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March 30, 2017

Techno Balancing Act

Some days, I long for land lines and bunny ear antennas. I close my eyes and imagine the pre-smart phone and cable TV era - the days of three TV channels and one phone for the entire household. There was no instant “google it”; if you were interested in a topic, you checked out a book at the library. Dinner time was well, dinner time…folks gathered around the table, ate food, and talked and laughed together. I recently dined at a local restaurant and simply observed. Almost every table was in the techno zone, scanning newsfeeds, answering emails, liking Facebook posts, playing games. Some families literally never talked to one another throughout the course of the meal. This scene is representative of a hyper-connected society. We are connected 24/7 to family, friends, work, and the world. Unfortunately, we are also tied to its anxieties, worries, emails, to-do lists, breaking news, and trends. This technological frenzy zaps our productivity, steals sleep, increases stress, stunts creativity, makes driving dangerous, and can even ruin relationships. All that being said, technology is also an incredible tool. It connects people across the globe. It makes research easier than ever and it offers a platform for creative exchange of ideas. So while some advocate getting off the grid or unplugging entirely, most agree that is not practical or possible. Technology is a tool so to speak. We just need to figure out how to make it best work for us. Just like we don’t carry around a hammer all day long just in case we need to nail something, we don’t need to carry around our smartphones constantly just in case we get an email. Soren Gordhamer, author of Wisdom 2.0; Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected, writes about how to live a modern, engaged, and connected life with awareness, balance, and effectiveness. On his website, he writes, “…one of the biggest challenges of today's age is to connect through technology, but do so in a way that supports a person's well-being, work effectiveness, and is ultimately useful to the world.” So how do we achieve techno balance? The answer lies not in sending the lion away to a far-away jungle never to be seen again but in taming the lion. In her article, Digital Detox: 16 ways to Unplug from Technology, Every Day, Cathy Presland offers some great suggestions that anyone can incorporate into their daily living. Here are a few of her ideas for finding equilibrium: 1. Start your day right. Resist the urge to check your phone the minute you get out of bed. Instead, grab a healthy breakfast and spend some quiet time meditating, praying, or simply being still, looking out the window. Start the day relaxed and you will have a more productive day. 2. Go old school. Yep, they still make flip phones with just basic call and text functions. Without the ability to check emails or Facebook, you will have more time to enjoy the moment (whatever the moment is.) 3. Bring a book. Always carry a book or magazine with you. Instead of reaching for the phone and checking emails, the newsfeed, or Instagram one more time, open a book and get absorbed in its story. Reading a book requires focus and is relaxing. Filling your mind with thousands of images on the other hand can actually make you less focused. 4. Go on a digital diet. Sort of like going on a food diet, track your current digital intake (how much time or how many times you check it) and then set a goal for reducing that number. 5. Take a mini-break. Next time you go to dinner, leave your phone at home. Getting your haircut, leave your phone in the car. Going in the grocery store, turn your phone off. These mini-breaks can help alleviate the overload. 6. Streamline your connections. For example, if people can contact you via email, Facebook, texting, phoning, and skype, consider cutting out a few of those options so you are not checking as many places. Another option is to have messages re-directed to a general email address for one stop shopping. 7. Get Active. Move and do things that require you to be device free. Ride a bicycle, jog, swim, walk with a friend, or take an exercise class. 8. Leave work behind. When you leave work, really leave it. There are very few things that cannot wait until tomorrow. Set limits. Have separate work and personal numbers and don’t divert calls to your personal phone. 9. Lock up. If you really can’t trust yourself to not look at your phone, give it over to someone else to hold onto for an hour or two while you do something else. 10. Technology bedtime. Blue screens mess with our sleep patterns and increase the likelihood of insomnia. Put all tech away two hours before bedtime. Use the time to unwind, play a game, read, or enjoy a hobby. Overall, authors such as Presland and Gordhamer, support mindfulness and perspective. Both suggest that we need to be aware of our current technology use and the toll it may be taking on relationships as well as our emotional and physical well-being. To help keep it in perspective, one good question to ask at the end of the day/month/year is: What makes me most happy? Or what am I most grateful for? Is it an empty inbox? The number of likes on a Facebook post? Those things will be there but value is often found in the people and activities we love. Be deciding how, when, and why we are connecting, we can find an appropriate balance with technology – one that allows us to be effective in our jobs but real and available to our family and friends. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have suggestions or ideas for future articles, you can contact Lorraine at lwichtowksi@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

