NAH NOW Summer 2015 Complete publication
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NAH NOW Summer 2015 Complete publication
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1/SUMMER 2015
1200 N. Beaver St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Richard A. Smith, Ed.D.
Communications and Development
Northern Arizona Healthcare
Northern Arizona Healthcare
Editorial and production staff
Northern Arizona Healthcare provides
healthcare services through Flagstaff Medical
Center, Verde Valley Medical Center, Team
Health, Verde Valley Medical Clinic, Cancer
Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare,
EntireCare Rehab & Sports Medicine,
Fit Kids of Arizona, Guardian Air, Heart
& Vascular Center of Northern Arizona,
Northern Arizona Homecare, Northern
Arizona Hospice and Valley View Care.
To learn more about Northern Arizona
Healthcare, visit NAHealth.com.
This publication in no way seeks to serve as
a substitute for professional medical care.
Consult your physician before undertaking
any form of medical treatment or
adopting any exercise program or
Copyright© 2015 Northern Arizona Healthcare.
All rights reserved.
Printed on recycled paper.
Welcometo the premiere issue of Northern Arizona
As the Vice President of Communications and Development at
Northern Arizona Healthcare, I wanted to personally invite everyone
to share the excitement of launching a new publication.
Why a new magazine? Because we want to let people in the
communities we serve know about the great things happening at NAH.
Most notably, we recently welcomed Rob Thames as our new CEO. He is already
infusing new energy and vision into our culture.
Here’s what else is happening:
• We now have more than 3,300 employees working
across the region to provide the highest quality healthcare services.
• We’re continually finding new ways to improve how patients and families
• We’re investing in your health by expanding services, building new facilities
and adding talented providers to our staff.
And as the healthcare industry faces some of its biggest challenges, we’re innovating
to keep costs in line while ensuring we continue to offer quality and value.
Please take a moment to look through NAH NOW! I’m sure you’ll find
something of interest.
Feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions for future issues.
Richard (Rick) Smith, Ed.D.
Vice President, Communications and Development
Northern Arizona Healthcare
Your best chance
Healthcare’s trauma centers
Above and beyond:
Saving lives at 8,000 feet
ou’ve likely heard the buzz – Northern
Arizona Healthcare is continuing to
grow and change. We’re undergoing a
transformation, both inside and out.
What does this mean? We’re working to make sure
our patients receive consistent, high-quality care, no
matter which provider they visit. We’re building on
our strengths by investing in cutting-edge medical
technologies and top-notch talent.
And we’re continuously improving our relationships
with the communities we serve.
The NAH transformation won’t happen overnight.
To sustain our competitive advantage in a constantly
changing healthcare landscape, we’re learning to
respond more quickly to market demands and operate
in a more agile way. We’re taking a long-term view
as we remain committed to providing the people of
Northern Arizona with world-class healthcare services.
8 Foundations for health
10 Nutrition in Northern
12 Health by the numbers
14 Expert in the house
15 New and innovative
Watch us as we transform!
In this issue…
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 / SUMMER 2015
trauma rooms are
fully staffed and
always ready for
Your best chance for
Northern Arizona Healthcare’s trauma centers
ou may have been in a motorcycle crash, broken
your leg from falling off the roof or sustained a head
injury by diving into the shallow end of the pool. You weren’t
expecting it, but it happened. You’re in pain, you’re scared and you need help – NOW.
Luckily, the highly-trained medical professionals at Northern Arizona Healthcare’s two
trauma centers – one in Cottonwood; the other in Flagstaff – are prepared for your arrival. Our
doctors, nurses, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, reconstructive plastic surgeons, cardiac
surgeons, hand surgeons, pulmonary critical care specialists and interventional radiologists are
here for one reason – to help you survive your injury and return to good health.
According to a study published in the New England Journal
of Medicine, a trauma center is the best place you can be
when facing a life-threatening situation, because the complex,
multidisciplinary care you’ll receive there improves your
chances of survival by 25 percent.
