Addressing some of the myths associated with COVID-19The last few months have been challenging for everyone. The idea of spending time in quarantine because of a pandemic triggered by a highly contagious virus seems like a plot line from a science fiction movie — so foreign to our everyday lives. Unfortunately, this is our reality. We have all had to make changes in our day-to-day lives: give up social gatherings, become obsessive about hand and surface sanitation, stand at least six feet apart, and wear masks. While these are not welcome changes, these are necessary changes in the time of a pandemic. By adhering to the guidelines, we help decrease COVID-19 transmission, and we protect ourselves and our vulnerable populations as well as public health at large. Our persistence with these practices makes it more likely that we can return to our pre-pandemic lifestyles sooner than later. In comparison to other parts of the country, thus far, Washingtonians have not had to endure significant loss of life from COVID-19. As of July 16, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health reports 1,434 deaths and 4.984 hospitalizations from COVID-19. Washington state was aggressive, acting early to close schools and businesses to slow the spread of the virus. Washington state has also adopted an approach to reopen with a gradual return to normal. Looking at the statistics of other states that closed businesses and schools later and reopened without a phased approach, I want to give Kudos to the public health officials and the government agencies that put the "Stay Home Stay Healthy" plan in place. It has made a difference, and for it to have continued success, we must not become complacent as we are growing tired of these practices and are eager to return to a normal life.  The purpose of this month's article is to address some of the COVID-19-related myths or statements that I have heard repeatedly as a physician. Myth: Masks don't really do anything to protect form COVID-19. Facts: Recent research published in the Lancet and the Lancet Journal of Infectious Disease reveals important data about viral shedding, the amount of time a person infected with the COVID-19 virus  remains infectious, varies significantly from 8-37 days, with 20 days being average. On July 9, 2020, the World Health Organization published a scientific brief which outlined details on routes of COVID-19 transmission. It suggests airborne transmission may play a role in the spread of the disease. Airborne transmission occurs when infectious particles linger in the air.  People are more at risk for this scenario to occur in confined spaces. They highlighted the importance of masks and social distancing to help reduce disease transmission. Both of these factors highlight the importance of covering our mouths and noses when outside of our homes and around other people. If you are unable to tolerate a face mask, consider a face shield instead. Myth: The hype around the COVID-19 is politically motivated and exaggerated. Facts: COVID-19 does not discriminate between red or blue voters, the old or young. All Americans are at risk for contracting this disease. Looking at the number of Americans who are at high-risk for death and serious complications from COVID-19 infection from underlying health conditions is staggering in its potential impacts. The Center for Disease Controls statistics show there are 25 million Americans with asthma, 30 million Americans with heart disease, 34.2 million Americans with diabetes, 10.1 million Americans with compromised immune systems and 15.5 million Americans considered morbidly obese. Since 1984, Dr. Anthony Fauci has served under four presidents as head of the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAD). The institute's mission is to lead research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases; he has no apparent political skin in this game, and recent attacks on him are unjustified. More people need to take his recommendations seriously to prevent and slow the transmission of this virus or tragically more people will die and/or develop potential long-term complications from this virus, and we won't be able to get back to normal anytime soon. This is truly a time for a non-partisan effort: masks and social distancing are good for all of us. Dr. Stacie Wells, ND, FAAEM is a Naturopathic Doctor & Fellow of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. She practices at the Northwest Center for Optimal Health in Marysville, WA. Contact her at 360-651-9355 or info@ncoh.net.

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The last few months have been challenging for everyone. The idea of spending time in quarantine because of a pandemic triggered by a highly contagious virus seems like a plot line from a science fiction movie — so foreign to our everyday lives. Unfortunately, this is our reality.

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The COVID-19 crisis has heightened attentiveness to maintain a clean and hygienic environment.  The focus on cleanliness and it’s correlation to health has never been more emphasized. The barren shelves from a surge in cleaning product sales since the onset of COVID-19 is evidence enough. As…

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People you know are getting sick. Kids are home from school. You may be working from home or out of work completely.  You are unable to get together with your family and friends. Places you would normally go are closed.  This is a challenging time for everyone with concern for loved ones, un…

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The U.S. Surgeon General warned yesterday that this week is “going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives.” With nearly 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States reported already, we know that we will see many more cases and many more deaths in the coming da…

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With the weather warming, albeit slower than many of us would like, and the change of season right around the corner, it is a time when many people think of spring cleaning and others of spring detox.  The term “detox” has become very popular in recent years with hundreds of versions existin…

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It’s no secret that it’s flu and virus season, but there are many well-kept supplement secrets you can add to your routine to boost your immune system and help shield yourself from catching any bugs. This is the time of year to ramp up your supplement routine to make sure your immune system …

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New Year, new you? Perhaps, there’s even more emphasis on personal change with the dawn of a new decade. People often make New Year’s resolutions that strive for perfection and not allow themselves grace to make slow transitions. Achievement of lasting change should not be viewed from an all…

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Gaining weight does not have to be synonymous with the holidays. Neither does feeling run down from too much sugar, junk food, or alcohol. You can still enjoy and indulge this season if you follow some of these healthy tips. 