March 24, 2017

Time to Move and Groove

As a small child, I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa's house in Buffalo for one week every summer. While there were some special outings during the week, much of the time was spent just doing life with Grandma. Every day chores for her involved a lot of movement and activity. Wash day was particularly labor intensive. There was no automatic electric washing machine. She had tubs for washing and rinsing plus a large wringer that you cranked by hand to squeeze the water out of the clothes before hanging them on lines in the basement to dry (yep, no dryer either.) This kind of activity carried through to every part of her life from making kielbasa using a hand-cranked meat grinder to scrubbing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees. Fast forward to 2017 and my grandmother, who has since passed, would be astonished at all the gadgets, appliances, and technology we use to do our jobs. And my guess is she would be perplexed at the amount of time we sit. Never in human history have people been so sedentary. Machines wash our clothes, dishes, and floors. Computers keep us in office chairs for hours on end. Entertaining TV shows, movies, and computer games lull us deep into the comfy couch. Modern life conspires against us. We keep inventing products that keep us on our hind ends. The end result is that many folks hardly move all day long and end up stiff and sore. This is true for old and young alike. And while it might not seem like a big deal, motion is the magic ingredient that enables us to move safely and easily. In order to avoid injury and disability, we need to move and stretch our muscles. According to a recent Harvard Health publication, if you don't stretch your muscles, they will shorten. Shortened muscles do not contract as well as a muscles of designed length which then puts you at risk for muscle damage, strain, and joint pain. One way to maintain flexibility, strength, and energy is to incorporate more movement into our everyday schedules. In his book, Disease Proof, the Remarkable Truth About what Makes Us Well, Dr. David Katz writes "all physical activity is good activity. It can be sport or play; walking your dog or working the garden counts. Playing tag or touch football with your children counts. Dancing counts." Whereas in the past, life automatically required movement, now we need to deliberately incorporate it into our lives. Going to the gym or taking an exercise class is an option but that alone will not keep a spring in your step. Moving throughout the day does a better job at keeping you flexible and limber. Due to our convenience and technology oriented society, this does require some intentionality but it does not need to be hard. Here are some easy ways to move and groove: take the stairs at work (or anywhere you go that has stairs) park in the farthest spot away from the mall or grocery store wash your dishes instead of using the dishwasher walk at lunchtime either in a building or outside ride an exercise bike or walk on a treadmill while watching TV lift dumbbells (or cans of beans) while watching a movie get up at every commercial break and do something - walk, jumping jacks, stretches meet a friend for a walk, bike ride, bocce ball, croquet, frisbee scrub the kitchen floor the old fashioned way wash your car by hand instead of going through the drive through cultivate some hobbies that require movement such as hiking, birding, dancing stretch your arms above your head and then bend down to the floor whenever you get up off a chair rake leaves and sweep porches instead using a leaf blower pull weeds instead of using weed killer email or call less - walk over to your co-worker's office or the neighbor's house nix the grocery cart; instead carry a shopping basket for small trips at the grocery store hit the deck and do push-ups and crunches for 5 minutes before your morning shower get a dog and walk it two times a day Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or article suggestions, contact Lorraine at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

