Blog

It is a new year…

By: Emily Simmons, Adair County Medical Clinic Manager

Having a yearly physical and doing health screenings are vital to an individual’s wellbeing.  A yearly physical, screens for diseases, assesses the risk for future medical problems, encourages a healthy lifestyle, allows you to update vaccines, and fosters a good standing relationship with your provider in cases of future illness.  Things to consider when you are getting ready for your yearly checkup are reviewing your family history, writing down a list of questions you may have for you medical provider, checking to see if you need any vaccines or are due for any screenings.
Your medical provider can assess your need for medical screening at your yearly physical.  Screenings refer to a test or exam done before any symptoms may be present and can also help to detect conditions or diseases in early stages when treatment is ideal.  There are many different health screenings your provider may recommend.  One example is the colorectal cancer screening. Other conditions your provider may screen for include breast cancer and cervical cancer in women, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and prostate cancer in men. 
By having an annual physical I have been able to discuss my family’s history of heart disease with my medical provider and discuss lifestyle changes to promote heart healthy living. Due to my family’s history of heart disease my medical provider has recommended and performed high blood pressure and high cholesterol health screenings on me to continue to monitor my cardiovascular health. These health screenings have given me a peace of mind and have verified my current health status. 
By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthscreening.html
http://www.cdc.gov/family/checkup/#overview

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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Safe Celebrations with Food Safety

by: Staci Jones-MS, RD, LD       

It’s officially that food and celebration time of year. People often ask me, what are the most important things to keep in mind when trying to keep food safe this time of year? I have come up with a list of things to keep in mind.
1.   Have a plan. Consider refrigerator, freezer and oven space. Keep hot foods at 140° or higher and cold foods at 40° or below. If you need to use coolers, have plenty of ice and check to make sure the ice hasn’t melted.
2.   Cook to proper temperature and use a thermometer. Turkeys, stuffing, and side dishes should  be cooked to at least 165° and kept above 140° during serving to be sure that any bacteria is destroyed.
 3.  Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of preparation
4.   Properly defrost your turkey. If you choose a frozen turkey, allow 24 hours per 5 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator.
5.   Wash all fresh produce.
6.   Reheat all leftovers to 165°.
7.   Wash your hands thoroughly and often; before, during and after food preparation. Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to minimize bacterial contamination and keep your food safe. Wash your hands for approximately 20 seconds using hot water and soap. Be sure to wash up to your wrist and between your fingers.
The U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world, but according to the CDC 76 million people get sick from food borne illness every year. People most at risk from food borne illness are the elderly, children, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. So keep these tips in mind and have a safe and happy holiday season. 

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.
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Should your child get the HPV Vaccine?

 As parents, you do everything you can to protect your children’s health for now and for the future. Today, there is a strong weapon to prevent several types of cancer in our kids: the HPV vaccine.
 
HPV is short for Human Papillomavirus, a common virus. In the United States each year, there are about 15,000 women and 7,000 men affected by HPV-related cancers. These cancers could be prevented with vaccination. In both women and men, HPV can cause anal cancer and mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer. It can also cause cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women; and cancer of the penis in men.  HPV is a virus passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. HPV is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. 

HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years. HPV vaccines offer the best protection to girls and boys who receive all three vaccine doses and have time to develop an immune response before they begin sexual activity with another person. This is not to say that your preteen is ready to have sex. In fact, it’s just the opposite—it’s important to get your child protected before you or your child has to think about this issue. The immune response to this vaccine is better in preteens, and this could mean better protection for your child.  HPV vaccine is also recommended for girls ages 13 through 26 years and for boys ages 13 through 21 years, who have not yet been vaccinated. So if your son or daughter hasn’t started or finished the HPV vaccine series—it’s not too late!  The vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots over 6 months.

The HPV vaccine is SAFE!!!  HPV vaccines were studied in tens of thousands of people around the world. More than 46 million doses have been distributed to date, and there have been no serious safety concerns. Vaccine safety continues to be monitored by CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The most common side effects reported are mild. They include: pain where the shot was given (usually the arm), fever, dizziness, and nausea.  You may have heard that some kids faint when they get vaccinated. Fainting is common with preteens and teens for many medical procedures, not just the HPV shot. Be sure that your child eats something before going to get the vaccine.

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger who are under-insured, not insured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian/Alaska Native.

For more information contact Adair County Home Care at 641-743-6173 or log on to http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens.

