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Please Don’t Kiss the Baby!

Charlie

What can seem like a simple cold or a fever blister for an adult, can be fatal for a baby. RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is extremely contagious and adults are contagious before they show any symptoms. Anyone coming in contact with a newborn for their first few months should wash their hands before touching a new baby and avoid any face kissing. Kissing is one of the most direct ways we unintentionally share our germs. A baby’s immune system is pretty much non-existent when they are born so what is a mere irritant for an adult, can turn into a full blown fight for their life in a newborn.

 

It is important that babies know they are loved. But it is even more important that they be kept safe from infections their bodies are not ready to fight.

Love your babies by keeping them safe and healthy!

It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot!

man with fluTo flu or not to flu…that is the question! While many people still question whether or not to get a flu shot each year, it is still one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent the flu. It is not yet possible to completely eliminate the risk of getting the flu, but getting vaccinated does help greatly reduce this risk for you and your family.

Each year the flu vaccine is engineered to help your body develop antibodies to several strains of the flu virus. These antibodies help protect your body against infections. The flu virus can spread very easily. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can catch the flu from anyone within six-feet of you who may be infected. AND the flu can be spread anywhere from one day before a person starts seeing symptoms up to seven days after a person becomes sick! There is no way to know if the people around you are carrying the flu virus which may infect you and your loved ones.

While some cases of the flu might be mild others can be severe with symptoms ranging from a low-grade fever to life-threatening pneumonia. Those who are most at risk for complications of influenza include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Babies under six-months old
  • Young children
  • People with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart problems

Getting the flu shot, not only protects you and your family, it can also protect the most vulnerable people in our community.

Washing your hands is the second most effective way to protect yourself against the flu. Make handwashing a priority this flu season. Here is a video you can use to teach your children to wash their hands correctly.

Join Myrtue Medical Center in fighting the flu this season! Give us a call (833-662-2273) to find out how you can get your flu vaccine and protect you and your loved ones this flu season.

Myrtue Medical Center to Honor Medical-Surgical Nurses During ‘Medical-Surgical Nurses Week’

MSNW-Sign-We-are-Celebrating-MSNWThe nurses are being celebrated for their dedication, skills, and heroism.

Medical-surgical nurses focus every day on caring compassionately for patients and families. The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) has designated a special week to shift that focus to the nurses themselves. Myrtue Medical Center will participate in a national celebration of medical-surgical nurses during Medical-Surgical Nurses Week, November 1-7, 2018.

“We have a talented, caring, simply amazing group of nurses at Myrtue Medical Center. Our nurses work diligently every day to provide the best experience for patients when they are in the hospital. I am so honored to work with such a phenomenal group of nurses who provide compassionate care each and every day” said Christie Matthies RN, BSN, MBA, Medical Surgical Manager. “Medical-Surgical Nurses Week is an ideal time to recognize the work of these dedicated nurses.”

Medical-surgical nurses possess specialized skills and knowledge of the entire spectrum of nursing care. They make a difference by building the profession of nursing and the medical-surgical nursing specialty, mentoring and nurturing each other, advocating for patients and families, serving their communities through care and education, and improving patient care.

The special week is also meant to raise awareness of the medical-surgical nursing specialty among other nurses. One of the most diverse nursing specialties practiced today, medical-surgical nurses care for adult patients in a broad range of settings, applying their expert knowledge to all body systems and disease processes.

Myrtue Welcomes Jennifer Bruck, ARNP

Jennifer BruckMyrtue Medical Center is excited to introduce you to the newest Advanced Practice Professional to join Myrtue’s team of family practitioners, Jennifer Bruck, ARNP, FNP-BC.

Starting Nov. 12th, Jennifer will begin seeing patients Monday through Friday in Myrtue’s Earling Clinic, and she will provide coverage on Tuesday evenings from 4-8 p.m. at the clinic in Harlan. Most recently, Jennifer saw patients of all ages at CHI in Missouri Valley and previously worked as a Registered Nurse at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha in both newborn intensive care and intensive care units. Dr. David Erlbacher, MD, remains the supervising physician in Earling, and he will continue to see patients at the Earling Clinic on Tuesdays.

Schedule an Appointment to See Jennifer In Earling, Starting Nov. 12th:

Monday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, 12 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Thank you again for allowing us to continue serving you, and please welcome Jennifer. To schedule an appointment call 833-662-2273.

Time for Flu Vaccine!

Fight the FluProtect yourself, your family and your community this season with an annual flu vaccine for everyone in your family who is 6 months and older. This fall, Myrtue Medical Center’s Department of Public Health is offering a variety of flu clinics throughout Shelby County. Our goal is to protect all residents from complications related to influenza by increasing influenza immunization rates in Shelby County.  In addition to the variety of flu clinics offered in Shelby County, Myrtue is hosting Ayzlee’s Flu Clinics in Harlan, Elk Horn and Irwin. Ayzlee McCarthy, of Elk Horn, IA was diagnosed with influenza A and B on December 27, 2014 and passed away at the age of 3 on December 29, 2014 from septic shock, secondary to influenza. The “Ayzlee’s Flu Clinics” honor Ayzlee McCarthy and promote the importance of the flu vaccine.

