Prevention and Wellness

Answers to Common Family Health Questions

Premier HealthNet doctors answer frequently asked questions about family health.

What is a way the body is affected by traveling?

If you are crossing time zones while you travel, jet lag can become a problem while you travel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Jet lag is when your regular sleep and wake times are changed suddenly – usually by a trip to a different time zone.

Being affected by jet lag can have an effect on your mood, your concentration, your physical abilities and your mental performance, according to the CDC.

To help reduce jet lag, the CDC recommends:

Before a trip

  • Break up a long trip, if possible
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep

During a trip

  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine
  • Don’t eat large meals
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get up and walk around during long plane flights
  • Sleep on the plane

After you arrive

  • Avoid making any important decisions for a few days
  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine in excess
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat meals at the right times for breakfast, lunch and dinner in your travel location

Jet lag can be frustrating because it can cause you to be tired when you would rather be full of energy. If you take steps to ease the jet lag, you should still be able to enjoy your trip.

For more information about jet or more information about how your body can be affected by traveling, talk with your doctor.

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What are some ways to help ease children through the travel stress of ears popping from pressure changes?

When children fly in an airplane they might feel the same things many adults do, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). As the plane takes off and during the initial descent, it’s common for ears to pop because of the change in pressure.

While adults can solve the problem by chewing gum, babies and young children obviously are not able to for safety reasons. Instead, it’s recommended to have a child suck on something – a bottle, a pacifier or a breast, if nursing, according to the AAP.

It’s easier to plan for takeoff, but can be harder to plan for initial decent because it can happen a half hour or more before landing, depending on how high your plane was flying, according to the AAP. Ask a flight attendant to let you know when initial descent will begin so you can provide something for your little one to suck on.

Talk with your doctor for more information about how to help your child comfortably make it through ear problems when flying.

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What are steps people can take to lessen the likelihood of illnesses when traveling?

If you’re going to be traveling, the last thing you probably want to deal with is being sick while on your trip.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recommends the following tips for reducing your risk of getting sick while traveling:

  • Leg problems – Avoid blood clots in your legs by doing leg exercises in your seat to increase circulation. You can also stay active by moving around the cabin when it is safe. Wearing compression socks and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated also can help.
  • Infections from germs in close-quarters – It can feel tricky to avoid illness when the person seated next to you spends the whole flight coughing, but there are a few steps you can take to decrease your chances of getting a virus or other sickness. Wash your hands regularly with antibacterial gel and do your best to either clean or avoid armrests, tray tables and seat pockets, which can be full of germs.
  • Jet lag – Getting plenty of sleep before you leave and getting as much sunlight as possible on the day you arrive may ease jet lag symptoms.
  • Motion sickness – If you’re someone who battles with motion sickness, make sure to prepare before your trip. Talk with your doctor about the best over-the-counter or prescription options for you. Also, avoid caffeine and alcohol while flying, and drink plenty of water.

In addition to these steps, make sure to take any medications you think you might need along with you on vacation, because you might not have access to the same medicine while on your trip, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more information about how to stay healthy on a trip, talk with your doctor.

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What is pertussis, and what are the symptoms?

Pertussis is a disease that is commonly known as whooping cough. It causes extreme, prolonged coughing and is easily passed from person to person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Pertussis used to be one of the most common childhood diseases and a leading cause of childhood deaths in the U.S., until a vaccine was developed in the 1940s, according to the CDC.

Symptoms of the disease, according to the CDC, include:

  • Cold-like symptoms – Whooping cough starts out with a slight cough, sneezing, fever and runny nose.
  • Cough becomes severe – It can take two weeks for the cough to gets to its worst. The extreme coughing can cause children to break ribs, vomit and even pass out.
  • High-pitched whoop – The cough comes in bouts that can last a few minutes each, and is characterized by the high-pitched whooping sound it makes.
  • Long lasting – Though the cough will improve over time, it can last for months in a less severe form

For more information about pertussis and its symptoms, talk with your doctor.

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When should an adult get the Tdap vaccine or booster?

The vaccine to protect against pertussis which is included in the Tdap vaccine – is among the immunizations children are scheduled to receive at regular doctor visits. Pertussis is commonly known as whooping cough.

It is important though for adults to receive the vaccine, too, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Adults who are scheduled to receive a tetanus booster – which is needed at least every 10 years – can get the Tdap immunization, which includes protects against not only tetanus vaccine but also pertussis and diptheria.

Adults and children who have not yet received the Tdap booster who will be around babies 2 months old and younger should get the vaccine even if it has not yet been 10 years since their last one, according to the AAP. Making sure people who are around infants are protected against pertussis will help keep unprotected babies from getting the disease.

Talk to your doctor about a good time for your and your family member to receive the Tdap vaccine or booster.

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How does an adult vaccination against pertussis help protect the entire family?

Children – Infants are the most susceptible to pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Children get protected against pertussis from a series of vaccines they receive between 2 months and 6 years old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). But, prior to 2 months old, they have no strong defense against it.

By making sure people who will be around babies and young children – especially adults and other children – are vaccinated, you are doing your best to help keep unprotected infants from getting pertussis, according to the AAP.

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What is the difference between reversible and irreversible dementia?

