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Genesis Medical Associates, Inc.
Posted on 06/14/2017 16:19

Good skin care is essential in preventing skin damage and skin cancer. Summer is here! Now that the weather has warmed up and we are spending more time outside enjoying the sun, we also need to be more cautious. While the warm sun feels good on our skin, it can be damaging and may contribute to a number of long-term conditions. Here are some summer sun safety tips to keep your skin protected from the sun’s harmful rays while still allowing you to enjoy the weather. 

  • Apply Sunscreen Often (And Properly). While it is recommended that you wear sunscreen every day in all weather, this is especially true in the summer. We tend to spend more time outdoors this season, and even a simple daily lunchtime stroll can result in larger amounts of cumulative skin damage. When purchasing sunscreen, check the SPF - or sun protection factor - on the product, and ensure that you are using a product with a minimal SPF of 30. Additionally, always be sure the label says broad-spectrum, which protects skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Once you have picked a sunscreen, try to apply it 30 minutes before heading outside to ensure the product properly dries and settles into the skin. You should also reapply it every 2 hours, especially if you are swimming or sweating. And if you absolutely hate sunscreen, you’ll be happy to hear that many foundations and other makeup products include SPF in them - so check your bottles and purchase products that contain SPF.
  • Don’t Forget Other Sun Protection Products. Sunscreen is one the most effective sun blocking tools, but there are plenty of other ways to keep UV rays at bay. You can keep your eyes safe by wearing sunglasses with UV protection lenses. Cataracts, retina damage, and other harmful eye conditions can arise when eyes are exposed to the sun without proper protection. You can also wear wide brimmed hats to protect your scalp and face, and putting on long sleeved shirts and pants adds an extra layer of protection.
  • Properly Treat Sunburn. If you forget to wear sunscreen, or don’t reapply it frequently,  you may find yourself with a sunburn. Cool baths or showers can help ease some of the pain and relax the skin. After bathing, apply aloe vera or or a soy moisturizer to aid in the cooling process, which also prevents the skin from drying out or peeling. Because sunburns cause fluids to stay at the skin’s surface, you run the risk of dehydration, so always drink plenty of water. During the healing process, take extra care of your skin, especially in the areas that have been burned. Wear loose clothing with tightly-woven fabrics that covers the burned area. If burns are more severe, blistering, or aren’t properly healing, consult your doctor. (An important thing to remember, however, is that even mild sunburns can greatly increase your risk of skin cancer. So while properly treating the symptoms of one is important, prevention is even more so!)
  • Check Your Skin Frequently. Aside from burns, the sun can contribute to other developments on the body and skin, like uneven pigmentation, scaly patches, melanoma, or skin cancer. If you’re out in the sun often, it’s important to check your skin for any new freckles or marks, as these can be an indicator of your overall skin health. An effective method of examining suspicious moles or markings is the ABCDE Evaluation. Check all moles and marks for asymmetry, border irregularity, changes in color, a diameter greater than six millimeters, and evolving size. Make notes of anything new that has appeared or markings that have changed and consult your doctor or dermatologist for proper diagnosis. 

There are plenty of ways to keep our bodies safe from the sun and decrease our risk of skin cancer and other conditions. Additionally, if you have specific skin concerns or want to know about other ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from the sun’s rays, contact  Genesis Medical. Schedule an appointment at your nearest location and we will be more than happy to assist you with your sun care regimen.

 
Posted on 05/26/2017 19:09

Protecting your health during the summer is especially important when managing diabetes. Summer means getting outside, relaxing out in the pool, grilling in the backyard, and making a trip to the beach. While the sun is a welcome sight after a dark, cold winter, the hot and humid weather that comes with it is a problem for many. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes may not be looking forward to the summer months because of the problem the heat creates for blood glucose. Studies have shown that emergency room visits by diabetics increase during heat waves in the summer months. Fortunately, there are many precautions that diabetics can take to prevent emergencies and enjoy the warm weather.

