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Wednesday, December 12, 2018
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Blog (61)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 15:01

Managing Asthma In Children

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Asthma affects around 7 million children in the U.S., and is the leading cause of chronic illness, with most children having the first symptoms by age 5. For reasons that are not yet understood, cases of asthma have been increasing. Experts suggest it could be from kids spending more time indoors and being exposed to dust, pollution and secondhand smoke, or from a lack of exposure to enough bacteria and viruses to strengthen their immune system.

Because asthma symptoms can very from episode to episode, it's important to know all the potential symptoms, which can include any of the following problem signs:
  •     Shortness or loss of breath
  •     Chronic coughing spells
  •     Low energy during physical activity
  •     Intermittent rapid breathing
  •     Tightness or pain in the chest
  •     Wheezing sounds when breathing in or out
  •     Feeling weak or tired
These are just some of the symptoms of asthma and they could be symptoms of other conditions, be may be other causes. Allergies can also show many of the same symptoms as asthma. Your doctor should evaluate the child to find the underlying cause of any illness that restricts your child's airways. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam.

If your child is diagnosed with asthma, your doctor or a specialist can provide guidelines for controlling and managing the disease so they can avoid triggers and lead as normal a life as possible. In some cases medications may be prescribed to treat the asthma. Depending on the child's age, they may use inhaled asthma drugs or liquid medications delivered with an asthma nebulizer.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018 17:02

What Causes Hearing Loss?

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Hearing loss occurs gradually as we age, and advancing age is the most common cause of hearing loss. One out of three people age 65-74 has some level of hearing loss. After age 75, one out of every two people will experience hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss may include:
  •     Muffling of speech and sounds
  •     Difficulty understanding words against background noise
  •     Asking others to talk slowly, clearly and loudly
  •     Turning up the volume to be able to hear the radio or TV
  •     Avoiding social situations
Besides aging, hearing loss can also be caused by:
  • Exposure to loud sounds that can damage the cells of your inner ear. This damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a short exposure, such as from a gunshot.
  • Genetic susceptibility to hearing loss.
  • Occupations where loud noise regularly occur in the working environment, such as construction or factory work.
  • Exposure to noise from firearms, jet engines, concerts, fireworks, etc.
  • Certain medications, such as the antibiotic gentamicin and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear.
  • Some diseases or illnesses such as meningitis, may cause high fever, resulting in damage the cochlea.
There are steps you can take to prevent noise-induced hearing loss and to avoid making age-related hearing loss worse, including:
  • Protect your ears from loud or continuous noise at work by wearing hearing protection
  • Have your hearing to detect early hearing loss. Knowing you've lost some hearing means you're in a position to take steps to prevent further hearing loss
  • Use caution during high risk activities, such as motorsports, hunting and loud concerts by wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks to avoid long periods of exposure
  • Turn down the volume when listening to music
If you are a family member is having difficulty hearing, Parkway Family Physicians can provide hearing and vision screening. Call 651-690-1311.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:15

Why You Should Get a Flu Shot This Year

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During last year's flu season vaccines prevented an estimated 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations. Even if you had a flu shot last year, it's important that those 6 months and older get the shot every season. While influenza viruses function more or less the same, every year there are different types, or strains, of the flu.

It takes around two weeks after receiving a flu shot for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus, so it's best to get your shot before the flu season arrives by late October.

If you live or work with young children, the elderly, or people with certain medical conditions who are more likely to suffer complications from the flu, it's important to get a flu shot, even if you're not in a higher risk category. By doing so you can prevent the spread of the flu to higher risk individuals in the community.

How Does a Flu Shot Work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Are There Side Effects From Flu Shots?

The side effects from a flu shot are minor, and include soreness at the site of the injection, headache, body aches and in some cases fever.

Have questions about flu shots? Give Parkway Family Physicians a call at 651-690-1311.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 17:07

Food Safety Tips

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The CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Pregnant women, young children, older adults
and people with immune systems weakened from medical conditions are at highest risk from foodborne illnesses.

Keeping your family safe from foodborne illness at home is all about practicing good food handling procedures. Here are some tips to keep your food safe.

  1. Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  2. Use clean, disposable gloves if your hands have sores or cuts.
  3. After preparing food thoroughly wash all surfaces that have come in contact with raw food with hot, soapy water. Consider using paper towels to clean contaminated areas, or if you use dishcloths, replace them often and wash them in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  4. Keep cutting boards clean by washing them in hot, soapy water after each use. Sanitize cutting boards with a solution or 1 tablespoon of bleach to each gallon of water. Most plastic, glass and some solid wood cutting boards can be washed in a dishwasher. Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, they should be replaced.
  5. Always use separate platters and utensils for raw food and prepared food that is being served.
  6. Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of meats is 145°F degrees for steaks and roasts and a minimum of 160°F degrees for ground beef.
  7. Keep pets, household cleaners, and other chemicals away from food and surfaces used for food.
  8. When cooking outdoors, keep plenty of clean utensils available and pack clean, dry cloths and use disinfectant sprays or wipes to keep food preparation and serving areas clean.
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 15:48

Recognizing Skin Cancer

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Skin cancer rates have been rising in the US and it has become the most common cancer in young people. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, including using sunscreen, wearing UV protective clothing and avoiding indoor tanning.

