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Wash Your Hands to Prevent Illness

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Henry the Hand hand washing

Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent illness. Next week, Dec. 6 -12, is National Handwashing Awareness Week, and it’s a great time to teach children (and remind adults) about basic handwashing principles:

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
  2. DO NOT cough into your hands.
  3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
  4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth.

“Washing our hands with soap and water is one of the important most important things we can do to help prevent diseases such as respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses,” according to Cristine Macomber, MD. “Appropriate hand washing can limit the spread of diseases in our family and in our communities.”

Check out these fun and kid-friendly dowloadable information sheets!

 

Wellness for Generations November 2015 newsletter

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Wellness for Generations November 2015 newsletter

Look and feel your best this holiday season with tips from Generations Family Practice! Read our latest newsletter, "Wellness for Generations - November 2015" and find info on healthy eating for diabetics, beating acne breakouts, what’s cool about moustaches and more!

 

Q&Ped - The HVP vaccine and your daughter

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
HPV vaccine and your daughter's health

“I want to do everything I can to make sure my 13 year-old daughter is healthy and protected. But I am confused by the HPV vaccine and whether she should have it.”

Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, is very common. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. Nearly all sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Most people never know that they have been infected and may give HPV to a partner without knowing it. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. About 14 million people become newly infected each year.

There are approximately 40 types of genital HPV. Most HPV infections (9 out of 10) go away by themselves within two years. But, sometimes, HPV infections will persist and can cause health problems. Problems can include cervical cancer in women and other kinds of cancer in both men and women. Other types can cause genital warts in both males and females. The HPV vaccine works by preventing the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and genital warts. It is given as a 3-dose vaccine.

For HPV vaccines to be effective, they should be given prior to exposure to HPV. In other words, prior to becoming sexually active. Preteens should receive all three doses of the HPV vaccine series long before they begin any type of sexual activity and are exposed to HPV. Another reason to give it to children ages 11-12 years of age is that the HPV vaccine produces a higher immune response in preteens than it does in older teens and young women.

Protection provided by HPV vaccine should be long lasting. Data from clinical trials and ongoing research show that HPV vaccine lasts in the body for at least 10 years without becoming less effective. There is no evidence, at this time, to suggest that HPV vaccine loses the ability to provide protection over time.

The vaccine has been available for 10 years and the most common side effects are mild: pain and redness in the area of the shot, fever, dizziness, and nausea. Some children may feel faint after getting the vaccine; sitting or lying down for 15 minutes is advised, particularly after the first immunization.

If you have any further questions, please contact us today.

[Info obtained from CDC]

Q&Ped - Too Much TV Time?

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

"My daughters want to be on their Kindles all day long playing games and reading. They say all of their friends spend a lot of time too. Am I being too strict by trying to restrict their play time?"

Today’s children spend, on average, seven hours a day on screen time: watching TV, playing video games, using the Internet.

The AAP recommends limiting screen time to 1-2 hours per day, with none for children under two years of age.  Screen time includes the use of cell phones, DVDs, video games, tablets, etc. Most parents probably agree that limiting screen time is a good idea.  In my house, limited screen time has lead to less  squabbling, more reading, more creative play, more outdoor activities and more physical exercise.

How can we limit our children’s screen time?

Consider having your children earn screen time- by doing extra chores, extra practice time on a particular sport or musical instrument.

Limit screen time to weekends only OR have a TV screen time allotment for the week with the understanding that homework is completed first, chores are done, and there is no screen time right before bedtime.

Keep media out of the bedrooms and off during mealtimes.

Have books around! Turn music on!

Help your children with the shows they choose. Take time to watch shows with your children, allowing for bonding time and giving your opinion on content matter.

Be a good role model for your children: let them see you reading, doing activities, playing music, talking with each other!

October is Mental Health Awareness Month

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

A healthy body also includes a healthy mind. But those with mental health struggles often face misunderstanding and harsh judgement that may cause them to hide their illness and avoid seeking help. 

As the Mental Health Foundation observes, “by failing to treat people with mental health problems with dignity we make it more difficult to ensure that everyone takes steps to safeguard their wellbeing and to seek help, as it can lead to self-stigma, low confidence, low self-esteem, withdrawal and social isolation.”

Mental health illnesses include a range of illnesses from depression and posttraumatic stress disorder to ADD and schizophrenia. All of these illnesses are not uncommon. In 2013, there were an estimated 43.8 million U.S. adults (18.5%) with some type of mental illness in the past year. According to the CDC, approximately 13 percent of children ages 8 to 15 had a diagnosable mental disorder within the previous year.

World Mental Health Day is October 10, and this year mental health organizations are striving to bring dignity to illnesses often cast in shadow. Generations Family Practice is happy to assist patients in finding the appropriate mental health care. Call us today to get the help you deserve.

