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By SMH Webmaster on 12/27/2016 10:44 AM
When people ask me about my job and I tell them I’m a doctor who specializes in pediatrics and internal medicine, I often get a blank stare. Most people understand what a pediatrician is, of course, but combining that with internal medicine is a concept that most haven’t come across. 

As a pediatrician, my top priority is the wellness of the child and being the child’s advocate. I’ve spent a lot of time in training dedicated specifically to sick kids, with previous experience working in Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. I’ve also spent time in outpatient clinics with healthy kids. I have a breadth and depth of training on treating the full scope of children’s conditions and diseases.
By SMH Webmaster on 10/18/2016 4:30 PM
With the change in weather, there are fewer mosquitos flying around, but here in Kansas City, many people are still finding big, itchy bug bites. The culprit? The oak leaf itch mite. My colleague Anthony Healy, MD, was recently quoted in The Wall Street Journal saying that about one-fifth of his patients have come in with bites, and my husband and I have seen similar numbers in our patients. 
By SMH Webmaster on 12/29/2015 8:28 AM
Do you have a big meal or celebration coming up where you know you'll be splurging on unhealthy foods? Sometimes people will skip a meal, like breakfast, in order to save the calories. However, depriving yourself of food can have unintended consequences on your body, which can impact your health now and in the long run.

Here’s what happens after you skip a meal:

Drop in blood sugar
Your body gets its energy from sugar, and if it doesn’t have the right amount, you tend to feel tired and ill. That plummeting blood sugar not only affects your energy, but your concentration and mood as well. 
By SMH Webmaster on 12/29/2015 8:24 AM
Over the next several weeks, family and friends will be gathering together, whether they’re driving across town or flying across the country. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, getting sick can put a damper on any plans. However, it can be hard to avoid coming down with a bug when you’re exhausted from traveling or visiting with a big group of people. This year, keep these tips in mind to stay healthy for all your holiday celebrations.

Get your flu vaccination
If you haven’t received your flu shot, it’s not too late. The vaccine takes about two weeks to take effect, but it can protect you throughout the flu season, which typically peaks in February and can extend into May. It’s your best protection against getting the flu, which can lead to hospitalization or even death, particularly in the elderly. Even if you’re not in a high-risk group, you should get the vaccine to help protect those who are susceptible to complications, including children younger than 5 and people 65 years or older. 
By SMH Webmaster on 12/15/2015 11:20 AM
After a tragic event in the news, like a mass shooting or terrorist attack, we can understandably feel anxious about the world around us. For parents, that worry can also extend to our children. When we feel stressed, our kids often pick up on that and can feel anxious as well. 

It can be difficult to talk to kids after a high-profile tragedy, especially when we’re dealing with our own feelings. Here are a few tips to help kids (and ourselves) to handle the anxiety.
By SMH Webmaster on 12/1/2015 11:35 AM
Many of us had chickenpox as kids and remember trying not to scratch those itchy bumps. Unfortunately, that same virus can cause a painful disease as you get older – shingles.  

Ninety-nine percent of adults ages 40 and older have had chickenpox. The virus that causes it, varicella-zoster, is actually still in your body. Years later, the varicella-zoster virus that’s been lying dormant can become active again in the form of shingles. The virus travels up the nerve roots to the skin and causes a painful rash on one side of the body, usually the torso or face. In severe cases, it can lead to a painful nerve condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), which can last for months or even years.
By SMH Webmaster on 11/17/2015 9:23 AM
As Thanksgiving approaches, we look forward to spending time with family and eating our favorite foods. But most of us don’t look forward to the extra pounds that come with it. If you’re looking to maintain your weight over the holidays, you don’t have to forgo your usual holiday dishes. Having a plan for your Thanksgiving meal can help you keep off any weight gain this season.

Load up on healthy foods
This might be easier than you think. Thanksgiving dinner typically includes many foods high in protein and nutrients. The key is to fill up on as much as you can on the low-fat versions. Turkey is high in protein and low in fat, especially if you remove the skin first. Vegetables like sweet potatoes are a great choice, as long as they’re not baked with fattening ingredients like marshmallows and butter. Aim to fill about 2/3 of your plate with veggies and fruits. If you eat salad, swap the high-fat dressing with a low-fat vinaigrette.  
By SMH Webmaster on 11/4/2015 4:52 PM
As Kansas City gathered to watch the Royals win the World Series, it was more than just the final score that made the game great. It was the camaraderie between fans. The excitement in the extra innings.

And then, of course, there’s the food.

For many fans, stadium food is part of the baseball experience, with hot dogs being one of the most popular menu choices. So some may have balked at the recent announcement of the World Health Organization (WHO) confirming that regularly eating processed meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer. 
By SMH Webmaster on 10/27/2015 1:22 PM
At this time of the year, sick days are common for both kids and adults. But one infection in particular has seen a dramatic increase this year. 

Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease caused by the bacteria Shigella. According to the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, there are normally only 10 cases of shigellosis per year in the area. However, this year, that number has spiked to more than 150. Most of the cases in Kansas City have been children in daycare and elementary schools.
By SMH Webmaster on 10/19/2015 3:58 PM
“It’s not whether you win or lose. It’s how you play the game.” We’ve all heard the saying, and probably repeated it to our own kids. But when kids receive participation trophies no matter how they play, they’re missing out on an important life lesson – how to lose.

As a father of two teenagers, I’ve seen for myself the number of participation trophies and awards that are given to kids whether they’ve earned them or not. Often, kids receive them at the end of the season just for showing up, not as a measure of effort. I have noticed most of these trophies in the back of a closet or in a box. Look to see which awards they display.  
By SMH Webmaster on 9/15/2015 11:03 AM
Fall is arguably one of the best times of the year to be in Kansas City. With the leaves changing (minus the obligatory raking that requires), cooler air, football games and everything pumpkin, it’s hard not to love our city. But it’s also the time of the year that the dreaded flu begins to reemerge, which means it’s time to get your flu shot. 

Every year, I hear the phrase, “The last time I got the flu shot, I got sick.” Not only is it not true, but not getting the flu shot also leaves you and the ones you love vulnerable. Let me explain why you won’t get sick from the shot – and if you do get sick, why that might be – the types of vaccines available this year, and when you should get yours.

