Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A Note from Damon Armitage, MD

Medical Director, Camas Swale Medical Clinic

Over the last couple of weeks, Coronavirus has caused a significant public health effort to be put in place, which has affected all members of our community. For some, this has resulted in minor inconveniences, such as not being able to find paper products at the store or standing in long lines. In other cases, there has been a substantial impact on lifestyle with businesses closed temporarily, or operations drastically altered for social distancing. For those of us with children in school, it has meant family dynamic planning as well. As with any unknown, there is a substantial amount of apprehension about the health, social, and economic impact of the new restrictions in place and the virus that led to these changes.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious virus belonging to a family of viruses responsible for a variety of (usually mild) respiratory illness (like a bad cold). Believed to spread primarily by respiratory droplets, it cannot survive on hard surfaces outside a living host for more than a few hours. Those most at risk are patients with already weakened immune systems (elderly, very young, immune-compromised, asthma or other existing lung disease, smokers, occupational lung disease). The seemingly drastic social measures in place are primarily to protect these members of society and their families. Because it spreads quickly, if everybody got it at the same time the pressure could overwhelm the capability of our health care system to absorb this surge.

At Camas Swale Medical Clinic, we are dedicated to the health and safety of our patients and the community. We will continue to see patients and will update our practices in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidelines. As Medical Director, I have 18 years of experience in expeditionary medicine and contingency medicine planning with the Air Force and Oregon Air National Guard. If you have an appointment, you can expect that additional measures may be in place at the clinic to minimize potential exposure. We may also be offering telemedicine as an alternative for select patients using videoconferencing or phone if necessary.

Change increases stress, and the stress we may be feeling due to mounting social, financial, and family pressures can lead to panic. We recommend using this time with family in small groups to build resilience and strength, and follow the recommended plan for social distancing. We also recommend going to official guidance sources for updates at the national, state, and county level including:



Lane County Public Health Non-Emergency COVID-19 Information Line: (541) 682-1380

The Best Hyperpigmentation Treatment for Your Skin

The Best Hyperpigmentation Treatment for Your Skin

While hyperpigmentation may be the overarching medical term for liver spots or “pregnancy mask,” we know this fancy name does not make these conditions any easier to handle. In fact, melasma, the clinical term for pregnancy mask might be worse than all those sleepless nights or trying to lose that stubborn baby weight. It is hormonally aggravated and difficult to treat, not to mention what it can do to a new mom’s self-esteem. Read on for helpful hints to rid yourself of unwanted hyperpigmentation.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Any excess melanin, also known as pigment, that collects in the skin, whether it be on the face, hands or elsewhere on the body, is referred to as hyperpigmentation. A freckle is an example of focal hyperpigmentation while melasma is an example of diffused hyperpigmentation. Either condition is not generally harmful. Yet, there are a few specific health concerns that contribute to the diffused form such as vitamin deficiencies and Addison’s disease. More likely, sun exposure, aging, prescribed medications, scars, or cuts in the healing process are the sources.

However, know that there are some factors out of your control that predispose you to hyperpigmentation. A birthmark (also hyperpigmentation) is hereditary. Increased estrogen or fluctuating hormones can be the culprit, and so can birth control pills or cancer medications. Even acne can leave scars that promote skin darkening. You may not be able to prevent hyperpigmentation from happening, but you can understand it and get treatment.

Out, Darn Spot!

No matter the cause or condition underlying your personal experience with hyperpigmentation, we understand that when it comes to your face, no spot, regardless of size, is welcome, especially when it was not there before and has suddenly appeared seemingly out of nowhere. From liver spots to freckles sprinkled on your forehead, there is hope. All it takes is a little research about what treatment works best for you.


What are Hyperpigmentation Treatment Options?

Staying out of the sun, addressing skin infections, having a good skin care routine and eliminating medications can reduce hyperpigmentation, but they may not get rid of it.


Often, the first line of defense is a topical cream. Topical creams containing hydroquinone (a skin lightener), kojic acid (inhibits tyrosine formation and prevents melanin production) and other ingredients like vitamin C can work, but they are not without side effects. Some people experience rashes, stinging, dermatitis or even a worsening of symptoms. When these solutions fail, we know that people can become desperate to find another way.

Chemical Peels & Dermabrasion

If creams don’t work, another possible hyperpigmentation treatment method is chemical peels that use ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid to coax exfoliation on the top layers of skin where the pigmentation is darkest. Certain skin types and colors are better suited for this treatment protocol. In rare instances, peels can lead to scarring.

