Here comes the sun

August 11th, 2014

Here Comes the Sun!

We wait for it all winter long and then there it is – that glorious sunshine! It literally and emotionally brightens our day. But we also need to be careful of its effects when we stay outside as the days get longer. Sunburn can be a bad side effect of soaking up those warm rays.

 The first signs of a sunburn may not appear for a few hours. By the time the skin starts to become painful and red, the damage has already been done. The pain is worst between 6 and 48 hours after your exposure to the sun. In severe sunburns, your skin may blister.

 If you have a sunburn you can try a few things at home to relieve the pain. Take a cool bath or shower or apply a cool, clean damp towel to your injured skin. Apply aloe vera or moisturizing lotion several times a day. Take over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen.

 The flip side is what not to put on your skin if you have sunburn. Don’t use petroleum jelly, butter, egg whites or other home remedies on your sunburned skin. They can actually prevent or delay healing.

 If you or a loved one experience the following symptoms after sun exposure, call a healthcare provider immediately or go to your nearest emergency room:

  • fever or chills
  • shock
  • dehydration
  • confusion
  • nausea or vomiting
  • the sunburned person is a child under a year old
  • the burn has blisters or the skin appears white or is numb

 

Possible Complications

Soaking up the sun for extended periods of time can put you at risk for possible complications. If your skin blisters and the blisters rupture, you are at risk for bacterial infection. Also, you could be accelerating the aging process of your skin, a condition called Photoaging that can leave you with deep wrinkles, freckles, large brown lesions, fine red veins on your cheeks, nose and ears or even thinner, more translucent skin.

Other even more intense issues could include Actinic Keratoses, considered a precancerous condition that appears as rough scaly patches in sun-exposed areas, skin cancer and/or eye damage.

Prevention is the best way to be “sun safe”

We all want to enjoy the sunshine and have fun outside, so be sure to take preventative measures so that you can continue to enjoy it every day and not have any sun side effects.
Wear a wide-brim hat and sunglasses to help protect your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Loose, lightweight shirts will also provide an appropriate amount of protection, but the most important item to wear is sunscreen.

The American Cancer Society encourages the “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap” method to protecting you and your loved ones from the sun’s harmful rays:

  • Slip on a shirt – wear clothes to protect your skin
  • Slop on sunscreen – a palmful every two hours and more often if you are swimming or sweating
  • Slap on a hat – a wide brim hat is best to protect your ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp
  • Wrap on sunglasses – choose glasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation

 

With so many products on the shelf, how do you choose what’s best for you? While no sunscreen will block all UV rays, a broad-spectrum sunscreen which contains active chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients is a good choice. Broad spectrum sunscreens contain ingredients to protect against exposure to both UVB and UVA lights.

Read the Label
Look for three active ingredients when you’re selecting your sunscreen:

  1. Padimate O (Octyldimethyl PABA), Homosalate, Octisalate (Octyl salicylate), or Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate or OCM) for blocking UVB rays.
  2. Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) or Ecamsule (Mexoryl) for blocking UVA rays.
  3. Octocrylene, Titanium Dioxide, or Zinc Oxide for blocking both UVA and UVB rays.

 

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:

  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater
  • Water resistance (up to 40 or 80 minutes)

 

When using sunscreen, one key thing to remember is that regardless of the SPF or whether its waterproof, it’s important to re-apply sunscreen every two hours to make sure the ingredients are still active. For more information, go to SkinCancer.org and search “sunscreen” and talk with your dermatologist about skin and sun safety.

Did you know?
Sunscreen is considered an over-the-counter drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who regulates sunscreen safety and effectiveness and governs the manufacture and marketing of all sunscreen products including safety data.

Healing Waters: aquatic exercise

August 11th, 2014

Pool with noodle EDIT long

Healing Waters: Osteoarthritis and Aquatics

Joint pain. Stiffness. Less movement. An estimated 27 million Americans live with osteoarthritis (OA), a painful, degenerative joint disease primarily affecting your cartilage. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, it’s the most common type of arthritis and predominantly occurs in the knees, hips, hands, and spine.

Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over each other and helps absorb the shock of movement. With osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away, allowing bones under the cartilage to rub together, and often making the joint swell.

Many different factors are believed to play a role in whether or not you get osteoarthritis: genetics, age, obesity, injury or overuse.

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, several treatment options are available including exercise, weight control, physical therapy, non-drug pain relief techniques, bracing and medical equipment, prescription medicines, complementary and alternative therapies, and finally surgery.

Exercise is probably the most important thing each of us can do to maintain our health throughout our lifetime. But for people who have this disease, just moving a joint can be painful.

Telling a patient in pain to exercise doesn’t really put a smile on their face. That’s when aquatic therapy can help. Whether a patient requires surgery or not, this exercise can help a patient with limited mobility regain his or her strength without the added stress of weight or gravity. Harnett Health offers both aquatic therapy and aquatic exercise classes at Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn.

