Home » Archive by category "Uncategorized"

Add Immunization Updates to Your Back-to-School To-Do List

immunization vaccine shot

Preparing for the new school year means shopping for supplies and getting your household back into the school routine. It’s also the perfect time to make sure your children are up to date on their vaccines (also called immunizations).

The State of Wisconsin requires that all children are vaccinated before entering school or a licensed day care center.

Getting all of the recommended vaccines is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s overall health. In countries with high vaccination rates, deadly diseases like polio, tetanus and diphtheria are rare.

Why Vaccinate?
Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, they also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that used to spread from child to child.

Vaccines work by exposing children to a piece of the germ, a killed version of the germ or a version of the germ that is so weak that it can’t cause disease. As a result, their bodies can naturally build up their own antibodies.

Antibodies are a part of the immune system (the body’s germ-fighting machine). Building up antibodies by vaccination can protect children from getting a disease if they are exposed to it at a later time.

Children under age five are especially susceptible to disease because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection. By immunizing per the recommendations, you can protect your child from disease and also protect others at school or daycare.

Are Immunizations Safe?
Yes. All vaccines are fully tested before being approved by the FDA. In addition, several agencies around the country continually monitor vaccine safety even after FDA approval. No other medication receives such intense review.

Can My Child Have a Reaction?
As with any medication, there is a chance that you can have a reaction to the vaccine. This usually consists of tenderness at the injection site, irritability or low-grade fever.

Side effects are usually mild and short lived. If your child is uncomfortable, you may apply cool compresses to the sore area or give them a pain reliever like ibuprofen to help reduce the fever and swelling, as directed by your doctor. Rest is also always helpful. Your doctor should provide you with information about each vaccine and possible side effects.

The chance of allergic reactions to vaccines is very rare, but make sure your health care provider knows about any allergies that your child may have.  The risk of a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction is less than one in a million.

Recommended Vaccines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend a vaccine schedule for the following diseases beginning at birth:

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Influenza (flu) annually
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal Disease
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Tetanus
  • Varicella (chickenpox)

For preteens and teenagers, your child should visit the doctor once a year for check-ups. Check with your doctor about catching up on any missed vaccinations. Your doctor will also recommend the following vaccinations, along with booster doses of childhood vaccines:

  • Meningococcal (MCV)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

How Do I Know what Immunizations My Child has Received?
Keeping track of your child’s immunizations is now easier than ever. Most doctors’ offices submit every vaccination your child has received to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry. If you need a copy of your child’s immunization records, they are available online or by calling your child’s doctor.

Baby on Board?
To protect your new baby and yourself against whooping cough, get a Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy. Mothers should also get an influenza vaccine (flu shot) during the flu season to protect themselves and their babies. Speak with other family members about ensuring their vaccines are up-to-date as well. Talk to your doctor for more details.

Yogurt-and-Spice Grilled Chicken Skewers

Servings 6yogurt-spice-grilled-chicken-skewers


Nutrition (one serving = 2 skewers and 2 ½ T. dipping sauce):
Calories: 210; Fat: 7 grams, Saturated Fat: 3 grams

3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Dipping sauce
1/3 cup honey mustard
2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt


1. Mix dipping sauce and refrigerate.

2. Whisk marinade and set aside.

3. Cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 4 strips and place in a gallon-size, zip-top plastic bag. Pour the marinade mixture over the chicken and seal bag closed. Flip bag a few times to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

4. When ready to cook, drain off excess marinade. With clean hands, thread one piece of chicken onto each skewer.

5. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Cook for about 2-1/2 minutes on each side, testing chicken for doneness before serving (meat should be opaque).

6. Serve chicken with dipping sauce.

Sugar content is more complex than you think


Your body was designed to process complex sugars like those found in apples, beans and barley. These complex sugars tend to be processed slowly. Food with sugars that are processed slowly are known as low-glycemic foods.

We know that candy, cinnamon rolls and cake with frosting contain sugar, but what about bagels, chips, crackers, pretzels, French fries and other processed foods? These are known as simple carbohy­drates or high-glycemic foods. Unfortunately, when they are digested, they act exactly like refined sugars. They create the same sugar highs and lows as their sweet counterparts … and leave you craving more.

The National Institutes of Health reported that a low-carbohydrate or low-glycemic diet may be a wise choice for weight loss and maintenance and disease prevention.

Break your sugar habit

Choosing to cut sugar from your diet is a commendable choice. With effort and determination you will succeed, but be prepared for your body to go through sugar withdrawal.

Like other habits your desire and strategy to beat the sugar habit will be a unique choice. Some people prefer to put themselves on a strict regimine that eliminates all sugars including those found in fruit, dairy (lactose) and refined grains.

Other people may not choose to eliminate added sugars all at once, but will start substituting one or two foods at a time with healthier alternatives. Choosing to add more vegetables each day, drinking water throughout the day, and eliminating processed foods is a good way to start to de-sugar your diet.

No matter which method you choose, you will be training your taste buds to enjoy the real taste of food. After a while you’ll notice that you don’t need as much sugar and that foods that are high in sugar taste too sweet.

A key to success is not to let yourself get too hungry. Snacking on high protein and high fiber foods like yogurt and nuts or whole grains, and eating fiber and protein at each meal will help curb your sugar cravings.

Protein-rich and high-fiber foods take longer to digest and maintain a more consistent glucose level in your bloodstream. They make you feel full longer, which curbs your hunger. It is especially important to eat a high-protein breakfast to start your day off right.

Alternate your sweet drinks with water. If you enjoy soda or sweet tea have your beverage, but next time drink the same amount of water. If you reduce your serving size, it will also help you reduce your sugar intake.