“A trauma center takes potentially non-survival patients
and puts them into the survivor category,” said Bill Ashland,
NAH director of Trauma Services at Verde Valley Medical
Center and Flagstaff Medical Center. “At Northern Arizona
Healthcare, our two trauma centers back up one another in
order to provide the very best care to every patient.”
When you come through the doors of one of our trauma
centers – whether alone or under the stabilizing care of our
Guardian Air or Guardian Medical Transport paramedics
and specialized nurses
– it’s likely you will be
taken to the trauma
Here, the team in charge of your care will use advanced
imaging technology to diagnose the nature and extent of
After that, you’ll be moved to Surgical Services, the
Intensive Care Unit or another hospital department,
depending on your diagnosis. If your child is the injured
patient, he or she may be taken to our Pediatric Intensive Care
Unit, specially designed for children and families.
The critical care physician or surgeon who takes over
from here will know you’re on your
way; what has happened to you; and
what you need next in order to make
a full recovery – whether it’s stitching
up the gash in your leg or setting a
You may need to stay in the hospital
awhile after a major trauma. Once
you’ve recovered from your injury,
we’ll send you home – or if you aren’t
ready to go home, we can help you
arrange a move to rehabilitation or a
skilled-nursing facility. Wherever you
go after you leave us, we’ll make sure
you understand what medications to
take and how to take them, as well
as options for further treatments or
specialized therapies – including
physical, occupational and speech –
and follow-up care.
All major traumas are
emergencies – but not all
emergencies are traumas.
“Major trauma” means
you have experienced a
serious, unexpected injury
to your body. Trauma
centers provide surgical
resources to prevent
the loss of life and limb
offering the best chance
for restoring your mobility
Andrew Aldridge, M.D., operates on a patient.
Guardian paramedic Jessica Reinoso wheels a patient into the trauma
resuscitation room for treatment.
If you need emotional support
as a trauma survivor, contact
the Trauma Survivors Network,
through which you can share
your experiences; learn how to
better manage your life after a
serious injury; and gain support
and hope from others.
To learn more, visit
Y “A trauma center takes
patients and puts
them into the survivor
category.” — Bill Ashland, NAH
director of Trauma Services at Verde
Valley Medical Center and Flagstaff
by Sarah Sabalos-Gruber
Northern Arizona Healthcare • 5
Above and beyond:
If you live in Northern Arizona, chances are you’ve seen a Guardian Air
emergency medical transport helicopter flying high above, its fuselage gleaming in the sun, its rotors
beating the air at 400 rpm.
What you may not have witnessed, though, is the dedication of Guardian Air’s 54 clinicians, who
save lives as they fly 8,000 feet in the air at 135 mph, in an aircraft not much larger than a minivan.
Working 48-hour shifts, up to seven flights per shift, Guardian staff members must be ready
for anything – and they’re uniquely wired to thrive on the adrenaline-fueled intensity and
unpredictability required by emergency response.
by Kerry Bennett
at 8,000 feet
Guardian Air medical
crew members Stacy
Martinez and Dustin
Windle walk across
the tarmac at Flagstaff
said Mark Venuti, Guardian Air and Guardian Medical Transport
director, and it’s clear that’s the way he prefers it.
Celebrating 30 years
Guardian Air, a member of Northern Arizona Healthcare, will
celebrate its 30th
anniversary this August, and Venuti couldn’t be
prouder. Since 1985, the company has grown from one airplane
completing 56 flights to a fleet of seven helicopters and one
airplane completing more than 2,280 flights in 2014.
With headquarters at the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport and bases in
Cottonwood, Kingman, Page, Show Low, Tuba City and Winslow,
Guardian Air services cover all Northern Arizona communities.
Patients include adults, children, infants and mothers going into
labor. In February, the crew on one flight delivered a baby above
Mt. Elden en route to Flagstaff Medical Center.
