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Vacation Bound? Don’t Forget a Medical Kit!

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Safety, Summer | Posted on 19-06-2012

Before you hit the road or fly the friendly skies this summer, remember that packing for a trip involves more than the right clothing and shoes. A comprehensive medical kit will help ensure your vacation doesn’t include a sight-seeing excursion to the nearest drugstore.

Dennis Danner, a registered nurse for 35 years who works at Memorial’s ExpressCare at North Dirksen, is a frequent traveler, including at least two overseas trips a year as part of his role as president and co-founded of ER Abroad, a locally based charity that helps needy orphanages and medical clinics in Guatemala and Kenya. He suggests the following supplies when assembling a traveling medical kit.

  • Travel Medical Kit Supplies:
  • Baby aspirin — If you are flying or taking a long car trip during which you’ll be seated for a long period of time, it’s a good idea to take a baby aspirin before each trip. This natural blood thinner could help prevent a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs and typically forms in the lower extremities). Before taking an aspirin, however, check with your physician to make sure there are no contraindications based on your personal medical history.
  • First Aid creams and bandages — This should include Band-Aids, 4×4-inch gauze pads, nonstick Telfa pads, a couple rolls of two- and four-inch gauze bandage, an Ace bandage, Neosporin and Bacitracin (triple-antibiotic cream).
  • Ice packs
  • Sunscreen
  • A small jar or container of baking soda or meat tenderizer to mix with water to neutralize bee stings
  • Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to disinfect scrapes or cuts
  • Soap towelettes
  • Tweezers
  • Pepto Bismal tablets
  • Non-latex unsterile gloves
  • Over-the-counter pain killers (for sunburns, use aspirin or Motrin to help reduce inflammation)
  • A small bottle of vinegar if you are traveling to a coastal area, to help reduce jellyfish stings

Danner also recommends vacationers check their health insurance policy to see what is covered where they are traveling. If coverage is poor, considering purchasing trip nsurance to cover unanticipated medical expenses, he said.

6 Tips for Safe Fun in the Sun

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Parents, Pediatrics, Physician Services, Safety, Summer | Posted on 12-06-2012

As a fair-skinned mom to three fair-skinned children, all of whom love to be outdoors, pediatrician and internal medicine physician Cara Vasconcelles, MD, is particularly attuned to proper sun protection.

“I usually start applying sunscreen whenever the kids can be outside – without a coat on – for longer than 10 to 15 minutes,” said Vasconcelles, who practices with Koke Mill Medical Associates, part of Memorial Physician Services. “If you can be outside for that long without a coat and are comfortable, that means it’s warm enough to get a sunburn.”

Research shows that with each significant sunburn a child experiences while younger than 18, their cancer risk increases greatly in adulthood.

“It’s important not to be afraid of the sun, but to use common sense and practical measures to keep kids and adults from getting a sunburn,” Vasconcelles said. She offers these tips for ensuring you and your children are protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Safely into Summer

Posted by | Posted in Events, Expert Tips, Physician Services, Safety, Summer | Posted on 11-05-2012

It’s the time of year almost everyone enjoys. Temperatures warm up, flowers bloom and you can once again spend time outdoors. But before you plan your next family adventure, brush up on these warm weather safety tips to ensure your family gets the most out of spring and summer fun.



As temperatures rise, bugs come out. Your best protection is bug spray that’s at least 10- to 30-percent DEET. The higher the percentage, the longer the repellant lasts. This can be mixed with sunscreen and is safe on children as young as 2 months old.

Poison Ivy/Poison Oak

Rashes from poison ivy and oak are caused by a substance in the sap of the plants. Learn to recognize the plants so you can avoid them. If you come into contact, immediately wash with soap and water. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop the Sniffles — A Pediatrician’s Advice to Curb Children’s Springtime Allergies

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Pediatrics, Physician Services, Summer | Posted on 21-03-2012

Child rubbing itchy eyesChildren can’t wait to play outside now that warmer weather has arrived. But something’s out there waiting for many of them, too: Seasonal allergies are back.

Allergies most often begin to appear in children between 2 and 5 years old, said Ashish John, MD, a pediatrician with Koke Mill Medical Associates in Springfield, part of Memorial Physician Services.

Dr. John said children may have allergies if they have a constant cough, a constant runny nose or if they regularly sound congested. Other common signs that parents don’t often recognize – a child who is constantly clearing his or her throat or rubbing his or her eyes.

If you suspect allergies, it’s important to call your family doctor or pediatrician to schedule an appointment and discuss the symptoms. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Keep Your Labor Day Cookout Safe

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, ExpressCare, Summer | Posted on 01-09-2011

It’s the unofficial end of summer – the Labor Day cookout. The weather is pleasantly warm, fruits and veggies are still in season, and family and friends are off for the holiday. But before you warm up the grill, marinate the meat or pack sandwiches, brush up on outdoor eating tips from Memorial Physician Services Gustavo Mosquera MD, to ensure your family can enjoy the holiday and stay safe from illness or injury.

“Start with proper handling techniques. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold,” Dr. Mosquera said. “Wash all fruits and vegetables and keep cooked food separate from raw food. And always be sure your hands are clean.”

When grilling, follow these safety checks to reduce the risk of fire: Read the rest of this entry »

A Cool Drink of Water: Hydration Advice from a Memorial Dietitian

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Bariatrics, Expert Tips, Nutrition, Summer | Posted on 04-08-2011

When temperatures soar, we’re often reminded to drink more fluids. So how much is enough? And what happens when you get too much?

Eight cups of water daily. Most of us have heard that’s how much water we should drink. But that’s just an average that’s easy to remember. To calculate your specific needs, divide your weight in pounds by 17. That’s the number of cups of water right for your body on an average day.

Hydration is important because 60 percent or more of our bodies are made of water. Every system in the body depends on water to function. It is necessary for metabolizing food, passing waste and regulating blood pressure, according to Jennifer DiPasquale, RD, CDE, lead dietitian at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

Shedding Light on the FDA’s New Sunscreen Guidelines

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, News, Summer | Posted on 21-07-2011

With summer in full swing and the heat index in the triple digits, we should remember the importance of using sunscreen to protect against skin cancer.

“Protection against the harmful effects of the sun is something that we all should take seriously given the fact that skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the US,” says Scott McLain, MD with Memorial Physician Services. “More than 2 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year.”

Significant changes in the marketing and labeling of sunscreen lotions were passed by the Food and Drug Administration June 2012. These revisions, titled the “Final Rule,” have been made to help reduce confusion about the actual effectiveness of over-the-counter sun lotions. Read the rest of this entry »

Hot Temps – Cool Tips: Summer Safety Advice from Memorial Physicians

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Summer | Posted on 18-07-2011

We’re constantly told to get outside and enjoy the summer weather, but once we try to do it we’re faced with intense sunlight, annoying bugs, and energized kids who have a tendency to substitute fun for safety. The good news: taking the proper precautions can ensure a fun, memorable day in the sun for both you and your family.

To ensure your family gets the most out of summer fun, here are some warm weather safety tips from two of our physicians with Memorial Physician Services, Joshua Ellison, MD, and Gustavo Mosquera, MD. Read the rest of this entry »