Weather Forecast


Health Notes: Birth fair, flu tests and blood donations

Birth and Baby Fair debuts at new location Saturday

It's time again for the biannual Birth and Baby Fair presented by Women Circling Women and Little Neetchers. The event has grown over the past 10 years, and a new location has been selected to accommodate this growth.

The fair will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 W. 3rd St.

The free public event offers information about baby-friendly and mother-friendly resources from local birth professionals and more than 50 exhibitors. The event will include workshops, children's activities and handmade products for sale.

Workshops will include:

● Getting Breastfeeding off to a Good Start — Essentia Health

● Your Amazing Newborn — Dr. Heather Winesett of St. Luke's Pediatrics

● Pregnancy Shouldn't Hurt — Deb McLaughlin of Northern Lights Wellness

● Fearless Birth! — Margo Blackstone of Duluth Midwife

● Postpartum Surprises — Tavniah Betts of Advent Midwifery

● Aqua Zumba — Monita Niemann of Surrendering Waves

Area families are welcome to come see how their families can be sustained and supported during their early parenting years. For more information visit:

Coming: Prices on drug commercials?

Watch a TV commercial for vehicles, and the announcer might tell you what price you'll pay for that prized 2019 pickup truck.

But have you ever heard price mentioned on a commercial for prescription drugs?

You will, if a proposal from Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, is implemented.

The American Medical Association has given the proposal qualified support.

"While this proposed rule alone won't remove the often-misleading nature of prescription drug ads, it will give consumers a data point that is currently unavailable," said Dr. Barbara McAneny, AMA president, in a statement. "This is a step in the right direction."

Alex Berezow, senior fellow with the American Council on Science and Health, used exactly the same phrase to describe the proposal.

The AMA wants direct-to-consumer drug advertising banned altogether, McAneny said.

Berezow noted that New Zealand and the U.S. are the only two countries that allow pharmaceutical companies to make specific claims for drugs in advertising.

"Most other countries ban the practice outright, presumably because it's preferable for doctors to make drug recommendations to their patients rather than the other way around," he wrote.

Essentia employs quick testing

Essentia Health has introduced a "large-scale rapid result testing system for Influenza A and B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in most of the communities it serves," the health system announced in a news release.

What it means is that patients at most Essentia clinics can get lab results within a half-hour instead of waiting for a hospital lab to confirm the initial diagnosis, the news release explained.

Essentia is one of the first health systems in the nation to implement the system, according to the news release.

Blood donations sought

Memorial Blood Centers is offering many opportunities to donate blood in November, the agency announced.

You can donate blood if you are in good health, free of antibiotics for at least 24 hours (unless taken daily for a skin condition), symptom-free for at least three days following a cold or flu and at least 17 years old (or 16 if you have written parental consent).

Walk-in donors are welcome, but appointments are encouraged. Learn about locations and schedule donations at

Programs, workshops, etc.

• Essentia Health St. Mary's Hospice is hosting a Living With Grief program from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday at Essentia Health-Virginia Medical Arts Building, McMillan Conference Room A, 901 Ninth St. N., Virginia and during the same time and day at the Grand Rapids Area Library Central, 140 NE Second St. Registration for both begins at 12:30 p.m.

• Training opportunities are being offered in Duluth for people who want to lead the following classes: "Living Well With Chronic Pain," Nov. 5 and 6 and "Living Well with Diabetes," Nov. 9. Learn more at

• The National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota is offering a free mental health first aid training course from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Carlton County Transportation Building, 1630 County Road 61, Carlton. Register or get more information by calling (888) NAMI-Helps.