March 15, 2017

American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Alert day

March 28th is the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Alert day. The theme is “Take it”, the ADA diabetes or pre-diabetes risk test; “Share it”, share this test with those you care about; “Learn it” find out if you are at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes and if so, start learning and take charge. According to the CDC, an estimated 29.1 million Americans have diabetes and one out of every four don’t know they are diabetic. Type 2 diabetes affects 95% of the population where either insufficient insulin is produced by the beta cells or the body’s cells have become resistant to the insulin and don’t use the insulin efficiently or both. In Livingston County, 10.5% of the population is diabetic, up from last years’ 10.2%! Are you at risk for diabetes? Take the risk test found on the American Diabetes Association website. Pre-diabetes affects 86 million Americans and nine out of 10 individuals do not know they have the condition. With pre-diabetes, blood sugars are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Pre-diabetes does progress to diabetes but this progression is not inevitable. First, take the risk test accompanying this article and second, if you are at risk for pre-diabetes, talk to your health care provider and get tested. Lastly, if you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about what you can do to either put off the progression to diabetes or not become diabetic at all. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, meet the condition head on and take charge, do not let it take charge of you. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that only 40.6% of those with diabetes ever take advantage of the education which would help them self-manage the condition. Yet, insurance companies know that their participants with diabetes education have medical costs 2.3 times lower than the person who has not taken a diabetes course. Noyes Health has the professional resources you need close to home. The Noyes Hospital Diabetes Education Program is available in Dansville, Hornell and Geneseo and in four area physician offices. The program is recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and staffed with an RN, Certified Diabetes Educator and RN Diabetes Educator. There are individual appointments to begin and thanks to a rural health grant, 5 hours of free diabetes education classes which includes a free meal to help participants make better food choices. Be alert to your risk factors and discuss them with your physician. Nancy M. Johnsen RN, CDE is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Coordinator of the Diabetes Program at Noyes Health. Call 585-335-4355 today and start to take charge! Diabetes increases the risk for some significant health problems which include; heart disease, amputations, stroke, kidney damage, blindness, gum disease, nerve damage, and possibly dementia. Don’t be one of the statistics! A link to the American Diabetes Association can be found on the hospital website; www.noyes-health.org. ... Read More

March 15, 2017

UR Medicine | Noyes Health was voted BEST HOSPITAL

UR Medicine | Noyes Health was voted BEST HOSPITAL by readers of the Genesee Country Express and The Hornell Evening Tribune. Plus, our PT Team was voted Best Physical Therapy by Express Readers. We know we are dedicated to the health and well-being of this community, and our patients and their families do, too. #NOYESPROUD... Read More

March 8, 2017

Put Your Best Fork Forward

A few nights ago, I walked through our living room. Hubby was sitting on the couch, reading a book, putting his hand in a large bag of mixed nuts, and mindlessly popping one nut into his mouth after another. This would not have been a big deal except we had literally finished dinner 15 minutes before. And it was a fine dinner if I do say so myself - pork chops with curried pear sauce over couscous with a healthy helping of broccoli on the side. Clearly, the man was not hungry. I don’t like to nag so instead, I stopped and asked in a very neutral tone (as neutral as a wife can be after 30 years), “Are you hungry?” He smiled sheepishly, put on his little boy face, and said, “No, I just like snacking when I am reading.” He then handed the bag to me and said, “Here take it away.” I am not throwing my dearest under the bus. I am guilty and my guess is so are you. We eat quickly and often mindlessly, especially in the evening hours while watching TV, reading a book, or relaxing. I relay this story because March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has zoned in on the fork to remind us that we all have the tools to eat well and with the right intention. You don’t have to spend a fortune at the grocery store and disrupt your whole life to eat better on a daily basis. It is, however, helpful to slow down, look at the food you are eating, when you are eating it, and how you are eating it. Jill Weisenberger, nationally known registered dietician and author, writes in her blog, “The eating fork signifies eating with intention and care. I want eating to be the event – not something we squeeze in between two other events. No tossing a meal down as quickly as possible and no eating in the car. Use that fork, which is nearly impossible to do if you’re eating while driving or otherwise racing to finish a meal.” She challenges folks to pick at least two meals or snacks to practice eating with intention; that is really pay attention to your food, chew it slowly, enjoy it at a table with friends or family, and afterwards give your tummy time to communicate with your brain. 15-20 minutes after the meal, determine your hunger level on a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 being famished and 10 being “Thanksgiving full.” Still really hungry, grab a piece of fruit after the meal. Not hungry, no need to snack. The Academy also offers the following suggestions for wiser food choices and intentional mealtime. Make half your plate fruits and veggies. 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables is a good daily goal. Watch your portion sizes. Read the label. If a cereal box, says a serving size is ½ or ¾ cup, get out your measuring cups and see what that looks like. If you are mindlessly pouring cereal into a large bowl, you could be eating 3 or 4 servings worth and that triples or quadruples the calories. Get cooking. Preparing foods at home can be healthy, fun, and cost-effective. Learn cooking basics. A great resource for a number of how to cook videos is www.eatright.org/howdoi Enact family meal time. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Turn off the TV and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. When we chat at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we eat slower and eat less. Eat new foods and flavors. When you go shopping, make a point of selecting a new fruit, vegetable, or whole grain. Keep it fun – involve the kiddos and enjoy broccoflower, quinoa, or purple asparagus! Experiment with plant-based meals (vegetarian). Vegetables, beans, and lentils are budget friendly, good for you, and easy to prepare. In addition, we know that plant-based diets are important for preventing diabetes, cancer, and a host of other chronic diseases. Try including one meatless meal a week to start. For more information on the “Put Your Best Fork Forward” campaign, log onto: www.eatright.org. The site is full of tools to help you eat right and stay healthy. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have suggestions for future articles or questions, please contact her at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

