Free Waunakee Wellness Presentation by Dr. Felz

Join Dr. Felz as he presents a free health seminar during Waunakee’s Workshops on Wellness.

“Younger Tomorrow: Exercise made fun”
Year-round fitness lets us enjoy life to the fullest. Beyond weights, machines and health clubs, there are many activities that will allow us to get fit and stay fit. Join Meriter Internist Dr. Ken Felz for tips on how you can get moving safely and keep moving to enhance your health and quality life.

Dr. Felz wants you to understand all aspects of your personal health. His goal is to build relationships founded on mutual respect and trust with all of his patients over time. Dr. Felz understands each patient is different and looks at each person as an individual

Price: Free
Date: June 13th, 2013
Time 7:00-8:00 pm
Location: Waunakee Village Center

What is WOW?
The Waunakee Village Center and the Waunakee-Westport Lions Club are pleased to offer Workshops on Wellness. The WOW program consists of monthly presentations to help improve healthy living. The presentations will be based on a wide variety of topics and each presenter will share information and answer your questions. The WOW program will be offered at 7pm on the 2nd Thursday of every month.

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Are you or a loved one living in chronic pain?

Join us for an informative session for people with chronic pain organized by those who have experienced chronic pain on Friday, June 28 from 1-5 pm. Chronic pain can affect mood, sleep, ones’ ability to work, perform daily activities and relationships with family and friends. Come and talk with people that have experienced and are living well with chronic pain.

The conference topics include: acupuncture, injection procedures, therapy options, role of ER in pain management and using healing energy. We will also showcase a poem and artwork created by persons in chronic pain.

Registration starts at 12:30 pm. Attendees are welcome to stay for part or all of the sessions.

Register for this FREE conference today

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Thank You to our Veterans

Today, Meriter will fly all flags at half-staff from sunrise to noon to honor all the brave men and women of our armed forces. 

Meriter would like to give a heartfelt Thank You for all the sacrifices they and their families have made for our country, including the dozens of Meriter employees who are veterans or members of the military.

Happy Memorial Day.

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My Meriter Story: Thank You for Our Great Care

My partner went to Meriter to have surgery with Dr. Rogerson. From the first person we met at check in, to the nurse or nursing assistant that helped us to the car, we felt like we were more than taken care of. I am impressed with the care that she got and that I got! Not only was everyone professional, respectful, and funny, but they all answered our questions. They included me in her care, and made sure that she was comfortable.

On a sheet that was sent home with us, it asked if there was anyone that we wanted to recognize. Yes, there is – everyone that we came in contact with us. From the woman that checked us in, to the woman I checked in with to wait for her to get out of surgery, to the surgeon, to the short stay nurse, the anesthesiologist, etc. I work in health care and I work at Dean Clinic. I have had many surgeries at St. Marys. Never have I been treated and cared for like she was, and never was she treated like I was while she waited for me to come out of surgery at St. Marys. Never has a doctor sat down with us after surgery and drew a picture of what he did, gave her a video of what he did, or answered all of her questions that she had. The staff that I have had at St. Marys did not include her in my care, or treat her with respect.

I will be telling everyone about Meriter, and I will be looking for a job with Meriter — a company that obviously strives on patient satisfaction and care. Thank you, Thank you!

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My Meriter Story: It Was Easy Selecting a Meriter Doctor

I wasn’t feeling well when we went to Jefferson. I waited as long as I could and I finally went to the doctor. I have nothing but good things to say about my whole experience. I looked online at your website to figure out where I could go. There’s a Meriter clinic in Stoughton. I called and made an appointment, then got in the same day. No problem. I signed a couple of things, but no paper work. I gave them my group number off my P+ card. Easy.

The doctor I saw was awesome. He and his partner purposely leave time slots open every day so people can get in. It turns out I had walking pneumonia and an ear infection. It was easy and I’m never switching.

