Pisgah Family Health



December 2006






About the Newsletter

Merry Christmas

Dr. Curran and the staff of Pisgah Family Health wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.

Megan Michelle Nicholson is born

Megan Michelle Nicholson

On Friday, December 8, at 8:55pm, Tami gave birth to her new baby girl Megan Michelle Nicholson. Megan weighed in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces, and is already gaining weight. Despite Tami's every effort to deliver as early as possible, Megan waited until two days after her due date. Both mother and daughter are doing well at home, trying to sleep whenever possible.

Tami plans to take 6 weeks off, and then return to her duties as our nurse. In the meantime, Danielle has been doing a wonderful job filling Tami's shoes.

We now dispense antibiotics

Pisgah Family Health now stocks several antibiotics for dispensing to patients with appropriate infections. We currently stock Amoxicillin, Bactrim, Doxycycline, and Keflex. We have chosen these for their wide application and inexpensive cost. These are among the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for sinusitus, bronchitis, strep throat, urinary tract infections, and skin infections.

Our goal is to make these antibiotics available quickly and conveniently to our patients with acute illnesses. We charge $15 for each prescription. The next time you are sick, we may be able to save you a trip to the pharmacy.

Office Hours

  • Our normal office hours are 9-5 Monday through Thursday, and 9-12 on Friday.
  • We will be closed for Christmas on December 25th and 26th.
  • We will be closed for New Year's on January 1, 2007.
  • When the office is closed, emergency care is available at the Urgent Care Centers, and at Mission/Saint Joseph hospitals ER.  Telephone calls are handled by Dr. Curran’s call partners. Dr. Curran shares call with seven local physicians who are all board certified in Family Medicine, and can admit patients to Mission hospitals.
  • Our answering service can be reached after hours at 251-4873.

Office Reminders

Thank you for referring your family and friends to Pisgah Family Health.

We are experiencing a high volume of sick visits right now, due to colds, flu, and gastroenteritis. This may cause greater waits, as we try to accomodate all of our sick patients.

Remember: if you come into the office with a cough or fever, please use a facial mask from the front desk. This will reduce the spread of germs within the office, and keep all of our patients as healthy as possible.

Medical news

'Tis the Season to be Contageous

It is official: The flu has hit Asheville. The past 2 weeks have seen a dramatic spike in flu cases in Buncombe County. Unfortunately, we are also seeing outbreaks of Strep Pharyngitis, Common Colds, and Viral Gastroenteritis. Many of these illnesses share the same features, such as fever, congestion, and aching muscles.

What can you do to protect yourself? The best way to deal with these illnesses is not to catch them in the first place. Unfortunately, these are highly contageous, so if someone in your household is sick, it may be impossible to avoid catching the same illness. However, you can reduce your chance of infection by following a few simple rules of hygeine.

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating. If available use alcohol based hand sanitizers
  • Do not share utensils or drinking glasses. Carry a personal water bottle to avoid public fountains.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people, even if this means your own family.
  • If you are immune suppressed, avoid crowded public places.
  • Children should avoid indoor playgrounds.
  • And most important: Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

What can you do to protect others? If you are sick, you risk spreading illness to those around you. The illnesses most common at this time of year are spread by tiny airborne droplets. Sneezing and coughing can spread these droplets to other people or to surfaces where they can be picked up.

  • Stay home when you are sick. Stay home during any fever, and for the first 3 days of most illnesses.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Use disposable kleenex.
  • See your doctor. Antiviral treatment can shorten the flu and lessen its impact. Antibiotics may be necessary to cure sinusitus or pharyngitis
  • If you are prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take the entire course of therapy.

Treating the Commmon Cold

Flu and Cold season is now upon us. The most common illness at this time of year is an Upper Respiratory Illness. An Upper Respiratory Illness (URI) can include sinusitis, rhinitis, bronchitis, or pharyngitis. Most URIs are caused by viruses such as the common cold. These viruses do not improve with antibiotics. We cannot shorten the duration of the illness. However, your body's own defenses will eventually clear the illness. The only treatment for a viral URI is to treat the symptoms, so you feel less sick.