Reversible dementias can be treated and the symptoms can be improved if they are caught early, according to the National Center on Caregiving (NCC). Conditions that can cause reversible dementias include:

  • Depression
  • Hearing and vision issues
  • Infections
  • Medication interactions
  • Metabolic problems
  • Thyroid abnormalities
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Irreversible dementias – known as degenerative dementias –continue getting worse over time, according to the NCC. Your loved one’s physician and care team will help find the cause of the problem, determine the right care plan, help your family plan caregiving, and help provide access to support.

Some common irreversible dementias, according to the NCC, include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Ischemic vascular dementia
  • Mixed dementias
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Parkinson’s dementia
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy

For more information about the difference between reversible and irreversible dementias, talk with your doctor.

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What role do family members play in diagnosing dementia?

Oftentimes, people who are starting to show signs of dementia don’t recognize the signs, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA).

Because family members are around their loved one most often, those family members usually are the best source of information about symptoms, according to the AA.

If you have a loved one who you think is showing signs of dementia – for example, forgetting things that disrupt daily life, difficulty doing familiar home or leisure tasks, confusion about time or place – write them down, including when and where they happen.

Talk to your doctor about the best way to follow up on caring for your loved one with dementia.

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What resources are available for families helping loved ones with dementia?

Family members who are caring for loved ones with dementia can face challenges along the way. It can be overwhelming to care for someone with a memory problem, and most caregivers can be more effective by seeking out helpful resources, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Whether it’s going to a caregiver support group, reading words of advice from other caregivers and families who have had similar experiences, or talking with heathcare professionals, the NIH says that caregivers taking care of themselves will be able to do a better understanding of caring for their loved ones.

Talk to your doctor for information about local caregiver resources.

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What are things caregivers of loved ones with dementia can do to avoid feeling overwhelmed?

Deciding to be the caregiver for anyone with an advanced or advancing disease can be a lot of work and can become overwhelming. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and find ways to help you cope and do your best job as a caregiver, according to Alzheimer’s Association (AA).

The AA recommends the following tips to help caregivers of patients with dementia:

  • Join a support group – Talking with other caregivers having the same successes and struggles can help put things in perspective.
  • Find strategies that help you to manage your stress – Whether its yoga, church, a few minutes with a good book or take out from your favorite restaurant, managing your stress is key.
  • Learn new caregiver skills as the disease progresses – Different stages of dementia will pose different struggles to overcome and different need to learn how to care for.
  • Research community resources – Take advantage of care and education options available in your community.
  • Accept help when it is offered – If someone offers to help, let them. Even if it’s just for a few hours to run errands or grab lunch with a friend, be grateful for the downtime – everyone needs and deserves a break now and then.

For more information about ways caregivers can cope with the demands of caring for someone with dementia, talk with your physician.

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What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a feeling of overwhelming tiredness, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). It causes a lack of energy and a lack of motivation.

Fatigue is more than a normal feeling of tiredness that goes away once you get rest. Instead, it’s a feeling of complete exhaustion that can make you feel too tired to do an activity today or anytime in the foreseeable future, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians.

For more information about fatigue, talk with your doctor.

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When should someone see a health care provider for fatigue?

Fatigue causes feelings of extreme tiredness that lead to a lack of energy and lack of motivation, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

When those feelings of tiredness continue for weeks at a time or as long as a month, you should contact your doctor to find out what could be causing the fatigue, according to the NIH.

Fatigue can be a common symptom of a variety of issues but is usually not caused by a serious disease, according to the NIH. To try to figure out more about what is causing your exhaustion, your doctor will likely ask questions about your:

  • Appetite
  • Daily activities
  • Exercise habits
  • Medical history
  • Medications
  • Sleep habits

If you are feeling fatigued, keep a journal of how and when the fatigue affects you so that you can share that with your doctor, if needed, according to the NIH.

If you are concerned about feelings of fatigue, call your doctor’s office to set up an appointment.

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What about a person’s lifestyle can cause fatigue?

Fatigue can be a normal response to a variety of lifestyle factors, and it usually can be cared for by changing routines, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

A person can start to experience fatigue, according to the NIH, because of:

  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Anemia
  • Depression or grief
  • Emotional stress
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Iron deficiency
  • Lack of sleep
  • Medicine, including antidepressants
  • Ongoing pain
  • Physical activity
  • Sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy

In less common cases, fatigue can be caused by a variety of illnesses or disorders, according to the NIH.

Talking to your health care provider can help you to make changes to care for yourself and deal with your fatigue. In many cases, making lifestyle changes, reducing stressors, managing pain, or changing the medications and supplements you take is all you need to fight the fatigue, according to the NIH.

For more information about causes of fatigue, talk with your physician.

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What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic disorder that typically affects the skin on the face, according to the National Rosacea SocietyOff Site Icon (NRS). It also sometimes can affect the eyes.

It usually visible as redness on the cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead that flares up and goes away, according to the NRS.

Rosacea can cause the skin to be an inflamed red color, pimples, and even thickened skin in some more advanced cases, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

For more information about what rosacea is, talk with your doctor.

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Who is at risk for developing rosacea?

Though rosacea can affect anyone, there are certain people who are more likely to end up with the skin disorder, according to the National Rosacea SocietyOff Site Icon (NRS).

The National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH) and the NRS cite the following types people as most likely to get rosacea:

  • Fair skinned people
  • Over age 30
  • People who blush frequently
  • Women, especially during menopause

Talk to your doctor for more information about who is at risk for developing rosacea.

