How to Treat a Tick Bite

By Dr. Nicole Baumann-Blackmore, Pediatric Hospitalist

Memorial Day weekend is here, and people will celebrate with picnics and time outdoors. Warmer weather and outdoor time is great but can bring with it some unwanted pests. In our area, ticks and tick-borne illnesses are a concern. So what do you do if you find a tick on yourself or your child? When should you worry about those tick-borne illnesses?

If you find a tick on yourself or your child, the best way to remove it is with a tweezers. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.  Pull up with steady, even pressure while taking care not to twist or bend the tick. This should result in the entire tick being removed but carefully inspect the area after removal to be sure. Wash your hands and clean the area of the tick bite with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.  Discard the tick by flushing it down the toilet, submersing it in alcohol or placing it in a sealed bag or container. If you are unsure what species of tick it is, you should place it in a bag or container for easy inspection.

Most tick bites are harmless and do not result in disease in humans.  Here in Wisconsin, however, we do have a higher incidence of one of the tick-borne illnesses, Lyme disease, which is spread by the Blacklegged tick, more commonly known as the deer tick.

If you or your child had a known tick bite, watch closely for signs of illness of Lyme disease.  Approximately 80 percent of people with Lyme disease will develop the classic “bulls-eye” rash, known as erythema migrans. 

This rash develops at the site of the bite but can spread to other areas of the body.  It usually develops within 7-14 days of the tick bite and typically precedes any other sign of illness.  Other signs of illness include fever, body and joint aches, headache and fatigue.  If Lyme disease goes unrecognized, it can progress to causing more severe neurologic, cardiac and joint problems.  If you or your child develops the bulls-eye rash or any of these symptoms following a tick bite, it is important to call your primary care provider.  Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, and most people have complete improvement of their symptoms, especially if they were treated early in the course of their illness.

The best way to avoid Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites from occurring.  Try to avoid wooded areas and areas with tall grass.  If you are in those areas, wear pants and long-sleeves in addition to insect repellents that contain 20-30 percent DEET.  When coming in from outside, always check over yourself and young children to be sure that no ticks have attached to the skin or clothing.  And don’t forget to check your pets that may have been outdoors, too.

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The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer

By: Dr. Jeffrey Larson, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, affecting nearly one in five individuals.  Sadly, my practice frequently involves reconstructive surgery following the removal of skin cancer.

Treatment of skin cancer begins with you!  Once a month, it is important to do a self-exam of your own skin, moles and blemishes.  Intuition may tell you to check more often, but checking once a month will make it easier to see if a spot has undergone a change and needs to be examined by your doctor.

The next component of skin cancer treatment and prevention is a regular visit to your primary care provider.  Any concerning areas should be shown to them; they will be able to tell you if a mole or skin growth has suspicious characteristics and needs to be evaluated by a dermatologist.  In general, you should consider having a skin check by your primary care doctor once a year.  If there is a family history of skin cancer or melanoma, or you, personally, have had skin cancer, more frequent checks may be necessary.

There are many different types of skin cancer, some of which can be life-threatening. To protect your health, it is essential to catch skin cancer early.  What skin-lesion and mole characteristics should cause concern?  The acronym is simple: ABCDE.

A.      Asymmetry – One side of the lesion is not like the other side. 

B.      Border – The border of the lesion is irregular or poorly defined.

C.      Color – There is no certain color that is worse than another.  However, if one lesion has multiple colors (shades of tan, black, brown), this may be a reason for concern.

D.      Diameter – If the diameter of a lesion is more than 6 mm (or larger than a pencil eraser), this may be a worrisome lesion.

E.       Evolving – If you have one mole that looks different from the rest, or appears to have changed, have a doctor look at it.

In the event that skin cancer is diagnosed, there are a variety of treatments that range from topical creams to cryotherapy (“freezing” the lesion with liquid nitrogen) to removing the lesion surgically.  The treatment depends on the type of cancer that is diagnosed and where it’s located. A dermatologist will be able to counsel you regarding the best course of action. 

In the event that skin cancer is surgically removed and the area is large or in a highly visible location, like the face or neck, reconstruction may be performed by a plastic surgeon.  Reconstructive plastic surgery can repair and camouflage skin cancer excision wounds. Each patient and treatment is different.  The area may be reconstructed using other tissue around the area (commonly referred to as a local flap) or with skin from somewhere else on the body (a skin graft).  More complex reconstructions also exist depending on the needs of the patient.  As a plastic surgeon, my goal is to perform a successful reconstruction that matches your native skin as closely as possible.

Of course, no treatment is better than prevention. The leading cause of skin cancer is UV radiation from the sun. When outside, apply a sun screen of SPF 30+ every two hours, wear hats and clothing that cover your skin and greatly limit your amount of exposure to the sun during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have a lesion you’re concerned about, call your doctor and have it examined.