  • The Harlan Ayzlee’s clinic will be held on Friday, October 12th from 4-7:00 PM at the Community Health Building at 2712 12th Street.
  • The Elk Horn Ayzlee’s clinic will be held Monday, October 8th from 5:00-7:00 PM at the Elk Horn School, 4114 Madison Street.
  • The Irwin Ayzlee’s clinic will be held on Tuesday, October 23rd and Thursday, October 25th from 4:00-8:00 PM at the Irwin Elementary School, 100 Eva Street.

Influenza remains a top ten leading cause of death in Iowa, yet can be prevented by receiving a yearly flu vaccine.  Some people are at higher risk for complications of influenza which makes receiving the vaccine very important. People at higher risk include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children, particularly those younger than 2 years of age
  • Adults age 65 and older
  • People who have certain medical conditions like asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and lung diseases.

Individuals with these risk factors are protected when they receive the flu vaccine and also when those around them are immunized. Additionally, infants under six months of age are not old enough to receive the flu vaccine. The best way to protect young infants is to vaccinate family members and caregivers in order to provide a “cocoon of protection”.

While the timing of flu season is unpredictable, seasonal flu activity usually occurs in late fall and winter, but can last as late as May.  It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, making fall a great time to get the flu vaccine.

You have the power to protect your family against flu this season. Get yourself and your family a flu vaccine. Fight the Flu!  More information about available flu vaccines for the 2018-2019 season can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html .

To schedule your appointment for the flu vaccine or for questions, call Shelby County Public Health at 712-755-4422 or go online at www.shelbycountyclinics.com.  

 

Bronchiolitis and RSV: What Helps, What Doesn’t

by Dr. Nathan Boonstra – Blank Children’s Hospital Pediatric Clinic

RSVBronchiolitis season is quickly approaching. There’s a lot of worry, frustration, and confusion about bronchiolitis, so I’m going to try to clear the air, so to speak.

Bronchiolitis Is Not Bronchitis

Bronchiolitis and bronchitis sound so similar that they are easy to mix up, but they’re fairly distinct. Bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection of the larger airways, while bronchiolitis is mainly a problem of the bronchioles – smaller branching airways in the lungs. Bronchiolitis has a distinctive set of symptoms, and the biggest symptom is the production of lots and lots of wet mucus. This is the biggest problem with bronchiolitis, that the mucus makes it hard for kids to move air through their airways. Some kids wheeze with bronchiolitis, but most do not.

What is RSV?

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is just the name for the most common virus that causes bronchiolitis. We can test for RSV easily, but testing doesn’t mean much except that we are a little more confident in what we are dealing with. If a child looks and acts like bronchiolitis, the care is the same whether they are positive for RSV or not. As Doc Smitty over at Cook’s Children discusses, it’s just not that important to test.

Most kids get bronchiolitis at some point, but the younger you are, the harder it can be on you. It’s a frustrating illness because there’s no traditional vaccine for it, and because it is caused by a virus, not bacteria, antibiotics just aren’t any good. This is one of those illnesses that makes kids miserable, and is hard to watch, but there just isn’t a medicine that makes it get better faster. It’s a lot of waiting and supporting the body while it fights the disease off by itself.

What can you do at home?

  • Suction, suction, suction! Suctioning the nose and mouth is the mainstay of treatment for bronchiolitis. The better you can keep the airway clear, the better the child can breathe. You can use the traditional bulb suction, but there are a lot of products out there than might do better. Many of my parents swear by the NoseFrida, though a number are grossed-out by the fact that you’re basically using your mouth to suck through a tube to get your baby’s snot out. Isn’t parenting great?
  • Humidified air can loosen the mucus and make it easier to remove, and not block your child’s breathing as much.
  • Watch for signs of dehydration or increased work of breathing. If your child is worsening, you should talk to your child’s doctor. If your child appears dehydrated, or is working harder to breathe, using extra rib muscles or flaring their nostrils with each breath, it’s time to go to the emergency room.
  • Do not use cough medicines. If your child has asthma, you can talk to your child’s doctor about whether to try your child’s asthma medication, but most cases of bronchiolitis don’t improve with inhalers or nebulizers.
  • Prevent the spread by practicing good hygiene. This disease is spread by saliva and mucus, so make sure hands are washed frequently, noses are covered when coughing, and you’re not taking your child out in public while they are coughing or febrile.

In the Hospital

About three percent of infants with bronchiolitis need care in the hospital. Premature babies, and infants with other medical conditions, are more likely to be hospitalized. Bronchiolitis caused by RSV is more likely to need hospitalization than bronchiolitis from other viruses. Now this can a very frustrating kind of hospital stay, because even on the floor, there isn’t a magic way that makes kids get better faster. A lot of inpatient care for this illness still involves supporting the body while the child fights off the illness themselves.