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How is rosacea treated?

Rosacea is a skin disorder that does not have a cure. However, if you have rosacea, it is important to seek treatment.

Treatment aims to control the condition and improve how a patient’s skin looks, according to the NRS. It can take weeks or months of treatment before a positive change to the skin are noticeable.

According to the American Academy of DermatologyOff Site Icon (AAD), rosacea can be treated with:

  • antibiotics (cream for the skin)
  • antibiotics (pill form)
  • lasers and light treatments

Talk to your doctor to learn more about how rosacea is treated.

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What is head lice?

Head lice are parasitic insects that can be found on people’s heads, eyebrows, and eyelashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC). Head lice live by feeding on human blood.

They live close to the scalp so they can eat multiple times a day. Though the thought of lice can be unsettling, they are not known to spread diseases, according to the CDC.

It is estimated that 6 million to 12 million cases of head lice among children ages 3 to 11 happen every year in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Talk to your doctor for more information about head lice.

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How does head lice spread?

Head lice crawls from place to place and is spread by direct contact, which frequently happens while children play in close contact and have their heads together, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

And the Food and Drug AdministrationOff Site IconOff Site Icon (FDA) states that head lice cases jump every year in the fall when the new school year starts.

Because lice are parasites, they can sometimes be associated with someone being unclean, but that is not typically the case.

The following symptoms, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), are signs that you or your child has head lice:

  • Small red bumps on the scalp, neck, or shoulders
  • Tiny white specks on the bottom of each hair that are hard to get off. These specks are the eggs, called nits
  • Very itchy scalp
  • Visible lice crawling in hair

For more information about how head lice spreads, talk with your doctor.

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What are some head lice prevention tips?

Head lice crawls from place to place and is spread by direct contact, which often happens while children play in close contact and have their heads together, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

You can help reduce the risk that you or your child will get lice, according to the CDC, by:

  • Avoiding contact between your hair and someone else’s hair
  • Not sharing clothes, including hats, scarves, coats, and sports uniforms
  • Keeping hair accessories – combs, brushes, pony tail holders, headbands, and more – to yourself

If you do believe you or your child has lice, the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH) recommends starting with an over-the-counter shampoo treatment containing 1 percent permethrin (such as Nix). Prescription strength medication is also available but not usually necessary.

To keep head lice from coming back, it is also important to get rid of the nits.

Use a special nit comb to help remove the eggs that are “glued” to individual strands of hair, according to the NIH. You can tell the difference between nits and dandruff because the dandruff will brush off easily and the nits will have to be slid off the full length of the strand of hair with a nit comb or between fingernails.

Comb hair for nits again in seven to 10 days, according to the NIH. It is important to carefully follow the directions on this medicine.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how to prevent head lice.

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What is a pre-employment physical exam, and who requires it?

Dr. Block discusses pre-employment physical exams. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A pre-employment physical exam is required by some employers after a person has been offered a job, according to the American Association of Retired PersonsOff Site Icon (AARP).

The purpose of the exam is to make sure a perspective employee is able to meet the physical and psychological requirements of a certain job position, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians. For example, an employee might need to be able to lift a certain amount of weight to do the job.

Talk to your doctor for more information about pre-employment physician exams.

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What is done during a pre-employment physical exam?

Dr. Block discusses what happens during pre-employment physical exams. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A pre-employment physical exam can focus on almost anything that is specifically related to whether the potential employee would be able to get the job done, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians.

The examiner is checking to see if the potential employee’s physical capabilities meet the needs of the job description from the employer, PHN physicians say.

If you are an employee, for example, that will be doing a lot of lifting in your job, your exam might require that you show your ability to lift items similar in weight to what the job would need. If, however, your job is mainly a desk job, for example, that does not have physical requirements listed in the job description, you could not be asked to show these same kinds of physical skills during a pre-employment physical exam.

For more information about pre-employment physicals, talk with your doctor.

Are there things a person can do to prepare for a pre-employment physical exam to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible?

Dr. Block discusses preparing for pre-employment physical exams. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

There are a few steps an employee can take to prepare for a pre-employment physical exam, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians.

An employee should take a copy of the job description with him or her to the exam and give a copy to the healthcare professional. This will make sure the employee and healthcare provider are on the same page about what is and what is not acceptable to be part of the exam, according to PHN physicians.

The American Association of Retired PersonsOff Site Icon (AARP) also recommends that you stop taking any over-the-counter medication within 48 hours of an exam, unless directed otherwise by your primary care provider.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how to prepare for a pre-employment physical exam.

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Does a person go through all stages of grief?

When something upsetting happens in a person’s life – such as a death of a family member - they cope and move on by experiencing multiple stages of grief.

Not every person grieving experiences all of these stages of grief, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). People who work through some or all of these stages of grief don’t feel these emotions on the same timeframe.

While grieving, people typically experience the following range of emotions, according to the NIH:

  • Numbness and denial
  • Anger and blaming others
  • Shock and bargaining
  • Depression and mourning
  • Acceptance

For some people, each stage may take only a day or a few days to work through, while for others, it could take months or years to finally move to acceptance, according to the NIH.

For more about stages of grief, talk with your doctor.

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What are actions a person can take to grieve in a healthy manner?

When someone is going through the grieving process, it’s important they do so in a healthy way.

