Our Future Summit invited local health professionals to offer information on their area of expertise. Those in the mix included Dr. Christine Ebert-Santos, Pediatrician; Deb Crook, RN, MSN, Director of Summit County Public Health; Dr. Justin Pollack, ND, Mountain River Naturopathic Clinic; Kathy Davis of Colorado West Mental Health; Caroline Falkenburg, World Homeopathy Association; Dr. Ed Noordewier, Chair, Emergency Medicine, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and retired pathologist Dr. Elmer Koneman.

H1N1 and the Seasonal Flu: Summit County Public Health Dept. and other local agencies are working to get the vaccine to the public, in particular to the high-risk groups (children, youth, and pregnant women). Basic preventative information includes hand-washing, keeping hands away from the face, unwarranted physical contact (examples: shaking hands, hugging), and use of plain old soap & water. It is important to remember that the two flu strains are viruses and cleansing gels are anti-bacterial. Not to diminish the use of hand-sanitizers, but soap & hot water for 20+ seconds on hands and nails is essential and should not take a backseat to the soap-squirts. Doorknobs, faucets, public counters, computer keyboards and mice/pads, office phones need wiping routinely with bleach-type wipes. Don’t forget to wipe those cell phones clean! The virus is transmitted by touch and through the air (coughs & sneezes).

A person with the flu may be able to spread the illness one day before the symptoms begin and for 5-14 days after becoming sick, according to the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment. Prevention is key. We cannot predict who goes to the hospital, but people with chronic diseases and conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, immune-compromised conditions, and kidney problems need to be monitored. If symptoms of respiratory distress (difficulty breathing, cough or congestion) present themselves, an oxymetric measurement to evaluate oxygen levels is warranted to understand what may or may not be going on. One needs to seek a health professional. The “Bryan Pineda Protocol for the Prevention of Pulmonary Edema and Pneumonia” states that in Summit County all fire and ambulance stations have pulse oxymeters to screen those with respiratory concerns (except in babies and small children). Respiratory problems are more serious at altitude than sea level and respiratory distress is often difficult to detect at an early stage.

Deb Crook reported that flu levels in local schools as well as admissions to the hospital were trending lower. Another wave of H1N1 may coincide with the seasonal flu during the January to March time period. The number of fatalities from H1N1 is much lower nationally than from a typical seasonal flu season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): These are disturbances in mood or emotions, often described as winter depression and caused by lack of sunshine and daylight. Hard hit areas would be places with prolonged winters like Summit County, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. Symptoms include: weight gain or loss, insomnia, hyper or inactivity, loss of interest in pleasure; fatigue, worthlessness, diminished ability to concentrate and thoughts of suicide.

Altitude Sickness: Acute Mountain Sickness is the common form of high altitude sickness. It is not about the shape you are in; rather it is a physiological response to lower oxygen concentrations. Symptoms include headache, nausea, light-headedness, poor sleep, and confusion. If symptoms persist, return to lower elevation and/or visit a physician. Life-threatening forms of high elevation illnesses, such as pulmonary edema and cerebral edema, are not common but require immediate medical intervention.

The Importance of Eating Well: The role of proper nutrition cannot be over-emphasized. Empty calories and high sugar foods contribute to obesity and depressed mood. Children today appear to have high vitality yet typically eat foods low in probiotics (dietary supplements of live microorganisms). They need immune-supporting healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables. Exercise, sunshine and supplements can boost health and offer the possibility of a good night’s sleep and a more balanced sense of well-being.

Local Health Information
Public Health Hotline: 970-668-4024
ASK-A-NURSE 970-668-5222

Statewide Health Information
CO HELP 877-462-2911


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Working to make Summit County a Better Place to Live for Ourselves and Future Generations



Public Roundtable: Winter Illness Prevention & Treatment

November 12, 7-9 pm at the Summit Community and Senior Center.



























Our Future Summit is a program of The Greenlands Reserve

 Howard Hallman, President