Stage 2 Air Quality Index and alarming research studies from DRI, Renown Health and the Washoe County Health District leads to public health advisory- seek care if needed For people who suffer from asthma, wildfire smoke is more hazardous than other types of air pollution, according to a study from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the Renown Institute for Health Innovation (Renown IHI) and the Washoe County Health District (WCHD). The study published in the journal Environmental Health examined associations between airborne particulate matter (PM) from sources such as wildfire, transportation and industry, and medical visits for asthma at Renown Health’s emergency departments and urgent care centers in Reno, Nev. during the six-year period from 2013-2018. “In places like Reno, where wildfire events occur regularly during parts of the year and are expected to become more frequent in the future, an accurate understanding of the impacts of wildfire smoke on population health is critical,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown Health. “We have an exceptional process in place through our urgent care sites, Renown Medical Group offices and hospital emergency departments to screen, diagnose and treat members of our community who come to us for care related to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other upper respiratory diseases that may be exacerbated by wildfire smoke. At the same time, we continue to develop and refine, in real-time, the data that supports our predictive analytic models. We are using every tool and resource-including scientific data and clinical reporting, to ensure that we are meeting both the health and healthcare needs of the people we serve.” In the study, researchers found that air quality in the Reno area was affected by wildfire smoke on a total of 188 days during the study period. A total of 18,836 asthma-related emergency room and urgent care visits occurred over the same five-year period of time, indicating that the influences of wildfire smoke and other types of air pollution on this medical condition are important to understand. The Washoe County Health District – Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) has issued a Stage 2 Air Pollution Warning due to smoke from area wildfires. Air quality in the Reno-Sparks area is now “Very Unhealthy” with an Air Quality Index of 247. The Stage 2 warning means that all residents should stay indoors and reduce activity levels due to the susceptibility of increased health risks. To see current air quality in Reno-Sparks, click here. Brion Hill, MD who practices at the Renown Urgent Care - Los Altos location warns, “This is an important health advisory, exposure to elevated PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in smoke) concentrations can result in eye and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, congestion, coughing, impaired lung function and chest pain. Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy. Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider,” says Dr. Hill. “If you do not have a health care provider, we have 11 conveniently located Renown Urgent Care offices with providers ready to see you 7 days a week." Dr. Joseph Grzymski, a research professor at Desert Research Institute, a corresponding author on the study and Chief Scientific Officer, Renown Health, says, “This air is very bad for your health. Given today’s Air Quality Index in Reno, being outside and breathing this air for a day equals about smoking half a package of cigarettes.” Additional Information: The full text of the article “Particulate matter and emergency visits for asthma: a time-series study of their association in the presence and absence of wildfire smoke in Reno, Nevada, 2013–2018,” is available from Environmental Health: https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-020-00646-2 To learn more about the Renown Institute for Health Innovation, please visit: https://www.dri.edu/renown-ihi/ Renown Urgent Care provides treatment for a wide range of minor injuries, illnesses and medical concerns that are urgent but not life-threatening, that require same-day medical attention and avoid the long wait times and high prices of the emergency room at 13 convenient sites, including Reno, Sparks, Carson City, USA Parkway, Fallon and Fernley. You can walk-in or book ahead online. The Washoe County Health District offers online health information on its Be Smoke Smart website, including fire information, daily air quality information, fire and smoke maps and how to protect yourself. About the Desert Research Institute The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in basic and applied interdisciplinary research. Committed to scientific excellence and integrity, DRI faculty, students, and staff have developed scientific knowledge and innovative technologies in research projects around the globe. Since 1959, DRI’s research has advanced scientific knowledge, supported Nevada’s diversifying economy, provided science-based educational opportunities, and informed policymakers, business leaders, and community members. With campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI serves as the non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. For more information, visit www.dri.edu. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org.
Renown Urgent Care team prepares you to stay safe this season and is available seven days a week at 11 locations across northern Nevada Millions of people across the West live in areas where air pollution can cause serious health problems. Local air quality can affect our daily lives. Like the weather, it can change from day to day. The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for Plumas County, to notify the public of the possibility of poor air quality conditions resulting from the Beckwourth Complex Fire in addition to other wildfires in northern California. In addition, there is the potential for wind shifts to carry smoke to other parts of Plumas County from the Beckwourth and several other regional wildfires. Air quality is expected to vary greatly depending on fire behavior and weather conditions, with smoke settling in low areas at night and in the early mornings as long as these fires are active. The advisory mentions, “Exposure to elevated PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in smoke) concentrations can result in eye and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, congestion, coughing, impaired lung function and chest pain, especially among sensitive individuals such as the elderly, children, people with asthma, people with heart or lung conditions, pregnant women and anyone who is exercising or working hard outdoors.” Kouros Farro, MD, a physician with Renown Urgent Care advises that there are people who are more likely to be affected when fine particle pollution reaches an unhealthy level. People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People who have heart disease or high blood pressure. Children and older adults. People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors. “Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy. Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider,” says Dr. Farro, who is board certified in family medicine and practices at Renown Urgent Care at 975 Ryland St in Reno. “If you do not have a health care provider, know we have a Renown Urgent Care office on almost every corner, with providers ready to see you.” Dr. Farro advises the following: Take it easy and listen to your body. Limit, change, or postpone your physical activity level. If possible, stay away from local sources of air pollution like busy roads and wood fires. If you have asthma or other breathing conditions like COPD make sure you have your relief/rescue inhaler with you. People with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Make an appointment to see your health provider to be sure you have an asthma action plan. “Even just one hour of smoke exposure can affect our lungs and hearts, and these consequences can reach people far beyond the direct area endangered by the fire. Children, older adults, pregnant women, people with preexisting cardiopulmonary disease, communities of color, economically disadvantaged communities, and people with preexisting chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, and obesity are all especially vulnerable to the air pollution that wildfires cause," says Dr. David Lemak, Division Chief of Urgent Care at Renown. Renown Urgent Care provides treatment for a wide range of minor injuries, illnesses and medical concerns that are urgent but not life-threatening, that require same-day medical attention and avoid the long wait times and high prices of the emergency room at 11 convenient sites, including Reno, Sparks, Carson City, USA Parkway, Fallon and Fernley. You can walk-in or book ahead online. You can get the latest fire and smoke information at the Washoe County Health District’s Be Smoke Smart webpage. It includes information about air pollution levels and how to protect yourself from the smoke. An on-line subscription page allows you to sign up for EnviroFlash, notifying you about air quality. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org.
Renown Health Further Expands Visitor Policy; Encourages Two Loved Ones To Provide Support To Patients
Always listening to the voice of the patient, Renown Health is pleased to welcome any two patient supporters to visit their loved ones during their Renown medical visit, surgery, birthing or hospital stay. Renown continues to have extra safety measures in place to protect the health of patients, visitors and healthcare employees, and as the situation changes with COVID-19, these guidelines are subject to change. Under this updated visitor policy, patients no longer need to identify their supporters ahead of their arrival. Patients may receive more than two visitors per day; however, to help ensure adequate physical distancing, only two guests are asked to visit at a time. All people entering Renown sites must continue bringing and wearing a face mask for their entire visit, including inside patient rooms. Renown’s visitor policy updates were inspired by family members, who requested that the policy be expanded to encourage two family members per day to be able to visit a loved one who was hospitalized at Renown. The request was approved by Dr. Debra Adornetto-Garcia, Chief Nursing Officer and Dr. Paul Sierzenski, Chief Medical Officer, both of Acute Services. With a high percentage of Renown hospital staff now vaccinated against COVID-19, declining hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19, and understanding that the best communication is in-person, as of April 28, 2021, Renown hospitals and medical practices now allow two visitors, instead of one, for all patients and have put extra safety measures in place to protect patients, visitors and healthcare employees. “We are pleased to expand our visitor policy and welcome two healthy adult patient supporters to accompany every patient to their Renown medical visit or hospital stay,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown. “We are always looking to our patients’ lived experiences to help us address the health needs of our community. Just a few months ago, we were reminded by Darlene Randolph that the best care is ‘person-centered care’, which inspired us to be one of the first healthcare organizations in the nation to expand our visitor policy to all patients, including those with COVID-19. Today, we thank our patients’ family members for voicing the importance of a larger, connected support system to help foster the best healing environment for all patients.” “At Renown, the definition of ‘family’ is defined by the patient,” said Debra Adornetto-Garcia, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, AOCN, Chief Nursing Officer, Acute Services. “Our patients may have anyone they choose as their patient supporters, and these individuals serve as an invaluable extension of our care teams. Patient supporters are asked to partner with the patient’s healthcare team to assist in communicating to other family members and friends, participating in training and education activities and assisting the patient with complying with care and medication instructions.” “Visiting the hospital can be an anxious experience,” said Paul Sierzenski, MD, MSHQS, CPE, FACEP, Chief Medical Officer, Acute Services. “It’s incredible how the company of loved ones can reduce anxiety and promote healing. What we can do together with families to support patient care and excellent outcomes is greater than what any of us can do alone. We are glad to welcome patient supporters to our hospitals to help our patients feel more at ease, so they can focus on their recovery, health and healing.” Two patient supporters per patient are now able to access Renown campuses as noted: Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For Intensive Care Units (ICU): 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors must be at least 12 years of age or older. Renown Children’s Hospital: Open access. For the Pediatric unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU): Visitors must be at least 12 years of age or older. For the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): Visitors must be at least 18 years of age or older. Renown Rehabilitation Hospital: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. One designated patient supporter is allowed to visit the patient inside their room throughout the duration of their stay. Other loved ones may visit from an exterior window, outside the patient's room. Our care team is also pleased to facilitate bedside virtual visits. In addition to in-person visits, there are many ways to brighten the day of a patient at Renown Hospitals. You can send a personalized message that will be hand-delivered to your loved one, call 775-982-4100 to speak with a patient, or our care team is pleased to facilitate virtual visits via computer or tablet from the bedside. Renown Health reserves the right to limit visitors in the best interests of patients, families, visitors or staff.