For patients who have had surgery or have significant limitations in range of motion, strength, or endurance, aquatic therapy may be an option. With aquatic therapy, a physical therapist works individually with the patient in the pool providing them with one-on-one instruction as part of their physical therapy program.

Aquatic exercise is a class environment without the direct supervision of a physical therapist but led by an aquatic exercise instructor. Bobbie Barbour who has been an aquatic exercise instructor with the hospital since 2005 says, “We have several different exercise routines for people who use this program. We customize the program to each person’s ability and the speed at which they are comfortable doing the routines. If they can only do three leg lifts with correct form, that’s three they didn’t do yesterday.”

Not only are range-of-motion exercises important but equally important is the cardiac workout. “We have a variety of water toys such as noodles, weights, dumbbells, and scoops to get your heart pumping,” says Bobbie. “When someone comes in here with a bad knee, they need to work on those muscles but they need to work on the most important one, too… their heart muscle.”

Aquatic exercise can help a person regain enough strength and mobility to eventually be successful with an exercise program out of the pool. Aquatic exercise classes are not usually covered by insurance, but the prices are very reasonable. A two-day per week program is less than forty dollars a month, and a three-day per week program is under fifty dollars a month. To participate, a physician’s clearance is required.

If you would like more information on Aquatic Exercise or Aquatic Therapy, please call Harnett Health’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Department at 910-892-1000 x4610.

Gluten-Free – to be or not to be?

August 11th, 2014

What’s The Deal With Gluten?

Gluten-free products are getting lots of attention lately, and more and more gluten-free products are popping up on store shelves. Is gluten-free eating a fad diet or is there more to this gluten-free trend?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). It is found mainly in foods but may be in other products like medicines, vitamins and supplements, lip balm, and even the glue on stamps and envelopes.

Is gluten bad for you? For most people, not necessarily. But for people with Celiac Disease, gluten can be dangerous. Celiac Disease is an immune disease in which people can’t eat gluten because it triggers a serious autoimmune response in the digestive system, can damage the small intestine and keep it from absorbing nutrients. The disease affects each person in different ways. Symptoms may occur in the digestive system, or in other parts of the body. One person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person may be irritable or depressed. Irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children. Some people have no symptoms.

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), more than 2 million people in the U.S. have the disease. That equates to about 1 in 133 people. Celiac disease is genetic and is more common among people with other genetic disorders, including Down syndrome or Turner syndrome. Blood tests can help your doctor diagnose the disease. Your doctor may also need to examine a small piece of tissue from your small intestine. Treatment is a diet free of gluten.

People may think that gluten-free automatically means the food is good for you. That is not always the case. To make gluten-free food taste good, the ingredients used may not be healthy alternatives. Be sure to carefully read gluten-free product labels.

 

Eating Gluten-Free
If you are gluten intolerant or just want to give gluten-free eating a try, check out these gluten-free tips and foods.

Eating From Home

1. When starting a gluten-free diet don’t automatically run to the store in search of gluten-free products. Take a look at the food in your home. Many items may already be gluten-free.

2. Plan your meals and snacks in advance.

3. Make a shopping list to help you stay focused on gluten-free foods.

4. Think about how to prepare the food ahead of time to avoid contaminating your food with gluten, especially if other members of your household eat foods that contain gluten.

Eating Out

1. Visit a restaurant’s website to review the menu; you may find a gluten-free section.

2. Call the restaurant manager or chef to ask about preparing gluten-free options.

3. Identify yourself to the waitstaff as a person who cannot eat gluten.

4. Ask about ingredients and how the food is prepared.

Gluten-Free Foods

More and more brands are hitting the shelves with gluten-free products, but remember that there are lots of naturally gluten-free foods too.

  • Dark leafy greens and crunchy vegetables: artichokes, peas, sweet corn, potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli, turnip greens, green beans
  • Gluten-free grains and flours: amaranth, brown rice, or buckwheat
  • Legumes: lentils, beans, pinto, garbanzo/chick peas, kidney, navy, white, or soy
  • Seeds and nuts: flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds with skins, pecans, pumpkin, walnuts, pistachio, hazelnut
  • Oranges, grapefruit, apples, bananas
  • Fresh berries with skins and seeds: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
  • Fresh beef, pork, poultry, fish and eggs

 

Having the support of friends and family members may help as you adjust to your new eating habits. And, as always, consult your doctor before making major changes to your diet.

Angier Medical Services earns National Recognition

August 11th, 2014

Angier Medical Services Earns an EXCELLENCE THROUGH INSIGHT Award

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Angier, NC (July 31, 2014) – Angier Medical Services, a physician practice of Harnett Health System, was recently recognized with an Excellence through Insight award for Overall Patient Experience in the CG-CAHPS database by HealthStream, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSTM).

 Angier Medical Services was awarded this honor for its commitment to excellence in patient care. To qualify for an award, a hospital must have been a patient satisfaction-tracking client of HealthStream in 2013, scored in the 75th percentile or higher, and surveyed a minimum of 100 patients. Angier Medical Services was chosen for receiving the highest ratings in Overall Patient Experience clinic satisfaction from among HealthStream’s clients, as well as exceeding industry standards. With a score of 92.7%, Angier Medical Services was the only practice in North Carolina to be recognized and ranked among the Top 5 clinics in the HealthStream database. Nation-wide, the average score was 79.8%.

