August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

Getting Vaccinated Is Safer Than Getting Sick

Per the CDC, vaccines help the body learn how to defend itself from disease without the dangers of a full-blown infection. The immune response to a vaccine might cause tiredness and discomfort for a day or two, but the resulting protection can last a lifetime.

Everyone Should Get Recommended Vaccines on Schedule

History shows that vaccines are the safest, most effective way to protect yourself and your family from many preventable diseases.

Per the CDC, Everyone should get all recommended vaccines at the recommended times. It is especially important for children and adolescents to get catch-up doses of any missed vaccines or vaccine doses as soon as they can. Adults should get all recommended vaccines for their age or other risk factors such as health condition or occupation. All adults should get tetanus boosters, seasonal flu and COVID-19 vaccines, and any vaccines missed in childhood.

Why National Immunization Awareness Month Is Important According To National Today:

  1. Immunization protects our children and loved ones
    Vaccination protects children and adults from serious illness and complications of many diseases, including amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
  2. Immunization is safe
    Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and the federal government to make sure they are safe.
  3. We owe it to everyone
    We all have a public health obligation to our communities to protect ourselves as well as others from potential health risks. By getting vaccinated, we eliminate diseases before they have a chance to spread.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

June Is Summer Safety Month

June Is Summer Safety Month

According to Community Health of Central Washington, anyone can be at risk for a heat-related illness. Follow these summer safety tips, like taking extra breaks and drinking lots of water.

Summer Safety Tips:

  1. Stay Hydrated
    Dehydration is safety concern during the summer months. Be sure to drink enough liquids throughout the day, as our bodies can lose a lot of water through perspiration when it gets hot out.
  2. Protect Your Skin
    Use a sunscreen 30 minutes before going out. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay in the shade whenever possible.
  3. Water Safety
    Remember to always have adult supervision for children. Whether they’re in the pool or playing in the sand at the seashore, having someone who can help them — should an emergency arise — is essential.
  4. Eye Safety
    The sun’s ultraviolet light can harm the eyes. Wear sunglasses year-round whenever you are out in the sun. Sun damage to the eyes can occur any time of year. Choose shades that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light.
  5. Sports Safety
    Not only can injuries happen, but in heat exhaustion and dehydration can happen more often in the summer months. It helps to be conditioned to the activities in which we’re preparing to engage. Warm up, stretch, gear up, go with a buddy, and remember to cool down and stretch afterwards.

Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

May Is Stroke Awareness Month

May Is Stroke Awareness Month

A stroke occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.

There are two main types of strokes: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Most strokes are ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures (breaks open). The leaked blood puts too much pressure on brain cells, which damages them.

According to SOPHE (Society for Public Health Education) When it comes to stroke, every second counts! Nearly 2 million brain cells die each minute a stroke remains untreated.

Rapid access to medical treatment oftentimes makes the difference between full recovery and permanent disability.

Know the signs of a stroke and act F.A.S.T. (face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty, Time to call 911 if someone is having a stroke.

The Facts:

  • Stroke can happen to anyone at any age.
  • 80% of all strokes are preventable.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of severe disability.
  • On average, one person dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
  • More than 795,000 people have a stroke each year in the U.S.
  • Stroke kills almost 130,000 of the 800,000 Americans who die of cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 out of every 19 deaths from all causes.

Prevent stroke by following the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Life’s Simple 7 tips:

  • Manage blood pressure
  • Control cholesterol
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Get active
  • Eat better
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking

Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

April Is Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month

Learning what stress is and how to cope with our stress can go a long way in living a healthy and positive life.

What is Stress?

According to the American Institute of Stress, we all experience stress – yet we may experience it in very different ways. Because of this, there is no single definition for stress, but the most common explanation is a physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension. Stress is a reaction to a situation where a person feels anxious or threatened. Learning healthy ways to cope and getting the proper care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms.

What can stress cause?

Stress can cause a number of reactions including: shock, numbness, feeling sad, frustrated and helpless. It can cause you to have difficulty concentrating or making decisions. Stress can also cause headaches, back pain and stomach issues.

What can I do to control or cope with my stress?

