Why You Won’t Want to “Feel the Burn” This New Year’s

Author: Angelle Bonura, BSN, RN, Nursing Director of UMC Burn Center

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Sparks fly every New Year’s Eve, and I don’t just mean romance during the annual midnight kiss. Fireworks are the staple tradition for ringing in the New Year, and for 2018, it will be no different.

While fireworks are fun to enjoy, they also pose hazards to those using or near them. On average, 250 people report to the emergency department every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month of July around Independence Day, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. For New Year’s, that number historically spikes again.

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In total, more than 50 percent of injuries involving fireworks happen to people under the age of 20.

At the UMC Burn Center, it is our job not only to treat and care for those who have suffered burn injuries, but to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Here are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to popping fireworks this year, compliments of the American Burn Association:

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DO

  • Consider safe alternatives, such as glow sticks and confetti poppers
  • Follow your local and state laws regarding fireworks
  • Have a designated SOBER adult light all fireworks
  • Light one firework at a time and move away quickly
  • Keep children and other observers at a safe distance
  • Keep a bucket of water close for disposal of fireworks

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DON’T

  • Allow children to handle fireworks
  • Attempt to alter, modify or relight fireworks
  • Point or throw lit fireworks at anyone
  • Ever hold lit fireworks in your hand
  • Consume alcohol or drugs when lighting fireworks

THE FACTS

  • Sparklers can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Thousands of fireworks injuries were treated in the U.S. emergency rooms, often leaving permanent damage.

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IF A BURN INJURY DOES HAPPEN…

  • Cool the burn with COOL water.
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry from the burned area.
  • Cover the area with a dry clean sheet or loose bandages.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.

The UMC Burn Center will open in early 2018. It will be the only combined Burn-Trauma Center from Houston to Mobile, and will comprehensively treat thermal, inhalation and chemical burns.

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To learn more about the new Burn Center, visit: www.umcno.org/burncenter or click here.

To learn more about our Level 1 Trauma Center, visit: www.umcno.org/trauma. 

Drink, Be Merry, But Be Very Careful!

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It’s common for adults to enjoy a glass of wine, beer or eggnog with their meals during the holiday season; but no matter the time of year, it’s always important that you don’t overdo it, especially as an older adult.

As you age, you become more sensitive to alcohol’s effects. After age 65, your lean body mass and water content decrease, and your metabolism slows down. This means that alcohol stays in your system longer, making the amount of alcohol in your blood higher than it would have been when you were younger.

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Even without the influence of alcohol, older adults are more likely to have hearing and vision problems and slower reaction times. This puts them at higher risk for falls, fractures, and automobile accidents, and that risk only increases when tied to drinking.

Some medical conditions in people older than age 65, and the medicines used to treat them, can worsen with alcohol’s effects, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and ulcers.

Medicines taken by older adults, as compared to those taken by younger folks, are more likely to have serious interactions with alcohol and drugs according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The same holds true even if they’re not taken at the same time. Why? Because the drug may still be in your blood when you have a drink.

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Heavy alcohol use—at any age— can lead to other health problems.

So, what’s a safe amount?

The NIAAA recommends that people older than age 65 who are healthy and do not take any medicines, have no more than 7 drinks a week, an average of 1 standard drink each day and no more than 3 drinks on any 1 day. One drink is 12 ounces of beer, ale, or wine cooler; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled liquor.

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How to Cut Down

If you want to limit your drinking starting with this holiday season, try these steps from the National Institutes of Health:

  1. Write down your reasons for cutting back. These might include wanting to improve your health or sleep better. Other reasons may be to improve relationships and to stay independent.
  2. Track your drinking habits for at least 1 week. Write down when and how much you drink every day.
  3. Set a drinking goal. You may decide to cut down to 1 drink a day or not to drink at all. Write your goal on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it every day.

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As they say, “Eat, drink and be merry!” But most importantly, be smart and be careful when consuming alcohol.

Preventative Care: An Old Resolution for the New Year

Author: Kendria Holt-Rogers, MD, UMC Primary Care Physician

Santa’s coming soon, so you know what that means: The end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 is near.  For many people, the new year will mean making a fresh list of New Year’s resolutions — some may want to spend less money, others will decide to become more organized or maybe spend more time with family.

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Whatever the resolution, it’s all about becoming a better you. 

The most common New Year’s resolutions often focus on becoming healthier.  We plan to lose weight, stop smoking or eat less fast food. Why are these changes important to us?  Because we know that when we maintain a healthier lifestyle, we can increase our longevity and overall happiness, and become more productive citizens of this little planet we call home.

As a primary care physician, my goal is to partner with you, the patient, and other healthcare providers involved in your care to keep you as healthy as possible. A primary care physician may be an internal medicine physician, family medicine physician or pediatrician. Healthcare providers may include specialist physicians, nurses, social workers, dietitians, or physical therapists. We all work together to create a patient-centered home focused on sustaining your well-being.

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How do we maintain a healthy you?  It begins with preventative care. 

