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Water Safety in Wisconsin

water safety

As a Wisconsinite, summer months can mean everything to you. Long winters and cold springs drive us to water parks, lakes and rivers when warmer weather hits. Unfortunately this makes summer a high time for water accidents, injuries and fatalities.

The latest research shows the number of drowning deaths is falling, but not for all age groups. Learn how you can help protect yourself, family and friends this season with these safe, responsible water safety tips and resources.

Pool Safety Tips

Having a pool or hot tub in the backyard increases the risk for water injuries and drowning. If you or someone you know has a pool, follow these tips:

  • Install a four-foot fence with a self-latching gate around the pool.
  • Add pool, door or gate alarms and an automatic pool cover.
  • Remove ladders, steps and toys when the pool is not in use.
  • Empty blow-up pools after each use and put them away.
  • Be no more than an arm’s length away from a child in the pool.
  • Wear a life jacket, especially little ones and inexperienced swimmers.
  • Take additional swimming lessons, even as an adult.
  • Learn first aid and CPR.
  • Keep a phone near the pool for emergency use.
  • Maintain the pool and chemicals to keep the pool clean and safe.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from the pool to prevent electric shock.
  • Create and enforce rules for the pool, such as no diving, no running, only swimming with a buddy and staying away from the drain.

Water Safety Tips for All Ages

Drowning isn’t just a safety issue for children. It can happen to anyone at any age. Help keep drowning deaths down by following these steps:

  • Learn how to swim.
  • Swim with a buddy.
  • Avoid places without a lifeguard on duty.
  • Teach children to ask first about entering the water.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while swimming.
  • Adhere to beach swimming regulations, warnings and conditions.
  • Avoid bodies of water that are choppy, rough or filled with debris.
  • Always wear an appropriate-sized life jacket when boating.

In Case of an Emergency…

Even when you try to stay safe in and around water, drowning can still happen, and quickly. In case of an emergency, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the person from the water right away and check if he or she is breathing.
  2. If the person isn’t breathing, begin CPR immediately. Don’t waste time seeking emergency medical help. If others are present, ask them to call 911. The victim may spit up swallowed water while you are doing CPR.
  3. Continue CPR until the person starts breathing again or medical personnel arrive.

8 Tips to Get More Exercise on the Job

exercise ball

Find yourself stuck to a chair all day? Inactivity can lead to headaches, back aches and brain drain.

If your job requires long hours of sitting, try these 8 tips for adding a boost of fitness to your day:

  1. Set an alarm every hour reminding you to get up and move around. Just standing up, stretching and waving your arms will help you feel more alert.
  2. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. They’re great for toning the abs and improving posture.
  3. Use the restroom on a different floor or across the building. Extra steps add up.
  4. Deliver documents in person instead of by inter-office mail.
  5. Lift dumbbells while on the phone. Water bottles or soup cans work just as well.
  6. Going out for lunch? Choose a restaurant within walking distance, or go to the mall food court and park furthest from the door.
  7. Walking clubs aren’t just for lunch hours. Why not arrive 20 minutes early and start the day with a brisk stroll?
  8. Suggest standing or walking meetings.

Be creative! Any extra movement is a bonus.

8 Ways to Avoid Common Self-Care Mistakes

flu season vaccine

Treating common illnesses at home isn’t complicated. Even so, doing it safely requires knowledge.

You don’t want to call your doctor over every little fever or sniffle. But when you’re calling the shots, you want to be confident you’re making wise health care decisions.

Here are steps to take to avoid some common self-care mistakes:

Watch the Dose

Don’t take more medication than the label recommends. Some people think if one dose of medication is good for them, then two must be even better. But the dosage recommendations on the package are there to protect you.

For example, too much ibuprofen over time can cause gastrointestinal bleeding or ulcers. Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Overdosing on some over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications may cause extreme drowsiness or seizures.

Treat the Cause

Don’t treat symptoms without treating their cause. One danger of self-treating with OTC drugs is you may confuse symptom relief with a cure—meaning your underlying health problem may continue or worsen even as you start feeling better.

A better approach? Get the advice of your pharmacist or doctor.

Call Your Doctor

Don’t treat too long before calling your doctor. You don’t always save money by not seeing the doctor. Often the reverse is true—a doctor visit could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in medical costs if it keeps a small problem from becoming a big one.

For example, if you don’t start taking antibiotics right away for that urinary tract infection, what began as a minor condition could evolve into a full-blown kidney infection that requires stronger, more expensive antibiotics or even hospitalization.

Don’t Borrow Meds

Don’t use someone else’s prescription medications. It’s common for people to give friends or family members their medications to try. But that’s not safe for several reasons.

For starters, some drugs require a prescription because they may not be safe for everyone, may need special monitoring, and may interact with other medications. A physician prescribes medications based on a physical examination, test results, health history and knowledge of other drugs a person is taking. That’s why a drug that’s beneficial for one person could be harmful for another.

Don’t Keep the Leftovers

Don’t use leftover prescription medications. Suppose you have medication left over from a previous illness and then you develop similar symptoms. Does it make sense to take the leftover medication? Not necessarily. Your symptoms may be the same but the condition — and its appropriate treatment — may be different.

Caution on Herbal Remedies

Don’t take herbal or other alternative medicines without telling your doctor. Most people don’t realize herbal remedies are drugs and need to be taken cautiously. Some of them can raise blood pressure, thin the blood or interact with other medications you may be taking.

