Flu Season Is Still Here: What You Need To Know

coldHere’s some good news: This year’s flu season is turning out to be among the mildest on record.

So far in our flu season, which extends roughly from November to April, five deaths have been reported and 925 cases have been confirmed in the United States. At this point in 2015, nearly 40 deaths had been recorded and more than 4,000 cases of the illness were reported, according to the federal department of Health and Human Services.

Even with the relatively low number of cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends flu shots annually for everyone over age six months. The vaccination helps prevent the flu and is especially important for anyone with a damaged immune system or is at higher risk.

The milder flu season is attributed to a warmer-than-normal winter — so far. Officials also report that the vaccinations developed for this year have been a good match with the strains reported in circulation.

But, the CDC also notes that the numbers of flu cases across the country are on the rise — the season typically peaks after the second week of February.

So, it’s still important to take precautions during flu season to stay healthy. Best bets:

  • Get a flu shot! Call 816-923-5800 to make an appointment. You can even call for a same-day visit.
  • Wash your hands! Use soap and water, and wash thoroughly — long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself. You can also use hand sanitizers in between washings.
  • Avoid contact with people who have flu-like symptoms. If you’re not feeling well, cover your cough and stay away from others to avoid spreading germs. Don’t share your symptoms with schoolmates or your co-workers.
  • Take care of yourself! Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and liquids, and eat healthy foods. Exercising regularly helps, too.

Let’s do our part to make this the healthiest flu season ever!

Do you have a question about the flu or the getting a flu vaccination? Call us at 816-923-5800 or leave a note in the comment box below.

Now Is The Time To Wear Red, Learn About Heart Disease, and Take Action!

Red is everywhere this month!

From red candy heart boxes to red roses, the color red is always front and center in February. February is also American Heart Month, the time to raise awareness about heart disease and provide tips on ways to take care of your heart.

Did you know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women? In fact, one in four women dies from heart disease.

And while heart disease and stroke don’t discriminate, African-American men are at the highest risk for heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About two in five African-American men have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control.

Stroke disproportionally affects African-Americans. And African American women have two times the risk of stroke than Caucasian women.

SHSWearRedIt’s time to change those statistics. Here’s what you can do:

  • Be aware: Know the warning signs for heart disease and attack. Women and men can both experience gripping chest pains or a cold sweat. But women often have more subtle symptoms like discomfort in the stomach; pain in the back, neck or jaw; nausea or shortness of breath.
  • Get regular checkups: If you haven’t had a checkup lately, take a minute right now to schedule one at Swope Health Services. Call 816-923-5800 to make an appointment for a well-woman visit or physical. Talk with your provider about your risk of heart disease and its complications.
  • Take control: The major risk factors for heart disease are diabetes; smoking; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; lack of physical exercise; obesity and family history of heart disease. Other than family history, you can take steps to change your risk level by managing diabetes, quitting smoking, controlling high blood pressure, eating healthy foods and getting exercise regularly.

At SHS, we support heart health and, as you can see, we have the photograph to prove it! Many of our associates dressed in red on Feb. 5 — National Wear Red Day.

Join us! Do your part by Now Is The Time To Wear Red, Learn About Heart Disease, and Take Action! Your heart will love you for it!

To make an appointment for a checkup, call 816-923-5800. You can even call ahead for a same-day visit. Have a question? Leave a comment below.


 

Symptoms of heart attack:

Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest.

Pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, stomach or jaw.

Shortness of breath.

Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Source: CDC


Additional Resources for your Healthy Heart

GoRedForWomen.org
GoRed por tu Corazon
American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control: Heart Month
Million Hearts
CPR Training
WiseWoman
Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention

SHS provides these links as a resource, not an endorsement.

How YOU Can Prepare for Flu Season

It is impossible to predict specifics, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 5 to 20 percent of the population will catch the flu each year.

Every season, that translates into more than 100 million workdays missed, which is estimated to cost $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity nationally.

Last year’s flu season started early and lasted into April, making for a longer-than-average season. It produced 200,000 hospitalizations nationally and 36,000 deaths related to flu complications.

This year, there’s some good news in a slow start to the season. In Missouri, in the month of October, the health department reported influenza-like illness as below baseline with 124 laboratory-positive influenza cases. Nationally, as of Nov. 9, flu activity is low with just 35 states reporting sporadic flu cases. There’s been just one death attributed to flu so far.

Peak season, however, is still ahead of us. It is expected between December and February.

HowtowashyourhandsHere’s what you can do to stay healthy this flu season:

  • Get a flu shot. It’s recommended for everyone who’s more than six months old. And the earlier you get a shot, the better protected you will be once the viruses begin circulating in the community. You can get a flu shot at any Swope Health Services’ location. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment.
  • Avoid being around people who are sick with the flu. Especially avoid touching and close contact, like sharing foods or drinks, with people who have flu symptoms.
  • Wash your hands! It’s a proven method for reducing the spread of germs. Encourage kids to wash up, thoroughly and frequently.

