Nurse Mary Beth and Herbal Medicines

29 05 2009

Nurse Mary Beth talks about herbal medicines and when, or when not, to use them.

Listen now!

Right-click here to download podcast (4mb, 8min)

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Facebook: Are We a Page Yet?

27 05 2009

Facebook (FB) is a good place to network with friends or keep up with your favorite causes or orgs.  It’s also good at causing confusion.

On FB, there are Pages, Profiles, Groups and Applications – and there’s Home.  Well, there’s a lot of other stuff, but we have to start somewhere.

Here are a few tips, but you’ll get the most out of FB by clicking on things and trying them out.

Profile

The Profile is your starting point. Before you can do anything else on FB, you need to have a profile.  After you sign up on FB, you fill in the profile info.

You can then adjust how open, or how private, you want your FB profile to be.

You’ll find that the Profile page and the Pages page(s) look very similar. That’s because they are, but they’re not.  It’s painful, isn’t it!

Just remember that the Profile page is where all your power is, and you’ll be good.

Home

The Home page is like your hometown newspaper, if your newspaper only printed news about you and your friends.

Every morning, or five times an hour, depending on your level of addiction to FB, you get on FB and you look at your Home page.  You’ll see news that your friends have posted and you can post what you’re up to in the “What’s On Your Mind” share box at the top of the Home and Profile pages.

Anytime you post anything in that share box, it goes to all your friends.  If you want to communicate directly with one or more friends, and not blast something to all your friends on FB, go to “Inbox” at the top of any of your pages on FB and click on it.

Start typing in your friend’s name as it appears on FB and their name will pop up, you then click on it and type in your message and hit send.

Pages

Pages are a way of sharing your hobbies or interests, or promoting a business, organization or celebrity.

FB users can see your Page(s) and “fan” the page to show their support.  They don’t have to be friends of your FB account to see your Pages.

A Page looks similar to the Profile, and you have many of the same options for tweaking it, because it also has the Wall, Info, Photos and other tabs (see the PKIDs’ GETVAXED page below).

GETVAXED_Facebook_Page

Pages allow information, pics and videos to be constantly streaming (much like Profiles).  This gives the FB Page an opportunity to be a main source of information for fans (a.k.a. page users).

For someone using FB to network as an org, one of the best parts of a Page is the analytics available to measure traffic and growth. Through these metrics, you can track your Page’s progress and set goals for success.

Groups

Groups were the first big thing on Facebook. Anyone could make one to show support for their passion (see the PKIDs’ FB Group below).

PKIDs Facebook Profile

Compared to Pages and Profiles, Groups are more of a static source of information. You can “join” a Group just as you would “fan” a Page, but the Page and the Profile are the champions of providing quick information updates. You could almost look at a Group as a business listing in the phone book.

Applications

Applications, or Apps, can be integrated into the Profile or Page as tabs and boxes (under the Boxes tab or as a box on the Wall tab). This allows a Page or Profile to be much more interactive (and fun!).

FB apps are developed by companies and individual developers, not always by FB employees.

There are thousands of FB apps and the complete application directory can be found here.

P.S.

You can search for Groups, Pages, Profiles and Applications by using the search box in the top right corner (shown below).

Facebook Search

Have further questions about FB? Ask them by commenting below. And look forward to next week where we go in-depth about finding and sharing health info on Facebook.

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Whooping Cough Spreads Too Easily, So Vaccinate!

26 05 2009

silence the soundsWhooping cough sounds like something a pioneer child would catch.  Maybe from trudging through the dust behind her Conestoga wagon. 

No doubt there were plenty of cases back then, and not a darn thing they could do about it.  Now, there is something we can do, and if you’ve ever had pertussis (whooping cough), or watched a loved one go through it, you would get vaccinated as fast as the wheels of your car could take you to the nearest immunization clinic.

Pertussis is a highly contagious and potentially deadly bacterial infection that makes life absolutely miserable at any age, but is particularly dangerous for babies. 

The sounds of pertussis are like no other, marked by a “whoop” made when babies are gasping for breath after a severe coughing attack.

