DEAR DOCTOR K: My son was recently diagnosed with asthma. His doctor wants to put together an asthma “action plan.” What is that? DEAR READER: Asthma is a complicated and serious disease. It can behave differently from hour to hour and from day to day. A person with asthma needs a plan for what to do at each stage of the disease. I’ll describe the elements of the plan in a minute, but first a little background on asthma itself.
DEAR DOCTOR K: After years of living with hearing loss, I am soon going to get my first hearing aid. Anything I should know ahead of time to be prepared? DEAR READER: The first thing many new users of hearing aids notice is that sounds seem strange. Think of how different your own voice sounds when you listen to a tape recording of yourself. You may also be more aware than ever before of your footsteps, your car’s motor, the sounds you make as you chew your food, and just about any other environmental noise. Many hearing aids can be adjusted to lower the volume of unwanted noise. But more important, with time, your brain will get better at tuning it out.
DEAR DOCTOR K: My spouse passed away last year, and I am still grieving. Is this normal? DEAR READER: By coincidence, I’m writing this reply to your question on the 51st anniversary of my father’s death. He died very young. This is a sad day — at least for me, this grief never fully ends.
DEAR DOCTOR K: Does menopause cause weight gain? DEAR READER: In the United States, women typically go through menopause between 47 and 59 years of age. And the average woman gains about one pound per year around the time of menopause. Not surprisingly, we tend to assume that menopause causes weight gain. Research suggests that there is no direct link between menopause and weight gain. But menopause may play an indirect role.
DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m 70 years old. I already had a pneumonia vaccine, back when I was 65. At my checkup last week, my doctor said I need to get another one. Why? DEAR READER: I always like to hear that adults are staying up to date with their vaccinations, as you did when you received a dose of the PPSV23 (Pneumovax) vaccine at age 65. Pneumovax helps protect against pneumonia caused by one common type of bacteria, called pneumococcus.
Citizens to still receive care
North Central Public Health Department has been notified of a presumptive case of Neisseria meningitides in a student who attends school in Dufur, according to a press release from the agency.
At an unusually candid meeting last month, blame flew both ways regarding a long stalemate over the status of the public health district and its relationship to Wasco County.
While only one person in Wasco County has reported getting the flu this year, health officials say they expect that number to rise around the beginning of the year.
DEAR DOCTOR K: At my last checkup, my doctor asked if I snore. When I told the doctor that my husband says I snore a lot, the doctor said snoring can be a sign of heart disease, particularly in postmenopausal women. What does snoring have to do with heart disease? DEAR READER: Snoring is not a sign of heart disease, but it can be a sign of sleep apnea. And people with sleep apnea are at greater risk for heart disease. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes brief, repeated pauses in breathing throughout the night. A woman’s risk of sleep apnea rises after menopause.
Cheree Gillette recently attended the funeral of a 34-year-old childhood friend who died of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. The loss of her friend particularly shook Gillette, because she herself had nearly died from the same illness early this year.
High school player didn’t recognize what was happening
DEAR DOCTOR K: I have allergies, and my eyes are affected the most. They’re puffy, red and itchy. What can I do? DEAR READER: Pollens, animal dander, dust mites and mold: The same allergens that cause sneezing and an itchy nose and throat can trigger allergy symptoms that affect your eyes, too. If your eyes are red and itchy, you may also have tearing, mucous discharge and swelling of your conjunctiva (the inside of your eyelid). This constellation of symptoms is known as allergic conjunctivitis. It can be uncomfortable, but it is not a threat to vision.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Griffith Motors owner David Griffith made a donation of $50 for every vehicle sold in the month of October.
DEAR DOCTOR K: You recently wrote about e-cigarettes not being safe for teens. What about hookahs? I don’t completely understand what they are. Are they OK for my teen? I think he might be smoking them. DEAR READER: A hookah is a water pipe that people use to smoke a specially made tobacco. Often the tobacco used in hookahs is flavored, which makes smoking it more attractive to some people.