For this reason, be sure to get your doctor’s OK before taking them; and when your doctor prescribes a medication, always speak up about any alternative treatments you use.

Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Don’t substitute the advice of friends or family for a doctor’s expertise. An old family remedy for a stomachache or arthritis may be helpful, or at worst, do you no harm. But it’s always wise to ask your doctor for a professional opinion, particularly if the treatment could be risky or your condition could be serious.

Look for Good Information

Don’t consult just any health book or Internet site. If a book or website promises a magical cure, or makes outspoken claims against the conventional medical approach, that’s a good clue to be wary of its advice.
Also, some Internet sites are sponsored by companies that are more interested in selling their products than in serving your best interests. When in doubt, ask your doctor to recommend the best source of information for your needs.

When to Call the Doctor

How do you know when it’s time to stop self-treating a health problem and get on the phone to your doctor? An important clue: Are you getting better, or is the problem lingering or getting worse?

These are examples of when to call:

  • A cough that persists
  • A headache that won’t go away or that keeps coming back
  • Heartburn that keeps returning
  • Fever that lasts more than a few days

If you need a primary care physician, we can help! Search online for a doctor who’s right for you and your family in Ministry and Affinity.

Support & Treatment Helps Patient Overcome Colorectal Cancer

sue godersky colorectal cancer survivorSue Godersky was 46 years old and had finally gotten her health on track, shedding nearly 110 pounds over the course of two years. “I was addicted to exercise; I loved it,” she says.

But all the diet and exercise in the world hadn’t prepared her for the next challenge she would face – a cancer diagnosis.

Cancer Diagnosis

Shortly after achieving her weight loss goal, Sue began to experience intermittent rectal bleeding that eventually became more frequent and worrisome. The initial diagnosis was an internal hemorrhoid and a colonoscopy was scheduled. As it would turn out, Sue was suffering from rectal cancer.

“I was completely shocked by the news,” she says. “I was only 46 years old with no family history of colorectal cancer.”

Treatment and Surgery

In the immediate days following her cancer diagnosis, Sue met with a colorectal surgeon, a medical oncologist and radiation oncologist. From September to November 2014, she underwent chemotherapy and radiation. And on December 10, 2014, just three days before her 47th birthday, she underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tumor.

Sue recalls waking up post-surgery and hearing the news that due to the size and location of the tumor, her rectum, anal sphincter and anal opening had to be removed. And while she was able to retain her colon, reattachment surgery was not a viable option. The devastating result was reliance on a colostomy bag for the rest of her life.


In the months to follow, Sue struggled with depression despite being told by her medical team she was lucky her cancer hadn’t spread further. “I was mad and sad all at the same time. I was mad at my surgeon for telling me I was lucky when I was bound to a colostomy bag for the rest of my life,” she says.

Sue credits the unwavering support of her family and online support groups for saving her mental health. “My husband has been so accepting and supportive,” she says. “This entire experience has brought us closer together.”

Freedom and the New Normal

In August 2015, Sue gained a bit more freedom when she was introduced to bowel irrigation (flushing warm water into her bowel through the stoma). “Irrigation really opened up my world. It has allowed me to maintain a normal wardrobe, to travel, exercise and continue to work as a nurse at Columbia St. Mary’s – Ozaukee Campus,” Sue says.

Despite recent setbacks, Sue remains grateful and optimistic. “I choose to be happy. My goal is to prevent this from happening to others. Anyone age 50 or older with a family history of colorectal cancer or having symptoms should see their doctor and have a colonoscopy,” she says.

And on December 13, 2017, Sue looks forward to celebrating her 50th birthday cancer-free.

Ways to Help Prevent Common Basketball Injuries

Should you be concerned about you or your child playing basketball? Learn about the most common basketball injuries and ways to prevent them on The Edge blog from Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.With college basketball heating up and Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker’s second ACL tear, basketball injuries may be top of mind.

Should you be concerned about you or your child playing the sport?

We help break down the most common basketball injuries and ways to help prevent them.



From rolling an ankle to accidentally getting stepped on, high and low ankle sprains are some of the most prevalent basketball injuries. If pain, swelling and bruising occurs, further evaluation may be necessary to rule out fractures or serious tears.


A very common hand injury in basketball, jammed fingers occur when the ball contacts the end of the finger—causing significant swelling of a single knuckle or joint.


Forceful stopping, accelerating, cutting and pivoting places a lot of pressure on knee ligaments and puts them at greater risk for injury. Severe, season-ending knee injuries can include ACL, MCL and meniscus tears.


Minor trauma to soft tissue causes overuse injuries, and it’s common with young athletes who play sports year round without any rest in between seasons. Shin splints, jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis) and little leaguers’ elbow or shoulder are just a few types.


  • Complete a pre-season physical
  • Strengthen leg muscles to better support your knees
  • Warm up with stretching prior to training or playing
  • Wear supportive shoes with a higher profile around the ankle and skid-resistant soles
  • Check the court for slippery spots or debris before playing
  • Use proper techniques to avoid hand and wrist injuries

Your ankles, hands and knees have complex joints—making them more vulnerable to injury. If you or your child experiences a basketball injury, it’s best to seek care by an orthopedic physician at Affinity or Ministry.

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.