Here are some startling facts related to Mental Health in America~


 

Q&Ped - Conquering lice fast!

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Lice removal

As a mother of four school-age children, a notice from the school nurse that lice is in a classroom fills me with angst: the hair treatments, the laundry, the other children! Then the pediatrician side of me calms me down. Lice will not hurt my family. They are annoying bugs and getting rid of them can be a nuisance, but soon they will be a thing of the past.

Why my child?

Lice are tiny insects (2-3mm long) that are very contagious, both through direct head-to-head contact and sometimes indirectly by sharing hats, combs, etc. Because lice are small, they can be hard to find unless you really are looking for them. The most obvious sign of head lice is an itchy scalp, although it can take a few weeks of lice being present before the itching begins.

Now what?

Now that you know someone in your family has lice, let’s treat it. The most common treatment is over-the-counter creams/lotions/shampoos. It is important to use them as directed. Most of the OTC treatments will need to be repeated in about 10 days. If your child still has head lice after two OTC treatments, contact your doctor. There are also prescription medications for lice treatment.

Monitor your other children for signs of head lice.

Perform head checks on your other children and even yourself! Nits (lice eggs) are small white or yellow-brown specks that are firmly attached to the hair within about a 1 cm of the scalp.  They can be distinguished from eczema or dandruff because dandruff and eczema can easily be moved. Examine the hair in small sections at a time, paying particular attention to around the ears and the back of the neck. Consider doing regular lice checks on your children during the school year.

Laundry

No need to throw away any beloved stuffed animals. Wash your child’s sheets, clothing, hats, stuffed animals — any items worn within the past 3 days — in hot water in the washing machine and dry on the high heat setting to kill any remaining lice. If items cannot be washed, they can be dry cleaned or placed in a sealed bag for two weeks.

 

Health Musts for Women of Every Age

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Womens' health musts

Once upon a time your biggest health concern was acne. But as women age, our health needs change. You probably know that of the most important checkups you get is your annual pap smear, starting as a late teen for most of your adult life.

As you reach your 40s, you hit another milestone: the start of mammograms every two years. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer deaths have decreased 34% since 1991, thanks in large part to regular mammogram screenings.

Here is a Quick List of health musts for women of each age group:

  • 20s  - Annual physicals, annual pap smears. Get an HPV vaccine
  •  
  • 30s - Check your blood pressure. Hypertension often develops starting in your 30s.
  • 40s - Schedule your first mammogram. Get a Type 2 diabetes screening.
  • 50s - Get screened for colon cancer.
  • 60s - Schedule a bone density test and begin taking calcium. 

See the full list below. Click on the image for larger view.

No matter your age, regular exercise, good nutrition, and plenty of sleep are a large part of staying healthy. Your health routine should include regular dental cleanings, a yearly flu shot, eye exams, and a skin check with a dermatologist. Schedule regular physicals with your Generations Family Practice Doctor so we can help you stay on track for a long, healthy life.

 

 

Q&Ped - Tick watch

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Tick safety for your family

First, how wonderful it is that your children are outside – getting fresh air and vitamin D, enjoying creative play, and getting exercise. But along with the benefits come annoying bugs and insects: mosquitoes, bees, and ticks to name a few. Unfortunately, some of those ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Fortunately, finding a tick on your child in North Carolina does not necessarily mean that your child has been infected with any kind of disease. Deer ticks, the ticks that can transmit Lyme disease, need to be embedded on a person’s body for 36 hours before they are actually able to transmit disease. Dog ticks can transmit RMSF only if embedded for more than 24 hours.

Active tick season in our area is from April to September/October. During that time, you can take precautions to prevent a tick-borne disease:

  1. Do daily tick checks. If you are checking your child daily for ticks and remove them, the tick is not embedded long enough to transmit disease.
  2. Use repellant on exposed skin and clothing. Choose one with 20-30% DEET. Be sure to use the product according to the directions and wash it off at the end of the day.

If you find a tick on your child, you do not need to panic. With tweezers, grasp the tick close to your child’s skin and pull up with a slow and even pressure. It is okay if parts of the tick remain behind; the body is able to work it out, much like a splinter. The bite area should be observed for the next 30 days. Watch for a very distinct, expanding red rash that may look like a bull’s-eye. Call your doctor if your child develops flu-like illness or rash. Antibiotics or other treatments may be recommended.

[For more information, check out these Web sites - http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html and http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/]
 

Are your child's eyes ready for school?

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month

It's almost back-to-school time and you're prepared with your child's enrollment forms, orientation schedules, and immunizations--but what about their eyes? August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month—a great signal for you to get your child's eyes checked before school starts.

Join us as we observe Children's Eye Health and Safety Month in partnership with Prevent Blindness America and the American Academy of Ophthalmologists.

