SEATTLE, Oct. 23, 2012 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and joint infections. It appears the outbreak is due to the contamination of an injectable steroid medication called methylprednisolone acetate produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Swedish has never carried the methylprednisolone acetate product produced by NECC.
Information from Swedish on Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak among Patients who Received Contaminated Steroid Injections
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending “Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes” at Magnuson Park in Seattle and meeting hundreds of people touched by diabetes. Whether they had family members or loved ones with diabetes or had diabetes themself, each person had a clear passion for finding a cure for this condition. That passion was contagious and I was happy to catch it!
Joining doctors and Certified Diabetes Educators from Swedish’s Diabetes Education Center at a booth, I heard about patients’ challenges, from staying at a healthy weight to getting the right nutrition to checking their blood sugar. Facing a chronic disease like diabetes (which affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life) is truly heroic! As a health educator, I understand the risk factors for diabetes and how to treat it, but until you meet someone that deals with the finger pricks, test strips and insulin shots every day, it is difficult to grasp what living with diabetes is truly like.
What it also made me realize is that there is always more to learn about diabetes care and treatment. And many of these lessons can help those without diabetes! Learning how to stay healthy and practicing these skills does not have to be boring either. In fact, the Diabetes Education Center has a series of cooking classes where you can learn how to cook tasty healthy food (and eat it, too!) The interactive classes are usually held every few months with the next one coming up at Swedish/Cherry Hill on Tuesday, November 13th from 6-7:30 p.m. Frankly, I’m a poor cook but classes like these help remind me that being healthy can actually be fun. They are even hosting these classes at Swedish/Issaquah starting in 2013, too! Who’s coming with me?
Even as someone who works at a hospital, I find myself grabbing for that second treat more often than I should and a regular reminder of healthy habits is always welcome. Being at the Step Out walk was one of these reminders and it made me realize how strong those with chronic disease are. For those out there that deal with conditions like this every day, you are amazing.
Thanks for stepping out this weekend and reminding me why it is awesome to work with patients and families like you!
The Swedish team at Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes 2012
When you don’t feel good or you get hurt, it often feels like an emergency. You want the pain and discomfort gone…now! But the emergency room may not be the right place for you. So where do you go?
Think of urgent care as the middle ground between the ER and your primary care doctor's office. In other words, urgent care clinics like the one that just opened at Swedish/Redmond are the perfect spot for those “feels like an emergency but isn’t” moments.
Consider urgent care for:
Illness: If you have ...
Influenza (“flu”) season is unpredictable but usually starts in October each year and peaks around January or February. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently recommends annual flu vaccination for all people older than 6 months. Getting vaccinated is particularly important if you or someone with whom you live has a chronic medical condition, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Here are some things I want you to know about influenza and vaccination:
First, influenza is a serious medical illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Annually, up to 200,000 people are hospitalized for influenza. Sadly, the H1N1 outbreak in the 2009 – 2010 flu season caused about 12,000 deaths.
Second, influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent you from getting the flu.
Third, you cannot get sick from getting the flu shot! Some people ...
In the clinic, we work with stroke patients and their families to help them understand the risk of having a second stroke and what they can do to reduce their risk. Lifestyle and medical conditions determine your risk for a first, or second, stroke.
- Do you have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol?
- Do you have diabetes?
- Have you been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation?
- Do you smoke?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you avoid exercise?
- Has a close relative had a stroke?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re at greater risk for having a stroke. If you’ve already had a stroke, your “yes” answers mean you’re more likely to have another one.
Your lifestyle can help you avoid a first or second stroke. And, because family history is a stroke risk factor, your entire family can benefit from a healthy way of life. Pledge to help each other stick to a routine that includes:
- No smoking
- Healthy eating
- Regular exercise
- Taking medications are directed
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation
- Taking low-dose aspirin or a similar medicine (if recommended by your doctor)
- Managing your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
The area is heating up. The National Weather Service has announced an excessive heat watch for this Thursday and Friday, with temperatures that will rise into the low to mid 90s. When outside temperatures are very high, the danger for heat-related illnesses rises. Older adults, young children, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at particularly high risk.
Here are some safety tips to avoid overheating and things to consider for the weekend:
Spend more time in air conditioned places. If you don't have air conditioning, consider visiting a mall, movie theater or other cool public places.
Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.
Dress in lightweight clothing.
Check up on your elderly neighbors and relatives and encourage them to take these precautions, too.
Drink plenty of water; this is very important. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar because they can actually de-hydrate your body.
Have a beverage with you as much as possible, and sip or drink frequently. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.
If you go outside:
Limit the time you're in direct sunlight.
Do not leave infants, children, people with mobility challenges and pets in a parked car, even with the window rolled down.
Avoid or reduce doing activities that are tiring, or take a lot of energy.
Avoid sunburn. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
Wear a hat or use an umbrella for shade.
I often get asked why can’t a woman just get a breast MRI rather than a mammogram. The imaging tests that we do for breast cancer screening and evaluation of abnormalities have different strengths and weaknesses.
Mammograms are very useful as a screening tool. They can be done quickly and read efficiently by the breast radiologist. They have minimal radiation exposure. They can be done by a mobile coach in locations that are more convenient to patients. They are excellent for identifying abnormal calcium deposits within the breast tissue and for seeing disrupted tissue and masses. They may be less effective in women who have dense breast tissue but the digital techniques have helped some with that.
Ultrasound is a great tool for evaluating a mass or tissue asymmetry found on mammograms. It can distinguish between a benign appearing solid mass, a fluid filled cyst, a mass that is suspicious for cancer, or normal appearing breast tissue. There is no radiation exposure. It is less reliable as a screening tool because it can be dependent on the skill of the physician or technologist doing the procedure. It is possible to miss abnormalities or to mis-interpret normal findings as abnormal. There are studies underway evaluating using an automated version of ultrasound as a screening test but the results are not conclusive and this is not considered ready for standard practice.
Breast MRI is a highly sensitive test that is very dependent on...