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Avoid Exposure to Infectious Diseases by Accessing this Medical Model

With emergency room department waiting times ranging from just over one and a half hours (North Dakota) to just under 4 hours, (Maryland) the likelihood that you will be exposed to contagious diseases in crowded waiting rooms is almost certain.

 From urinary tract infections to respiratory infections (pneumonia, covid, influenza and others) to gastrointestinal illnesses (diarrhea and vomiting) to hospital acquired infections,  the waiting room in the emergency department is a cesspool of infectious agents.

It is estimated that up to one in four ER visits are unnecessary or could be handled via doctors office or urgent care visits. In addition, the CDC estimates that 42 percent of the US population visits the ER annually. Given the long wait times in the ER waiting rooms, this is a massive number of potentially unnecessary exposures to infectious diseases.

 To put this in perspective, this calculates to approximately 3.48 million ER visits that could be handled by urgent care or doctor’s office visit Even with shorter waiting times (average wait time in doctors waiting room is 18 minutes) you are still exposed to other sick people for an extended period of time.

The most common reasons for an ER visit as of 2020 are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Pain, non-specific
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Back pain
  • Accidents

While many of these visits are true emergencies, a sizeable number are preventable.

Healthcare worker shortage

Along with extended wait times, the US is facing an unprecedented healthcare worker shortage.

The pandemic put a tremendous strain on the healthcare population, many report burnout as a factor for leaving. In addition, the workforce is aging faster than the replacement rate of qualified workers.

Both these statistics point to compromised patient care, The remaining workers are stretched to their limit, working long hours, leaving them exhausted both mentally and physically.

A viable and highly effective option to non-emergent in person visits is telemedicine

Telehealth — sometimes called telemedicine — lets your health care provider care for you without an in-person office visit. Telehealth is done primarily online with internet access on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Telehealth visits can range from:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Allergies and asthma management
  • Flu symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Monitor chronic health conditions such as arthritis, and blood pressure.
  • Medication refills
  • Order labs and x rays as necessary
  • The telehealth provider can triage and advise if an ER or in-person visit is warranted.

Cons of telehealth

  • Should never be used as emergency care
  • Should not be used in place of in office visits
  • Some populations may not be familiar with digital access and how to use. There can be a learning curve.

There are several ways to utilize telehealth care:

  • Speak to your health care provider live over the phone or video chat.
  • Send and receive messages from your health care provider using secure messaging, email, secure messaging, and secure file exchange.
  • Use remote monitoring so your health care provider can check on you at home. For example, you might use a device to gather vital signs to help your health care provider stay informed on your progress.

Advantage of telehealth visits

  • Avoids exposure to infectious diseases by avoiding waiting rooms.
  • Saves transportation costs and time traveling.
  • Can save time accessing medical care.
  • Many health insurance plans now cover these types of visits.

Your healthcare provider may already be providing telehealth services. Check with them and see if this is an option. In addition, check with your healthcare insurance provider and inquire if they cover telehealth visits.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

The Silent Killer

The Silent Killer

Part 1 High blood pressure (HBP) has been called the silent killer and with good reason. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population with high blood pressure have no symptoms. In part 1 we will discuss: Symptoms of hypertension Health risks of...

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Tips to manage Hashimoto’s Health risks of not treating Hashimoto’s adequately Lifestyle/stress reduction tips to manage energy and emotional ups and downs How to naturally increase biologically active T3 Diet strategies to help heal Nutritional supplements that can...

More Deadly than Driving a Car

I recently had an interesting conversation with my hair stylist. She had just enrolled in college to become a licensed addiction counsellor. I asked her what why she chose that career. She said she was a former drug addict and was homeless for a short period of time and understood  lifestyle of those addicted to drugs. She has been clean for 2 plus years. During that time she received her license to cut hair and landed a job at the hair salon I frequent.

She was a wealth of information. After telling her I had ordered and recently received in the mail naloxone (Narcan) from the state (I live in Washington state, where you can order online here- it is free) and that I had been writing about the fentanyl crisis she piped up and informed me that more people died of fentanyl overdoses than motor vehicle crashes in 2021.

Intrigued, I looked up the statistics. She was correct. But the one glaring statistic was how many more perished from fentanyl overdoses compared to motor vehicle crashes.