Finding emotional support is a key to moving forward with your life while you grieve a loss, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Family and friends can provide great support in these situations, but sometimes people need additional help to manage their grief, according to the NIH. Some people to turn to for help could include:

  • Mental health specialists
  • Clergy
  • Social workers
  • Support groups

Talk to your doctor for more information about how to grieve in a healthy way.

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What are signs that a person needs to seek help for their grief?

If you are still experiencing severe grief more than two months after a loss, seeking professional help to manage your emotions could be a positive next step, according to the American Psychological AssociationOff Site Icon (APA).

Mental health professionals are trained to help people manage their fears, guilt, and anxiety in healthy ways, according to the APA. They can help people to build their resilience and find ways to work through the sadness.

Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians say some specific signs of a person needing help to manage their grief include:

  • Desire to stay in bed all day
  • Excessive sleep
  • Harboring guilt
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of interest
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low energy
  • Suicidal thoughts or comments

For more information about help to manage grief, talk with your doctor.

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What is frostbite?

Frostbite is when extreme cold causes damage to the skin and tissue underneath, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). It is the most common freezing injury.

Frostbite happens when skin is exposed to cold temperatures for too long. The length of time depends on how cold the temperature is, according to the NIH.

The nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes are most often affected by frostbite, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

Frostbite leads to loss of feeling and color in the damaged area, and it can cause permanent damage, according to the AAOS. In severe cases, it can lead to amputation.

The condition is more common, according to the NIH, among people who:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have poor blood flow to their legs
  • Have Raynaud phenomenon
  • Recently drank alcohol
  • Smoke
  • Take medicine called beta-blockers

For more information about what frostbite is, talk with your doctor.

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What are the first warning signs of frostbite?

It’s important to know the signs of frostbite, so you can avoid it or get medical help, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

The first signs, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), include:

  • An area of the body that starts feeling tingly
  • Skin that is cold to the touch
  • Skin that starts to turn red

Moving past the initial signs of frostbite, symptoms that it is worsening, according to the NIH, include:

  • An area of skin or tissue that starts to become numb
  • Aching, throbbing, or no feeling in an affected area
  • Red, extremely painful skin and muscle as it starts to warm back up
  • Skin that feels frozen with deeper tissues that feels soft (superficial frostbite)
  • Skin and underlying tissue that all feels solid, hard, and frozen (deep frostbite)
  • Skin that looks waxy, white, or grayish

Severe frostbite can also cause blisters, gangrene (blackened and dead tissue), and damage to tendons, muscles, nerves, and bone, according to the NIH.

For more information about warning signs of frostbite, talk to your doctor.

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Does frostbite cause other health issues?

The tissue, nerve, and other damage frostbite can do to the body can lead to additional health issues.

Frostbite that causes nerve damage can lead to permanent numbness of the skin area or extremity, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians.

If severe frostbite causes blisters, it’s possible for bacteria to get inside open blisters, leading to infections, according to PHN physicians.

There also have been cases of frostbite leading to arthritis because of the damage the prolonged cold causes to the joints, according to PHN physicians.

To learn more about issues frostbite can cause, talk with your doctor.

What is ear pain, and how does it feel?

Ear pain is often called an earache, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). It is a sharp, dull, or burning pain that can be felt in either one or both ears.

For some people, ear pain can feel like pressure, throbbing, drainage, and even pain into the teeth, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians.

To learn more about ear pain, talk with your doctor.

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What are the different sources of ear pain in adults?

As a child, ear pain that causes an earache is often a sign of an ear infection. In adults, however, ear pain is more likely to be caused by one of a variety of other issues, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

The pain also often starts someplace else and causes the ear ache. According to the NIH, sources of ear pain for adults could include:

  • Arthritis of the jaw
  • Buildup of ear wax
  • Ear injury from pressure changes
  • Hole in the eardrum
  • Long-term ear infection
  • Object stuck in the ear
  • Short-term ear infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Sore throat
  • Temporomandibular joint syndrome
  • Tooth infection

For more information about what can cause adult ear pain, talk with your doctor.

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What can an adult do to care for ear pain at home?

In many cases, there are steps you can take at home to relieve an earache, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

The NIH recommends the following at-home care options for ear pain:

  • Chewing can help with pain and pressure of an ear infection
  • Putting a cold pack or a cold, wet washcloth on the outer ear for 20 minutes
  • Over-the-counter ear drops
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Resting while sitting up – rather than lying down – can help reduce pressure

For more options of home care for ear pain, talk with your doctor.

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When should an adult see a health care provider for ear pain?

There are some times when you’ll need to visit your health care provider to take care of your ear pain, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Make an appointment to visit your health care provider, according to the NIH, if:

  • A high fever, severe pain, or irritability that lasts or gets worse longer within 24-48 hours
  • Severe pain that stops suddenly, which could be a sign of a ruptured eardrum

Talk to your doctor for more information about when you need medical care for ear pain.

What is celiac disease?

Dr. Jennewine discusses celiac disease. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that damages the small intestine, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesOff Site Icon(NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). 

It is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the lining and the tissue of the small intestine, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians.

People who have celiac disease cannot eat gluten, which is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat, according to the NIDDK.

The disease causes digestive problems that can be long-term. These problems can keep a person with celiac disease from getting the nutrients they need, according to the NIDDK.

Talk to your doctor for more information about celiac disease.

