committee was packed Wednesday with supporters and opponents of the measure that would deny a pregnant minor an abortion unless she had given at least 48 hours’ notice to one parent or a legal guardian. A pregnant teen could petition a superior court for a waiver of the requirement.

Senator backs paying foster parents more

BOISE – Conservative North Idaho Sen. Steve Vick has only been on the Legislature’s joint committee for a week, but on Monday he said he saw a budget request that he views as more justified than others: a slight increase to Idaho’s low-ranking foster care reimbursements. Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, said he once looked into becoming a foster parent himself.

Refugees’ group harvests fruits and vegetables for needy

In the summer of 2011, two East Central women, both refugees, came up with the idea of harvesting neighborhood fruit that otherwise wouldn’t be used, and donating it to the community. Nou Vang and Ma Win Tain started small, hanging fliers for what they called the East Central Neighborhood Urban Fruit Tree Harvest in grocery stores and reaching out to neighbors. They did some of the harvesting and volunteers signed up to pick apples and plums, cherries, whatever was available.