King County’s tuberculosis infection rate remains high

December 20, 2011

King County continues to experience one of the highest tuberculosis infection rates in the United States.

Public Health – Seattle & King County released the latest findings about the infectious disease Nov. 21 in the 2010 TB report. The report also details local efforts to control the disease, and the ongoing and expensive challenge of battling drug resistant strains.

In 2010, the public health agency’s TB Program identified 114 cases of active TB, and provided treatment and or evaluation to more than 1,100 King County residents suffering from active or latent TB.

“TB control is an essential investment in the health of our communities that helps us fight the local effects of this global disease,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “In these difficult budget times, state funding support for this work is now threatened, but we can’t afford to let down our guard.”

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Locals can still receive a flu vaccine

December 20, 2011

King County public health officials said time remains for people to receive a flu vaccine.

Health experts recommend for everyone 6 months of age and older to get the flu vaccine, especially children, pregnant women, elderly people and people suffering from health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

The flu season usually peaks in February or later, and can last as late as May.

“No one wants to spend the holidays sick with flu,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “Even people who were vaccinated last season should be vaccinated again to boost their protection.”

The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, public health centers and other providers. Find a flu shot clinic at www.flucliniclocator.org. Find complete information about seasonal influenza at www.kingcounty.gov/health/flu.

Officials said healthy habits can limit the spread of contagious illnesses, including the flu. Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often, avoid close contact with ill people, and stay home from work, school and other public settings when ill.

Gout is more than arthritic flareup

November 15, 2011

Gout, a form of acute arthritis, is a painful, inflammatory reaction in joints from fluid buildup that creates needlelike crystals. Thinkstock

More than 8.3 million Americans are affected by gout.

A form of acute arthritis, gout occurs as a result of the body’s inflammatory reaction to needlelike crystals that form in joint fluid when there is an excess of uric acid in the fluid. Uric acid is a waste product of cell metabolism in the body.

Gout has been recognized and studied since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Hippocrates called gout the “un-walkable disease.” Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin all suffered from gout. In times when overindulgence and obesity was a rarity, gout was considered a disease of the rich and powerful and was frequently referred to as “the disease of kings.”

When these crystals appear in a joint, the joint and surrounding tissue become inflamed, leading to swelling and causing nerve endings in the area to become irritated, leading to intense pain. Occurring most commonly in the big toe, attacks are usually sudden and cause extreme and often debilitating pain. The pain is usually so excruciating that the sufferer cannot bear weight on the afflicted joint. The inflamed skin over the joint will appear red, shiny and dry.

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Troopers remind motorists to beware dangers of drowsy driving

November 15, 2011

State troopers urged motorists to wake up to the dangers of drowsy driving during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

In addition to drunken driving and distracted driving, drowsy driving can cause devastating effects on Washington roadways.

In 2010, drowsy driving caused 17 deaths and 74 seriously injured motorists in Washington. Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents nationwide each year.

“It always breaks my heart to hear that someone was killed or injured because a driver fell asleep at the wheel. These are totally preventable deaths and collisions,” Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement.

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Overlake Hospital Medical Center offers classes

November 15, 2011

Overlake Hospital Medical Center offers the following classes at its Issaquah clinic, 5708 E. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. S.E. Register by calling 688-5259.

  • “Weight Loss Surgery Seminar” — 6 p.m. Nov. 22, free
  • “Condensed Series Preparation for Childbirth & Newborn Care” — 9 a.m. Dec. 2 & 10, $95 per couple
  • “You and Your New Baby” — 10 a.m. Nov. 14, $55

Swedish/Issaquah offers classes

November 15, 2011

Swedish/Issaquah Medical Center, 751 N.E. Blakely Drive, offers the following classes (register or learn more about costs at www.swedish.org/Classes-and-Resources):

  • “Baby Needs a Doctor” — 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16
  • “Postpartum Preparation — 6 p.m. Nov. 18 and Dec. 6
  • “Childbirth Preparation: 1-day Seminar” — 9 a.m. Nov. 20
  • Free birth center tour — 10:30 a.m. Nov. 20
  • “Newborn Preparation” — 9 a.m. Nov. 26 and 10 a.m. Dec. 10
  • “Coping with Confidence: Labor Coping Techniques” — 6 p.m. Nov. 29
  • Free birth center tour — 6 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and 5 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2
  • “Infant Safety and CPR” — 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 6 p.m. Dec. 7
  • Free birth center tour — 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 4

Support Groups

November 15, 2011

Eastside Alcoholics Anonymous hosts the following meetings. For more information, go to www.eastsideintergroup.org or call 454-9192:

Any Length: 8 a.m. Sundays, Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way

Issaquah Smoke Free: 8:30 a.m. Sundays, Issaquah Community Hall, 180 E. Sunset Way

One Step At a Time: 10 a.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Thursdays, 206-686-2927

Core Relations (men only): 6 p.m. Sundays, Issaquah Community Hall, 180 E. Sunset Way

Sobriety Life Line: 7:30 p.m. Sundays, Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way

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Swedish/Issaquah offers ambulatory infusion center, services to Eastside residents

October 11, 2011

Nurse Laurie Kirkham (left) checks Brelin Rismiller’s pulse as she receives her IV fluids in the Swedish/Issaquah Ambulatory Infusion Center. By Greg Farrar

Ken Morgan, 76, has kept active since bilateral knee replacement surgery in both legs in 2007.

In fact, he had just planned his latest fishing excursion on July 22. However, the week before, on the 13th, he caught a fever, checked into the hospital on the 15th with a mysterious infection in his knee and was in for surgery on the 16th.

Afterward, his physician placed Morgan on a six-week course of daily antibiotics, which needed to be given intravenously, or through infusion.

Morgan, a 1953 graduate of Issaquah High School, has lived just south of Issaquah since 1993. He was starting daily, lengthy trips to Seattle for his infusions.

Luckily, the new Swedish/Issaquah hospital had just launched its Ambulatory Infusion Center.

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Health agency urges parents to take whooping cough prevention measures

October 11, 2011

State health officials said whooping cough, or pertussis, is a serious concern as infants contract the disease at a much higher rate than other people.

The rate of whooping cough in babies is almost 10 times greater than the combined rate of all people of all ages statewide. The state Department of Health said 58 infants younger than 1 received whooping cough diagnoses in 2011. The total includes 22 infants hospitalized for whooping cough and two babies that died from the disease.

“Whooping cough is a serious illness, especially for babies who are too young to be vaccinated,” Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer and pediatrician, said in a statement. “Older kids and adults can help protect babies by getting the pertussis vaccine. By being vaccinated, close contacts of infants create a protective ‘cocoon’ for newborns and infants who can’t yet be vaccinated or have not completed their initial vaccine series.”

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Officials enact statewide ban on dangerous ‘bath salts’

October 11, 2011

In a decision announced Oct. 3, state health officials banned the dangerous chemicals in so-called bath salts — dangerous substances used as substitutes for cocaine and methamphetamine.

The state Board of Pharmacy banned the sale, possession and use of products called Spice, K-2, bath salts, plant food, Ivory Wave and White Lightening. The chemicals in the products mimic the effects of cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD and methamphetamine.

Users typically inhale the bath salts in a manner similar to snorting cocaine.

In April, the Board of Pharmacy adopted a temporary emergency ban on bath salts and later adopted a permanent ban. The rule is due to go into effect by Nov. 3.

The state ban gives clear authority to law enforcement agencies to prosecute people for the manufacture, distribution, sale and possession of bath salts.

Based on complaints and reports to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency from poison centers, hospital emergency rooms and law enforcement agencies, the DEA also announced a yearlong, nationwide ban.

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