Learn more about Meriter Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Learn more about the Meriter Dermatology Clinic.

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What is Tendonitis and How Can it be Treated?

By:  Dr. Beth Weinman, Sports Medicine Physician

Are you in pain every time you use your arm, leg or foot? It may be due to tendonitis. Currently, over 10 million people in the United States suffer from severe pain due to tendonitis, which keeps them from living an active life.

1. What is a tendon? A tendon is a strong, flexible band of tissue that connects your muscles to the bones in your joints. Tendons and muscles work together to create a pulling force that allows you to twist, grip, grab, move, bend and lift to perform all sorts of activities necessary to your busy life. When your tendon is damaged, like it is with tendonitis, every movement hurts; even picking up a coffee cup is difficult.

2. What is tendonitis? Tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon that can cause pain and tenderness outside of a joint.

3. What is tendinosis? Tendinosis, also known as chronic tendonitis, is caused by tiny tears in the tendon tissue that can create pain, stiffness, or inflammation around the tendon. These conditions are more commonly known as tennis or golf elbow, jumper’s knee, Achilles pain or plantar fasciitis. Tendinitis is generally considered chronic, and therefore called tendinosis, once it has been present for at least three months.

4. Why do people get tendinosis? Chronic tendon pain comes from doing the things you love or need to do over and over and over again. Repetitive motions, no matter how ordinary, can cause small micro tears that occur each time use your tendon. When you do the same activities persistently, the micro tears do not have time to heal properly, causing injury. This causes the tendon to become overused and damaged resulting in it being unable to work at full capacity, causing pain. One may feel a burning, throbbing or sharp sting due to the damaged tendon tissue. Pain due to chronic tendonitis tends to worsen over time since the tendon never gets a chance to heal itself. Tendinosis may occur as a result of occupational requirements such as standing for prolonged periods, gripping a tool with repetitive twisting, cleaning, cooking or typing. In addition, people might get tendinosis from physical activity such as running, jumping and playing golf, soccer or tennis.

5. How can tendinosis be treated? There are many options including rest, activity restriction, ice, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, physical therapy, surgery and Tenex.

6. What is Tenex? How is it performed? Tenex uses gentle ultrasonic technology to remove the damaged tendon tissue through a micro incision and stimulates a healing response. Tenex replicates the goal of an open surgical procedure by removing the damaged tissue, but in a minimally invasive manner. Prior to performing Tenex, I use ultrasound imaging, just like the kind used to see babies in the womb, to visualize and identify the specific location of the damaged tendon tissue. The procedure usually takes 20 minutes or less, requires only a small adhesive bandage to close the micro-incision, and offers quick recovery time for patients, usually within 6 weeks or less.

7. Why would I consider Tenex? Tenex is a unique non-surgical treatment option because it removes the damaged tendon tissue unlike rest, medications or physical therapy. Without first treating and removing the pain generating damaged tendon tissue, these other treatments may not provide the ideal solution for you to quickly regain your active lifestyle.

8. How long is the recovery time? Recovery is rapid with many people being back to normal life within 6 weeks or less. Because the surrounding healthy tissue is not disturbed, and no stitches or general anesthesia is required, there is minimal downtime and less discomfort compared to open surgery. The speed of your recovery depends on the location of your tendinosis and your individual results may vary.

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Meriter Hospital Wins Stroke Care Award

 

Recently, Meriter Hospital received a Silver Plus stroke award from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. The 2015 award, called the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, signifies that patients will consistently receive the most advanced stroke care as quickly as possible from our dedicated team.

Our adherence to high standards results in a reduction in death and disability from stroke and improvement in the quality of life for patients.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. The faster the diagnosis and treatment, the better the chance of limiting brain damage and potential long-term disability.

Recognizing the signs of stroke and calling 9-1-1 are crucial steps of treatment. The best way to recognize stroke signs is by learning to act FAST:

  • Face: Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arm: Is one arm weak or numb?
  • Speech: Is speech slurred?
  • Time: If an individual has any of these symptoms, time is critical! Call 9-1-1

To learn more about our award-winning stroke care program, visit meriter.com/neurology.

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Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?

 

Did you know laughter has more benefits than just improving your mood?

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Do you Know the Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion?