More than half of babies with pertussis are hospitalized.  Coughing can be so severe that it’s hard for babies to eat, drink or breathe and they can suffer from these complications:

• Babies may bleed behind the eyes and in the brain from coughing.
• The most common complication is bacterial pneumonia.  About 1 child in 10 with pertussis also gets pneumonia, and about 1 in every 50 will have convulsions.
• Brain damage occurs in 1 out of every 250 people who get pertussis.
• Pertussis causes about 10-15 deaths a year in the United States.

Pertussis spreads through droplets from the mouth and nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

Because it’s most contagious during the first two weeks of infection when symptoms resemble a cold, pertussis just zips through a household.  A parent, grandparent or babysitter suffering from what seems like a cold can actually have pertussis and spread the disease to the baby. 

Babies don’t start the series of vaccines that include pertussis until they’re two months of age, and they don’t get the final dose until they’re at least four years of age, although they’re fairly protected by the time they’re one year old.  But until then and particular when they’re under six months of age, no one should be around them who’s not received the booster shot as an adolescent or adult.

Half of babies with pertussis are infected by their parents.  Most unvaccinated children living with someone who has pertussis will get the disease, and 90 percent of pertussis-associated deaths have been among babies less than a year old.

This is why it’s so important for parents and other family members to get the pertussis vaccine themselves to help “cocoon” babies and young children when they are most vulnerable to the dangers of pertussis.





H1N1 – It’s Like Gum On Your Shoe

22 05 2009

H1N1 has been around for a few weeks and we’ve whipped through “how worried should we be” straight into “swine flu? thought that was done.”

CDC says that flu activity is decreasing in the U.S., but that levels are still higher than normal for this time of year.  Note that not all diagnosed cases of flu are H1N1.

East Coast folks are still a bit above normal in number for late spring influenza infections.

The H1N1 strain is mild at this time, although there have been some deaths and hospitalizations.  The constant worry continues to be next fall – what will the virus do?

Younger people are getting the worst of it right now.  More than 60 percent of cases are in people between the ages of five and 24.  Fifty-eight percent of hospitalizations have occurred in people between the ages of 10 and 49.

The pre-existing medical conditions (asthma, pregnancy and others) that put people at risk of complications from seasonal flu also are risk factors with H1N1.

Money has been put toward the development of a vaccine for H1N1 but it’s yet to be decided if and how much vaccine would be produced.

As we go into the Memorial Day weekend, the word is:

  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a Kleenex, then wash your hands – again!




Christine Baze’s Yellow Umbrella!

21 05 2009

Christine Baze talks about being a cervical cancer survivor and saving the “hooch!”

Christine Savin' the Hooch!

Christine Savin' the Hooch!

 

www.theyellowumbrella.org

Listen now!

Right-click here to download podcast (12mb/25min)





Researching Health Information on Twitter: Tip#1 – Hash It!

19 05 2009

Twitter_Logo

Social media has made the spread of information lightening fast.

One of the most interactive and helpful social media Websites is Twitter, a microblogging service that lets you make frequent 140 character updates.

As an avid Tweeter myself, I have found quite the handful of useful tools to navigate the Twitterspace. Some of these tools can be used to stay abreast of pertinent health information.

Tip #1 is the hashtag (#). The hashtag lets someone follow a conversation or relate his or her tweet (a.k.a. message) to a topic.

Take a look at one of  PKIDs’ tweets:

Twitter_Post_PKIDs_profile

In the post, there are multiple hashtags (#cellphones, #germ, #health) that, when typed into Twitter’s search box, will allow you to follow the current trends on that subject.

View what the search box looks like below. It’s also featured on the bottom right side of your Twitter profile page (or look at http://twitter.com/pkids).

Twitter_Search_pkids_profile

The search function also shows recent hot topics and allows you to search for topics you’re interested, i.e. #health for health information.

So, why use the hashtag?

Not every hashtag has a conversation attached, but the # attached to a word allows Twitter users to tag relevant posts so others can find them, even if you aren’t following their posts on Twitter. Hashtags before a specific word, like #health, also help exclude irrelevant posts like “I am a health freak,” which wouldn’t teach you much.

Here are a few good hashtag choices for health info:
#health
#wellness
#medicine
#medical

If you want more specific health information use the specific disease or virus name, like #hepatitis or #H1N1.

