Friday, December 30, 2011

The coolest thing about

     Okay, by now pretty much everyone has seen the MyPlate icon that has replaced the food pyramid. In case you haven’t, here it is: 
MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image—a place setting for a meal. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl.

       But here’s something I think is the coolest part of USDA’s SuperTracker!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thanks for visiting, now drive safe!

     When I was in kindergarten, my godmother was hit by a drunk driver. Most people don’t remember what happened to them when they were 5 or 6, and frankly, I don’t remember much of it either. But I vividly remember staying at my next door neighbor’s house waiting for my aunt to pick us up so my mom could catch the next flight up to Boston to be with her family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Give the gift of life this holiday season.

When was the last time you saved three lives in a just over an hour?

     Would it interest you to know you can save three lives every eight weeks? In one year, you can save 18 lives. All it takes is a blood donation. According to The American Red Cross, each whole blood donation can help up to three people. Consider sharing the holiday warmth this season by giving the gift of life.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Do you know how to spot a stroke?

Stroke Symptoms poster provided
by National Stroke Association
     This probably isn’t what most people think about when the holidays come around, but a few years ago, my mom was at a holiday party with her coworkers, when one of them collapsed suddenly. He tried to decline treatment and go on with his day, but luckily there were people there who recognized the signs of a stroke and called 911 despite his protests. Thinking about that made me wonder – would I recognize the signs of a stroke and know to call 911 even if the victim said not to?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy holidays, and oh, can we talk?

     After you’ve opened the presents and eaten the holiday ham, there’s nothing like a family game of Monopoly or a fierce game of Wii tennis on Christmas Day. If you have family around this holiday season, it might also be a good time to pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and talk about family health history. You’ve heard me right. Family health history isn’t as fun as a board game, but it’s an important discussion to have.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last minute gift idea- a relaxing massage

     The holidays are almost here, and if you’re anything like me, you may still have a few gifts that need to be bought.

Have you thought about giving the gift of relaxation?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Anniversary Meritus Health!

     One year ago, we went from Washington County Hospital and Antietam Health Services to Meritus Health. We moved a hospital. And we changed the way we think about healthcare.

     We no longer think of the hospital and the health system as two separate and exclusive entities. Now, they all fall under the largest health system in western Maryland. We have changed our policies and procedures to focus even more on the full continuum of care – if you go home from the hospital, do you need home medical equipment? Are you seeing your primary care physician regularly? Do you understand the medicine that’s been prescribed? Do you have a way to pay for that medicine? Our job is help you stay healthy, so you don’t have to go to the hospital.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Questions about nutrition?

Hello everyone!!

     It’s hard to believe, but our blog has been up for 3 ½ months now! In that time, we’ve had more than 8,500 page views! On this blog, we focus on tips for healthier living and delve into a bunch of different topics, from cholesterol to sleep hygiene to safety tips for holiday shopping.

     From your comments, I get the impression that you’re finding this information to be extremely useful, and I’m thrilled! I’m so glad we can help you live your healthiest life. Because you, dear readers, enjoy a good blog, I want to take this time to point you toward another blog run by us that focuses solely on nutrition.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Good sleep hygiene—it’s elementary

     We all know how important oral hygiene is – poor oral hygiene leads to gum disease, gingivitis, cavities, and even heart disease. But, do you know how important good sleep hygiene is? First, do you know what sleep hygiene is? Sleep hygiene is all about getting a good night’s sleep and being consistent about it. Kind of like when you were in elementary school and you had a set bedtime.

Monday, November 28, 2011

You are what you eat, but what about what you drink?

     The fall/winter holidays are in full force, and it’s a wonderful time of year, with family and friends getting together and catching up. We know that most holiday parties involve food, and if you’re watching what you eat, you probably prepare for the onslaught of goodies by eating a small, healthy meal before the party so you feel full by the time you walk in. Have you thought about how what you drink affects your attempts at losing weight and staying healthy? The beverages you drink are just as important as the foods you put into your mouth. Melissa Tewes, RD, LDN, a clinical nutrition manager at Meritus Medical Center with more than 15 years of experience as a registered dietician, has these words of advice:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I’m Dreaming of a Safe Black Friday

     Start your engines! The holiday shopping season officially begins on Black Friday. As an Olympic shopper, Black Friday is better than New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July combined. I start this fine day at 3 am, with 10 of my closest friends and relatives. We eat a hearty breakfast, caravan to the biggest Black Friday sale, and end the day when we hit a minimum of 12 stores (or when someone whines about their feet).

