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Pay attention to attention deficit

Anna Giemza-Palmer, NP

I was watching a film with my husband the other day and before I knew it, I was on my phone checking out Facebook even though I really enjoyed the show. I lost track of the plot and we had to rewind so I could catch up. I thought to myself, why can’t I just concentrate on the movie?

A report from Pew Research Center shows that a third of our society believes cell phones make it more difficult to focus on a single task. Well, that sounds like me, I thought. But is it a habit or a distraction, or perhaps neither?

Although frequent cell phone use is a habit that I can control, some people struggle to maintain control over their ability to stay on task. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 6 million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), or ADD (attention deficit disorder, a subset of ADHD). Unfortunately, CDC also indicates that in Idaho, not many children receive medical management or behavioral therapies for this brain disorder.

Children, adolescents, or even adults who suffer with ADHD or ADD present with several symptoms, such as daydreaming or zoning out, forgetting appointments or assignments, making frequent mistakes, having difficulty waiting for their turn and many other symptoms. Patients may appear to be overly active or inattentive or a mixture of both. Many times, causes of such behaviors can be identified. Sometimes, we don’t really know what causes these symptoms but we can identify risk factors that may predispose people to have problems managing these types of behaviors.

Diagnosis can consist of several steps and it is very important to rule out other factors that may contribute to either a child or adolescent not paying attention in school such as bad vision, problems with hearing, or other causes. When physical problems are ruled out, the probability of ADHD is somewhat high. Then, we can use therapy and medications to help manage the symptoms. Often, we see noticeable improvement in kids, adolescents, or adults who have begun treatment and therapy for ADHD. They’re able to pay attention in class, at home, and while playing sports, and their academic performance improves.

If you or a loved one seems to have symptoms of attention deficit disorder, I encourage a visit with your medical provider. Together, you can decide what steps to take to better manage your life.


Anna is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in psychiatrics. She works closely with mental health professionals and physicians to support patients living with mental health disorders. Anna is available to meet with patients 12 and older. Call (208) 354-2302 or follow our patient portal link here to schedule a visit.

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Flu is in the news

Erin Prissel, MD

Erin Prissel, MD

By Dr. Erin Prissel

Most people who live in this valley love winter and the multiple outdoor opportunities that are available following an epic snow storm. We wake up every morning, check the weather, and adjust our day if possible. Of course, Mother Nature is not predictable. Just as it has been challenging to predict weather patterns, it has been equally challenging to predict the drift and shift of the influenza virus. This flu season is approaching numbers seen during the 2009 pandemic. At the time this article was written, the proportion of influenza deaths is above the epidemic threshold for week 2 in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance System. We are all at risk for infection. The greatest risk falls on our children, immunocompromised, and folks over the age 65. As of now, there are a reported 53 pediatric deaths related to influenza.

We have to make choices every day about our health and wellness — from the food we eat to the medications and supplements we take. One thing remains clear and unified — we all want what’s best for our families. Similarly, it is important to know the facts about vaccinations and influenza in order to make informed decisions.

