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Category Archives: Children’s Health

The Trouble With TV… You Are What You Watch!

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When it comes to eating, you are what you watch.

We’ve all been guilty of mindless munching when sitting in front of the TV, but research from Yale University suggests that what you watch may impact how much you eat.

In the study, children and adults were shown a half hour of television with different sets of advertising in each.  Children aged 7 to 11 years who watched commercials for food ate 45 percent more snack food than the children who were shown the same programming but with commercials that didn’t feature food.  The children in the study didn’t go looking for the food that was advertised, but were interested in any snack food.

Among adults, those who saw advertisements for unhealthy snack food ate significantly more than those who saw spots for healthy food or good nutrition.  The really bad news?  Those habits continued even after the television was off.

Consumer and health groups that are concerned with America’s obesity epidemic—particularly among children—endorse government regulation of food advertising during children’s programming.  But many food marketers already self-regulate.  Frito-Lay, manufacturer of Doritos, Lay’s, Ruffles, Cheetos and Fritos, does not advertise at all during children’s programming, and General Mills, which makes Trix, Lucky Charms and other cereals, only advertises products with fewer than 175 calories and 12 grams of sugar per serving.

Both companies have joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a voluntary group of companies that have pledged to shift the mix of advertising to children to include messages about healthy eating.  Other members include McDonald’s, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Hershey.

Take note of what is being advertised when your kids watch TV.  If there’s too much food advertising, consider turning the TV off or tuning in another program.  Be ready to counter triggered snacking with healthy options like yogurt and vegetables.

And watch your own compulsive eating, too.  Be aware of hunger triggers that have nothing to do with hunger like boredom, restlessness, and food smells. And you can now add food advertising to that list.

When reaching for the chips, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”  If the answer is no, skip the snack, but also try to identify the trigger so that you’re aware of it the next time it tries to sabotage your success.  Knowing why you want to eat helps you get control of your snacking triggers.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with nutritional planning, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. Mountains Community Hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

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Saline Nasal Irrigation: A Viable Alternative

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How to Treat Upper Respiratory Conditions

Sinus sufferers–there may be relief available to you that is simple, effective and inexpensive! According to David Rabago, MD, and Aleksandra Zgierska, MD, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, nasal irrigation with liquid saline is an excellent way to manage symptoms associated with chronic rhino-sinusitis.

Saline nasal irrigation is type of therapy for upper respiratory conditions that bathes the nasal cavity with spray or liquid saline. There is also some evidence, though it is less conclusive, that spray and liquid saline nasal irrigation might be used to manage symptoms of mild to moderate allergic rhinitis and acute upper respiratory tract infections.

According to an article in American Family Physician,

“Consensus guidelines recommend saline nasal irrigation as a treatment for a variety of other conditions, including rhinitis or pregnancy and acute rhinosinusitis”

The quality of a patient’s life can be seriously diminished by upper respiratory conditions, such as acute and chronic rhinosinusitis, viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), and allergic rhinitis. The use of saline nasal irrigation was first described in medical literature in the early 20th Century. Saline nasal irrigation is an effective management strategy for many sinonasal conditions. In a survey of 330 family physicians, 87 percent reported recommending it to their patients for one or more conditions.

Here’s how the procedure works:

  • Saline is injected into one nostril and is allowed to drain out of the other nostril, bathing the nasal cavity.
  • Saline nasal irrigation can be performed with low positive pressure from a spray or squirt bottle, or with gravity-based pressure using a vessel with a nasal spout, such as a Netti pot. Both are available over the counter.
  • Of course, before attempting this or any other type of treatment, consult your physician.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with allergy testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

The Vaccine Controversy

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Are vaccines safe?

Childhood vaccinations have been under intense scrutiny by the public over the past 2 decades.  Vaccines have been blamed for the rise in autism, neurological problems, cancer and even unexplained death.

By the age of 2, American children can receive up to 29 vaccinations.  According to an article in the Salem News, American children receive far more vaccines by the age of 5 and still have a higher death rate than other developed countries (US -36, Norway – 13, Denmark – 12, Japan, Sweden and Iceland – 11).   More parents are deciding not to vaccinate their children, thinking that is a safer option.