“I’m proud that we’ve developed a system that provides great
patient care from multiple locations,” said Venuti. “I’m proud of
the level of care we provide; the
skills our clinicians bring across all
the specialties. And I’m proud of
our ability to make a difference in
Of all the awards and accolades
it has received, the recognition
Guardian Air values most is
from the industry – earning continuous accreditation by the
Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, or
CAMTS, since 1996.
ICU in the sky
What sets Guardian Air apart from other
air medical transport companies?
“We don’t just give patients a ride. We treat
patients during transport – especially critical
when you realize the vast distances we fly,”
clinical manager Richard Swedbergh said.
“We’re focused on changing the patient’s outcome during
transport,” flight nurse Jason Selman explained. “We’re an ICU in the
sky, qualified to make the life-and-death decisions made in any ICU
on the ground.”
Guardian Air staff is fully equipped and trained to transport patients
to the most appropriate healthcare facility, regardless of distance.
“Because we continually invest in the most advanced medical
transport equipment and training to ensure we have the expertise
to use it, Guardian Air can save more lives,” Venuti said.
Outreach and training provide a vital service
In addition to its transport role, Guardian Air is actively engaged
in community outreach and educational activities. Working with
local police, fire and ambulance agencies across the region, the
company has trained thousands of healthcare providers, first
responders and volunteers in CPR, mass casualty response and
other life-saving techniques.
“If we’re not flying, we’re out in the community educating
people,” clinical manager Stacy Meredith said.
“You saved my husband’s life.”
Because they live in the communities they serve, staff members
see themselves as guardians of sorts.
Ask clinical manager Dustin Windle what he loves about his
job, and he’ll tell you it’s being in the grocery store and hearing
someone say, “Thank you for what you did. You saved my
Flight paramedic Adal Lopez has had similar experiences.
“When I’m out in the community and someone stops me to say
thank you, it makes all the effort worthwhile,” he said.
What do these guardians of the air do during downtime? It’s
likely they’re going above and beyond to help each other.
“We’re very close – it’s like a family here,” said office
coordinator Liz Oscar, who’s served at Guardian for 10 years.
“We’ve shared so many life-and-death
experiences – if that isn’t bonding, I don’t
know what is.”
“Like” Guardian Air on Facebook at
“No two days are the same,”
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2014, Guardian
Air completed more
than 2,280 flights.
Guardian Air director Mark Venuti is proud of making a difference
in peoples’ lives.
Guardian Air clinical
on board a Guardian
“We’re an ICU in the sky, qualified to make the
life-and-death decisions made in any ICU on
the ground.” — Jason Selman, Guardian Air flight nurse
Northern Arizona Healthcare • 7
Q&A with Richard “Dick” Kruse
Foundations for health
ichard “Dick” Kruse, Verde
Valley Medical Center board
member and treasurer,
is leading an initiative to establish
the Northern Arizona Healthcare
Legacy Council to support the
NAH Foundation Charitable Giving
Program. This program focuses on
securing investment gifts to support
Flagstaff Medical Center, Verde Valley
Medical Center and other NAH
Planned giving, charitable gift
annuities, charitable remainder annuity
trusts and charitable remainder
unitrusts are some of the most
common ways to make investment
gifts. To help donors better understand
the different types of planned giving,
Kruse answers some of the most
frequently asked questions.
Q. What is a planned gift?
A. A planned gift is any major gift
made during the donor’s lifetime
or at his or her death as part of the
donor’s overall financial and/or estate
planning. By contrast, annual appeal
gifts, special events contributions or
membership dues are made from a
donor’s discretionary income. While
they may be budgeted for, these types
of gifts are not considered “planned
Q. What are the three types of
A. The three types of planned
• Outright gifts that use appreciated
assets as a substitute for cash.
• Gifts that return income or other
financial benefits to the donor in
return for the contribution.
• Gifts payable upon the donor’s death.
Q. What assets can a donor use to
make a planned gift?
