By Sarah Schrock

Hey ladies, did you know free mammograms on the mobile mammography bus were available in town last week? It was a little easy to miss because it parked in a somewhat hidden spot in the back lot of Family Health Centers in Twisp, but it comes every few months to make annual screenings easy. The mobile coach is a fully equipped mammography clinic provided by Providence Health Women’s Clinic out of Spokane.

The coach offers free mammogram screenings for anyone, regardless of insurance coverage.  If you missed the bus this time, they will be back in the area the week of Aug. 7. Call (877) 474-2400 to make an appointment.

Stepping up into the bus, you are greeted by a receptionist sitting at a table just like any doctor’s office. You are then taken into the back room where the furnishings are clean and modern, and though a little tight, it’s state-of-the-art and just as private and comfortable as a regular clinic. I imagine touring coaches for rock stars aren’t even as plush as this bus. The whole process is quick and easy and it saves a drive over the Loup, which is currently impossible, or down to Wenatchee for annual mammograms.

Men, don’t feel left out. Men’s Health Week is coming up June 12-18 and wraps up with Father’s Day on June 18. Moms and kids who want to celebrate their dads in a special way can come to the Wagner Memorial Pool on June 17 for “Dunk Your Dad,” from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  The fundraising event will feature a dunk tank for kids to try ($5 for five balls) to dunk their dads, along with other outstanding dads from the community like Danbert Nobacon, Okanogan County Fire District 6 Division Chief Brian McAuliffe, and Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow.

Free refreshments donated by local businesses will be on deck and donations are welcome. The Wagner Pool opens for the season Saturday (June 10) and will be open seven days a week for laps, water aerobics, swim lessons and open swim.

In other health-related news, lots of people (including myself) have started their annual battle with seasonal allergies. When the cotton flies and pine pollen blankets every surface with a yellow film, it coincides with the blooming of the biggest offender: grass pollen.

Whatever it is that’s making you itch, sneeze, puffy-eyed, snotty-nosed and downright miserable, my commiserations to you. I am right there with you, having suffered the eastern Washington grass bloom for four decades, this is when I pull out the big guns of my pharmaceutical arsenal.

I know there are lot of natural and home remedies out there for allergies and alternative therapies that include pollen-specific honey, herbal tinctures, supplements, pro-biotics, pre-biotics, and cutting out gluten, dairy, potatoes, and well, just avoiding outside altogether works too.

I am not sure if I am old enough to bestow allergy wisdom and certainly not qualified to give medical advice, but here’s what has proven to work for me over the years. I get outside in the morning when the air is calmest and I use a daily over-the-counter anti-histamine, and now available over-the-counter nasal steroid. Flushing with a Neti pot or saline spray is my best friend, and I do this after I have been outside for any considerable amount of time and found this works tremendously.

I try to avoid being outside in the wind in the afternoons when the pollen count is highest, and if I do go out, I often put ointment in my nose to help trap pollen and moisten the lining of my nose which gets cracked and irritated from the dust/pollen. I use a mask when I mow the lawn, and I wear long sleeves and pants — especially off-trail in grasslands. Of course, consult with your health care provider before taking any medication, but that’s my regimen and it’s taken only 20 years to figure it out. Good luck, and usually by July 1, the pollen onslaught is over and we will only have to start battling heat rash by then!

PREVIOUSLY, IN TWISP

Email Sarah