An alternative to peels is dermabrasion to control hyperpigmentation. In this treatment (whether doing dermabrasion or microdermabrasion), the skin is being injured to encourage new skin growth and to stimulate the healing process. A 50% improvement in skin appearance is considered a satisfactory result, but we understand if it is not your idea of a winning solution. This method also comes with after-effects including redness, peeling, and pain that can occur for weeks or months before full recovery. You will also need to avoid all sun exposure to eliminate risk of further injury.

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

What else can you do? The best treatment is often the most direct and simple. We prefer and recommend intense pulsed light therapy. This treatment uses lasers to direct bursts of light on your affected skin. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process, which results in lightening of the dark areas in less than 30 minutes. Plus, over time, the lightening process continues. The treatment is quick, painless, relaxing and effective. Affected areas will simply dry up and slough off like a healing sunburn. Light therapy is also customized for you specifically by measuring your melanin levels before the procedure.

What Can You Expect with Intense Pulsed Light Therapy?

If you choose this method, we will walk you through each step of the process to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. The treatment is usually only the length of a lunch break and will not require you to stay home or hide from people to recover. The device we use feels cool to your skin, and clients have actually told us they find it relaxing.

Enjoying the experience of your hyperpigmentation treatment should be part of the healing process, and with all the benefits of this noninvasive technique, we think it is the best approach. Contact us today to make an appointment.


Lactose Intolerance: What to Look For and When to See a Doctor

Lactose Intolerance: What to Look For and When to See a Doctor

Lactose intolerance plagues 65% of the U.S. population. Even though the likelihood of lactose intolerance is high, many people experience very mild symptoms and may live their whole lives without realizing they are intolerant to lactose. Educating yourself about the symptoms of lactose intolerance will help you identify whether or not your health is being impacted by this common issue.

Many products that are popular in American diets contain lactose. If your body is sensitive to lactose, removing it from your diet could make a positive impact on your health. Read on to learn the symptoms of lactose intolerance, how to identify them, and when you should talk to your doctor.

Common Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

The reason so many people have lactose intolerance and don’t realize it is because the symptoms of lactose intolerance look a lot like common indigestion. Lactose intolerance symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Constipation

For those who have extreme lactose intolerance, the symptoms could include things like:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Skin issues (such as eczema)

Because the symptoms of lactose intolerance are fairly commonplace, they can be easy to ignore. It’s important to listen to your body’s cues if you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis. While lactose intolerance isn’t a serious health condition, it has the same symptoms as more serious concerns like Crohn’s Disease.

Understanding how lactose intolerance is so prevalent is easy to do once you understand what it is that causes this intolerance.

What Causes Lactose Intolerance

Your small intestine is in charge of breaking down lactose. Lactose is a type of sugar that exists in all milk products. When you ingest anything containing lactose, your body sends in an enzyme called lactase to break down the lactose into simpler sugars that can then be absorbed by your digestive system. If you don’t produce enough lactase, your body can’t break down lactose, and when it can’t absorb the sugar, it sits in your gut and causes the symptoms listed above.

Uncommon Causes

The uncommon causes of lactose intolerance are congenital and disease-related intolerance. You can inherit a lack of lactase. Diseases that affect your gut health can also cause lactase deficiency as a secondary problem.

Common Causes

The most common causes of lactose intolerance are genetics and age. People of Asian and African descent are less tolerant of lactose due to their genetics. The amount of lactate in our guts is also likely to decrease with age. Elderly people are especially likely to experience lactose intolerance.

It is important to determine whether or not you are lactose intolerant if you are experiencing symptoms. If the lactose in dairy is not what’s causing your symptoms, they could be linked to something more serious. Remember, your body is great at telling you when something is wrong; it’s your job to listen.

lactose intolerance

How to Tell If You Have Lactose Intolerance

There are some initial steps you can take to determine whether or not you may have lactose intolerance. Doing some at-home experimentation and documentation will help. If you need to talk to a doctor about your symptoms, you will have good data to share with the doctor that will help them to help you.

If you’re experiencing some symptoms of lactose intolerance, here are three things to try:

  1. Keep a daily food journal. Noting what you eat and how you feel afterwards is the best way to track how your symptoms are or aren’t related to the food you are eating.
  2. Try an elimination diet. Try cutting out dairy and foods that include lactose for a few weeks and see if your symptoms improve. Try to keep everything else in your life the same. Stress, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle components can also cause indigestion and symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
  3. Reintroduce dairy/lactose slowly. If your body responds positively to you cutting dairy out of your diet, try reintroducing it slowly. If your symptoms start to come back, you’ll be able to safely tie your symptoms to eating dairy.

