Sun10262014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Antibiotics: Understanding the many classes of antimicrobial drugs


Antibiotics changed the face of modern medicine. In fact, the discovery of antimicrobial drugs was one of the most significant achievements of the 20th century. Since they became widely available in the 1940s, millions of lives have been saved. Long-dreaded diseases like bacterial meningitis, which once killed 90 percent of children infected, are now curable.

The term “antibiotic” means “against life.” Life, in this case, means germs or microbes. In a broad sense, an antibiotic is a drug that is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal or anti-parasitic. But in most cases, the term “antibiotic” is used to describe a drug that works against bacteria. Most antibiotics do not work against infections caused by viruses, such as the common cold, funguses or parasites.

There is a growing problem today due to our overuse of these wonder drugs. Antibiotics have been overprescribed and misused. Unfortunately, it turns out that bacteria can be quite resourceful. Many have found ways to mutate and are now resistant to available antibiotics. That means that the next time you really need an antibiotic to fight an infection, it might not work.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing health problems. Antibiotic overuse not only leads to growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but it also can kill off the body’s good bacteria, which help digest food and fight off infection.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “Antibiotics Do’s and Don’ts” (Aug. 20), focused on the overprescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill a wide range of bacteria and are convenient for doctors to prescribe when the exact pathogen causing the infection is unknown and patients want a quick fix. Among the most popular broad-spectrum antibiotics cited are ciprofloxacin (brand name Cipro) and azithromycin (Z-Pak).

Patients are encouraged to learn as much about prescribed antibiotics as possible and to take them as directed. Both doctors and pharmacists are good people to ask if you would like to know why you are receiving a particular drug, what sort of side effects to expect and how best to take the medication. The Stanford Health Library is also available as a resource, both in the library and online.

New to the library shelves is “Antibiotics Simplified” (Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2014). In its third edition, the book is written for students – medical, nursing or pharmacy – who need to understand the many different classes of antimicrobial drugs. This reference book is also a great tool for laypersons who simply want to understand more about the medications they have been prescribed.

Facts are condensed into standard categories, so it is easy to get the information you need. Each drug chapter follows the same basic format and includes: mechanism of action; spectrum (the bacteria the drug attacks); adverse effects; dosing; what they are good for; important facts; and a final section, “Don’t Forget,” that includes facts that may be especially important for that particular drug.

In addition to drug information, authors Jason C. Gallagher and Conan MacDougall set the stage for readers by including information about basic microbiology and treatment approaches to infectious diseases.

Another selection, “Contagious Diseases Sourcebook” (Omnigraphics, 2010), uses easy-to-understand language. It provides basic consumer health information, from trustworthy sources, such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The section explaining microbes and how they cause infection is especially good. Also noteworthy is a section on self-care of infections, which informs readers about when an infection is best treated by a medical professional and when it can be treated at home.

Children are frequent consumers of antibiotics. Parents are naturally worried when their children become ill. When it is 2 a.m. and your child is screaming with an earache, it may seem as though an antibiotic is needed. It can be hard to understand when a doctor may be unwilling to prescribe one.

There are a number of books written for parents to help them learn how to prevent and treat disease in children. One that does a good job of explaining when an antibiotic is and isn’t a good idea is “Keeping Your Child Healthy in a Germ-Filled World: A Guide for Parents” (Johns Hopkins Press, 2011). Author Athena P. Kourtis, M.D., focuses on the myriad ways that humans and germs interact in different situations, from school to home and away. With a focus on prevention, this book includes helpful information about treatment, including a chapter on the use and misuse of antibiotics.

The main branch of Stanford Health Library is located at Hoover Pavilion, 211 Quarry Road, Suite 201. Other branches are located on the first floor of Stanford Hospital and the main level of Stanford’s Cancer Center.

Nancy Dickenson is head librarian at Stanford Health Library. For more information, visit healthlibrary.stanford.edu.

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