Healthwise Maui

Q: Does Maui Memorial Medical Center have a cardiologist on call 24/7?

A: Dr. Colin Lee, interventional cardiology, Pacific Permanente Group: A cardiologist is always available on-call at Maui Memorial Medical Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In fact, we started an interventional cardiology program at MMMC in 2010 to provide the best possible care for people on Maui who have cardiac emergencies such as heart attacks or cardiac arrests.

Our specially trained interventional cardiologists and support team can open up blocked coronary arteries with nonsurgical procedures known as percutaneous coronary interventions, or PCIs. Sometimes these procedures involve placing tiny cylindrical stents inside arteries to keep them open. This is one of the best ways to treat a heart attack. MMMC has a state-of-the-art facility where these lifesaving procedures can be done without having to go to Oahu. We also have surgeons who do open-heart surgical procedures.

Additionally, Maui Memorial Medical Center has consistently earned recognition from the American Heart Association for heart failure care.

Bottom line is — we’re here for you if you ever need us!

Q: Are nosebleeds in children normal or genetic? My husband said he would get nosebleeds all the time when he was younger and that it was when he got hot either from the weather or playing sports. Is that normal?

A: Dr. David Crow, otolaryngologist: Nosebleeds are pretty common in kids, and they’re rarely severe. Nosebleeds can be caused by many things, including allergies, cold weather, nose sprays that cause the inside of the nose to dry and crack — and, of course, kids picking their nose. When you get hot or exercise, the blood vessels in your nose can dilate, making it more likely that any irritation like rubbing or scratching will cause bleeding.

Usually, just squeezing the nose firmly for about 10 minutes will stop the bleeding. If nosebleeds are happening frequently and causing a problem, additional options include chemical cauterization with silver nitrate or electrocautery to seal the blood vessels.

Treatments you can try at home include humidifying the area with a saline mist. It’s also a good idea to keep fingernails trimmed and filed and apply an antibiotic cream to reduce inflammation.

Q: I feel like I have chronic phlegm in the back of my throat. It isn’t too bad but can be irritating. Are there certain foods that cause this or how can I get rid of it?

A: Dr. David Crow, otolaryngologist: There are a couple of reasons people get chronic phlegm — acid reflux, post-nasal drip and allergies can all contribute to the problem. Your physician can conduct an exam of your nose and throat area to help determine the cause. Reflux can often be addressed through lifestyle changes, like avoiding eating within three hours of going to bed, elevating your head when you sleep, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, fatty foods, spicy foods, mint and other triggers. If that doesn’t help, an acid reflux medication like Zantac or a proton pump inhibitor could be the next step. If post-nasal drip seems to be the cause, flushing the sinuses with a Neti Pot or saline mist could be one treatment, often in combination with a nasal steroid and antihistamine.

While this problem can be solved, it’s not an overnight fix. It can take several months from the start of treatment before you see improvement.

* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on Thursdays. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealthsystem.org/contact.

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