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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Safe Toys For The Holidays

By Amy O’Rourke, RN, BSN

Christmas is a time for giving, however during this holiday season consumers should be thinking about what types of gifts they are giving to children. 50 percent of toy related injuries result in an ER visit. Many toy-related deaths are caused by choking or strangulation. Riding toys including non-motorized scooters and tricycles are associated with more injuries than any other toy group.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) works to protect consumers from products that could cause harm such as toys, cribs, and power tools. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 required the CPSC to issue labeling requirements for toys and games. The Child Safety Protection Act requires choking hazard warning labels. This act also bans any toys that could pose a choking, aspiration or ingestion hazard for children under 3 years of age.  When purchasing toys for your children it is very important to look at these warning labels. Buy age-appropriate toys, as indicated by safety labels. Check regularly for damage to toys, breakage or potential hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately or discard damaged toys out of children’s reach. Toys with strings, straps, cords, ribbons and loops can be a strangulation hazard to a child. These toys should never be hung in cribs or playpens where children can potentially become entangled.
Toys can cause harm even though labeling is correct, so some thought still needs put into the toys you buy. Some of this years “worst toys” have potential for impact injuries, choking, strangulation and eye injuries. High powered magnets if swallowed could cause serious harm within a child’s intestines, even death. Any item with a varying age could be risky. Age is not always good to go by either. A toy may be labeled for the appropriate age, but knowing the child it is to be given to should be considered as well.
Thoughtful gift giving can make your holiday season both enjoyable and safe.
• In 2009, more than 49,500 injuries to children were treated in emergency departments due to injuries associated with nonmotorized scooters.
• Approximately 50 percent of toy-related injuries resulting in emergency department visits occurred to children under 5 years of age.
• In 2009, males accounted for 58 percent of all toy-related injuries.
• Check the web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for updated information and pictures of recalled toys that may be harmful to children (www.cpsc.gov).

 If you are shopping for young children, take a look at this year’s “10 Worst Toys” list. We have also provided a list of websites to help you make safe purchases below.
The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists
Potential for blunt impact injuries and there are no warnings on the package.
Playful Xylophone
Potential for choking injuries.
Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet
Potential for impact and puncture wound injuries.
Water Balloon Launcher
Potential for choking and facial injuries. Varying age recommendations online and on the package.
N-Force Vendetta Double Sword
Potential for Impact injuries.
Explore & Learn Helicopter
Potential for strangulation and entanglement injuries. Cord is twice the length allowed by law.
Spinner Shark 4-Wheel Kneeboard
Potential for impact injuries.
Dart Zone Quick Fire 12 Dart Gun
Potential for eye injuries.
Bongo Ball
Potential for impact and other serious injuries. Children are encouraged to climb inside the inflatable ball. The toy and the packaging have contradicting instructions about supervision.
Magnetic Fishing Game
Potential for choking injuries. Different age recommendations online and on the packaging.

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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Snorting and Sneezing… Does My Child Need an Antibiotic?

By Mary Jo Ytzen, ARNP

Most illnesses are caused by two kinds of germs: bacteria or viruses.  Antibiotics can cure a bacterial infection but not a viral infection.  Bacteria cause strep throat, some pneumonia and sinus infections; viruses cause the common cold, most coughs and the flu.  Yellow or green mucus from the nose may not mean your child has a bacterial infection. During a viral cold it is normal for mucus to get thick and change color.

Antibiotics should not be used to treat the common cold, runny noses and most coughs.  Children fight off these viral illnesses on their own.  Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can cause some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic. Resistant bacteria are stronger and harder to kill and can stay in your child’s body and can cause severe illnesses which may require stronger treatment and a possible stay in the hospital.

If your provider prescribes an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, give your child all of the medicine.  Not finishing the medicine can cause resistant bacterial to develop.

The common cold (caused by a virus) is one of the most common childhood illnesses.  Your child typically may “catch” up to eight colds a year and even more if they have older siblings or attend day care.  Some things you may do to help your child be more comfortable include:
1.  Rest and increase fluids
2. Clear nasal secretions with a rubber suction bulb.  Saline nasal drops may be used when your baby’s nasal secretions are thick or especially dry.
3. Humidify the air with a cool mist vaporizer
4. Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen may be given for fever

“Get Smart: Now When Antibiotics Work”, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/getsmart.
The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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November is Diabetes Education Month

By: Marvel Blazek, ARNP

When a person has diabetes, the food he or she eats cannot be used for energy because
the body is not making enough of the hormone, insulin, OR the insulin the person has is
not working the way it should. Insulin is made in the pancreas, an organ that lies behind
the stomach.