 Ken Bryan, CEO of Harnett Health applauds the practice’s hard work, “Our entire organization focuses on quality patient experiences, and this is a tremendous accomplishment for Dr. Butler and his staff. We’ve been putting processes in place to make sure our patients feel valued and appreciated, whether they are a patient in one of our hospitals, an outpatient at a clinic, or a patient at one of our primary care practices.”

 Brad Butler, MD, board certified family practitioner at Angier Medical says, “This is truly an honor for all of us at Angier Medical Services. Our staff works diligently to provide excellent patient care, and being nationally recognized by HealthStream is an indication we are on the right track.”

 HealthStream CEO Robert A. Frist, Jr. said, “We applaud Angier Medical Services’ high-level commitment to excellence in healthcare, and are pleased to recognize their achievement through our presentation of an Excellence through Insight award.”

 

About Harnett Health

Harnett Health is a private, not-for-profit healthcare system based in Dunn, N.C. The system encompasses a network of facilities throughout Harnett and Johnston counties and has more than 265 credentialed providers and more than 1,000 employees. The system includes Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn, N.C. with 101 beds and Central Harnett Hospital in Lillington, N.C. with 50 private inpatient rooms. Services offered through Harnett Health include outpatient rehab/wellness centers in Benson, N.C., Dunn, N.C., and Lillington, N.C., and cardiac rehabilitation services, a breast care center, outpatient cardiac testing and a wound care center in Dunn, N.C. The healthcare system has six physician practices: Angier Medical Services, Coats Medical Services, Dunn Medical Services, Lillington Medical Services, Harnett OB/GYN and Premiere Pediatrics. It also has a Foundation focused on fundraising, providing a personal touch for patients with extraordinary needs, and working to expand access to care for our community. For more information, visit www.harnetthealth.org.

 

About HealthStream
HealthStream (NASDAQ: HSTM) is dedicated to improving patient outcomes through the development of healthcare organizations’ greatest asset: their people. Our unified suite of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions is contracted by, collectively, approximately 3.85 million healthcare employees in the U.S. for workforce development, training & learning management, talent management, performance assessment, and managing simulation-based education programs. Our research solutions provide valuable insight to healthcare providers to meet HCAHPS requirements, improve the patient experience, engage their workforce, and enhance physician alignment. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, HealthStream has additional offices in Laurel, Maryland, Brentwood, Tennessee, Pensacola, Florida, and Jericho, New York. For more information, visit http://www.healthstream.com or call 800-933-9293.

Angier Medical Services receives Patient-Centered Medical Home Certification

February 15th, 2013

PCMH2011

Harnett Health is proud to announce that our four primary care practices have earned a Level III Designation as a Patient Centered Medical Home and are currently the only facilities in our county with this designation. Being a Patient Centered Medical Home means we are committed to your total well-being by providing comprehensive, continuous medical care. It means building a lasting partnership with you so that together, we can care for your health today and help prevent illnesses tomorrow.

Peel Off the Pounds and Live Healthy

February 15th, 2013

Brad Butler, MD – Family Medicine

Obesity has become a common, serious and costly problem in America.  More than one-third of all U.S. adults are considered to be obese, weighing 20 percent or more above a healthy weight for their age and height.  The results of this nation-wide epidemic are staggering.  The number of people suffering from conditions associated with obesity – heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer – has skyrocketed, and the medical costs associated with obesity are estimated at more than $150 billion annually.

Obesity is a simple condition to understand.  It occurs when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. For many people, this boils down to eating too much and exercising too little. But there are other factors that also play a role in obesity. As you age, your body’s ability to metabolize food slows down, and you do not require as many calories to maintain your weight.

Other factors that affect weight gain include:

  • Gender: Women tend to struggle with weight gain more than men because they have a naturally slower metabolic rate.
  • Genetics: Obesity tends to run in families. If your biological mother is heavy as an adult, there is approximately a 75% chance that you will be heavy.
  • Physical Activity: Active individuals require more calories than less active ones to maintain their weight.
  • Psychological factors also influence eating habits and obesity. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger.
  • There are some illnesses that can cause obesity. These include hormone problems such as hypothyroidism and depression.
  • Certain medications, such as steroids and some antidepressants, may cause excessive weight gain.

So what can you do to lose weight and keep it off?  First, discuss the issue with your doctor, who can offer suggestions about your calorie intake and exercise plans.  Second, start writing down everything you eat in a food journal.  This will give you a clear view of what you are eating, when you are eating, and why you are eating.  If you can, meet with a nutritionist to review your food journaling.  She can provide information about where your diet is lacking and how to make smarter food choices.  And finally, get moving!  As I mentioned before, you must burn more calories than you consume if you want to lose weight.  Find activities that you enjoy, and have fun!  Follow these tips, and the pounds will start to peel off before you know it!