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November 26th, 2016

It’s Flu Season

Flu season is here. Individuals who work in the healthcare industry know better than most how unpleasant the illness can be. It doesn’t stop them from being exposed to it on a daily basis, however. Even with the introduction of the flu shot and over the counter medications designed to stop it in its tracks or at least reduce its impact, the flu returns each year with a vengeance.

Getting the flu shot can help ward off the illness for those who are exposed to it on a daily basis. While it may cause the individual to experience minor flu-like symptoms, they normally do not last longer than a few days and its often better to be safe than sorry. Along with the normal precautionary measures, the flu shot is considered a necessity by many.

One of the best ways to keep the flu at bay is to strengthen the immune system. Eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables will provide the adequate amounts of vitamin C and B to help fight off any germ or virus that happens your way. While it may not completely eliminate the risk of catching the flu, it can reduce its impact and make it easier for the body to fight off its affects.

Get plenty of sleep and don’t over do it. Viruses tend to take hold in individuals whose defenses are weakened from lack of rest and stress. If you feel run down, take a nap or relax with a cup of hot tea and let your body rejuvenate itself. Relax whenever you get a chance. Even a five minute break or a power nap can snap the body back into rhythm.  Drink plenty of fluids and stay active doing things you enjoy. Fluids keep you hydrated and flushes toxins from the body

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April 14th, 2013

MRI vs CT Scans: What’s the Difference?

CT scanner

Doctors use various tests and procedures to examine the body and determine what is wrong with it. MRIs and CT scans are useful tools but serve very different purposes. CT scans are better suited for recording images of the lungs and the chest cavity and can be beneficial in diagnosing cancer, pneumonia and other respiratory issues. MRIs, on the other hand, are best for visualizing tendons, ligaments and other components associated with joints and bone.

MRIs work by recording magnetic waves that resonate by bouncing off of water molecules in the body and recording an image on film, much like an x-ray. The radio frequency introduced interacts with the magnetic waves to produce the image that is produced. The CT scan uses an x-ray beam to slice through the body enabling micro thin sections that are recorded and viewed on a computer screen.

MRIs are similar to x-rays. They are recorded on x-ray film and viewed in much the same way. CT scans are brightly colored and show great detail. Their definition allows the doctor to see even the smallest of problems and are highly accurate when used to diagnose illness and disease.

Both MRIs and CT scans are extremely beneficial when used to diagnose and treat illnesses. They provide an accurate look inside the human body that would only be possible if during a surgical procedure. Even with surgery, it is possible an MRI or CT scan could offer more information. The diagnostic tool used will depend on what the doctor is looking for and what part of the body is being examined.

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February 24th, 2013

What to Expect After Surgery

Surgeries are invasive procedures. Great care must be taken when a patient leaves the hospital after surgery to prevent re-injuring the wound or causing damage to already sensitive internal organs. A responsible adult will have to be present to take the patient home, as they will not be allowed to drive or leave unattended.

Doctor’s will encourage their surgical patients to get as much rest as possible once they are home. They will also stress the importance of not doing too much until the incision is healed. Too much activity can cause the stitches or staples to become dislodged allowing the wound to gape open and become infected.

Bandages should be changed at least once a day to prevent the risk of infection. At this time, the wound will also be checked to determine if it is healing properly. Wounds should also be cleaned and medications reapplied when the bandages are checked.

Depending on the type of surgery, patients may be told they have a weight restriction. Five, ten and twenty pound weight limits are common, especially if the surgery involved the abdomen. Individuals who have had back surgery are often told not to lift any weight whatsoever.

Surgical patients should keep all follow up doctor’s appointments. This will determine if the wound is healing properly and if any complications have appeared. The doctor will be able to determine if any further treatments are needed. The doctor will be able to release the patient to resume normal activities as well.

Following doctor’s orders will speed a patient’s recovery and allow them to get back to their normal lives in a short period of time.A surgeon and doctor with a patient

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February 10th, 2013

What to Expect If You Are Scheduled for Surgery

Surgery is an option most doctors choose as a last resort. They understand surgery can be difficult for patients and it drastically disrupts their normal routine. If it is determined that you need surgery, your doctor and nurse will let you know what to expect before you enter the operating room. Each surgical procedure is different depending on what area of the body is being operated on. Even though the surgeries might consist of different procedures, the steps when preparing for the big day are often similar.