The fact is that many serious, infectious diseases have been decreased or eradicated by vaccinations.  For example, smallpox is a virus that has a 30 -50% death rate.  Because of world wide vaccinations, naturally ocurring smallpox has been eliminated and vaccines for the disease are no longer needed.  The incidence of Polio has been reduced by 99%. Vaccinations are a community health issue, not just a personal issue. You might be the fortunate one that does not get overwhelmed by the bug, but the person in the market or the student sitting next to you in class may not be so lucky. Our world is shrinking because of ease of travel.  An infectious disease that was once contained in a small area is quickly spread worldwide with one plane trip.

The most publicized controversy is the possible link between autism and vaccinations.  Thimerosal, a mercury containing preservative, has been the main suspect in the rise of autism and neurological problems.  Although the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) attest to it’s safety, Thimerosal has been removed from “all routinely recommended vaccines for U.S. infants”.  There are studies that both prove and disprove the autism-mercury link.

There is still a question about aluminum in vaccinations and it’s effects on infants and children.  There have been studies showing a link between aluminum in medications and neurological damage, but few studies on the effects of aluminum in vaccines.

Gardasil, the vaccine for HPV, a common cause of cervical cancer, has been the topic of concern recently.  According to the CDC, 40 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed and they have received reports of 20,996 adverse reactions.  The reactions range from fever, dizziness and nausea to blood clots, severe neurological problems and death.

Vaccines, like any other medication, can have side effects and cause mild to severe reactions.   The best strategy is to get informed; ask your doctor, seek information from reputable sources.   Important information to gather would be:

  • Is your child or anyone in the family sick at time of vaccination?
  • Know the disease risks and the vaccine risks
  • Do you have a family or personal history of vaccine reactions, neurological disorders, or immune system problems?

Many physicians are vaccinating their patients on an alternative schedule, stretching out the traditional schedule.  Once you have gathered and digested the information, you can make an educated decision for you, your family and the community.

Washed Your Hands Lately?

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It's important to wash your hands to avoid disease.

Like so many other times in your life, your mother was right when she told you to wash your hands. Most children reach adulthood without having encountered lots of serious illnesses. And the reason for this why may revolve around parents’ insistence that their children wash their hands.

Because Mountains Community Hospital cares about you and your family’s health, we advise parents to teach kids how to wash their hands when they’re young. Demonstrating proper hand-washing techniques is an easy way to model responsible behavior. Children who attend preschool or other childcare facilities are particularly at risk for catching and/or spreading disease. So teaching them how to wash their hands is vital to safeguarding their health.

Unfortunately, many adults have forgotten those lessons and don’t wash their hands often enough or thoroughly. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick as well as spreading illnesses. Generally speaking, people are unaware how many thousands of items they touch each day, often to the detriment of good health.

We advise everyone to wash their hands before preparing food, eating, treating wounds or administering medicine to themselves or anyone else, touching a sick or injured person and before inserting or removing contact lenses. One of the main reasons people get eye infections is because they touch their eyes with unwashed hands.

So be careful to wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially while preparing food. This is particularly important when handling raw meat or poultry, after using the toilet, changing a baby’s diaper, cleaning up Fido or Fifi’s waste and toys, coughing or sneezing into hands, handling garbage or anything that could be contaminated.

While hand sanitizers are good, especially when soap and water isn’t available, they will not remove as many germs as plain old soap and water. How you wash your hands is as important as how often you wash them. And, in many cases, it may be even more important. Be sure to lather well with soap and rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. If you or your children need a reminder about how long 20 seconds is, try humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Don’t forget that your wrists and the top and underside of the fingernails are where germs may hide. So be sure to rinse your hands well under running water. The old saying, “better safe than sorry” certainly applies to keeping your hands clean.

Health Care at Mountains Community Hospital: The eyes have it!

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You can trust your eyes to the medical professionals at Mountains Community Hospital.