A. Donors can use any of the following
assets to make a planned gift:
• Cash, securities – such as stocks, bonds
and mutual fund shares – or real estate.
• Tangible personal property, such as
artwork, books, artifacts or equipment.
• Business or partnership interest,
such as closely held stock, a share
in a professional corporation or an
investment in a limited partnership.
• Life insurance policies making NAH
• Charitable distributions from the
balance remaining in a retirement plan
at the donor’s death, such as an IRA or
• A gift of income from an investment
or asset while retaining ultimate
ownership or replacement ownership
of the asset.
Q: What are the tax benefits of
A: Many planned gifts are made in
conjunction with donors’ tax planning
strategies. While there can be many
benefits, it is important to review these
issues with a competent tax professional.
Dick Kruse is the Chief
Investment Officer of
Financial Concepts, Inc.,
providing services to
corporate retirement plans.
He has also served as a
staff advisor to the boards
of more than 20 for-profit
companies. Past business experience
includes founding Financial Concepts,
Inc., an employee benefits and executive
compensation firm in Minneapolis. He
is a founding shareholder of National
Financial Partners (NYSE: NFP), eSedona
wireless and Rock Properties, LLC. Dick
and his wife, Becky, live in Sedona.
Making a planned
gift to NAH
Chicks with Sticks
Monday, June 1
Pine Canyon Golf Club,
Pepsi-Cola Taylor House
Saturday, July 18
Flagstaff Medical Center
Run and Walk
Saturday, Aug. 1
Fort Tuthill County Park,
Holes for Heart Care
Thursday, Sept. 17
Seven Canyon Golf Club,
Friday, Oct. 9 and
Saturday, Oct. 10
High Country Conference
Saturday, Dec. 5
High Country Conference
Interested in giving?
Contact Allen Chapa at
928-773-2426 to find out how.
Richard “Dick” Kruse
8 Northern Arizona Healthcare •
About one in five Ameri-
cans suffers from seasonal
allergies, including Arizo-
Join us for the 15th annual Pepsi-Cola
Taylor House Century Ride
Providing family-centered care
is a priority at Northern Arizona
Healthcare,and we understand the role
family plays in a patient’s healing process. NAH
established The Taylor House, located around
the corner from FMC, to provide affordable
accommodations for families. The Taylor House
provides a warm, soothing space for out-of-town
families to call home while their loved ones are
cared for in emergency situations and for planned
The Taylor House, which is conveniently
located close to city buses, grocery stores and
pharmacies, offers guests a range of services
and amenities, including free shuttle service
to and from Flagstaff Medical Center and the
Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare,
a spacious great room, four fully equipped
kitchens, wireless Internet service and a
supportive, caring staff.
The Taylor House
provides families a
home away from home
Each year, the Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Flagstaff Medical Center
Foundation hosts a road bike ride to raise money to support
The Taylor House in its mission to provide affordable lodging close to
FMC for patients’ families.
Join us Saturday, July 18, to support this cause.
All four rides begin at the FMC West Campus parking lot,
1200 N. Beaver St., at 7 a.m.:
Century Ride Loop – 95 miles
Painted Desert Ride – 65 miles
Sunset Crater Ride – 45 miles
Slayton Ranch Loop – 30 miles
How to register
To register online, visit absolutebikes.net/community/events/taylor-house.
For more information, call 877-527-5291.
Northern Arizona Healthcare • 9
Nutrition in Northern Arizona
lthough adults should drink nine to 13 cups of fluid
per day,according to the Institute of Medicine, the average American drinks
only four cups.
In Northern Arizona, where the dry desert climates and high altitudes rob
your body of fluids, you need to make an extra effort to stay hydrated – in
fact, dehydration can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke in summer months if
you don’t. As Battalion Chief of Guardian Medical Transport, Pete Walka has seen hundreds of
patients suffer from these serious conditions. He urges people to pay attention to the amount of
water they drink, especially when enjoying outdoor activities.