Once it is determined surgery is necessary, one of the first steps a doctor may order is an EKG. An electrocardiogram is performed to evaluate heart function. This will tell the doctor whether or not your heart is healthy enough to withstand surgery. It also will show if there is any type of heart disease or condition that may affect what happens during the operation.

X-rays of the chest and the area being prepped for surgery may also be called for. Chest x-rays are taken to determine if there is any obstructions or issues within the lungs that would prevent the patient from breathing properly while they are under anesthesia. An x-ray of the surgical area will show doctors any abnormalities or irregularities they may need to address when they operate.

A day or two before surgery, blood and urine tests are taken. Tests are taken to determine if any infections are present and to determine if the patient is anemic or has an adequate supply of blood to sustain the body during the operation. Often times, if an infection is present or a person has a low red blood cell count, the surgery may be postponed until these things can be corrected.surgery 1

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January 27th, 2013

Hiring an In-Home Nursing Service

Elderly patients who want to remain in their own homes may choose to look into an in-home nursing service. Hiring a nurse to come in two or three days a week to help with some tasks such as bathing, cleaning and laundry, will allow a patient to keep their independence for awhile longer than expected. In-home health care providers can monitor a patient’s overall health and physical condition.

In-home health care providers can monitor a patient’s medications to make sure they are being taken as prescribed. They can go through the patient’s home and remove any obstacles that could cause the patient to fall or injury themselves in some way. Aids are often asked to perform light housekeeping duties, such as dishes or laundry.

Most in-home health care providers are nurse’s aids. They can provide a variety of assistance, including evaluation of the patient’s ability to continue to care for themselves on an independent basis. Aids will often monitor the types of food found in the home and keep a record of what the patient eats. This helps physicians keep abreast of any health changes that may be taking place. Their expertise can help determine when a patient should be placed in a nursing facility if their health begins to deteriorate.

Many in-home health care services are covered by insurance. Others may require some out of pocket co-pays but most aspects of the service can be billed through Medicare or other senior insurance plans. Nurses and aids who work through a service are normally paid by the company they work for who in turn, bills the patient’s insurance carrier. Private home health care aids, however, can bill insurance themselves or take cash payments from the patients.

If an elderly individual wants to remain in their home after a debilitating illness or accident, their family may decide to hire an in-home nurse’s aid on a temporary basis. When the family initiates the hiring process, they need to take special care when trying to find the right person. First and foremost, ask for credentials and references. Get the names of people and places they have worked for in the past and check out their track record. Look at their employment history to discover how long they have been doing in-home health care. Do a background check if you have the financial resources. If you are going through an agency or health care service, many of these things will have already been performed. Ask to see copies if you have any questions about the integrity of the person they send to your loved one’s home.

Hiring an in-home nursing service or home health care company can be an excellent option for families who need help taking care of an elderly relative who isn’t quite ready to give up there independence. Knowing how to screen possible candidates and what to look for in a reputable company is important when trying to find someone to care for your loved ones.


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January 14th, 2013

What you should know about Hospice Care

Hospice Care

Hospice care is unique. It is both challenging and rewarding. Nurses who sign on to work in hospice care are given special training to help support the emotional needs of the patient as well as their family members. When a patient enters hospice care, the end is already imminent. There is no help or cure that can prolong their lives. Their only hope is to remain comfortable for the remaining time they have left.

Hospice care was designed for patients who are in the final stages of a terminal illness. Hospice care can be provided in the patient’s home or in a facility. Professional staff that includes physicians, nurses and aids help keep patients as comfortable as possible. In some cases, a patient’s condition is advanced to the point where they can no longer move or speak.

Both patients and their family members are provided spiritual and emotional support, as well as quality medical care. Counselors are available to comfort family members as they deal with their loved one’s illness and eventual loss. The grieving process can begin with the patient and services continued help is available for their family members once the patient has passed on.

A hospice nurse may be the last person a patient sees before they pass away. Patients who are in hospice look to their nurses and other staff members for medical care as well as companionship. Hospice staff offer compassion and acceptance patients normally don’t get in a hospital setting. A successful hospice nurse is one who knows and understands that how a person spends their last days is just as important as how they spent their first ones.