According to USA Facts: “In 2021, 70,601 people died from a fentanyl overdose in the US. That figure is up 25% from 2020 and is nearly double the amount of fentanyl overdose deaths in 2019.”

And the USDOT reports  “NHTSA projects that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020.”

If my math is correct, 60 percent more people died from fentanyl overdose than in car crashes.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid analgesic was originally developed for pain management for cancer patients. It is 50-100 times stronger than morphine.

In recent times it has become a deadly street drug manufactured in the States and Mexico.

Not just illegal drug users are at risk for fentanyl overdose. The recent episode of a 10 month old baby who turned blue and limp from accidental fentanyl exposure after playing in the grass at a local park drives home the point of how widespread this epidemic has become. EMS was called and naloxone was administered. The child survived.

The toddlers’ parents warn parents to closely watch their children playing at any public park or playground. Foil packets and even spilled fentanyl in the form of powder on the grass may have been the way the toddler was exposed.

My naloxone/Narcan order arrived

I received my naloxone in the mail last week. The directions to administer were clear.

In the state I reside I had the choice of either injectable or nasal spray doses. I chose injectable because I felt there are many more sites to choose from to administer than just nasal passages (nasal spray).

As of August 2020, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of a naloxone access law. The laws vary significantly by state.

To obtain naloxone, state by state resources website and information can be found here.

A few facts about Naloxone/Narcan:

Healthline has an excellent explanation and more detailed instructions on naloxone.

  • Naloxone is safe, if you administer and the patient isn’t experiencing a drug overdose there are no side effects.
  • Naloxone, blocks the effects of opioids in your body. This drug works to reverse the life-threatening symptoms that happen during an overdose. More than one dose may be necessary because there may be more opioid in the body than the naloxone can block.
  • Naloxone is only active in the body for 20 to 90 minutes, the effects of most opioids last longer. This means that the effects of naloxone are likely to wear off before the opioids are gone from the body.
  • Narcan comes in one dose, for any age- from toddler to adult
  • It’s important to note that Narcan is not a substitute for medical treatment. After giving Narcan to someone, call 911 right away, even if the person wakes up after getting Narcan.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

The Silent Killer

The Silent Killer

Part 1 High blood pressure (HBP) has been called the silent killer and with good reason. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population with high blood pressure have no symptoms. In part 1 we will discuss: Symptoms of hypertension Health risks of...

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Tips to manage Hashimoto’s Health risks of not treating Hashimoto’s adequately Lifestyle/stress reduction tips to manage energy and emotional ups and downs How to naturally increase biologically active T3 Diet strategies to help heal Nutritional supplements that can...

The Power of Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. They can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements, and beauty products. They can also be found in soil.

Probiotics may contain a variety of microorganisms. The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Other bacteria may also be used as probiotics, as are some yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii.

It is estimated our bodies house an estimated 100 trillion “good” bacteria, many of which reside in our gut. These bacteria are essential for our survival. They play an enormous role in our overall health.

A review of the many documented health benefits include:

  • A review titled “Effect of Probiotics on Central Nervous System Functions in Animals and Humans: A Systematic Review” concluded that common strains of probiotic bacteria found in some fermented foods “showed efficacy in improving psychiatric disorder-related behaviors including anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and memory abilities, including spatial and non-spatial memory.” They also concluded that certain probiotics could affect the gut brain interaction, from the vagus nerve, aka as the “traveling nerve”. This nerve originates at the brainstem and travels to almost every organ of your body. It is a part of the autonomic nervous system. Many of the strains of probiotic bacteria used in the research can be found in active culture yogurt and lacto fermented vegetables. There are probiotic supplements on the market, however the most concentrated form is in foods.
  • Improves glycemic control
  • Lowers inflammation
  • Improves immune function
  • Manufacture of vitamin K2- This vitamin, not to be confused with vitamin K1 which is responsible for blood to clot, k2 is a powerful transporter of calcium from the bloodstream and into the bones and teeth and prevents calcification of arteries and in kidneys. It is found most abundantly in natto, a fermented product. Other sources include cheese, beef liver, chicken, butter, sauerkraut.
  • Butyrate is a naturally occurring short chain fatty acid found in the lower intestine and is used by the lining of the intestine as an energy source. It is found in kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, breast milk, apple cider vinegar and resistant starches- cooked and cooled rice, potatoes, oats, etc. Butyrate also:
  1. Helps stabilize blood sugar levels
  2. Protects brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  3. Protects against cancer
  4. Can help prevent obesity
  • Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic found in supplement form and in fermented foods is commonly used in treatment of childhood rotaviral diarrhea and diarrhea resulting from antibiotic use. The brand Florastor is the most common probiotic used.
  • Kombucha, a fizzy drink made from tea, sugar and a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) provides B vitamins and acetic acid, which kills pathogenic bacteria.

