Are you up to date on your vaccines?

This is our nurse Melissa’s first blog post! Yay!

August is an exciting month here at Family Care because August is National Immunization Awareness month! This includes two of my favorite things: vaccines and patient education! I love vaccines so much that I spent three days of my vacation at the Clinical Vaccionology Conference last fall to learn more about vaccines. Once I get started talking about vaccines, why they are needed, and how they work, it’s hard for me to stop.

Why do I do get so passionate about vaccines? The main reason is because they prevent diseases and it’s probably the quickest and easiest way to improve your health. There are so many stories of people who have severe complications from diseases that could have been prevented – take polio, for example. Almost every adult over the age of 40 knows someone that was affected by polio but, now in 2016, it’s almost entirely eradicated in all but three countries in the world as a result of vaccinations to prevent the disease.

I also enjoy having conversations with patients regarding their fears and concerns about vaccines and giving them the information available to make educated decisions regarding their health. Throughout the month we’ll have different posts that focus on different vaccines and the concerns that surround them.

This week, our focus is on adult immunizations.

The need for vaccines does not end in childhood. All adults need vaccines based on their age, lifestyle, occupations, travel plans, and medical conditions. Adult vaccinations include Influenza, Tetanus/TDaP, Shingles, Pneumococcal, HPV, and Hepatitis A and B.

Each year thousands of adults are hospitalized or die from vaccine preventable diseases. According to the National Public Health Information Coalition an average of 226,000 people are hospitalized due to influenza and between 3,000 and 49,000 people die of influenza and its complications, the majority are among adults. 900,000 people get pneumococcal pneumonia every year, leading to as many as 400,000 hospitalizations and 19,000 deaths. In the U.S., HPV causes about 17,000 cancers in women, and about 9,000 cancers in men each year. About 4,000 women die each year from cervical cancer. All of these incidents could be prevented with proper vaccination.

It is not only important for adults to receive vaccines to protect themselves, but also to protect others in the community by preventing the spread of disease to those with weakened immune systems that may be more susceptible to the disease. If you aren’t sure if you are up-to-date on your vaccines, you should contact your healthcare provider today to help protect yourself and decrease the prevalence of these preventable diseases.

For additional information the CDC has great website on vaccines and the diseases they prevent. You can even take a quiz to find out what vaccines you might need. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them! #VaxWithMe #NIAM16

What can I do to help myself get better sleep?

What can I do to help myself get better sleep?

Keep in mind that you may need less sleep as you age. Some people need only 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night, but most people do better with 7 to 8 hours. Sleep usually occurs in 3-hour cycles, so it is important to get at least 3 uninterrupted hours of sleep.

These tips can help you develop better sleep habits:

  • Go to sleep only when you feel tired.
  • Avoid reading, watching TV or worrying in bed. These can cause your body and brain to associate your bed with these activities, rather than with sleep.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same thing every night before going to sleep. For example, take a warm bath and then read for 10 minutes every night before going to bed. Soon you’ll connect these activities with sleeping, and doing them will help make you sleepy.
  • Use the bedroom only for sleep and sexual activity.
  • If you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes, go to another room and return to your bed only when you feel tired. You may repeat this as often as needed during the night.
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day, even on weekends. This helps your body develop a sleep schedule.
  • Avoid or limit napping, because it can disturb your normal sleep rhythm. If you must take a nap, only rest for 30 minutes and don’t nap after 3:00 p.m.
  • Avoid caffeine from coffee and soft drinks, and nicotine from cigarettes, especially late in the day.
  • Avoid eating large meals or drinking a lot of water in the evening.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature and as dark as possible.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. If noise is a problem, use a fan to mask the noise or use ear plugs. If you must sleep during the day, hang dark blinds over the windows or wear an eye mask.
  • Try eating a light snack before going to bed, but don’t eat too much right before bedtime. A glass of warm milk or some cheese and crackers may be all you need.
  • Exercise regularly, but don’t exercise within a few hours before going to bed.
  • Set aside some time to relax before going to bed. For example, spend 30 minutes after dinner writing down what’s worrying you and what you can do about it.

Another good way to relax is to focus on your breathing by taking slow, deep breaths while counting to 5. Then listen to the sound of your breath as you breathe out. You can also try to tighten and relax the muscle groups in your body, beginning at your feet and ending with your face muscles. A trained therapist can teach you other ways to relax. Relaxation CDs or tapes may also help you relax.

Source

Nonpharmacologic Management of Chronic Insomnia by Parul Harsora, MD and Jennifer Kessmann, MD (American Family Physician January 15, 2009, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20090115/125.html)

World Family Doctor Day is May 19!