In case you need more reasons to drink up, here are just a few things water does for us:
• Halts headaches
Dehydration depletes your body’s water reserves, which can make your head pound.
• Aids digestion
Strong acids involved in digestion need water to work well; without it, you may experience
painful heartburn and indigestion.
• Reduces your appetite
Water stimulates metabolic function and naturally suppresses appetite. Dehydration is often
confused with hunger.
• Regulates elimination
Digestive problems in and
below the large intestine,
including constipation, are
often caused by inadequate
• Keeps you energized
Caffeine, a diuretic, actually
reduces the amount of water
in your system, which can
make you feel tired. Drinking
plenty of water instead of too
much coffee will raise your
energy levels in the morning and keep them up throughout the day.
• Keeps your skin looking young
The water in your body is most visible on the surface. Proper hydration helps prevent wrinkles
and blemishes and promotes a healthy glow.
• Lubricates your joints
Your joints are fluid-filled and must be hydrated in order to work well – especially the discs
between your vertebrae. If you suffer from low back pain, drinking water can help.
Experts agree you should drink water
even when you don’t feel thirsty.
In the mornings: Drink a glass of
water when you first wake up to
jumpstart your metabolism and get
your body ready for the day.
Before each meal: Drink water before
eating a meal to help you feel fuller.
Before and after working out:
Drink water to help prevent
dehydration during a workout and
replenish lost fluids from sweating.
Before going to sleep: Drink water
before going to bed to help hydrate
your body while sleeping. However,
to avoid getting up in the middle of
the night to use the bathroom, don’t
drink anything two hours before
One of the best
ways to tell whether
is to monitor your
urine. If your urine
is pale yellow or
clear in color you
enough fluids; if your
urine is dark yellow
and odorous (and
you’re not taking
or vitamin that
causes this) you
more water. If you
heart rate, inability
to sweat and
see a doctor – these
are signs of severe
How to get more water during your day
10 Northern Arizona Healthcare •
.. . the average
only four cups
How to make the perfect trail mix
he perfect trail mix is like the perfect wine – crisp, earthy, dense, with a hint of
danger and good for a picnic. And just as with wine, trail mix possibilities are
endless. There can be no one trail mix recipe, and there can be no exact measurements.
Here, however, is a trail mix blueprint, adjustable to your particular trail mix crav-
ings, from Fit Kids of Arizona dietitian Megan Anderson. You will need a mixing bowl,
a spoon, and a willingness to go where no trail mixer has gone before. The following
feeds two hungry people. Feeding more than two people? Relax – just use more stuff.
1 cup nuts. Choose one or more of the following varieties: Almonds, peanuts,
cashews, pistachios, walnuts, macadamias, Brazil nuts or pecans. Use unsalted and
unsweetened so you don’t throw off the delicate balance of flavors.
¼ cup seeds. Try hemp, sunflower, sesame and/or pumpkin. We’d say go for flax
seeds as well, but whole flax seeds really tend to stick to your teeth. Save the flax
seeds for when you make a smoothie.
¼ cup grains. Throw in some pretzels, granola, toasted oats or bran flakes.
¼ cup dried fruit. Go wild! Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raisins, mango,
pineapple, dates, banana chips, apples, pears and peaches are all good choices.
A sprinkling of sweets. Whatever you’re into – dark chocolate chips, white chocolate
chips, butterscotch chips, M&Ms, those tiny peanut butter cups. Go easy, though. As Clint
Eastwood once said, “Men must know their limitations.”
Wacky add-ons for the brave, intrepid snacker. Try a dash of edamame beans, wasabi
peas, dried ginger or coffee beans.
Mix it all up in a medium-sized bowl. Put it in a little bag if you’re actually going to eat the mix as you happily hike
or bike along a trail, or spoon it right out of the bowl if you’re eating it on the couch with a movie. Enjoy!
Healthy teeth = healthy heart?