The ability to see clearly is one of our body’s greatest abilities. And, fortunately, most eye problems people experience are fairly minor. However, some conditions are far more serious and require the care of a good eye doctor, also known as an ophthalmologist.

The difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is that an ophthalmologist is a physician–a doctor of medicine (MDs) or doctor of osteopathy (DO). MDs and DOs complete four or more years of college premedical education, four years of medical school and one year of internship to get their doctorate degrees. After they become licensed physicians, they fill a residency of three or more years. This consists of medical and surgical specialty training specifically in eye care. So ophthalmologists provide comprehensive eye care services.

Optometrists, on the other hand, are trained to diagnose and treat vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. And they are trained to prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye exercises, low vision aids and vision therapy. They are also taught to identify cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal disease and to use some medications to treat eye disease. However, optometrists do not attend medical school. Most complete an undergraduate degree before beginning four years of training for an optometry (OD) degree. Some optometrists complete a postgraduate one-year clinical residency to gain specialist certification.

One serious eye condition is Glaucoma, which:

  • Can be age-related
  • Refers to a group of eye conditions that ultimately damage the optic nerve
  • Occurs when the “communication path” between the optic nerve and the brain is damaged, it leads to glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second-most common cause of blindness in the United States.

There are four types of Glaucoma including one that is an emergency, called Angle-closure glaucoma. This type of damage occurs when eye fluid is suddenly blocked which causes a quick, severe and painful rise in the pressure within the eye. Other types of glaucoma can be caused by heredity, eye diseases and drugs such as corticosteroids.

Cataracts are another disease that “steals” eyesight and the likelihood of getting them increases with age. Diabetes, smoking and drinking alcohol can also be risk factors.

Cataracts can begin forming when people are in their 40s and 50s but their eyesight usually remains intact until they’re in their 60s. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens that involves vision and a person’s ability to see clearly. So, ordinarily, it is a slow-moving process. According to the National Institute of Health, by the time Americans are 80-years-old, more than half have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge each San Bernardino Mountain resident to protect the health of their eyes by booking a preventative eye exam with an eye care professional

The most serious of all the eye diseases is melanoma (cancer of the eye). According to the Mayo Clinic, this serious melanoma develops in the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that is responsible for eye color. If the melanoma is small enough, it might be eligible for laser removal.

Mountains Community Hospital is privileged to have Dr. Ramin Tayani at the site one day per month to perform eye surgeries and care for mountain eye patients. An ophthalmologist, Dr. Tayani is able to perform the same eye surgery procedures in Lake Arrowhead that he does at his Orange County facility—the Tayani Eye Institute. Bringing top-quality eye care to the local community is one way the Mountains Community Hospital board and affiliated physicians serve mountain residents and friends.

Eczema: Help is on the Way from Mountains Community Hospital

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Hope for those with Eczema

Ever heard of Atopic Dermatitis? How about Seborrhea Dermatitis? If not, you’re hardly alone. These strange names are just a few of the medical terms for common allergic reactions to a condition known as eczema.

Eczema can cover several skin issues that cause swollen, irritated and/or itchy skin and make life generally miserable for those who suffer from this all-too-common condition. Dandruff, diaper rash and rashes that appear after touching plants like poison oak or poison ivy are also considered types of eczema.

Cold, dry winter weather can wreak havoc on skin and can lead to a variety of skin conditions that require special attention. Eczema is one of those conditions as it can pop up suddenly and is adversely affected by weather and dry winter air. Often times, the result is dry, flaky areas of skin that can be very uncomfortable and for the patient and unsightly to all.

Because winter air generally has less moisture, patients often experience outbreaks characterized by scaly, itchy, swollen spots when the weather is cold. People who know they are prone to experiencing dry skin during the winter should be vigilant by using a reliable product to keep their skin moisturized. Working to keep skin moist is important any time of year for eczema patients. So they need to use lotions that do not contain dyes or fragrances since these ingredients can exacerbate breakouts. Many dermatologists urge patients to moisturize two or three times daily during winter months.

