Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category.

Why children need vaccinations

8c46cbde-e122-4790-bed3-c54d0427db88Vaccinating your child never used to be an issue. When a child was growing up they got a vaccination for polio, mumps, measles, whooping cough, small pox and chicken pox. Now there are vaccinations for the flu and even cervical cancer in girls. These vaccinations were developed to prevent these often life-threatening diseases from spreading. Children were sick and dying from diseases that the vaccines were now stopping. And their success has been proven over time. Most of these diseases have been eradicated.

If you have been following the news lately, you know about the measles outbreak at Disneyland in California. So far this outbreak is affecting people in six states. Seventy confirmed cases have been counted with hundreds more people exposed. Disneyland is a perfect setting for a disease to spread.  So far the spread has been only in the west, but why couldn’t this happen at Disney World in Florida as well? Measles was a non-existent disease since 2000 but has recently started making a comeback. Is this a new strain or is it caused by not vaccinating children?

Many people have started to feel that vaccinations are causing their children more harm than good.  They suspect that autism, diabetes and ADHD can be linked to vaccinations. These people feel that a child’s immune system can naturally deal with these diseases. The risk of seizures, paralysis or even death is not acceptable to them. Some religions actually frown on getting vaccinations. While no one wants their child to have a complication from a vaccination or go against their religion, there are good reasons to vaccinate your child.

The Center for Disease Control identifies the need for 28 doses of 10 vaccinations. There is no federal law that mandates the vaccinating your child. All 50 states, however, require certain vaccinations for starting in public school. Many pediatricians will now not see patients that have not been vaccinated.  Proponents of vaccinations claim that the benefits of vaccinations have saved lives. They claim adverse reactions are rare.

The discussion about whether or not to vaccinate children will most likely go on and on. There is evidence on both sides of the fence. Children have been getting vaccinated for many years now. The risks of being vaccinated have been at a very rare incidence. Can you actually imagine how many people would die or have a diminished quality of life if one of these preventable diseases came back with a vengeance?

Healthcare for Seniors in Florida

Senior womanHealthcare is one of the most important things to keep up with. As infants, we are taken to the pediatrician and given vaccinations and checked for obvious problems. Normally the medical problems faced as a child are few. We come into the world as a clean slate so to speak. As we age, that changes.  The body starts wearing out. Lifestyles have taken their toll. Doctor’s offices have become out social settings. Finding good healthcare is essential when we are seniors.

Florida seems to be the place for seniors to retire to. Almost everyone I know talks about going to Florida when they retire. And the coast of Florida is the most popular place to go to. That’s what makes Rockledge, Florida in Brevard County a booming area. With all these retirees is makes sense that Rockledge has some of the best healthcare for elderly patients around.

Geriatric medicine is probably at its best in Florida. The population of people over 50 years of age has been increasing steadily every year. Seniors have health issues that many other age groups do not.  Some common issues are incontinence, hearing and vision problems. Almost every senior will deal with these at some point. Seniors have more incidents of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, dementia related conditions, sleep disorders, depression and arthritis than any other age group.

To accurately and effectively deal with senior health concerns, Florida has more doctors that specialize in medicine geared to this age group. This isn’t saying that other areas of the country are lacking in this area, but due to the large population of seniors in Florida it is easier to locate a doctor close to you if you are a Florida senior.

When checking the yellow pages in the area of Rockledge, Florida in Brevard County there are 187 medical listings. This is a phenomenal amount! Surely there is one that will fit the need of a senior with a health issue. Most healthcare providers in Brevard County will accept Medicare or other insurances.  Seniors live on fixed incomes so it’s important to know what is covered and what is not. No matter what your health issue is, money should never be the determining factor in receiving care. Check with your healthcare provider about a payment plan if a treatment is not covered by insurance. They will be glad to work with you. Stay healthy and happy in your golden years.

The importance of your yearly physical

Doctor holding up the disc of a stethoscopeHow old are you? Are you 20? Are you 30? What about 60? Are you properly taking care of your health?  Do you always get your annual physical? If not, are you aware of what might be happening to your health that you are not aware of?