By: Dr. Nicole Baumann-Blackmore, Pediatric Hospital Medicine

You know spring is in the air when you see and hear children laughing and playing outside.  While the fresh air and exercise is terrific, this can also lead to an increase in head injuries.  While most of us think about head injuries and concussions occurring during sporting events, concussions happen more often off of the playing field.  With this increase in outdoor play, it’s a good time to review the signs and symptoms of concussion and when to seek medical attention.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, usually due to a fall, whiplash-type injury, or anything that causes the brain to jostle around inside the skull.  This movement can injure blood vessels and nerves within the brain that can lead to a concussion.  If your child has a head injury, they need to be monitored closely.  If they develop any of the following symptoms, you should contact their medical provider immediately:

- Loss of consciousness (“blacking out”) after the injury
- Severe headache
- Blurry vision
- Dizziness
- Difficulty walking
- Confusion or saying things that don’t make sense
- Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
- Unresponsiveness
- Vomiting

Symptoms can also include irritability, memory difficulties, trouble with concentration, and difficulty sleeping. Symptoms can present immediately following the injury or may take up to 72 hours to develop.  Luckily, most symptoms resolve within a few days.  If the symptoms seem to be lingering, contact your child’s primary care provider to talk about whether further testing or monitoring is needed.

Following a concussion, your child’s doctor will likely want to do a thorough physical examination, with particular focus on the neurologic exam (coordination, memory, reflexes, etc.).  Depending on the symptoms and exam findings, they may order a CT scan or MRI of the brain to look for bleeding or other injury.  For children with mild symptoms, a few days of rest (no sports, play, or school) allows the brain to heal without lasting effects.  For children with more severe or prolonged symptoms, their doctor may refer them to a physician specializing in treatment of patients with concussions.  In general, avoiding mental and physical stress, along with avoiding bright lights and loud noises, will allow the brain to heal itself.

Once a child with a concussion is completely free of symptoms, they may return to normal activities but should be cleared by their physician first, particularly when it comes to returning to sports activities.  There are rare but devastating cases of “second impact syndrome” where a child has returned to sports too soon and suffers another head injury which can lead to long-term brain damage or even death.  Many states have laws to protect student athletes from a repeat injury.  In Wisconsin, the law states, “individuals may only return to competition or practice after being evaluated by a trained health care provider. The health care provider is required to provide written clearance in order for the athlete to return to action.”

We all want to keep our kids safe, so how can we best prevent head injuries and concussions from happening in the first place?  Nothing can prevent every concussion, but wearing proper fitting sports safety equipment is a great place to start.  Wearing a bike helmet every time kids (and adults!) ride their bike is very important – as is wearing helmets for activities like skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding. For infants and toddlers, childproofing your home is the best prevention.  Make sure those toddlers can’t hit their heads on sharp table corners or fall down the stairs.  Wearing seatbelts and making sure children are in the proper car seat is important for car safety in the event of a crash.  The best mode of prevention, however, is education.  Making sure kids and parents know the signs and symptoms of a concussion, the dangers of concussions, and who to talk to if they have concerns, can help prevent concussions and their possible long-term effects.

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If you Live in Dane County, We Want Your Input!

 

Meriter-UnityPoint Health is working with our partners in the other Dane County hospitals and public health to conduct a community health needs assessment for Dane County.

The survey is anonymous. It will become part of a larger community health needs assessment and the results of the survey will be used to develop ways to address health issues in Dane County.

Please take the Community Health Needs Assessment Survey at healthydane2015.com  

The survey ends May 31, 2015.

Meriter-UnityPoint Health partners with St. Mary’s Hospital, UW Health, Stoughton Hospital and Public Health Madison and Dane County to conduct a community health needs assessment every 3 years, as required by the Affordable Care Act. This collaborative is known as Healthy Dane.

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Register for the 2015 Couch to 5K

Have you ever thought of running a 5K but don’t know how to train for it? Meriter–UnityPoint Health invites you to join our Couch to 5K Running Club. The Couch to 5K is a plan developed to help beginners get into running or take your current training and enhance it.

Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking, to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. It creates realistic expectations and makes the challenge feel achievable right from the start.

For this session, there are several options:

  • Couch to 5K designed for those that haven’t been running but want to start
  • 5K walkers we encourage anyone to join us and walk the 5K

The best part of the Meriter’s Couch to 5K program is that it is FREE! In addition, if you attend 8 of the 11 sessions you will also receive a FREE entry for the Capital City 5K on Saturday, July 25 at 6:30 pm (in the evening).

Dates and Times: Every Tuesday from May 12 – July 21 at 5:45 pm
Location: Outside of Meriter Hospital – near the corner of Brooks and Mounds Streets
Parking: Free at the Meriter Hospital parking lot
Cost: FREE
What to wear: comfortable workout clothes and supportive running shoes
What to bring: water bottle, running watch and car key storage

Register today

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Advance Care Planning 101

By: Jennifer Gotto, Social Worker and Advance Care Planning Facilitator

 

Advance care planning is one of the best gifts you can give the people you love, and it starts with a conversation.

