Wednesday, October 26, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: KEEPING HEALTHY WHEN SEASONS CHANGE

As the seasons change we have to protect our bodies in order to stay healthy. Winter is the time of year to slow down, rest, reflect, restore energy in preparation for Spring! Follow these self-care tips for a healthier winter:
  1. Keep your neck covered and warm with a scarf, especially on windy days. 
 (Wind enters the body mainly through the base of the neck; so to help prevent seasonal colds and flu, it’s smart to keep the neck covered with a warm scarf.)

  1. Eat the rainbow.
   (Although it’s not really the season for certain fruits and veggies, make sure you’re filling yourself with lots of colorful produce! Whether it’s frozen or fresh, produce is the most important health tool money can buy. Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables will ensure you get all the essential vitamins and minerals you need, which is especially important in the winter when there is less sunlight and less time outside.)

  1. Wash your hands often.
(It’s simple hand washing that can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community. It’s one of the easiest, most effective ways to avoid getting sick.)

  1. Get lots of sleep.
(Cranking up the heat may seem like a cozy way to however as we sleep, our body acclimates to the room temperature and if we lower our body temperature in a cooler room, we are likely to sleep better. Optimal temperatures tend to range between 68 and 72 degrees).

  1. Leave time for relaxation, reflection and stress-reduction daily.
Comprised of organs, tissues, cells and cell products that all work together to fight harmful substances causing infection and disease, the immune system is the body’s form of defense. Stress keeps more than 40 percent of adults lying awake at night. To help ensure you get the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep, cut back on caffeine, remove distractions such as television or computers from your bedroom and go to bed at the same time each night.

  1. Laugh with your family and friends!
(Seasonal Affective Disorder is a REAL THING! And it can affect a lot more than just your mood. Fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety, and even physical discomfort can result from the changing of the seasons. The best way to beat the winter blues is to get outside daily.)

  1. Practice easy stretching exercises.
(Exercise is important all throughout the year, but even more so in the winter when we are more sedentary. A regular workout routine will boost your immunity, reducing your risk of cold and flu, and improving your mood and raising your energy.)

  1. Soak up the sunshine on on sunny winter days.
(To improve mood and recharge, make an effort to get outside in the light and fresh air at least once a day. Not only is it good for replenishing your vitamin D needs which is a key nutrient that aids our Immune system. Most people become deficient in vitamin D during the winter).

Self-care can help keep you well during the  winter; however, if you do find yourself with an illness, we are available to help.  Contact the office for an appointment.  Also, don't forget to get your flu vaccine!!



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: When Are We Contagious

Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is a chest cold that occurs when the bronchial tubes get irritated and inflamed, producing mucus that makes you cough. It can be the result of a bacterial infection, but most frequently is the result of a virus. For the most part, bacterial bronchitis and airway inflammation are not contagious; however, what precedes a bout of bronchitis is a viral infection of the upper airway, a COLD, and of course, colds are contagious. Patients should think of acute bronchitis as more a symptom of an illness rather than an illness itself.

In addition to acute bronchitis, more than 12 million Americans suffer from chronic bronchitis, which is one form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This condition is typically brought on by cigarette smoking, and is not contagious.

Influenza
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring. The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract. The flu virus is spread from person to person through respiratory secretions. Cold and flu have similar symptoms; however, the flu is much worse.

Both cold and flu cause coughing, headache and chest discomfort; however, with the flu, you will run high fever for several days, and have body aches,fatigue and weakness. Symptoms of the flu also tend to come on abruptly. Complications from colds are typically minor, but a severe case of flu can lead to serious illnesses such as pneumonia. Many types of cold viruses are known, and new strains of flu evolve every few years. Both diseases are viral, so antibiotics cannot cure a cold or flu.

Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the lung’s air sacs to fill up with fluid. Pneumonia is the result of bacteria. Coming in contact with someone suffering from bacterial pneumonia, imposes a risk for those bacteria to be transmitted to you, although that might not necessarily cause you to develop pneumonia. There are also types of pneumonia that are viral rather than bacterial, and those viruses are more contagious. Pneumonia stops being contagious when coughing stops, usually soon after the initiation of appropriate antibiotics.

When to call your Provider:
Those at risk for serious complications include:
  1. people over the age of 50
  2. pregnant women
  3. children under the age of 2
  4. those with weakened immune systems due to HIV/AIDS, steroid treatment, or chemotherapy
  5. people with chronic lung or heart conditions
  6. people with metabolic disorders such as diabetes, anemia, or kidney disease
  7. people living in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes
If your symptoms do not improve, if they worsen, or if you have:
  1. trouble breathing
  2. severe sore throat
  3. persistent fever
  4. chest discomfort
Call us with questions or concerns. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: GENETIC TESTING - WHO SHOULD BE TESTED?

Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision when it comes to genetic testing.

Have any of your relatives had cancer?
Does your family history raise some red flags?
The best person to test first is usually the person with cancer.

Most Cancer cases are not related to family history.
  • 5 to 10% of cancer cases are related to genetics
  • Genetic testing is a tool to identify individuals at increased risk for developing certain cancers because of family history
  • You can inherit an abnormal gene from either one of your parents
  • Inheriting a gene linked to cancer increases your risk to develop disease
  • Breast, colorectal,ovarian,prostate, pancreatic and endometrial cancers sometimes run in the family
But most cancers are related to lifestyle choices like smoking, not exercising and eating unhealthy foods.

Know your Family's cancer history.
  • Speak with relatives to fill in as much information as possible
  • Especially speak to first- and second-degree blood relatives
  • Watch for family members:
    • who have cancer before age 50
    • with the same type of cancer
    • who have two or more different cancers
    • who have a rare cancer such as male breast cancer or sarcoma
    • who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
Carefully consider the decision for genetic testing.
  • a benefit of knowing is the ability to work with your provider to monitor and address your cancer risks
  • to help prevent cancer or find it early, when it’s most treatable
  • remember the decision will impact your family, since your test results may forecast their cancer risks, too
  • understand that group insurance plans are prohibited by law from using genetic information to discriminate
Important to remember: a gene mutation does not mean you will definitely get cancer just as not having a gene mutation will not guarantee that you won’t get cancer

Phyllis Everett, NP-C is an Adult Nurse Practitioner, certified as an Advanced Practice Nurse in Genetics. Phyllis graduated from Duke University in 2005. Since that time, she has worked in the field of hematology and oncology. Now affiliated with Patient Centered Care, Phyllis is available to provide cancer risk evaluation.

If you are interested in learning more, contact our office.  patientcareofwilmington.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: FACE TO FACE WITH A HURRICANE

When hurricanes are in the forecast, many demonstrate panic and fear the worst about the coming storm. The uncertainty of what a storm could cause may provoke anxiety. When we hear news of universities and cities initiating mandatory evacuation orders, the fear becomes a reality. It is very difficult to remain calm when our environment seems to be in control of our lives. Even if you are not affected by a mandatory evacuation, you still are faced with possible loss of electricity, decisions that have to be made to assure you have enough food and water to last the duration. Watching the weather forecasts on the TV or online helps some people feel calmer; for others it provokes greater anxiety. Know which one you are and adjust your behavior accordingly.

To alleviate some of the worry:
Be prepared.
Being prepared will make you feel better about the uncertainty; allows you to feel
confident that you did all that is necessary to weather the storm. Being prepared means stocking up on a reasonable (3-5 days per person) amount of food and water (5 gallons per person), having batteries for flashlights and matches for candles. Being certain you have the necessary prescription medications and a first aid kit; blankets and personal care items (hand cleaning wipes, as well as cleaning wipes). Have easy access to your fire extinguisher and if possible, have a battery operated radio. Turn freezers and refrigerators to coldest settings. This will help keep the food cold longer if you do lose power. Fill your bathtub with water so you will have water to flush toilets. But don’t go overboard. Hurricanes generally clear the area within a day, and major damage from roadways is cleared usually a day or two later.
Have a Family Plan
Many families live close by one another; others may be geographically separated. . Phone systems may not be able to function, and the Internet may be unavailable, so you need to plan ahead with extended family and friends. Be sure older parents or college student know how and when to hear from you and when they will contact you. The Internet may be more accessible than other means, so a posting to one’s wall or t witter could let others know you made it through safe.
Accept the Inevitable
It is easy to feel out of control when faced with nature’s fury. Nature is stronger than man, and all we can do is button down and hope for the best. Keep windows shut, move and store items from your yard or porch. Remember that an item left outside can become a flying object in high winds. Strong winds can send projectiles through windows and cause injury. If your windows aren't boarded up, stay away from them. Stay indoors and make sure your pets are indoors too! Don’t go out during the storm.
Know when you need to evacuate
Identify where you would go, if evacuation is mandatory. Be sure your vehicle has a full gas tank. If the area loses power, ATMs won't work, banks and gas stations will be closed. Be sure to have cash on hand to get you through a few days. Know what the
safe evacuation route is; a route where low-lying areas likely to flood can be avoided. If you choose to remain behind, you put yourself and your family at risk. You also endanger any first responder who has to rescue you if the situation gets dangerous.

Lastly, don't forget about your neighbors, young and old, who may need assistance preparing for the storm, or help with preparing for evacuation.

As always, Patient Centered Care personnel are available to answer questions or concerns.