Flu cases already being seen in Washington

Flu activity picking up in Washington: protect yourself now

OLYMPIA –State health officials are already seeing influenza cases across the state, and they expect the number to rise in the coming weeks. People are urged to get a flu shot now as the best line of defense against flu.

“The flu can, and does, make people really sick,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, health officer for Washington State Department of Health. “Most healthy people who get the flu don’t need urgent medical care; however, people in a high-risk group and those who are very sick should contact their health care provider as soon as possible.”

Read the full report from Washington State Department of Health here https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/2017NewsReleases/17152FluSeasonNewsRelease

Why You’re NOT Losing Weight: How to Get the Scale Moving!

When the scale won’t budge, your pants aren’t fitting any differently, and your waist measurement hasn’t changed at all despite changing your diet and adding exercise, it’s time to take an honest look at the little things that may be hindering your progress. You would assume that weight loss is a numbers game. Burn more than I take in, correct? Sort of.  Here are some of the sneaky things you’re doing that have you wondering, “Why am I not losing weight?”

  • Underestimating how many calories you are consuming. – Did you know that the FDA allows for a 20 percent margin on calorie counts? Think that meal you ate has 300 calories? Well it could be up to 360. It’s a good idea to overestimate when calculating calories when dining out or eating packaged foods.
  • You stick to all “fat free” products. – You’d assume this change would help you lose weight. Wrong. Many manufacturers will remove the fat from their product, but replace it with sugar and other fillers. Instead, go for the low fat version; the little fat you will be consuming is better than sugar, dextrose, or high fructose corn syrup.
  • You are eating too much. – Get out that food scale. Weighing your portions is the best way to insure that you are not over consuming. Your protein may be the size of your hand, but how thick is it? Rely on portion sizes in grams or ounces instead of tablespoons or cups for more accurate calorie counts.
  • You’re good all week, then splurge on the weekends.- You are not alone. Weekends bring the feeling of freedom, and that lack of schedule can send our diet into a downward spiral. Allow yourself 1 to 2 treats on the weekend, but stay within your calorie count. You can undue all your hard work during the week with just one day of complete indulgence.
  • You’re under eating.- Biologically, our bodies are made to hold fat during times of famine (think back to our ancestors living through harsh winters). If you are not feeding your body enough calories, your metabolism will fall into “survival” mode and you will hold on to body fat. For weight loss, women should multiply their bodyweight by 10-12 and men by 12-14 (these numbers depend on activity level, lean body mass, and genetics). And never drop your calories below 1200 (women) and 1500 (men).
  • You are too strict and end up binging on “off plan” foods.- Deprivation doesn’t work. Go cold turkey on all of the foods you enjoy and you may end up falling completely off the wagon. Instead, don’t blacklist foods. Think of them as “all the time” and “sometimes” foods. Enjoy a small portion of what you’re craving 1-2 times per week, then get right back on track. Trying to be perfect may set you up for failure.
  • You’ve cut out an entire food group.- First it was “low fat” then “low carb”, then 500 calories a day. The truth is these strategies don’t work in the long term. In order to keep your metabolism strong and lose weight at a healthy, maintainable pace, make sure you consume a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Keep your carbohydrates in the morning and around your workouts when your body will put them to good use.
  • You keep “starting over”.- “I blew it, I’ll start again Monday”. This mentality will keep you in the “diet prison”. You’re not dieting, you’re making a lifestyle change toward a healthier, more fit you. One bad meal does not need to spell diet disaster. Admit it happened, move on, and get right back on track.
  • You are eating 2-3 large meals a day. – This will work for some, but for most, over consuming at one meal then going hours without food will be bad news for both your metabolism and your blood sugar levels. Try to consume small meals every 2.5 to 3.5 hours, each with a small amount of protein. This will keep your blood sugar and energy levels even and make you less likely to eat more than you need because you are famished.
  • You expect results overnight. – How long did it take you to gain weight? Probably years. Why do we expect it to come off overnight? Be realistic and give yourself credit for all the positive things you are doing. The scale is NOT the only gauge of your success. Celebrate small victories and know that maintainable, healthy, safe weight loss takes time.
  • You are “Biting, Licking and Tasting” (BLT) yourself to death. – I’m talking about the calories we don’t register. The lick of the knife after making your child’s sandwich, the one peanut M&M at the office, or that handful of nuts as you pass the pantry. These items add up and can halt your weight loss progress. Commit to no “BLTs” this week and see how differently you feel!