By SMH Webmaster on 9/8/2015 3:34 PM
The fall season is a busy and fun time for kids of all ages as they participate in the wide variety of sporting activities available in our community. A common concern for many parents is safety, and preventing injuries such as broken bones and concussions. This is a valid concern – young athletes are at a greater risk for injuries because they are still growing. However, there are many preventive tips that can reduce the risk of youth injuries.

Protective Gear
Children should always wear the appropriate gear for the sport in which they are participating. Ensure that helmets, body padding and shin guards are the correct fit and size. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the proper sizing for your athlete.
By SMH Webmaster on 8/11/2015 2:05 PM
The return to school brings with it many welcome things – new activities, new studies and new friends. Unfortunately, fungus can often be lurking along with the fun. As students prepare for participation in sporting events, musicals and other group activities, they should also prepare for guarding against a few of the most common fungal infections.

Athlete’s Foot 
Athlete’s Foot is a widespread and easily contracted fungus. It is caused by the same fungus that we know as Ringworm. Often beginning between the toes, it can make skin red, cracked and itchy. Occasionally, the fungi can cause blistering on the feet. Athletes are often exposed to it in the locker room, where bare, sweaty feet and bacteria on the floor make for a perfect match. Students can ward against this by removing sweaty clothes and socks immediately after physical activity, and wearing flip flops or another water-proof shoe in the locker room instead of going barefoot. 
By SMH Webmaster on 8/7/2015 9:56 AM

August is a busy time for many, and juggling all of the back-to-school to-do’s can become overwhelming for many families. Between the school supplies, new tennis shoes and gear purchases, to coordinating car pools and signing up for fall activities, keeping your kids’ health top-of-mind can slip through the cracks. It’s important to give your students a healthy start to the new school year so they will be prepared both physically and mentally. Consider these tips as you prepare for the busy school year ahead. 

By SMH Webmaster on 7/21/2015 7:40 AM
Taking a vacation is always the highlight out of my year. It’s the short week of having no worries – only fun. However, the actual traveling part can be a different story. With travel comes the stress and fatigue of flying or driving, and sometimes even illness. Here are a few tips on how to stay healthy getting from point A to point B on your summer vacation.

Before you begin your escape, be sure to pack well. Plan to take not only your clothes, but items such as hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid equipment and medications as well. Not only is it cheaper to bring your own instead of buying at roadside convenience stores, but you won’t waste valuable vacation time if you have the items at your fingertips. 
By SMH Webmaster on 7/14/2015 10:59 AM

Summer is officially here, and we can definitely feel it with recent high temperatures and humidity. A lot is said about protecting our skin from the hot summer sun, but our eyes are often overlooked (no pun intended) in our quest for sun safety. Wearing sunglasses is a great start, but not just any sunglasses will do. There are various aspects to look for when purchasing a pair of sunglasses, not just color and style.

First of all, ultraviolet (UV) protection is important and probably the most well-known lens characteristic. UV light is damaging to the eyes and can lead to cataracts, a clouding of the eye. There is also some evidence that UV light can lead to macular degeneration as well. Pterygia and pinguecula are due to UV exposure. These are growths that occur on the white part of the eye, and symptoms range from cosmetic to irritating to vision interference.

By SMH Webmaster on 6/30/2015 10:08 AM
No one wants to get food poisoning, yet, statistically, one in six Americans will get sick from eating contaminated food this year. Summer brings some activities that can put you at a higher risk of eating food that is unsafe. With some prevention and planning, hopefully illness can be avoided.

First of all, always wash your hands with soap before and after preparing food. Make sure any utensils and surfaces you use are cleaned with hot, soapy water. Wooden cutting boards can be harder to clean, so opt for other types if possible. Also, the safest way to defrost food is in the refrigerator or the microwave, not out on the counter at room temperature. Use defrosted foods promptly, and do not re-freeze them.
By SMH Webmaster on 6/23/2015 12:56 PM
Having low testosterone levels can be an issue for many men – especially as you age. In the Baltimore 
Longitudinal Study on aging, 20 percent of men over 60 had low testosterone levels. If your levels are low, here are a few things you need to know about testosterone replacement therapy.

Testosterone is the hormone produced in the testes. It is responsible for the development of the sex organs, facial hair, muscle mass and change in voice during puberty in men. Symptoms of hypogonadism, or low testosterone, are sometimes obvious, but not always. A simple blood test can give you the answer.
By SMH Webmaster on 6/17/2015 7:59 AM
1. Taste Real Flavors
The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers' market are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought directly to you. The food is as real as it gets—fresh from the farm.

2. Enjoy the Season
The food you buy at the farmers market is seasonal and fresh. Shopping and cooking from the farmers market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in our region. 

3. Support Family Farmers
Family farmers need your support, now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
By SMH Webmaster on 6/15/2015 4:06 PM
Tuberculosis used to be rare in developed countries like the United States. In the mid-80s, we started hearing about it more frequently, partly due to the rise in HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV lowers the immune system’s ability to fight off infection, so illnesses like tuberculosis have more of a chance of infecting someone. With preventive measures, it came under fairly good control within the U.S. However, with a rise in news reports about tuberculosis, it may be good to have a quick primer on what this disease is, how it is classified and how it is treated.
By SMH Webmaster on 6/9/2015 2:36 PM
After enjoying a warm afternoon at the pool, you may find yourself completely worn out this summer. Surprisingly, the answer may be a tall drink of water to rev your energy instead of an early bedtime or another cup of iced coffee that is going to keep you up too late.

Dehydration can present in many ways, from fatigue, lightheadedness or even hunger. The general rule of eight glasses of water a day is not always accurate for everyone, which can make it confusing to try to figure out if you are tired from real fatigue or because you have not had enough to drink. A few simple clues can help you determine if you are dehydrated.
By SMH Webmaster on 6/2/2015 11:33 AM
As I was seeing a patient in clinic last month, she all of a sudden noticed a tick crawling on her. She removed it before it bit her and disposed of it within seconds. What a great reminder that tick season is here in the Midwest!