A word about prebiotics

Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. While probiotics are live bacteria that provide health benefits, prebiotics act as food for probiotics and help them survive and thrive. Examples are fiber from fermented foods, whole grains, bananas, greens, onions, garlic, avocados and artichokes.

Foods highest in prebiotic fiber are chicory root, garlic and dandelion.

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

The Silent Killer

The Silent Killer

Part 1 High blood pressure (HBP) has been called the silent killer and with good reason. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population with high blood pressure have no symptoms. In part 1 we will discuss: Symptoms of hypertension Health risks of...

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Tips to manage Hashimoto’s Health risks of not treating Hashimoto’s adequately Lifestyle/stress reduction tips to manage energy and emotional ups and downs How to naturally increase biologically active T3 Diet strategies to help heal Nutritional supplements that can...

Add These Superfoods to Your Pantry

For thousands of years fermented foods have been consumed by nearly every culture in the world. These health promoting foods have historically been used to ward off disease and promote health. Before the advent of refrigeration vegetables were stored in root cellars, dehydrated, made into hard tack, canned  or fermented. Long winters deprived Northern climates of fresh vegetables and the abundant vitamins in them. In Northern European countries fermented fish and fish products were common and provided a way to preserve fish to help carry the population through to the next harvest. Fermented fish sauces are a staple in Korean and Asian cuisine. Barm, a byproduct of beer making is a yeast that has been historically used in the production of bread. This form of yeast dates to late 1500s and most possibly has its roots even further back in time. Eventually this type of yeast was formed into cakes that needed to be refrigerated and was sold commercially. When America entered World War II, Fleischmann Laboratories developed and manufactured Active Dry Yeast, specifically to ensure GIs could enjoy home-baked bread. Unlike their original compressed yeast cake, the new Fleischmann’s Yeast did not require refrigeration and was activated quickly with warm water. Another method of yeast bread baking is sourdough bread. This type of fermentation involves using water, flour, warmth and time to allow yeast to grow in the culture. Kvass a fermented drink originating either in Ukraine or Russia is made from rye bread ends and water and dates back as far as 996,and is mentioned in Vladimir the Greats baptism. Mesoamerican native cultures- Aztec, Toltecs, Incas and others enjoyed chocolate, which is made from fermented cacao beans and dates to over 4000 years ago. Tepache is a popular Mexican fizzy drink made from pineapples.

Other fermented foods include

  • Kombucha- a drink originating in China, dating as far back, perhaps even further back than 220bc
  • Natto- fermented soybean usually added to rice as a breakfast item dates back to the 11th century in Japan
  • Sauerkraut-Adopted by Germans; however the first sauerkraut was made with rice wine and cabbage in China over 2,000 years ago
  • Milk kefir- Kefir grains, which are used to activate fresh milk and start the fermentation process is believed to originate in China over 4,000 years ago
  • Other fermented products include cheeses, pickles, yogurt, cottage cheese, miso, cured meats, etc.

Types of fermentation

There are 3 types of fermentation

  1. Lactic acid or lacto fermentation

Lacto-Fermentation is arguably one of the most common types found in food. Lactic acid fermentation is responsible for the production of foods like sauerkraut, blue cheese, salami and other fermented meats.

  1. Ethanol and alcohol fermentation

When fermenting grain, the by product  is yeast Barm, which is used in bread baking. Examples of ethanol and alcohol fermentation are beer, mead, wine and cider.

  1. Acetic acid fermentation

Some varieties of grains and and sugars ferment to produce sour vinegar and sauces. Apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, and kombucha are examples of acetic acid fermentation.