In honor of National Health Care Decisions Day on April 16, we would like to help you begin the conversation with loved ones about your health care wishes if left unable to communicate due to illness or injury - a process called advance care planning. Many times, families do not talk to each other about their wishes until a medical incident has already happened. As a social worker and advance care planning facilitator, I have seen how this creates very stressful and emotional situations for the patient and their families. 

What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance care planning provides information about your wishes for treatment to your family and health care providers in case illness or injury prevents you from telling them yourself. Indicating your own treatment wishes with advance planning ensures you get the care you intended. When you put these wishes in writing, it is called a Power of Attorney for Health Care. The best time to do this is before a medical crisis occurs. 

Reflect on Your Values
Who you are, what you believe and what you value are all shaped by your experiences. Has anything happened in your past that shaped your feelings about medical treatment? Do you have health issues now? What kinds of activities bring you so much joy that if a health problem prevented you from doing them, life would have little meaning? Reflecting on your experiences will help you clarify your beliefs and decide what is most important to you. 

Choose a Health Care Agent
An important part of planning is to appoint someone to make health care decisions if you are unable to communicate. Many people select a close family member or friend. Advance care planning focuses on not only appointing an agent that is able to carry out your wishes, but also talking with that person and making sure they are willing to serve as your agent and are truly prepared to make decisions for you. 

Some questions you may reference when you are thinking about someone to appoint are: 

  • Are they willing to accept this responsibility?
  • Is this person willing to follow your wishes, even if he or she does not always agree with them?
  • Can this person manage conflict and make decisions in sometimes difficult situations?

If you’d like to learn more ways to start planning, we offer free visits with a trained advance care planning facilitator. At these visits, you will have the opportunity to discuss your treatment preferences, appoint your health care agent and complete your written Power of Attorney for Health Care. For more information, please call Nursing Services at (608) 417-6010 or visit meriter.com/acp.

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Walk for a Cause – May 2

Let’s take a walk to cure arthritis on May 2.

This year Meriter’s Dr. James Bowers is the Medical Honoree for Walk to Cure Arthritis. Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation’s annual 5K walk. The funds raised from the 5K support finding a cure for arthritis, America’s leading cause of disability.

Register to join Dr. Bowers’ team at www.meriter.com/arthritiswalk.
• Click I agree, then Join a Team
• Click Show All and select Team Meriter
• Once you are registered, ask your friends and family to donate to your walk.

Register to walk with Dr. Bowers on May 2.

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Welcome Dr. Miller to Meriter Middleton

 

"My life's work is to partner with you, providing the support and information you need to live your healthiest, happiest life."

Meriter – UnityPoint Health welcomes family medicine physician Alisha R. Miller, MD, to our Meriter Middleton clinic, located at 7780 Elmwood Avenue in Middleton. She cares for patients of all ages, from newborns to seniors, and enjoys seeing families as a whole.

Dr. Miller works together with patients to discuss and decide on the best treatment options for their individual needs. She is interested in forming a relationship with her patients based on mutual respect, trust and open communication in order to help them live longer, healthier lives.

Within family medicine, Dr. Miller has special interests in:
•    Women’s Health
•    Pediatrics
•    Preventive Care
•    Managing Chronic Conditions

To schedule an appointment or free Meet and Greet with Dr. Miller, call (608) 417-3434 or visit meriter.com/miller.

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International Travel in Your Future?

By: Dr. Kristin Millin, Travel Medicine Physician

Finally, spring is here, and it is the time of year when many of us start to think about summer travel. Whether leaving the country for business or pleasure, you may need to protect your health with certain vaccinations or preventive medications – even if you’re going to a location that may seem fairly developed. In fact, any time you plan to cross an American boarder, I strongly encourage you to check-in with a travel medicine specialist to ensure that you’re adequately covered.

Often, travelers need to receive vaccines and preventive medications that are not part of routine immunizations in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and other experts recommend that international travelers visit a Travel Medicine Clinic to receive appropriate counseling on risk avoidance and to receive the proper vaccines and prescriptions for their specific travel plan.

Prior to your first appointment with a travel medicine physician, a nurse will discuss with you your travel plans and itinerary. This way we can determine whether an appointment is really necessary. Then a travel physician will gather information about health concerns in regards to your travel destination. The travel physician will also review your medical information so that at your travel visit, there can be an informed discussion with you about your risks and health concerns when traveling. At the end of the visit, you will then receive the appropriate medications and vaccinations that are needed to help you stay healthy during your next travel experience. Sometimes at travel medicine appointments, vaccines and medications can be covered by your insurance, but you’ll want to be sure to check with your insurance plan first.