After a while, you’ll find yourself choosing sweets that are good for you. Instead of three teaspoons of sugar on your oatmeal, you will begin to prefer the sweet taste of fresh berries; or be satisfied with a glass of milk and a banana. You may also start to notice that after you’ve indulged on sugar-loaded sweets, that you don’t feel as good afterwards.

Another weapon in the fight to gain control of sugar is exercise

Psychologically, when you start to work out and feel better, you also have a desire to change the way you eat.

If you do not currently have an exercise or activity program, start out slowly. Work up to the recommended level of 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be dull. Biking, hiking, jogging or walking with good friends or dancing to great music counts.

If you feel a craving for sugar, get outside and go for a walk or ride a bike for 15 or 20 minutes. It may eliminate your cravings.

Be patient. It may take a couple weeks for your taste buds to adjust to lower levels of sweetness. As your body adjusts, you’ll start to feel better mentally and physically.

How to Avoid and Treat Common Running Injuries

woman running

Running is a great way to get in and stay in shape, but it can also lead to orthopedic injuries. The good news is that knowing how common injuries occur and how to prevent them will help reduce your risk.

To prevent orthopedic injuries, we recommend that you first:

  • Identify your running goals.
  • Have a routine physical.
  • Warm up before and stretch after you run.
  • Wear the correct running shoes.

Common Running Injuries

Achilles Tendinitis

A dull or sharp pain along the back of the Achilles tendon, calf tightness and early morning stiffness.

  • How to Prevent – Stretch before you run.
  • How to Treat – Rest and stretch until the pain is completely gone.

Plantar Fasciitis

An inflammation of a thick fibrous band of tissue in the bottom of the foot.

  • How to Prevent – Stretch before you run.
  • How to Treat – Take anti-inflammatory medicine, stretch and use ice compresses to help relieve pain.

Shin Splints

Pain on the inside of the shinbone caused by overuse of poor conditioning and worsened by running on hard surfaces.

  • How to Prevent – Ease into runs and choose a mix of hard and soft surfaces.
  • How to Treat – Rest, stretch and ice until the pain is gone. Also adjust the distance and speed your run.

Keep Running Safe and Enjoyable

If you’ve ever been injured, you know it’s not enjoyable. The pain, treatment and recovery time can last awhile—putting a hurdle in your exercise schedule. That’s why we have some suggestions to keep running safe and enjoyable:

  • Don’t run when you have a hurt or injured foot, ankle, knee or hip.
  • Dress for the weather and time of day.
  • Wear reflective clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after a run.
  • Train carefully for races and competitions.
  • Don’t run in isolated or dangerous areas.
  • Don’t run when you’re sick or exhausted.

The Z-Factor: Sleep Disorders

man sleeping in bed

It’s 2 a.m., and you’re still awake … or you sleep all night, but you feel exhausted when you wake up. What’s going on?

It could be …

The Z-Factor

Sleep is crucial to your physical and mental health. Your body rests and your brain recharges when you sleep.

But many things can keep people up at night: too much caffeine, too much activity close to bedtime, a large meal within two hours of bedtime, alcohol or stress. These are all circumstances that you can control.

But sometimes, not being able to sleep is beyond your control.

Sleep disorders , usually thought of as lack of sleep, can also cause a person to sleep too much or sleep at the wrong time. Often the person who suffers a sleep disorder is the last one to know. Parents or partners may notice the repetitive breathing pauses of sleep apnea, feel the movements of restless leg syndrome, or notice the level of wakefulness isn’t what it should be.

Sleep disturbances can wreak havoc in our daily lives, causing us to feel depressed, irritable or constantly fatigued.

A sleep lab may provide some answers to your sleepless nights. During a sleep study, specially trained technicians monitor and study the activity of your brain waves, heart function, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, and the movement of the leg and facial muscles by attaching small electrodes to your skin. The process is a painless way for your primary care physician, pulmonologist, or neurologist to diagnose your sleep problems – the first step toward relief.

What disturbs your sleep?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be defined as breathing pauses lasting 10 to 30 seconds between breaths, labored breathing, gasps for air, restlessness, sleeping in unusual positions or changes in skin color. Sleep apnea can contribute to serious, life-threatening conditions, as it may have in the case of former Green Bay Packer Reggie White. Sleep apnea can also lead to heart attack, stroke, or high blood pressure later in life.

Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, a person’s inability to move when fully awake, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) is defined as decreased alertness or sleepiness during normal waking hours.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a creeping, crawling, and tingling sensation in the legs that might be relieved by moving. Restless Leg Syndrome is closely linked to Periodic Limb Movement During Sleep (PLMS) which involves repetitive movement of the limbs during sleep and may be associated with arousal activity in the brain waves.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is a disorder in which increased muscle tone is associated with REM (deep) sleep allowing the person to physically act out their dreams.

Sleepwalking is usually associated with slow-wave sleep that allows a person to sleepwalk but not recall events.

Insomnia is defined by difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, not being able to go back to sleep, or repeated waking through the night, which leads to waking up unrefreshed.

Help when the schedule changes

School schedules. Work schedules. Daylight saving time. There are many daily-life occurrences that can change the sleep patterns of you and your family. A gradual adjustment will prevent the disruption from having a negative impact on your life.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Don’t compensate for time changes by delaying bedtime or sleeping in.
  • Make gradual adjustments to your sleeping habits before starting a new schedule.
  • Always sleep in a quiet, dark room at a comfortable temperature.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal or drink caffeine close to bedtime.
  • Be patient and give yourself time to adjust.

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, there is help. Contact your primary healthcare clinician and ask him or her for a referral to a sleep lab near you. If you don’t have a primary care physician contact a Ministry Medical Group clinic near you.

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.