Health benefits of fermented foods

The foundation of lacto fermented foods is lactic acid bacteria (LAB), This beneficial bacterium, along with other microorganisms formed during fermentation have displayed some amazing health benefits:

  • Through chemical processes help lower blood pressure
  • Powerful antioxidant properties
  • Powerful antibacterial properties
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Increases vitamin content, especially B, K2 and C vitamins ( For example, fresh cabbage has about 30 mg vitamin C per cup, fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) has between 600-700 mg per cup according to a Cornell University study)
  • Maintain a healthy gut microbiota
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Improve mental health- especially anxiety
  • Assists in neutralizing phytates, which in turn helps the body absorb nutrients

Next post we will delve into their specific health promoting qualities of fermented foods and how to make a simple sauerkraut. *Downloadable pdf of detailed instructions.

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

The Silent Killer

The Silent Killer

Part 1 High blood pressure (HBP) has been called the silent killer and with good reason. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population with high blood pressure have no symptoms. In part 1 we will discuss: Symptoms of hypertension Health risks of...

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Tips to manage Hashimoto’s Health risks of not treating Hashimoto’s adequately Lifestyle/stress reduction tips to manage energy and emotional ups and downs How to naturally increase biologically active T3 Diet strategies to help heal Nutritional supplements that can...

How do Antibiotics Work? Part 4

The best way to take antibiotics is to never need them. But that isn’t always an option. However, there are some steps you can take to strengthen your immune system so that you and your loved ones can fight off illness. The recent outbreak of deaths from group A strep– which is usually treated with Amoxicillin, is currently in short supply. This highlights the fragility of our nations drug supply. Check this site for current drug shortages- if a medication you are taking is on the list contact your care provider to get your medications refilled, and if available ask for a years supply of your meds.

8 tips to strengthen your immune system

  1. Get good quality sleep

According to the Sleep foundation good quality sleep enhances both the innate and adaptive immune system responses. Non rapid eye movement, known as NREM is deep sleep slows the body’s processes allowing more energy to be directed at healing. Sleep is such an important topic that it really needs its own post.

  1. Cut back on sugar

Professor of immunobiology at Yale, Ruslan Medzhitov performed experiments on mice- after infecting the mice with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes he fed one group fat and proteins. They lived. The group he fed simple carbohydrates died.  Conversely, when the mice were infected with an influenzas virus and fed fats and proteins, they were more likely to die compared to the mice fed simple carbohydrates. In other words, balance is the key. If unsure if you have a viral or bacterial infection it is best to just cut out excess sugar.

  1. Increase fresh fruits and vegetables

Up to 80% of our immune system is housed in lymphoid tissue in your intestines, It is called gut associated lymph tissue (GALT) By eating fiber rich foods the beneficial bacteria help the immune system do its job. In addition, a study found that eating a diverse diet high in fiber rich foods can help combat antibiotic resistance. There needs to be more research in this area of study, however initial results are promising.

In addition, several varieties of mushrooms are known to improve immune system function and are being studied for their cancer fighting properties.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Water helps flush toxins out of the body, both through elimination and mucus membranes.

The bloodstream is comprised mostly of water. To help the body fight infection keeping hydrated helps the white blood cells do their job- fight infections.

  1. Avoid alcohol and smoking

Both can decrease immunity

  1. Keep your vitamin D levels up

Vitamin D is well known to help fight infections. Be sure that when you take vitamin D (which is really not a vitamin, it is a steroid hormone) be sure to add vitamin K2, also known as MK 7, This is important, because this helps avoid calcium buildup in your arteries.

  1. Reduce and manage stress

Stress raises our cortisol levels which in turn suppresses the immune response to pathogenic invaders.

  1. Exercise to boost immunity

Research shows that 20–40 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day is adequate to provide a positive boost to the immune system. Exercise helps circulate the infection fighting cells in the body.

If you still need an antibiotic Jase has you covered

The 5 antibiotics in the Jase case can cover a wide range of bacterial illnesses. If in doubt contact Jase provider for guidance, part of the outstanding service Jase offers is unlimited follow up for questions about antibiotic use.