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    What steps should people take to enjoy fireworks safely?

    Dr. Stone discusses firework safety. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    Fireworks are a fun part of summer that many people look forward to. However, there are important precautions you can take to make fireworks both fun and safe. 

    In 2013, eight people died and more than 11,000 were injured badly enough that they needed medical treatment because of fireworks-related accidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety CommissionOff Site Icon (CPSC). 

    Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say about 25 percent of burns cared for in the emergency room are from sparklers.

    Additionally, more than 18,000 fires reported annually are from consumer-related fireworks, according to PPN physicians. 

    Rather than setting off fireworks at home, both PPN physicians and the National Safety CouncilOff Site Icon (NSC) recommend avoiding consumer fireworks completely. 

    Instead, play it safe by enjoying a professional fireworks display. And, PPN physicians suggest lighting up the night with glow sticks instead of sparklers to avoid unnecessary burns.

    For more information about firework safety, contact your doctor.  

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    What steps can people take to enjoy fire pits safely?

    Dr. Stone discusses fire pit safety. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    The summer months are a great time to enjoy cool evenings with friends and families around a fire. Many people now have home-made or store-bought fire pits that they use for these gatherings.

    However, without the proper safety precautions, an enjoyable summer night can become dangerous, according to Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians. 

    Using flammable liquids to start the fire, having a fire too close to flammable objects, or an unsupervised fire all can be dangerous, according to PPN physicians. When planning to use a fire pit, make sure adults are handling all the flammable liquids and that the fire stays under strict supervision.

    PPN physicians also recommend keeping kids and pets at least 3 feet away from the fire. Anyone near the fire should try to avoid wearing flammable clothing, especially nylon and other synthetic fabrics. 

    In case there is a burn, people near fire pits should know basic first aid, according to PPN physicians. 

    For more information about fire pit safety, talk with your doctor.

    What are common outdoor hazards in summer?

    Dr. Stone discusses common outdoor hazards in summer. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    When the weather is warm and kids are out of school, there can be so much fun to look forward to. But staying safe during summer months is the key to keeping the fun going.

    Some common outdoor hazards in the summer, according to the National Safety CouncilOff Site Icon (NSC) and the American Academy of PediatricsOff Site Icon (AAP), include:

    • Activities – Bicycling, skateboarding, and ATV riding all are safest when the rider is wearing a helmet and other protective gear.
    • Heat and sun– Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and breathable clothing are an important first step. Wearing sunscreen, seeking shade, and staying hydrated will also help avoid heat and sun dangers. 
    • Pools and water – If you will be near a pool or another body of water, water safety is a must. Children should be supervised at all times, and adults should be prepared by learning CPR. In open bodies of water, like while boating, kids and adults alike need to wear life jackets.  

    Talk to your doctor for more information about summer safety hazards.

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    What is lead, and how is someone exposed to it?

    Lead is a natural element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust, according to the Environmental Protection AgencyOff Site Icon (EPA). 

    Lead has some beneficial uses, but it can be toxic to people and animals and causes negative health issues, according to the EPA.

    Children are often more likely to be exposed to lead by eating or drinking food or water with lead in it, from dishes that contain lead, or from inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint, according to the EPA. 

    Adult exposure to lead also typically comes from eating or drinking from dishes with lead in them or breathing lead dust from lead-based paint, according to the EPA.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about lead exposure. 

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    What happens to the body when it is exposed to lead?

    When the body is exposed to lead, it can affect almost all the organs and systems throughout the whole body, according to the Environmental Protection AgencyOff Site Icon (EPA).

    In children, the EPA states that lead exposure can cause:

    • Anemia
    • Behavior problems
    • Hearing problems
    • Hyperactivity
    • Learning problems
    • Lower IQ
    • Slowed growth

    And the EPA states that in adults, lead exposure can cause:

    • Cardiovascular issues, including increased blood pressure and hypertension
    • Decreased kidney function
    • Reproductive problems

    Talk to your doctor for more information about lead exposure.

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    What are the symptoms of lead contamination?

    Lead can build up an a person’s system over time, leading to initial symptoms that are followed by more serious health problems, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). 

    The symptoms of lead exposure, according to the NIH, include:

    • Abdominal pain and cramping
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Anemia
    • Constipation
    • Difficulty getting pregnant
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Headaches
    • Hearing loss
    • Irritability
    • Low appetite
    • Low energy

    Extremely high lead levels can also cause vomiting, muscle weakness, seizures, and even a coma, according to the NIH.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about lead contamination.

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    What are the most important components in a first aid kit?

    Dr. Ordway discusses the most important parts of a first aid kit. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    There are some items that all first aid kits should include, according to the American Red CrossOff Site Icon (ARC). The items that the ARC recommends include:

    • Absorbent compress dressings
    • Adhesive bandages
    • Adhesive cloth tape
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Aspirin
    • Blanket
    • Cold compress
    • Nonlatex gloves
    • Hydrocortisone ointment
    • Scissors
    • Roll bandage
    • Sterile gauze pads
    • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
    • Tweezers

    It’s also important to include any important family-specific medications you might need, emergency phone numbers, including health care providers, according to the ARC.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about what to include in a first aid kit.

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    What type of health issues can be addressed with the help of a first aid kit?

    Dr. Ordway discusses health issues a first aid kit can help address. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    A first aid kit is a great resource to have available at home, in the car, at family sporting events, and on trips.