Most food is broken down into a form of sugar called glucose. Sugar is the body’s main
source of energy. As sugar enters the bloodstream, the amount of sugar in the blood
rises. Normally the body reacts to the rise in blood sugar by signaling the pancreas to
send insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin helps sugar leave the bloodstream and enter
the cells. To understand how insulin works, think of a cell as a house with many locked
doors. Insulin is the key that unlocks the doors and lets sugar leave the bloodstream and
enter the cells.

When a person has diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin OR the insulin is not
working the way it should. Either way, sugar cannot get into the body’s cells. Instead of
entering the cells, it stays trapped in the bloodstream, raising the amount of sugar in the
blood to abnormally high levels.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of diabetes are urinating often, being thirsty
more often than usual, being hungry more often than usual, unusual weight loss, tired
more often than usual, irritability, blurry vision, problems with sex, wounds that won’t
heal, and numb or tingling hands or feet. Sometimes people experience no symptoms at
all.

Diabetes can trigger health problems throughout the body. Controlling blood glucose
helps to reduce the risk of long term complications. Areas of the body affected by high
blood glucose include: nerves, eyes, teeth, heart, kidneys, and brain.

Millions of people today have diabetes. Diabetes cannot be cured. But it can be
managed. Good diabetes care takes a team. Your doctor, nurse, diabetes educator,
dietitian, and others are all members of the team. A typical diabetes care plan includes: a
meal plan, a physical activity plan, a plan for how and when to check blood sugars, your
personal blood sugar goals, when to take diabetes medications, other health goals (such
as managing weight and blood pressure), a schedule for regular health checkups, and
ways to deal with stress.

It is not easy to cope with diabetes. But there are three key factors that can help. Number
one is KNOWLEDGE. Try to learn all you can about diabetes. Find out what you can
do on a daily basis to manage it for the rest of your life. Number two is SKILL. There’s
a difference between knowing what to do and being able to do it. Developing good
coping and self-care skills helps you take your knowledge and put it to good use. Give
yourself time to learn these new skills. And number three is SUPPORT. Most people
find it easier to deal with the challenges of coping with diabetes when they have the
support of family, friends, and members of their diabetes care team.

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Child Passenger Safety Practices in the U.S.

A recent article in American Journal of Preventive Medicine examines how kids are riding on our nation’s roadways. The study’s primary objective was to analyze three years of NSUBS data to evaluate for racial/ethnic disparities in the types of child safety seats in use across childhood.  The secondary objective was to identify child, driver, and vehicle characteristics associated with child passengers being unrestrained and sitting in the front seat.
RESTRAINT USE: It is not surprising that this publication found a decline in child safety seat use and an increase in being unrestrained were observed with increasing child age.
DRIVER BUCKLED: Our work on making sure everyone rides buckled up is essential. Children with an unrestrained driver had a 23 times more likely to be unrestrained.
FRONT SEAT: The message of kids in the back seat is being heard with fewer than 5 percent of children younger than 4 years observed as front seat passengers.  As kids get older, they are more likely to ride in a front seat.
After reviewing all the data, although both age and racial disparities exist, overall low proportions of children are using the age appropriate restraint (selection) and many are placed at risk by sitting in the front seat (location). This study suggests three specifıc opportunities to increase the number of children who are properly restrained:
1. First, few children remain rear facing after age 1 year.
2. Second, after 7 years of age, less than 2 percent use a booster seat.
3. Third, many children aged 6 years sit in the front seat, one in seven aged 6–7 years, one quarter of those aged 8 –10 years, and more than one third of those aged 11–12 years
Adair County Health System has a free Buckle Up Right program that anyone can have a car seat check by one of our car seat technicians for free.  If a new child safety seat is needed, one will be given.  A donation will be asked for but not required for the new child safety seat.  To schedule an appointment with Kelly Oder or Mandi Eisbach (Child Safety Seat Techs) please call 641-743-2123.

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider. 
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement. 
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.
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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By: Tara Erickson – ACHS Radiology Department

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with this being said I would like to remind all women that it is important to have a yearly screening mammogram. 