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January 10th, 2013

Nurses as Patient Advocates

As a nurse, you are often times the one person a patient relies on to be there when something goes wrong. Nurses are responsible for charting and documenting a patient’s concerns and worries, as well as any issues they are experiencing. A patient relies on the nurse’s expertise to help make the doctor understand what they are feeling and what their needs are. For patients who can’t communicate verbally, it is often up to the nurse to advocate on their behalf.

Nurses spend long periods of time with their patients and begin to understand their needs even when they have difficulty communicating them. A patient’s family members will look to nurses for information concerning the level and quality of care the patient receives. They also rely on them for updates or changes in a patient’s treatment plan.

Nurses are taught to advocate for their patients on a variety of levels. They must be able to communicate with physicians and family members in ways that both can understand. A nurse must also be able to discuss things with their patients and put them at ease when the news isn’t so positive. As an advocate, a nurse is looked to for both support and compassion. Understanding that sometimes words serve no purpose and a healing touch can speak volumes.

As an advocate, a nurse can bring comfort and solace. They can also provide encouragement when a patient has a long road ahead of them. When acting as an advocate, a nurse can provide the patient with the courage to move forward knowing they have someone who will be there for them throughout their healing journe

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September 15th, 2012

School Health and Child Safety

At School

Your child spends more time at school than anywhere else except home. Schools can have a major effect on children’s health, by teaching about health and promoting healthy behaviors. The school building and environment should be a safe and healthy place for your child.

Schools work to prevent risky behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco use, inactivity or bullying. They may also deal with specific health problems in students, such as asthma, obesity and infectious diseases.Bullying

 

Bullying

Bullying is when a person or group repeatedly tries to harm someone who is weaker or who they think is weaker. Sometimes it involves direct attacks such as hitting, name calling, teasing or taunting. Sometimes it is indirect, such as spreading rumors or trying to make others reject someone.

Often people dismiss bullying among kids as a normal part of growing up. But bullying is harmful. It can lead children and teenagers to feel tense and afraid. It may lead them to avoid school. In severe cases, teens who are bullied may feel they need to take drastic measures or react violently. Others even consider suicide. For some, the effects of bullying last a lifetime.

 

Internet safety,

For most kids and teens, technology is an important part of their lives. They browse the Web for information, use social networking sites, text, and chat. But there can also be dangers, and it is important for parents to monitor their children’s use and teach them how to be safe online:

  • Never give out personal information, such as your full name, address, phone number, or school name
  • Tell an adult if any communication (chat, text, e-mail message) makes you feel threatened or uncomfortable
  • Never send sexually explicit photographs or messages
  • On social networking sites, use privacy controls and only friend people that you know

Have a great school year!

Sources;

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institutes of Health

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August 4th, 2012

August is Eye Injury Prevention Month

Computer Use and Eyestrain

Staring at your computer screen, smartphone, video game or other digital devices for long periods won’t cause permanent eye damage, but your eyes may feel dry and tired.

What causes computer eyestrain?

Normally, humans blink about 18 times a minute, but studies show we blink half that often while using computers and other digital screen devices, whether for work or play.Extended reading, writing or other intensive “near work” can also cause eyestrain.

What to do:

  • Sit about 25 inches from the computer screen and position the screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward.
  • Reduce glare from the screen by lighting the area properly; use a screen filter if needed.
  • Post a note that says “Blink!” on the computer as a reminder.
  • Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds: the “20-20-20” rule.
  • Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
  • Take regular breaks from computer work, and try to get enough sleep at night.
  • If you have to be at your computer for a marathon work session, take regular rest breaks or “power naps,” if possible.
  • Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to tired, dry eyes (with eyes closed).
  • Use tired or sore eyes as a signal that it’s time to stop working and get some rest or sleep.

 

 

2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology

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July 24th, 2012

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked to Reduced Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Women

Long-term, moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk for rheumatoid arthritis, according to a prospective cohort study in BMJ.
Some 34,000 Swedish women reported on their alcohol consumption in 1987 and 1997 and then were followed from 2003 through 2009 (when they were roughly 54 to 89 years old). During follow-up, some 200 participants developed RA. After adjustment for smoking status, those who consumed more than three drinks a week in both 1987 and 1997 had about half the risk for RA as those who did not drink.
As a potential mechanism, the authors note that alcohol downregulates immune responses. They point out, however, that they could not make conclusions about heavy alcohol use, as just 1% of the women consumed more than two drinks a day.

Everything In moderation!

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