Read the latest Healthy Yakima

Did you miss the latest issue of Healthy Yakima? Get health tips, know when to call 911, and read some suggestions for staying healthy during the winter months.

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Don’t let holiday shopping be backbreaking

holiday shoppingIt’s a well-known fact that holiday shopping can be hard on your wallet. But it’s less well known, perhaps, that it can also be hard on your back.

Spending long hours on your feet and carrying heavy packages and bags can take a real toll. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to save your spine:

  • Wear comfortable, flat shoes as opposed to high heels. Choose those with plenty of cushioning in the soles.
  • Leave your purse at home. Carry must-have items in a small backpack or fanny pack.
  • Make a shopping list. Planning ahead makes it easier to have assistance on hand if you need help moving heavy purchases.
  • Shop at off-peak times. It may reduce the time you spend standing in lines.
  • When carrying shopping bags, distribute the weight as evenly as possible on both sides of your body.
  • Carry as little as possible. Use shopping carts, and make frequent trips to your car to drop off purchases. If you’re shopping in a mall with lockers or a bag check, make use of them.
  • Take occasional breaks. And if your back starts to ache, apply ice for 20 minutes at a time every few hours. It may help ease your discomfort.

Stay active and fit this winter

Resist hibernation with these winter activity suggestions. The bottom line—keep moving!


The Yakima Valley offers many opportunities to enjoy the weather while staying active. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to make the push when the couch is cozy and you have a good book.

Resist the urge to hibernate

To motivate yourself to get up and out, find some winter activities you truly enjoy. Skiing or snowboarding come to mind. You can also get a workout by:

  • Building a snowman or making snow forts or snow angels
  • Bird-watching and walking at the Yakima Arboretum
  • Ice skating at the Yakima Ice Arena or Chalet Place Ice Rink
  • Hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing—check for local events
  • Sledding with (or without!) the kids—especially if you’re designated to haul the sled back up the hill every time
  • Cutting your own Christmas tree—hike into the woods with your permit from the Naches Ranger Station and choose your own tree!

If the cold is just too much, get creative inside. Speed walk in the mall, take a yoga class or dust off the treadmill. The primary goal is to keep moving! Watching a movie? Make up a circuit-training routine: sit-ups, jumping jacks, planks—whatever is appropriate for your exercise level.

Moderation, not deprivation

It can be challenging to enjoy the holiday parties and gift baskets while keeping the scale from tipping, but it is possible. You can include your favorite treats during the holidays without overdoing it.

Here’s to a fit and fun winter season, Yakima!

Know when to call 911

Know when to call 911

Every minute matters!

Memorial is implementing a new initiative to encourage people to call 9-1-1 when they think they are having a heart attack or stroke.


The statistics:

  • So far in 2013, only 35 percent of patients suffering a heart attack were brought to Memorial by ambulance. Two-thirds came by private vehicle.
  • Compared to other Washington counties, we are on the low side. In parts of Pierce County, 80 percent of heart attack victims travel to the hospital by ambulance.


Why is it so important?

When you’re having a heart attack or stroke, blood circulation to the heart or brain has been cut off. Cells are not getting enough oxygen. The longer it takes to restore blood flow, the more damage is done.

  • In the heart, that means decreased heart muscle and possibly death.
  • In the case of a stroke, it could mean paralysis or an inability to speak, depending on the part of the brain that was damaged.


In September, the average response time in Yakima – from the time of the 9-1-1- call to the time EMS arrived at a patient’s door – was 3.5 minutes. Ambulance crews do more than just pick you up and deliver you to the hospital. They start providing care the moment they arrive:

  • They assess and diagnose the patient
  • They can start to administer medications and start an IV
  • In heart attacks, they could begin a hypothermia protocol to cool down the body and try to preserve heart function.


They also notify the hospital staff. If it’s the middle of the night, that means the heart team has already been notified and is already en route to the hospital to meet you there.


The timely services for heart attack and stroke are unsurpassed by any other hospital in the area.  Memorial is categorized as a Level 1 cardiac center and Level 2 stroke center by the Washington State Dept. of Health, the top categories in our region.


On average, data shows that calling 9-1-1 gives a 20-minute head start to the administration of treatment than if a patient arrives by private vehicle. In addition, there is the risk the patient could lose consciousness while driving him or herself or while being driven by a family member or friend, who would be unable to help them.
Calling 911 means emergency medical services staff can notify the hospital and begin treatment even before you arrive, protecting your heart and your life.

Some people wait too long—they’re afraid they’ll be embarrassed if they call 911 and find they are not having a heart attack.

Don’t wait—an early call can make a difference.

The amount of damage to the heart during a heart attack depends on the amount of time between symptoms and treatment. Only 1 in 5 patients gets to the hospital before the heart is significantly damaged.

For heart health, focus on overall diet and exercise patterns

heart-healthHere’s some heart health news that may be welcome as the holiday eating season hits full stride: Rather than fretting over occasional indulgences, people should focus on their overall diet and exercise patterns.

“Quit thinking of foods as good or bad,” said Robert Eckel, MD, co-chair of an expert committee that wrote a new healthy lifestyle guideline for the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology. Instead, “consider the overall dietary pattern and enjoy ice cream and birthday cake…on occasion.”

The recommendations focus specifically on managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which many Americans need to do.

Recommendations include the following:

Cut back on salt. “We all eat too much sodium, and this guideline provides further evidence that we’d all do well to eat less of it,” said Dr. Eckel, a former president of the AHA.

The average American consumes 3,600 milligrams of sodium per day. T