Remember that it’s important to schedule your travel medicine appointment well ahead of your travel plans – ideally 6-8 weeks. Depending on where you’re going, it may take that long for your vaccine to be effective during your visit. If your departure is less than 6 weeks away, still give a travel medicine office a call, as that amount of time might not be required for the vaccines you need.

Some of the most common health concerns while traveling include insects, food, and sun. Insects can carry an array of different illnesses with them that you need to be aware of, such as Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya. Many times, these illnesses can be preventable through vaccines or medication, but in some cases, there are no vaccines available for these types of illnesses. In that case, you have to do your best to avoid insect bites and depend on insect repellents. I often recommend insect repellents for adults with 30% DEET to prevent bug bites, although you want to be sure to apply it in a well-ventilated area over your clothes and be sure to rinse off after you return from your time outdoors.

Underprepared food and a lack of clean water are concerns for travelers going to resorts, cruises or local restaurants in underdeveloped areas. I always recommend that my patients take an antidiarrheal medication with them, as Traveler’s Diarrhea is a real concern. If you come down with Traveler’s Diarrhea, it’s much easier to have medication with you from the get-go, rather than having to track it down in a foreign country.

Many of us go on vacation for the sole purpose of getting some rest, relaxation and sun. But we need to remember to be careful in the sun – especially when you’re in areas of the world closer to the equator. I recommend using a 30 SPF and being sure to reapply it every 3 hours, including immediately after you get out of the water.

There are very good web sites available to travelers to help keep informed about travel concerns and safety during travel. I recommend viewing the following sites prior to travel:
www.cdc.gov
www.tsa.gov
www.who.int
www.vaccineinformation.org
www.iamat.org
www.magellans.com
www.high-altitude-medicine.com

As someone who has spent a lot of time in developing countries – and has experience with malaria first-hand, I certainly am an advocate for doing as much pre-travel preparation as possible. Travel is a fantastic way to experience the world around us and with a small amount of pre-planning, you can be healthy (and worry-free) during your adventure.

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11 Illnesses that Fiber Could Help Prevent

Did you know that foods high in fiber can help prevent certain illnesses and diseases?

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How to Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection

Anyone handling the catheter and tubing should cleanse their hands before and after touching it to reduce the risk of a catheter-associated urinary tract infection.

By: Katelyn Harms, Infection Prevention and Control

Have you ever experienced pain or burning while urinating, the urge to urinate frequently, or lower abdominal pain and fever? These could be symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

A urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI, occurs when bacteria or other germs enter the urinary tract. The Center for Disease Control reports that these infections commonly occur in the hospital and account for most than 93,000 infections each year.

Sometimes, a drainage device to remove urine from the body is needed for a patient in a hospital or other care facility. This tube is called a urinary catheter, and it is inserted through the urethra by specially trained healthcare personnel. The catheter is connected to a drainage tube and a bag. The urine is emptied regularly from this drainage bag. It is estimated that 15-25 percent of hospitalized patients and 5 percent of long-term care residents have one of these catheters.

Because the catheter provides a direct pathway for the germs to travel into the bladder, there is an increased risk of a UTI. When this occurs, it is called a catheter-associated urinary tract infection or CAUTI.

The staff caring for a person with a urinary catheter is taking measures to reduce the chance of a CAUTI.

  • First and foremost, the catheter should only be used when absolutely necessary! The staff should check every day if it is still needed. Many hospitals have developed protocols so the nurse can decide when to remove the catheter.
  • Anyone handling the catheter and tubing, including you, should cleanse their hands before and after touching it.
  • The catheter and drainage tubing should remain connected—no separating the device to put on clothes or collect specimens.
  • Urine should flow freely; this means that there should be no kinks in the tubing and the bag should not be placed on the bed.
  • The bag should be below the bladder (but not on the floor).
  • The catheter should be secured to the person’s leg to reduce friction on the urethra.
  • Simple cleaning of the area where the catheter enters the body should be done with soap and water. Ask the staff to assist you with this.

CAUTIs can be treated, but they increase the time you spend in the hospital. If you or a loved one needs a urinary catheter, talk to the healthcare team and ask when it can be removed. Also ask what other options are available; for example, a temporary catheter may be inserted and removed as soon as the urine drains. For men, an external catheter, much like a condom, can be placed over the penis instead of in the penis. If you are sent home with a catheter, be sure to learn how to care for the catheter before leaving the facility and where you will get catheter supplies.

Each day you have a catheter increases the risk of a CAUTI, so work with your healthcare team to reduce this risk. You can also find additional information in this FAQ document.

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Honor your MD for National Doctor’s Day

National Doctor’s Day is March 30, 2015

National Doctor’s Day recognizes the contributions of doctors to individual lives and communities. Physicians diagnose and prescribe the cure for today’s ever changing diseases and illnesses. It is a thankless job that few outside of the field can imagine the pressure of.