I liked the clinic and the doctor so much that I am going to schedule a physical. The doctor I saw was Vern Partello. He is really nice and knowledgeable. Plus, he acts like a normal, everyday person. No time for idle chit chat, but he answered all the questions I had. Like I said before, the only paperwork I had was to sign a piece of paper to release my records from Dean and a statement saying that I gave them permission to treat me. So easy!

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National EMS Week is May 19-25, 2013

EMS Week honors the hundreds of thousands of EMS practitioners serving in communities across the United States. More than 36 million patients were cared for by EMS professionals nationwide in 2012. This week, we recognize their around-the-clock dedication to providing emergency care.  

Emergency care professionals strive to provide seamless care, from the field to the hospital emergency department. Their commitment to ensuring that patients receive the best emergency medical care possible is essential to advancing the health, safety and well-being of our communities.

Thank you to our pre-hospital partners for the excellent patient care and community service you provide each and every day. It is a pleasure and an honor to work alongside each one of you.

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Using Seatbelts During Pregnancy

Pregnant women may wonder if they should wear a seat belt while they’re pregnant. The answer is YES!  Experts agree that everyone, including pregnant women, should wear a seat belt when riding in a car. It is well documented that seatbelts reduce the risk of maternal and fetal catastrophes and therefore it is imperative that pregnant women use them.

According to the American College of Obstetricians-Gynecologists (ACOG), motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injury to pregnant women and can also cause fetal deaths.

Depending on how severe the car accident is pregnant women could be at risk for miscarriage, preterm labor and other serious complications. In fact, the more injuries a mother has during a car accident, the greater the risk to her unborn baby. If the pregnant woman is wearing her seat belt properly at the time of the accident, she and her baby will face fewer injuries.

Guidelines for wearing a seat belt

  • Always wear both the lap and shoulder belt.
  • Buckle the lap strap under your belly and over your hips.
  • Never place the lap belt across your belly.
  • Rest the shoulder belt between your breasts and off to the side of your belly.
  • Never place the shoulder belt under your arm.
  • If possible, adjust the shoulder belt height to fit you correctly.
  • Make sure the seat belt fits snugly.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these additional tips:

  • Always wear a three-point seat belt and put the lap belt under your belly.
  • Do not turn off air bags, but do move your seat back as far as is comfortable.
  • If you’re not driving, sit in the back seat.
  • If you are in a car crash, seek immediate medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured.
  • Call your health provider at once if you have contractions, pain in your belly, or blood or fluid leaking from your vagina.

Remember:  Wear your seatbelt.  It may save your life or protect you and your baby from serious injury if you get in a car accident.

Kathy Frigge, 
Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist 

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9 Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

Now that the weather has warmed up, everyone wants to be outside. But before you head out the door, remember to apply your sunscreen.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Each year more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the US and many could have been prevented. Also, most of the skin damage we associate with aging, such as wrinkles, sagging, leathering, and discoloration is actually caused by ultraviolet rays. To enjoy what the sun has to offer without risking your health, follow these simple rules:

  1. Seek the shade, especially during the peak sun hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
  2. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  3. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher every day.
  4. Apply sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
  5. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming, exercising or excessive sweating.
  6. Keep newborns out of the sun, and use sunscreens on babies over the age of six months.
  7. Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  8. Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  9. See your dermatologist every year for a professional skin exam.

To schedule an annual skin exam or if you are concerned about a spot or sore on your body call the Meriter Dermatology Clinic at 608.417.8550 or request an appointment online at

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Panko-Crusted Salmon

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa. Recommended by Krista Kohls, CD, RD, Meriter Clinical Dietician.

Makes: 4 servings

Total time: 35 minutes



2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 (4-6 ounce) salmon fillets, skin on

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Lemon wedges, for serving



Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (the salmon could also be grilled).

In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.  Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated.  Set aside.

Place the salmon filets, skin side down, on a board.  Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard.  Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each salmon fillet.  The mustard will help the panko adhere.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or large heavy, ovenproof pan.  When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.