Can the billions of bacteria
and other microscopic critters
that live in your mouth and cause dental
disease also cause problems in other areas
of your body? Although the connection
between dental health and heart health
is not completely clear, experts see links
between the two. According to James
Dwyer, M.D., paying attention to your
dental health may give you more than a
healthy smile. It may help keep your heart
Inflammation: One possible link
between heart disease and dental disease
is inflammation. Hardening of the arteries,
or atherosclerosis, and plaque buildup in
the arteries is an inflammatory process.
Gingivitis, the beginning stages of gum
disease, occurs when the gums become
inflamed and there is too much bacteria in
Bacteria: Several species of bacteria that
cause dental disease have been found in the
plaque in arteries in the heart and body.
This suggests that harmful oral bacteria not
only compromises dental health, but also
heart and vascular health.
Plaque: Gingivitis is caused by plaque
buildup along and below the gum line.
Atherosclerosis is caused by a different
kind of plaque buildup in the walls of the
Risk factors: Many of the risk factors
for dental disease and heart disease are the
same: tobacco use, poor nutrition, age and
poor hygiene habits.
Healthy teeth, healthy heart,
healthy you: Prevention goes a long way.
Some of the best ways to decrease the risk
factors associated with dental and heart
disease are the easiest: brush and floss
regularly; eat a diet high in protein, fruits
and vegetables; avoid sugar; quit tobacco;
exercise regularly; manage stress; and
see your healthcare provider and dentist
Northern Arizona Healthcare • 11
Healthy blasts for summer 2015
Health by the numbers
Sixways to take care
of your bones and joints
According to Brian Duggan, M.D., orthopedic
surgeon at Verde Valley Medical Center, here are
some ways you can keep your skeleton strong and
prevent the need for orthopedic surgery:
• Active bones and joints are strong bones
and joints: Get regular exercise (3-5 half-hour
sessions each week; walking counts) to increase
strength and flexibility. Don’t forget to warm up – your joints
will thank you.
• Maintain a healthy weight for your height.
• Get enough Vitamin D (sunlight helps!) and calcium from
milk, cheese, yogurt and leafy green vegetables.
• Go easy on the alcohol. Too much gets in the way of your body’s
production of calcium-absorbing hormones and vitamins – and
increases your risk of falling and breaking a bone.
• Practice good posture – keep your back straight whether
standing or sitting, and distribute your weight evenly on both
feet. Always sit with proper back support.
• Resist the temptation to bring all the groceries in at once – make
several trips to carry lighter loads.
3 reasons to unplug
Here are some of the benefits of unplugging from your electronic devices for an hour
or two every day, according to Sandra Roberge, clinical manager with Behavioral
Health at Verde Valley Medical Center:
• More meaningful face-to-face human interaction.
• Deeper appreciation for what you have; less Facebook- and Instagram-inspired envy.
Remember: People post the curated version of their lives they want you to see.
• Less consumption; more creativity!
We spend most of our waking hours at work – here
are some tips for making them healthier hours from
Michelle Gorman of Employee Health at Verde Valley
• Spend most of your day sitting? Get up and
stretch at least once per hour to avoid eye strain,
neck tension, rounded shoulders and fatigue.
• Spend most of your day on your feet? Be sure you take steps to
maintain good core strength, including proper rest, nutrition,
exercise, and use of body mechanics.
• Avoid energy crash with one of these snack combos – peanut butter
and a banana, or hummus and veggies, or Greek yogurt and fruit.
These snacks have slow digesting carbohydrates and fiber, which
help you feel fuller, longer.
• Minimize contact with toxic co-workers as much as you are able,
and take a brisk walk during lunch - even 10 minutes can help
re-center and refresh you.
• Keep those keyboards, door handles, telephones, and work surfaces
clean! Wash your hands often and use sanitizing wipes daily and as
needed on surfaces.