Take a moment to say thanks to these dedicated professionals and send him/her a note that conveys your respect and admiration.

Click here to send your doctor a thank you note. Please include your doctor’s first and last name.

 

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Meriter Monona is Pleased to Welcome Dr. Makeba Williams


Makeba Williams, MD, has started seeing patients at Meriter Monona. She is replacing Dr. Sabo, who is retiring. Dr. Williams was attracted to the field of obstetrics and gynecology because of the bonds and relationships she can form with her patients. She enjoys seeing a broad range of females for health matters related to pregnancy, menopause, menstruation and general women’s health. Whether it is an annual check-up, the delivery of a child, or treatment of complex gynecological conditions, patients can trust Dr. Williams will guide their care to achieve the best quality outcomes.

Dr. Willams has special interests in the following areas:
•             High- and low-risk obstetrics
•             Pre-conception counseling
•             Minimally invasive gynecologic surgery
•             Peri-menopausal and menopausal issues
•             Irregular menstrual bleeding
•             Management of abnormal pap smears
•             Exercise, including during pregnancy

Dr. Williams is accepting new patients to schedule an appointment call Meriter Monona at (608) 417-3000.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Williams to Meriter Monona!

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Visit us at the Madison Kids Expo


Meriter – UnityPoint Health will be at the Madison Kids Expo March 21 and 22. Stop by to enjoy ways for kids to “unplug”. You can also have your photo taken with fun props in our photo booth.

On Saturday, March 21 from noon until 2pm you can learn CPR.

We hope to see you at the Madison Kids Expo!

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March is Healthy Baby Month


Meriter works to ensure that every baby is born healthy. At Meriter, we support mothers and provide them with early and consistent prenatal care at our Center for Perinatal Care. We also deliver more babies that any other hospital in Wisconsin and care for over 500 babies each year in our state-of-the-art newborn intensive care unit. If a child is born premature, we have programs to help families successfully navigate through this challenging time.

Meriter is proud of our commitment to family centered care provided by highly qualified staff and providers. We create a foundation that helps families build a lifetime of health, growth and happiness.

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What You Should Know About the MMR Vaccine

Consult your baby's pediatrician for more information on how to protect your baby from measles.

By: Kris Fedenia, RN

For the past several weeks, vaccines have been in the news — particularly the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). All of this media coverage has stirred up controversy over what to do about outbreaks of measles, concerns over those who are not immunized and how best to protect your baby.

This topic was of special concern to members of our Mother Baby Hour groups whose babies are 0-9 months old. They asked, “What do you need to know and how do you make an informed choice?”

The History of the Disease Before the Immunization
In the decade before the live measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, an average of 549,000 measles cases and 495 measles deaths were reported annually in the United States. However, the number may have been much higher because most cases were not reported. Of the reported cases, approximately 48,000 people were hospitalized from measles and 1,000 people developed chronic disability from acute encephalitis (brain swelling).

There has been a 99% decrease in the reported incidence in the United States since the vaccine was first licensed in 1963. In 1989, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a second dose of MMR, which further reduced the incidence to less than 1 case per million. Measles was considered eliminated from the United States in 2000 due to use of the MMR vaccine.

The current outbreak is due to people with measles visiting this country, spreading it to unvaccinated people and people with unknown vaccination status. It can also be spread by unvaccinated Americans bringing it back to the United States after visiting other countries, and a small number of cases have occurred in those who have been vaccinated.

How Does This Disease Spread?
Measles is one of the most highly communicable infectious diseases. It is transmitted by direct contact with droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs or less commonly, by airborne spread. The incubation period is generally 8-12 days from exposure to onset of symptoms. People can spread the disease from 4 days before to 4 days after the appearance of the rash.

What Happens When You Get the Measles?
For most people, having the measles virus usually means a fever greater than 101oF, cough, runny nose and red sensitive eyes. White spots may appear on the inside of the mouth a few days before a rash, which begins on the face and eventually spreads to the rest of the body.

Additional Complications for Some People
Complications include ear infection, pneumonia, croup, and diarrhea. One of every 1,000 cases results in acute encephalitis which can lead to permanent brain damage.

How to Protect Your Baby
Follow these steps to protect your baby and those who are unable to get vaccinated (people with lowered immune systems, receiving chemotherapy, etc.):

First, consult your baby’s care provider. If your baby is 12 months or beyond, the MMR vaccine can be given, with a second vaccine given between 4-6 years. If there is an outbreak in your community, the second dose can be given 28 days after the first for greater protection.