March 2, 2017

Go Ahead and Doodle

Every week in church, I sit near a gentleman who consistently doodles. The minute the pastor starts the sermon, the pencil comes out and the drawings start. So is this man checking out? or is he, in fact, more focused on the message because he is doodling? Now I have to admit, I, too, am a doodler. Sometimes I doodle to enhance my notes (little arrows and pics to connect ideas) and sometimes to keep my mind engaged. And yep, sometimes I doodle because I am dreadfully bored in a meeting and drawing little funny faces or random geometric designs keeps me awake. Research now shows the folks who draw during sermons, the kiddos who add little pics along side their class notes, and the employees who sketch random designs in meetings are actually more engaged, focused, and creative. In 2009, a study published in the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, found that doodlers find it easier to recall dull information than non-doodlers. The researcher asked 40 people to monitor a 2 1/2 minute dull and rambling voice mail message. Half the group doodled, and the other half did not. The participants did not know their memories were being tested. When both groups were asked to recall details of the voicemail, those that doodled were better at paying attention. They recalled 29% more of the details than the non-doodlers. It appears that without doodling, folks tend to daydream and well, check out. Doodling is a form of fidgeting, not unlike swinging your feet, changing position, or tapping a pencil. It keeps you alert and awake. It basically keeps the brain switch turned on. Paying attention is hard - really hard. Studies vary in their findings about how long an average adult can pay attention. Some say as little as 5 minutes while others indicate that 15-20 minutes is the maximum amount of time for concentrated attention on any given subject. Either way, children and adults alike are often asked to pay attention much past the 20 minute mark. So we should not be surprised that our brains have come up with a strategy for dealing with the gap between how long we can really pay attention and how long we are expected to pay attention. Drawing and doodling is a natural human activity. The youngest amongst us across the entire globe enjoy drawing. Think back to your childhood. I imagine you drew pictures in the sand or mud with a stick; perhaps you were a sidewalk chalk kid; or maybe you favored crayons and finger painting . Unfortunately, the joy of drawing and the ability to love it simply for the process not the outcome dwindles as we age. John Hendrix, author of the book, Drawing is Magic, says a weird thing happens when artists (people) grow up. He says, "We stop having fun. As a kid you draw without any thought to enjoying it. Enjoying it is assumed! Then we get to art school (class) and learn there is a right and wrong way to make images…We have to be trained to learn to play again." Doodling is just that - play. It gives our "focus" brain circuits a break and unleashes creative thoughts and helps us imagine and see things through a different lens. It may even help us connect the dots. Dr. Robert Burns, the former director of the Institute of Human Development at the University of Seattle, uses doodles to diagnose the emotional problems of his patients. Many doodle researchers agree that patient doodles can reveal thought patterns and ultimately disclose more than talk therapy alone. A form of art therapy, some mental health professionals are encouraging the practice of doodling to help patients wade through depression and anxiety. The drawings give the mental health professional a window into the minds of their clients. Doodling and drawing free from the burden of right, wrong, good, or bad is beneficial for focus, creativity, and even our mental health. It isn't about art. It is about thinking in a different way and engaging our playful side once again. Lorraine Wichtowski is community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health. For more information or to suggest article topics, contact Lorraine at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 24, 2017