The first World Family Doctor Day was declared by the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) in 2010. It has gained momentum globally each year, with activities, meetings, and celebrations planned to:

  • Bring attention to the contributions of family doctors globally;
  • Recognize family doctors;
  • Increase the morale of family doctors, and;
  • Highlight important issues relating to family doctors and the work they perform in supporting health care for people around the world.

From globalfamilydoctor.com:

  • World Family Doctor Day (FDD) – 19th May – was first declared by WONCA in 2010 and it has become a day to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in health care systems around the world. The event has gained momentum globally each year and it is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the central role of our specialty in the delivery of personal, comprehensive and continuing health care for all of our patients. It’s also a chance to celebrate the progress being made in family medicine and the special contributions of family doctors all around the world.
  • We’re very happy for Member Organizations to develop their own theme for FDD, depending on local priorities, but this year we’d especially like to highlight smoking cessation. Smoking is the activity most damaging to health in a whole range of ways, and part of our role as family doctors is to be able to encourage our patients to stop smoking and to provide resources and support to help them.

To help raise awareness for this year’s special topic of smoking cessation, check out this beautiful infographic that describes the short-term and long-term benefits of quitting immediately!

Acne Prevention

Almost everyone at some point in their lives will suffer from acne outbreaks. While it can be embarrassing or frustrating, there are many easy ways acne prevention can help reduce the occurrence of breakouts. We tend to think that only teenagers should be plagued with pimples, but unfortunately, acne can be present our whole lives.

Ways to help reduce acne outbreaks:

  • I would encourage a well-balanced diet and plenty of water to keep the skin nice and hydrated. Although some people will find they break out after eating certain foods, there is no evidence that fatty or greasy or sugary foods lead to more breakouts.
  • Make sure to wash your face with hands and not a washcloth as these may be abrasive to sensitive skin. Some acne washes contain Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicyclic acid, both of which can be very harsh to the skin. They may lead to peeling and redness, along with increased sensitivity to the sun.
  • If you try an OTC acne cream, be sure to test it on one spot first before applying to you whole face to minimize adverse reactions.
  • Keep your hands off your face to reduce spreading grease and other irritants onto your face. Temptation to squeeze pimples can be hard to resist, but it can actually lead to tissue damage, infection, and scarring. Try not to pick!
  • Makeup can irritate and clog pores as well. Make sure to always wash off your makeup at the end of the day. Products that are water-based or more natural tend to be easier on the skin, as well.

Products I love and have found to be effective in helping clear my own skin include:

  • Cetaphil face wash. This is an incredible, gentle skin cleanser. It is available at almost all drug and grocery stores and is relatively inexpensive.
  • Cetaphil moisturizer. Again, this brand is really gentle on the skin. There is a moisturizer with, and without, sunscreen. It goes on smooth and does not feel like you are wearing a thick layer of moisturizer. Sunscreen is always a good idea to help prevent skin damage.
  • Neutrogena products. There are many Neutrogena products, but the ones I think are the best include the Oil Free Acne Wash for the face and Clear Body Wash, for back and chest acne. These products tend to be less drying to the skin than some of the other available washes.
  • Neutrogena moisturizer. There are several moisturizers with sunscreen in them that go on smooth and do not leave an oily residue. There are also overnight moisturizers to help fight off any dry skin.

Finally, if the OTC and home remedies are not working, you should come see us to discuss topical therapies or other medications to help reduce acne flares!

Sarada Schossow, PA-C is a primary care provider at Family Care, PA in Durham, NC. She has special interests in women’s health, adolescent and young adult health, and dermatology, including acne prevention. For more articles from Sarada, click here.

Healthy Weight Week is January 18 – 24!

From fitwoman.org:

Healthy Weight Week was created 23 years ago to help people understand that health really isn’t about a number – on the scale or otherwise – and to encourage people to stop dieting and pursue livable and sustainable healthy lifestyles through eating well, living actively and feeling good about themselves.

Your healthy weight is your natural weight, which is largely determined by your genetics. If you come from a family of larger or smaller people, you are likely to be larger or smaller. Achieving and maintaining your healthy weight is supported by healthful, enjoyable living that includes mindful, pleasurable eating and physical activity, effective stress management, adequate sleep and more. It is not a weight that is achieved through restricting what you eat or excessively exercising in order to lose weight.

Read moreHealthy Weight Week is January 18 – 24!

A Diabetes-Friendly Guide to a Healthy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Here are a couple of helpful infographics for diabetics to use during the Thanksgiving holiday from the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Click on the images for additional diabetic-friendly Thanksgiving recipes you can try. thanksgiving_diabetes_healthyplate

thanksgiving_diabetes_healthytips

 

World Diabetes Day is November 14!

From the International Diabetes Federation:

World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated annually on November 14. Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.