Transfer the pan to the hot oven (or grill) for 5-7 minutes until the salmon is almost cooked and the panko is browned.  Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Serve the salmon hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

This is a great salmon recipe that can be cooked in the oven or on the grill!  It pairs nicely with spring asparagus!

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Meriter Receives Supply Chain Management Award

VHA Inc., the national health care network, has given Meriter Hospital a 2013 VHA Leadership Award for Supply Chain Management Excellence, honoring Meriter for improving the efficiency of its supply processes and reducing costs to help ensure delivery of quality patient care.

 “Supply costs represent the second highest expense for hospitals, next to labor; and hospitals are squeezed to find new ways to manage that cost while upholding clinical quality,” said Byron Jobe, VHA executive vice president, service and delivery.

 Meriter Hospital was one of 11 VHA member hospitals this year to receive a Leadership Award for Supply Chain Management Excellence.  Winners were announced this week during VHA’s national meeting, the 2013 Navigating to Excellence Forum.

 VHA is a national network of more than 1,350 not-for-profit hospital systems and 72,000 non-acute facilities that work together to achieve new levels of clinical performance and operational efficiency.

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Mammography at Meriter Monona


Meriter is pleased to announce that we now offer screening mammography services at Meriter Monona. Mammograms are key to the early detection of cancer.

As Mother’s Day approaches, Meriter suggests that you not only tell your Mom how much you appreciate her, in addition remind her how important it is that she takes care of her health. Let your Mom know that she is a vital member of your family.

Contact your primary care provider if you detect a change during your monthly self-checks. It is important to schedule your mammography when recommended by your primary care provider, call Meriter Monona Mammography Services at 608.417.6288.

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May is Arthritis Awareness Month

“Arthritis is a debilitating disease that profoundly impacts the lives of millions of Americans on a daily basis,” says John H. Klippel, M.D., president and CEO, Arthritis Foundation. “The effects of the 46 million Americans with arthritis on the economy are enormous; the direct and indirect medical costs of this disease are estimated to be $128 billion each year. With the aging of baby boomers, the prevalence of arthritis is expected to rise by 40 percent – that is up to 67 million people – by the year 2030.”

From the Arthritis Foundation, there is proof that osteoarthritis and exercise go together. Take steps to live the best that you can with osteoarthritis. Arm yourself against joint damage with the facts about exercise—and keep moving!

Research now clearly shows that prolonged rest and inactivity actually make OA worse by contributing to joint stiffness and muscle weakness, whereas regular physical activity and exercise ease OA symptoms and keep joints mobile.

In fact, the therapeutic value of exercise, particularly for knee OA, is so convincing that all recent professional guidelines for the treatment of OA cite exercise as a cornerstone of therapy. The message in these guidelines is clear and consistent: when done safely and tailored to a person’s capabilities and needs, physical activity that promotes cardiovascular fitness and strengthens muscles helps—not hurts—joints affected by OA.

Meriter offers both non-surgical and surgical treatments for osteoarthritis. Click here to learn more.

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Thank You Meriter Volunteers!

Meriter volunteers complement our dedicated staff by enhancing the quality of health care provided to our patients. We celebrate our wonderful volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 21 – April 27, 2013. Below are some impressive statistics about our great team of volunteers.

  • A total of 731 volunteers provided over 69,809 hours of service to Meriter in 2012.
  • One of our many knitters made over 558 newborn caps last year for our Birthing Center.
  • Last year, one of our volunteers spent 1,115 hours volunteering.
  • One of our friendly volunteers, at the hospital lobby Information Desk, has provided over 4,290 hours of service since 1998. 
  • Our youngest volunteer is 14 years old, and our eldest volunteer just turned 95 years old. 

If you are interested in volunteering at Meriter, our Volunteer Services staff can work with you to select a volunteer placement that meets your interests and availability.  Learn more about volunteering at Meriter!

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Join us for Training and Injury Prevention for Golfers

Join us at Vitense Golfland!

Saturday, May 18, 2013; registration begins at 8:00 am.
Cost is $25 per person.

Register now.

Has the cold spring given you the blues? Have you been dreaming about this year’s golf season?

