Remedies from the Earth: For the love of roses

By Deborah Jasien
Roses play a prominent role in our lives. We marvel at their intoxicating fragrance; we enjoy the beauty of our favorites; and we give them to our loved ones to celebrate special occasions. The scent of rose always takes me back to my grandmother's garden in southwestern Pennsylvania in the 1960s. I have always strived to recreate that memory in my own garden, unfortunately not so successfully as she, but close.
Our love affair with roses — for beauty and for health purposes — has a long history. For centuries the rose has been highly valued by many cultures not only for its beauty and perfume but also for its profound healing properties on both a physical and psychological level. Rosewater and rose oil were used in the traditional medicines of China, India, Assyria, Egypt, Greece and Rome, to cure a wide range of medical conditions. It is suspected that the rose was probably the very first flower from which essential oil was distilled; possibly in the 10th-century Persia. Today, most of the rose oils are still produced in that region of the world. A very large quantity of rose petals is needed to produce a very small quantity of oil. Thus, it is very costly. Thankfully only a small amount of rose oil is needed in therapeutic preparations. It is not used in its concentrated state, but rather in a carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, argon and grape seed.

  • Category: Health

Dr. Brian Irwin: Ear infections

By Brian Irwin

Middle ear infections (also known as Acute Otitis Media or AOM) are the No. 1 pediatric condition for which antibiotics are prescribed in the United States. While antibiotics certainly have a role in the treatment of some ear infections as well as other conditions, liberal use of this powerful tool has led to a steadily increasing number of drug-resistant bacteria in the U.S. over the last 20 years. A committee from the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics calculated that in addition to resistant organisms, in 1990 alone pediatric ear infections in our country resulted it the prescription of 20 million courses of antibiotics. This obviously invites the question: Are all those antibiotics necessary?
Before we can state if antibiotics are needed to treat ear infections, we need to look at the risks associated with ear infections. Obviously parents seek treatment for their children's ear infections due to the fever and discomfort that often accompany the infection. While health providers are also concerned with these issues, there are a few others that make complete resolution of AOM important. Untreated ear infections can potentially lead to serious complications like mastoiditis, or spread of infection to the air-pockets that reside within the bony protuberance behind the ear. Hearing impairment is a potential concern. Perhaps most terrifying an abscess that leads may even lead to meningitis.
  • Category: Health

State offers tips against ticks

CONCORD — Tick season is upon us once again, and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind people living in and visiting New Hampshire to take precautions to prevent being bitten by ticks and potentially exposed to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

New Hampshire has one of the highest incidence rates of Lyme in the country. According to the Division of Public Health Services, there were an estimated 1,373 cases of Lyme disease identified in the state in 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 33,461 probable and confirmed cases in the United States in 2014, which is up from the 2013 count of 27,203 cases.

"We are coming upon one of the most active times for ticks in New Hampshire, which is important because of the diseases ticks can transmit to people, such as Lyme disease," said Beth Daly, chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at the Division of Public Health Services. "While we certainly encourage everyone to enjoy the outdoors and all our state has to offer this season, it is important for everyone to consistently take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families."

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends taking the following precautions to prevent tick bites:

• Avoid tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter.

• Use insect repellent labeled as effective against ticks.

• Wear protective clothing (long pants and long sleeves to keep ticks off skin).

• Do tick checks on yourself and family members after being outdoors.

• Reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short and removing leaf litter.

• Speak with your health-care provider if you are bitten by a tick or if you notice a large round rash anywhere on your body.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi and is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick. The greatest risk for Lyme is between the months of May and August, when the black-legged tick is in the juvenile stage; it's the size of a poppy seed and very difficult to detect, so individuals may be unaware they have been bitten. Ticks that transmit Lyme can also transmit other diseases, such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. In 2015, there were 110 cases of anaplasmosis and 53 cases of babesiosis identified in New Hampshire residents. Although not as common as Lyme, both diseases can also cause serious illness.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue and often a skin rash that is round and/or looks like a bullseye. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, but if left untreated can lead to severe headaches and neck pain caused by meningitis (inflammation of the protective covering surrounding the brain and spinal cord), pain and swelling in the large joints, shooting pains that may interfere with sleep, and heart palpitations and dizziness.

For more information about Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website at or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at


  • Category: Health

Hospital volunteers recognized at annual luncheon

CONWAY — Memorial Hospital volunteers were guests of the hospital's board of trustees at the White Mountain Hotel for the annual appreciation and awards luncheon on May 18.

Scott McKinnon, president and CEO, was on hand to congratulate and thank each and every volunteer for their combined 9,600 hours of service. Hourly pins awarded ranged for 100 hours to 6,200 hours. The 6,200 hour recognition was awarded to Gloria Vasconcellas, who has been a volunteer at Memorial Hospital for over 30 years.
This year's "Shining Star" award was presented to Ed Lawton. Shining Star awards are given to volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty. Lawton was recognized for his efforts in organizing the hospital wheelchair fleet, a formidable task when one is trying locate missing removable legs to wheelchairs and then find the chair to which the legs belong. Always conscious of patients' safety and convenience, Lawton was determined to straighten out the fleet. He serves as a greeter and transporter at the main entrance. McKinnon personally thanked him for his service.
  • Category: Health

Annual appeal brings in $110,000 to help White Mountain Community Health Center provide affordable health insurance

CONWAY — White Mountain Community Health Center received over $110,000 in operations funding from grantors, town appropriations and individuals during its annual appeal this year. These funds are crucial in allowing the health center to continue to provide health care to any Mount Washington Valley resident who needs it, regardless of ability to pay.

Grants for operational support included $20,000 from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, $7,000 from the Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and $7,500 from the Clarence E. Mulford Foundation. Conway, Jackson, Chatham, Bartlett, Albany, Eaton, Madison, Tamworth, Ossipee, Freedom, Effingham, Brownfield and Lovell all voted to support the health center in 2016. Memorial Hospital also contributes operations funding annually (not included in total for the annual appeal).
Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, a portion of White Mountain Community Health Center's patients have become insured. However, there are still gaps in coverage that create a financial barrier to getting needed health care.
  • Category: Health