  • Stay Hydrated. This is an important tip for everyone spending time in the sun, but it’s essential for diabetics. When blood glucose increases, the body excretes more urine, which quickly leads to dehydration. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water and caffeine-free fluids. Limiting sugary drinks like lemonade and iced tea and watching alcohol intake can also help in keeping the body properly hydrated while maintaining glucose levels.
  • Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is more common in diabetics and those with heart conditions, so being aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion could be life-saving. Dizziness or feeling faint, excessive sweating, cramping, clammy skin, headaches and increased heart rate are common symptoms of this condition. If you have concerns about heat exhaustion, avoid doing any physical labor or exercise outside without taking frequent breaks. Staying in rooms with air conditioning and fans can cool your body down and prevent symptoms from becoming worse.
  • Take Care of your Medication. Heat can also be a problem for diabetes medications. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) heat can be damaging to blood sugar monitors, insulin pumps, and other equipment. Take a look at medication bottles, boxes and equipment manuals for proper storage temperatures. Avoid leaving medications in a hot car or in direct sunlight. If you are traveling, keep insulin and other medications that require cool temperatures in a cooler to prevent spoiling.

Drinking fluids, being aware of heat exhaustion, and taking proper storing measures for medications are all helpful ways  diabetics can avoid a heat-related trip to a doctor. If you have other concerns about diabetes during the summer months, the staff at  Genesis Medical can provide additional resources and advice. Schedule an appointment at your nearest location and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 
Posted on 05/12/2017 18:00

Proper food prep is critical to preventing health issues like food poisoning. As summer approaches and temperatures rise, our risk of contracting a foodborne illness increases as well. Food poisoning and other illnesses from food are common all year round, but are more common in the warmer months of the year. Why? Many forms of bacteria thrive in the warm weather and multiply rapidly, meaning the risk of contracting any type of illness from bacteria increases. So as Memorial Day approaches, now is the time to brush up on how you prevent food poisoning when preparing food for yourself and your family during these warmer months.

 

Common Symptoms

Foodborne illnesses can impact people differently, and symptoms can even vary depending on the type of food consumed. The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and cramping. Some patients experience symptoms within a few hours, while others don’t notice a problem until a few days have passed. Food poisoning can run its course anywhere from a few hours to several days and can be treated with antibiotics and replenishment of lost fluids.

If symptoms don’t seem to be disappearing or more severe symptoms arise, it’s important to consult your doctor immediately. These symptoms may include: diarrhea and vomiting for more than three days, appearance of blood in vomit or stools, extremely painful cramping, dehydration, a fever over 101.5 degrees F., and blurry vision, muscle weakness and tingling in arms and legs.

 

The Four C’s

Food safety and proper cooking are essential in preventing foodborne illness from bacteria that may cultivate on food. When preparing food, there are four essential steps to follow to ensure what you are cooking is safe to eat.

  1. Cleaning - Make sure your kitchen is clean before you begin cooking. Wipe down all surfaces, use clean cookware, and try to clean as you go to keep your kitchen tidy. Periodically clean your kitchen to prevent bacteria build up and to give you peace of mind. Before handling food, wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Cooking - Follow recipes and package instructions for correct temperatures and cooking times to ensure what you are handling is properly cooked. Check any meat you are preparing by cutting the middle with a knife and checking the center. Juices that may run out should be clear and not bloody. Before serving, keep foods warm and covered.
  3. Cross-Contamination - Most commonly, foodborne illnesses occur when bacteria is spread from food to kitchen utensils, back to food, etc. After handling raw meat, fish, or poultry, wash your hands again before touching another ingredient or cooking utensil. Keep ingredients separate to avoid cross-contamination by using different cutting boards and bowls. Make sure utensils used to handle raw ingredients are cleaned thoroughly after use.
  4. Chilling - Before putting any leftovers in the refrigerator, check to make sure the food has cooled down enough. Chilling food that is still hot is another way that bacteria can appear and cause problems. Wait at least one to two hours after food is done cooking before beginning the cooling process. However, leaving food out too long in warm weather causes food to spoil faster, so be sure to avoid leaving it out too long during your BBQ or picnic!

While food poisoning is more common in warmer weather, it is an illness that can occur at any time of the year when poorly cooked food is consumed. It’s important to pay close attention to how you are cooking and to take necessary steps to ensure food is properly prepared. And if you’re experiencing any symptoms associated with foodborne illness, consult your doctor for more information and a diagnosis. At Genesis Medical, our staff can provide additional information on food poisoning, how to prevent it, and what to do if you think you may have contracted it. Schedule an appointment at your nearest location and our staff can help you with anything you may need.