Everybody is Going Blue!

On March 3rd, Noyes Health employees will go blue! Employees will be donning blue tutus, wigs, leggings, beads, and other fun gear to bring attention and awareness to Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In addition, Noyes Goes Blue events will be held at Noyes Health Services in Geneseo and Noyes Health in Dansville from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 3rd. The public is invited to stop by and learn more about colorectal cancer. Medical professionals will be available to discuss risk factors, screening options, and more. There will be blue ribbon cookies plus healthy snacks and everyone who visits will have their name entered for a chance to win a wellness basket. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 136,830 people will be diagnosed and 50,310 will die from this disease. In the same breath, the five-year survival rate is 90% if cancer is found at the local (early) stage. But sadly, only 39% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, partly due to low testing rates. Screening is important because it can find polyps (abnormal growths). Those growths can then be removed before turning into cancer. Currently, 28 million Americans are not up-to-date on screening. In New York alone, an estimated 1.2 million have never been tested. It is estimated that screening would reduce the number of colon cancer deaths by 60%. The CDC states that precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. If you have symptoms, they may include— Change in bowel movements - Including diarrhea, constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool or finding your stools are narrower than usual Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement). Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away. Losing weight and you don’t know why. weakness or fatigue These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of them, see your doctor. There are several colorectal cancer screening choices for average-risk men and women ages 50-75: High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT) – This at-home test should be done once a year. The patient sends a stool sample to a doctor’s office or lab. It looks for hidden blood in stool. Positive results should be followed up by a colonoscopy. OR Flexible sigmoidoscopy – The doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and lower third of the colon. This should be done every 5 years with a high-sensitivity FOBT or every 3 years by itself. OR Colonoscopy – The doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and the entire colon and removes polyps during the same procedure. This should be done every 10 years. Which screening is best for you? The one you do!! Discuss the options with your physician to determine what makes the most sense for you. If you or a close relative have: inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis; a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps; a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome), contact your physician. You may need to start screening before age 50 and be tested more often than other people. In addition to screening, a healthy lifestyle lowers your risk not only for colorectal cancer but for other cancers and chronic diseases as well. The American Cancer Society suggests the following management strategies. DO: Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, veggies, dairy, and lean proteins. Manage your weight. A healthy Body Mass Index (weight to height proportion) is 18-25. (to calculate your BMI, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html Stay active. Walk, exercise, and play on a daily basis. Stop smoking. LIMIT: Processed foods, junk foods, fatty meats, and refined sugar products like cookies, candy, and cake. Screen and couch time. According to a new Nielsen report, Americans spend almost 8 hours per day with some kind of screen device. Limiting screen time may improve physical and psychological health. Alcohol and soda. If you would like more information about screening, go to: New York State’s Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/colorectal/ or locally, call the Cancer Services Program of Livingston and Wyoming Counties at 800-588-8670. If you are uninsured, the Cancer Services Program can also assist you with free screenings as well as insurance information. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 17, 2017