    Items in a first aid kit can help with a variety of issues, according to Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians. The kit should be considered your first line of defense against common medical problems. It will have the tools you need to care for minor cuts or scraps, as well as items you can use to care for more serious issues until you can get to your health care provider or an emergency room for professional treatment, according to PPN physicians. Some health issues a first aid kit can help with, according to PPN physicians include:

    • Aches
    • Burns
    • Cuts
    • Falls
    • Fevers
    • Pains
    • Scrapes

    Having different first aid kits packed for different places can help you be prepared for a wider variety of health issues.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about what health issues a first aid kit can help care for.

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    How often should a first aid kit be replaced?

    Dr. Ordway discusses how often to replace a first aid kit. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    There isn’t a specific amount of time you should wait before replacing your first aid kit. Instead, mark your calendar to check each of your first aid kits every couple months to look at expiration dates and replace any expired medications or items, according to Premier Physician Network (PPN).

    When you check for outdated items, also check to see what items need restocked and consider any new items – such as new family-specific medications – that you might want to add, according to PPN physicians. For more information about when to replace first aid kit items, talk with your doctor.

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    What are the four different types of germs?

    Infectious diseases are the single greatest cause of death worldwide.

    Those diseases are caused by germs we share through everyday activities, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), such as:

    • Breathing
    • Drinking
    • Eating
    • Insect bites
    • Kissing
    • Sexual contact
    • Touching

    The NIH says these four main kinds of germs are the cause of most infectious diseases:

    • Bacteria – These one-celled germs multiply quickly and can release chemicals that can make you sick
    • Fungi – These include plants, such as mildew and mushrooms
    • Protozoa – These one-celled animals use other living things as a source of food and living environment
    • Viruses – These are capsules that hold genetic material and use your own cells in order to multiply

    Talk to your doctor to learn more about the four different types of germs.

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    What are the most common sources of germs?

    It can be easy to think of germs spreading when someone sneezes or coughs a little too close for comfort. But, there are many other common sources of spreading germs.

    The Minnesota Department of HealthOff Site Icon (MDH) describes the most common sources for germs as:

    • Animals – Pets and other animals can be carriers for germs that can affect you and your family. Make sure to wash your hands after touching animals and surfaces they were in contact with.
    • Eyes, Mouth, Nose – Germs can spread to our hands from rubbing our eyes, sneezing, coughing, or blowing our noses.
    • Feces – Trips to the bathroom can quickly spread many germs if we don’t wash our hands with soap and water. Make sure to wash every time you go, take your child, and after changing a diaper.
    • Food – Raw food, such as chicken, eggs, and beef, can get germs onto your hands or other uncooked food. It’s important to keep it separate.
    • Hands – Without proper handwashing, germs from sneezing, uncooked food, diaper changes, pets, handshakes, and everything else we touch are likely to get into our system and make us sick.

    Learn more about common sources of germs by talking with your doctor.

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    How can you reduce your risk of being exposed to germs?

    Germs can be found everywhere, but there are easy steps we can take to help prevent germs from making us sick.

    The National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC) say to take the following steps to avoid getting sick from germs:

    • Avoid close contact – When someone is sick, try to keep your distance.
    • Avoid touching your face – Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth because germs you have can spread to your hands. And, germs on your hands can spread to your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Clean surfaces – From countertops to doorknobs, and smartphones to computer keyboards, disinfecting surfaces can help keep you from being exposed to germs.
    • Get vaccinated – Get your annual flu vaccine and other vaccinations recommended by your primary care provider to help protect yourself from dangerous germs.
    • Stay home – When you are sick, stay away from others so you don’t spread germs. Also, when you are sick, you have lower resistance to catching other germs and getting even sicker.
    • Use your elbow – Instead of coughing or sneezing into your hand and spreading germs when you touch other things, cough and sneeze into your elbow.
    • Wash your hands – Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a gel sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Wash after using the bathroom, before cooking, after touching raw meat and eggs, before eating, after touching animals, after changing diapers, and other times throughout the day.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about how you can reduce your risk of being exposed to germs.

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    How long should you wait before seeing your health care provider for a sore throat?

    Wondering how long to wait out your next sore throat? It mostly depends on what other symptoms you have. 

    Physicians from Premier Physician Network (PPN) say it’s time to see your health care provider right away if you have a sore throat and:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Difficulty turning your head
    • Drooling
    • High fever
    • Inability to eat or drink
    • Swelling in the neck
    • Trouble swallowing

    These symptoms can be signs of more serious sicknesses that your doctor can help care for.

    On the other hand, if you have a sore, scratchy throat that comes along with some cold symptoms, you can wait a few days. It will probably go away on its own, according to the American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP).

    In that case, try using some homecare treatments to ease the pain, such as:

    • Drinking plenty of fluids
    • Gargling warm salt water
    • Sucking on throat drops
    • Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen 
    • Using a humidifier

    Talk to your doctor for more information about how long to wait before scheduling a doctor’s visit for a sore throat.

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    What is the difference between a sore throat and strep throat?

    Strep throat can cause pain in your throat, and the sickness is caused by bacteria called streptococcus, according to the American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP).

    Aside from a sore throat, symptoms of strep throat include:

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Red, swollen tonsils
    • Swollen, sore neck glands
    • White patches in your throat and on your tonsils

    Some people – especially children – can also have abdominal pain, a red rash and vomiting as symptoms of strep throat.

