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Dr. Smith's Helpful Tips

Tip for May and June

Published 05/01/2018

Ticks are arachnid pests common to wooded and grassy areas.  They carry a variety of illnesses, including Lyme, Babesiosis and Powassan virus.  These are serious conditions and it is therefore important to check yourself for ticks after being outdoors.  Non-engorged ticks you discover are likely to have not been on you more than 48 hours.  The chance of Lyme transmission is highest after this period.  If you find an embedded tick, be sure to seek medical attention, as you will be able to take an antibiotic to prevent Lyme transmission.  Lyme disease often appears as a flu-like illness as well as a rash that migrates over the body.  If you develop such symptoms in the summer months, see a doctor for Lyme testing and treatment even if you have not seen a tick.

April's Tip of the Month

Published 04/01/2018

Lacerations occur from many causes, but some are more common than others. If you get a laceration, be sure to clean it immediately with either soap and water or peroxide.  Lacerations only have limited time to be sewn up, usually within the first 12 to 24 hours, sooner is always better.  Stitching one too late can lead to wound infections.

Be especially careful when doing the following activities.   As a disproportionate number of cuts occur from these activities.   Such as using a mandolin slicer, cutting avocados, removing broken glassware from the dishwasher or sink and putting away or unpacking knives.  Take your time with these and activities and be careful!!

If you a get a laceration be sure to check your tetanus shot records.  If it has been more than 10 years since your last shot you need to be immunized.  If you don’t have your own records, you can check the dates with your Primary Care Doctor.  Tetanus is extremely serious so be sure to come in if you are due!!

March's Tip

Published 03/01/2018

Many people like to use ear swabs (Q-tips).  These swabs are meant to be used on the outside of the ear, called the pinna.  They are not to be used to clean the deep part of the ear canal.  Doing this can lead to a variety of issues, such as ear canal infections (otitis externa), packing of earwax in the canal,  and accidental breakage of the swab which ends up stuck in the ear.

Never put a Q-tip further in the ear than the soft tip.  To clean the canal use a warm water jet like the shower or a syringe at the sink.  Be sure it’s warm; use of cold water for this causes massive dizziness and a free trip to the amusement park!

February's Tip

Published 02/01/2018

Many people have heard of MRSA.  This stands for methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus.  MRSA is a bacteria that lives in the environment and can colonize a person’s body, usually the nose or skin.  This bacteria is a common cause of boils and abscesses but it can lead to other infections as well.  MRSA is resistant to penicillin related antibiotics. 

While hospital acquired MRSA is very hard to kill, usually being resistant to a large number of antibiotic types, the MRSA found in the community (i.e. outside of the hospital) is easily dealt with, as a number of agents kill it.  If you are diagnosed with a MRSA infection, don’t panic!  Your doctor will likely have a wide range of effective antibiotics to choose from to deal with the problem.

Tip for December and January

Published 12/01/2017

Snow shoveling can be dangerous, especially for people that have pre-existing medical conditions.  People with cardiac risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes or diagnosed heart disease should be especially careful.  Many people feel that taking huge bites of snow to save time is a good strategy, however this can be extremely stressful to the body.  Aside from serious complications, many minor injuries such as back spasm and shoulder strain can result from shoveling big loads.

Be sure to take numerous breaks when shoveling snow.  Take smaller bites of snow to not overload yourself.  Be sure to stop immediately and call 911 if chest pain, nausea or difficulty breathing develops!  Be sure to get some hot cocoa as a reward when you’re done!