What is a Mammogram?  A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast.  Screening mammograms are used to look for breast disease in women who are asymptomatic: that is, those who appear to have no breast problems.  The goal of screening mammograms is to detection breast cancer early, before the start of symptoms.  Breast cancers that are found because they are causing symptoms tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast.  In contrast, breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast.  The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors prediction the prognosis (outlook) with this disease.  Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests.  Following the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer improves the chances that breast cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated successfully.  The American Cancer Society recommends women without breast symptoms at age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.  Women with serious health problems or short life expectancies should discuss with their doctors whether to continue having mammograms.

The following are useful suggestions for making sure that you receive a quality mammogram:
• Try to schedule your mammogram at a time of the month when your breasts are not tender or swollen to help reduce discomfort and assure a good picture.  Try to avoid the week right before your period.
• On the day of the exam, don’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant.  Some of these contain substances that can interfere with the reading of the mammogram by appearing on the x-ray as white spots.
• Always describe any breast symptoms or problems that you are having to the technologist who is doing the mammogram.  Be prepared to describe any medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk—such as prior breast surgeries, hormone use, or family or personal history of breast cancer.  Also discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your provider before having a mammogram.
• If you are going to a facility for the first time, bring a list of the places, dates of mammograms, biopsies, or other breast treatments you have had before.  This is important so that your new images can be compared to your old ones.  If you can bring the previous with you or have them sent to the new facility before you appointment this will help in getting your results in a timely manner.
• If you do not hear from your doctor within 10-14 days, do not assume that your mammogram results are normal.  Please call your providers office.

What to expect when having a mammogram.
• You are required to undress from the waist up.  The technologist will provide you with a cape/wrap to wear.  If you have deodorant or antiperspirant on you will be provided with a wet wipe to remove the deodorant or antiperspirant.
• A technologist will ask you question regarding your medical history.
• A technologist will be there to position your breasts for the mammogram.  You and the technologist are the only ones in the room during the mammogram.  To get a high-quality mammogram picture, it is necessary to flatten the breast slightly.  The breast is compressed between 2 plates to flatten and spread the tissue.  Although this may be uncomfortable for a moment, it is necessary to produce a good, readable mammogram.  The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds.  The entire procedure for a screening mammogram takes about 20 minutes.  You may feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, and for some women compression can be painful.  Try not to schedule a mammogram when your breasts are likely to be tender, as they may be just before or during your period.

Some women are worried about the amount of radiation that they are exposed to during a mammogram.  Modern mammogram equipment designed for breast x-rays uses very low levels of radiation, usually about a 0.1 to 0.2 rad dose per x-ray (a rad is a measure of radiation dose).  To put dose into perspective, a woman who receives radiation as a treatment for breast cancer will receive several thousand rads.  If she had yearly mammograms beginning at age 40 and continuing until she was 90, she will have received 20 to 40 rads.  As another example, flying from New York to California on a commercial jet exposes a woman to roughly the same amount of radiation as one mammogram.

There are 2 kinds of risk factors for breast cancer; the ones that you cannot change and the ones that are lifestyle-related.  The ones that you cannot change are; gender, age, family history, personal history, race and ethnicity, and menstrual periods.  The ones that you have control over (lifestyle-related) are; having children, birth control hormone therapy after menopause, breastfeeding, alcohol, being overweight or obese, and physical activity.
Risk factors you cannon change:
• Gender – Simply being a woman is the main risk factor for developing breast cancer.  Men can develop breast cancer, but this disease is about 100 times more common among women than men.
• Aging – Getting older increases your risk of getting breast cancer.  About 1 out of 8 invasive breast cancers are found in women younger than 45, while about 2 of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older.
• Family history – Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease.  Having a first-degree (month, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer almost doubles a woman’s risk.  Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk even more.  Although the exact risk is not known, women with a family history of breast cancer in a father or brother also have an increased risk of breast cancer.  Less than 15% of women with breast cancer have a family member with this disease.  Than means that most (85%) women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.
• Personal history – A woman with cancer in one breast has an increased risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast.
• Race and ethnicity – White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are African-American women, but African-American women are more likely to die of this cancer.  In women under 45 years of age, however, breast cancer is more common in African-American women.  Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.
• Menstrual periods – Starting menstruating early (before age 12) and/or went through menopause later (after age 55) slightly raise your risk of breast cancer.
Lifestyle-related factors:
• Having children – Women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk.
• Birth control – Recent oral contraceptive use: Studies have found that women using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them.
• Hormone therapy after menopause – Use of combined (estrogen and progesterone hormones) post-menopausal hormone therapy increases the risk of getting breast cancer.  It may also increase the chances of dying from breast cancer.  This increase in risk can be seen with as little as 2 years of use.  Large studies have found that there is an increased risk of breast cancer related to the use of combined hormone therapy.  Combined hormone therapy also increases the likelihood that the cancer may be found at a more advanced stage.  A women’s breast cancer risk seems to return to that of the general population within 5 years of stopping treatment.
• Breastfeeding – some studies suggest that breast feeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk.
• Alcohol – Consumption of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.  The American Cancer Society recommends that women have no more than 1 alcoholic drink a day.
• Being overweight or obese – Being overweight or obese after menopause has been found to increase breast cancer risk.
• Physical Activity – Evidence is growing that physical activity in the form of exercise reduces breast cancer risk.  In one study from the Women’s health Initiative, as little as 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman’s risk by 18%.