Ticks live in wooded areas and fields. Knowing this, it is important to practice preventive techniques when planning to be in potentially tick-infested areas. There are multiple bug repellants available over-the-counter marketed against ticks. There is even a clothing line that is pre-treated with permethrin, a tick repellant. However, just taking some general clothing precautions will help. Tucking in your shirt and wearing long pants tucked into your socks will help keep ticks from getting under your clothes without being seen. Wear light clothing as well. This makes dark ticks more visible on quick glance. If you want to take it one step further, especially in heavily infested tick areas, wrap tape around your waist and ankles as another layer of protection from sneaky ticks. Yes, you may be made fun of endlessly by friends and family, but you might be the only one without a tick on you.
By SMH Webmaster on 5/27/2015 7:50 AM
I love summer. I may not appreciate the winter months as much as others do, but I clearly love the sun and the heat of our Kansas City summers. If you’re not careful though, the sun can be hard on you. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage your skin quickly, depending on the time of year. There are many ways to enjoy the sun this summer without getting burned.
Get in the shade
Getting under an umbrella, a tree, or anything that provides shade, can significantly reduce your risk of burning, but the sun’s rays can still reach you. Even with shade, your best bet is to use sunscreen. I’ll never forget being on a boat under a canopy and feeling protected, but being burned by the reflection off of the lake.
By SMH Webmaster on 5/19/2015 2:45 PM
Memorial Day weekend is a great time to get outdoors. When the weather cooperates, swimming makes a great recreational as well as fitness activity. It is always important to remember a few safety tips around water.

First of all, one of the best ways to start a swimming life is with lessons. There are swimming lessons offered all over the area, for all ages. It is a great way to make friends and receive instruction on how to keep safe but also how to have more fun, like diving to the bottom of the pool to retrieve pool rings.

By SMH Webmaster on 4/28/2015 10:03 AM
It’s that time of year. Flowers are blooming, lawns are growing and pollen is flying through the air. It is nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air after the cold of winter months have passed, but it is not as fun when this outing leaves you sneezing and using tissues until your nose is raw. Allergy season has hit the area, and there are some strategies to help protect yourself.

Multiple medications are available, over-the-counter and by prescription, but the first line of treatment is prevention. Pollen forecasts can be found on local news channels or in the newspaper. Plus, there are various apps out there for monitoring local pollen counts on a daily basis. I use The Weather Channel app. In general, pollen counts are highest in the morning, so plan outdoor activities in the afternoon or after a rain shower, since pollen counts are lowest after rain. Stay indoors as much as possible on windy days. Ask someone who does not suffer from allergies to do yard work that stirs up pollen, like gardening or mowing. If you must be the one to do outside chores, wear a dust mask. While drying wet laundry on the outside line is great for energy conservation, it can also wreak havoc on allergy symptoms, as pollen wedges its way between the fibers of everything you wear.
By SMH Webmaster on 4/21/2015 11:52 AM
Every part of our lives has a milestone, even when we are older. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.  

Menopause is defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles. Perimenopause, meaning “around menopause,” is the transition your body goes through leading up to menopause.

Although a natural biological process, it can trigger a sense of loss or sadness for some women. Even though it does signal the end of fertility, it does not mean that you are unable to stay healthy and vibrant.
By SMH Webmaster on 4/8/2015 3:57 PM
From moving across the country to insurance changes, there are times in life when a change in primary care doctors is necessary. This can be a daunting task, but here are some tips to help ease the chaos of blindly picking someone from the online directories. 

There are a few different types of primary care doctors: pediatricians, family medicine doctors and internists. Pediatricians see children, from newborns to adolescents. Family medicine doctors see both children and adults. Family medicine doctors are also trained to deliver babies, and some of them still practice this. Internists see adults only. Finding the right option for you is a personal choice, but finding someone you trust is even more important.

Family and friends can be great resources. Talk to them about who they see and why they like them. They may also be able to clue you in on someone to avoid as well. If you are new to the area and do not know anyone well, co-workers can be a great source for recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask around.
By SMH Webmaster on 4/1/2015 8:20 AM
Did you ever think that the fruit or veggies in your refrigerator could contribute to your inability to have children? It seems that there is new evidence that this may be caused by certain pesticides used in growing certain crops. 

In the news this morning and circulating around the Internet is a story based on a newly published article from Dr. Chavorro and others from Harvard. They found that men who ate fruits and vegetables with higher levels of pesticide contamination were associated with a lower sperm count and fewer normal sperm. This was among men who were coming to an infertility clinic. The men who ate the most fruit and veggies had nearly half the amount of sperm as the men who ate the lower amount. Other studies have shown that men who live near greater agricultural centers such as Iowa and Missouri also had lower sperm counts.

By SMH Webmaster on 3/16/2015 3:25 PM
March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, so it is a great time to talk about this topic. This month was chosen in 2000 by President Clinton to raise awareness and take action for prevention of colon cancer, the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. It usually does not cause a lot of symptoms until it is very advanced, so screening and prevention are important. If everyone age 50 and older got screened, as is recommended, six out of 10 deaths from colon cancer would be prevented.

No one really likes to get screened. It takes time and has a cost associated with it, depending on insurance coverage, but screening allows precancerous polyps to be found early and removed before they get bigger and cause more problems. A lot of my patients tell me they do not have a family history, so they feel like screening is not important for them. Only 25 percent of patients diagnosed with colon cancer have a family history; that means 75 percent of patients did not. Those with a family history may have different screening recommendations, but everyone age 50 or older should get screened or at least be discussing their case with their physician.
By SMH Webmaster on 3/3/2015 9:01 AM
Measles has been a hot topic in the news recently. Prior to all this press, we have not heard about or seen much of this disease. Here are some measles facts and what to look for in your loved ones, since a lot of parents with small children have never seen anyone with this illness.

First of all, routine vaccination includes a measles vaccine at 12-15 months of age with a second dose no sooner than 28 days later, usually between the ages of 4-6. If your child is up-to-date on vaccinations and over the age of 1, he or she should have immunity. The vaccine develops the anti-measles antibody in 95-98 percent of patients, with long-term immunity present in about 90 percent of patients. This means, however, that even if you have been vaccinated, you may still be at risk, though the risk is small.