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's holiday travel time, are you avoiding DVT?

     Over the river and through the woods means long hours spent driving or flying for many of us. Travel is hassle enough, but did you know that when you slow or change the flow of blood in your veins, you could develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? DVT is a clot that forms within a deep vein inside the body—usually the leg. Cathy Ware, BSN and vascular specialist at Meritus Medical Center, says inactivity is a common thread in DVT cases. Aside from traveling in cramped conditions for too long, here are other risk factors:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Those wonderful foods of fall

     With the holidays right around the corner, you might be wondering what fall foods are the best for your health and well-being. The good news is there’s a plethora of traditional options that taste great and are good for your body. Let’s take a look at what foods are best to pile up on your plate, and what might be better to avoid.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Are your bowels irritable?

     Have you ever heard of a nervous stomach or a spastic colon? They’re funny names to give your organs, but the condition—not so funny.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Sandwich Generation…How do you handle caring for parents and children simultaneously?

     No parents ever want to see their child suffer. Nor do any children want to see their parents suffer. So what happens when you’re in your 40s or 50s, with dependent children and elderly parents who are starting to need help? How do you balance caring for your children and your parents while working outside of the home? I’d like to share with you a story I witnessed firsthand.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Diabetes myths debunked.

     Diabetes is a disease that a lot of people don’t know too much about. Dr. Adriana Maldonado, medical director of Meritus Endocrine, Nutrition and Diabetes Education Center, shared with us a few myths that she frequently hears. Check them out:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tips for shoveling snow

Well, we were going to save this post for late November or early December, but since Mother Nature has decided that it’s open season for snow, we figured we’d post this now in case there she has any other tricks up her sleeve. (Didn’t the winter wonderland scene put you in the mood for the holidays?! I know it had that effect on me!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How do I pick the right walking shoes?

     Did you know that the foot has 26 separate bones, 30 different muscles, 56 tendons, 250,000 sweat glands, and 33 joints?!

     Selecting the right pair of walking shoes is crucial to both the effectiveness and comfort of your workout. The right pair of shoes for your best friend isn’t necessarily the best pair of shoes for you. Everyone’s feet are different and require different things. Fortunately, getting a good pair isn't a difficult task-as long as you're aware of a few key points.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The scariest night of all is here!

     Halloween is just around the corner, which means Trick-or-Treat is coming up, too!

     If you’re anything like me, you haven’t quite gotten around to buying stuff to hand out yet (no big deal, the kids at my apartment complex are trick-or-treating tonight, I have plenty of time, right?!).

     Before you buy bags of candy, stop and think for a minute- Do you really want five bags of chocolate in your house? There’s always leftovers that end up getting eaten by the family, plus the candy that the kids come home with, which ends up being way more candy and chocolate than would be in your house any other time of the year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Happy Ending, Presented by Hyperbaric Chambers

     Seven months ago, an adorable six-year-old, Brooke, was brought in to Meritus Medical Center’s Trauma and Emergency Services department after a neighbor’s dog bit off part of her nose. She lost the full right nostril flap and suffered other facial lacerations. The part of her nose that had been bitten off was recovered by the Fairfield, Pennsylvania police and brought to Meritus Medical Center by their chief.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Want to avoid getting the flu?

     Raise your hand if you’ve had your flu vaccine! There are quite a few hands I don’t see going up.  Luckily, we’re having a flu clinic!  (Details below!)

So, what exactly is the flu? How does it spread?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Giving Back

Mr. Burkhart

     Over the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with a lot of volunteers to record their stories about why they volunteer and their favorite memories.  I have to say, that’s my next tip for healthier living.  Try to find the time to get out there and volunteer in your community.  It makes you feel better, you get the opportunity to meet people that you never would have met before, and you’re giving back to the community.

     I’ve heard a lot of great stories, but one that really touched my heart was about Wayne Burkhart, a veteran of the United States Air Force.  Mr. Burkhart has been volunteering at Meritus Medical Center for over five years.  He works out of the imaging department, because, as he says, “that’s where most of the work is.  I work Monday and Friday because it’s the busiest two days. I want to keep busy. I didn’t sign up to sit.”