    Strep throat is a sickness caused by streptococcus bacteria, and a sore throat is a symptom that you can have along with that. A sore throat also can be caused by allergies, a cold, the flu, or other kinds of viruses.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about the difference between strep throat and a sore throat. 

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    What is the difference between a sore throat and tonsillitis? 

    Tonsillitis is when your tonsils – two lumps in the back of the throat – become swollen. Your tonsils work by trapping germs coming through your mouth and nose, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOff Site Icon (HHS).

    Usually, tonsillitis is caused by a viral infection, but it can also sometimes be caused by bacteria. 

    Tonsillitis that is caused by a virus is common for younger children to catch. The bacterial kind of tonsillitis usually affects kids between 5 and 15 years old. 

    Adults can catch tonsillitis, but it’s not common.

    Symptoms of tonsillitis, in addition to a severe sore throat, include:

    • Bad breath
    • Fever
    • Red, swollen tonsils
    • Swollen neck glands
    • Trouble swallowing
    • White or yellow coating on the tonsils

    Tonsillitis is a sickness caused by bacteria or a virus, while a sore throat is a symptom of having a sickness. A sore throat also can be caused by allergies, a cold, the flu, or other kinds of viruses or bacteria that are different than the ones that cause tonsillitis.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about the difference between tonsillitis and a sore throat. 

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    Can a sore throat indicate allergies? 

    A sore throat can be a symptom of different kinds of sicknesses and also a symptom of allergies. 

    The American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP) says sore throats can be caused by a variety of allergens, including:

    • Cigarette smoke
    • Dust
    • Exhaust from vehicles
    • Mold
    • Perfume
    • Pet dander
    • Pollen

    Talk to your doctor for more information about how a sore throat can be caused by allergies.

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    What causes a cough?

    Coughs are caused when nerve endings in your airway become irritated, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

    Allergens, medical conditions, some kind of medicine, and other irritants can all bother these nerve endings and lead to coughing.

    Coughing helps clear our airways of these irritants, which helps prevent infections.

    For more information about what causes a cough, talk with your doctor.

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    What constitutes a chronic cough?

    A cough can be considered chronic after it has lasted for eight weeks or more, says the American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP).

    Chronic coughs are usually caused by allergies, acid reflux, health conditions, or medicine.

    Once the underlying issue is treated, the chronic cough typically goes away.

    For more information about a chronic cough, talk to your doctor.

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    What can be done to treat a chronic cough?

    Treating a chronic cough depends on the underlying cause of the cough.

    According to American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP), treatment could include:

    • Acid reflux – Raise the head of your bed about 4 inches. You can also try to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours before lying down. Your doctor might recommend some medicines to help reduce the acid in your stomach and cut down on acid reflux.
    • Allergies – Postnasal drip from allergies can be helped by avoiding things that bother your nose and throat. These could include cleaning supplies, dust, outdoor allergens, pets, smoke, and more. Talk to your doctor about medications that might help also.
    • Asthma – If you have been diagnosed with asthma, your doctor can help find a treatment plan that works for you.
    • Medicine – If you feel like a medicine you’re taking is causing you to cough, talk to your doctor. Don’t stop taking the medicine until after you talk to your doctor. He or she might be able to find a different medication that is a better fit for you.
    • Smoking – You should stop smoking. Your doctor can recommend ways to help yourself quit smoking.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about how to treat a chronic cough.

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    What are the signs that a cough needs to be evaluated by a health care provider?

    A cough can be frustrating, but it can also take some time to go away on its own.

    However, the American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP) recommends seeing your doctor if your cough lasts more than eight weeks and includes:

    • Chest pain
    • Coughing up blood
    • Coughing up thick mucus
    • Having a fever higher than 101 degrees
    • Hives
    • Losing weight without trying
    • Night sweats
    • Swelling of your face
    • Trouble breathing
    • Wheezing

    Talk with your doctor for more information about whether it’s time for you to get medical help for a cough.

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    What are some ways having a newborn can change a mom’s or dad’s life?

    Dr. Joshua Ordway discusses some ways that having a newborn can change a mom’s or dad’s life. Click play to watch the video or  read the transcript.

     

    Parents with newborn babies – especially first-time parents – can be in for a whirlwind of changes, even if they tried to prepare before the baby’s arrival.

    One major change for parents of newborns is the lack of sleep you’ll contend with, Premier Physician Network physicians say.

    It can be hard to imagine before having children how little sleep you might get in the days, weeks and months following your baby’s birth.

    It can be helpful to sneak in a nap at the same time as your baby.

    You can also try trading off baby duty with your partner, a family member, or a friend. It’s really important to do the best you can to keep your energy levels up so you can focus on keeping yourself and your baby healthy.

    Another change you might notice could include some physical changes, especially for a new mom, as your body recovers from childbirth, according to the Office on Women’s HealthOff Site Icon (OWH).

    Drinking plenty of water, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and keeping your feet elevated can help swelling start to go down.

    Overall, be patient and give your body time to recover.

    You might also have some emotional changes caused by shifting hormones, lack of sleep, and stress about caring for your baby. Many of these feelings go away in a short time, but it can help to talk through them with a trusted partner, friend or family member who can listen.

    For more information about changes to your life once you have a newborn baby, talk to your doctor.

