October 12, 2010
This year’s flu shot protects against three types of influenza: the H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and H1N1, also known as swine flu.
Flu shots combining vaccinations are not uncommon, said Virginia Mason Issaquah primary care doctor Ted Naiman, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Every year, it’s got multiple different ingredients,” he said. “Basically, what the CDC does is they look at the strains of influenzas the year before that made people the sickest and killed the most people, and they use those to make the next year’s vaccine.”
Influenza, a respiratory illness, can cause a multitude of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue or vomiting.
Most people recover in two weeks, but sometimes the disease has complications leading to pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.
Every year, between 5 percent and 20 percent of people get the flu, according to the CDC.
July 20, 2010
Go into any drugstore and you’re bound to run into a plethora of sunscreen options this summer. But do you really know what to look for?
Many people don’t, so you’re not alone.
“There are a lot of sunscreens out there,” Amy Cheng, a dermatologist with Virginia Mason Medical Center, said.
Even the federal Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have a consumer-friendly system of standards regulating the claims of companies who make sunscreen, despite the Sunburn Protection Factor label.
Since 2007, officials with the FDA have posted consumer updates on its website saying it’s in process of developing a set of standards, but those have yet to come to fruition. Read more
June 29, 2010
The Fourth of July is about enjoying the sun, if it decides to come out from behind the clouds, picnics and the exciting sounds and vast array of colors from lighting off fireworks.
In cities where fireworks are legal, stands opened this June 21. Although fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Issaquah, many people still ignite the dangerous explosives and quickly run away in order to watch the fiery display they put off.
“We want to remind residents of Washington to be safe,” said Karen Jones, deputy state fire marshal of the state fire marshal and data analysis. “Check the laws of your community as they change.”
According to the annual fireworks report put out by the Washington State Patrol, males ages 15-21 account for most fireworks-related injuries. In 2009, 200 firework related injuries were reported.
Hand and eye injuries are reported most, followed by head, face and ear injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.
“Plan ahead for mishaps,” said Special Agent Phillip Whitley, of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
It’s also important to understand which fireworks are legal in your area, he said.
Fireworks should be left unaltered and only used as directed by the warning label that’s required by federal law. An improvised, altered firework can lead to burns, amputation of limbs and even death. Read more
June 15, 2010
Hands. They are often our first interactions with the world. They lift a mug of coffee to your lips. They greet new acquaintances with a firm grasp. They hold loved ones close in an embrace.
But when rheumatoid arthritis took away Issaquah resident Meredith Froemke’s ability to lift or greet or hold, her world got much smaller.
“The disease was so misunderstood by the outside world,” Froemke said,” that I didn’t have the courage to come forward, because I found I was really discriminated against.”
Froemke was diagnosed with RA in 1993. She was 28.
“‘This has got to be a mistake,’” she thought. “I had never even seen anybody my age with rheumatoid arthritis.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2007 RA affected more seniors, but about 12 percent of Washington state residents between the ages of 18 and 44 were reported to have the condition. The autoimmune disease causes the lining in the joints to swell and eventually digest cartilage and bone. As the tissue degenerates, it usually causes the affected joint to lose its shape, causing a loss of range of motion and pain.
“One day I woke up, and I was so sick,” Froemke remembered. “I couldn’t move my jaw, my arms, my fingers, my legs, my neck. I was in a complete state of paralysis.”
She said the weight of her bed sheet felt like a house was sitting on her. Froemke was quickly diagnosed with RA, and she had to drastically alter her lifestyle to adapt to the condition. Read more
February 16, 2010
High stepping, ball bouncing and throwing a few upper cuts may sound like child’s play, but this is Issaquah seniors getting fit.
With more information and resources than ever, seniors are taking charge of their health through a variety of education and fitness opportunities at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center.
“I like the ball squeezing with the legs,” said Stephen Saunders, who celebrated his 87th birthday Feb. 1. “It’s just good for you. I missed a week and I’m still making up for it.”
“It’s great. I have so many that have kept coming since we started more than two years ago,” said fitness instructor Barbara Scott. “They have a contagious spirit and that’s what makes things fun.”
The Centers for Disease Control recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week and overall muscle strength training two or more days a week for adults 65 years or older who are generally fit. Read more
January 19, 2010
State residents can now compare and research infection rates at hospitals across Washington with a new tool from the state Department of Health. Read more
December 15, 2009
With sleigh bells jingling and merry spirits, it’s likely you’re ready for the holidays, but is your heart?
Each year, nearly 785,000 Americans suffer a heart attack and more than 631,636 have heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, causes that lead to heart attacks and heart disease, are factors people should be aware of, according to Issaquah’s newest cardiologist, Dr. Elizabeth Gold.
Heart health is “essential, it makes us all go,” she said. “If your heart stops, that’s the definition of dying.
“There are a lot of issues with heart health,” she said. “One of the main ones is if you have a heart attack, severe enough, it could kill you. But there are other things that damage your heart muscle and can severely impact your quality of life.”
Those include heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, she said.
Gold started a new rotation with Virginia Mason’s Issaquah clinic Dec. 7 and has been helping patients and residents prepare to be more heart healthy this coming year.
The rotation program was started with the hope that patients would have more local access to specialists. With two successful cardiologist rotations in Bellevue and Kirkland, Gold’s rotation to Issaquah was a natural next step, according to Alisha Mark, director of communications for the hospital. Read more
December 1, 2009
Stepping onto the stage at Chimacum Middle School in Chimacum Oct. 13, Ken Tork took a deep breath and began saving lives by confronting a deadly game.
Students throughout the state, nation and the world are playing the choking game and Tork said he knows two things about it: That it’s not a game and that it has deadly consequences.
Tork, his wife Kathy, and 11-year-old daughter Kelly Tork know all too well the game’s deadly consequences. The couple lost their only son, Kevin, a 15-year-old sophomore at Issaquah High School, to the game March 30.
Kevin’s death is the reason Ken Tork was called to Chimacum. On Oct. 7, medics arrived to care for a student who’d passed out after being choked by a friend before a third-period class.
Students play the game to get a high, which occurs when their brains are deprived of blood and oxygen. Read more
September 29, 2009
10-year-old named honoree for fundraiser
She swims, she plays soccer and she snowboards. By all accounts, Alicia Seidel is like many other 10-year-olds in the area: There’s just one difference — she has arthritis.
“I’m the only one at my school with arthritis,” said Alicia, an Endeavour Elementary School student.
“A lot of people know about arthritis, but they think it is something you get when you’re old,” said her mother Cynthia Seidel, who was also recently diagnosed with an arthritic condition.
Alicia is one of 294,000 children living with arthritis in the country. But she hasn’t let it slow her down. In fact, because of her determination and her message for research and a cure, she was named the honoree for Bellevue’s second annual Arthritis Foundation Walk Oct. 10. Read more
September 8, 2009
City and school officials are keeping close watch on information about the H1N1 flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the local public health agency. Read more