 Let’s take a look at some of the infections Jase antibiotics cover:

  • Amoxicillin-clavulanate 875 mg tablets (28 tablets)

When amoxicillin is not available due to current shortages this antibiotic can be substituted. Other uses include group A strep, sinusitis, pneumonia, ear infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and infections of the skin

  • Azithromycin 250 mg tablets (6 tablets)

Bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, skin infections, Travelers diarrhea, urinary tract infection

  • Ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablets (28 tablets)

Bioterrorism infections from anthrax, Tularemia or plague exposure

Travelers diarrhea

  • Doxycycline 100 mg capsules (120 capsules)

Bioterrorism infections from anthrax, Tularemia, or plague exposure

Skin infection, tetanus, bites (animal or human)

  • Metronidazole 500 mg tablets (30 tablets)

bacterial vaginosis, diarrhea (caused by giardia and clostridioides difficile), giardiasis, tetanus, and trichomoniasis

 

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

The Silent Killer

The Silent Killer

Part 1 High blood pressure (HBP) has been called the silent killer and with good reason. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population with high blood pressure have no symptoms. In part 1 we will discuss: Symptoms of hypertension Health risks of...

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Tips to manage Hashimoto’s Health risks of not treating Hashimoto’s adequately Lifestyle/stress reduction tips to manage energy and emotional ups and downs How to naturally increase biologically active T3 Diet strategies to help heal Nutritional supplements that can...

How do Antibiotics Work? Part 3

In part 1 we reviewed how antibiotics work, part 2 what biofilms are and their role in antibiotic resistance. In part 3 we will review:

  • When antibiotics are needed and when they aren’t appropriate
  • Distinguish between an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and the symptoms the infection is treating

When antibiotics are needed and when they aren’t appropriate

Antibiotic stewardship is one of the most pressing health issues of our time. As pathogens mutate and evade antibiotic therapy, we are forced to use more potent antibiotics. The use of antibiotics when not necessary is leading to devastating consequences. Antibiotic resistance, AKA antimicrobial resistance happens when germs like bacteria or fungi no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them. According to the CDC: “About 47 million antibiotic courses are prescribed for infections that don’t need antibiotics, like colds and the flu, in U.S. doctors’ offices and emergency departments each year. That’s about 28% of all antibiotics prescribed in these settings.”

In the U.S., more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year. A list of the antimicrobial resistant infections are listed on the CDC website. Some are familiar to the general population such as MRSA- Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and VRE- Vancomycin resistant Enterococci. Some not so familiar-Drug resistant Candida and Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter for example. A full list of CDCs watchlist can be found here.

Antibiotics are indicated when:

A bacteria or fungal infection has taken over the body, either systemically (in the body) or topically-skin and tissues. Entry points can be a break in the skin, respiratory inhalation, eyes. Ears, mouth, urogenital route, or ingestion. They are not needed in all cases, sometimes our body can fight off the infection. If you own a Jase case check with your care provider when in question. They are not appropriate for viral illnesses such as colds, flu, covid, etc. Sometimes a viral infection will lower the body’s immune defenses allowing an opportunistic bacterial or fungal infection to take over as in the case of a viral pneumonia to bacterial pneumonia. At that point an antibiotic may be needed.

Distinguish between an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and the symptoms the infection is treating

Penicillin, the most commonly reported antibiotic allergy is less common than believed to be.

This is a great you tube video on penicillin allergies

According to the CDC: Although 10% of the population in the U.S. reports a penicillin allergy, less than 1% of the population is truly penicillin allergic.

The difference between a side effect and allergy

Side effects to antibiotics

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild rash
  • Photosensitivity
  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Thrush

Allergic reaction to antibiotics- Seek medical care immediately

  • Severe rash/hives
  • Peeling skin
  • Anaphylactic reactions such as:
  • Respiratory distress/wheezing
  • Throat closing/tightness

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

The Silent Killer

The Silent Killer

Part 1 High blood pressure (HBP) has been called the silent killer and with good reason. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population with high blood pressure have no symptoms. In part 1 we will discuss: Symptoms of hypertension Health risks of...

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Hashimotos Thyroiditis Part 2

Tips to manage Hashimoto’s Health risks of not treating Hashimoto’s adequately Lifestyle/stress reduction tips to manage energy and emotional ups and downs How to naturally increase biologically active T3 Diet strategies to help heal Nutritional supplements that can...