Rarely, URIs are caused by bacteria. An antibiotic is required to kill a bacteria. If you are taking an antibiotic, you should still treat your symptoms as necessary.

Most cough and cold remedies contain several different medications. Only by reading the list of active ingredients can you identify which medicine is right for you. Listed below are some of the most common and most useful ingredients in cold remedies.

Guaifenesin is a mucolytic. It makes mucus more watery, so you can clear out congestion or sinus pressure. Guaifenesin is safe in pregnancy, hypertension, diabetes, and for children. The adult dose is 600-1200mg every 8-12 hours. You will find guaifenesin in Mucinex and most Robitussin products.

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant. It dries out your nose and throat, reducing mucus secretion. It is a stimulant, so side effects include elevated blood pressure and heart rate, feeling jittery and wakeful. Pseudoephedrine should not be used by people with hypertension or heart conditions or strokes. The adult dose is 30-60mg every 6 hours.

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant. It may make some people drowsy or dizzy. It is safe to use in pregnancy, hypertension, diabetes, and for children. The adult dose is 10-30mg every 6 hours. Products with dextromethorphan often have DM in their name.

Antihistamines are also decongestants. They dry out your mucus membranes and suppress an allergic response. Antihistamines are very useful for treating allergies, rashes and hives. Antihistamines should not be used by people with glaucoma or urinary retention, and should be used carefully by people with hypertension. The newest antihistamine, Claritin/loratadine 10mg does not cause drowsiness, and can be taken once per day. Most antihistamines cause drowsiness, and last 6-8 hours. These include Benadryl/diphenhydramine (25-50mg), chlorpheniramine (2-4mg), Brompheniramine (2-4mg), phenylpropanolamine (12-25mg), and Clemastine (1mg).

Anti-inflammatories are used for relief of pain and fever. They can irritate the stomach, elevate blood pressure, and cause swelling. They should be avoided by people with ulcers, CHF or renal disease. These include Aspirin (200-650mg every 4 hours), Motrin/Advil/ibuprofen (200-600mg every 8 hours), and Aleve/naproxen (200-400mg every 12 hours.) Aspirin should not be used by children.

Tylenol/acetaminophen is used for relief of pain and fever. It is safe to use in pregnancy, hypertension, diabetes, and for children. It should not be used by people with liver failure. The adult dose of acetaminophen is 325-650mg every 4-6 hours. Never exceed 4000mg per day. A child's dose is 5-7mg per pound, every 4-6 hours.

Nasal Saline is simply salt water. It is safe for all children and adults. You can make it at home or buy it in a squirt bottle. Saline is useful to clear nasal congestion and reduce nasal dryness. This is particularly useful for recurrent nosebleeds. Nasal saline should be used every hour as needed.

Afrin Nasal Spray is a very powerful nasal vasoconstrictor. It reduces runny nose and congestion. Unfortunately, Afrin is rapidly addictive to the nasal membranes. It is safe to use Afrin every 4-6 hours for 2-3 days. If you use it longer, you are likely to develop rebound rhinitis.

Eccanacia and Vitamin C are thought to boost the immune system. Some people use them to prevent or treat colds or URIs, however, there is no evidence that they actually work. Both are safe for children and adults.

Alcohol/ethanol is an ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies and home remedies. Alcohol increases cellular permeability, allowing viruses to spread easier. Alcohol causes dehydration and drowsiness. Alcohol should be avoided while you are sick.

Health Links

For more health information, check out these links:

About our Newsletter

Dr. Curran and the staff at Pisgah Family Health are proud to publish the Pisgah Family Health News to our patients.  Our goal is to provide regularly updated information about the office and current medical topics.  We plan to publish a new issue each quarter with breaking news.  The newsletters will also be archived on our website, http://www.pisgahfamilyhealth.com/

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