Eczema patients should take warm baths or showers and should moisturize their bodies after they emerge from the tub or shower. The Mayo Clinic urges patients to use dye and fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip fabric softener as well as perfumed dryer sheets. Also, people with eczema should keep their fingernails short so they will do only minimum damage to their skin if they scratch itchy spots.

Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge eczema patients who smoke and/or who suffer from a lot of stress to quit smoking and work toward reducing stress levels, both of which will help keep flare-ups at bay.

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of eczema but it occurs in people who have a predisposition to allergens which can range from food to hay fever and other airborne allergens such as weeds, flowers and pollen. It is vital that people who suffer with this type of eczema learn what their “triggers” are so they can reduce the possibility of outbreaks.

Remember, Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health and invites you to log onto their website at www.mchcares.com. For information on medical issues click on the link entitled Resource Center. “We’re here to help” and have been for over half a century.

Pertussis Boosters for School Available at the Medical Office Building in Lake Arrowhead

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injection with droplet

Mountains Community Hospital is joining with the Rim of the World Unified School District to offer tDap vaccines in Lake Arrowhead.

As a service to the local mountain communities, Mountains Community Hospital and the Rim of the World Unified School District are joining together to offer Pertussis/Whooping Cough vaccines in the Medical Office Building across from the hospital in Lake Arrowhead. Here are details:

Rim of the World School District and Mountains Community Hospital are offering Tdap free vaccine for uninsured 7th-12th graders, in the Conference Room of the Medical Office Building on the following dates:
  • Mon. Aug. 8th, 5:00p-8:00p
  • Tues. Aug. 9th, 8:00a-11:00a
  • Tues. Aug. 16th, 8:00a-11:00a
Injections cannot be given without parental consent.  Consent forms can be picked up at the District Office in Blue Jay next to the Blue Jay Theater, or bring a parent to sign the consent at the time the vaccine is given.

Last year California experienced the worst epidemic of Whooping Cough, also known as pertussis, in 60 years. While most people think this disease occurred in the “olden days,” unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Last year’s outbreak affected almost 7,000 Californians and claimed the lives of at least 10 babies. In fact, there were 1,496 cases reported in the first six months of 2010.

This situation prompted the California Department of Public Health to determine that children entering grades 7 through 12 in all of the state’s public and private schools must show proof that they have received a pertussis booster shot. The last booster the students probably received was when they were six years old. So, by 7th grade, their original immunizations and protection originally afforded would be “wearing off.”

Pertussis can be a killer—especially for small children. Mountains Community Hospital cautions parents of children in every age group to make sure their children are immunized and/or receive booster shots. Health officials also believe parents, caregivers, nurses, teachers and other people who are around children should receive the Tdap booster. Due to their small size, babies are particularly susceptible to pertussis. So it is extremely important that they receive their series of shots.

Last year’s outbreak and the state’s associated new requirement that students get a booster shot makes it very possible that  agencies may run low on the serum and, thus, unable to meet the deadline. The San Bernardino County Department of Health has a good supply of the serum. While some doctors on the mountain report that they have run out of the vaccine, they have placed it on backorder and will be prepared to immunize kids as soon as the serum is back on their shelves.

Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead, the mountain’s healthcare center for over 50 years, encourages parents to get their children immunized or get a booster shot soon because the start of the new school year begins next month. Many parents will wait until the last minute. And, if there is a shortage, at that point they will have to wait until the serum is available before their child is permitted to start school. Anticipated shortages are expected to occur between now and the start of the new school year.

Pertussis is very contagious and is caused by bacteria which are easily spread. The disease will start with the same symptoms of the common cold. But there’s nothing common about pertussis. After one or two weeks, severe coughing begins. Victims cough so violently and so rapidly that all the air leaves their lungs and produces a “whooping” sound when they breathe. (Hence the name whooping cough)

Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health. Please visit our website for more information and/or links to information about treatments for many illness and medical conditions. For information log onto: www.mchcares.com and click on “resource center.”