If you want to improve your golf game and your health, join Zac Lefel, physical therapist, and the PGA Pros from Vitense Golfland for this interactive seminar, Training and Injury Prevention for Golfers. We will discuss the fundamentals of a basic golf swing, as well as tips and strategies on how to improve your strength and flexibility allowing for a smooth, efficient golf swing. You will also get a chance to put this into practice on the range under the guidance of a PGA professional from the George Vitense Golf Academy.

  • Learn the basics of golf swing and how to accommodate for injuries or restrictions that limit your game.
  • Experience hands-on strength and training flexibility  training with a Meriter physical therpist.
  • Receive small-group instruction from Joel Weitz, Vitense Golfland PGA Professional

Enjoy FREE snacks and great prizes!

8:00 – Registration
8:15 – Intro to Golf Swing Fundamentals with Joel Weitz, PGA Professional
8:30 – Golfing without Pain with Joel Weitz, PGA Professional, and Zac Lefel, Physical Therpist
9:15 – Break
9:30 – Lab Sessions (30-minute rotations)
            I.    Warm-up & Flexibility
            II.  Core Strength & Balance
            III. Small Group Golf Instruction with Joel Weitz, PGA Professional
11:00 – Wrap-up and Prizes

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Attend Stroke Awareness, Stroke Prevention, and You

May is Stroke Awareness Month, attend our presentation presented by Dr. Ross Levine, a clinical vascular (stroke) neurologist in the Madison area for over 30 years and the Director of Meriter’s Stroke Program.

He will discuss topics concerning the recognition and treatment of stroke that include: 

  • What is Stroke?
  • Who is Stroke Prone?
  • What Are Some of the Symptoms of Stroke?
  • What Can We Do to Prevent Strokes?

The presentation is at Meriter Monona, 6408 Copps Avenue, Monona on Thursday, May 16 at 6:00pm. It is a FREE session but registration is required.

Click here to register now.

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Perinatal Palliative Care

When parents choose to continue a pregnancy after their baby is diagnosed with a life-limiting condition

A family has learned that their baby’s life may be much shorter than planned.  Meriter Hospital offers a service called Perinatal Palliative Care that can help make the most of the time with the baby.

A special team can provide care during the pregnancy, at the birth and after.  These professionals will discuss options and be available for questions or concerns whenever it is needed. 

The team may include:

  • Pregnancy provider (doctor or midwife)
  • Perinatologist (High risk pregnancy doctor)
  • Neonatologist (High risk newborn doctor)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (Nurse specially trained in palliative care)
  • Genetic Counselor (Specialist in Perinatal genetics)
  • Nurses who care for patients in the hospital or clinic
  • Chaplain
  • Social Worker
  • Others you may choose

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative (PAL-ee-ya-tiv) care is comfort care.  Before it was discovered that the baby’s life may be short, there were plans for before, during, and after the baby’s birth.  We can help make the time with the baby meaningful, during the pregnancy and after, in a way that is best for the family.

During the pregnancy

Families will have the opportunity to meet with many members of the Perinatal Palliative Care Team.  They will be able to provide ongoing support and guidance throughout the pregnancy. 

Care Planning:

With the family and providers, we will help write a birth plan to guide staff and providers during the pregnancy, labor and delivery and for the baby after birth. 

Baby’s care 

The care team will help create a plan that focuses on the baby’s comfort and well-being.  The parents will have the opportunity to meet with a neonatologist before birth to make plans for the baby.  We will help families do what is important for them. 

Going Home

If parents are able to take the baby home, the care team will help figure out how to do that.  The team will make sure you have the resources and information needed to help you. 

Contact information:

Center for Perinatal Care – 608-417-6667

Sara Babcock, RNC, MS
Clinical Nurse Specialist High Risk Obstetrics

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Healthy Recipe: French Lentils

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa. Recommended by Krista Kohls, CD, RD, Meriter Clinical Dietician.