There are also Twitter-independent tools you can use to follow health information on Twitter, without getting a Twitter account. TweetDeck and Search.Twitter.com are two that are easy and free to use.

And remember, as with all information on the Web, not all of it is credible. Consult your doctor before acting on any health advice from a third party.

Stay tuned next week for another tip on social media and your health.





Flu Game Etc

18 05 2009

OK, we know flu isn’t a game, but we ran across this actual game and thought it was worth a try. 

thanks to hillcrest healthcare for the timely graphic!

thanks to hillcrest healthcare for the timely graphic!

WHO is meeting this week and we’re sure the hottest topic is H1N1.  What’s it going to do?  Will it mutate and become a deadlier virus?  Nobody knows.

CDC wants you to remember that H1N1 is an influenza virus and deadly enough without any mutations, so be aware of symptoms and check with your provider if you’re vomiting, have diarrhea, maybe have a fever and/or body aches.

Happy reminders for a Monday, aren’t they!





Hep B Foundation Conference

15 05 2009

The Hepatitis B Foundation is having its annual B Informed Patient Conference.  We want folks to know about it, so here’s the info from their website and for registration details, click here:

hep b fdn

 

 

 

 

 

The 2009 B Informed Patient Conference, sponsored by the Hepatitis B Foundation in partnership with the Hepatitis B Information and Support List (HB-L), will be held June 26-27 at Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, just a few miles from the home of the Hepatitis B Foundation.

Highlights of this year’s conference will include formal presentations by clinical and research experts with interactive Q & A sessions.

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Mack Mitchell, Director, Division of Gastroenterology and Digestive Diseases at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, will provide an update on the care and treatment of chronic hepatitis B in adults.

An update for children with chronic hepatitis B will be given by Dr. Barbara Haber, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Information about the new NIH HBV Clinical Research Network will be given by hepatologist Dr. Michael Fried, U. of North Carolina; an update on hepatitis B and liver cancer by Dr. Kenneth Rothstein, Drexel U. Liver Center; and the hepatitis B drug watch by Dr. Timothy Block, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and professor at Drexel University College of Medicine.





H1N1 As Nature Made It

15 05 2009

H1N1 flu (aka swine flu) was not brewed in eggs in some dimly lit laboratory at the back end of Nowheresville.  So says the World Health Organization.  Well, maybe not those exact words, but the meaning is the same – there was no lab accident that allowed a new flu strain to spill forth and infect.One retired plant virologist in Australia decided that the strain looked suspiciously man-made and he voiced his opinion in no uncertain terms.

Before he closed his mouth, the rumor (because it’s certainly not fact) streaked across the globe at the speed of Superman.

Rumors have a habit of putting the kibosh on disease prevention, and that’s not acceptable.  In the past, people have even refused vaccination because of rumors that the vaccines would make them sterile.  The consequences to their refusal have been grim.

So, the World Health Organization is speaking up.  The novel H1N1 flu (aka swine flu) strain was not man-made.  It’s just a stinking fluke of nature.





H1N1 and Pregnancy

13 05 2009

Some pregnant women are experiencing severe complications from H1N1 infection, including pneumonia, dehydration and premature labor.

In otherwise healthy individuals, flu of any strain or type can be harder on pregnant women than women who are not pregnant.

CDC is recommending that providers immediately start treating with antivirals if they suspect a pregnant woman in their care is infected with H1N1.

The worrisome part to this – and there’s always a worrisome part – is that not a lot of testing has been done to see how these drugs will affect the pregnant woman or the fetus.

Most providers don’t like to prescribe meds for pregnant women and many of their patients don’t want to take meds while pregnant.

But, the risk of harm appears to be greater with infection than with taking the meds, so please consider taking antivirals if you suspect you have influenza.

If you’re pregnant and you think there’s a remote chance you might be infected with H1N1, call your provider immediately.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, Interim Deputy Director for Science and Public Health program at CDC, said yesterday that, “…experts who have looked into this situation really strongly say that the benefits of using antiviral drugs to treat influenza in a pregnant woman outweigh the theoretical concerns about the drugs.”