  • If your baby is 6-12 months and you will be traveling out of the country, your baby’s provider may recommend the MMR vaccination now. Your baby would then receive the regularly scheduled MMR between 12 -15 months and again between 4-6 years.
  • If your baby is less than 6 months, he or she may have some passive immunity to the measles if mom was vaccinated or had the measles herself. This passive immunity lasts for several weeks or months after birth. Breast-fed babies continue to receive antibodies through breast milk that help keep them protected from diseases that affect the intestinal system, but not the measles.

How Do You Treat the Measles?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for the measles. If you think your baby may have been exposed to the measles, contact his or her care provider for specific recommendations.

What Are the Risks Associated with Getting the MMR Vaccine?
A very small number of those vaccinated may develop a fever and/or rash. Even with these complications, people are not contagious.

There is no evidence that any of the components of the vaccine cause any long-term side effects. Click here to read more about the extensive research done on the vaccine schedule by the Independent Institute of Medicine.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on vaccines in general.

Are you looking for a new primary care physician for your child? Meet our physicians today.

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How to Prevent Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is the third-most-common cancer in the United States, but the good news is it’s preventable. Learn how you can reduce your risk and prevent colon cancer.

By: Dr. Gary Griglione, Board-certified Gastroenterologist

What is Colon Cancer?
Before discussing how to prevent it, we should begin with what colon cancer is. The colon is also called the large intestine and begins at the end of the small intestine. The first part, located in the right lower abdomen, is called the cecum. The colon then curves up the right side, across the top under the ribs, winds down along the left side of the belly, and eventually ends as the rectum. The terms ‘colon cancer’ and ‘colorectal cancer’ are used to describe cancer of any part of the colon.

We grow small lumps of tissue in our colon, called polyps, just as we grow skin tags on our skin. There are two types of polyps: ones that are benign and do not turn into cancer and those that are precancerous. It is the precancerous polyps that, over time, develop into cancer.

Preventing Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is the third-most-common cancer in the United States, but the good news is it’s preventable! Here is a list of ways you can prevent colon cancer:

1. Get Screened

If you learn only one thing from this article, I hope it’s this: Colonoscopies can prevent colon cancer. If you wait until you experience signs and symptoms of colon cancer, it means you already have the disease, and it may be advanced and difficult to cure. During a colonoscopy, your doctor can easily find and remove precancerous polyps before they have the chance to turn into cancer.

Yes, it’s a short list, but colonoscopy screening is truly the only way to prevent colon cancer.

Understanding your personal risk factors can help to determine when you should begin colonoscopy screenings, consequently reducing your risk for developing colon cancer.

5 Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk for Colon Cancer

1. Let your doctor know if you have a family history of colon polyps or cancer. Cancer in close relatives, such as parents, brothers and sisters is most concerning, but cancer in distant relatives is also important to note. If multiple close relatives have a history of colon cancer, your risk is increased. It’s also important to find out how old relatives were when they were diagnosed.
2. Talk to your doctor if you have an inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These conditions damage the colon over the years and increase your risk of developing colon cancer.
3. More than 90 percent of people with colon cancer are diagnosed after age 50. Even if you don’t have risk factors such as a family history of colon polyps or cancer, it’s important to start getting colonoscopy screenings around your 50th birthday.
4. Talk to your doctor if you have a personal history of polyps or cancer because your risk for future colon polyps or cancer is greater. Women with a history of cancer of the ovaries, uterus or breast are at a slightly higher risk of developing colon cancer.
5. Maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Further research is needed to better understand exactly how diet and lifestyle affect the likelihood of developing of colon cancer. To support good health, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to ensure you get adequate fiber, vitamins and nutrients. Limit your consumption of red meat and animal fats.

Inactivity and obesity have been linked to a higher risk of colon cancer—and countless other conditions and diseases. Strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise at least five days a week.

If you drink, stick to the recommended one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Smokers may also be at increased risk of developing polyps and colon cancer.

Signs and Symptoms You Should Have Checked
Preventative colonoscopy screenings are essential—before any symptoms arise. If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms at any age, talk to your doctor.

  • A change in your bowel habits that lasts for more than 2 weeks, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel never empties completely
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

These symptoms can be caused by a multitude of conditions other than colon cancer, but it is important to accurately diagnose the cause. Of great concern is the fact that one of the most common “symptoms” of colon cancer is no symptoms at all.

Because it’s so important, I’ll repeat this one final time: Colonoscopies can prevent colon cancer. Protect your health and schedule your screening if you’re due for a colonoscopy.

Learn more about Meriter Digestive Health and what to expect during a colonoscopy.

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Fire Up the Grill! Healthy Marinade Ideas

By: Michelle Miller, Dietitian

Herb and Garlic Veggie Marinade

Servings: about 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup olive oil            
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water                                                                           
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP fresh or dried basil
  • Salt/pepper to taste                                       

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a gallon Ziploc bag and add vegetables*.  Let marinate for 2 hours or up to 4 hours.