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    Can stress from adjusting to having a newborn cause health issues? If so, what kinds of health issues?

    Dr. Joshua Ordway discusses how stress from having a newborn can cause health issues. Click play to watch the video or  read the transcript.

     

    A newborn baby can be a great gift, bringing happiness and excitement to your family.

    However, taking care of a newborn and all the stress from challenges that come along with that can also affect both your physical and mental health, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

    Lack of sleep is the main problem that can lead to health issues, which can include:

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Obesity

    And, if not controlled, obesity can eventually lead to other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.

    Mentally, your new baby can cause stress, because there’s another mouth to feed and another life to care for.

    It’s most important to carve out time to take care of both your physical and mental health. That can be different for everyone. It might mean finding time to nap, making lunch dates with friends, or having one-on-one time with your partner while grandparents watch your baby.

    And remember – you need to keep yourself healthy to be able to take care of your baby and keep him or her healthy, too.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about how stress after having a newborn can affect your health.

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    What are signs that could indicate that a mom or dad needs support while they are adjusting to having a new baby?

    Dr. Joshua Ordway discusses signs that could show a mom or dad of a new baby needs support. Click play to watch the video or  read the transcript.

      

    Do you have a friend or family member who recently had a baby? It can be such a joyful time with lots to celebrate, but it can also be overwhelming for the new parents at times.

    Many new parents feel guilty asking for help, so it’s important to watch for subtle signs that they might need some extra support, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say. 

    Not participating as much as usual in conversations, not talking to people as often as usual, and avoiding fun things they would usually enjoy doing can all be signs that a new parent needs some extra care and attention.

    Being part of a support network of friends and family is one of the best gifts you can give new parents. Offering to pick up groceries, watch the baby while a parent naps, or just being available to sit and talk are all part of what parents of newborns need to get them through the first few weeks with their new baby in a happy, healthy way.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about signs a new mom or dad might need help adjusting to their new baby at home.

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    How much physical activity is recommended for adults and children?

    Dr. Anessa Alappatt discusses how much physical activity is recommended for adults and children. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

    Adults have a little more flexibility. It’s important for you to get at least 180 minutes of physical activity each week, but it doesn’t matter how you break up that time, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

    Talk to your doctor for more information about how much physical activity adults and children need.

    Learn more:

    What are some benefits of my family being physically active together?

    Dr. Anessa Alappatt discusses benefits of being physically active together as a family. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    Families who are physically active together are investing in more than just a healthy physical lifestyle. 

    Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say that families exercising together help kids build healthy physical fitness patterns that can last a lifetime. Exercising together reinforces to children that physical activity is an important part of everyone’s life.

    And, while families exercise together, they’re spending time together. They can talk, catch up on each other’s days, and enjoy some fun, quality time together. 

    Being physically active as a family is good not only for your physical health but also your mental health in these ways. 

    Talk to your doctor for more information about benefits of your family being physically active together.

    Learn more:

    What are some small steps my family can take to be physically active together?

    Dr. Anessa Alappatt discusses steps your family can take to be physically active together. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

     

    You family can take lots of steps to become more physically active together, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

    It’s about being together and being active, not specifically about what activity you choose. 

    Find something both the youngest and oldest members of your crew will enjoy.

    Some ideas include:

    • Doing yoga
    • Going for a walk or a hike
    • Having a family dance party 
    • Playing dancing video games
    • Playing tag
    • Taking exercise breaks during TV commercials

    Talk to your doctor for more information about small steps your family could take to be more physically active together.

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    What is the best way to measure a fever?

    The best way to measure a fever depends on age, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

    For babies and children younger than 5, a rectal temperature is the most exact. However, it can be difficult the older children get because it is not the most comfortable option.

    For children 2 and under, taking their temperature under their armpit is the next best option.

    For children between 2 and 5, taking their temperature in their ear is the second-best option.

    Anyone who is older than 5 should have their temperature taken by mouth for the most accurate results. Taking an ear temperature is the next best choice.

    For more information about the best way to measure temperature, talk with your doctor.

    Learn more:

    When should I take my child to be seen by a health professional for a fever?

    When your child has a fever, it’s important to make sure she’s staying hydrated and getting rest. 

    But it’s also important to be watchful of signs and symptoms of a serious sickness, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

    Call your child’s health care provider if:

    • Your baby is 3 months old or younger and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher
    • Your child at any age has a fever that repeatedly rises above 104 degrees
    • Your child has a seizure
    • Your child has been in a very hot place, like an overheated car
    • Your child has other symptoms, such as a stiff neck, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, repeated vomiting or diarrhea
    • Your child is unusually tired
    • Your child looks very sick

    For more information about when to seek medical attention for a fever, talk with your doctor.

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    Source: Mansi Amin, MD, Oakwood Primary Care; Chandan Gupta, MD, Monroe Medical Center; Joshua Ordway, MD, Franklin Family Practice; Susan Davis-Brown, MD, Brookville Family Care; Dale Block, MD, Premier Family Care of Mason; Aleda Johnson, MD, Liberty Family Medicine; Katherine Schmidt, MD, Jamestown Family Medicine; Paul Jennewine, MD, Middletown Medical Group; Matthew Stone, DO, Middletown Family Practice; Kristine Sun, MD, Premier Family Care of Mason; Paul Weber, MD, The Pediatric Group; Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center

    Content Updated: October 5, 2018

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