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Springtime Safety Tips from Catherine Carter, FNP-C

It doesn’t matter how mild or fierce winter is, the first signs of spring bring an increase in activity in our community. Whether we are working in our yards, sprucing up our homes, or participating in an outdoor sport, everyone seems to be busy doing something. I’d like to say a quick word about being mindful for safety when participating in activities.

Equipment like lawn mowers, weed whackers, and all types of saws are loud and can throw debris. Loud noise from equipment like these can cause hearing loss over time, or the debris can enter the eye and cause irritation or damage. An easy way to avoid these types of injuries is to wear hearing protection (ear plugs or muffs) and safety eyewear; and don’t forget gloves to protect hand and fingers.

If outdoor sports are more your thing, a good stretch before activity can ward off annoying strains. Wearing an appropriate helmet is the simplest way to prevent a significant head injury when riding something with wheels. Helmet usage while horseback riding has increased in popularity.

A little mindfulness before diving into a project or activity may prevent an annoying or significant injury from occurring that can derail even the best of plans. If an injury should occur, we at the Urgent Care at Stansbury Springs are available 7 days a week to evaluate and treat injuries.

Urgent Care @ Stansbury Springs

576 Hwy 138, Ste 400 (by Soelbergs)

Stansbury Park, UT

435.843.1342

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Flu Season is Here!

Flu Season 2017 is here!

Flu season officially started October 1 2017. Since then there have been 80 people hospitalized for Influenza in the state. The age group most affected is 50+. As expected there have been increased reports of Influenza activity since Thanksgiving. There is a lot in life we have limited control of, but we can control our immunity against Influenza.

The flu vaccine is an important vaccine to receive annually. It not only protects individuals, but it may protect others who cannot receive the vaccine; infants under 6 months, those fighting cancer or other catastrophic diseases and the elderly. The two most common reasons I have heard people refuse the vaccine are: “I never get the flu” and “I get the flu when I get the vaccine”.

When a relatively healthy person gets the Flu they are miserable for a few days, they get over it and go on with their life, but if a person with a poor immune system gets the flu it can become life threatening. The healthy individual can protect others by receiving the vaccine.

You cannot get the flu from the injectable vaccine; it is not a live vaccine. A person can feel a little under the weather for a few days while experiencing a normal immune response to the vaccine, as you can with other vaccines, but it is not Influenza.

If you do get the Flu or a cold, protect your community; stay home, drink fluids and rest.

Stansbury Urgent Care has Influenza vaccine available and we are open 7 days a week for our community.

By Catherine Carter, FNP.

Blog

Prostate Cancer Awareness: How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in American men, with one in seven being diagnosed during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year alone, more than 161,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and join the nearly 2.9 million American men who have battled or are currently battling the disease. While little is known about the cause of prostate cancer, early detection can help save lives.

The most common risk factor for prostate cancer is age, with about six in 10 cases occurring in men aged 65 or older. It is rare before age 40, and the average age when diagnosed is around 66. Race is a contributing factor as well. African American men are diagnosed more often than men of other races, and they are nearly 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease. A family history of the disease can also increase the risk of diagnosis.

The symptoms of prostate cancer are not prevalent in the very early stages but do appear as the cancer progresses. These symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty beginning urination
  • Inability to urinate
  • Interruption of urine flow
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Reoccurring pain or stiffness in the back, hips or upper thighs

 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult with your primary care physician right away for testing. It is recommended that men over age 50 talk to their physician about yearly prostate cancer testing, and those with one or more risk factors may want to consider asking their doctor to begin screenings earlier.

No evidence has been found to prove prostate cancer can be prevented.  However, certain measures can be taken to potentially lower the risk.  A healthy diet can improve chances of preventing prostate cancer or any other form of cancer.  Eating more fruits and vegetables provides abundant amounts of vitamins, minerals and fibers that help your body function properly.