     Mr. Burkhart is also a skilled scroll saw craftsman, and this is the part that was truly touching.  Not only does he volunteer at the hospital, but he spends time at home creating decorations that he is giving to veterans who work for Meritus Health.  He’s given out between 50 and 60 personally created scroll saw pieces, and once he’s given as many away to employees here as he possibly can, he’s going to make more for members of the American Legion post he belongs to. 

Here's a photo of the piece he's making for our veterans: 

I'm in awe- this is so intricate, yet it fits in the palm of my hand.

     When I asked Mr. Burkhart why he wanted to do this, he said, “I know as a serviceman myself, I appreciate people that appreciate us. I felt like everyone should be recognized.”

     Mr. Burkhart, I feel like you should be recognized. You are an inspiration.  Thank you.

By Kayla Murphy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Runny Nose: A guide for the upcoming winter months

     Today's post is written by Dr. Kirby Scott, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon with Central ENT Consultants, located at the Susquehanna Bank Building at 1800 Dual Highway, Hagerstown. As an allergy sufferer myself, I really appreciate these tips! -Kayla

     Each fall, it almost seems as if our noses are working harder. The children are back in school, the first round of the “crud” has made it through the household, and many are left with the annoying “runny nose” that just won’t go away, despite tested “home remedies,” over-the-counter products, prescription pharmaceuticals, and “tincture of time.”

Monday, October 10, 2011

Get low, low, low, low!

     Well, ladies and gents, I have an update about my cholesterol! For the new readers, on August 25th, I posted this blog, and talked about how I had just discovered that I had very high cholesterol for someone my age.  Then, I posted this blog, exploring what all of the numbers meant.

     On September 30th, I had to get bloodwork drawn again for a program for my health insurance.  They were going to test my cholesterol and sugars, and I was a little nervous about the cholesterol test.  I didn’t know if there would have been any change yet. My mom warned me to not expect much of a change because it had only been about a month, and she knew that if there wasn’t a change, I would be disappointed and discouraged.  I was kind of in a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” mindset. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do you take more than one kind of medicine?

     Did you know that October is National Pharmacy Month??  It’s true.  Here are some other facts you may not know about pharmacists:
  • Becoming a pharmacist requires 5 or 6 years of higher education, depending on the program.
  • Pharmacists pass both state and federal boards
  • There are only 173,000 licensed pharmacists in the US, compared to 661,000 physicians and surgeons and 2.6 million RNs. 

     I asked one of our pharmacists, Joe Scalese, RPh, to describe what it means to be a pharmacist today.  He wrote:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Breast cancer can be scary, especially if you’re uninsured.

     Which is why we want to spread the word about the Make a Difference Breast Cancer Screening Program. I sat down with Carrie Starkey, program coordinator, at their free screening last Saturday to find out more about the program.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Check out that bra!

     Well, ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow is October 1, which is the start of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For the second year in a row, the John R. Marsh Cancer Center partnered with the Washington County Health Department, the Washington County Cancer Coalition, Komen’s “Make a Difference Breast Cancer Screening Program,” and BreastCancerAwareness-CV to bring you the DESIGNER CUP CHALLENGE!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why did I become a nurse?

Jim Recabo
Today's post is written by Jim Recabo, RN BSN, Administrative Nursing Supervisor at Meritus Medical Center, and a Nurse of the Year. I asked Jim to tell us why he decided to become a nurse.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You’re not my primary care doctor!

     If you’ve been a patient in Meritus Medical Center at any point over the last six years, chances are your attending physician was not your primary care doctor. That’s because Meritus Health has switched to using hospitalists to provide around-the-clock, on-site, focused care throughout a patient’s stay.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Raking can be a pain.

     It's that wonderful time of year when the weather is switching from sweltering to comfortable, pumpkin pies are being baked, cool evenings are being enjoyed by a bonfire, and beautiful colors are exploding on the trees. 
     Unfortunately, we all know that the explosion of color is followed by a blanket of leaves covering your yard.  Which is then followed by back-breaking Saturdays spent raking those leaves to the curb.  Here are some tips from Total Rehab Care to minimize the post-raking pain.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What do all these numbers mean?