Medical Alert Tattoos

When I was a kiddo, I was fascinated by my Grandpa's tattoos. As a sailor in the Merchant Marines in the early 1900s, the blueish, black ink on his arm was the emblem of the organization. (I think he may have had one that read "Mom" too.) He was the only person I knew with a tattoo and I found it terribly exotic. Overtime, the social norms of my generation told me tattoos were for sailors and military types alone. Nowadays, those norms have changed once again as people from all walks of life are getting inked up with everything from Disney characters to Bible verses. It was not surprising to me then when my daughter said she wanted a tattoo. It may be surprising to you, however, her reason why. My daughter is a Type 1 Diabetic. As an athlete and incredibly active individual, she found medical alert bracelets and necklaces to be cumbersome. In addition, the jewelry often broke. She, therefore, opted for a medical alert tattoo, in her case the words "Type 1 Diabetes" strategically placed on her left forearm where an EMT would notice it when taking a pulse or putting in an IV. She has no other tattoos and it is very easy to read. Medical alert tattooing is becoming more common for various conditions such as allergies, MS, and epilepsy. This practice, however, is not without controversy. Issues exist regarding lack of regulation, consistency, placement, and lack of awareness on the part of medical professionals. Medic alert tattoos aren't standardized in terms of location, appearance or size. All you have to do is Google images of medical tattoos and you will see that there are designs ranging from easy to read and understand to "artsy" and unclear. Furthermore, some medic alert tattoos might be lost in a forest of other tattoos if a person is really "tatted up." One of the biggest objections has to do with legitimacy. Medic alert bracelets have a reputation for being a legitimate form of medical communication. Tattoos, on the other hand, are not so clear. If only the word diabetes is in a circle, does that mean the person has diabetes or is the person paying tribute to a loved one who has diabetes? And then there is the question of medical professionals, their awareness, and what is lawful. A 2014 article in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services states, "certainly tattoos that give information about a patient’s medical history, such as an allergy or chronic medical condition like diabetes or a seizure disorder, can be helpful to EMS." That being said a tattoo giving directions such DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) is not legally binding. If a medical professional sees the tattoo, it may prompt the EMT or doctor to initiate questions of the patient and family about whether the patient does in fact have an actual and valid advance directive in place. The article continues to instruct EMTs that 'The key is to consider a tattoo with supposed medical information as just one piece of information to be factored into the overall assessment and treatment of the patient. Always “treat the patient and not the tattoo.” The tattoo can—at best—only give you information about a potential condition you need to consider, like diabetes or a seizure disorder. A critical point to remember is that there’s a difference between a tattoo that purports to give medical instructions that an EMS provider shouldn’t follow (such as a DNR tattoo) and a tattoo that could provide potentially useful information about the patient’s past medical history that may be helpful in the course of providing care to the patient." As medical alert tattoos become more mainstream, regulations or at least recommendations from professional medical organizations may follow. But at this point, due to lack of regulation and an uncertainty as to whether medical professionals will read or pay attention to a tattoo, many healthcare organizations are still suggesting that patients either wear a medical alert bracelet or carry medical information in their wallets even if they have a tattoo. In addition, informing co-workers, family members, and friends about your condition is important in case you cannot communicate during an emergency. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for articles, you can contact her at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 10, 2017

