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Prevention is the Best Medicine for Antibiotic Resistance!

Monday, January 23, 2017

For over 70 years, antibiotics have been used to fight infections and ultimately save lives. Penicillin, which was known as the miracle drug, was the first antibiotic prescribed starting in the 1940s. Along with other antibiotics and antimicrobial agents, the utilization over the years has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, this widespread use of these infection fighting medications has ultimately made organisms adapt and resist treatment. The efficacy of the medication has been compromised. These resistant microorganisms are sometimes referred to as superbugs.

“A quick 20 seconds could prevent you from acquiring a cold, flu or other infectious disease.”
<p>A quick 20 seconds could prevent you from acquiring a cold, flu or other infectious disease.</p>

Alexander Fleming won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of Penicillin. With this discovery, people thought we would be able to live in a world that was free from infectious diseases. Fleming understood that his miracle drug could have a short-coming with the potential development of resistance. Despite the warning he provided in his acceptance speech, overutilization or improper prescribing continued.

When someone acquires an antibiotic resistant infection, the treatment options become limited, more costly as well as potentially more toxic. Their time in the hospital would most likely be extended, their recovery from major surgery or chemotherapy could be negatively impacted and they have a higher potential of spreading infections to other people. It is also important to mention the toll from pain and suffering.

There are precautions to help keep these important medications effective in the germ and infection fighting battle against bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. Prevention is the best medicine. By properly washing your hands, you can help stop the spread of germs. According to Julie Smith, RN, Infection Prevention Specialist at Norman Regional Health System, "A quick 20 seconds could prevent you from acquiring a cold, flu or other infectious disease. When using hand sanitizer, use enough of the product to coat the same areas as when you wash your hands and rub until all areas are dry; this process should take about 15-20 seconds as well. People tend to wipe off the excess which defeats the purpose of the hand sanitizer; it works best if you rub it until it is dry." Norman Regional Health System has a hand hygiene program in place for all its employees called Wash In / Wash Out, or WIWO for short. WIWO helps remind everyone of the expectation to wash hands every time employees enter AND exit a patient room. Washing can be performed using soap and water or with our hospital provided hand sanitizer. This program has helped everyone focus on basic hand washing.

It is important to take the appropriate steps to avoid infection in the first place. These precautions are more important than ever.

a. Hand Washing, Hand Washing, Hand Washing!
b. Proper food handling and preparation
c. Respiratory hygiene - Cover your cough with the inside of your elbow, don’t use your hands
d. Stay home when you are sick and keep your germs to yourself
e. Antibiotic Stewardship – While it is up to the physicians to prescribe the appropriate medication, at the most effective dosage, for the right length of time; as patients, we need to follow through on our end as well.

i. Take antibiotics as prescribed
ii. Finish the entire course/prescription of antibiotic, even when you start to feel better.
iii. Discuss with your physician when you need antibiotics - antibiotics do not treat viruses

For additional information on antibiotic stewardship, please visit the Centers for Disease Control’ and Prevention’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/

Remember, the easiest way to help prevent infection, including any onset of a superbug, starts with simply washing your hands.

RESOLVE: Strengthen Your Core

Monday, January 16, 2017

Over the last few weeks, Norman Regional Health System and The Health Club have been focusing on helping you become a better you. Instead of making New Year's Resolutions that are typically forgotten about right after the start of the New Year, a word was chosen to be mindful of throughout the year to help keep you on course. The word is Resolve: Resolve to become a better and healthier you.

“There are so many benefits to increasing your core strength including better balance, stability, helps in long-term weight loss goals, and improved flexibility just to name a few.”
<p>There are so many benefits to increasing your core strength including better balance, stability, helps in long-term weight loss goals, and improved flexibility just to name a few.</p>

With Walk to Run, the focus was on the importance on being physically active and improving your cardiovascular health. Now it is time to consider improving your core strength. When discussing your core, most people only think of their abdominals. However, your core consists of over 30 paired muscle groups from your shoulders to your hips.

According to Jack Carter, a Supervisor at The Health Club as well as a Nationally Certified Strength and Conditioning Trainer with Distinction, "As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass. It is very important to stop this process. There are so many benefits to increasing your core strength including better balance, stability, helps in long-term weight loss goals, and improved flexibility just to name a few. Not to leave out the obvious, resistance training will make you stronger overall."