By SMH Webmaster on 2/3/2015 2:14 PM
Doctor visits are sometimes stressful. It seems there’s so much to remember and you may become easily confused by options and instructions. You should always feel satisfied and confident about your health care plan. Read below for some insider tips on how to make the most of your doctor’s visit.

Before You Go

Being prepared for a visit with your doctor is the first step. Before your appointment, follow this simple checklist to ensure you receive the most complete care possible.  

Be specific when scheduling your appointment. When the receptionist or nurse knows exactly why you are making the appointment, he or she will be able to tell you what to expect and if you need to bring anything. This also helps them to schedule the correct amount of time with the doctor, allowing ample time to discuss any complex issues.  Make a list of questions you have and prioritize them according to importance. Generally, try to focus on three topics to make sure each is covered adequately. If you don’t get to all of them, ask if you can follow-up via email. Most clinics now offer email communication between health care providers and patients for those less urgent questions.  ...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/20/2015 1:51 PM
Smoking cigarettes is bad for you. I hope that statement does not shock anyone reading this blog, but it seems that 40 million Americans are still smoking despite what we know. Cigarette smoking causes one of every five deaths in the United States according to the CDC. After an increase in the federal tax on cigarettes in 2008, there was a 10 percent decrease in smoking. There are, of course, other factors leading to a decrease in smoking such as alternative products like electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). 

E-cigarettes came to the United States after being developed in China in 2007. They do not contain tobacco, but do contain a liquid that is vaporized by a heating element and then inhaled (vaped). There is no smoke or carbon monoxide. The liquid in these cigarettes contains nicotine that is concentrated. The FDA currently does not regulate these products to the same extent as tobacco-containing cigarettes, and this has led to a wide array of products and markedly varied amounts of nicotine in each...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/6/2015 1:48 PM
I’ll be honest. I do not like to run, bike or exercise outside when it’s cold. It forces me inside and on the treadmill, which is not ideal. For those of you who are motivated to get outside, continue your exercise routine and try to keep those New Year’s resolutions going, here are a few tips to stay safe outdoors. 

Commit to a friend: The old idea of working out with a friend applies here as well. It is so much more difficult to skip out on a friend if they are getting up early and bundling up. Make a date or plan for certain days a week to meet and exercise.  

Be seen: The days end sooner than in the summer, so you are likely out in the dark and this may not be normal for you. Some people wear reflective clothing and some, like my neighbor, carry a flashlight and swing it around as they walk. 

Slow down: When the weather outside is wet, snowy or even icy, be prepared to shorten your route or go slower. Keeping your traction and stable footing is critical to prevent injury or a fall. You...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/17/2014 1:43 PM
It’s no secret that women are known for worrying about the health and well-being of their families and those close to them, while forgetting to make time for their own health. In addition to visiting regularly with a primary care doctor and staying on top of recommended screenings, as you age, there are three big health concerns that deserve your attention. 

Heart Disease

National Wear Red Day was last week, Feb. 6, and it was initiated to raise awareness about women and heart disease. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States. In 2009, nearly 300,000 women died of heart disease – that’s about one out of every four female deaths. This is no longer worse for men; it impacts women just as often, and unfortunately many women do not recognize that heart disease is their number one killer. The scary statistic from the CDC is that nearly 64 percent of women who suddenly die of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. As with most health concerns,...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/16/2014 1:34 PM
It may be tempting to avoid vaccines after the recent headlines regarding high-profile individuals getting diseases that we thought vaccines prevented. Many diseases have far-reaching consequences, and vaccines were created due to the burden caused.

In the history of vaccines, there have been causes for concern – none greater than that brought by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and the purported link to autism in 1998. The study he conducted was based on 12 children and later retracted by the publishing journal due to lack of reproducibility and misrepresented data. However, unsupported studies like this have still led some to not vaccinate their children and, in turn, to the reoccurrence of diseases. 

Below are examples from the CDC:

An example exists in Japan. In 1974, approximately 80 percent of children were getting the whooping cough vaccine. Only 393 cases of whooping cough occurred without one death. Five years later in 1979 the rates of immunization dropped to 10 percent. More than 13,000...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/2/2014 1:29 PM
Tis the season to overindulge! However, it’s not too early to start thinking about your New Year’s resolution to exercise more. Better yet, start it now so you’re in a better position to manage the food overload that naturally comes with the holiday season. 

Exercise does more for your body than just keep it slim. By maintaining regular physical activity, you can also prevent disease, have better posture and sense of well-being, which enables you to handle stress more easily (important this time of year). 

The most common questions I hear about exercise is, “What should I do?” and “How much should I do?” If you’re ready to start exercising, set yourself up to succeed with the following tips.  

Determine your fitness level. Going 100 percent on the first day could cause injury since your body is not used to exercising regularly. Instead, determine your current fitness level so you know a good place to start. For example, if you can jog two miles without feeling exhausted then you can probably...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/18/2014 1:20 PM
Here we are, amidst the holiday season and beginning the mad dash to the end of the year. Along with all of the shopping and preparing for the holidays comes one of the biggest gifts we give to ourselves – stress.  The financial, emotional and physical challenges we all have often become harder to deal with when we add on the stresses of the holiday season. I see patients with very common symptoms such as aches, pains, headaches, anxiety, weight gain or trouble sleeping. Although stress is a common culprit of these symptoms, it can often be avoided.  The first step in reducing stress is identifying what the most common causes of holiday stress are and utilizing the following tips to minimize it: Money – Finances can increase worry during the holidays. To manage this stressor, set an affordable budget and stick to it. Take out the allotted amount in cash and leave your credit cards at home.  Family – Gathering everyone together for holiday events may not bring joy to all. Realize what you cannot change...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/11/2014 1:15 PM
Now that flu season is upon us, one of the first things I always hear is, “I’m not getting the flu shot because it will give me the flu.” Below, I debunk this and other common medical myths. 

The flu vaccine gives me the flu.