Meats or any food derived from animals, such as dairy products, are high in dietary fat and should be eaten in moderation.  High-fat diets are believed to be a risk factor, because it is theorized that fat increases the production of testosterone, which in turn can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells.    

While a prostate cancer diagnosis can be scary, early detection and treatment can help increase survival rates. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed with local and regional stage prostate cancers will be disease-free after five years. Some treatment options can include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Prostate exams are available with any of the Primary Care Providers through the Tooele Medical Group.   For more information or to schedule a screening, call 435-775-9975.

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Don’t Let Summer Heat Ruin Fall Marathon Prep

Runners training for fall marathons should recognize signs of heat-related illness and seek treatment immediately.

October is one of the most popular months for marathons with more than 200 scheduled in the U.S. this year alone, according to findmymarathon.com. And while this means cooler temperatures during the race, runners are training now in the summer heat with temperatures often reaching well into the 90s and heat indexes climbing even higher. Novice and professional runners alike should be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses when preparing for a big race.

Hundreds of people die every year from heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These are common conditions that summer sun and/or vigorous exercise can initiate. Likely symptoms include:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Throbbing headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Unconsciousness

 

While symptoms for heat exhaustion and heat stroke are similar, heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness, since the body becomes unable to control its temperature or cool down. It can be identified by changes in consciousness, disorientation and a rapid, strong pulse. Body temperature becomes extremely high, rising quickly to 103°F or higher. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, the individual is dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should be transported to the emergency room immediately.

Runners should also be on the lookout for heat cramps, which may be the first sign of a heat-related illness.  Heat cramps are often felt as spasms in the legs or abdomen. Sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture levels, and low salt levels in muscles can cause painful cramps.

If someone is experiencing a heat-related illness, the following first-aid procedures should be followed:

  • Immediately take the individual out of the heat, preferably to an air-conditioned building;
  • Lay the individual down with their feet elevated;
  • Have the individual slowly drink water or a sports drink; and
  • Pack ice around the individual’s neck, armpits and groin.

 

If the individual doesn’t feel better within 30 minutes, or is demonstrating any signs of disorientation, proceed to the emergency room.

To prevent heat-related illnesses, try to avoid strenuous activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when temperatures are at their highest. If you must be outside during this time, drink lots of fluids and take frequent breaks. Intense physical activity can drain the body of up to a half-gallon of perspiration in an hour.

When exercising, wear wicking fabrics made of synthetics, not cotton. In extreme heat, these materials wick away moisture better than cotton, which when saturated with sweat, can smother the skin. Also be sure to wear sunscreen.

Knowing how to prevent heat-related illnesses, as well as recognizing and being able to treat the symptoms, will help keep marathon training on schedule this summer in prep for a healthy marathon season this fall.

Catherine Carter, FNP is on staff with the Urgent Care at Stansbury Springs and can be reached at 435-843-1342 and located by Soelbergs off Highway 36 and 138.  Urgent Care hours are 8-8 Mon-Sat and 1-5 on Sundays.

Blog

Summertime Health and Safety

By Catherine Carter, FNP
Urgent Care at Stansbury Springs

After being cooped up all winter it’s nice to start spending time outdoors. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we head outside:

BE MOSQUITO SAVVY: Mosquitoes are known to transmit West Nile, Zika, and other viruses that can cause serious illness. Mosquito bites can be prevented by following some simple steps:

  • Wear insect repellent when outdoors:
    • Read and follow product labels on how to best apply and how often to reapply, especially for children.
    • Avoid use of insect repellant on children less than 2 months of age, also certain chemicals should not be used by children under age 3.
    • Spray repellant onto your hands then apply to a child’s face, do not directly spray their face.
  • Wear clothing that covers the arms and legs.
  • Be aware that mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and evening.
  • Ensure screens are in good repair.
  • Ensure you do not have areas of standing water around your home which can be used by mosquitoes to lay eggs.

BE A SUN SAFETY ENFORCER: Exposure to the sun’s rays feels great, but exposure can lead to skin damage and cancer.