Posted on 04/28/2017 15:34

Deer_Tick_beware_of_tick_bite As spring warms up each day and we are beginning to spend more time outdoors, we are starting to see more insects buzzing around the air. Unfortunately, with the spring season comes tick season - and with that comes concerns for Lyme disease. While ticks can attach themselves and transmit diseases to our four-legged friends, they can also spread disease to humans. Scientists predict that 2017 could be the worst year to date for the spread of Lyme disease, particularly in the Northeastern region of the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are normally about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease each year. But now, experts are predicting that the number could actually be ten times higher this upcoming year.

While it’s important to keep this in mind, don’t let it deter you from doing your favorite outdoor activities! Instead, take action to protect yourself from ticks and the potential spread of Lyme disease.

 

Understanding Lyme Disease: How It Happens and What To Watch For

Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are the most common culprit of carrying Lyme disease. These pests attach themselves to deer or mice, and feed on their host. These animals often carry a bacteria called borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. When the ticks are finished with a host carrying the bacteria, they are infected with the disease and pass it on to their next victim.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can be flu-like, such as chills, headache, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and nausea. Some people develop a rash shaped like a bull’s-eye, which is one of the major signs of the disease. However, the rash does not appear in every patient, which means monitoring for flu-like symptoms is important during tick season. If not treated early, the disease can become chronic, so you should consult your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.

 

What to Do When You Find a Tick on You

After spending time outdoors, particularly in heavily wooded areas, it’s a good idea to do a tick check on yourself and the people you with. If you happen to discover a tick hiding on someone, it’s important to remain calm and follow these steps.

  1. Grab a pair of tweezers and attempt to grab the tick by the head and pull out the mouth, which will be attached. Avoid squeezing the tick because its stomach contents will get into the skin. This means you may be more likely to acquire any disease the tick may be carrying.
  2. Check a Lyme disease map to see if there are Lyme outbreaks in your area. If the area has not had many cases, your risk is not as high.
  3. Save the tick, if possible. Put it in a plastic bag and have it tested for Lyme disease.
  4. Keep an eye on your health. If you start to experience any of the symptoms listed earlier, visit your doctor to be tested for Lyme disease. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you may still want to be checked if you live in an area with a higher number of cases.

Because we are expecting a higher number of Lyme disease cases this year, it’s important to pay close attention to your skin and do frequent tick checks after outdoor activity. And if you’re experiencing any Lyme disease symptoms or have concerns about the disease in your area, always consult a doctor to learn more about prevention and treatment. At Genesis Medical, our staff can provide information on Lyme disease and what to do if you think you may have contracted it. Schedule an appointment at a location near you and our staff can help you with anything you may need.

Posted on 04/14/2017 19:50

Addressing your cancer risk with a doctor is a critical part of healthy living. It’s no secret that cancer has become one of the most prevalent medical issues in the United States and across the globe. Based on the growing number of cases, it is estimated that approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.  While certain cancers develop through genetics, others are born through our lifestyle choices, like exercise, diet, and drug and alcohol consumption. Even though the cancer mortality rate has declined since the 1990’s, it’s important to realize how cancer could impact you or your loved ones if proper prevention and care does not occur.

April is Cancer Care Month, which means many Americans are taking steps to prevent cancer by taking extra care of themselves. Hopefully, this will lead to the development of good habits for cancer prevention all year round! Here are a few ways that you can start working to give yourself a healthier future with a lower risk of cancer.

 

#1 & #2: Diet and Exercise

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are not only beneficial to your overall well-being, but they are also key in reducing your risk of cancer. Keeping up with a healthy weight and a balanced diet can also reduce your risk of other conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Specifically, incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your meals and limiting meat and sodium intake can not only help you lose weight, but also give your body the fuel it needs to stay healthy. As far as exercise goes, being active for 30 minutes each day - even if it’s in five to ten minute increments - is key in keeping up with a healthy weight and cancer prevention. Whether it’s taking short walking breaks during the work day, going to the gym, or playing a sport you enjoy, it’s important that we keep up with an active routine to stay on the right track.

