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Did Santa Bring You a Cold for the Holiday? You’re Not Alone!

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If you get a nasty cold this holiday season you’re not alone because almost one billion people worldwide will have a cold similar to yours and at about the same time.

“The holidays” are fun, hectic and exciting but they can also be so much fun that people’s resistance is lowered and the next thing they know they have a holiday cold to beat all colds. While the holiday season is the most hectic time of year for many people there are ways to avoid getting sick, which often is the end result of a weakened immune system brought on by too much holiday play or stress, or both.

Unfortunately, while cures have been found for countless illnesses, a cure for the common cold remains elusive. With most people experiencing two to four colds per year this illness can result in thousands of lost days of work as well as misery for those who are experiencing them.

Still no cure yet for the common cold. So how should you handle it?

According to an article written by family physician, Dr. Rallie McAllister in The Paramus Post, taking the herb Echinacea and/or zinc may help prevent colds, a subject long debated in the medical world.

Referring to astudy conducted at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. McAllister notes that cold suffers who used 13.3 milligrams of zinc lozenges every two to three hours cut the length of their symptoms in half compared to those who took placebo lozenges. Like the herb Echinacea, zinc appears to raise the body’s immune system by keeping the cold virus from latching onto cells in the respiratory track. The article stated that people who took Echinacea before the onset of a cold  have a better chance of avoiding one because researchers believe it not only helps the body’s immune system but it reportedly can help reduce the symptoms by several days if the person comes down with a cold.

Colds are spread by germs from person to person by sneezing or shaking hands with someone who has, or is about to unknowingly get a cold. They can also be spread by people blowing their nose into a tissue, covering a sneeze or touching their nose. Children, of course, are great “incubators” for cold viruses. Dr. McAllister said that as early as an hour after cold viruses have infected the lining of a nose and throat the cells begin to release chemicals and these chemicals swell the mucus membranes which then leads to nasal congestion and stuffiness. Voila! You have a cold!

Remember, your Mountains Community Hospital physician is always available and the hospital’s website, www.mchcares.com has valuable information on a variety of topics to help keep you and your family safe.

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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.”

Migraines: The “Ultimate” Headache!

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women with a headache

Migraines can be debilitating. Mountains Community Hospital provides ideas for preventing the pain.

There are headaches and there are migraine headaches. And the difference between the two is enormous. Most routine headaches last just a few hours with only slight discomfort, compared to migraines, which are extremely painful and can last up to three days—or more.

Migraines have a variety of symptoms. Patients may or may not have all of the “standard indicators.” But some must be present for the headache to be considered a migraine. These include:

  • An “aura,”
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Nausea
  • Throbbing pain on at least one side of the head

Despite the medical world’s best efforts, it remains difficult for sufferers to find the right medication to stop an oncoming headache or quickly stop one once it’s underway.

The Mayo Clinic advises patients to take pain medication as soon as symptoms arise. Over-the-counter drugs, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may help at the beginning. But if the pain continues, these medications won’t be effective and probably won’t affect a severe headache in the slightest. Many physicians will prescribe “routine” or “repeat” sufferers with daily medication to help keep migraines at bay and/or reduce their duration and severity.

In addition to milder, over-the-counter drugs, a variety of pharmacy-strength medicines as well as opiates can potentially abate pain.

More than one in 10 Americans suffers from migraines. And women are more likely to suffer from them than men. While specific causes are unknown, researchers believe that brain chemicals as well as blood vessels and nerves in the brain affect any person’s likelihood of suffering from migraine headaches. Hormones and certain foods as well as stress are very likely triggers. Unfortunately, aged and/or fermented products such as cheese, red wine, soy sauce, pickles and pepperoni can trigger a migraine if the trigger comes from a substance called Tyramine. This substance is formed by the breakdown of the amino acid thyosine. Getting enough consistent sleep is also important. And while no one can escape stress or difficult times, many people who listen to relaxing music and/or participate in slow-moving exercises such as yoga or tai-chi claim to find a certain amount of relief.

Researchers are investigating a potential connection between depression and migraine headaches. While this correlation isn’t new, what is new is the fact that researchers are discovering a link between the two which may result from genetic factors. According to a recent article on migraines and depression, author Steven Reinberg reported in an online edition of Neurology, that according to a Dutch research study of 2,652 people, 360 had migraines and 977 had depression. Twenty-five percent of the migraine suffers also had depression compared to 13 percent of the study participants who didn’t get migraine headaches.

While the jury is still out, one way patients can help their physicians diagnose and treat migraines is to keep and share a diary of their symptoms. If you suffer from headaches, we want you to find relief because MCH cares about your health. Call today to find a physician and/or to schedule an appointment with your doctor (909) 336-3651.