Can you relate to some of these items? Devote to making small changes. Finally see the scale move, your pants get looser, and your outlook on weight loss turning positive. This summer will be your healthiest, most fit yet!

Health Tips for Men

Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of death among men. How we take care of ourselves today contributes to our health in the long run. Obesity and diabetes are contributing factors to many other diseases.

What are the keys to preventing these diseases?

Take control of your health and reduce your health risk.

  • Stay away from tobacco
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get moving with regular physical activity
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all)
  • Protect your skin from the sun
  • Know your family history, and your risks
  • Have regular check-ups and screening tests

What kinds of screening tests?

  • Everyone should know their blood pressure and cholesterol and take steps to control both, whether it’s through diet, fitness or medication.
  • Men should also know more about testosterone. Testosterone is response for development body and facial hair, muscle growth and strength and a deep voice. It also influences the production of sperm, promotes sexual function and promotes sex drive.

We now know that some men’s bodies do not make enough testosterone.

  • Symptoms of low testosterone include: low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, increased irritability or depression, fatigue, reduced muscle mass and strength and decreased bone density.

What causes low testosterone levels?

Men produce less testosterone as they age. There also are certain medications that can cause low testosterone. Men should consider adding regular screening for testosterone levels to their regular screenings as part of their checkup.

How do you treat low testosterone levels?

There are gels that can be applied to the skin, as well as injections and skin patches and mouth patches. Talk to your doctor about which option might be best for you.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among men. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 3 American men suffer from cardiovascular disease, and many don’t even know it.

It’s true. Taking steps to maintain your overall health, such as through diet and exercise, can help prevent cardiovascular disease, as do controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

The cancers that most frequently affect men are prostate, lung and colorectal cancers. How important is early detection?

Early detection — finding a cancer early before it has spread — gives you the best chance to do something about it. It improves your chances of preventing a cancer and potentially saving your life. That’s why it’s important to get screened.

Lung Cancer- More men in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer.

  • Nearly 9 out of every 10 lung cancer deaths in men in this country are due to smoking.
  • The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if you smoke.

Prostate Cancer-The second leading cause of cancer death in men

  • The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up as a man gets older. Roughly two-thirds of prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.
  • Talk to your doctor about getting tested and decide when the right time is for you to get screened. Prostate screenings involve a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a PSA blood test. How often you are tested will depend on your PSA level.
  • Roughly 2 million men in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors.

Colon Cancer-The third leading cause of cancer related deaths in men

  • Screenings for colon cancer should begin regularly at age 50 or younger for people with a family history of colon cancer or other potential disorders.
  • There are many different screenings that look for colon cancer–the most common and effective is a colonoscopy.
  • Nine out of 10 people whose colon cancer is discovered early will be alive five years later. Many will live a normal life span.


Preventing Bullying

Bullying is not a normal part of childhood and is considered to be a serious public health problem. Recognizing that bullying behavior is an issue that demands the concerted and coordinated time and attention of parents, educators and school administrators, health care providers, policy makers, families, and others concerned with the care of children, Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice evaluates the state of the science on biological and psychosocial consequences of peer victimization and the risk and protective factors that either increase or decrease peer victimization behavior and consequences.

Learn more about Preventing Bullying Through Science_Policy_and Practice »

Carl R. Olden, MD, FAAFP, Virginia Mason Memorial

How to choose healthy fats

Fat has quite the reputation as a dietary super villain, but there’s more to fat than that.

A little dietary fat is essential for good health. In addition, some types of fat (in modest amounts) may even help protect your health. Other fats, however, may harm your health if you eat them too much.

Here’s a closer look at these bad and good fats.

The bad guys: Saturated and trans fats

These two fats raise LDL blood cholesterol—and with it your risk of heart disease and stroke:

Saturated fat. This is found mostly in animal products including red meat, lamb, chicken with the skin left on, butter, cheese, and full-fat or 2 percent milk. It’s also in some plant foods, such as coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter.

Trans fat. This is found in foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, including baked goods such as cookies, pies, doughnuts and snacks. It helps them have a long shelf life. Trans fat is also in some fried restaurant foods.

The good guys: Unsaturated fats

Eating healthy, unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat may help improve cholesterol levels. The two main unsaturated fats are:

Monounsaturated. Examples of foods that contain monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oil, nuts, peanut butter and avocados.

Polyunsaturated. Examples of foods that contain polyunsaturated fats include salmon; tofu; and safflower, sunflower and corn oils.