 

#3: Sun Protection

Of course we want to wear sunscreen if we’ll be outdoors for hours during the summer, but did you know sunscreen is something we need any time we’re outside? The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using an SPF 15 or higher when going outdoors. If you’ll be outside in the  sun, protective clothing and gear such as sunglasses, hats, long sleeves and pants can make a difference in protecting our bodies from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Be sure to regularly check your skin for any unusual moles, markings, discoloration, and redness as well. If you have concerns about anything on your skin after being exposed to sunlight, visit your doctor for more information.

 

#4 & #5: Alcohol and Smoking

Alcohol consumption as well as smoking are major factors in contributing to our cancer risk. Alcohol consumption has been linked to breast, throat, liver, colon, mouth, and stomach cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, those who drink alcohol should  limit their intake to one drink daily for women, and 2 daily for men, to minimize the additional risk associated with alcohol. Additionally, smoking causes 80% of all lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States per year. Tobacco smoke causes damage to our lungs, throats, and mouths, including secondhand smoke.

 

Cancer is a devastating disease and taking proper precautionary measures can greatly reduce your risk of cancer, as well as improve your health and well-being. The first step in starting on a journey to cancer prevention is by speaking to your doctor. At Genesis Medical, our staff can provide information on different cancers - particularly those most likely to affect you based on age and family history - and how you can reduce your risk of developing them. Schedule an appointment at a location near you and our staff will be more than happy to assist you.

 
 
Posted on 03/30/2017 16:26

Properly using antibiotics and preventing antibiotic resistance is critical for good health. They're one of the most frequently prescribed types of medications in modern medicine - but when used improperly, they can be exceptionally problematic. These are antibiotics, medicines used to treat illnesses caused by bacteria. Unfortunately, misinformation about antibiotics can lead to us misusing these important medications - which can cause even more health problems.

Understanding what antibiotics were designed to do, and what happens when we don’t use them properly, is a critical part of being a sick patient in recovery. Whether you were recently diagnosed with an illness and prescribed antibiotics, or you’re looking to stay prepared for the next time you may need them, this is a subject where knowledge truly is power - as well as the key to keeping both your and your community’s health in the spotlight.

 

Bacteria Versus Viruses: (Not) One And The Same

One of the most important things to remember about antibiotics is that they were designed specifically to treat bacteria-related illnesses, which are different from viruses. Though both bacterial and viral infections are caused by microbes, bacteria and viruses are very different in their design and functions. Viruses require a human host to function and reproduce, as they have no cellular structure. Bacteria, on the other hand, are single-celled microorganisms that can exist in numerous environments. Bacteria are also considered to be living organisms - while viruses are not.

The subtle differences between bacteria and viruses are ultimately why antibiotics cannot cure every illness. The common cold, the flu, many sinus infections, and other viral diseases are all examples of illnesses that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Sometimes antivirals can be prescribed to assist in recovery; but often, doctors can only treat the symptoms of a virus.

 

Antibiotic Resistance: A Worrying Problem

Why does it matter if antibiotics are used to treat patients with a viral infection? Because taking unnecessary antibiotics is a misuse of medication that can actually lead to stronger strains of bacterial infections, known as antibiotic resistant strains. These strains of bacteria can resist the effects of an antibiotic, making them harder to treat in the future. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of our methods of treating the illnesses they cause.

Antibiotic resistant strains of diseases are also why it’s so critical to take all of the antibiotics you are prescribed. Many patients stop taking their antibiotics when they begin to feel better. But stopping the antibiotics early will keep the bacteria lingering around and could lead to another infection.

Antibiotic resistance creates a twofold problem. For starters, it means that if you develop a relapse of your illness, it may be harder to treat it; but it also means that resistant bacteria can spread to family members, coworkers, and community members. Either way, antibiotic resistance can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become dangerous infections.

 

What To Do With Your Antibiotics

While antibiotic resistance is a scary topic, the good news is that simply taking antibiotics as directed by your doctor is an easy way to avoid the worst of a resistant strain of bacteria. Taking a full dose of antibiotics, even if you feel healthy before your prescription runs out, will ensure that the illness affecting you is thoroughly treated. And in the event that you are diagnosed with a viral infection, you can talk to your doctor about managing the symptoms of your illness and develop an action plan that will help you recover more quickly - no antibiotics needed!

At Genesis Medical, your primary care physician can diagnose various infections and prescribe the correct antibiotics to get you feeling well again. If you feel unwell, schedule an appointment at location near you and our staff will be happy to assist you.

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