• If you do get sick,
stay home. Your
you for one
day, and appreciate
you not exposing
the rest of the
workplace to your
• If you feel
stress about a
Will anyone care
about this a month
7hacksfor a healthier workday
12 Northern Arizona Healthcare •
Brian Duggan, M.D.
easy ways to get more fiber
in your diet
According to Joyce Richards, D.O., gastroenterologist at Verde Valley
• Always choose the whole-grain version of instead of white;
whole-wheat or 12-grain bread instead of the kind you can roll up
and mush into a ball.
• Find a fiber-rich cereal you like in order to get a jump on your fiber
intake in the mornings.
• Eat fruit, vegetables and a small handful of whole
nuts for snacks - the protein, fat and fiber will keep
you fuller longer than any one of these foods alone.
• Fiber supplements are now available in delicious
gummy-style candies – you no longer have to mix
up a gritty concoctionto drink!
Babies! Babies! Babies
by the numbers!
According to Deb Ledington,
neonatal nurse practitioner
and director of Women
and Infants’ Services at
Flagstaff Medical Center,
1,266 babies were born
at FMC in 2014.
According to Mahin
Wright, interim director
of Surgical and
Perinatal Services at
VVMC, 583 babies were
Sleeping well is one of the cornerstones
of good health – here’s how to get more of
it, according to Matthew Hall, polysom-
nographic neurodiagnostic technician
at Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Verde
Valley Sleep Disorder Center:
• Put your cell phone in another room, or at least all the
way across the bedroom. Electronics suck you down the
rabbit hole of wakefulness, plus the blue light from
computers and cell phones disrupts your sleep cycle.
• Don’t sleep with pets. Though cuddly, they are also
nocturnal and can wake you up several times a night
whether or not you realize it.
• Eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime –
• Focus on your breathing – inhale for a count of five; hold
for a count of three; exhale for a count of seven.
• Go to bed and get up at the same times, consistently.
Do this long enough, and your body will naturally settle
into a sleep cycle that works for you.
FIVEways to get
Joyce Richards, D.O.
Northern Arizona Healthcare • 13
14 Northern Arizona Healthcare •
Q&A: Seasonal allergies
Expert in the house
any people think they
won’t have allergies in
Arizona because it is so
dry. However, anyone who has spent
any length of time in the state knows
differently. About one in five Americans
suffers from seasonal allergies, and that
statistic includes Arizonans.
Elaine Laemmrich, family nurse
practitioner at Northern Arizona
Healthcare’s Team Health in Flagstaff,
sheds some light on how to manage
Q: How do you know whether your symptoms are caused by
allergies or a cold?
A: Seasonal allergies are accompanied by sneezing; runny nose;
itchy eyes, ears or throat; and watery eyes. A cold includes some of
these symptoms, but may also involve fever, body aches and sore
throat. Allergies last as long as pollen counts are high – days to
weeks; a cold or the flu usually only lasts five to seven days.
Q: Do allergies change according to the season?
A: Yes. Seasonal allergies are most common during the spring and
fall when pollen counts are the highest. In the spring, tree pollen is
the biggest culprit for allergy suffers. Summer grasses cause many
people misery; followed by severe allergies in the fall caused by
weeds, especially ragweed. Some people suffer allergies all year due
to mold, dust, pet dander and a handful of other allergens.
Q: Why are allergies so bad in Arizona?
A: Many people move to Arizona’s dry climate to help alleviate
their allergies and asthma. However, Arizona’s dry climate
worsens allergies caused by plants. Dry air increases the
dehydration and buoyancy of pollen, so it can travel great
distances. Some wind-borne pollen may rise to 40,000 feet and
travel more than 50 miles. This means that even though you
don’t live in the desert or in the pines, you may still be exposed
to pollens from these areas.
Q: What are some tips for decreasing allergy symptoms?
A: Here are some ways to decrease exposure to misery-causing
• Stay indoors on windy days and when the pollen count is high.
• Keep doors and windows closed and use air conditioning to
• Clean all air filters and use air purifiers.
• Vacuum often, including floors and furniture; use a vacuum
with a HEPA filter.
