An ounce of Prevention is right Prescription!
By Dr. Colleen Sholar
As I thought about today’s article, I just could not decide what to write. I’m sitting in the heat watching the aircraft circling, as smoke coming from Orofino fills the sky from Hells Canyon. I’m watching boats and RVs driving down the road, I’ve got a list of school supplies to gather, I need to schedule a well-child visit for my youngest, I’m thinking about going to work wondering when the delta variant wave of COVID will hit our town, etc. That lead me to think about how life is better, and so much easier, when we consider steps for prevention of problems.
FIRES – There have been several fires lately and each season has its fire risk be it brush fires in the summer or chimney fires in the winter. To help manage risk in your home we would like to see that everyone has a smoke detector and preferably a carbon monoxide detector. To reduce stress from a wildland fire be sure your home is FireWise, but even then, in the case of an evacuation, consider having a fire safe and a “go bag” with medications and important documents then have a meet up spot for your family.
For those with COPD or asthma, poor quality can be a big problem. It is recommended that on these smoky days people with respiratory illnesses stay indoors preferable with an air conditioner or furnace filters running. Have your rescue inhaler or nebulizers on hand and if you are not able to get a handle on your breathing you should see your doctor or go to the ER.
HEAT – It has been incredibly hot lately. It is a good idea to plan ahead by stocking up on water if you don’t have a reliable tap. Be sure you are not drinking too much plain water, because water intoxication is a real risk if you are drinking plain water but not eating anything. If you do not have an air conditioner, know somewhere you can go to cool down; once it is over 100 degrees a circulating fan is not going to cool you down. Cool showers, wearing light clothing, and avoiding strenuous activity can also help.
EDUCATION – As a parent, I was extremely impressed by our school district this past year, it was great that we were able to keep the kids in school as in person learning is important. The CDC has recently come out with recommendations that all kids return to in-person schooling this next year. We will need to see what transmission rates are before we can talk about other layers of prevention. Time will tell us about physical distancing and masking, but keeping sick kids home and encouraging hand hygiene are here to stay.
COVID – If you have not received your COVID vaccine, now is the time. Studies are showing that the immunity from prior natural infections is not providing protection against all COVID variants so it is recommended that even those who have been infected receive vaccination. Vaccination of a household member was shown in some studies to reduce risk in other non-vaccinated household members so even if someone you live with does not want or cannot be vaccinated please don’t let that deter you from vaccination. Vaccines are available for everyone over the age of 12.
STRESS – I’m guessing that all times are considered “trying” by some or all, but basic self-care should be ongoing. Having someone to talk to, stress reduction through meditation or mindfulness, avoiding emerging yourself in the 24/7 news cycle, getting adequate sleep, and staying connected with friends and family are essential during any time.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!