Immunizations of any kind can give some people a low grade fever for several days as we appropriately react to a vaccine, but the flu shot cannot cause the flu. We start to react to the dead parts of the virus that the body recognizes as a danger. Our immune system starts an antibody response that by itself can cause very mild fevers and achiness. The influenza vaccine usually contains several types of dead flu viruses – DEAD virus. It cannot cause the flu.

Being cold or not dressing warm will give you a cold. “Put your hat on or you’ll catch a cold.” Have you said that or heard that before? I was talking to a friend before the football game last Friday evening, and she expressed concern that her kids were not dressed warm enough. Does it really matter? The fact is that it does not matter and this was established long ago. In 1968, R.G. Douglas, Jr., published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Exposure to Cold Environment and Rhinovirus and Susceptibility to the Common Cold.” Inmates at a Texas prison had a virus called rhinovirus (a common cold virus) placed directly into their noses. At varying times after their exposure to the viruses, they were exposed to extreme temperatures, with varying amounts of clothing. The infection rates did not vary irrespective of whether they were cold or warm, dressed or undressed, or having wet hair or dry hair.  

By SMH Webmaster on 10/30/2014 12:45 PM
Has Ebola come to Kansas City? I wrote a blog several weeks ago about the scare and worry surrounding Ebola. The Ebola outbreak has spread and become the largest in history with 4,655 laboratory-confirmed cases in 2014 with a survival rate of 48 percent. 

Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in Zaire with an outbreak infecting 388 people with only 12 percent surviving. There are five types of Ebola virus that infect humans and non-human primates such as monkeys and gorillas. There is only speculation about the true host of the virus, but it is believed to be the bat. We have also seen the news about the possibility of dogs being infected. We don’t believe that dogs can become infected as there have been no confirmed cases in Africa or elsewhere. However, we don’t know if the dog or cat could carry the virus on their coat or claws.

What we do know is that the virus can be spread in several ways through direct contact with:

Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola Objects...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/28/2014 12:53 PM
In just a few days, we will have trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell in a variety of costumes – likely their favorite Royals baseball player. Whether you’ve already sampled your store-bought supply or are waiting to sift through your kids’ goodies after Friday, Halloween ensures we all have an ample amount of candy to keep us happy for at least a few days. 

As we continue to grapple with childhood obesity and younger adults developing chronic diseases due to poor dietary habits, Halloween is an opportunity for us as individuals and families to model and teach that some candy can be a part of a healthy diet. 

Candy should be viewed as a treat or a dessert, and not part of an everyday snack. If you have children of any age who bring home a pillowcase full of candy, it presents a great time to discuss what he or she might do with all of that candy. I would certainly start this conversation prior to going out on the trek to bring home a mountain of sugar.  

Strategies for less candy consumption:

By SMH Webmaster on 9/30/2014 12:35 PM
My father recently had a hip procedure that required him to have a prescription for a pain medication. These medications have been under close scrutiny at the state and national level to make sure that they are used appropriately and prescribed in the best possible manner. Some states are now requiring closer monitoring of patients who take these medications on a longer-term basis. This form of monitoring may be drug screening, or a contract between the physician and patient.

Opioids are among the world's oldest-known medicines and are derived from the poppy flower. The medication morphine is derived from the opioid compound from the poppy. Opiates are just slightly different as they are synthetic medications, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. All of these medications are widely used to treat all kinds of pain, including low back pain, post-surgical pain, headaches, etc.

In an article from Pain Physician, the results of the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that an estimated 22.6...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/15/2014 3:11 PM
It’s officially back-to-school time! With many children participating in sports this school year, it is important to be aware of concussion symptoms and what steps you need to take in the event your child exhibits concussion warning signs. A concussion is any sudden bump or hit to the head, which can cause a quick shake of your brain. A few key symptoms to look for include:

Blurred vision Loss of balance Slurred speech Sensitivity to light and sound Ringing in the ears Unconsciousness It is important to monitor your child after a head injury for at least 24 hours, as symptoms may not appear immediately. In any case, it is advised you seek medical attention following any head injury, just to be safe. If untreated, a concussion may cause long-term memory loss, severe and recurring headaches, as well as possible serious brain injuries.

Treatment from your doctor will most likely resolve in physical and mental relaxation. This includes limited use of TV, video...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/9/2014 10:54 AM
If you have school-age kids, you’ve likely heard that many children between the ages of 6 and 16 are being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness in the Midwest. It has recently been identified as a virus called Enterovirus 68 or EV 68. This virus is not new, but is rare and being tracked by the Centers for Disease Control. It was first discovered in California in 1962 and has had few outbreaks in the public since. 

Today, this virus has led to an increase in the number of emergency room evaluations and admissions to the hospital. Because this is a respiratory illness, we need to pay attention to those individuals with prior respiratory problems, such as asthma. Most infections will look no different than a routine cold with mild, self-limiting symptoms such as a runny nose or cough; however, some may require intensive support in the hospital. There is currently no specific treatment or medication for EV 68 since it is viral.

There is a vast difference between viral and bacterial infections,...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/5/2013 2:28 AM
Whether it’s misplacing a set of keys or forgetting the name of an old friend, everyone experiences the occasional memory lapse. But when it happens to a parent or older loved one, when should you be concerned?

You may have read about recent studies that have linked those common “senior moments” to the development of dementia. According to Alzheimer’s experts, people who report their own memory concerns are in fact among the most likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital shows a distinct correlation between self—reported cognitive concerns and the buildup of beta—amyloid, a chain of amino acids in the brain that play an important role in Alzheimer’s development. In addition, individuals who carry the ApoE4 genetic mutation, which is often associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, are also more likely to report cognitive decline with age.

If you find yourself worrying about...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/28/2013 2:28 AM
You may have heard a recent story of a patient in a Monaco hospital who only consumed soda for the last 16 years. The doctors found she had dangerously low potassium levels and had developed an irregular heartbeat. However, after slowly reintroducing water into her diet, her potassium levels and heartbeat stabilized. Although an extreme case, what does even small, regular consumption of soda do to your body? And is diet soda really that much better?