Flu Facts

  • The flu is a contagious virus effecting the respiratory system. It often presents like a respiratory infection but can also present with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • You can spread the virus up to 6 ft away with a good cough or sneeze.
  • Symptoms start 1-4 days after being infected with the virus. You can spread the virus from day 1 prior to showing symptoms up to about 7 days after symptoms develop. That means you can spread the infection even without having symptoms. This is why hand hygiene is so important.
  • Some people can be infected and have no symptoms but they can still spread the virus.
  • Purchases of over-the-counter flu medications generally cost a lot more than getting a flu shot, especially if the immunization is covered by insurance. In addition, the over the counter flu medications only target symptoms. You body must fight the virus.
  • Vaccinations don’t always “match” the virus because scientists have to guess which strain(s) will be prevalent in the upcoming year.
  • Vaccines don’t offer 100 percent protection, and there have been occasions when their effectiveness turned out to be less than 10 percent. This is because the virus changes its surface proteins to survive and persist in our environment.
  • The vaccine is not made of a live virus. You don’t catch influenza from the vaccine. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to stimulate an immune response in your body that is protective against the virus. If you develop a cold or influenza around the time you received the vaccine, you were likely already infected.
  • If you catch the flu but had a flu shot, your illness may be less severe than if you hadn’t received the vaccination because your immune system is ready for it.
  • People of all ages die each year from flu complications but it is especially dangerous for young children and seniors.
  • People miss work, kids miss school, and people are hospitalized due to flu.
  • The illness can make you very sick even if you are otherwise healthy.
  • Hospitalizations and missed work cost quite a bit more than flu shots.
  • Death from influenza is potentially preventable.
  • There is no cure for influenza. If you are infected, your body must fight the illness.
  • Tamilfu is a medication that prevents the virus from replicating in your body and allows your immune system a chance to work faster. It does not cure the virus.
  • Antibiotics do not treat influenza.

Driggs, Victor and Cache Clinics are offering the quadrivalent and high-dose formulation of the vaccine. The quad includes an additional B-strain vaccine. Trivalent shots do not include additional B-strain protection. If this difference concerns you, make sure you ask what type of shot is available. Many non-medical businesses may offer only the trivalent dosage.

High-dosage vaccines as recommended for people over the age of 65 or with compromised immune systems.

No appointment is necessary to get a flu shot at any of our clinics. Remember that Cache Clinic does not bill insurance, and if you come to Cache specifically for a shot, you won’t be charged an additional exam fee unless you need and ask for an additional exam.

Dr. Erin Prissel specializes in Family Practice medicine. She’s accepting new patients at Driggs Clinic.
To learn more about seasonal influenza: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flushot.htm

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DocTalk: Flu Facts

Nathan LevangerBy Nathan Levanger, D.O.

There are people who think influenza is a seasonal hype promoted by medical facilities. Some folks are allergic to the formulations. Others decline vaccination for a variety of reasons. We have to make choices every day about our health and wellness, from the food we eat to the medications and supplements we take, and we all want what’s best for our families.

Here are the basic facts about the flu based on knowledge and outcomes that can be proven to be true by thousands of non-biased scientific studies:

  • It’s a contagious virus affecting the respiratory system.
  • People of all ages die each year from the flu and its complications but it’s especially dangerous for young children and seniors.
  • Similar to the common cold, the flu is contagious and you are contagious before you experience any symptoms.
  • Similar to the common cold, it can morph into different strains.
  • Vaccinations don’t always “match” the virus because scientists have to guess which strain(s) will be prevalent in the upcoming year.
  • Vaccines don’t offer 100% protection, and sometimes their effectiveness turns out to be less than 10%.
  • If you catch the flu but had a flu shot, your illness may be less severe than if you hadn’t received the vaccination.
  • Purchases of over-the-counter medications that treat symptoms of the flu generally cost a lot more than getting a flu shot, especially if the immunization is covered by insurance.
  • People miss work, kids miss school, people spread the virus, and people are hospitalized due to flu. Hospitalizations and missed work cost quite a bit more than flu shots.

Driggs, Victor and Cache Clinic are offering the quadrivalent and high dose formulation. Quadrivalent shots contain the recommended dosage for four of this year’s anticipated viruses as indicated by the current flu strains other parts of the world including Australia and Indonesia. The quad includes an additional B-strain vaccine. Trivalent shots (covering three flu strains) are available at other medical and retail sites. High dosage vaccines as recommended for people over the age of 65 or who have compromised immune systems.

No appointment is necessary to get a flu shot at any of our clinics. Remember that Cache Clinic does not bill insurance, and if you come to Cache specifically for a shot, you won’t be charged an additional exam fee unless you need and ask for an additional exam.

To learn more about seasonal influenza visit the CDC website.

This article originally appeared as a DocTalk in the Teton Valley News.

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