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What you need to know about warts


There is a small scratch on the top layer of your skin, maybe from a simple paper cut, and a virus invades your skin through that tiny scratch. The virus causes rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of skin, creating what we know to be warts.

Common skin warts derive from the human papillomavirus (HPV), which often appears on hands, feet and other areas of your skin. Warts are rarely a cause for concern and most types are relatively harmless.

Contracting warts happens via skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has warts, for example shaking hands or typing on the same keyboard. Small nicks in the skin provide a pathway for the infection. Stronger immune systems are able to fight off the virus even after coming into contact with it, which is why children are more likely than adults to contract the skin infection. Prevention of warts can be done in the following ways:

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Keep your skin healthy and avoid having open cuts
  • Avoid biting your fingernails
  • Avoid direct contact with warts

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Healthy Weight Kids = Happy and Healthy Kids

Healthy-WeightThe increasing number of children who are overweight or obese is a growing concern for parents and caretakers. While healthy eating and exercise has become a national topic of conversation, it’s important that the potential social and medical problems many of these children face be a part of that discussion as well.

More than “baby fat”
It’s a common assumption that heavier children might lose some of their roundness as they grow up, but many children do not outgrow their tendency to be overweight. Heavy kids generally grow up to be heavy adults and, more importantly, overweight children have many of the same health risks involved with extra weight that adults do, including:

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which puts them at risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Higher risk for diabetes, liver disease, gallstones and esophageal reflux
  • Pain and other joint problems
  • Decreased coordination/dexterity
  • Higher risk for social and psychological problems due to bullying

A pediatrician can help determine a healthy weight for your child and advise you how to help your child meet that goal weight. Other goals may include increased strength, decreased percentage of body fat, reduced anxiety, and improved aerobic fitness and physical activity level. A physical therapist may be able to help with some of these goals as well. Continue Reading »

The importance of breast self-exams

breast cancer

Early detection is the best weapon we have against breast cancer. Many breast cancers (almost half) are detected by women completing a breast self-exam. When detected early, your chances of surviving breast cancer increase drastically.

Women should start breast self-exams in their twenties, and it should be done monthly. If you are unsure of how to complete the exam you can ask your health care clinician to show you, or you can utilize multiple sites that offer a step-by-step diagram. I recommend breastcancer.org or the American Cancer Society. Many health care organizations offer reminder cards to hang in your shower. These typically have breast exam instructions on them as well.

When completing your exam, take note of the following:

  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain or nipple turning inward
  • Nipple discharge
  • A lump in the underarm area
  • Swelling of all the breast (either the entire breast or a specific area)
  • Redness or changes (thickening) to the skin or nipple
  • Open sore or bump, rash
  • Difference in vein pattern over one breast

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Facts about depression

Did you know that depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide?
Did you know that women suffer from depression twice as often as men?
Did you know that many people suffer with depression but do not seek help?
Did you know that depression is treatable?

Everyone has a bad day or a case of the blues once in a while, but when “the blues” result in experiencing little or no joy in your daily life, it may be an indication of something more serious. Chronic sadness or a depressed mood is something that lingers for quite some time and is difficult to shake off if untreated.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it a sign of weakness. Anyone can be affected by depression and its onset could be due to many things, such as hormonal changes, brain chemical imbalances, medications or life crisis situations.

So how do you know if what you or someone you know is experiencing is much more than just a case of “the blues?” The short mood survey included below may help you understand that feelings of sadness or isolation could be an indication of something more serious. More than 2,000 individuals have taken this survey in our area and it has proven to be a very beneficial tool for many.

To take the Test Your Mood survey, click on the link below:
http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/NEW Continue Reading »

Strep throat now treatable via HealtheVisits


We are excited to announce that you can now use HealtheVisits to treat strep throat! All you have to do is head over to healthevisits.org and submit an online interview request. An Affinity Medical Group or Ministry Medical Group clinician will review the request within one hour. To confirm a positive strep throat diagnosis, a clinician will order a lab test, called a ZipTicket, which will be sent to you electronically via email.

A ZipTicket allows you to bypass waiting and go directly to one of our labs for a rapid strep test to confirm the diagnosis. When you receive your ZipTicket, you can either print a hard copy of it or bring it up electronically on your phone at one of three available lab locations. When the results of the strep test are available you will receive a final diagnosis that, if necessary, will include a prescription to treat your strep throat.

ZipTickets are accepted at select urgent care locations in the Fox Valley, and we are working to increase the number of labs that will accept them. Below are the urgent care locations where you can currently use your ZipTicket:

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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.