• Don’t hang clothes outside to dry.
• Use a humidifier to decrease air movement of pollens.
• Shower and wash hair immediately after being outside for
extended periods of time.
Q: What are some natural or homeopathic
remedies to treat allergies?
A: Once your body builds a tolerance to an
allergen, the symptoms will decrease. One way
to help build a tolerance is to consume honey
from local bees. These bees use local pollens to
make the honey. Ingesting a tablespoon a day
will help you build a tolerance to local pollens.
Also, many people use a Neti pot of lukewarm
salt water every day, especially when pollen
counts are high. A Neti pot helps flush pollen
and other allergens from your sinuses. And of
course, eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients
and vitamins will boost overall immunity. For
instance, Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine.
Q: Are there medications that can help decrease symptoms?
A: Most allergies can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
Antihistamines reduce sneezing, sniffling and itching. Decongestants
help keep nasal passages clear and reduce inflammation. Eye drops
relieve itchy, watery eyes. When over-the-counter medications are not
enough, your healthcare provider can prescribe stronger medications,
such as nasal steroids and prescription eye drops. Be sure to talk with
your healthcare provider before starting any medication.
Q: When is it time to see an allergist?
A: If symptoms persist for more than two months with no relief, then
seeing an allergist – a provider who specializes in treating people
with allergies – might be recommended. The allergist may suggest
allergy testing, which involves blood or skin testing, to identify
specific allergies. If other treatments haven’t worked, allergy shots
may be given to help build up a tolerance to specific allergies.
To make an appointment with Elaine Laemmrich, call 928-913-8800.
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one in five
New and innovative at NAH
s part of its ongoing commitment to offer patients the best
care available, Northern Arizona Healthcare continues to
invest in some of the most advanced medical imaging technologies on
New 3T MRI at Verde Valley Medical Imaging Center
At Verde Valley Medical Imaging Center in Cottonwood, a new 3T
magnetic resonance imaging scan, or MRI, machine coming this
summer will make the procedure much more comfortable for patients.
Its cutting-edge technology will deliver faster, higher quality images
to help doctors make informed, accurate
Older MRI equipment often causes
patients to feel claustrophobic, but the
new machine is larger, designed to
accommodate patients of all sizes, from
small children to adults up to 550 pounds.
An MRI machine uses an
electromagnetic field and radio waves to
create detailed images of the human body.
In MRI lingo, 3T stands for “three Tesla,”
which means the machine’s magnet is
among the strongest in the world. As a
result, the 3T MRI creates remarkably
clear, high-resolution pictures of internal
anatomy with a significant level of
accuracy, so your doctor can see exactly
what is wrong and where.
“This is an excellent addition to the
NAH MRI fleet. Because it is state-
of-the-art, the 3T delivers superb
image quality and results in increased
physician satisfaction. More importantly,
it decreases patients’ claustrophobic
fears when undergoing an MRI,” said
Liz Palomino, NAH Medical Imaging
Investing in advanced technologies for higher quality medical imaging
New interventional radiology lab at Flagstaff
Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Flagstaff Medical Center
is building a new interventional radiology laboratory
scheduled to open this summer, which will feature a
new angiography machine. Physicians often rely on
angiography to view images of blood vessels and organs
of the body, which help them determine whether blood
vessels are narrowed or blocked.
With the ability to take live x-rays and rotate 360
degrees, this new machine gives physicians highly
detailed images of patients’ blood vessels during
diagnostic and treatment procedures – and is
designed to expose patients to the lowest possible
“FMC will be the only facility in Northern Arizona
to have this angiography technology,” Palomino said.
“Patients will no longer have to travel to Phoenix for
their interventional radiology needs.”
by Sophia Papa
“FMC will be the only facility in
Northern Arizona to have this
— Liz Palomino, NAH director
of Medical Imaging Services
Northern Arizona Healthcare • 15
This issue was made possible by the
Shirley K. Sullivan Trust