Survive the 5 S’s of Warm Weather

Survive the 5 S's of Warm Weather

Survive the 5 S's of Warm Weather

The weather is warm and the sky is bright – it’s time for your family to dig in and enjoy this beautiful season. Be sure you do safely.

Changing schedules and long, hot days can make it difficult to keep your family’s well-being on track. Fortunately, the right amount of know-how and planning makes it easy to navigate common concerns and face each day feeling healthy and refreshed.

Sunshine

One of the many pleasures of summer is spending time outdoors, but the sun’s rays can be particularly harmful this time of year.

Sunburn and tanning are evidence of sun-damaged skin, which can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma. This type of skin cancer can spread quickly if not caught early.

Your best defense is to avoid sun exposure when the sun’s rays are strongest — between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you do venture out, wear light-colored clothes that cover your skin and apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Reapply after any water sports or every two hours.

In addition to burns, too much time in the hot sunshine can lead to problems such as dehydration and heat exhaustion. Drink water throughout the day to ensure your body remains hydrated and doesn’t overheat.

Swimming

Swimming is an excellent exercise for the entire family. However, there are some safety concerns to keep in mind next time you take a dip.

Dr. Lisa Corum“Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children between the ages of 1 and 4,” said Lisa L. Corum, MD, family medicine physician with KentuckyOne Health Primary Care Associates. “Parents must remain vigilant when their children are playing in or around water. This means putting away distractions and providing constant supervision.”

Being in water can also lead to swimmer’s ear — an infection responsible for 2.4 million health care visits every year in the United Sates. While common, swimmer’s ear can be prevented by keeping the ears dry or using over-the-counter eardrops that contain a drying agent.

Sleep

To feel their best, school-aged children and teenagers need between eight and 11 hours of sleep each night. While there may be more time to snooze during summer break, be careful not to set a schedule that’s drastically different from their school year one.

Children accustomed to going to bed and rising late may struggle when school is back in session. Get ahead of this problem by setting a normal sleep routine at least two weeks before school begins.

“I recommend parents provide their children with planners so they can begin scheduling school days and extracurricular activities,” Dr. Corum said. “Those plans should include a reasonable bedtime. Children like to have some say about how they spend their time, and this is one way to promote that.”

School Prep

Getting ready for the first day of school? Don’t forget to schedule back-to school physicals and check on children’s immunizations. Both are just as vital to being prepared as school supplies and a perfect first-day outfit.

A visit to the doctor gives families peace of mind. You’ll know your children are protected from contagious diseases, and they’ll have the all-clear to begin playing sports. It’s also a good time to get a general update on your family’s well-being. Consider scheduling your own annual wellness visit at the same time.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky requires student athletes to have a specific physical before they can participate in school-sponsored sports programs. Let your children’s physician know if they are planning to play sports during the upcoming school year.

Stomach

The summer season can be hard on your digestive health — a trend that catches many families off guard.

Kathleen Martin, MD“We see more intestinal viruses during the summer months,” said Kathleen Martin, MD, gastroenterologist with KentuckyOne Health Gastroenterology Associates. “Just like winter is a time to be extra cautious about hand hygiene to avoid catching the flu, summer is the time to be extra cautious about what you eat.”

Backyard barbecues, pool parties or other events that involve leaving food out in the sun are potential causes of stomach troubles. All it takes is one hour for perishable foods to spoil in the summer sun. For lactose intolerant people, cold and creamy summer treats may increase flare-ups. And even a seemingly harmless dip in the lake can increase the risk of a common intestinal parasite infection called giardia.

“To help prevent problems, wash your hands regularly and be mindful about what you’re eating or drinking,” Dr. Martin said. “Avoiding risks can keep many people healthy and free to enjoy summer activities.”

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The Ten P’s: Tips for a Good Doctor Visit

Tips for a Good Doctor Visit

No matter how well-trained, motivated and compassionate your doctor is, you might not be getting as much out of your health visits as you can. The good news is that there are several things you can do to make the most of your office appointments.

Here are some helpful tips from a doctor about what you can do make your time together as meaningful as possible.

1. Prepare

Make sure you know the correct date, time and location of your appointment. If you have not been to that location before, look it up so you know where you’re going. Make sure to bring your identification, insurance card, and a list of your current medicines and allergies. If you are seeing a specialist, know the name of your primary care provider so the specialist can send a letter summarizing the visit. If the doctor might need to examine you, wear clothes that are easy to take off and put on.

2. Paperwork

If you are seeing a doctor for the first time, you might be told to expect new patient paperwork in the mail. Look for it. If you do not receive it, call the office. People in the office might be able to email it to you. Then fill it out. Do not try to decide what you think the doctor needs to know and withhold information. Humor the doctor by filling it out accurately and completely. Office personnel are accustomed to seeing information presented in a certain way, and may need to follow a sequence for computer entry of information.

3. Person

Consider bringing another person with you to your appointment to act as another set of eyes and ears. On the other hand if you have young, active children consider leaving them with a sitter so you can focus on your visit.

4. Punctual

Often you will be told both an appointment time and an arrival time. Take traffic and unfamiliar surroundings into consideration when planning travel time. You may have to sign more forms after you arrive, so if you arrive just before your appointment time you will be behind. If you are flustered because you are late, you will not be thinking clearly when it is your turn to see the doctor.

5. Play

It’s not fair and it shouldn’t be this way, but at times you will have to wait. Bring a book or another diversion to occupy yourself while you wait. You will be in a better mood when it’s your turn to see the doctor.

6. Phone

Your health demands focus. Turn off your phone when the doctor or nurse is in the room.

7. Purpose

This is one of the most important points. Think about the reason for your visit, and tell the doctor or nurse practitioner within the first few minutes. Do not tell a story to explain the background or build dramatic effect; these can come out with further discussion. Get right to the point. For example, “I am here to discuss my blood pressure medicine. My blood pressure has been high, and I am having strange sensations. I wonder whether they might be side effects of the medicine.”

8. Participate

Be there mentally and take part in your visit. Your doctor or nurse practitioner is making decisions based on your responses to questions, so answer questions as best you can. Do not say what you think they want to hear. For example if your physician prescribes a medication but you do not take it, say so. Or if your doctor explains the results of a test and asks whether you understand, do not say yes if you do not.

9. Pen and paper

If you do not have a scribe to help you, bring something to make notes about the topics you discussed. You might even ask the doctor to review what you wrote to ensure it is accurate. Keep your notes in a binder or notebook, and bring it with you to every appointment.

10. Plan

This is very important. Make sure you understand the plan before the visit ends. For example you might say, “So I am going to stop taking Toprol, and start Diovan. I am going to come back in 6 weeks for blood work and a recheck. Is that right?” You both should be clear about what should happen next.

Being an advocate for your own healthcare does not mean you have to be suspicious or confrontational, but it does require some thought. It will help you to think about your appointment before, during and after the visit. You will learn more about your health, be more satisfied with your experience, and position yourself for a longer, happier life.

Remember your P’s!


Dr. David LipskiDavid Lipski, MD

Dr. David Lipski practices venous and lymphatic medicine at KentuckyOne Health Vein Care Associates.