The goal of preventative care is to avoid disease and illness through means such as screening exams and vaccinations. The first step is to visit your primary care physician (PCP) once a year for a wellness exam. This should include:

  • A physical exam
  • Medical history
  • Blood work
  • Vaccinations

Your PCP will recommend screening tests based on your age and gender, as well as discuss general healthy measures to incorporate into your daily life.

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Most findings on physical exam are usually normal. However, your primary care physician may detect abnormalities during your exam, such as a heart murmur, high blood pressure or an enlarged thyroid.

This is the purpose of the exam: to find abnormalities early so we can treat them if needed. Sometimes, these findings are innocent, will not cause any harm and can be monitored by your physician. Other times, you may need further testing, medications or to see a specialist.

If there is an abnormal finding during your exam, be sure to ask your physician to explain why this is abnormal and what needs to be done next. We don’t mind taking the time to explain.

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Not all screening services and vaccinations are appropriate for all patients. Be sure to discuss what is right for you with your doctor.

In general, important numbers for everyone to know are your:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Sugar
  • Cholesterol
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)

Screening tests are very important in preventing diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cancer. Screening exams may include a colonoscopy, hepatitis C blood test, or Pap smear. We use the results of these tests, along with family history, and medical history to determine which patients are at risk for developing certain diseases or to find diseases in their earlier stages when they are easier to treat or even cure.

Also, keep in mind that mental health is as important as physical health.  In some cases, depression screening may be appropriate.

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You will often need vaccinations during your wellness visit. Vaccinations significantly reduce the risk of several viral and bacterial infections. This helps to keep the population as a whole healthy.  More importantly it protects the most vulnerable in our community from illness including children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. So the next time your PCP asks you to get a flu shot, say yes knowing you are helping others!

Lastly, your primary care physician should discuss general healthy practices. These may include wearing a seat belt, exercising most days of the week, wearing sunscreen, not smoking, wearing a helmet when biking and yearly physicals.  These measures have been shown to increase longevity by preventing, injury, illness or disease.

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Now that your primary care physician has armed you with all of the resources and guidance you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the next steps are up to you.

You are the ultimate key to becoming a better you in 2018.

I and other primary care physicians here at UMCNO are here to help you along your journey.  Please visit us in the New Year — we will be glad to see you.  Hopefully, we can help you end the year a healthier you than you began it.

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Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!

 


About Dr. Rogers

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Dr. Rogers specializes in internal medicine. After earning her degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she completed residency at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Rogers is a member of the American College of Physicians and is an FMCSA-certified Medical Examiner. She looks forward to the opportunity the UMC Primary Care Practice will provide to improve the overall health and well-being of the surrounding community through patient education and preventative care.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Rogers, please call (504) 702-5700.

 

 

Seat Safety is #HowWeSonic

Author: Bridget Gardner, RN, UMC Level 1 Trauma Center Injury Prevention Director 

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Every three minutes.

In Louisiana, someone is in a crash every three minutes. At the Level 1 Trauma Center at UMC, we see all too often the injuries and fatalities that result from motor vehicle crashes – and know that many of these injuries could have been prevented with proper protective equipment.

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children aged 1-14 in Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

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Protective equipment that could prevent these injuries, such as car seats, booster seats and seat belts, are sometimes underutilized or not used correctly.

When used correctly, child restraints are the number one factor in reducing serious injuries and death in motor vehicle crashes.

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Recognizing that some families in Louisiana cannot afford to buy the proper child safety seats, Louisiana’s SONIC Drive In restaurants reached out to us to help. They’ve banded together to raise money for that purpose. SONIC Drive-In has created a “Tot” calendar – which is on sale through February 18 at 147 locations in the state.

If you are visiting UMC, be sure to stop by the hospital gift shop on the first floor, near Tower 1 to pick up a copy of this year’s calendar.

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Calendars are only $5 and all proceeds will be being directed to the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force to purchase and distribute child safety seats throughout the state. In addition to free car seat safety tips, the calendar offers more than $45 worth of coupons redeemable towards SONIC Drive-In purchases.

We are extremely appreciative of this partnership, which has raised $103,000 and provided nearly 2,000 child safety seats in just two years. It provides an avenue to reach the unrestrained and improperly restrained population to prevent the injuries that we far too often witness as a Level 1 Trauma Center. SONIC also supports National Seat Check Saturday, an annual statewide event hosted by the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force that provides free child safety seat inspections for all families. This event takes place in September during National Child Safety Week.

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If you aren’t sure if your child safety seat is installed correctly, FREE assistance from certified child safety technician is available very Wednesday in our area from 1-4 p.m. at Louisiana State Police Troop B, 2101 1-10 Service Road in Kenner.

As parents, we want to do everything we can to make sure our children are safe. When you ensure that your children are properly restrained in your vehicle, you can reduce serious injuries. Take this important step to make sure your child is safe, every trip and every time.

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For more information, go to www.umcno.org/injuryprevention

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Bridget Gardner, RN is a registered nurse and coordinator of the Community Injury Prevention Program at UMC New Orleans. The Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force is a network of certified child passenger safety technicians throughout the state, directed by the UMC Trauma Program.