Serve up some good health

To help keep your diet focused on the good fats:

• Plate up more fruits, veggies and whole grains, and less red meat

• Switch to low-fat or non-fat milk

• When sautéing or stir-frying, use olive, canola or other oils

• Eat fish at least twice a week

• Choose soft margarine instead of butter. Look for “0 grams trans fat” listed on the label

• Save sweets like doughnuts, cookies, pies and cakes for the occasional treat

 All fats are rich in calories, even the healthier ones. So stick with moderate amounts.

Sources: American Heart Association; American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Your health, your decision

Shared decision-making with your doctor can help you choose a treatment that’s right for you.

When you make a big purchase or have an important decision to make, you’re likely to seek others’ opinions. You might ask, “What are the pros and cons of this choice or that?” Or you might read up on the topic so that you feel informed. The same process is important when it comes to your health care.

When people are involved in their health care decisions and talk them through with their doctor—a process called shared decision-making—the benefits can be big.

Research shows, for example, that people often feel less anxious when their treatment plan reflects their personal preferences. They also tend to have a quicker recovery and are more likely to comply with their treatment.

How it works and when it helps

With shared decision-making, the conversation goes two ways. Your doctor explains your choices—such as for a treatment, test or procedure—plus the risks and benefits of each. (You might also talk about the option of not having any treatment.) And you share your questions, goals and concerns.

You might benefit from a shared decision-making conversation if your medical care includes:

• Taking a medicine for the rest of your life

• Having a major surgery

• Getting genetic or cancer screening tests

Shared decision-making is especially important when there are several options that are reasonable or when no one choice has a clear advantage.

To help you further, your doctor might also point you to written material, websites or videos that can help you decide what’s right for you. You can bring your friends or family in on the discussion, too, if you think they can help.

The goal of shared decision-making is to help you make the best treatment choice for you.

Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; American Cancer Society; HealthIT.gov; National Institutes of Health

Support YouthWorks and celebrate National Coffee Day at Dutch Bros. Coffee

YAKIMA – Dutch Bros. Coffee is getting in the spirit for National Coffee Day on Friday, Sept. 29, with Buck for Kids Day. This Friday, for every drink sold, Dutch Bros. will donate $1 to The Memorial Foundation’s YouthWorks program.

Look for YouthWorks students out in front of the Dutch Bros. outlet that day, at 6520 W. Nob Hill Blvd. National Coffee Day starts early and runs late at the Yakima Dutch Bros. Hours are 4:30 a.m. until 11 p.m.

YouthWorks promotes the involvement of youth in philanthropy and volunteerism. The program empowers young people in the Yakima Valley to use their ideas, talents and sweat equity to raise funds for local projects supporting children with special healthcare needs.

Because all funds raised stay local, students see the positive effects of their efforts right here in the Yakima Valley. Funds raised are distributed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Virginia Mason Memorial, Children’s Village and health outreach programs for Valley children.

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Virginia Mason Memorial offers no-cost cooking class for local chefs

Calling all Yakima Valley restaurant chefs for a no-cost, plant-based
cooking workshop at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital

YAKIMA — Virginia Mason Memorial is inviting local restaurant chefs to a no-cost, hands-on workshop that focuses on plant-based cooking. This workshop is being held in conjunction with Food Day, a day set aside each year to inspire Americans to make healthy changes to their diets and food policies.
The workshop will be held Monday, Oct. 23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until noon. Chefs are requested to come only with an open mind and willingness to adapt a plant-based menu item.

The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems that are prevalent nationally and here in the Yakima Valley. Those problems cost Americans more than $150 billion per year.
Evidence shows that eating a plant-based diet has health benefits. This impacts professional cooks as customers with special requests are now seeking establishments where they can obtain a whole-food, plant-based option on a regular basis or on a catering menu. Virginia Mason Memorial’s workshop aims to offer chefs the tools to bring these customers into their dining establishments.

The workshop will be held at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital. To register, contact Virginia Mason Memorial’s Executive Chef Jason Patel by Oct. 6 by calling 509-249-5357 or via email at jasonpatel@yvmh.org. Space is limited.

July is UV awareness month.

Central Washington is known for an abundance of sunshine that lifts the spirit and encourages outdoor activity.  Research shows that daily exposure to sunlight is important for proper absorption of vitamin D. However, overexposure to damaging Ultra Violet rays from the sun can put you at risk for multiple health concerns from skin damage in the form of dryness, sun spots and wrinkles, to melanoma; the deadliest form of skin cancer.

How much do you know about UV safety?  Take the “Fact or Fiction?” quiz below.

