Pisgah Family Health

PISGAH FAMILY

HEALTH NEWS

December 2007

OFFICE NEWS

MEDICAL NEWS

CONTACT US

www.PisgahFamilyHealth.com/

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About the Newsletter

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas

Dr. Curran and Julie, Tami, and Kit wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season.

PFH Office Staff wish you a Merry Christmas

Welcome our new receptionist

Kit

Starting in December,  Katherine Baley (Kit) began working at the front desk.  She will also be learning nursing skills, as she plans to go into nursing.

Kit is an Asheville native who earned a B.A. in English and a Masters in Teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill.  She has taught high school English but is now pursuing a nursing degree. On the weekends you may find Kit running or biking with her husband, hiking with family, watching Tar Heel basketball, or relaxing with her shih tzu, Samson.

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Office Hours

  • Our normal office hours are 9-5 Monday through Thursday, and 9-12 on Friday.
  • We will be closed for Christmas on December 24th and 25th.
  • We will be open from 9-12 on Wednesday, December 26th.
  • We will be open from 9-12 on Monday, December 31.
  • We will be closed for New Year's Day on January 1, 2007.
  • When the office is closed, emergency care is available at the Urgent Care Centers, and at Mission/St. Joseph hospitals ER.  Telephone calls are handled by Dr. Curran’s call partners. Dr. Curran shares call with seven local physicians who are all board certified in Family Medicine, and can admit patients to Mission hospitals.
  • Our answering service can be reached after hours at 251-4873.

Office Reminders

  • Thank you for referring your family and friends to Pisgah Family Health.
  • During the months of December through February, we stay very busy treating acute illnesses.  Therefore, we prefer to schedule non-urgent care such as physical exams in March through October.  Please call ahead schedule your physical, so we can devote the appropriate time to your visit.
  • Please bring your insurance card and your medication list to every visit.

Medical news

Don't Drink and Drive

Pisgah Family Health would like to remind everyone to be safe this holiday season, and to always remember not to drink and drive.

If you plan on drinking, or have already been drinking alcohol, take steps to avoid driving while intoxicated. Most importantly, plan ahead!

  • Know your limit. One drink per hour for women or two drinks per hour for men is enough to become intoxicated.
  • Designate a sober driver before drinking.
  • Give your keys to a friend or DD before drinking.
  • Call a cab.
  • If the destination is nearby, walk home.
  • Stay the night.

Don't be fooled - there are many things that won't work to help you drive sober:

  • Eating
  • Drinking coffee or caffiene.
  • Waiting for it to wear off.
  • Rolling down the window.

No matter how sober you feel, or how well you can "hold your liquor", no one should drive after drinking. If you do, you will put yourself and others at risk. If you don't drink and drive, you just might save a life.

www.sadd.com

Eating Right During the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family, friends, and colleagues. But holiday events pose a special challenge for healthy eating and may have the result of  unwanted weight gain. Most Americans gain a pound or more during the winter holiday season. While this might not seem like much, this extra weight can accumulate through the years and contribute to obesity later in life.

This year, whether you are a guest or holding a party yourself, try a new strategy by planning what, when, and how much you eat or serve at holiday events.

When attending a holiday buffet, select healthy foods that fit your meal plan.   Remember that one full plate makes a complete meal, even though the buffet may be endless.

If you are hosting a holiday gathering, try to offer a variety of low-fat, high-fiber foods. That means fresh fruits and vegetables, grilled or broiled lean meats, fish, and turkey and chicken without the skin. Increase fiber content by serving whole grain breads and crackers, vegetables, fruits and dried fruits, or dishes including beans and legumes. Water and seltzer are both healthy, no-calorie beverages that can quench your thirst and help you feel full.

There are plenty of flavored waters on the market, just read the food label to ensure that it's a no-calorie or low calorie beverage. Seltzer mixed with fruit juices or hot apple cider also makes refreshing and colorful alternatives to other more high calorie holiday beverages.

If you're like most people, no matter how much you've eaten at dinner, there always seems to be room for dessert. You can still eat your favorite holiday dessert, just reduce the portion size and ferquency of desserts. Fruit makes for a great dessert—it tastes delicious, is filling, and provides energy

Increasing your physical activity during the holidays (even if it is in small amounts) can help control weight gain.

Remember, you can still enjoy the holiday season with its festivities and foods while keeping off the extra pounds through informed nutritious choices, controlled portion sizes, and increased physical activity.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year!