*Suggested Vegetables:  Mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini.

Soy Marinaded Chicken Breast

Servings: about 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP Fresh or dried thyme                                                      
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts                                   
  • Black pepper to taste                                                                    

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a gallon Ziploc bag and add chicken breasts.  Let marinate for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Try Michelle’s others recipes at the Meriter Hospital Bistro, located in the main hospital lobby!

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If You Could Prevent Colorectal Cancer Would You?

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Do you know how to reduce your risk? Get screened today and learn more about Meriter’s Digestive Health Center.

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New Technology to Relieve Chronic Tendon Pain


We are very pleased to announce a new ultrasound guided technology to relieve your chronic tendon pain. When you try to run, swing a golf club, climb the stairs or just take a step – do you feel pain? Has the pain been there for months or even years? Most likely it’s tendonitis also known as tennis elbow, jumper’s knee, Achilles pain or plantar fasciitis.

You have probably tried many ways to feel better such as physical therapy, cortisone injections, medication or taking time off to rest. They may have provided temporary relief but your pain always comes back. If the constant pain is keeping you from doing what you love, we now have a solution.

It’s a new ultrasound guided technology from Tenex Health. It’s a minimally invasive outpatient treatment to remove only the painful tendon tissue without damaging the healthy tissue. It uses only a local anesthetic and there are no stitches or sutures required with a shorter recovery time. You can now return to the activities you love.

Call (608) 417-8500 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Weinman, Sport Medicine Physician, at the Meriter Orthopedic Clinic and see if this new technology will help relieve your chronic tendon pain.

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How to Choose a Contraception

Choosing the right birth control option for you can be confusing. Request an appointment to discuss your options with your physician today!

By: Marta Staple, APNP

Choosing the right contraception can be a confusing task, and many women feel overwhelmed with choices while many others feel that there are not enough options.

Contraception is the intentional or deliberate prevention of pregnancy, and while men have access to condoms use and permanent sterilization with vasectomy, the majority of contraceptive options are designed to affect a woman’s fertility. There are hormonal and non-hormonal options, reversible and irreversible options, and short acting and long acting options. Of all of these options that women have for contraceptive methods, the long acting reversible methods are considered the safest and most effective.

Long acting reversible contraception (LARC) include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the implant Nexplanon. Both methods are highly effective in preventing pregnancy, last for several years, and are easy to use. Both are reversible—if the user wants to become
pregnant or wants to stop using them, they can be removed at any time. They work better
than pills, the patch, the ring and the shot because they cannot be forgotten, interfered with, or taken late. But even better, they don’t have the same risks as birth control pills, like blood clots, migraine headaches, hypertension (high blood pressure) and elevated cholesterol!

There are 3 IUD options on the market, and they include the Mirena, Skyla and ParaGard
IUD. The Mirena and Skyla IUD contain a small amount of locally acting progesterone. After your health care provider inserts the IUD into the uterus through the vagina, it begins to release progesterone into the lining of the uterus, which can make the period shorter, and light, but can also cause some spotting. The ParaGard IUD is a completely hormone free option, works just as well as the progesteronecontaining IUDs, and lasts for up to 10 years. The Nexplanon implant is a small device that is inserted under the skin of upper inner arm and releases progesterone over 3 years. Periods tend to be shorter and lighter, but some spotting can occur.

Request an appointment today to ask your physician any questions about your birth control options.

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Sign up for Finding Fitness After 40

Regular exercise is one of the key components to living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately developing a consistent routine can be difficult and often time injuries provide an additional barrier to starting or sustaining a successful exercise program. 

Meriter – UnityPoint Health, in-conjunction with Harbor Athletic club, is excited to offer a new exercise program opportunity for the community.  Introduction to Exercise is a class designed for adults who have not participated in a regular exercise program in the past, or for individuals that may have stopped exercising due to an injury or health concerns. 

The class will provide a combination of lecture and guided exercise instruction and all participants will receive a FREE 1 month membership to Harbor Athletic Club for the duration of the class. Space is limited, so sign up today and get started on the path to health and happiness.  

Date:  Every Thursday from April 16 through May 7 (4 weeks)
Time:  6:00 to 7:30 PM
Location:  The class will meet each night at the Meriter – UnityPoint Health Therapy Clinic at 2521 Allen Blvd., Middleton (behind the Harbor Athletic Club) for the lecture components and then transition over to Harbor Athletic Club for the guided exercise instruction

Parking: Please utilize the Meriter Therapy parking spaces
Cost:  $35

What to Wear: The class will include components of active exercise each night so please where loose, comfortable close and athletic shoes.

Register today!

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