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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:

Continue Reading »

8 tips for childhood stuttering


Stuttering is a communication disorder of which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.

About five percent of all children will go through a stage of developmental stuttering. This period of stuttering consists of easy repetitions without tension or signs of struggling. Most dysfluencies are only two or three repetitions in length and most of the time the child will appear unaware of the stuttering and will continue talking without signs of distress.

75 percent of these children will begin to spontaneously recover from normal dysfluencies after approximately six months. At the six-month mark you will want to note if your child’s speech is improving, staying the same or getting more difficult for them.

If you are worried about your child’s dysfluency consider these factors when deciding if it is time to talk with your child’s doctor or a speech language pathologist:

  1. Is your child a boy? 4x more boys stutter than girls.
  2. Is there a family history of stuttering? If yes, it is more likely your child may need skilled intervention.
  3. Has the dysfluent speech lasted longer than six months? If your child’s speech has not improved or has become more dysfluent, your child may need skilled intervention.
  4. Is your child aware of the stuttering? A child who stops talking, avoids words, abandons a message or verbalizes talking being difficult is more likely to need skilled intervention.
  5. Do you see increased facial or body movements when your child is stuttering? If you are noticing increased eye blinking, head nodding, facial tension, hand or foot tapping it is more likely your child may need skilled intervention.

Answering “yes” to two or more of these questions indicates it is time to talk to your child’s pediatrician about next steps. Continue Reading »

15 speech and language milestones for 18- and 24-month-old toddlers


At 18 months of age your toddler is exploring his/her world and learning so many new things. Here are some of the typical speech and language milestones that indicate your child is progressing in language development.

Your child….

  1. Uses 10-15 different words
  2. Uses words to have needs met (“more, up, eat”)
  3. Understands and uses the names of five different familiar objects
  4. Imitates sounds and words spontaneously
  5. Starts to combine two words (“all done, up mama”)
  6. Uses real words intermixed with babbling
  7. Hums along with familiar children’s songs
  8. Imitates words and word combinations with a model
  9. Recognizes pictures of family members and familiar objects
  10. Points or uses gestures to get your attention or make requests for objects/actions
  11. Retrieves a known object from another room upon request (“go get your blanket”)
  12. Follows simple commands
  13. Points to body parts when asked
  14. Develops a play routine (baby doll, kitchen play, car play)
  15. Enjoys looking at books and will turn pages a few at a time

Continue Reading »

10 heart-healthy foods you’ll want to keep in your house (infographic)


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.