  • Ensure the sunscreen you choose has a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 rating or higher and has coverage for both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours, or after swimming, or sweating even on a cloudy day.
  • Check the sunscreen’s expiration; sunscreen with no expiration date has a shelf life of 3 years or shorter if it has been in the hot temperatures.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat that shades the face, ears, head and neck.
  • Eyes need protection from the UV rays as well to reduce the risk of cataracts; ensure they protect from UVA and UVB.
  • Avoid sun exposure during the midday hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.

BE HEAT SMART:

  • Be aware of the hot temperatures and humidity when planning your daily activities.
  • Ensure everyone has plenty of fluids available to stay hydrated.
  • Humidity plays a factor in the body’s ability to stay cool; in low humidity the body can cool through evaporation of perspiration on the skin, but in high humidity environments evaporation does not occur and the body will not cool that easily.
  • If you are witness to someone you think is overheated, put them in the shade and cool them by offering fluids, applying cool water to the body, fanning them and call for medical attention.

SAFE DRINKING WATER:

  • Best practice prior to travel or heading into the backcountry is to plan ahead and ensure water supply is adequate.
  • Water from creeks and streams may look fresh and clean, but several parasites, bacteria or viruses, that cause illness, could be prominent.
  • Water can be treated by bringing it to a rolling boil for 1 minute (or if above 6,562 feet boil water for 3 minutes). This SHOULD kill the pathogens.
  • If boiling water is not an option then a combination of commercially available filtration and chemical disinfection system may be the best option. Manufacturer’s instructions must be followed.  

For more information on these or other summer safety tips please see https://www.cdc.gov

 

Blog

What to Expect as Allergy Season Begins

Flowering grasses that are the cause of many allergies

The start of spring brings warmer weather, blooming plants and – unfortunately for more than 50 million people in the United States who suffer from nasal allergies – it also signifies the start of allergy season. Allergies are the fifth-leading cause of chronic disease in the U.S. and cost the health care system an estimated $18 billion each year.

The biggest trigger of spring allergies is pollen, which is released into the air by plants in bloom. Pollen released into the air can travel for miles and spark allergic reactions such as sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and cough.

Fortunately for the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, there are precautions to lessen symptoms and keep allergies under control.

 

  • Keep windows closed. Open windows allow pollen to more easily get inside the home and cause irritation. Keeping windows closed and running the air conditioner can be a better alternative for allergy sufferers.
  • Change indoor air filters regularly. If you are running your air conditioner or heater instead of opening the windows, make sure you change your air filters regularly to help keep the air in your home clean. It is recommended you replace air filters every three months, but if you have pets or suffer from severe allergies, you may want to consider changing them more often.
  • Track pollen counts. You can find pollen level reports in your local news media or online. Take note of high pollen forecasts and plan ahead by either taking allergy medication or avoiding outdoor activity when pollen projections are high.
  • Avoid yard work. If possible, avoid cutting the grass or weeding the garden during allergy season. If you must to do outside chores, wear a pollen mask and shower immediately afterwards to remove pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Keep your house clean. Allergy sufferers should try to keep a clean home year-round, but this tip is especially important during allergy season. Dust and pollen can find its way inside your home and settle on floors, baseboards and other surfaces. It’s best to do your spring cleaning early and schedule routine cleanings throughout the season to ensure your home is free of allergy-inducers.
  • Try over-the-counter remedies. If you exhibit allergy symptoms, you can take antihistamines or decongestants to relieve them.
  • Talk to your doctor. If you experience severe allergy symptoms and don’t see improvement with over-the-counter medication, it is best to talk to your physician. Your doctor may recommend allergy tests to pinpoint the specific triggers of your allergies and identify the best treatments for you.

 

Prepare for allergy season before it hits to minimize symptoms. Take steps now, at the start of spring, to develop an allergy plan and reduce your contact with pollen irritants.