Thinking about an annual physical may seem silly to someone in their 20’s and 30’s. They believe they are immortal and nothing bad will happen to their health until they get to be older. And in a way that is true, more elderly people have health problems than those that are younger. Age does not take away the importance of having a yearly check-up. Many people struggle financially to have health insurance and can’t afford the cost of an annual check-up. Money shouldn’t be an issue that stops you from taking care of your health. There are clinics all over that will do simple tests involving blood tests, blood pressure and checking heart rates. There are dental schools that offer low rates to have your teeth taken care of. Really, if you want to take care of yourself, you can find a way.

I discovered the importance of a yearly physical last year. I don’t consider myself old, I’m 59. Last June at my annual physical, my doctor ordered the usual tests. I had to have blood work, a pap smear and a mammogram. The mammogram showed breast cancer. The lump was very small. It was caught early because I had my yearly exam. My treatment has been minimal. I have several friends that have not been so lucky. Some have had mastectomies and chemo, others have passed on. The age didn’t matter.  One friend was only 37.

I also knew a firefighter who went for his annual physical. At his exam, the doctor noticed a weird heartbeat sound. He was sent for further tests. The tests showed he was on the verge of having an aortic aneurysm, which is what John Ritter passed away from. It’s always lethal when not caught.

This might sound like a lecture; I guess it is. It might not seem very important to keep up with your health. It might seem like a waste of time. I can assure you, it is not. You never know what is happening inside your body. An annual physical can show things starting before they become huge problems. Be proactive with your health. Don’t become a statistic.

How to tell the difference between the cold and the flu

Young beauty caught a coldYou wake up one morning feeling lousy!  Your throat is sore, you are congested and coughing, you ache all over and even though you slept all night, you feel very tired and fatigued.  You’re pretty sure you’ve either picked up a nasty cold or you’ve got the flu, but don’t really know how to tell.  Although it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference, there are some minor differences to help you understand which you may have.

IS IT A COLD?

Colds are caused by any one of thousands of viruses and are usually milder than the viruses that cause the flu.  If you have a cold, you will feel symptoms for 7-10 days and are contagious for the first three days of showing symptoms.

Some symptoms of the flu include a sore throat, which may be the first symptom to present itself.  Other symptoms will start showing up over the next few days.  You will feel congestion, which will lead to coughing and/or a runny nose.  Most people do not get a fever, although a very mildly elevated fever is sometimes present.  One indication of a cold is that the runny nose discharge starts off very watery and clear and will later turn thicker and darker in color.

IS IT THE FLU?

The flu is also caused by any a virus, but in particular, one of the influenza viruses.  They are usually more severe than the symptoms seen in a person with the cold.

These symptoms include those that are present with the flu, but may also include nausea, muscle aches, fever, diarrhea and headache, but rarely include a sore throat.   The flu symptoms may also last 7-10 days, although the worst symptoms are usually over within 3 days.  A person with the flu may have a dry, hacking cough and usually has severe and profound fatigue.  These symptoms usually come on very quickly.

One concern regarding the flu is that it can lead to other health issues, such as pneumonia, a weakened heart or even death.

Summing it up:

The cold and the flu often do have similar symptoms, but here is a quick breakdown of the differences.

If you first have a sore throat and develop other symptoms within the first 48 hours or so, you probably have the cold. If you have a wet, productive cough, you probably have a cold.  If you are feeling “under the weather”, but can still function relatively well, you probably have a cold.

If you have sudden onset of symptoms that include fever, aches and fatigue, you may have the flu.  If your cough is dry and hacking, you may have the flu.  If you feel like you’ve “been hit by a truck”, you probably have the flu.

If you are unsure what you have, and especially if you already have other health issues, it’s best to visit a doctor.  Schedule that visit within the first 24 hours of the symptoms because then a doctor can test for the presence of the influenza virus.  He can also prescribe an anti-viral medication that can help lessen the length and severity of the virus.