Makes: 4-6 servings
Total prep time: 55 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons, plus ¼ cup good olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and ½ inch-diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter or tub margarine
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the leek and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the lentils and 4 cups of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender.  Place them in a medium bowl with the leek and carrots, and add the butter/margarine.
Meanwhile, whisk together the ¼ cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes. 

This great recipe can be served warm or even cold as a side dish or on a salad.  It is a great accompaniment to salmon.

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Meriter’s Healthier Food Challenge

Earth Day is April 22; each year at this time, we often consider ways that we can live more sustainably. At Meriter, our commitment to Live Forward is one that we promise to our patients, our community and our employees.

In 2012, Meriter enrolled in Healthier Hospital’s Initiative Healthier Food Challenge, specifically the Healthy Beverage Challenge. Our goal is to increase the percentage of healthy beverage purchases by 20 percent annually, as well as promote tap water over bottled water where possible. The Challenge’s objective to promote healthfulness by increasing access to healthier, more sustainable food choices is taking off.

This month, Meriter introduced “Go Slow Whoa” a food and beverage labeling system to help patients, visitors and employees guide their nutrition choices in the hospital cafeteria. And you can use it at home!

Green = Go: Eat At Every Meal
Low saturated fat    Less than 500 calories
Low sodium        Nutrient dense

Foods in this category are healthy options and should be
consumed at all meals! Green or “Go” foods include fruit,
vegetables, whole grains, beans, baked fish and chicken,
low-fat and fat-free dairy, nuts and seeds, and baked
potatoes or sweet potatoes. Beverages in this category
include water, seltzer water, low and non-fat milk, caffeine-free teas and low-sodium V8 juice. These beverages should take-up the majority (or all) of your fluid for the day.

Yellow = Slow: Eat in Moderation
Low saturated fat    Less than 500 calories
Moderate sodium    Some nutritional benefit

Foods in the Yellow or “Slow” category should be consumed in moderation or a couple times per week at the most. Examples include mashed potatoes, lean red meat, low fat soups, higher fat poultry entrees and higher fat dairy. Beverages in this category include diet beverages, low­ calorie/low-sugar drinks and 100% juices.

Red = Whoa: Eat Least Often
High saturated fat     More than 500 calories
Likely high sodium     No nutritional benefit

Foods in the Red or “Whoa” category should be consumed about once every couple weeks at the most (if at all). Because there is very little nutritional benefit to these foods and beverages, our bodies can live without them. Foods in this category include high fat red meat, fried foods, high fat cheese and dairy, high fat and high sodium soups, white bread, pastries, desserts, ice cream and chips. Beverages in the Red category include regular soda, energy or sports drinks and juices without 100% juice.

View the complete food chart.

In addition to “Go Slow Whoa” in the cafeteria, our Greenbush Garden Bistro features locally sourced organic foods.

Live healthy. Live confidently. Live responsibly. Live forward.

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Dr. Jeremy Bufford: Allergy-Proof Your Home

Originally aired by NBC 15 on April 8, 2013, at 5:00 p.m.

Meriter Allergist and Immunologist, Jeremy Bufford, MD, dropped by NBC 15 News to talk with Leigh Mills about ways to allergy-proof your home and help your family lessen their allergy symptoms.

Watch to learn Dr. Bufford’s 5 important tips for how to eliminate or reduce exposure to allergens.

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Dr. Dana Johnson: How to keep a child in bed at bedtime

Originally published March 14, 2013, in the Wisconsin State JournalDr. Dana Johnson is a pediatrician at the Meriter McKee clinic.

Dear Dr. Johnson: How do I keep my 2 year old in her “big-girl bed” at bedtime?

Dear Reader: Developing good sleep habits can be difficult with a 2 year old. Just like many other aspects of their life, they are testing limits and developing preferences as to what they want. It is our job as parents to set those limits and to follow through.

Before I go into my thoughts on how to get your 2 year old to stay in a toddler bed, I want to make sure parents are aware there is no rush to transition a child out of a crib. When a toddler is in a crib, you don’t have to worry about them roaming the house in the middle of the night.