Levi Bachler, PA-C is a family practice provider at the Grantsville Medical Clinic, 822 E Main St, Grantsville. To make an appointment with Levi, call 435-884-3578.

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Simple Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart

American Heart Month: Tips for maintaining a healthy heart from Russell Davis, FNP at Stansbury Springs Health Center

Americans are more informed than ever about the prevalence of heart disease in the United States. Claiming more than one million lives annually, heart disease, including stroke, heart attack and other types of cardiovascular disease, is the leading killer of women and men in the country, according to the Heart Foundation. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are two indicators of heart disease that are often detected in people before a major cardiovascular event such as stroke occurs.

While heart disease is a serious health concern for both men and women, rates of heart disease deaths among men have steadily declined; however, rates among women have remained relatively the same, according to the American Heart Association. Women, unlike men, can exhibit less obvious symptoms of heart disease, so often symptoms in women go unnoticed. Symptoms of heart disease can include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, cold sweats, nausea, dizziness and an increased heart rate. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, make sure to talk to your doctor.

Fortunately, people who are at high risk of heart disease or who have already exhibited symptoms can make some easy lifestyle changes to help improve their heart health.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. There is more to eating healthy than counting calories or trying to lose weight. A balanced diet can also impact the performance of your heart. Limit your intake of foods that are high in saturated fat, salt, cholesterol, trans fat and added sugars, as they do not contain much nutritional value. Eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish can help keep your heart healthy. Remember to exercise portion control and eat several meals throughout the day, including starting your day off with a balanced breakfast.
    Exercise regularly and lead a more active lifestyle. This may seem like a no-brainer, but even altering your lifestyle just slightly to include more physical activity can reap great benefits for your heart. If you don’t currently exercise regularly, start by taking a short 15-minute walk each day to get yourself used to moving regularly. If you’re already somewhat active, try to set a regular workout schedule to ensure you get the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise.
    Get enough rest. Just as exercise is important to your heart, so is sleep. Stress can damage your heart by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Getting a good night of rest can be critical to maintaining a healthy heart, especially if you have hypertension or high stress.
  • Take precaution during flu and cold season. The flu and other infections can be hard on your heart. Make sure to wash your hands often, especially during cold and flu season. Getting a flu vaccine is also a great way to take preventive measures against disease.
  • Don’t smoke. You’re probably already aware of the many detrimental effects tobacco has on your body. Smoking increases your risk of lung and throat cancers, but it also increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and that of those around you.
  • Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking a small amount of alcohol regularly can actually provide heart health benefits, however binge drinking and drinking more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men can increase heart disease risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight have a higher risk of developing heart disease because excessive weight often results in high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an increased level of blood fats. By changing eating habits to incorporate a more balanced diet and adopting regular exercise habits, it can be easier to maintain a healthy weight.

There are plenty of heart health resources that are available at your primary care provider’s office. You can also talk to your doctor about your risk factors and establish a plan to adopt healthy behaviors to limit and reduce your risk of developing heart disease in the future.

Blog

Flu and Cold Season

Side view of sick woman having coffee on sofa in living room

With the Holiday here, we are reminded of another annual event: the beginning of cold and flu season. There may be a lot in life that we have limited control over, but we can control our immunity against influenza.

The flu vaccine is an important vaccine for everyone who is eligible to receive it annually. It not only protects the individual, but it may protect others who cannot receive the vaccine: infants under 6 months, those fighting cancer or other catastrophic diseases, and the elderly.

The two most common reasons I have heard people refuse the vaccine are: “I never get the flu” and “I get the flu when I get the vaccine”.  When a relatively healthy person gets the flu they are miserable for a few days, they get over it and go on with their life, but if a person with a poor immune system gets the flu it can become life-threatening. The healthy individual can protect others by ensuring they receiving the vaccine.

You cannot get the flu from the injectable vaccine; it is not live vaccine. A person can feel a little under the weather while experiencing a normal immune response to the vaccine, as you can with other vaccines, but it is not Influenza. Previous vaccines have been made with live virus and yes potentially that could lead to active disease, but the current vaccine is inactive.

