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‘Tis the season: common questions about flu vaccinations

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Do you know what the symptoms of the flu are? While often confused with a common stomach virus that runs its course, influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death, especially in older individuals. “Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently—even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.

An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. Getting vaccinated isn’t just important for yourself; when more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community. Below are some commonly asked questions about flu vaccinations:

How well does the flu vaccine project someone from the flu?
There are many different strains of influenza, so the vaccine—and its effectiveness—can vary from year to year. Each year a vaccine is developed to match the strains expected to be prevalent in the coming flu season. While it is impossible to predict the prevalent strains exactly, the vaccine is the best defense against the flu. Its effectiveness also depends on your typical health; the vaccine is effective, but it won’t make you invincible.

Is there a vaccination for children and a different vaccination for adults?
There are two different types of flu vaccines: trivalent, which protects against three strains of the flu, and quadrivalent, which protects against four. It is advised that patients speak with their provider to determine which vaccine is best for them. Continue Reading »

Knee exercises to help prevent basketball injuries

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ACL injuries are more common in female athletes than in male athletes, at a ratio of around 8-to-1. That may seem discouraging for women athletes, but there is good news! There are specific sets of ACL-protective exercises that can be incorporated into practices to reduce the number of injuries. The Affinity Orthopedics & Sports Medicine departments have videos that demonstrate these exercises to reduce injury risk, and most school athletic trainers are well versed in describing these exercises. Other common injuries in basketball include kneecap dislocations, meniscus tears, hamstring/groin pulls and tendinitis. The plan below will outline how to best avoid these problems.

First, I’ll discuss a few facts about knee injuries and basketball, then a few warm-up exercises important for most running, cutting and jumping sports, followed by a number of dynamic exercises to prevent injuries to the knee. Finally, I’ll end with a summary of lower extremity exercises to avoid. Keep in mind that basketball practices should begin with light cardio and dynamic stretching before heavy competitive maneuvers are added. Static stretching is, in general, best added at the end of a practice to keep muscle fibers as responsive as possible during play. Continue Reading »

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

colon cancerMarch is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Did you know that it is the third most common cancer in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths? Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, affects men and women equally and is usually found in people ages 50 years or older. With the right precautions, colorectal cancer is preventable and can be detected early with regular screenings.

Since 90 percent of new cases occur in people ages 50 or older, it is recommended for men and woman to begin getting screened at that age. Survival rate for individuals who have early stage colorectal cancer is 90 percent but only 10 percent when diagnosed after it’s spread to other organs. Colonoscopies and other screenings help detect abnormalities and can save lives.

Remember, colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable in most cases. Screening and early detection is key!

To schedule your screening for colorectal cancer, call NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900.

To show your support and help raise awareness for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, join us in wearing blue this Friday, March 7.

 

Summer Sports Season is Here: Tips for Injury Prevention

Playing sports is a great way for your child to stay fit and healthy, learn about teamwork and develop a sense of personal satisfaction. However, kids’ injuries from playing sports are on the rise, due to several factors. Most of these sports injuries can be prevented.The first step in preventing sports injuries is finding out why sports injuries occur. Sports injuries may be caused by:
  • Individual risk factors (such as medical conditions including heart, lung or neurological disease)
  • Inadequate physical exams before participating (every child should get a thorough sports-specific physical exam before each season)
  • Playing while injured (whether it is playing with a MSK injury, infection or concussions)
  • Improper training (including overtraining) or coaching, or lack of instruction
  • Not warming up, cooling down and stretching properly
  • Lack of pre-season conditioning
  • Lack of safety equipment or poorly fitted, improper equipment
  • Unsafe playing fields or surfaces
  • Stress and inappropriate pressure to win

Join me at the Bone and Joint Lecture Series: Top 10 things every parent should know on May 22 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the St. Elizabeth Hospital, Fowler Conference Room 1, where we will discuss these risk factors in detail as well as what you can do as parent, coach, teacher or player to ensure the safe participation of youth in sports.

For more information on the series, click here to download a PDF of the poster.

 

 

How to prevent bug bites

Some children with no other known allergies may have severe reactions to insect stings. If you suspect that your child is allergy-prone, discuss the situation with your doctor. He may recommend a series of shots (hyposensitization injections) to decrease your child’s reaction to future insect stings (but not bites). In addition, he will prescribe a special auto-injection kit containing epinephrine for you to keep on hand for use if your child is stung.

It is impossible to prevent all insect bites, but you can minimize the number your child receives by following these guidelines: Continue Reading »

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