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Thursday, September 21, 2017

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How To Treat a Cut at Home - and When You Should Seek Medical Attention

Cuts are one of the most common injuries that occur in the home. Knife accidents in the home were responsible for almost 330,000 hospital visits in 2011 alone. Whether it happens from cutting a tomato in the kitchen or using garden tools in the yard, cuts can range from a minor annoyance to a serious medical emergency. So how do you know if a cut can be safely treated at home or if professional medical attention is needed?

When You Can Treat a Cut At Home

  • You have normal movement of the affected area
  • There is no numbness
  • There are no visible bones or tendons

How To Treat a Cut At Home

  • Apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding
  • Clean the cut with soap and water, and apply an antibiotic ointment
  • Cover the cut with a band-aid
  • Clean the cut daily with soap and water,  reapply an antibiotic ointment and apply a new band-aid

When You Should Seek Medical Attention

  • The cut is large and gaping
  • Movement is restricted to the affected area
  • There is numbness in the affected area
  • If you have any of the symptoms above, apply direct pressure to the cut using a gauze pad or a clean towel, and go to the ER for professional treatment

The doctor will clean out the wound to ensure there is no debris inside, and then close the wound to reduce the risk of infection and scarring.

In the U.S. heart disease remains the leading cause of death. Fortunately, many of the risk factors are well known and can be reduced by making healthy lifestyle choices and making sure that your blood pressure, cholesterol a weight stay at healthy levels.

Here are the top 7 ways to lead heart healthy lifestyle.

1. Quit Smoking

Even occasional smoking increases the risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking is the best way to lower your risk of cardiac arrest.

2. Reduce Alcohol Intake

While some recent studies have shown limited health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, excessive alcohol consumption can put a strain on your heart. It is recommended that women drink no more than one drink a day and men no more than two drinks a day.

3. Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control

Have your blood pressure checked regularly and talk to your doctor about your options for lowering high blood pressure.

4. Have Your Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels Tested

Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol is important for reducing your risk of heart disease. A Mediterranean diet that includes healthy oils and grains can reduce cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy. Instead of butter, cook with olive oil and replace red meat with alternative protein source such as fish and nuts.

5. Exercise and Stay Active

Regular physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. In addition to helping maintain a healthy weight, exercise can lower blood pressure, strengthen heart muscles and reduce stress.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Our bodies need sleep to give our heart a chance to rest. Sleep lowers blood pressure and your heart rate. For most adults, seven to eight hours of sleep a night is ideal.

7. See Your Doctor

Regular screening for heart disease can catch risks early and prevent future problems.
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone start monitoring their heart health by age 20. Your doctor will check your blood pressure, your weight and your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Depending on your family history and personal risk factors, your doctor may recommend a more comprehensive check up.
Tuesday, 11 July 2017 18:47

Understanding Shin Splints

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If you have ever experienced lower leg pain after exercise or physical exertion, you're not alone. The cause is often a condition called shin splints.

Shin splints affect over 3 million Americans every year and are most commonly caused by overusing leg muscles to the point that they become irritated and swollen from micro tears in muscle tissue. Other causes include stress fractures, or tiny breaks in the lower leg bones. Overpronation or "flat feet" where the foot's arch collapses when stepping, and weakness in the stabilizing muscles of the hips or core.

Treating Shin Splints

In most cases the symptoms of shin splints will subside in few days to a week and lab tests and imaging are only necessary if the pain is severe or last more than a couple of weeks.

To relieve the pain of shin splints, the best treatment is rest, ice, and over the counter pain relievers. When the pain first appears, ice your shin for 20-30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours to reduce pain and swelling. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen or aspirin, can help with pain and swelling.

Rare cases shin splints are caused by a more severe stress fracture that may require surgery and physical therapy. If you're concerned about your leg pain, don't hesitate to give us a call.


Summer is here and for many families the calendar is filled with lots of outdoor activities. Because summer in Minnesota can mean an increased risk for certain injuries and illnesses, we've put together a list of health tips so you and your family can spend more time relaxing at the lake and less time at the doctor this summer.

Sun and Heat

After a long cold winter Minnesotans relish the nice hot days outside. However, the sun and heat can pose a real danger, particularly to young children and the elderly. Of course, the best protection from the sun is to avoid direct exposure, but the next best option is to wear light colored, UV protective clothing and a wide brim hat. Even when the sky is partly cloudy UV rays can be harmful, so use a suntan lotion with an SPF of 15 or higher, and remember to reapply it every two hours or after swimming. If you do get sunburn, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help with the pain, while lotions containing aloe vera can cool and sooth red skin.