Health Article: Starting your container garden

Gardening shovel in the soilOne of the newest fads is container gardening.  Container gardening is pretty close to traditional gardening, but done in smaller containers and not in a back yard somewhere. This means it’s perfect for someone who lives in an apartment or doesn’t have a very big yard they wish to give over to a full-fledged garden.  It’s especially perfect for those who live in the Rockledge area of Florida, where the soil is not very good for traditional gardening.

Gardening is not only a great activity for the physical movement it requires, it can also provide fresh vegetables and herbs, which is so very important in a healthy diet.  And there’s certainly nothing like watching something you’ve planted grow and bloom to provide a great deal of self satisfaction.

If you’ve never planted before and want to have a try with container gardening, that’s wonderful!  Here are some tips to start your very own container garden.  Continue reading ‘Health Article: Starting your container garden’ »

Five Simple Changes you can make to get and stay healthy

AusdauertrainingWhether you like Obamacare or not, it’s hard to deny that one of the foundations of the new healthcare plan is that preventative health care is emphasized.  Everyone knows that staying healthy is easier and cheaper than trying to manage health issues after they’ve already developed.  If you are thinking of making the move towards a healthier lifestyle, but aren’t sure what to do, here are a few easy ways to start:

*Have an electronics-free time.  Schedule 30 minutes to an hour every day where you turn off the television and electronic games and do something with your family or friends.  You can take a walk, play a card game or simply sit around and talk about your day.  It really doesn’t matter, so long as you’re interacting in a positive manner with people who are meaningful in your life.  This time is so important because it helps contribute to better relations, daily happiness and an attitude of gratitude.

*Look at ingredients.  It is so easy to stop at the store and grab something in a box for dinner.  But – have you really looked at the ingredient list in some of these mass-produced items?  They can contain preservatives, additives, high-fructose corn syrup, and chemicals designed to enhance flavor and color.  Research now shows that many of these non-natural ingredients may contribute to obesity and even aggravate disorders such as ADHD and autism.  The easiest thing to do is to start cutting out food products that contain ingredients you can’t pronounce.

*Replace with fruits and vegetables.  As you start cutting out these mass-produced items, you’ll need to start replacing them with something.  Start adding in more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables in its place. Even several small substitutions can make a huge difference over the long run.  One example is to quit drinking diet soda for dinner and replace it with some carbonated water mixed with a little frozen fruit juice.  The taste is a little different but the health benefits are invaluable and you will soon get used to the taste to the point where diet soda starts to taste “funny”.

*Clean up your environment.  Many people don’t realize that their environment can cause health issues.  Houses that contain lots of dust or clutter can contribute to asthma or breathing issues.  Houses with a rodent or bug problem can exacerbate allergies and asthma.  It’s important to make sure that where you’re living and spending your time is clean of dust, pet dander and bugs.

*Move.  Our bodies are designed to move.  There’s no doubt about it. Yet, it’s sometimes hard to add physical activity into our daily life. We sit at a computer all day.  We sit in the car as we drive home and we sit at night watching TV. This level of inactivity is simply not good for us.  Even walking for as little as 30 minutes per day can be healthy for our heart, our circulatory system and even our emotional well-being.  If you live a sedentary life, it’s time to start adding some daily movement.

If you don’t feel you’re very healthy, it is tough sometimes to get started on a good health journey. But please remember that even making one small change can make the biggest difference over the long run. And before you know it, one small change can become two or three or four or more. You can do it!

Great health is a journey – not a destination!

Early Signs of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus type 2In today’s world, diabetes is a health crisis.  And it’s becoming worse.  The fact is that diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans, with 7 million not even knowing that have this killer disease[1].  An astounding 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes means that the person’s blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not enough to be diagnosed as diabetic.  Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US and the cost of treatment for diabetes run about $175 billion dollars per year.

When diabetes is diagnosed early, the chance of successful management of the disorder is very high.  When it’s diagnosed in the pre-diabetic stage, people could actually make enough changes to completely stop the advancement of the disorder!  Diabetes does not have to be a killing disease.

There are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.  These include being obese, having a body style where fat is stored in the abdomen, being physically inactive, having a family history of diabetes, being over age 45 or being African-American, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian American.  Even if you do not have one or more of the common risk factors for type 2 diabetes, you can still become diabetic.