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Fall is here and winter is right around the corner.  This means football, pumpkins, hot cocoa and the holiday season.  Unfortunately with the weather turning cold and rainy this also means the spread of respiratory infections is going to rise.  It is time to bundle up to stay warm and health…

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Your metabolism is a tricky thing. Many people I meet tell me their metabolism is "slow" or "broken," which for many is true as years of poor yo-yo low-calorie dieting can cause muscle loss. When we lose muscle, then gain the weight back after the yo-yo diet is over, we only gain fat. Thus, …

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In the past month, nearly 400 people have been hospitalized and 6 people have died from a severe lung disease linked to the use of electronic cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),  those hospitalized experienced respiratory symptoms which included a dry, non-product…

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Do you ever feel like you don't have time for all the things you "should" do for your wellness and self-care? There are so many new trends, foods, and programs out there promising every result possible. Sometimes what we need is a shift in our mindset, and you probably have all the tools you…

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With the wonderful warmth of sunny summer days also come heat-related health conditions such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat rash especially for young children and elderly who are most at risk.

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Are your electrolytes in balance? As the hotter days draw near and we start to sweat more, we usually need to hydrate more. But did you know that sometimes plain water just doesn't cut it? If our electrolytes are out of whack, we need to restore them. First, we need to understand what the cr…

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This week marks the official start of summer. As the days grow warmer, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the weather. Enjoying the sunshine and the great outdoors is an important part of maintaining health and wellness. However, spending more time in the sun can increase risks f…

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Do you chronic symptoms of eczema, arthritis, headaches, irritable bowel disease, hyperactivity, constipation, diarrhea or flatulence?  Perhaps you have fatigue, high blood pressure, muscle aches and pains, fibromyalgia, insomnia, chronic ear infections, or anxiety.  Did you know that these …

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We live in a world of hustle-bustle with high demands and schedules always having us on the go.  No wonder so many people are stressed and dealing with the negative physical, mental and emotional ramifications.  I recently saw that April is National Stress Awareness Month in the UK and it in…

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“I’m too busy," “I don’t have time to cook," “I’m always on the go," “I only have time to grab food quick while I am on the run." We have heard it all and said it all. Eating healthier is everyone’s goal, that’s no question. But making time for it is another story. In order to set healthier …

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Arlington locals learned about how to reverse an opioid overdose with Narcan and how to administer the drug at a recent training put on by Snohomish County.

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Spring cleaning is an opportunity to declutter, organize, and bring new energy into the home. Traditionally, this act is literally physically cleaning; however, you can also take steps to improve your health while choosing less toxic options for your home. Detoxifying the home is something t…

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The Cascade Valley Health Foundation and local Hospital District hope to learn more about what local residents want for their own health and well-being.

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Many people trying to lose weight are looking at keto diets these days. Before you jump feet first into this new way of eating it’s important to know what keto is all about and if it’s a good idea for you to do. 

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Locals who take care of their family members dealing with illness can find information about how to support themselves at the “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” program.

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This month we celebrated Valentine’s Day, and with it comes a marketing inundation of chocolates, flowers, wines and heart-shaped cards — all featured as symbols of love. During this month it’s also important to show some love to the human heart; February is American Heart Health Month. This…

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It’s a new year, and like everyone else, getting healthy is on the brain. One of the easiest ways to begin and continue to improve your health is to eat cleaner. It doesn’t need to be a complete overhaul or 180 of your current diet; small changes will go a long way when it comes to your health. 

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As a new year begins many people view this time as an opportunity for fresh starts; a chance to refocus, to break bad habits and to make changes for the better. A common goal is to improve one’s health and specifically for many it is weight loss. How often, though, do those well intentioned …

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The holiday season is filled with sugary indulgences. A sweet treat can be a great way to celebrate the season, but over indulging in sugar can contribute to health problem like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This month’s article is dedicated to healthy versions of desserts that can re…

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Community Health Center of Snohomish County (CHC) has achieved Patient-Centered Medical Home certification by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Certification distinguishes this medical home from many other outpatient facilities by providing the highest quality of care…

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Have you ever found yourself in the protein powder aisle feeling confused? Or gone down the rabbit hole of the internet searching for the one that’s “right for you?” I did a quick search for protein powder and over 100 brands popped up on the home page. With all of that info out there, what …

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The holidays are a time to spend with family, make new memories or cherish old memories of those who are no longer with us. Lately, the memory of my grandfather has been on my mind. Ten years ago he died from Alzheimer's disease-related complications. It was a slow, progressive illness that …

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With Halloween around the corner comes scary costumes, jack-o’-lanterns and of course candy, so it is as important as ever to think about oral health. All those sugary treats can do damage to the teeth and gums. That is not to say that candy should be avoided entirely as trick-or-treating is…

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The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides of Snohomish County will help raise funds for local breast cancer patients and research into the disease.

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A chill settles into the nighttime air as summer draws to a close. With the transition into fall, kids return to school, and inevitably the cold and flu season nears. Colds and flus are viruses that spread easily from person to person. Therefore, it doesn’t take long for these viruses to spr…