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are another danger that can come with outdoor activities. You can minimize your risk by taking frequent breaks from the sun and heat and staying hydrated with non-alcoholic beverages. Never leave young children or pets in a car unattended, even if you're just running a quick errand.

Barbecue Grills

Because barbecue pose a real danger to children, they should never be left unattended. Teach children to stay away from grills. Many small, portable grills can be knocked over easily, so keep pets and kids away while cooking. It's also a good idea to keep a garden hose or bucket of water nearby. When cleaning a grill, avoid metal bristle brushes that can break off and be accidentally ingested with the cooked food.

Swimming Pools and Lakes

While swimming in a cool lake or swimming pool is a prefect complement to a hot summer day, it's important that everyone know who is responsible for watching young children around water. Even if they know how to swim well, never allow a child to swim unattended. Don't assume that others are watching out for them. Children who cannot swim should have approved life jackets (not inflatable devices). If a child is missing near the pool, always look for them underwater first.

Fireworks

Children should never be allowed to play with firecrackers, rockets or other fireworks. While sparklers may seem harmless, but they can cause serious burns. Teach children to never pick up "duds" or fireworks that have failed to go off.


 

Protecting children from lead exposure is critical to ensuring healthy start. The most common source of lead exposure in U.S. homes built prior to 1978 is from lead-based paints and dust from paint. Children under the age of 6 years old are at higher risk because they are growing rapidly and tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths.

If your home, a relative's home or daycare was built before 1978, assume that the paint contains lead unless it tests negative. If you're concerned about the possibility of lead contamination, most local health departments can assist with testing paint and dust in your home for lead. Pregnant women and young children who are at high risk of lead exposure should be tested for lead. Because the effects of lead exposure are irreversible and can cause lifelong learning and attention problems, its important to limit the risks of exposure during pregnancy and early in life.

Preventing Lead Exposure

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these tips to prevent lead exposure in children.

  • Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  • Children and pregnant women should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation. They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed.
  • Create barriers between living/play areas and lead sources. Until environmental clean-up is completed, you should clean and isolate all sources of lead. Close and lock doors to keep children away from chipping or peeling paint on walls. You can also apply temporary barriers such as contact paper or duct tape, to cover holes in walls or to block children’s access to other sources of lead.
  • Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
  • Regularly wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components. Because household dust is a major source of lead, you should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces every 2-3 weeks. Windowsills and wells can contain high levels of leaded dust. They should be kept clean. If feasible, windows should be shut to prevent abrasion of painted surfaces or opened from the top sash. Take off shoes when entering the house to prevent bringing lead-contaminated soil in from outside.
  • Prevent children from playing in bare soil; if possible, provide them with sandboxes. Plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips, if possible. Until the bare soil is covered, move play areas away from bare soil and away from the sides of the house. If you have a sandbox, cover the box when not in use to prevent cats from using it as a litter box. That will help protect children from exposure to animal waste.
  • avoid using traditional folk medicine and cosmetics that may contain lead;
  • avoid eating candies imported from Mexico;
  • avoid using containers, cookware, or tableware to store or cook foods or liquids that are not shown to be lead free;
  • remove recalled toys and toy jewelry immediately from children.
  • use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula (Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead. Most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply.);
  • shower and change clothes after finishing a task that involves working with lead-based products such as stained glass, making bullets, or using a firing range.

 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 19:15

Preventing Insect Bites and Stings

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As the warm summer weather approaches both people and insects will soon be outside in abundance. Bees, wasps, mosquitos and wood ticks are just a few of the common insects in Minnesota that can cause everything from minor itching to serious diseases like Lyme Disease and West Nile. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe from insect bites and stings.

Stinging insects will be most common near woods, gardens, picnic areas and trash containers. Around the home be cautious around eaves, attics, and crawl spaces where insects may build nests. If there are fruit trees in your yard, keep the fruit from collecting under the tree where bees and wasps will be attracted.

When picnicking outdoors keep food sealed until you are ready to eat. Dispose of food waste in enclosed trash can or trash bags.

Avoid wearing perfumes, scented cosmetics, lotions, deodorants which can attract bees and other stinging insects.

Choosing the right clothing can lower the chances of attracting insects. Wear neutral, light colored clothing in a single color rather than brightly colored clothing.

Wear fully enclosed socks and shoes rather than sandals. Tighter fitting, long shirts and pants can prevent insects from becoming entangled under clothing.
 

As we turn our clocks forward this Sunday for Daylight Saving Time our bodies must adjust to one less hour of sleep. Research has shown that this seemingly small time shift can have significant implications for our health.