Drinking soda has health impacts beyond what you would expect. As the summer races by, I have watched my children and their friends at dinner with us and at home. They all have different habits. Some always order water or just ask for a glass of water at our home. Some are always looking in the fridge for a soda or a sports drink or something that is not just water. We all need to pay heed to many recent studies regarding the soda consumption of ourselves and of our children.

Obesity Harvard School of Public Health recently reviewed 30 studies regarding...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/30/2013 2:28 AM
Nobody likes to find a tick on themselves or someone close to them. Not only are they difficult to remove, but can carry diseases that can be transmitted to people. The best way to avoid a tick—born disease is to avoid ticks all together.

Avoiding Ticks Ticks are more active in the spring and summer and are found in wooded and high—foliage areas. Avoid these areas and walk in the center of trails if hiking. However, if you’re cleaning out brush from your yard or planning a family camping trip, be proactive about preventing ticks.

Use insect repellents. DEET – Use 20 percent DEET on exposed skin, which should protect you for several hours. Follow the product instructions. Permethrin – Apply to clothing, tents or gear if camping or walking in a tick—infested area. This should last through several washings. Find and remove ticks. Bathe as soon as possible to find ticks and remove them. Do a full—body tick check as soon as you return from an area that might have ticks....
By SMH Webmaster on 6/11/2013 2:28 AM
With temperatures on the rise this week, it sounds like it will finally start to feel like summer. And where is the first place most families head on a hot day? The neighborhood pool. But can taking a swim make you sick?

It’s hard to believe that you can get sick from swimming at your favorite pool, but you can. Every so often we hear of an incident at a local pool that has caused many people to become sick. It is usually caused by swallowing water that has been contaminated with germs, which can cause diarrheal illness.

Swimmers share the water and their germs with everyone who enters the pool. On average, individuals have about 0.14 grams of fecal matter on their bottoms that can be rinsed off in the pool and, at times, contaminate the water. When someone who is sick with diarrhea gets in the pool, they can spread even more germs.

Swallowing even a small amount of contaminated water can make you sick. While chlorine does a great job at killing germs, it does not kill all germs all the time....
By SMH Webmaster on 6/10/2013 2:28 AM
If you’ve followed the news recently, you’ll likely heard about actress Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy– a proactive approach she took to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer after learning she was a carrier of the gene. Thanks to advances in cancer research and diagnosis, some women, like Jolie, may be able to know their breast cancer risk well before it happens.

But what does this mean for your health and when should you talk to your doctor?

What You Need to Know Approximately 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. A woman’s risk of breast cancer increases at least 34 percent if she has inherited a harmful mutation in one of the breast cancer genes, otherwise known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. If this mutation is present it also means that her risk of ovarian cancer increases at least 41 percent.

This is certainly a different type of screening than a routine mammogram and is not for everyone. Unlike mammograms – which are recommended to start by age 40 or earlier for some high—risk individuals – testing for the BRCA mutations can begin as early as age 18.

By SMH Webmaster on 4/16/2013 2:28 AM
If you are like my family this time of year, it brings on a discussion of summer activities and certainly summer camps. This has changed dramatically since I was a kid, as now you can send your child to an incredible array camps. It is important to include your child in the discussion of the selection of a camp with respect to the interest and goals of your child and your family. There are many questions to ask yourself and your child.

What special interests does your child have? Is there an area that they may need to learn or experience? Do you want them to focus on a certain area, sports, church camp,a hobby, or a club that they are already involved? Do you need to keep in mind any limitations that your child may have? They may not like to spend the night away from home yet. Should a friend go with them to the camp? This can make the transition easier if they already have a connection at the camp. How long has the director run this camp and what is his or her experience...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/8/2013 3:28 AM
It’s hard to miss signs inviting us to donate blood at local drives throughout our community, but have you ever taken the opportunity to do so? Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood and 44,000 blood donations are made each day to try and fill this need. However, what we often don’t understand is just how important it is to donate and the impact you can make on someone else’s life.

In general, donors must be 17 years old, weight at least 110 pounds and be in good health. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, approximately one—third of all blood donors are less than 30 years old. However, only 38 percent of the United States’ population is eligible to give blood due to your own medical history and conditions, which is discussed in a brief screening process that also includes taking your blood pressure, temperature and pulse before donating.

A few facts:

Be sure to have a light snack and lots of water before donating. Being hydrated is key. The actual donation process only takes 8—10 minutes....
By SMH Webmaster on 11/26/2012 3:28 AM
The holidays are here and so is the food. Everywhere you look there are trays of cookies or holiday snacks and the dinners are enormous. Keep your health in mind throughout the holidays. Get out that bathroom scale you’ve been hiding as a simple reminder to be conscious of your health over the next month. Even a pound or two gained over the holidays can add up each year! Here are a few tips to keep the pounds from being a part of your celebration.

Eat more vegetables and fruits every day. Keep a goal of seven servings daily. It makes it hard to eat the bad foods when your plate is already full of health choices. Plan ahead for the dinner parties. Don’t go starving and limit the alcohol intake. Keep your attention away from the food. The memories that last a lifetime aren’t going to be what food you ate! Talk with people you haven’t seen for awhile or join your family for a quick game of football outside. Try to take a walk every day you are not working to help supplement the extra calories...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/28/2012 2:45 PM
My family and I recently made the decision to primarily consume a plant—based diet after understanding the health benefits of reducing our meat consumption and increasing our vegetable intake. However, a vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone, nor is it the only way to reap the benefits of fruits and vegetables – even making small changes in your diet can greatly impact your overall health.

Below are a few reasons why a plant—based diet can help you to lead a healthier lifestyle. Even if you are not ready to fully commit to a vegetarian diet, there are still many ways you can increase your fruit and vegetable intake for improved health.