The hospital team can:

  • Do deep suctioning with a machine to remove the mucus that is obstructing the airway, so that your child can breathe more easily.
  • Provide oxygen if it’s needed, so that the air that gets to the lungs has more oxygen for the body, and the child can breathe a little easier.
  • Give the body fluids or nutrition either through a tube through the nose to the stomach, or with an IV, if needed. Eating requires a lot of energy, and it can be hard to breathe at the same time. This can give the body the chance to take a break from that stress and focus on breathing.
  • Monitor for complications and intervene if any develop. Kids with bronchiolitis can develop secondary infections like pneumonias that need additional care. Or they may need more help breathing if things get worse.

I know families can get frustrated and feel the doctors aren’t doing enough, when really they are doing everything that has been shown to be helpful.

Some things that aren’t shown to be helpful in most cases of bronchiolitis include:

  • Antibiotics. Unless the doctor suspects there’s a bacterial infection at the same time, like an ear infection or pneumonia, antibiotics just won’t help your child get better. We all want antibiotics to fix things like this, but in this case it won’t help, and may cause problems, like antibiotic resistance or side effects.
  • Steroids. Medications like prednisone, which we give commonly for asthma exacerbations, aren’t shown to be helpful either, even though children can sometimes wheeze with bronchiolitis.
  • Bronchodilators. Airway-opening medications like albuterol, which in the past had given for bronchiolitis on a trial basis, are not shown in the literature to be helpful.

The AAP recommends against all these things except in special circumstances. You can read more about these recommendations here.

It’s very normal to want to have as much as possible done for your sick child when they are in the hospital, but some things just don’t help and may have side effects, which is why hospital pediatricians follow expert guidelines for the treatment of diseases like bronchiolitis. They want your child to get better as much as you do.

Source: https://www.unitypoint.org/blankchildrens/pedsgeekmd

Firework Safety: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe this Fourth of July

Fireworks

The Fourth of July is quickly approaching, bringing with it all of our favorite summertime activities…cookouts, pool parties and fireworks! Keep yourself and your family safe this year by following these tips.

  • Obey local laws. Before you grab your fireworks on the 4th, make sure you are aware of any local laws in your area. Many towns have different guidelines, so it’s a good idea to research your local laws and regulations before lighting off any fireworks.
  • Read the caution labels. Some fireworks work differently than others, even if they look similar. To avoid injury, make sure you read all important labels before lighting any fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks away from children. This may seem like a no-brainer, but kids are quick and things can get a little hectic during gatherings with friends and family. If your kids are of an age where some fireworks may be appropriate, you may want to start off with something that doesn’t shoot or fly off the ground. Always make sure there is a responsible adult around to supervise children while they are near fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses. Fireworks can be fun to watch but if you are the one lighting them, it may be necessary to take some extra precautions. Wear protective eye gear to avoid injuries to your eyes while lighting fireworks.
  • Don’t try to re-light a firework. Duds happen. It’s very important to remember to never try to re-light a firework that didn’t work the first time. If you come across a firework that doesn’t light, leave it where it is for 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly. After the fun is over, you need to dispose of your used fireworks properly. Soak them in water and place them in a metal bin or trash can, away from any combustible materials. Let them sit for at least 24 hours.
  • Protect your pets: Our pets are part of our family, so it’s important to keep them safe as well. Make sure you never bring them to a firework show, even a small one. Keep them in a secure interior room of your home so they aren’t as exposed to the loud noises, and make sure they have their identification tags on them in case they run away.

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

Myrtue Medical Center provides high quality, cost-effective health care services to improve the well being of the people we serve. Call us today at (712) 755-5161 or visit our website http://myrtuemedical.org to learn more.

References: http://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips/

Swallowing Disorders Common Complication From Stroke, Parkinson’s, and Other Medical Conditions in Adults

Communication for AllWith swallowing disorders affecting 300,000–600,000 people yearly in the United States, and the impact of these disorders on daily life multifaceted and potentially severe, it is critical that all Americans understand the treatment options available to them should they or a and loved one experience difficulty swallowing.

Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, can affect a person’s ability to eat, drink, and take medicine. These disorders are diagnosed and treated by speech-language pathologists, making May—which is Better Hearing & Speech Month—an opportune time for Shelby County residents to learn more about this common problem.

“A person’s ability to swallow seems effortless, but in reality, this is a very complex process with much room for error,” explains Myrtue Medical Center Rehab Services Speech-language pathologist Edie Shetler. “Roughly 50 pairs of muscles and many nerves work to receive food into the mouth, prepare it, and move it from the mouth to the stomach. People who experience difficulty swallowing can be at risk for serious health repercussions, reduced enjoyment of eating, and even social isolation. It’s important for people to know that treatment for these disorders is available and can greatly improve their quality of life.”

Swallowing disorders are often caused by stroke or brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). They can also result from problems that affect a person’s head or neck, such as cancer, injuries, or surgery.

“We want people to know that in many cases, treatment can help fully restore a person’s ability to eat and drink—allowing them to enjoy food to the degree they did prior to injury or disease. People who experience stroke and other conditions can go on to live many decades, making effective treatment for swallowing so important.”

If you have concern for yourself or a family member, contact Myrtue Medical Center’s Rehab Services, Edie Shetler at 712-755-4342.

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