A 2016 study in Finland found that just two days after the time shift the rate of stroke rose 8%. Those with cancer were 25% more likely to have a stroke during that time, while people 65 and older were 20% more likely to suffer a stroke. A 2012 study from the University of Alabama Birmingham found that the Monday and Tuesday after daylight saving time is associated with a 10% increase in heart attacks. Other studies have linked the hour lost to DSL with more workplace injuries and auto accidents, and decreased cognitive ability.

While the reason isn't clear, it's known that the disruption of the circadian clock do to sleep disruption and shift work increases the risk of stroke. To reduce the side effects of the DSL time shift, the National Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping in Sunday morning and taking a nap that afternoon as well as these other tips for getting a good night's sleep:

  • Most adults need seven to nine hours to function properly
  • Leave a couple of hours between eating and going to bed
  • Turn off mobile devices before you head to bed. Blue light from screens can affect your ability to sleep
  • Make your room all about sleep: Use a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding, and keep your room dark
  • Create a bedtime ritual. Make deep breathing, stretches and other relaxing exercises part of your preslumber routine
  • Keep a piece of paper next to your bed. Write down any worries before trying to get to sleep
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 14:31

How An Allergy Skin Test Is Performed

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When the cause of an allergy is unknown, a skin prick test (also called a puncture or scratch test) can be performed at the doctor's office to identify possible allergens.
Multiple substances are scratched into to the surface of the skin to detect common allergens,including: mold, pollen, pet dander, dust mites and different types of food.

Allergy testing takes less than an hour and can be performed on adults or children of any age. For children the test is usually performed on the upper back. Adults will usually have an allergy test performed on the forearm. First, the nurse will clean the skin with alcohol and mark the test area. The allergen is then applied next to each mark. The needles used to apply the substance only scratches the surface of the skin, so the test is not painful. A different needle is used for each substance.

To check if the skin is reacting normally, a histamine will also be applied to the skin. If you don't react to histamine, which is uncommon, the allergy test may not identify an allergy even if you have one. In addition, glycerin or saline is applied to test for a reaction. If there is a reaction, it is often an indiction of sensitive skin, which muct e factored into the allergy test results to avoid a false diagnosis.

The skin test may detect an allergic reaction immediately, or the reaction may not occur until several days after exposure. If an allergic reaction is present, there will be a raised, red bump on the skin resembling a mosquito bite. The nurse will measure the size of the bump. The marks will then be removed with alcohol. If an allergen is identified, your doctor will discuss the options for treatment.


Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to weaken and become brittle. It occurs when the natural regrowth of bone tissue slows and new bone does not replace the old bone. As the bones weaken and become brittle, the risk of fractures increases. Fractures are most likely to occur in the hip, wrist or spine. In severe cases, the stress of coughing or beding over can cause a fracture.

While osteoporosis can affect both men and women, older women who are past menopause are at the highest risk. Other risk factors include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle, or sitting for long periods of time
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use

Certain medical conditions also increase the risk of osteoporosis:

  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Lupus
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

The first sign of osteoporosis is often a bone fracture. However a diagnoses requires lab tests or imaging. Bone density screening is recommended for postmenopausal women at age 65 and men at age 70.

Other signs may include:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture

While there is no cure for osteoporosis, medications, eating a healthy diet and doing weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss and strengthen weak bones. For some women, hormone therapy can also be beneficial.

 

Cold Weather Can Give You a Cold

One of the most common misconceptions about cold weather is that ii can make you sick. The reality is our bodies produce infection-fighting cells as a reaction to the cold puts on your body.

In addition, viruses that cause cold thrive at around 91 degrees; so if you're outside in the freezing cold, your nasal passages are chilled to a point below which viruses can easily survive.

Running in the Cold Burns Improves Performance and Burns More Calories

This is a fact. According to research published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, cold temperatures improve race times, and this quicker paces burns more calories in a shorter period of time.

Allergies Are Less Common in the Winter

For many people with allergies, spring and summer bring the start of itchy eyes and sneezing and runny noses. However, while pollen is of obviously lower during the winter months, our tightly sealed homes can lead to poor air quality, which can trigger allergies from dust and mold, especially if we share the home with our furry friends.

You Lose Most of Your Body Heat Through Your Head

This is one of the most common myths. Your body will lose heat just as quickly if you're not wearing gloves versus a hat. Any exposed area of skin will lose heat at a similar rate.

Taking Vitamin C Will Prevents Colds

Vitamin C does appear to be helpful in maintaining a healthy immune system. In addition, studies have shown that taking a large dose of vitamin C at the first sign of a cold may help lessen the severity and length of a cold. 

Drinking Alcohol Can Help Warm Your Body When It's Cold Outside

This is a myth. Alcohol may provide the sensation of warmth because it causes your blood to rush to the surface of your skin, but it will actually cause your core temperature to drop. It can also inhibit your body's ability to shiver and create extra heat.

 

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