Pisgah Family Health



June 2009






About the Newsletter


The Funkidelic Masquerade


Can you recognize your doctor? On May 9, 2009, Dr. Curran and the Prom Committee threw the Funkidelic Masquerade, which was the third annual Asheville Prom. This event is a dance party with an attitude and a conscience. With the help of over 300 friends in outrageous costumes, we raised $4600 for Project Access. Project Access is an innovative physician volunteer charity which provides free medical care for low income uninsured patients of Buncombe County.

The Human Race


On Saturday, June 6, Dr. Curran and the PFH staff ran and walked 3.1 miles in The Human Race in Waynesville, NC. The Human Race was started in 2002 to raise support for the Haywood County Volunteer Center. With donations from many of our patients, we were proud to finish the race and make a good donation to the cause.

If you've never participated in a road race, consider starting with a 5K. This distance provides a challenge for the novice, and a fast race for experienced runners. There are races of this distance around Asheville almost every weekend, frequently for a charity benefit. You can find a list of local races at www.AshevilleTrackClub.org.

Office Hours

Our normal office hours are 9-5 Monday through Thursday, and 9-12 on Friday. Our answering service can be reached after hours at 251-4873. 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.

  • We will be closed June 26-30th.
  • We will be closed Thursday July 2, but open July 1 and 3.
  • We will be closed Friday August 7, for a staff retreat.
  • We will be closed August 28 - September 4, for Dr. Curran's vacation.
  • We will be closed Monday September 7 for Labor Day.

Office Reminders

Now is the time to schedule your annual physical. During the summer months we are less busy, and more able to make time for routine care and physical exams. Please remember to schedule these extensive visits well in advance. You will avoid waiting, and avoid contact with sick patients by having your physical during these months.

If you are scheduling a DOT, sport, camp, school or work physical, there is always paperwork to complete. Prior to your exam, be sure to the paperwork is entirely completed, leaving only the physician portion blank. Vaccinations are generally required to begin Kindergarten and College. If vaccinations are required, be sure to bring your vaccination records with you.

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

Medical News

Summer Fun sumguy2 (9K)

Summer is the time to get outdoors and enjoy our beautiful environment. We are very fortunate to live in a town that offers great weather, beautiful natural resources, and a vibrant social life. Here are a potpourri of inexpensive and healthy ways to enjoy your summer.

Free Music

Shindig On the Green

This mountain tradition features an always-enjoyable variety of mountain dancers, clogging, bluegrass and old time string bands, ballad singers, and storytellers. Saturday evenings from 7-10 p.m. July 4, 11, 18, August 8, 15, 22, 29, and September 5, 2009. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Asheville. More details at http://www.folkheritage.org/

Bele Chere

Asheville's biggest street festival offers hours of shopping and snacking, but the best part is the free music. With 4 stages playing music for 3 days, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone. I can't even begin to list all the bands here. Find the music lineup at http://www.belecherefestival.com/pages/entertainment_home.htm

Downtown After 5

This event takes place the third Friday of the month May through September. Live music and dancing from 5pm to 9pm with food and drink available for purchase. Located on Lexington Avenue at I-240. For more information, click here . http://www.ashevilledowntown.org/

Concerts on the Quad

UNC Asheville offers free Concerts on the Quad, every Monday from June 15 through July 13. They start at 7pm and last about 2 hours. Concerts are completely FREE and open to the public and always family-friendly! Sorry, no pets allowed. Rain location: Lipinsky Auditorium. For details, visit http://www. unca.edu/summerquad/

Shakespeare in the Park

The Montford Park Players free summer/fall season will begin June 5 with A Midsummer Night's Dream, followed by Cymbeline (July 10 through 25), Taming of the Shrew (July 31 through August 23), and Macbeth (September 11 through October 4). Of course, The Asheville Shakesperience Company will return throughout the summer with a completely new repertoire of Shakespeare's Best! Details at www.montfordparkplayers.org

Visit our other National Park - The Carl Sandburg House

The Carl Sandburg house in Flat Rock offers fun for the whole family. You can hike, picnic, or just enjoy the scenery on this historic property. History and poetry buffs will want to take a guided tour of the Sandburg house. Kids will enjoy the barn, featuring Mrs. Sandburg's historic goat herd.

June 17 through August 15, catch the Sandburg Summer Stage Performances: From 10:15 - 10:45 am, apprentice actors from the Flat Rock Playhouse School of Drama perform 30 minute selections from Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories and Lincoln Biography. These toe-tapping performances are fun for all ages. The Rootabaga Stories are performed Thursday and Saturday. Sandburg's Lincoln is performed Wednesday and Friday. There will be no performances the week of July 15. http://www.nps.gov/carl/planyourvisit/events.htm

Take a Hike

It's not summer in WNC without hiking in the woods. Asheville is surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, and the closest access - Bent Creek - is just south of our office. Smokey Mountain National Park is less than 1 hour away, as are Dupont State Park, Gorges State Park, and several others. Hiking is a free and healthy way to enjoy summer in our region. Hikes can be chosen for all ages and capabilities - be sure to consult a park ranger or a map before setting out. If you're new to hiking, consider joining a group or organized hike Always know your trails, and hike with a partner, plenty of water, and a map. For an on-line guidebook, visit http://www.hikewnc.info/besthikes/index.html or http://www.mountaintravelguide.com/North%20Carolina/NorthCarolinaHikingTrails.htm

Visit a Waterfall

WNC is the the land of waterfalls, and our wet summer has made them better than ever. Experiencing our waterfalls is perhaps the most refreshing way to enjoy your summer. You can choose from road-side attractions, to remote and difficult hikes. No matter which you choose, be safe - never climb on waterfalls or walk in the water above them. Here's a list of some of the best waterfall hikes in the area: http://www.romanticasheville.com/waterfalls.htm

More ...

These suggestion and many more are available on the website http://www.romanticasheville.com/outings.html

Swine Flu

Swine Flu (H1N1) is now becoming common in WNC, and pandemic in the world. The illness is more common among the under-40 age group, and most deaths have been in this age group. We have seen several outbreaks in summer-camp children, due to travelling and living in close quarters. Swine Flu has not slowed down for the summer months, as has the seasonal flu. Therefore, if you have a high fever, cough, fatigue, and muscle aches, there is a good chance you have Swine Flu. If you have these symptoms, please isolate yourself from others, and seek medical attention.

What is swine flu?

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Occasionally the swine flu virus mutates in a way that allows it to be transmitted from person to person.

Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?

In late March and April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.

How serious is swine flu infection?

Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. As of this date, there have been over 150 deaths in Mexico from this illness. The most likely to be seriously ill from swine flu are people born after the last swine flu epidemic in 1968.

Is this swine flu virus contagious?

CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

How does swine flu spread?

Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

When can someone with the flu infect someone else?

Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?

People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?

First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?

Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How long can viruses live outside the body?

We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • f you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus?

If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water, or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. We recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

What should I do if I get sick?

If you live in areas where swine flu cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you should contact your doctor. Your doctor will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.


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/

Privacy:  We promise to use your Email address only for the purpose of sending this newsletter.  We will not give your Email address to any other organization.  We do not use Email to discuss personal medical issues.  If you want to be removed from our Email list, reply to this newsletter with the subject “unsubscribe me”.

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