Did you know that if you take a lot of antibiotics they may NOT work for you when you need them most?

Did you know that if you take a lot of antibiotics they may NOT work for you when you need them most?

That’s right, we build up a resistance to these medications that could one day save your life.

Find out more:




Recent batch of street drugs causing overdoses in Yakima

Beware! Dr. Marty Brueggemann, Virginia Mason Memorial’s Chief Medical Officer, helps spread the word about a recent batch of street drugs that is causing overdoses in Yakima.

YAKIMA, Wash. — Batches of bad street drugs — sold as Xanax, heroin and fentanyl, among others — are eliciting concerns from local and federal law enforcement agencies as well as local medical professionals treating the potentially deadly consequences.

Read the full story at http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/overdose-warning-bad-batches-of-street-drugs-turning-up-in/article_ff3e8e26-c518-11e7-a676-576dd98029c8.html

Virginia Mason Memorial consolidates services for patients into one convenient downtown location

Virginia Mason Memorial consolidates services for patients into one convenient downtown location

Virginia Mason Memorial is relocating three departments serving patients to one centralized location at the hospital’s downtown building, located at 15 W. Yakima Ave. The move will also bring about 200 employees to the downtown core.

Previously, the nonclinical services and business offices – Medical Records, Hospital Business Services and Memorial Physicians Business Services – were housed separately throughout the community.

The services and opening dates, which are staggered, are:

  • Business Services,
    • The office is moving from 3803 W. Nob Hill Blvd.
    • The phone number remains: 509-575-8255.
    • Patients can also pay hospital bills online at org/payyourbill.
  • Memorial Physicians Business Services, billing for outpatient, most primary care clinics and specialty clinics.
    • The office is moving from 3800 Summitview Ave.
    • The phone number remains 509-972-1140.
    • Patients can also pay these bills at yakimamp.com.
  • Medical Records, where patients can get copies of their medical records
    • The office is moving from the hospital’s main campus at 2811 Tieton Drive.
    • The phone number remains 509-575-8082.

Hours of operation at 15 W. Yakima Ave. will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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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