Reasons they need to be transitioned to a toddler bed would be that they have learned to climb out of the crib and could injury themselves doing so, they are potty-trained and waking up at night to use the bathroom, or a new sibling has arrived and needs the crib. In the last scenario, I have even encouraged families to use a bassinet for the infant or to borrow a crib for a few months.

I have talked in the past about how bedtime routines are important. Develop a quiet routine that helps their body calm down and makes it easier to sleep. Running around playing or watching TV right before bed can make it difficult for them to sleep.

It can be helpful to have a special item that goes to bed with them each night. This might be a teddy bear, a special blanket or a toy dinosaur. Whatever your child finds comfort in is OK, as long as it is safe and is not a choking hazard.

Be consistent in where and how your child falls asleep. If you do not want them sleeping in your bed every night, do not allow them to fall asleep there. It is also best for them to fall asleep without you in the room. Otherwise, when they wake up during the night, they will want the same help-me-to-sleep scenario they had for bedtime.

If your child gets up from bed once, gently direct her back to bed. Children can develop all sorts of reasons to be up. Try to take care of any that might be needed: going to the bathroom, sip of water, bedtime hug, etc., before “good night” is said.

Afterwards, try to avoid these actions if at all possible and quickly redirect the child back to bed. Keep verbal interaction to a minimum; simply say, “It’s time for bed” or nothing at all and redirect them back to bed.

It may take several times of doing this each night for several nights before they realize there is no reason to get up because you will just direct them back to bed.

If they yell out for you, take longer and longer each time to respond. Avoid going back into the room if you can. If you have to go in, keep it brief and don’t turn on the light.

Two year olds can be very persistent, so just make sure you are even more persistent. With time, she will learn to stay in her room at bedtime.

This column provides general health information and is not specific advice intended for any particular individual(s). It is not a professional medical opinion or a diagnosis. Always consult your personal health care provider about your concerns. No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Johnson to people submitting questions. 

Read more:

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2013 March for Babies

Join Meriter and Physicians Plus at the 2013 March for Babies!

Saturday, May 11
410 South Blair Street (At Machinery Row)
Registration: 8:30am; Start: 9:30am
Distance: 3 miles

COST: FREE, but you are encouraged to raise funds to support the March of Dimes. Every dollar donated helps the March of Dimes’ programs and research.

WHY: For 75 years, the March of Dimes has been making progress in creating healthier lives for all children, from funding research to develop the first polio vaccine, to promoting the use folic acid to prevent birth defects, to working to understand more about causes of premature births. Money raised at this event supports important research and programs that help babies begin healthy lives.

TO REGISTER: Sign up online at Select “Join a Team;” enter “Meriter – Physicians Plus.” Register by Sunday, April 21 to get a free Meriter/Physicians Plus team visor! 

If unable to participate, please consider donating to any of the registered participants.  You can do this online at the Meriter-Physicians Plus Team page:

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Health and Lifestyle Prebiotics in Baby Formula and Eczema: Mixed Picture

Originally published by Reuters on March 28, 2013.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – There’s some evidence to suggest that putting prebiotics in baby formula protects children against the skin condition eczema, according to a fresh look at past research.

The theory is that babies who can’t breastfeed can drink formula fortified with prebiotics, which are food particles that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria or flora, and build immunity against some allergens.

“When you change the gut flora, your immunity changes as well,” said Dr. John Sinn, the review’s senior author from The University of Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital in Australia.

The analysis, published on Thursday by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research, is an update to a previous review from 2007 that did not find enough evidence to say whether putting prebiotics in baby formula had any benefits.

Previous research had found that about 8 percent of children will develop a food allergy, 20 percent will develop eczema and up to about 34 percent will develop wheezing or asthma.

For the new analysis, the researchers were able to include four studies that randomly assigned a total of 1,428 babies to either regular formula or formula fortified with prebiotics.

The studies reported whether or not the children developed allergic reactions, such as asthma, eczema or hives between four months and two years of age.