  1. There is no risk free way to get a tan (unless you use a self-tanning product).
  • FACT:  In the past, society associated health and vibrancy with tanned skin, however a tan is a form of damage to the skin and a risk to your health.  If you are outside for more than a few minutes, you should take steps to protect your skin.  Remember, tanning bed lights are just as damaging as UV rays from the sun.
  1. I don’t need to worry about skin cancer because I don’t get sunburned.
  • FICTION:  Even occasional over-exposure to UV rays will increase your risk of melanoma cancer. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you should limit your sun exposure during these hours.
  1. Sunscreen should be applied to babies as soon as they are born.
  • FICTION:  Most pediatricians recommend waiting to apply sunscreen until babies are at least six months old because the chemicals used may be too harsh for baby’s sensitive skin.  Keep baby safely in the shade or dressed in protective clothing including a face shading hat.
  1. You only have to worry about sun damage in the summer.
  • FICTION:  Ultra violet rays are the same year round and can cause the same damage.  It is more likely to have exposed skin when the temperature is warmer.
  1. Red haired people with freckles and blue eyes are most likely to develop skin cancer.
  • Fact: In general, fair-skinned people with freckles, those with light colored hair and those with light colored eyes burn the easiest.  The damage from burning puts them most at risk for developing skin cancer or other long-term effects of UV exposure.
  1. Using a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) sunscreen offers more protection from the sun.
  • FACT:  However, SPF is an approximate way to measure a sunscreens ability to prevent UVB damage.  For example SPF 15 will block 93% of UVB rays and SPF of 50 will block 98% so a significantly higher SPF doesn’t equate to significantly higher protection.  It is best to use water-resistant broad spectrum sunscreen to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.  All sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  1. You must have exposure to the sun in order to get Vitamin D.
  • FICTION:  You don’t need to increase your risk of sun cancer to get Vitamin D.  Most of the required amounts of Vitamin D can be found in fortified milk, cheeses and yogurt, fortified cereal, and oily fish like salmon and tuna. Small amounts of sun exposure in your daily life will make up the rest of the need.
  1. Certain medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun.
  • FACT:  Some common medications are photosensitive, causing an allergic reaction such as rashes and other unpleasant skin conditions. Photosensitivity can also make you more prone to sunburn and a reaction may not be evident until several hours after exposure.  Talk to your physician or pharmacist to see if your medications may put you at risk and enjoy the sunlight from a shaded viewpoint.
  1. The only reason people wear sunglasses is to look cool.
  • FICTION:   Strong sunlight and UV rays can damage your eyes and the sensitive skin surrounding them. Check to see if your favorite shades block both glare and UV rays.  Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses as they offer the most protection as well as look cool.
  1. The best way to protect your skin outside is wearing long sleeved shirt and pants, a broad brimmed hat, wraparound sunglasses and SPF 15 (or more) broad spectrum sunscreen on any exposed areas.
  • FACT!


Virginia Mason Memorial hosts Baldrige Examiner Training Class in 2017

YAKIMA— In partnership with local leaders, Performance Excellence Northwest (PENW) offers Examiner Training in communities across the Pacific Northwest to bring information, resources, knowledge, and best practices to organizations, communities and the region. Participants in this training class will experience a one-of-a-kind professional development and networking opportunity, and the chance to make a meaningful contribution to their organization’s improvement.

When: July 25-26
Where: Virginia Mason Memorial’s 16th Avenue Campus, 1470 N 16th Ave, Yakima, WA 98902
Cost: $300

Join us and become leader in service to your organization, your community and your country.

For information on the 2017 Examiner Training Schedule and to register visit performanceexcellencenw.org

About Performance Excellence NW
PENW educates organizations in performance excellence management and administers the only state awards and recognition program for performance excellence in the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, ID). We partner with Pacific Northwest organizations dedicated to improving their performance. Our main areas of focus are:

• Helping organizations achieve best-in-class levels of performance,
• Identifying and recognizing role-model organizations, and,
• Identifying and sharing best management practices, principles, and strategies.

PENW recognizes and awards organizations that have demonstrated exceptional performance excellence. These organizations are seen as models for organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest and the nation who seek outstanding results.

About the Baldrige Program
The Baldrige Program is the nation’s public-private partnership dedicated to performance excellence.

The Baldrige Program
• Raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy
• Provides organizational assessment tools and criteria
• Educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit agencies about the practices of best-in-class organizations
• Recognizes national role models and honors them with the only Presidential Award for performance excellence

Learn more at nist.gov/Baldrige