Most children have healthy eyes. But there are conditions that can threaten good vision. Because you can't always "look" into your child's eyes to tell if they have eye health problems, set up some time today for an eye exam:

  • Your child's eyes should be examined during regular pediatric appointments and vision testing should be conducted around age three.
  • Parents should be aware of signs that may indicate their child has vision problems, including:
  1. Wandering or crossed eyes
  2. A family history of childhood vision problems
  3. Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects
  4. Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television
  • Talk to your child's pediatrician if you suspect your child has any of the eye diseases below:
  1. Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  2. Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  3. Ptosis (drooping of the eyelid)
  4. Color deficiency (color blindness)
  5. Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism)

Let's Talk Eye Safety:

Use this month to discuss the importance of eye safety with your children. More than 12 million children suffer from vision impairment, and eye injuries are one of the leading causes of vision loss in children [Nearly 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Of children ages 3 to 5, close to one in 20 has a problem that could result in permanent vision loss if left untreated. The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 80 percent of preschoolers do not receive vision screenings.] There are an estimated 42,000 sports-related eye injuries each year and the majority of them happen to children.

Children should:

  • Wear protective eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities
  • Play with are age-appropriate toys. Avoid toys with sharp or protruding parts

One of the best ways to ensure your child keeps his/her good vision throughout life is to set a good health example.

To find more information about Children's Eye Health and Safety, visit: www.preventblindness.org or www.aao.org

[Article taken from www.hap.org]

Navigating coverage, bills and networks

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
insurance benefits explained

Many of our patients are fortunate to have some form of health insurance. The Affordable Care Act opened the door for many to get health insurance that they previously couldn’t access. Whether you have a marketplace plan through the Affordable Care Act, a private insurance plan or even Medicare, your plan may require that you share the costs of the health care services you receive. Often we are asked questions about insurance coverage. We know it’s a complicated subject that keeps us all on our toes. And, of course it changes every year for most of us. We recently sat down with Generations insurance specialist Shenik R. Pinder, CPC, CPCO, MA to discuss some of the questions she frequently hears from patients.

Why do I have a bill?

The simple answer is that when health insurance only covers part of the cost of a medical procedure or service, the portion not covered by insurance is the patient’s responsibility. The much longer answer involves discussing copayments, deductibles and coinsurance.

Regardless of the type of health insurance you have, coverage levels vary from plan to plan even within the same health insurance company. Coverage amounts are determined and set by the entity that is paying for the plan, such as an employer who is offering a private health insurance plan as a benefit to its employees.

In most situations, a patient will have to pay a copayment at the time of service. This could be $15, $25 or even up to $100, depending on the plan. In addition to the copay amount, a patient might have a plan with a deductible. A deductible is the amount you are responsible for paying before the health plan begins to pay.  For example if the deductible for your specific plan is $1,000, your plan won’t pay for any care until you have paid $1,000 out-of-pocket for covered health care services. Even after your deductible is met, the plan may not cover health care costs completely. Your plan might also require co-insurance, which means the plan covers up to a certain percentage of the cost and the patient is responsible for the rest. Many plans cover up to 80% leaving the patient responsible for the remaining 20%. Some cover up to 70% leaving patients responsible for the remaining 30%. It all depends on how the employer set up the boundaries of the health plan.  Another variable that affects coverage amounts is whether the provider is “in network”. Each plan has a list of approved providers it considers “in network”. These are the providers that agree to the plan’s level of reimbursement for services often solidified in an annual contract. If you receive care from a provider that is “out of network,” your plan will require you to pay a greater share of the cost. This is why you have a bill ~ because your health insurance plan is responsible for certain costs and you are responsible for the rest. We know it can be difficult understanding your financial responsibility so we’ll do our best to help you understand.

Why do I have a separate bill for lab tests?

The providers you see at Generations provide one type of service, a medical lab is a separate entity that provides another type of service. Your health plan may cover lab services at a different coverage level, and not all lab tests are covered. We recommend that you contact your health insurance company to determine which lab tests your plan will cover and how much they will cover. This will help prevent surprises when you open the mail and discover you have a separate bill from the lab company.

Do you take my insurance?

We work with many insurance companies. However, not all insurance companies work with all providers. Even within a large health insurance company, there can be a different health plans within the company that only covers care provided by a specific set of providers. Please check with your insurance company to make sure your provider is in network.

Why are preventive services not 100% covered?

Again, this depends on your health plan. Under the Affordable Care Act, marketplace plans are required to cover certain preventive care at 100% without copays or coinsurance, making it free for you.  But Medicare for example has different policies for covering preventive care. Likewise, private health plans cover different preventive care services at different coverage levels.

Whenever you have questions we recommend that you contact your health insurance company to find out the answers. We are happy to assist you as well.

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