Some early warning signs of diabetes include:

  1. Urinating often
  2. Feeling thirsty often
  3. Blurry vision
  4. Cuts or bruises that take a long time to heal
  5. Tingling or numbness in the hands
  6. Tingling or numbness in the feet
  7. Dry mouth
  8. Fatigue or being irritable
  9. Headaches
  10. Losing weight without trying
  11. Experiencing recurring skin or gum infections
  12. Having patches of darker skin

If you have some of these symptoms or if you have risk factors for type 2 diabetes, it’s best to make a doctor appointment.  He can do a simple blood sugar test, which will allow you to know whether your blood sugar level is too high.

If you find that your blood sugar level is too high or if you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it’s best to start making changes.  You will need to make dietary changes as well as changes to your physical activity level.  The highest risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight, so reducing your weight can provide the most benefit.

 

[1]All facts pulled from: http://ndep.nih.gov/diabetes-facts/

Sunshine clinic is a walk in medical clinic located in Rockledge, Florida.

Allergy Season in Rockledge, Florida

鼻炎 子供 アレルギーSpring season is always a difficult time for those who suffer with allergies.  Unfortunately, with the extreme winter temperatures throughout the east coast, with Rockledge having a warmer than normal winter and add in the unusual precipitation levels in our local area, allergies this year may be even worse than normal.  With over 15% of the population suffering from seasonal allergies, many people will be feeling under the weather during the spring

What are the common allergies in our area?

Some of the most common allergies in our area include dust, dander, tree pollen and grass pollen.  An allergy to dust really means that you are allergic to dust mites, which are little microscopic creatures that live in the dust.  Dander is actually a pet’s dead skin cells. As warmer weather approaches and pets start to shed their winter coats, they will also start to shed dead skin cells. And pollen is what is released when flowers and trees start to bloom in the spring.

Symptoms of allergies

The most common symptoms include itchy, runny eyes, coughing, sneezing, itching and congestion.  Some of the lesser reported symptoms include itchy skin, hives, rashes, fatigue or sore throat.  Some of the rarest, but most extreme allergy symptoms include wheezing, swelling of the airways and difficulty breathing.  Many of the mild-to-moderate allergy symptoms are uncomfortable, but can be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication.

How to manage mild-to-moderate symptoms

Many mild-to-moderate symptoms can be treated at home.  The first thing to use would be an over-the-counter antihistamine to help block the release of histamines, which are the body’s reaction to the allergen.  Other OTC medication should be used to treat the symptom itself.  If you have congestion, a decongestant or saline nasal spray might help.  If you have a sore throat, an OTC pain reliever or throat spray is good to have on hand.

Other ways to manage your seasonal allergies include environmental or lifestyle changes.  If you’re allergic to pollen, it’s probably best to change clothes and take a shower when coming inside from outside in order to wash the pollen off your body.  It’s a good idea to keep your windows shut and your air conditioner turned on.  You may also wish to limit your time outside until pollen levels start to recede.

If you are allergic to dust or dander, keeping the house free of these items is a good idea.  If you are going through the house with duster and cleaning ledges, you probably want to wear a face mask in order to keep from breathing in the dust.  Keeping mattresses clean, linens washed and carpets vacuumed can also help reduce symptoms.

When to see a doctor

There are a few times when it’s best to get your doctor involved.  Certainly, if you have any symptom that includes trouble breathing or swelling of the throat, get medical help immediately – do not wait.

If you have symptoms that are not being helped by OTC medication or you have symptoms that come back every single year, it’s best to see a doctor to determine the best allergy management strategy.  This may include prescription medication or even allergy testing and shots.

It’s also a good idea to see a doctor if you are unsure if you really do have allergies or if your symptoms suddenly change and you start having a fever, severe pain or extreme sinus pressure.  Your doctor will be able to determine if you have something other than allergies or if your allergies contributed to an infection.

Overall, allergies could last for several months.  By making some simple changes and managing your symptoms, allergies don’t have to get the best of you!