Signs and Symptoms of breast cancer
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms (no matter what age) please contact your provider as soon as you can.  They may or may not be signs of cancer.

• Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
• Skin irritation or dimpling
• Breast or nipple pain
• Nipple retraction (turning inward)
• Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
• A nipple discharge other than breast milk

Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt.  Swollen lymph nodes should also be reported to your doctor.

Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a screening mammogram.  The best way to find this out is to call your insurance and see how much and how often they cover mammograms with your plan.  If you ask the technologist performing your mammogram they do not know as there are a lot of different insurance companies and different plans they can not remember them all.  If your insurance doesn’t cover or you don’t have insurance there are programs out there that can help with the cost.  For example for Adair County residents Adair County Home Care has a program called National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).  Stephanie Claussen is in charge of this program.

Not everyone reading this is a woman but please remind those women in your family to have their yearly mammogram.  Most facilities will send a reminder letter the next year but also hearing it from your family really shows them that you care about their health.
References:
Breast Cancer: Early Detection
American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/index
The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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Disposal Option for Unwanted Medications

Last month an article published by the American Chemical Society noted that during 2011 roughly 4 billion prescriptions were written in the United States.  With so many prescriptions generated, you probably have unwanted, unused or outdated medication lurking in your medicine cabinet.  So, how can you safely dispose of these medications?  Do you flush them, throw them away or just keep them in your cabinet forever?  The most responsible choice would be none of these. 
Prescription medications, even in small doses, can be very dangerous if accidentally consumed by humans or animals.  An additional concern is that these unwanted prescription drugs get in the wrong hands, a growing problem in the United States, especially among teenagers.  Medications that are put in the trash can be picked out by drug abusers, leftover medications in your home can be tempting to others, and medications flushed down the toilet can end up in our drinking water.
Here are two safe disposal options.   The most comprehensive program, “Drug Take Back,” is run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and held two times per year.  Created by the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, it allows all medications, including controlled substances such as pain medications, to be turned in to participating police stations or other public sites for destruction.  If you miss this event, the Iowa Take Away program, located in many participating Iowa retail pharmacies, will take most medications, except controlled substances, and dispose of them in an environmentally safe manner.  If you need to dispose of controlled substances, hold on to them until the next DEA Drug Take Back event.
Since the beginning of DEA’s program in 2010, four events have been held.  More than 1.5 million pounds (774 tons) of medications have been turned in and destroyed.  Please do your part to protect our environment and prevent diversion of medication. Bring your unwanted medications to the next take back event in your area. For additional information on the next DEA event, call 1-800-882-9539. For information about the ongoing Iowa Take Away program, contact your local retail pharmacist or visit the Iowa Pharmacy Association’s website at www.iarx.org/takeaway for more information.
George Papineau, PharmD, RPh
Pharmacy Director
Adair County Health System

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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Germs and Kids???

Are germs okay for our kids? There are many opinions out there. I keep hearing (with two small children in daycare) that they are getting used to germs and when they start school they won’t be sick all the time! I am hoping that is true, since I am not a healthcare provider, I decided to do a bit a research.

On WebMD I found several things that were interesting – you can over sanitize your child’s environment by doing this you are not keeping them safe you may in fact be harming them by depriving them the germs that they need to have the opportunity to build a strong immune system. I have seen those parents around that are so freaked out by their child getting germs and getting sick.

I am not suggesting that you don’t wash your kids hand or let them eat off of a restaurant floor but as stated on the WebMD “use common sense,” this is the best advice I could find out there. So that is the route I am going to go with… using my common sense on germs and my children.

We want to hear from you… do you sanitize every thing in your child’s environment, are you in the middle (using common sense), or do you not worry about germs at all?

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
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