Archive for “Medical News” Category

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The CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting the flu: vaccination, everyday preventive actions, and use of antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

Take time to get a flu vaccine

  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu.
  • While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common this season.
  • The 2012-2013 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and an influenza B virus.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the 2012-2013 flu vaccines are available.
  • Vaccination of high-risk people is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high-risk people to keep from spreading the flu to high-risk people.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead to protect them from getting the flu

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs that can cause respiratory illness like the flu. While these actions are helpful, remember that vaccination is the most important step in preventing the flu

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them

  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
  • Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick.
  • Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
  • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. Antiviral drugs fight viruses in your body. Antibiotics fight bacterial infections.
  • Not everyone who has flu symptoms needs antiviral drugs. Your doctor will decide whether antiviral drugs are right for you.
  • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
  • There also are data showing that antiviral drugs may prevent serious flu complications. In someone with a high-risk medical condition, treatment with an
  • antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
  • Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is the best way modern medicine currently has to protect against this serious disease.
  • If you get the flu, the earlier you begin taking antivirals, the better. They work best if started within two days, but there is data to suggest they can still be beneficial even up to 5 days after getting sick. This would be especially important in a high-risk person that was very sick.

Fall Flu Season

September 10th, 2009

Fall flu season is just upon us, and it’s complicated this year by the presence of a new concern – swine flu. This past June, the World Health Organization declared the swine flu outbreak a pandemic. As a virus – also called novel incluenza H1N1 – spread throughout the world, the race began to develop a vaccine, which may be ready as early as late fall.

So what’s your best course of action? Protect yourself from seasonal flu by getting a regular vaccination as soon as it’s available, says Dr. Beth P. Bell, associate director for epidemiology science at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Also check with your doctor to see if a swine flu vaccine is available and if you’re amont those recommended to get one. Seasonal influenza alone causes widespread illness and, on average, 36,000 deaths a year. For the most current information about H1N1 and seasonal flu, check out pandemicflu.gov and cdc.gov/flu.

To prevent spreading any type of flu:

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible
  • Stay home of you child or you are sick to avoid spreading it to others

– Doug Donaldson Better Homes and Gardens, September 2009

According to a new study involving thousands of older adults, nine of every 10 new cases of diabetes after age 65 are linked to lifestyle factors that can be altered for the better. These include exercise, eating and smoking habits; weight; and alcohol use.

Researchers found that each factor creates independent risk for the disease. This means that making small changes in even two or three areas can significantly help prevent diabetes. Of course, focusing on a healthy lifestyle that includes all five habits is even better. Follow these proven steps:

1. Eat healthier. Study participants who had a lower risk for diabetes followed these dietary habits:

  • Eat more dietary fiber. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and peas. Aim for 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day.
  • Add polyunsaturated fat to your diet. Polyunsaturated fat – one of the “good fats” – can be found in canola and soybean oil, walnuts, flaxseed and fish like salmon or trout.
  • Cut out trans fat. Trans fat is found in many processed foods, such as prepackaged crackers, cookies and pies.
  • Eat low-glycemic carbohydrate foods. These raise blood glucose less than other sources of carbohydrates. Examples include whole wheat bread, barley, kidney beans, lentils and most fruit.

2. Get active. The study found that regular exercise greatly reduced the risk for diabetes. But you don’t have to run a marathon to reap the results. Engage in moderate activities, such as gardening or taking a 30-minute walk, on most days of the week.

3. Drink in moderation. Researchers found that those who drank in moderation actually had a lower risk for diabetes than those who didn’t drink at all. But beware, as overindulging erased the benefits. If you drink, stick to one drink a day.

4. If you smoke, take steps to quit. The health benefits are substantial. Research shows that besides helping you prevent diabetes, quitting smoking can add years to your life – even at an older age.

5. Watch your weight. It can be challenging to drop extra pounds, but reaching a healthy weight can substantially reduce your risk for diabetes. Study participants with the lowest risk for diabetes maintained a waist circumference of 34.6 inches or less for women and 36.2 inches or less for men. Or they had a body mass index of less than 25. According to government guidelines, a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal weight.

Now playing on a health news segment near you: vitamin D. The latest research has repeatedly linked health risks with vitamin D deficiency. The two newest reports:

  • Researchers studied more than 13,000 people nationwide for an average of nine years. During that time, those with the lowest vitamin D levels were 25 percent more likely to die than the people with the highest levels.
  • About 3,000 adults were followed for an average of eight years. The lower their vitamin D levels, the more likely they were to die of cardiovascular disease or any other cause during that time.

Sun is the main source of vitamin D

The lowest levels in these studies were below the recommended intake. However, experts estimate that about 40 percent of men and half of women in the U.S. are getting lower-than-optimal amounts. Although experts are still exploring its role in prolonging life, vitamin D is important to include in your diet for its other proven effects. It helps the body absorb calcium, which keeps bones strong and prevents osteoporosis.
The skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Most people are able to meet their needs this way. The general rule is that 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight two to three times a week is sufficient. But some people may need more help meeting their vitamin D amounts, including:

  • From November through February, people living in locations as far north as Boston or farther north.
  • Obese people. Fat traps the nutrient, keeping it out of the bloodstream.
  • Those with darker skin. They have more of the pigment melanin, which reduces skin’s vitamin D-producing abilities.
  • Older adults. The body’s ability to make and use vitamin D declines with age.