Reducing or eliminating red meat from a diet reduces the risk of heart disease. A plant—based vegan diet (mainly comprised of raw fruits, vegetables, sprouts and nuts) has been proven to reduce diabetic patients’ dependence on diabetes medication. The plant—based diet showed an increase in weight loss and an increase in insulin sensitivity in diabetics. A diet rich in vegetables will provide you with a source of valuable vitamins, minerals, and natural substances such as fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Fiber, found in many types of beans, has been shown to contribute to a decreased risk of coronary artery disease. Folate, found in asparagus, cooked spinach, and black eyed peas, helps reduce the chance of a woman having a child with brain or spinal cord defects. Potassium can help one to maintain a healthy blood pressure, and can be found in a variety of sources including prune juice, sweet potatoes and lima beans. Vitamin A helps to ward off infection by keeping the eyes and skin healthy. It can be found in carrots, kale, red peppers, and many other vegetables. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of both fruits and vegetables—it helps to heal cuts and wounds and maintain a healthy mouth....
By SMH Webmaster on 4/27/2012 2:45 PM
Exercise should be an important part of everyday life. With summer approaching, longer and warmer days are ahead, creating perfect opportunities for you to enjoy the weather with your family through fun outdoor exercises and activities.

It is recommended that adults participate in at least two and a half hours of exercise per week, while children should aim for one hour of physical activity per day. If you're new to exercise, talk with your doctor first to help create a plan that will get your new routine off to a safe start.

While it can be difficult to find a time that works for all family members, consider creating an exercise schedule that everyone will agree to, like taking family walks to the park every Tuesday and Thursday evening or a family bike ride every Saturday morning. Take turns picking the activity so everyone has an opportunity to do an activity they are interested in, such as a trip to the local swimming pool or a game of family kickball in the park. The more fun you have with your...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/11/2012 8:58 AM
Although cancer is not something we generally want to think about, it is unfortunately a part of life. However, there are many simple ways to test for cancer that could end up saving your life. One such test is the prostate—specific antigen (PSA) test, which may detect signs of prostate cancer even before normal symptoms appear. PSA is a protein made by the prostate gland and is found in the blood. Although there is no specific normal or abnormal PSA level, high levels of PSA may suggest the presence of prostate cancer. The PSA test involves taking a blood sample, which is then sent to a laboratory.

If your doctor is concerned about your PSA level, a biopsy is usually the next step in identifying the presence of cancer. Age is the number one risk factor for prostate cancer, as 63 percent of cases occur in men over the age of 65. However, the PSA test is recommended for men over age 50. Men who are at a higher risk for prostate cancer are encouraged to test earlier, around age 40. This includes African American...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/9/2011 12:24 PM
With cold and flu season in full swing, it is important to protect your body against viral and bacterial infections. Pneumonia, an infection in the lungs caused by a virus, is one to look out for this winter. Learn more about pneumonia to help you and your family stay healthy this season.

What age groups are at higher risk for pneumonia? While everyone can develop pneumonia, infants younger than two years old and individuals older than 65 years old are at greater risk.

What are symptoms of pneumonia? Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, chills, chest pain, sore throat and coughing. However, symptoms may vary. Always talk with your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.

How can you get pneumonia? An individual can develop pneumonia in several different ways, like breathing in infected air particles. Individuals are at greater risk of developing pneumonia if they have a cold or the flu. A complication of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox, can also lead to pneumonia.

By SMH Webmaster on 3/28/2011 6:00 PM
Doctor visits are sometimes stressful. It seems there’s so much to remember and you may become easily confused by options and instructions. You should always feel satisfied and confident about your health care plan. Join me each week to learn some insider tips on how to make the most of your doctor visit and receive the best care possible.

Part One: Before You Go Being prepared for a visit with your doctor is the first step. Before your appointment, follow this simple checklist to ensure you receive the most complete care possible.

Be specific when scheduling your appointment. When the receptionist or nurse knows exactly why you are making the appointment, he or she will be able to tell you what to expect and if you need to bring anything. This also helps them to schedule the correct amount of time with the doctor, allowing ample time to discuss any complex issues. Make a list of questions you have and prioritize them according to importance. Generally, try to focus on three topics...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/31/2011 9:14 AM
Exercise does more for your body than just keep it slim. By maintaining regular physical activity, you can also prevent disease, have better posture and sense of well—being, which enables you to handle stress more easily. The most common questions about exercise are “What should I do?” and “How much should I do?” Join me each week to learn about important and easy activities and the benefits they will give you.

Part One: Starting an Exercise Routine Determine your fitness level. Going 100 percent on the first day could cause injury since your body is not used to exercising regularly. Instead, determine your current fitness level so you know a good place to start. For example, if you can jog two miles without feeling exhausted then you can probably push it to three. However, if you feel very tired after walking up a flight of stairs, it’s a good idea to start at a lower intensity level for your exercise program. A good rule of thumb is to limit your increase in activity by 10 percent each week.

By SMH Webmaster on 8/18/2010 8:34 AM
Have you ever wondered the importance of receiving an annual sports check—up? If your child is an athlete, or you are one yourself, join me each week to learn about the sports physical examination, sports injuries and how to prevent and treat them.

Part One: Sports Physicals — Why athletes need one.

Schools require a yearly physical examination to ensure that your child is physically capable to participate in training and competition for sports. Most sports physicals include a health history questionnaire and a physical examination. The questionnaire typically inquires about previous conditions, illnesses and injuries that could affect an athlete’s ability to participate in a sport. Questions may include the following:

History of an illness within the family Personal history of illness or injury Medications he or she may be taking Allergies Hospitalizations Immunizations History of heart conditions History of head injuries

During the physical examination,...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/24/2010 12:08 PM
Protecting Your Heart

Join me each week to learn more about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart, risk factors and how to reduce them. For more information on this topic, our physicians, or to schedule an appointment, visit

Part One – Heart Disease: What is it? Maintaining a healthy heart is essential to maintaining whole—body wellness. Although it is only the size of a fist, the heart beats about 100,000 times per day, circulating five or six quarts of blood each minute. This continuous cycle ensures that your body stays strong and healthy.

Heart disease encompasses a variety of diseases that affect the heart. Some of these diseases include the following: Coronary artery disease – This is America’s number one killer, affecting more than 13 million people. Also known as atherosclerosis, this disease occurs when arteries in the heart become clogged by plaque. This plaque can lead to acute coronary syndrome or...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/24/2010 6:00 PM
Importance of Annual Wellness Exams Join me each week to learn more about the importance of annual wellness exams, what to expect and how to prepare to ensure you receive the best possible care.