Early detection of skin cancer is also important. Examine your skin on on your entire body for suspicious spots or changes to moles at least once a month. Be especially suspicious of new moles. Taking photos of moles can help you monitor them for changes over time.

Dermatologists look for particular features in skin referred to as the ABCs of skin cancer. The ABCDEs are important characteristics to be aware of when examining your skin for moles and other growth, here's what to look for:

A is for Asymmetry
Normal moles are symmetrical, with both sides looking the same. If they do not look the same on both sides, have it checked by a dermatologist.

B is for Borders
If a mole does not look circular, or is irregular with bumps, ragged or blurred edges, have it checked by a dermatologist. Melanoma lesions often have uneven borders.

C is for Color
Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. Look for areas of uneven or multiple colors. Moles with shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red should be checked by a doctor.

D is for Diameter
A mole should be checked by a doctor if it is larger than 6mm – about the size of the eraser of a pencil.

E for is Evolution
If a mole is shrinking, growing larger, changing color, causing irritation or bleeding – it should be checked. Melanoma lesions often grow in size or change in height rapidly.

If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDE's see a doctor. Your doctor may want remove a tissue sample from the mole to perform a biopsy.


Tuesday, 10 April 2018 00:43

Preventing Tick-borne Illnesses

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With the arrival of warm summer weather in Minnesota comes the increased risk for diseases spread by mosquitos, ticks and fleas. Minnesota is a particularly high risk state for tick-borne diseases, with the second highest number of disease cases. Between 2004 and 2016, there were 26,886 tick-borne disease cases in Minnesota, according to CDC data. While Lyme Disease is the most common disease spread by ticks, spotted fever rickettsioses, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis have all seen cases rise in the last decade.

Ticks

Here are some tips for reducing your risk of contracting tick-borne illnesses.

  • Avoid walking through heavily wooded areas by staying on cleared paths.
  • Light colored clothing will allow you to better spot and remove wood ticks.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck your pant legs into your socks so that ticks cannot crawl up the inside of your pant legs.
  • Apply repellents containing DEET to prevent ticks from attaching.
  • Check for ticks on your body and clothing after returning from wooded, brushy, or tall, grassy areas and remove any ticks you find on you, your child or your pet.
  • Because young ticks are very small, around the size of a poppyseed, have someone chek hard to reach areas, particularly on areas of the body where hair is present, making it difficult to see ticks.
  • Shower after being in an area with ticks, and promptly put clothes in a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.
  • Use tick prevention products for your pet dogs and cats.

If you get a rash or a fever, let the doctor know if you may have been exposed to ticks, even if you don't remember having a tick bite.

The Causes and Cures For Migraines

A migraine is headache that can include throbbing pain, nausea and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. They affect as many as 12 percent of the population and can be debilitating, leaving sufferers unable to function normally.

Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors, including:

  • In women, fluctuations in the hormone estrogen can trigger migraines
  • Going without eating for long periods of time
  • Certain processed foods containing a lot of salt
  • Food additive such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial sweeteners
  • An increase in stress
  • Alcohol and high levels of caffeine
  • Irregular sleep patterns or jet lag
  • Sensory stimulation from bright light, loud noises, and strong smells.
  • Excessive physical exertion
  • Oral contraceptives and certain medications

Preventing Migraines

  • While many of the triggers for migraines are difficult to avoid, there are certain things you can do to reduce the number and severity of attacks, including:
  • Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise helps to reduce stress and tension
  • Control stress by finding ways to reduce stress triggers
  • Get enough rest and try to stay on a consistant sleep schedule
  • For women, reduce medications that contain estrogen if you suspect that they are triggering migraines or making them worse
  • Ask you doctor about Transcutaneous supraorbital nerve stimulation (t-SNS), which was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a preventive therapy for migraines
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 19:22

Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented?

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Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented?

Kidney stones are a common condition that will affect 1 out of 10 people at some point in their lives, most likely past the age 40. While the hard deposits of minerals and acid salts that stick together in concentrated urine and pass through the urinary tract can be very painful, they usually don't cause permanent damage.