Source: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture & Dept. of Health and Human Services, http://www.nutrition.gov/

MRSA

Recently MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has made the news in Asheville. A few athletes from a local high school had skin infections with this bacteria. This bacteria has also been more common in our community than ever before, reflecting a national trend. Fortunately, the now common strain of MRSA which causes skin infections can be treated, and is seldom a cause for systemic infections. Here are the facts:

What is Staphylococcus aureus (staph)?

Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as "staph," are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonized (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) in the nose with staph bacteria. Sometimes, staph can cause an infection. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials). However, staph bacteria also can cause serious infections (such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia).

What is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)?

Some staph bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to antibiotics called beta-lactams. Beta-lactam antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. While 25% to 30% of the population is colonized with staph, approximately 1% is colonized with MRSA.

Who gets staph or MRSA infections?

Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems. These healthcare-associated staph infections include surgical wound infections, urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia.

What is community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA)?

Staph and MRSA can also cause illness in persons outside of hospitals and healthcare facilities. MRSA infections that are acquired by persons who have not been recently (within the past year) hospitalized or had a medical procedure (such as dialysis, surgery, catheters) are know as CA-MRSA infections. Staph or MRSA infections in the community are usually manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils, and occur in otherwise healthy people.

How common are staph and MRSA infections?

Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infection in the United States and are a common cause of pneumonia, surgical wound infections, and bloodstream infections. The majority of MRSA infections occur among patients in hospitals or other healthcare settings; however, it is becoming more common in the community setting. Data from a prospective study in 2003, suggests that 12% of clinical MRSA infections are community-associated, but this varies by geographic region and population.

What does a staph or MRSA infection look like?

Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical wound infections.

Are certain people at increased risk for community-associated staph or MRSA infections?

Factors that have been associated with the spread of MRSA skin infections include: close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene.

How can I prevent staph or MRSA skin infections?

Practice good hygiene: Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed. Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

Are people who are positive for the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) at increased risk for MRSA?

People with weakened immune systems, which include some patients with HIV infection, may be at risk for more severe illness if they get infected with MRSA. People with HIV should follow the same prevention measures as those without HIV to prevent staph infections, including practice good hygiene, cover wounds (e.g., cuts or abrasions) with clean dry bandages, avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors, and contact their doctor if they think they have an infection.

Can I get a staph or MRSA infection at my health club?

In the outbreaks of MRSA, the environment has not played a significant role in the transmission of MRSA. MRSA is transmitted most frequently by direct skin-to-skin contact. You can protect yourself from infections by practicing good hygiene (e.g., keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub and showering after working out); covering any open skin area such as abrasions or cuts with a clean dry bandage; avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or razors; using a barrier (e.g., clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment; and wiping surfaces of equipment before and after use.

Are staph and MRSA infections treatable?

Yes. Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable with antibiotics. If you are given an antibiotic, take all of the doses, even if the infection is getting better, unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it. Do not share antibiotics with other people or save unfinished antibiotics to use at another time.

However, many staph skin infections may be treated by draining the abscess or boil and may not require antibiotics. Drainage of skin boils or abscesses should only be done by a healthcare provider.

If after visiting your healthcare provider the infection is not getting better after a few days, contact them again. If other people you know or live with get the same infection tell them to go to their healthcare provider.

Is it possible that my staph or MRSA skin infection will come back after it is cured?

Yes. It is possible to have a staph or MRSA skin infection come back (recur) after it is cured. To prevent this from happening, follow your healthcare provider’s directions while you have the infection, and follow the prevention steps after the infection is gone.

If I have a staph, or MRSA skin infection, what can I do to prevent others from getting infected?

You can prevent spreading staph or MRSA skin infections to others by following these steps:

  • Cover your wound. Keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry bandages. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain staph and MRSA, so keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages or tape can be discarded with the regular trash.
  • Clean your hands. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after changing the bandage or touching the infected wound.
  • Do not share personal items. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, or uniforms that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage. Wash sheets, towels, and clothes that become soiled with water and laundry detergent. Drying clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in clothes.
  • Talk to your doctor. Tell any healthcare providers who treat you that you have or had a staph or MRSA skin infection.

For further reading please see the CDC list of References: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca_references.html

Health Links

For more health information, check out these links:

About our Newsletter

Dr. Curran and the staff at Pisgah Family Health are proud to publish the Pisgah Family Health News to our patients.  Our goal is to provide regularly updated information about the office and current medical topics.  We plan to publish a new issue each quarter with breaking news.  The newsletters will also be archived on our website, http://www.pisgahfamilyhealth.com/

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