Be cautious; lactose can appear in foods you may not expect. Even things like breads and items labeled as “non-dairy” can still contain lactose. Read labels carefully when you cut out lactose. It may also be helpful to do some family research if you have access to your direct relatives. If someone else in your family has an intolerance to lactose that has already been diagnosed, it could be a good clue into your own health.

However, this can go the other way. If you have relatives with more serious diseases such as Crohn’s or celiac disease, it could mean your symptoms are more serious than just your gut protesting over too much ice cream.

When to Talk to Your Doctor About Lactose Intolerance

If you have any serious symptoms, such as constant fatigue, joint pain, or headaches, you should talk to your doctor right away. If your symptoms are on the milder side with indigestion, gas, and skin issues, you could try doing your at-home research before talking to your doctor.

You should talk to your doctor right away if your gut health doesn’t improve when you cut out lactose, as this could mean there’s something more serious than an intolerance going on. Even if you determine that you feel better when you keep lactose out of your diet, it’s a good thing to mention to your doctor. The more they know about your health, the more holistically they can care for you as a patient.

Looking for a doctor’s office you can trust to help when you aren’t feeling well? Look to Camas Swale Medical Clinic. We’re here to care for you.


Why You Should Get Your Child’s Immunizations and Sports Physical Before School

Why You Should Get Your Child’s Immunizations and Sports Physical Before School

Back to school shopping list: binders, lunchbox, pencils, erasers, paper… immunizations and physicals? That’s right!

August is here, which means the school year is also on its way. We know that right now your focus is probably on soaking up as much sun as possible, swimming, and eating watermelon, but soon parents and kids alike will have to gear up for fall schedules. Let us help you make the transition by giving you some tips on getting a couple important things that you may not think about out of the way before school starts. And we don’t mean finding the perfect backpack, we’re talking about your child’s health to-do list.

First Thing’s First: Back to School Sports Physicals

If your child is in any way active, you’ll want to make an appointment to get them in for a routine physical. Most school sports require a physical every year, so wouldn’t it be easy to just get it out of the way before your child’s sport even begins?

We know it’s hard to plan ahead sometimes, but trust us, you’ll thank yourself when spring comes and your kiddo’s baseball coach comes looking for a recent physical.

You may have some questions regarding specific rules and regulations of physicals, so we’ve compiled some answers:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When does my child need to begin getting physicals in the state of Oregon?
A. According to, once a child reaches 7th grade, he or she will need to have regular physicals to participate in sports. This also goes for all kids from 7th-12th grades.

Q. How often does my child need a physical?
A. In the state of Oregon, once every two years.

Q. Who can give a physical examination?
A. Traditional or licensed naturopathic physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or a chiropractic physician with clinical training.

Q. Where should I go?
A. Looking to get a sports physical in Creswell? Camas Swale Medical Clinic is having a special starting in August for back-to-school physicals. Come in soon to get a great rate for your child’s physical.

So you get to check this box off your list; what’s next? Immunizations.

sports physical creswell

Back to School Shots

Immunizations are extremely important to get for your child, and what’s a better time to get them out of the way than before school even starts? It’ll be so much easier to avoid the hassle of getting reminders from school and last minute appointments. Plus, August is National Immunization Month. It seems fitting, right before school, doesn’t it?

If you’re wondering what shots your child may need, look no further! See below for a handy general guide by grade. Full disclosure, these are general recommendations and we are aware not everyone will be on the same schedule. If you have questions about your child’s vaccinations, contact your medical provider.

18 months or older entering Preschool, Childcare, or Headstart:

  • 4 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP)
  • 3 Polio 1 Varicella (chickenpox)
  • 1 Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)
  • 3 Hepatitis B
  • 2 Hepatitis A
  • 3 or 4 Hib

Kindergarten or Grades 1-6:

  • 5 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP)
  • 4 Polio
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox)
  • 2 MMR or 2 Measles, 1 Mumps, 1 Rubella
  • 3 Hepatitis B
  • 2 Hepatitis A

Grades 7-11:

  • 5 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP)
  • 1 Tdap
  • 4 Polio
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox)
  • 2 MMR or 2 Measles, 1 Mumps, 1 Rubella
  • 3 Hepatitis B
  • 2 Hepatitis A

Grade 12:

  • 5 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP)
  • 1 Tdap
  • 4 Polio
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox)
  • 2 MMR or 2 Measles, 1 Mumps, 1 Rubella
  • 3 Hepatitis B

For a more comprehensive, visual graph of vaccination guidelines, take a look here.