If you do get the flu or a cold, protect your community. Stay home, drink fluids ,and rest.

Stansbury Urgent Care has the flu vaccine available and we are open 7 days a week for our community.

Blog

Wrap Up 2016 with Year-End Health Savings

Every year as the ball drops and a new year begins, millions of Americans promise themselves they are going to start leading healthier lives. But why not get a head start now, and save on your healthcare spending at the same time?

Now is the time to check to see if you’ve met your health insurance deductible. The deductible is the amount you are responsible for before your insurance company starts paying the bill. Most plans reset to $0 at the beginning of the calendar year.

Most insurance plans begin paying the majority, if not all, of healthcare expenses once you’ve met your deductible. If you have met that amount, or are close to reaching it, now is the time to maximize your health benefits by scheduling appointments, tests or procedures you may not have gotten around to this year. You could save a substantial amount of money, depending on what type of healthcare you need, if you obtain it before the end of the year. A few tests or procedures to consider include a colonoscopy, mammogram, inpatient or outpatient surgery, diagnostic testing and lab work.

It is also important to remember if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer, those funds do not roll over to the New Year. These types of accounts are based on a “use-it-or-lose-it” principle and if you have funds remaining in the account, the money is forfeited per Internal Revenue Service requirements.

On the contrary, if you have an individual Health Savings Account, those funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent.

The key to maximizing year-end cost savings is to schedule any appointments, testing or procedures to occur by December 31. It’s crucial to ensure any check-ups or procedures can be performed before the end of the year to be considered part of your 2016 coverage. When the New Year comes, so does a new deductible and FSA balance.

For more information on your deductible amount, please reach out to your insurance provider. For information on your healthcare options, contact your primary care physician or other specialty healthcare provider.

To make an appointment with any of our healthcare providers, call 435-775-9973.

Blog

Don’t Let Summer Heat Ruin Fall Marathon Prep

Woman exercise walking outdoors, shoes closeup

Runners training for fall marathons should recognize signs of heat-related illness and seek treatment immediately

October is one of the most popular months for marathons with more than 120 scheduled in the U.S. this year alone, according to findmymarathon.com. And that means runners, novice and professionals alike, are training now when summer temperatures can reach into the 90s and they’re at most risk for heat-related illnesses.

Hundreds of people die every year from heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These are common conditions that summer sun and/or vigorous exercise can initiate. Likely symptoms include:
Profuse sweating
Weakness
Dizziness
Nausea
Throbbing headache
Muscle cramps
Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
Rapid, strong pulse
Unconsciousness
While symptoms for heat exhaustion and heat stroke are similar, heat stroke can be identified by changes in consciousness, disorientation and a rapid, strong pulse. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, the individual is likely dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should be transported to the emergency room immediately.

If someone is experiencing a heat-related illness, the following first-aid procedures should be followed:
Immediately take the individual out of the heat, preferably to an air-conditioned building;
Lay the individual down with their feet elevated;
Have the individual slowly drink water or a sports drink; and
Pack ice around the individual’s neck, armpits and groin.
If the individual doesn’t feel better within 30 minutes, or is demonstrating any signs of disorientation, proceed directly to the emergency room.

To prevent heat-related illnesses, try to avoid strenuous activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when temperatures are at their highest. If you must be outside during this time, drink plenty of fluids and take frequent breaks. Intense physical activity can drain the body of up to a half-gallon of perspiration in an hour.

When exercising, wear wicking fabrics made of synthetics, not cotton. In extreme heat, these materials wick away moisture better than cotton, which, when saturated with sweat, can smother the skin. Also be sure to wear sunscreen.

Knowing how to prevent heat-related illnesses, as well as recognizing and being able to treat the symptoms, will help keep marathon training on schedule this summer in prep for a healthy marathon season this fall.