Sometimes the stress in our lives is not something we have the power to change.

Try to:

  • Recognize when you don’t have control, and let it go.
  • Avoid getting anxious about situations that you cannot change.
  • Take control of your reactions and focus your mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control.
  • Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal growth, and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.

Here are some basic ideas to help you cope with stress:

  • Take care of yourself – eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, give yourself a break if you feel stressed.
  • Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a family member, friend, doctor, pastor or counselor.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.
  • Recognize when you need more help – know when to talk to a psychologist, social worker or counselor if things continue.
  • Potentially the most valuable takeaway here is knowing how to talk to others about your stress. This goes both ways, as you need to know how to discuss your problems with others as well as talk to anyone that comes to you with their issues.

Photo by Chelsea Gates on Unsplash

Fall Is Here, and So Is the Flu

Fall Leaves

Along with cooler weather, football games, warm fuzzy sweaters, and colorful leaves, fall also ushers in the beginning of flu season.

Now, more than ever, it’s difficult to tell if those sniffles, or that scratchy throat are due to a cold, the flu or Covid.

In the following article we’ll go over what they are, how to tell the difference, how to prevent, and when to see your healthcare provider.

The common cold, influenza (flu), and Covid are caused by different viruses. Each is spread by coming into direct contact with a person or object that contains the virus, or by breathing in aerosolized droplets that have been coughed or sneezed into the air.

Can you tell which you have by the symptoms?

As you’ll see by the list below, it can be difficult to tell if you have flu, a cold, or COVID simply by symptoms alone.

Below is a list of symptoms that are common with each virus.
Remember, you may experience all of the symptoms, or only a few.

Symptoms: Common symptoms are sneezing, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat.

Fever is RARE

Headache, fever, body aches, fatigue, chills,

FEVER is common

Less common: cough, stuffy nose, sore throat

Fatigue, cough, fever, chills, sore throat,  headache, body aches, runny nose, or congestion, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting.
When symptoms appear: Gradual onset

Usually appear 1-3 days after exposure

Abrupt onset

Usually appear 1-4 days after exposure

Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure
Duration: 7-10 days 7-10 days 7-10 days
Vaccine available?  No Yes  Yes
Medication available? OTC cold medications OTC flu medications, Prescription anti-virals OTC medications for fever, body aches, Anti-virals, mono-clonal antibody treatment

While knowing the symptoms can be helpful, illness and severity differs from person to person. The only way to tell whether you have COVID or the flu is, you guessed it… take a test.

If you are feeling under the weather, and aren’t sure if it’s a cold, or something more serious, be sure to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider, or your local pharmacy for testing.


An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.” -Benjamin Franklin

Now that you know the symptoms, what can you do to prevent becoming ill?

Flu season lasts from October through May, and getting vaccinated early reduces your risk of contracting the flu.

The best way to prevent COVID or the flu is …

  • Vaccination
  • Proper hand washing
  • Covering your nose, and mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Disinfecting surfaces regularly
  • Avoiding individuals who are sick
  • Staying home if you are sick

But I heard the flu vaccine causes the flu!

The flu vaccine does NOT cause the flu. It is possible after receiving any vaccination to experience flu-like symptoms (Headache, fatigue, fever, nausea).

Once you receive the vaccine, your body identifies an intruder, fights it off and then creates antibodies against that virus. This immune response is what makes some people experience mild side effects from vaccination. The great news is that if you encounter that virus, the body is able to identify it quickly and deploys those antibodies to fight it off.

Moral of the story, give your immune system the best chance of fighting off illness by getting vaccinated today.


If you end up under the weather this flu season, below are important pointers to help you on your way to feeling better.

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Over the counter cold or flu medications, fever reducers
  • Monitor symptoms

When to seek medical treatment?

The Flu and Covid can lead to more serious, even life threatening illness.
If you experience any of the following, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

  • Difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical condition

Patients of Southwest Family Physicians, call to schedule an appointment to receive your flu vaccine

If you are not a patient of ours, we would love the opportunity to meet you and establish care, in the meantime, you can schedule your flu vaccine with your healthcare provider or at your local pharmacy.

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash