School and sports physicals: Important whether learning in-person or remotely

We appreciate Dr. Kyle Wilson from AppFamily Medicine sharing this information with us.

Now more than ever, it is important that all school-aged children and adolescents obtain a school or sports physical. One of the primary benefits of this visit is to help students and their families better understand how they can stay well as our nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

A school physical is designed to cover many different components that make up a student’s overall health and wellbeing.

  • screening students for heart related problems
  • assessing vaccination status
  • addressing conditions that could require a treatment plan prior to returning to school
  • vision and hearing screening
  • addressing potential developmental and behavioral concerns
  • other factors that affect a student’s well-being and educational success.

Getting ready for the school/sports physical visit

Prior to the visit, it will be helpful to think through your student’s past medical history and existing medical problems. Filling out any patient paperwork for your provider will help guide you on what type of information to include.

An important part of a student’s medical history includes family history of any potential heart-related problems as well as specific pediatric diseases. It will be helpful if parents or guardians are able to tell the provider if the patient has any family members who have passed away at a young age due to a heart-related condition. This will help the provider assess the student’s risk of heart-related issues.

Setting students up for success

Another important part of a school physical involves addressing the student’s exercise tolerance. Does the student become mildly short of breath upon exercising only for a few minutes? Can the student participate in exercise activities similar to other students in his or her class? Questions like these can help the provider assess many different things such as screening the patient for asthma and musculoskeletal disorders.

The school physical also provides the opportunity for parents or guardians to discuss potential concerns regarding the student’s behavior or development. Learning disorders often go unidentified through adolescence. It is important that each student is empowered with the opportunity to perform at his or her best level. The doctor can help identify, manage and make any assessment referrals for possible conditions such as hearing and vision loss, ADHD, learning disabilities, and more.

Occasionally, accommodations are needed so that students can meet their academic potential. Earlier identification gives opportunities for earlier interventions, if needed. A school physical is an excellent opportunity to better understand how the student can ultimately be given the best chance to meet his or her aspirations.

We can help

At AppFamily Medicine, Baker Center for Primary Care, and Davant Medical Clinic*, we desire to be a medical home for the entire family – infant, pediatric, adolescent and adult (*Davant Medical Clinic sees patients 6 years and older). This includes helping students and their families get ready for the coming academic school year and have confidence that students’ medical needs are addressed. We look forward to serving you and your family as the coming academic year approaches with its own particular challenges.

Call your child’s primary care provider or one of the following practices to schedule a school physical. You can also request an appointment online.

10 Kid Friendly Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Are you looking for adventure ideas for your kids this summer? Check out these ten kid friendly scavenger hunt ideas! You will have lots of fun and create many memories.

One case of pertussis (whooping cough) confirmed in Ashe County

ASHE COUNTY, N.C. – One case of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, was confirmed in Ashe County on January 22, 2018. The case is in an Ashe County School System student attending Westwood Elementary School.

School and health officials report the individual diagnosed with pertussis is being treated, per guidelines established by the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control, and is fully cooperating in following isolation instructions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old. The best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated.”

Please be sure each of your own family-household members, especially infants and young children, are up to date on their immunizations.

If you or your family members have a chronic health condition that might increase the risk of a respiratory infection, please seek advice from your health care provider whether or not precautionary antibiotics might be recommended.

Ashe County School system officials and AppHealthCare (local health department) are working closely together with school and community partners. “We appreciate the partnership with Ashe County Schools. We urge folks to contact us or their healthcare provider if they become ill and get their immunizations up-to-date,” said Jennifer Greene, Health Director.

The information below is being shared with the public to assist in preventing the spread of pertussis.

What causes pertussis?

Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. These bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) that line part of the upper respiratory system. The bacteria release toxins (poisons), which damage the cilia and cause airways to swell.

How does pertussis spread?

Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans. Pertussis spreads from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the disease to another person by coughing or sneezing or when spending a lot of time near one another where you share breathing space. Many babies who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents, or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.

Infected people are most contagious up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Antibiotics may shorten the amount of time someone is contagious.

While pertussis vaccines are the most effective tool to prevent this disease, no vaccine is 100% effective. When pertussis circulates in the community, there is a chance that a fully vaccinated person, of any age, can catch this disease. If you have gotten the pertussis vaccine but still get sick, the infection is usually not as bad.

What are the symptoms of pertussis?

The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. Early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Apnea – a pause in breathing (in babies)

After 1 to 2 weeks and as the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of pertussis may appear and include:

  • Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound
  • Vomiting (throwing up) during or after coughing fits
  • Exhaustion (very tired) after coughing fits


The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among babies, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Also, keep babies and other people at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people. In the United States, the recommended pertussis vaccine for babies and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that helps protect against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

AppHealthCare, the local health department, urges community members to check with their primary care physician about their current immunization records, to ensure they have the recommended vaccinations. Immunizations are available through primary care providers and AppHealthCare, Alleghany: (336) 372-5641, Ashe: (336) 246-9449 or Watauga: (828) 264-4995.

Additional information is available at:

Any further communications related to additional measures to prevent additional cases of pertussis in our community will be communicated to the media, as well as posted to For information that has been shared with Parents/Guardians please go here:

Tips to Avoid the Flu {From Appalachian Regional Healthcare System}

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also important that during this time of increased flu and flu-like illness in our area, visitors 12 and under should refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, seasonal flu activity continues to increase in the U.S. The proportion of people seeing their healthcare provider for influenza-like illness increased sharply from last week and has been at or above the national baseline for three weeks so far this season.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have also seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness.

“Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients and residents safe,” stated Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “We are appealing to community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting hospitalized or long-term care family and friends in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities.”

Tips to avoid the flu

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. Listed below are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.

Symptons of flu

Recognizable Symptoms Include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.

When to seek care

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
  • In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Releases Health Alert

High Country families, please note flu season is upon us! With public schools, colleges and universities coming back into session, it is important to know how you can assist in stopping the transmission of illnesses like flu and stomach viruses.


Prevention is the key

The best way to stay healthy and combat a respiratory (flu) virus, stomach virus and other viruses is through preventive measures: getting flu vaccine, wash your hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, being with ill people and especially before you eat, if you are having vomiting and diarrhea.

Avoid sharing objects (examples: drinking glasses, utensils, etc.)
Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes (face)
Get enough sleep and avoid getting “run down”
Reduce stress
Use tissues for coughs/sneezes and dispose of them immediately
Eat right and drink plenty of fluids
Avoid crowds and keep your distance from people whom you know are ill
If you are sick, avoid contact with the frail, very young and elderly. Do not visit friends or family at hospitals, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.
If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
Notify your physician if you are not feeling any better or if you are getting worse.

You can help

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks the public to help us stop the spread of viruses. If you are sick or not feeling well, please refrain from visiting family or friends at our healthcare facilities.

Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists Accepting New Patients

We are happy to share this great news with the families in the High Country. In an effort to improve access to healthcare in the High Country, ARMA practice Appalachian Regional Adult and Family Medicine moved to the location of Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists at the Boone Point building located at 148 Hwy 105 Extension. This move took place on October 3, 2016.


In addition, Jenny Richardson, ACNP, who currently practices at Watauga Internal Medicine on Furman Road, moved to the ARIMS location at Boone Point on the same date.

The multi-specialty practice includes Rheumatology, Pulmonology, Internal Medicine and Family Medicine services.

Below is a list of all of the Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists providers sorted by specialty. Each provider is accepting new patients.

Pulmonology Internal Medicine Rheumatology Family Medicine
Donald Graham, MD Richard Smith, MD James Logan, MD Chris McCracken, MD
Kevin Wolfe, MD Richard Stark, MD Valerie Purcell, MD
Jenny Richardson, ACNP Ginger Warren, FNP
Stephanie Walker, FNP Lois Iiams, FNP
Jerrica Smith, FNP

“In the best interest of our patients, we made the decision to centralize some of our ARMA specialty providers into one convenient location,” said Robert Johnston, Director of ARMA and Clinical Integration. “Thanks to its all-in-one design, patients will be able to easily navigate between specialty services without having to travel to different offices around town.”

In addition to adding more providers, Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists added 12,905 square feet of space which doubled its patient exam rooms to 32. The practice is also equipped with its own lab draw station, infusion room with wall-to-wall windows and on-site pulmonary function test center – the first and only in the region not located within a hospital.

To learn more about Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists, call 828-386-2746.

Local Women Launch Extra Hands Errand & Task Service

Do you ever feel like you could use an extra set of hands to get things done? As a fellow parent, I can attest of having this feeling several times!

Life can be busy and full of tedious tasks that fill up your to-do list. Launching last week in Boone, Extra Hands (The Extra Hands NC, LLC) aims to take the burden off you by offering services ranging from errands to household tasks, personal organization to pet care. Created by long-time friends, the team at Extra Hands takes on the projects that you don’t have the time or energy to do.

extra hands boone nc

“We created Extra Hands because we want our clients to spend time with the ones they love and focus on the projects that most deserve their time and energy,” says Catherine Wallace, Co-founder of Extra Hands.
In speaking to locals the team found that many people in Boone want help running errands, getting a bit more organized, with house and pet sitting, and more.  Extra Hands was born out of the opportunity to help others and simplify their lives.
“We know that you are trusting us with your most important tasks, and are committed to completing them with the utmost integrity,” said Alanna Young, Co-founder of Extra Hands. “Time is precious and we aim to make your life easier.”
Extra Hands provides a variety of task-oriented services including:
  • Errands: Need to mail some packages? Let us make the trip to the post office for you. Want us to pick up your dry cleaning, grocery shop or drop off donations? Let us help you with all of your errands.
  • Organizing: From straightening up to serious organizing – closets to junk drawers – we will help you get your life organized. We’ll work with you to get things in order and simplify your life.
  • Household: Have a full dishwasher? Clean clothes ready to be folded? Recycling that needs to be dropped off? Need to prep dinner for the week? We’ll handle that for you!
  • Event Support: Planning a wedding or baby shower, and need an extra hand? Have a child’s birthday party coming up and need help preparing food or setting up? We help prep, decorate, style, and more.
  • Summer Home Prep: Coming to the High Country for the summer and need someone to prepare your home? Let us stock your fridge, dust off the furniture, start your utilities, and welcome you back to your summer home.
  • Pet Sitting: Is your sweet pup sitting at home in need of a walk? Planning to be out of town and need someone to care for your pets? We provide pet care.
  • House Sitting: Need someone to house sit? Or look after your plants? Let us make sure everything is safe and sound while you are out of town.
Clients can sign up for a monthly membership, starting at 10 hours each month or buy a la carte hours. Don’t see something on the list, just ask! Extra Hands will consider all task-oriented requests.
“The idea for Extra Hands came to me when I had a growing to-do list and wasn’t sure how I would balance it all. I know that this is a concern for many and believe that Extra Hands was a much needed service in the High Country,” said Carolyn Clark, investor, co-founder and advisor. “I trust Catherine and Alanna with my most important tasks, and I truly believe in the business plan and their skill set. I am excited to see the impact they make in Boone.”
For more information and to set up a free consultation visit or contact Catherine Wallace and Alanna Young at or 407-864-5960.

Health Officials Urge Protection Against Flu

A joint release from Appalachian Regional Healthcare System & Appalachian District Health DepartmentAppalachian Regional Healthcare


(Boone, NC) – Appalachian District Health Department and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System are encouraging everyone to seek protection against the flu. Recently, the first death due to flu in North Carolina occurred in the Western North Carolina region.
“Tragically, we lose people every year due to influenza and too often, we delay getting vaccinated when there are so many opportunities available to get this important immunization,” said Beth Lovette, Health Director.
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007,  estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older. The “seasonal flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
“An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through the community,” stated Dr. Herman Godwin, Chief Medical Officer, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.
There are two types of vaccines:

About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against the influenza viruses in the vaccine develop in the body.

It is especially important for children, older adults, and those that have medical conditions putting them at greater risks for complications from the flu, such as chronic health conditions like diabetes or heart disease, an immune compromised health condition, or pregnancy be vaccinated against the influenza.
To protect you and your family from flu:
  • Get your flu vaccine!
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, aches, fatigue, cough, and stuffy and/or runny nose. If you do become sick, call your healthcare provider or the health department to find out what he or she recommends.
Walk-in appointments are available at the health department and the vaccine is available at local healthcare providers and pharmacy locations. For more information about the flu, go to or or contact Appalachian District Health Department at (828) 264-6635.

Simple and Delicious Teacher Appreciation Gift

We have the best teachers in the High Country. They do great things for our kids each school day. Since the end of the year is approaching, we all need to take the time to let them know how much we appreciate them. Here is a simple and delicious idea for a teacher appreciation gift. This gift will be perfect for summer vacation.



Plastic Bag
Printed or Written Paper: We need s’more ___________ like you. (Fill-in-the-blank with the appropriate word)
Graham Crackers
Mini Hershey’s Bars

I was given this treat at a recent volunteer appreciation breakfast. They were a huge hit with everyone!

Save Money By Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

I am always doing my research to see how our family can save more money.  My husband and I are both on a mission this year to cut-back our household costs. He came across this recipe and was very eager to try it out. We have been using this homemade laundry detergent for two months now and I don’t ever see us buying laundry detergent at the store again!

Check it out:

homemade laundry detergent

You need the following ingredients:

homemade laundry detergent

– 1 cup of Borax
– 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
– 1/2 bar of Fels-Naptha
-1/2 bar of soap (we use Lever 2000)

You do not have to use a 1/2 bar of soap. You can use the entire bar of Fels-Naptha but I just like using the soap to give it a more fresher scent.

Pour in 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda into a bowl. Then use a grater to shred the bars of soap.

homemade laundry detergent

homemade laundry detergent

Stir ingredients really good until they are mixed well.

homemade laundry detergent

You are finished. It really is that easy. Use one tablespoon per laundry load. You can use two if you have a very soiled laundry. Your decision.