The most common symptoms are severe abdominal pain and nausea, but may also include:

  • Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs.
  • Cloudy and strong smelling urine
  • Pink or red urine
  • Pain during urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination in small amounts

You should see your doctor is you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain
  • Pain that results in nausea and vomiting
  • Pain that includes fever and chills
  • Blood in your urine
  • Difficulty passing urine

Taking pain relievers and drinking a lot water can help alleviate the pain and pass the stone. If the stones cannot be passed, medical procedures may be needed to break up larger stones.

Treatment includes pain relievers and drinking lots of water to help pass the stone. Medical procedures may be needed to remove or break up larger stones.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

There are many factors that can contribute to kidney stones, and there is no single, definitive cause. A family history of kidney stones can increase your risk. Certain metabolic disorders can make an individual more prone to the buildup of substances that cause the crystals to stick together, causing stones to form.

Dietary factors, including high levels of vitamin D and Oxalate, which is a naturally occurring substance found in food and produced by the liver. A diet that is high in protein, high levels of sodium and sugar may increase the risk for certain types of kidney stones.

Preventing Kidney Stones

According to the Mayo Clinic, kidney stones can be successfully treated by analyzing urine samples in the lab and pinpointing the cause. With dietary changes and in some cases medication, the risk of new stones developing can be reduced by 90%.

Several dietary changes are known to help reduce kidney stones, including:

  • Drinking more water
  • Eating foods rich in calcium
  • Reducing sodium (salt)
  • Eating less animal protein
  • Avoiding vitamin C supplements
  • Eater fewer foods that have high oxalate content (found in certain fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate)



Staying Safe During Dangerously Cold Weather

Cold weather safety tipsIn Minnesota we pride ourselves on being able to survive our long, cold winters. We know how to dress warm and plan for emergencies when we are away from home. Even with the forecast of sub-zero temperatures, emergency rooms always see a steady flow of visitors suffering from everything from frost bite to broken bones from falls on icy sidewalks. Here are some safety steps you can take to ensure that you stay safe during the frigid winter months.

1. Icy Sidewalks and Driveways

By far the most common injury during the winter months is from slipping and falling on ice. Even if a surface looks ice-free, black ice and ice hidden under snow can cause a sudden loss of traction. When walking in icy conditions keep your center of gravity over your front leg, take short, deliberate steps, and keep your hands out of your pockets to maintain balance. If you do lose your balance, although it seems counterintuitive, try to relax and distribute your body weight to avoid taking the force of the fall on your arms or wrists.

If you're running or exercising outdoors during the winter, consider wearing traction devices, like cables, on your shoes for extra traction on icy surfaces.

2. Look For Signs of Hypothermia

Shivering is your body's signal that your body temperature is dropping. You’re not at risk yet, but you need to take steps to avoid hypothermia and a dangerously low body temperature. Look out for these warning signs:

  • you’re becoming clumsy or confused
  • you feeling drowsy
  • your experiencing excessive shivering, or have stopped shivering altogether

In that case, get out of the cold immediately and seek a warm place. Get out of wet clothes. Bundle up in warm blankets.

Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Mittens that keep the fingers together are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat that covers your mouth to protect your lungs.

3. Be Alert For Frostbite

Pay attention to your body's warning signals that indicate your extremities are getting too cold. If you feel tingling and pain, immediately take steps to warm up. By the time the tingling turns to numbness, you're experiencing frostbite, and a medical emergency.

Most people think of frostbite as only being a risk to fingers and toes, but the ears and nose are also vulnerable, so be sure to insulate and protect your face.

 

 

Monday, 11 December 2017 21:26

Staying Active During the Winter

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Staying Active During the Winter

Winter in Minnesota means less daylight, snow, ice and frigid temperatures. It's understandable that many of us want to stay indoors and hibernate. Thankfully, there are options for staying physically active during the winter. The key is to just keep moving and have a consistent schedule of activity.

Get Outside

Many communities in the Twin Cities offer outdoor recreation opportunities that are prefect for staying in shape. Try cross-country or downhill skiing, snowboarding, or just take a hike through the woods with snowshoes.

If you exercise outside in the winter, whether running, walking or biking, be sure to wear reflective clothing and a headlamp. Stay in well-lit areas and avoid areas where you don't feel safe. Wear a waterproof outer layer and other layers made of wool or polypropylene — wool socks, waterproof shoes, a warm hat, and mittens. Know your limits and ensure that you have good traction on slick surfaces.

Indoor Exercise

There are many forms of exercise you can do at home, even if you don't have a stationary bike or treadmill. Try 15 to 30 minutes of squats, jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups. In most cases that's all you will need to stay healthy at fit.

If you prefer to work out in a social setting, the gym or health club can offer a feeling of camaraderie along with an almost unlimited number of activities from yoga and martial arts to tennis and indoor soccer.

At work, try a walking meeting, climb the stairs and take a walk during lunch to get your heart rate up.

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