Overall, the prebiotic formula did not prevent babies from developing asthma or hives compared to babies fed regular formula, but there was evidence to suggest it may protect against eczema.

Specifically, about 8 percent of 634 babies fed formula with prebiotics developed eczema, compared to about 12 percent of 586 babies fed regular formula.

According to the authors, 25 babies would need to be fed formula with prebiotics to prevent one from developing eczema.

However, the researchers warn that the evidence behind this finding is weak, because it’s only based on four studies that were different from each other. Also, they cannot say whether any benefit from prebiotics would last beyond infancy.

Dr. Frank Greer, a professor of pediatrics at Meriter Hospital’s Wisconsin Perinatal Center in Madison, said he was not “very impressed” with the evidence.

Greer, who co-authored the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) clinical report on probiotics and prebiotics, said the only strategy they found to possibly prevent eczema was four months of exclusive breastfeeding.

“My basic recommendation for parents is if your child is at risk for allergies the best thing you can do is exclusively breastfeed for four months. And if you have to supplement, supplement with hydrolyzed formula,” said Greer, who was not involved with the new analysis.

He said hydrolyzed formulas don’t carry the same risk of allergic reactions as formulas that use cow’s milk. And while he said prebiotics don’t hurt, he can’t say that they offer any real protection.

The AAP currently recommends women breastfeed their newborns exclusively for about the first six months of life, after which some foods can be added along with continued breastfeeding.

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Welcome to Spring Allergy Season

Runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, cough? Itchy, red, watery eyes?

Welcome to April, the official start of the spring allergy season. Just as we are getting over our winter colds, a new menace appears. With warmer weather come seasonal allergies that can run us down. The good news is that, with an allergy evaluation, you can identify your triggers, learn how to avoid them, and prevent and control symptoms with the proper medications. 

If you have seasonal allergies, our allergists encourage you to avoid outdoor exposure in the early morning hours, keep your windows closed, run your air conditioner and avoid hanging clothes on the line to dry outside. And as always, contact your allergist with questions or concerns.

Meriter now offers allergy services at three locations around Madison, including Monona, DeForest and Middleton. Visit us or request an appointment online at

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Meriter McKee Welcomes Dr. Reed

Dr. Karen Reed

Dr. Karen Reed

Family Medicine physician Karen Reed, MD, recently joined the Meriter McKee clinic team.

A major focus of Dr. Reed’s practice is based on prevention, favoring lifestyle changes rather than medicinal fixes whenever possible. Dr. Reed has a great deal of experience working with women’s health issues, including evaluating abnormal pap smears, performing colposcopies and taking care of nursing mothers.

At home, Dr. Reed stays busy with her two daughters and son. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, volunteering in her children’s classrooms and providing health education to the community. To stay active, Dr. Reed enjoys running and practicing yoga.

Dr. Reed is currently accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call the clinic at 608.417.8800 or visit her web page.

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My Meriter Story: My Hat is Off to Meriter!


My mother, who is 70 years old, fell and broke her wrist. She was taken to another hospital for her injury. She was not treated very well at this particular hospital and was told that she would have to wait a week to have the surgery. She was in so much pain and was disgruntled, so she called me to explain her frustration. When I heard this news, I called Meriter immediately that evening. Everyone at Meriter was so helpful and scheduled an appointment early the next morning for my mother. We met with Dr. Solfelt. He was so professional and provided us with his recommendations and a detailed step-by-step procedure of the operation. He then looked at his schedule and said he had a meeting in Chicago the next day, so he wanted to do the surgery right away in the evening before he went to Chicago. He also explained that he always wants to review the surgery the next day and it’s his practice to follow-up with his patients. His staff was so kind to my mom and our family. I want to thank the entire Meriter team for treating our entire family with a sincere caring attitude and making us feel so welcome. Dr. Solfelt also should be recognized for his tremendous efforts of going above and beyond to help my mom through a difficult situation.

My hat is off to Meriter!!!!

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