Activities and materials in 2015 will focus on healthy eating as a key factor in the fight against diabetes and a cornerstone of health and sustainable development.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKrCeiUuwDE

From diabetes.co.uk, “the theme of World Diabetes Day, from 2014 to 2016 will be healthy living and diabetes and this year, there’s a focus on starting each day right by having a healthy breakfast.” Here are the key messages that the International Diabetes Federation focused on during 2014:

1. ‘Investing’ in a healthy breakfast will reduce the global burden of diabetes, and save billions in lost productivity and healthcare costs.

2. Ensuring access to an affordable and healthy breakfast is essential to reducing the global burden of diabetes.

To supplement our usual CSA Recipe feature and keep in theme with the goal of this health holiday, here are a few diabetes-friendly breakfast recipes for you to try this month.

Diabetes In The United States

Because November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, we are focusing on topics relevant to diabetes and how we can help our patients with the diagnosis.

Instead of a bunch of words, simply posting this nice infographic from the CDC seems like a much more efficient way for me to tell you that diabetes is widespread concern that probably impacts someone you know. Please take a moment to at least skim some of the statistics and details about diabetes in the graphic below. On a side note, I may or may not have chosen this particular infographic because it fits in so nicely with our website’s color scheme.

If your diabetes is uncontrolled or believe you are at risk of developing diabetes, please contact your physician and schedule an appointment. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help yourself or someone you love, the American Diabetes Association offers a free program to people with type 2 diabetes called “Living With Type 2 Diabetes.”

The program, available in English and Spanish, provides information and offers free guidance to help people learn how to manage diabetes at regular intervals throughout the year-long. People can enroll into this free program by visiting diabetes.org/type2program, calling 1-800-DIABETES, or texting Type2 to 69866 to learn more about the program in English or Tipo2 to 69866 to learn more about the program in Spanish.

Topics and resources include:

  • Food, nutrition and recipes
  • Stress and emotions (see infographic below)
  • Physical activity
  • Complications
  • Peer support online and via phone
  • Support from the Association’s local office
  • Support from the Association’s National Call Center
  • Opt in text messaging

– See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/infographics.html#sthash.2QaK4ZV9.dpuf

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month!

In keeping with the National Diabetes Awareness Month theme, it makes sense that November is also National Diabetic Eye Disease Month. From our local UNC Hospital:

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 29 million Americans age 20 or older have diabetes, but almost one-third don’t know they have the disease and are at risk for vision loss and other health problems.

Early symptoms are often unnoticed, therefore vision may not be affected until the disease is severe and less easily treated.

Diabetic eye disease, a group of eye problems that affects those with diabetes, includes diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. The most common of these is diabetic retinopathy, which affects 5.3 million Americans age 18 and older.

From friendsforsight.org:

Diabetes can lead to a wide variety health complications, including heart disease, nerve damage, stroke, kidney disease, and vision loss. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. Diabetes is a risk factor for developing glaucoma, as well as for developing cataracts, but the most common and debilitating vision problem experienced by diabetics is diabetic retinopathy.

Today 3.6 million Americans ages 40 and older suffer from the diabetic retinopathy. During Diabetic Eye Disease Month, Friends for Sight encourages individuals with diabetes to take preventative measures and protect their eyes from the devastating effects of diabetes.

From caringnews.com:

What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems affecting people who have diabetes. This includes cataracts and glaucoma, but the most common type is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults 20 – 74 years of age. In this condition, the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes cause the blood vessels of the retina to swell, leak fluid or become blocked. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can result in severe vision loss.

Reducing the risk of diabetic eye disease

The good news is that people with diabetes can lower their risk of developing diabetic eye disease. The National Eye Institute (NEI) urges people with diabetes to keep their health on TRACK:

Take your medications.
Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Add physical activity to your daily routine.
Control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Kick the smoking habit.

Diagnosis and treatment

Prevention is the best step to protect against the damage caused by diabetic eye disease. But although diabetic eye disease cannot be cured, ophthalmologists offer a number of treatments to reduce or halt the loss of vision. This can only happen if the problem is detected early enough—and unfortunately, patients may not notice that anything is amiss during the early stages. So regular eye exams are extra-important for people with diabetes.

Says the NEI’s Dr. Paul A. Sieving, “The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk of developing diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes, be sure to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Diabetic eye disease often has no early warning signs, but can be detected early and treated before vision loss occurs. Don’t wait until you notice an eye problem to have a dilated eye exam, because vision that is lost often cannot be restored.”

June 15-21 is National Men’s Health Week!

June is Men's Health Month

June 15-21 is National Men’s Health Week! During this week, men should attempt to make at least one change in their lives that will help improve their health. From menshealthmonth.org:

The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

This week gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with hundreds of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe. For a partial list of activities, click here.

Read moreJune 15-21 is National Men’s Health Week!