     If you’re anything like me, when you’re handed lab results, you have no idea what they mean.  That’s how I felt when I got the results of my cholesterol test.  I asked for the numbers, and when I looked at them, I realized that I had absolutely no clue what I was looking at.  These were my numbers: 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

     Whenever you or someone you love has sudden symptoms of an illness or injury, your first thought is getting to a medical facility.  But how do you decide which medical facility you should go to?  There are two different places you can go when symptoms suddenly appear- the emergency room or an urgent care.  How do you decide which you should go to?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Do You Choose a Child Care Center?

     One of the biggest decisions a parent has to make is who will watch your child while you work? It’s a hard decision; this is your baby that you’re entrusting to another’s care.  You want to make sure that your child will be in a safe, healthy, educational, and happy environment so you don’t have to worry when you drop her off. One option is a childcare center.  Childcare centers are typically licensed, keep a close eye on their employees, and provide no-hassle coverage—even when a provider is sick or goes on vacation. Best of all, a high quality daycare center can prepare your child for elementary school and help him play well with others.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Helping your Child Maintain a Healthy Weight

     Good eating and exercise habits are essential building blocks for a healthy life.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17% of children in the United States are obese, which is triple the rate of just one generation ago.  Kids who are obese or overweight are more likely to be obese adults, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.  Plus, children with weight problems are likely to deal with discrimination, bullying, and poor self-esteem. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stay alive! Don't text and drive.

     Recently, Meritus Health partnered with area organizations to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and I really want to talk about why it’s so important to put the phone down.  We’ve all checked our phones while driving, not just teenagers. With these brilliant phones that seem like they can do everything except solve world hunger, professionals are used to having access to their e-mail at all times, and I know quite a few that are guilty of checking those emails while driving.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweet Treats for Diabetics

     With so much diet information out there for diabetics it can be hard to decide what to eat when it comes to dessert time or when a sweets craving hits.
     Fortunately you can enjoy the occasional treat while also keeping your health a priority. It is all about moderation and making the right choices.
     Choosing no-sugar-added or reduced-sugar items is a better choice over the regular versions, but keep in mind these still contain some sugar, so follow the serving size on the nutrition label.
     Also keep in mind that even “sugar-free” items may still have some carbohydrates, so it’s important to follow serving sizes for these as well.
Here are some suggestions for some diabetic-friendly sweet treats:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh hey there, high cholesterol...

I recently went to see my primary care physician for a new patient visit, and was sent to get routine blood work done. I hadn’t had my blood drawn in about three years, and I will admit I was a little nervous, but not terribly worried about it. I certainly was not expecting a phone call a mere seven hours after getting the blood drawn --- especially not a phone call telling me that I have very high cholesterol for someone my age

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disco Can Save Lives!

Yeah, you read that correctly. Disco can save lives. Or at least, “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees can.
How? By using the beat of “Staying Alive” to maintain a steady rate of chest compressions during hands-only CPR. Don’t believe me? Check out the video after the jump:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School

It’s hard to believe, but summer vacation is already ending, which means it’s time for back to school shopping!  One of the most important supplies you can buy for your child is a good backpack.  It’s the one supply they’re going to use all day, every day.  It’s really essential to get a backpack that’s good quality to avoid unnecessary strain on your child’s back.  I chatted with Heidi D’amore, a physical therapist at Total Rehab Care, to find out what to look for when you’re standing in front of a rack of packs, and how to properly use them.  A wheeled backpack is a good choice, but if your child prefers to carry their backpack, here are a few guidelines:  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome to Meritus Health’s official blog!

     Thanks for taking the time to check it out! We’ve decided to start a blog as a way to get more information to our community about staying healthy. The Your Health Matters blog will be filled with information about creating a healthier life for you and your friends and family. Our hope is that our blog posts give you information you can use daily, with topics ranging from eating healthier and exercising safely to the dangers of distracted driving, how to choose a childcare facility, and how to pick a doctor.
     I’m Kayla Murphy, the blog’s primary author, and I’ll be tapping into our greatest resource-the employees here at Meritus Health to bring you the latest news and tips for staying healthy and living well. My goal for this blog is to help you connect with the resources you need, right here at home.
     We’ll be posting about twice a week, and would love to hear feedback from our readers. Feel free to leave us comments and offer suggestions for future blog posts. We look forward to this opportunity to fulfill the promise, and we’re glad you’re here with us.

By Kayla Murphy