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Getting the most out of your appointment

I was recently asked if I could provide advice on how patients could get the most out of their Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center visits.  In reality, I think most of us have been patients at least once in our lives. The list of tips I provide is comprehensive. However, critical information may be missing.  If you notice omissions, please respond with your own advice in the comments since we can all learn from each other.
 
One of the most important MS life survival lessons is that we are all part of the same team. As a member of that team, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to live your life to the fullest. This starts with the MS Center visit. Where you go with the information, is all part of our journey together:

Using technology to help educate, prepare, and distract kids in the hospital

The hospital can be a scary place for any patient, and even more so for children. iPads have been around for nearly four years and in that time they have expanded the way children are educated, prepared, distracted, and provided normalization in the pediatric areas of the hospital.

Educating kids

An iPad allows staff to teach patients about a new diagnosis while making it fun and interactive. An iPad provides a visual and hands on way to teach about a diagnosis and also make sure the patient understands their diagnosis. There are many apps designed by healthcare professionals for diagnosis education with kids. Some of these applications include: “Medikidz explains Type One Diabetes”, “Blast Those Blasts” (for children with cancer, specifically leukemia), “Flow Breather” (for children with cystic fibrosis) and “Wellapets- Asthma Education Pets for Kids.”

Helping kids prepare for a procedure or experience

Most pediatric patients ...

Multiple Sclerosis and the Winter Blues

Many people with Multiple Sclerosis look forward to the cooler temperatures and reduced humidity that comes with fall and winter. Symptoms can be worse in the warm summer months so relief comes to many with the lower temperatures. With fall and winter right around the corner, it’s important to be aware of and prepare for the Winter Blues. 
 
The Winter Blues is fairly common in northern latitudes where the days become shorter and there is reduced sunlight.  The Winter Blues is often characterized by feeling irritable or gloomy, having less energy, sleeping more but not feeling more rested, and eating more, often with cravings for carbohydrates.  So what can one do to prevent the Winter Blues?

What you can do about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a term used to describe the presence of fat accumulation in the liver. NAFLD affects approximately 20-30% of United States population, and is most commonly diagnosed between 40 – 50 years of age. Recent studies have shown an even distribution of NAFLD between men and women.
 
A healthy liver may contain some fat. However, NAFLD occurs when the liver has trouble breaking down fats, causing excess fat to build-up in the liver. Mild fat accumulation usually does not result in inflammation of the liver. More severe fat accumulation can cause inflammation, and potential progression to cirrhosis (scarring of liver tissue). People who drink too much alcohol can get a condition similar to NAFLD, but NAFLD happens in people who do not drink alcohol or only a little alcohol.
 
We still have much to learn about the specific cause of NAFLD, but it is often associated with:

Protect your hearing at Seattle's Seafair

Blue Angels! Cheering fans! Hydroplanes! Live music! Fireworks! Along with the excitement Seafair brings to Seattle, it also brings a lot of noise! The otolaryngologists and audiologists at Swedish Otolaryngology want you to enjoy these events, while protecting your precious hearing. The sound of a jet engine can be up to 120 dB at take-off and even 30 seconds of exposure to this sound can cause permanent noise damage (American Academy of Audiology website).
 


Here are some tips for protecting your hearing:

Wear ...

Dealing with vaginal dryness

One of the more annoying situations that many of my patients have been in is having painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness. In general the cause of dryness of the vaginal tissue is lack of estrogen. This can occur postpartum, especially in women who are breastfeeding a baby, and it can occur just before and during menopause.

When estrogen is in the body, one of the effects of estrogen is to ...

Safety tips for the 4th of July

How often do we hear it on the news, local billboards, or social media to “have a safe 4th of July”? Indeed, July 4th can be one of great celebration for our nation’s independence. But do you want to spend the evening in your local Emergency Department or Urgent Care with your child instead of enjoying it with family and friends?

Fireworks are a big cause of injuries, not only to children, but to adults alike. We collectively spend thousands of dollars on things that make the loudest “BOOM”, the brightest lights in the sky, or provide the longest show. We don’t anticipate spending additional money, hundreds to thousands of dollars, on emergency care that comes from the accidents caused by fireworks.

Here are some tips to help you have a safe 4th of July celebration:
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