If you do find yourself sick with the flu, do everyone else a favor and stay home to take care of yourself. Don’t spread it to others at your workplace, on the bus, in stores or at school. You’ll feel better, and so will everyone else.

Need more info? One of the best resources for public health information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where you can find “What You Should Know for the 2015-16 Influenza Season.

Do you have questions about the flu? Let us know. You can leave a comment here or visit us at any of our locations. For appointments, call 816-923-5800.

Don’t hibernate! Get some exercise today with these great resources!

GoForLifeWinter is coming, but that shouldn’t keep you from exercising. Don’t hibernate!

Being physically active is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.

Physical activity is good for body and mind — it can help you keep your independence as you age. There are exercises that everyone can do, regardless of your lack of activity or current health status.

Studies show exercise is good for people with chronic illnesses like arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Exercise can help you manage stress, improve your mood, reduce feelings of depression. It can give you more energy, and even can help improve and maintain some brain functions.

It’s never too late! Positive effects can start immediately, no matter what age or condition you’re in.

The White House Conference on Aging and the National Institute on Aging have developed a guide for older adults to incorporate exercise and physical activity into your everyday routine.

The guide recommends you try all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Here are some examples from the Workout to Go exercise guide – each title is a link to more information:

Endurance

Start with just 5 or 10 minutes a day, and work up to 30 minutes, at least three days a week.

–    walking or jogging

–    swimming

–    raking leaves

–    sweeping

–    dancing

Strength

Try to exercise upper and lower body two days a week, for 30 minutes.

–    lift or push weights — even common objects from your home

–    use resistance bands

–    chair dips

–    leg lifts

–    toe stands

Balance

Have someone with you or something sturdy to hold on to for safety.

–    stand on one foot

–    walk heel to toe

–    balance walk

–    back leg raises

–    side leg raises

Flexibility

Do each stretching exercise three to five times, trying to stretch further each time.

–    neck and shoulder stretch

–    upper arm raised stretch, upper body stretch

–    chest, back stretch, lower back stretch

–    ankle, back of leg stretch

–    thigh stretch, hip stretch,

WorkoutToGoGet your own copy of Workout to Go from the National Institutes of Health here. See instructions on how to do these exercises and suggested routines to get started.

Need more information? Check out these resources from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging:

 

Instead of a Father’s Day Card, Get Dad a Physical!

Here’s a way to put a little extra love in your Father’s Day — encourage all the fathers in your family to have an annual physical, seek medical advice and early treatment for any disease or injury.

Men’s Health Week, June 15 to 21 — which includes Father’s Day — is an annual celebration that is designed to increase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

medicalSwope Health Services wants to make health a priority for everyone. After all, everyone can take steps to be healthier and stronger.

One easy step is to have regular checkups and talk with your medical provider about any concerns.  Just talking about your health can lead to new learnings about signs and symptoms that can help diagnose issues early.

Swope Health Services provides physicals and wellness exams and preventive medical tests and vaccinations. Call 816-923-5800 for an appointment or visit us.

Moms and kids, encourage Dads to do it for the family. Dads, why not set an example of making health a priority for the whole family?

For more information and tips for National Men’s Health Week, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

June Is Men’s Health Month: Schedule Your Physical Now

Sean RyanHi. My name is Sean Ryan and I’m a Nurse Practitioner in the Adult Medicine Department. June is Men’s Health Month and here’s my message to the guys:

Please have a physical once a year.

And when you have that physical, speak up! If you have pain that won’t go away, mention it. If you have a lump or a bump somewhere that wasn’t there before, point it out to your provider. Don’t put it off and hope it goes away on its own. Chances are, it won’t. Chances are, it will only get worse.

A lot can go wrong in 12 months, especially for “men of a certain age.” Yet, according to a 2013 men’s health survey conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), more than half of all men have not seen their primary care physician in the past year.

Frankly, this is one of the main reasons why men don’t live as long as women. You’re not keeping up with your health issues in a timely fashion.

So please, gentlemen, get that annual exam on the calendar this month. Call us today at 816-923-5800 to request an appointment.

The Swope Health Services Patient Portal

Provider-Dan-GillenI’m Dan Gillen, a family nurse practitioner at Swope Health Services.  I’m a big fan of our patient portal!  It’s a great way for our patients to talk to providers and vice versa. The Swope Health Services patient portal is just like using email, except that it’s a secure system that keeps your health information confidential.

You can send me a message through the portal and it goes right into your chart, so I’ll have your health history right there when I read it and respond.  If you have a question that can’t wait until your next visit, send it via the patient portal.  I guarantee it will cut down on the “phone tag” that everyone hates when trying to get a medication refill or a referral.

It’s really easy to use. 

If you’re comfortable using the Internet, I’m sure you’ll find the portal helpful and easy to navigate.  Next time you’re at an SHS clinic, give your email address to one of our patient services representatives.  We’ll get you started with an email from us that includes your Username and Password.

Learn more about our patient portal.

Patient-PortalWeb