You can get more “D” in your diet

Doctors recommend that adults consume 200 international units of vitamin D daily until age 50, 400 IUs daily until age 70 and 600 IUs daily after age 70. The following foods are good sources:

  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines (200 to 360 IUs per 3.5 ounces)
  • Fortified cereal, juice or milk (40 to 100 IUs per serving; check the nutrition label for serving size)
  • Eggs, including yolks (20 IUs per egg)

If you’re concerned about your levels, talk with your doctor to find out if supplements are an option for you.

When Pigs Fly!!!!

May 3rd, 2009

What about travel recommendations with the H1N1 flu virus causing alarm?

Q. Can I travel to Mexico?
A. Yes. Flights continue from the U.S. to Mexico, with most airlines reporting few cancellations and no changes in schedules because of the swine flu outbreak.

Q. Should I continue with a planned trip to Mexico?
A. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “continued travel by U.S. travelers to Mexico presents a serious risk for further outbreaks of swine flu in the United States” and “recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico.” That said, some individuals are going ahead with planned trips, according to interviews with tour group leaders, travelers and online forums.

Q. What about cruises to Mexico?
A. Some cruise lines have suspended port calls in Mexico, with ships scheduled for Mexico spending additional time at sea or substituting port calls elsewhere. Check your cruise line’s Web site or call for details.

Q. If I cancel a planned trip because of the swine flu scare, will I get a refund?
A. It depends. Most airlines are waiving fees for rebooking flights at least for the next week or two. Some resorts with hotels in Mexico and other locations are permitting travelers to switch destinations if they have availability at say, a hotel owned by the same company in the Caribbean. But you’d have to rebook your airfare to a new destination, which depends on airline availability and may cost more than your original flight. Some travel suppliers are providing refunds or credits toward future vacations; some are not. Call and ask.

Q. If I have travel insurance and cancel a planned trip because of the swine flu scare, will I get a refund?
A. Again, it depends. If you have a “cancel for any reason” insurance policy, you would get a partial refund. But most traditional trip cancellation insurance will not provide coverage for a trip canceled due to a health warning or fear of traveling, according to Dan McGinnity, vice president of TravelGuard. These plans would only provide coverage for travelers who need to cancel or interrupt a trip because they become sick.

Q. Should I wear a face mask if I’m flying or if I’m in an airport?
A. The CDC has not recommended the use of masks by the general public. Swine flu is thought to be transmitted by touching something with the virus and then passing it to the nose or mouth or through coughing or sneezing.

Q. Should I fly if I’m feeling sick?
A. The CDC says: “Do not travel while you are sick, except to get local medical care.”

Q. How can I protect myself from illness while traveling?
A. CDC recommendations are as follows: Wash hands often with soap and water. Use waterless alcohol-based hand gels (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) when soap is not available. Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. To keep germs from spreading, don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

The Swine Flu

May 3rd, 2009

OK. We have all heard the media reports about the Swine Flu, or as it has recently been renamed, the H1N1 Flu. But what is the real take home in all of this panic/pandemoneum news coverage that we are being subjected to? Don’t worry…. here is our breakdown of the information and the things you need to do to be safe.

Q. What is Swine Influenza?
A. Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

Q. Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
A. No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

Q. How does swine flu spread?
A. Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Q. What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
A. The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Q. How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
A. People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

Q. What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
A. Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

Q. How long can viruses live outside the body?
A. We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

Q. What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
A. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Q. What should I do if I get sick?
A. If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others. If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

College Bound Child?

July 26th, 2007

Do you have a child bound for college this fall?

The Centers for Diease Control (CDC), strongly recommends that students who will be living in a dormatory type setting receive the Meningitis Vaccine prior to heading off to school this fall. The physicians at Troy family Practice agree with this assessment. We also feel that this is an opportune time for your son or daughter to come in for a general health check up and a re-evaluation of their immunization records.

In addition to the Meningitis vaccine many colleges and universities also recommend the following: Hepatitis B Vaccine, Heptitis A Vaccine and Tetanus Booster.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the office during regular business hours.

Pediatric Care

May 3rd, 2007

With the addition of Dr. Harjaneet Bedi we are now offering full-spectrum pediatric care. Dr. Bedi is trained in caring for children of all ages (including newborn care). He is on staff at William Beaumont Hospital in Troy and can see your newborn there and then follow them at our convenient office location in Troy. We also now have the pediatric immunizations in the office to keep your children safe and protected. As with all patients, please contact our office for an appointment.

Gardasil Vaccine

April 1st, 2007

The new Gardasil vaccine is now available for our female patients between the ages of nine and 26. If interested in learning more about the vaccine or to receive the vaccine, please contact the office at (248) 813-0124 for an appointment.