Part 1 – Preparing for Your Exam An annual wellness exam is one of the best ways to maintain your health. Visiting your doctor’s office each year allows your physician to discuss potential illnesses and health concerns before they become serious, like diabetes or high cholesterol, while offering ways to improve your nutrition and lifestyle. Wellness exams can also provide the assurance that you are healthy and doing well.

To ensure the physician can make a complete analysis of your health, it is important that you provide specific information regarding your medication use and family history.

Be prepared before you arrive. • Bring a list of any medications you take regularly with dosages. This includes prescriptions, over—the—counter medications and herbal supplements. • Expect to update...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/14/2010 10:03 AM
One in three adults has high blood pressure and you could be one of them. While the cause of 90—95 percent of high blood pressure cases is unidentified, it is frequently controllable and easily detected. I always encourage patients to be educated about blood pressure, know their numbers and work to manage it.

What is high blood pressure?Blood pressure is the pushing of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart muscle work overtime to pump blood to the body, which can lead to the hardening of your arteries and eventually heart failure, heart attack, kidney disease and stroke.

Who is at risk?Several factors that may play a role in the development of high blood pressure include:

Smoking Being overweight Genetics High levels of alcohol consumption Lack of exercise Too much salt in your diet. How do I know if I have it?Blood pressure is broken down into four categories: normal, prehypertension, stage 1 high blood...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/15/2010 3:49 PM
The winter season is coming to a close, but cold days and dry air are still to blame for skin irritations. The skin is the most common part of us that suffers from the effects of dryness. For some people, the problem is more than just a tight, dry feeling. Excessive dryness of the skin can lead to bigger annoyances like flaking, cracking and even eczema. There are small changes you can make in your everyday routine to improve the health and hydration of your skin.

ShoweringWhen it is cold outside, long, hot showers are tempting. But the heat strips the skin of essential oils necessary to stay hydrated. To preserve these oils, take only brief, five to 10 minute showers and use mild or non—soap bars with warm water. When drying off, pat yourself dry to allow your body to absorb water without over—drying. MoisturizingAfter drying, apply moisturizer immediately to seal in water. Repeat throughout the day, especially on your hands after each hand washing. Lotions and creams are the least effective means to hydrate...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/10/2009 3:49 PM
In the midst of holiday season, one of the biggest gifts we give to ourselves is stress. This year especially, families are struggling financially, emotionally and physically. I have patients come in with very common symptoms such as aches, pains, headaches, anxiety, weight gain or trouble sleeping. Although stress is a common culprit of these symptoms, it can often be avoided. My goal is to help you learn to cope, and even prevent, stress.

The first step in reducing stress is identifying what the most common causes of holiday stress are and utilizing the following tips to minimize it:

Money – In light of the economy, finances can increase worry during the holidays. To manage this stressor, set an affordable budget and stick to it. Take out the allotted amount in cash and leave your credit cards at home. Family – Gathering everyone together for holiday events may not bring joy to all. Realize what you cannot change and set those differences aside for the holidays. Plan a time to address...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/9/2009 5:08 PM
As the H1N1 (or novel swine flu) vaccine arrives in the metro area, many of my patients have been left with questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of this new vaccine. See below for my answers to the most commonly asked questions.

What would you recommend?It is your decision whether you choose to get the H1N1 vaccine or not. I chose to receive it and will have my two kids vaccinated when the supply becomes available. However, always talk to your primary care physician to make sure the H1N1 vaccine, and all other vaccines, are right for you.

When can I get the H1N1 vaccine?Due to high demand and slow production time, the Kansas City metro area has received a small supply of the H1N1 vaccine. Only people at high risk for complications from the flu or serving in direct patient care are advised to receive these first doses.

However, the U.S. government has purchased 250 million vaccine doses, so everyone should have the opportunity to receive the H1N1 vaccine as the supply increases.

By SMH Webmaster on 9/3/2009 3:06 PM
As the flu epidemic continues to sweep across the nation, it is important you take every precaution to keep your family healthy this winter. Although school has just begun and the first leaves have yet to fall, now is the time to get a flu shot.

This season, you will hear of two types of influenza: the regular seasonal influenza A or B, and the new or novel, H1N1 influenza A. Receiving the seasonal flu vaccine is the most essential key for flu prevention. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest all children ages 6 months to 18 years receive the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it is available this September. Because the viruses in the vaccine are not alive, you cannot get the flu from a flu shot.

The CDC recommends the following people get vaccinated this season against the seasonal flu:

Children ages six months up to their 19th birthday Pregnant women People 50 years and older People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions People who live in nursing homes or...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/27/2009 3:37 PM
Summertime is often a welcomed break for many parents. The long daylight hours and endless outside activities help keep kids entertained all day. But while I know you’re aware of the damage sun can do to you and your kids’ skin, be proactive about preventing sunburn – and ultimately, skin cancer – this summer.

I understand the challenge of getting your kids to wear sunscreen. My wife and I try to have our kids apply sunscreen every time they will be in the sun for extended periods, like a day at the pool or at an outdoor event, but it is not easy to keep them still for very long.To protect your family from sunburn, follow these sun—safety rules:

Avoid sun between 10 a.m.—4 p.m. The sun’s UV rays are strongest during these hours so schedule play—dates and swimming lessons for the early morning or evening. And don’t let cloudy days fool you; UV rays can still penetrate your skin. Stay in the shade. If you must be outside during peak hours, finding shade is your first defense against sunburn. Always...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/17/2009 2:21 PM
As summer activities heat up, spending time outside is part of our warm-weather routine. But along with these outdoor activities comes the itchiest obstacle of all – poison ivy.

Whether you’re having a picnic at the neighborhood park, watching your child’s soccer game or spending the night outdoors on a camping trip, outside activities bring the potential for exposure to poison ivy.

Poison ivy is part of a family of plants including poison oak and poison sumac, which cause a red, itchy rash when they touch your skin. Appearing in lines or streaks, poison ivy is often marked by blisters and hives.
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