The Director's Corner
It was another fast year! 2013 will be remembered as another time of change.
We learned that rolling out any large government plan would not be as smooth as some had hoped.
You may be wondering about the potential strategic alliance being considered by Akron General Health Systems with another large hospital system. I am convinced that this strategic partnership will strengthen Akron General and our ability to train the doctors of the future and care for the patients of today (that is you!).
We will continue our focus on wellness and prevention as any healthy health care system should.
We remain thankful to you, our patients, for giving us the privilege of being your primary care doctors and helping us provide a first class education for medical students, pharmacists and the family doctors that will be taking care of you and me long into the future.
In this issue:
LuAnn Beavers-Willis makes the case for the importance of hand washing with soap and water to prevent all sorts of illnesses.
Dr. Amy Canada informs us about how to safely choose and give Over The Counter (OTC) cough and cold preparations. Most of us are going to need some of those this winter.
Jane Freeman helps us all "Get Unplugged" by reminding us how electronic technology, while extremely fun and useful, can sometimes result in social isolation and less physical activity.
Remember to get your flu shot. Our immunization protects you from 4 strains of influenza!!
We wish everyone a healthy 2014.
Elliot B. Davidson, MD,
Director, Center for Family Medicine
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Bits & Pieces
By Phil Moser, CRNP
- Our first year residents are comfortably working at the Center for Family Medicine.
- We continue to work on our goal of becoming a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) practice. This new method of caring for our patients will offer the most up to date comprehensive patient care.
- Finally, as we march through the winter months don’t forget your Flu shots- they are only a call away!
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Staying Safe in the Winter
By Kathie Greene, MD
The winter can be beautiful but is also full of hazards for the old and young. First, it is important to remember to dress properly to avoid hypothermia. Remember the acronym COLD.
- Cover all exposed areas, including hands, face and neck.
- Overexertion should be avoided including activities which make you sweat.
- Wear Layers which are loose. Your outer layer should be water repellant.
- Stay as Dry as possible.
Slips and falls can result in bruises, cuts and broken bones. The wrist and hip are two common bones which are broken. To avoid these injuries, consider staying indoors when the weather is severe. If you must go out, take your time walking and wear warm footwear with good rubber tread.
Shoveling snow can result in sprains and strains from lifting, bending and twisting. If you have heart problems, the heavy lifting along with breathing the cold air may cause a heart attack. When shoveling, take frequent breaks, wear slip resistant boots, and try to push the snow instead of lifting it. When you are tired, rest. If chest heaviness, shortness of breath, or nausea occur, stop immediately. If this does not go away immediately, go to the ER.
Never put a hand in the shoot of a snow blower, even after it has been turned off. The blades may spin for a short time.
Automobile accidents increase significantly in the winter. Stay indoors if you can. If you have to go out, remember to drive slowly and leave extra room for breaking. Keep an emergency kit with blankets, a shovel, a flashlight, and a high protein snack in case you get stuck somewhere. If you are stuck in snow, clear the snow away from the exhaust pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Remember this can be a wonderful time of year but take proper precaution when going out in the weather . BE SAFE
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By Luann Beavers-Willis, MSN, RN, CDE, Education Coordinator
Hand washing is one of the first skills that a child learns for taking care of his/her body to prevent illness. Many people skip or incorrectly carry out this first line of defense in spreading germs that can cause illness. A study by researchers from Michigan State University found only 5 % of people actually washed their hands correctly.
The Center for Disease Control recommends washing with soap for 20 seconds, which is how long it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
Hand washing is needed after going to the restroom or assisting another with toileting, before eating, or when coming in contact with phlegm, nose drainage, or blood.
Getting back to following the basic steps of hand washing can be very important in preventing the spread of germs associated with colds and flu.
Steps for hand washing include:
1. Turn on the faucet and use warm water
2. Wet hands with water before applying soap
3. Rub with soap vigorously over all hand surfaces for 20 seconds
4. Rinse with running water
5. Turn off the faucet handle with a dry disposable towel
6. Dry hands with a new disposable towel or a clean hand towel
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The Common Cold vs. the Flu
By Asim Bhatti, MD
The common cold is caused by over 200 types of different viruses and the flu is most commonly caused by 3 types of Influenza viruses.
Both illnesses affect the upper respiratory tract with almost identical symptoms. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, mild fever, headaches, fatigue and body aches.
Symptoms are mild in the common cold but severe in flu. Two things can be done for these illnesses - prevention and treatment.
- Avoid contact with ill persons
- Get the flu vaccine
- Unfortunately, there is not a vaccine for the common cold
Once already ill, the goal is to minimize the spread by:
- Avoiding contact with people
- Practicing common hygiene - covering the nose and mouth when sneezing
- Discarding the used tissues immediately in the trash bin
- Cleaning surfaces
- Washing hands regularly
For a confirmed influenza illness, sometimes healthcare providers will prescribe antiviral medicine that will reduce the severity and course of the flu. For the common cold, the treatment is only supportive and plenty of fluids and rest are encouraged while the body fights the virus. Also, sometimes adults and children over 4 years old can use cough suppressants for cough.
In review, the most important thing is to get vaccinated against the Influenza virus to stay healthy during this winter.
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Staying Healthy in the Winter
By Amy Canada, MD
As we approach the cold and flu season, we will make our way to our local pharmacy for over the counter remedies to soothe our annoying symptoms of cough, headaches, sore throat, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
Since many drugs can have side effects, here are some tips to stay safe over the winter.
- Many cough and cold products contain Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen. The recommended maximum dose of Tylenol is 2000-4000mg a day. Any more than that amount can cause liver problems especially if used with alcohol. Do not drink if you are using Tylenol daily.
- Products that contain pseudoephedrine or Sudafed are decongestants and these drugs will increase blood sugars and your blood pressure. They will also affect glaucoma, and possibly make thyroid disease worse. If you are a man with an enlarged prostate, be aware that antihistamines, like Benadryl, and pseudoephedrine, can make urinating difficult.
- Do not give aspirin to children and teenagers with a cold or flu since it can cause a severe illness.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to remember about these products. Be safe - check with your primary care physician before taking any over the counter cough, cold, or flu products! Have a great Winter!
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Get "Unplugged" for the New Year
By Jane Freeman, LISW, Director of Behavioral Science
Computers, cable T.V., smart phones and videogames are often sources of entertainment, and sometimes provide useful information. However, these electronic aids can also contribute to social isolation, breakdown in family communication, diversion from completing homework, inadequate sleep schedules and an unhealthy sedentary life style.
We are often tired at the end of the day and it is easy to withdraw from the world by collapsing in a comfortable chair with our electronic gadgets and falling into mindless hours of avoiding the people we love and the tasks we need to do.
Consider starting a new family habit this year by scheduling one night each week to "get unplugged". If once a week seems too difficult, then start with once a month. Use this time to interact as a family.
You may want to read a book out loud, discuss your thoughts about a news item, play a creative game, such as "dictionary" where everyone guesses the meaning of an uncommon word while trying to fool others with fake definitions, or get some physical exercise by going as a family to a community recreation center or by getting active outdoors.
Outdoor opportunities abound in the many parks in the Summit County Metropark System, (www.summitmetroparks.org), and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, (www.nps.gov/cuva).
The number of free activities a family can do together is limited only by our imagination. These activities will not only help connect us to our family members but also expand our interests in the world around us.