If you need immunizations or a sports physical in Creswell, Camas Swale can do both at the same time. We are happy to offer a program to help qualifying families pay for their children’s shots. Parents, if you have concerns or questions regarding immunizations, we would be happy to schedule an appointment to talk to you.


How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Many patients ask us, “how does laser hair removal work?”, but often, what they really want to know is this: “is laser hair removal safe and effective, and will it work on me?” Laser hair removal may sound like a scary procedure that includes shooting a laser gun, like something out of a spy movie, at your skin. This is far from what laser hair removal actually looks like though.

Laser hair removal is becoming quite popular, and when you learn about the effectiveness of how it works, it’s easy to see why. Here, we’ll answer your questions, so you can make the best decision for your lifestyle and your skin.


Obviously, the big question to ask anytime you try a new skin treatment is whether or not it’s safe. Your skin is what everyone sees when you are out in the world. The “laser” in laser hair removal usually frightens people because it sounds damaging. The truth is, the lasers used in laser hair removal are highly effective at targeting hair follicles only and leaving the rest of your skin undamaged.

All lasers used for hair removal used at our clinic are highly regulated by the FDA to ensure their safety.

Hair removal lasers are called “lasers” because they generate very concentrated light. This specialized light is absorbed by your hair follicles, which generate the light into heat energy. The heat damages the follicle of your hair that is responsible for hair growth. This targeted damage of the hair follicle is what removes your unwanted hair and reduces the possibility of the hair growing back. Hair removal lasers are made to target the melanin in hair. Melanin is the substance that gives your body hair its color. The contrast between the melanin and your skin is how the laser targets the hair from the shaft down into the follicle.

Because laser hair removal works by reducing your hair follicles’ ability to regrow hair, it needs to be done slowly. Part of the safety of this process comes from the fact that the procedure is done over time so the laser’s level is low enough to damage just the hair follicles and not the surrounding skin.

how does laser hair removal work


Laser hair removal requires an investment of your time; however, it’s fairly cost effective when you consider how long you can expect the results to last. When evaluating whether or not laser hair removal is a good option for you, consider how much time and money you spend on your current hair removal method. For example, if you shave your legs, try tracking how many minutes you spend shaving in a week. Then calculate how many razor-head replacements you use in a week. Then multiply this cost by the weeks and months in a year so you have the current, annual cost of your hair removal.

The Time Investment

The procedure of laser hair removal can take anywhere from 2-6 sessions, depending on your individual skin and hair. The length of each session depends on how large of an area you are removing hair from. Small areas like the upper lip or the armpits can take 5-15 minutes, whereas larger areas like legs or your back can take closer to an hour per session.

Between sessions, you can expect to wait between 4-6 weeks. This is because hair grows in cycles and the laser is most effective at killing your hair when it’s in an active growth phase. One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to laser hair removal is going to a couple of sessions, seeing a reduction in their hair growth, and then not coming in for their remaining sessions. What’s actually happening when you see this initial reduction of your hair growth could be that your hair is just in a dormant period and will re-grow quickly again once this cycle is over. That’s why it’s important to go to the recommended number of sessions.

The Financial Investment

The average cost of laser hair removal is in the $300-$500 range. However, this varies quite a bit depending on how large of an area you’re removing hair from and how many sessions your hair requires. Many facilities, include Camas Swale, have financing options available for aesthetic treatments. The best way to know how much you can expect to spend on your laser hair removal service is to get a free consultation.

The upfront cost of this hair removal method can seem high. However, laser hair removal is expected to be effective for months to years of smooth skin at a time. If you consider the amount of money you currently spend on shaving or waxing and multiply that over months and years, the cost is likely comparable to what you’ll pay as a one-time fee for laser hair removal.

You may be asking, if laser hair removal works so well and is so cost-effective, why isn’t everyone doing it? The reality is there are a lot of misconceptions about laser hair removal that turn people off of it.

How to Prepare

There are things to do to prepare your skin for a healthy laser hair removal session as well as to care for you skin after each of your sessions. Talking to a professional about your hair removal options is the best way to make a final decision about whether you should commit to laser hair removal.

Want to know more? Schedule a consultation with us today. We will happily answer all your questions and provide you with a personalized assessment.