Weather Forecast


Health notes: Free dental care for two days

Dentistry at the DECC

For two days in July, the DECC could be the DDC — Duluth Dental Center.

The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center will be set up July 17-18 to provide dental care to as many as 2,000 patients of all ages at no cost. Brought to Duluth by the Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation, with major sponsorship by the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, the event is called Minnesota Mission of Mercy.

There’s no advance signup. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 5:30 a.m. each day, with early arrival encouraged, according to a Minnesota Dental Association news release.

Free care includes cleanings, fillings, extractions, limited treatment for partial dental appliances and some root canals in front teeth.

Adults and children of all ages who are in reasonably good health are welcome until treatment capacity is reached each day. Children younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No photo ID, Social Security number or any other personal documentation is required.

This will be the fourth such event in Minnesota but the first in Duluth. Since 2012, free care valued at more than $3 million has been provided, according to the news release.

The two-day clinic will be staffed by more than 1,000 volunteers, including dentists from Minnesota and surrounding states, as well as hygienists, dental assistants, translators and lay volunteers.

More information is available at

Conference focus: Rural health

More than 500 health care professionals, educators, state health workers, policy makers and students are coming to town next week for the Minnesota Rural Health Conference. With the theme of “Partnerships in Progress,” the conference will be at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Monday and Tuesday.

This year’s conference will include sessions on health equity, work force, emergency medical services and mental health, according to a news release from the Duluth-based National Rural Health Resource Center.

More information is available at https://


Sepsis targeted

Essentia Health is stepping up efforts to head off sepsis.

Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, said Dr. Jeff Lyon, the health system’s patient safety officer, in a news release.

“In its early stages, it can be difficult to diagnose and can lead to a patient’s rapid deterioration,” Lyon said. “By then, our treatments become less successful, and patients may experience multiple-organ dysfunction, such as kidney and respiratory failure.”

Nationally, sepsis cases have been on the rise. The number of times people were in the hospital with sepsis increased from 621,000 in 2000 to 1.14 million in 2008, according to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Essentia Health has put new protocols in place and employed its electronic medical records to look for early signs of sepsis. Such factors include body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and white blood cells, according to the news release.

“As with heart attack and stroke, recognizing the early warning signs of sepsis is critical,” Lyon said.

Have some water first

Thirsty? Too late.

“The rule of thumb is: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” said Dr. Irvin Sulapas of the Baylor College of Medicine, in a news release from the school.

Baylor College of Medicine is in Houston, where people know something about coping with hot weather. (Average high on July 31: 97 degrees).

Sulapas, a primary care sports medicine physician and assistant professor at the college, said the key is to drink plenty of water even before you begin your outdoor activity.

If you experience symptoms of dehydration, it’s time to take a rest in the shade or indoors and drink water.

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output or darkly colored urine
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness

If a person collapses or experiences a change in mental status, such as incoherent behavior, call 911.

Compiled by John Lundy,