Flu Myths

Flu season is in full swing. According to the CDC "FluView" report for the week ending January 28, 2017, flu activity continues to increase and is widespread in most of the United States. The proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like-illness (ILI) has been at or above the national baseline for seven consecutive weeks so far this season. New York state currently has a high level of ILIs. Despite the efforts of physicians, the CDC, and departments of health, there continue to be a number of myths surrounding the flu. Knowing the truth about the flu, its prevention, and treatment may help you and your loved ones weather this yearly influx of illness better. Harvard Health Publications, the Mayo Clinic, and the CDC help debunk the myths with the following information: •MYTH: You can catch the flu from the vaccine. The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can't transmit infection. So people who get sick after receiving a flu vaccination were going to get sick anyway. It takes a week or two to get protection from the vaccine. But people assume that because they got sick after getting the vaccine, the shot caused their illness. CDC recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. While it is best to get the flu shot by the end of October, anyone who has not gotten vaccinated yet this season should get vaccinated now. It is not too late. MYTH: Healthy people don't need to be vaccinated. It's true that the flu vaccination is routinely recommended for people who are at risk such as: Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old; Adults 65 years of age and older; Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum); Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; and American Indians and Alaskan Natives. But anyone — even healthy folks — can benefit from being vaccinated. Speak with your physician about what is best for you. MYTH: Getting the flu vaccination is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu. There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself during flu season besides vaccination. Avoid contact with people who have the flu, wash your hands frequently, and consider taking anti-viral medications if you were exposed to the flu before being vaccinated. MYTH: The flu is just a bad cold. According to the CDC, the flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to differentiate. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Colds generally do not result in serious health problems while the flu can lead to complications such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. A simple test at the doctor's office is the only way to know for sure if it is the flu or some other virus. MYTH: You can't spread the flu if you're feeling well. Actually, 20% to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms. MYTH: You don't need to get a flu shot every year. The influenza virus changes (mutates) each year. So getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak. MYTH: You can catch the flu from going out in cold weather without a coat, with wet hair or by sitting near a drafty window. While it is not a good idea to go outside without proper winter clothing, that alone will not give you the flu. The only way to catch the flu is by being exposed to the influenza virus. Flu season coincides with the cold weather, so people often associate the flu with getting chilled. MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever. If you have the flu (or a cold) and a fever, you need more fluids. There's little reason to increase or decrease how much you eat. You might not be very hungry if you are ill, but there is no reason to starve yourself. In addition, good nutrition will help you recover. MYTH: Chicken soup will speed your recovery from the flu. This is one of those yes and no type answers. Chicken soup alone does not have any specific qualities that cure the flu or the common cold. However, the Mayo Clinic states that warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea or warm apple juice, help speed up the movement of mucus through the nose. This relieves congestion and limits the amount of time viruses are in contact with the lining of your nose. Plus, soup and other liquids help prevent dehydration. MYTH: If you have a high fever with the flu that lasts more than a day or two, antibiotics may be necessary. Antibiotics work well against bacteria, but they aren't effective for a viral infection like the flu. That being said, some people develop a bacterial infection as a complication of the flu. Typically, the flu can lasts for one to two weeks. The most severe symptoms usually subside in two to three days with lingering effects such as weakness, fatigue, and a cough lasting for seven days or more. If your symptoms drag on or worsen, make an appointment with your physician to determine if antibiotics are necessary. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville, NY. For more information or article suggestions, contact Lorraine at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 9, 2017

UR Medicine |Noyes Health Designated Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care

In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality maternity care, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced that UR Medicine | Noyes Health has received for the second year in a row the Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation, a designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units. In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation agree to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as initiate programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through its “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.” The program also evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others. Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community. “The healthcare team here at the Noyes Health Birthing Center is committed to providing excellent care with compassion and enthusiasm,” said Birthing Center Nurse Manager, DeNae Gibson, RN, MSN, CLC. “We strive to make each family feel comfortable and supported while they’re here, and hope their experience encourages them to recommend Noyes to friends and family in the future. The Blue Distinction recognition demonstrates that our efforts have had lasting results.” Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims. Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants. Research shows that compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. For more information about the Noyes Health Birthing Center or to request a tour, call Birthing Center Nurse Manager, DeNae Gibson, RN, MSN, CLC at 585-335-4293. For more information about the program, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction. UR Medicine |Noyes Health is a diverse and comprehensive healthcare system which includes Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital, a 67-bed facility in Dansville, Noyes Health Services in Geneseo, Noyes Kidney and Dialysis Center in Geneseo, and Noyes Mental Health and Wellness Services in Dansville. Noyes Health is accredited by the Joint Commission and serves all of Livingston County and parts of Steuben, Allegany and Ontario Counties. Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital is a community hospital and the only Emergency Department in Livingston County, located off Interstate 390, Exit 4. For more information about Noyes Health, visitwww.noyes-health.org. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.5 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com. About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for nearly 105 million members – one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA. About Blue Distinction Centers Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on bcbs.com. Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.... Read More

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