The Health Club, which is owned and operated by Norman Regional Health System, is committed to proper certification and education. The dedicated staff consists of degreed or advanced degreed fitness professionals including nationally certified personal trainers, certified special population and certified strength and conditioning specialists. This is what sets The Health Club apart from other facilities. They will be glad to answer any of your questions about various exercises and proper technique. Personal training sessions can be scheduled to create a customize program specifically designed for you.

Simply call The Health Club at 405/329-5050 or stop by at 3720 West Robinson. The main entrance is located at the back of Brookhaven Shopping Center in the southwest corner. Walk under the green awning and meet the team that is ready to help you!

Remember in 2017; be mindful of the word RESOLVE. RESOLVE to be a healthier and better you.

RESOLVE: Walk then Run!

Monday, December 26, 2016

During the holidays, it is easy to concede to overindulging in food and a lack of exercise. Now is a perfect time to RESOLVE to put our health and well-being first while participating in the holidays. Starting, or even continuing, an exercise program can seem overwhelming but if you take small steps in the beginning, you can build up to a more rigorous program.

“One of the most basic methods to become active is to walk. You don’t need any special skills, just a comfortable pair of shoes and a place to go.”
<p>One of the most basic methods to become active is to walk. You don’t need any special skills, just a comfortable pair of shoes and a place to go.</p>

One of the most basic methods to become active is to walk. You don’t need any special skills, just a comfortable pair of shoes and a place to go. According to the CDC, in addition to weight control, regular physical activity reduces the risk for many diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression as well as some cancers. Physically active people have stronger muscles, bone and joints and tend to live longer. Walking is a great way to increase your physical activity in order to achieve some of these health benefits. Please consult your physician prior to beginning a new exercise routine.

In order to be successful, you must prioritize and schedule your time to walk just like you do with your other commitments. RESOLVE that you will start out walking with the goal to continue to increase your pace and distance. Baby steps to bigger strides. You can walk outside if the weather allows, head to the mall or use a treadmill at the gym. The key is to just get started.

There are a variety of online programs and smart phone apps you can use to help chart your schedule. The goal is to help an inactive person increase their distance, speed and duration over time. With the use of a cell phone, headphones and the app, the participant is given instructions. You can also use a spreadsheet and a watch if that works better for you. Each of these programs has about a 5 minute warm up and cool down. In between the two, the program instructs the participant how long to walk and when to start incorporating a run. As the weeks progress, other than the warm up and cool down, the walking time decreases as the run increases. The distance and duration of the work out slowly increase as well. Depending on how aggressive a program you select, you could go from being inactive to running a 5K in approximately 8 - 12 short weeks.

Now is the time to RESOLVE to become a walker, and if desired, transition into a runner. Resolve to be a better you!

Resolve: A Healthier You!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Instead of coming up with a list of New Year’s Resolutions, consider focusing on one word throughout the year that can help you become the person you want to be or to help you live the life you desire. Consider words like focus, appreciate or empower. How about the word RESOLVE?

“RESOLVE is to make a firm determination of a certain course of action.”
<p>RESOLVE is to make a firm determination of a certain course of action.</p>

According to the dictionary, RESOLVE is to make a firm determination of a certain course of action. Now is the time to take charge of your life, actually put yourself first. You need to be a priority. Remember, when we take care of ourselves and become healthier, we can better help the ones we love. 2017 is the year to RESOLVE to live a healthier lifestyle.

RESOLVE to become more active. Move a little more each day. You can decide which aspect is most important to you. The components consist of the following: cardio-endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility or body composition. Over the next few weeks, we will feature the following activities: walk to run, strengthening your core, group fitness and personal training.

Now is the time for you to pick the word for you to think about each day. Write it down, put it on your computer or slide it under your car visor. At The Health Club, the word is RESOLVE!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Including Taking Advantage of Our Health Insurance Policies

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In additional to the most wonderful time of the year, it is also one of the busiest times of the year. However, it is important to stay focused on personal health insurance policies with regard to deductibles, annual maximums and flexible spending accounts.

“Now is the time to take charge of our lives as well as our insurance accounts. In order to use your insurance policies to your best benefit, you must know the status of these policies. ”
<p>Now is the time to take charge of our lives as well as our insurance accounts. In order to use your insurance policies to your best benefit, you must know the status of these policies. </p>

You want to make sure you use your plan to your best advantage to get the most out of your premium dollars. In addition, when we are proactive with our overall health, we are able to prevent minor issues from becoming major issues which is good for our physical and financial health. According to Meegan Carter, Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Norman Regional Health System, "A little bit of planning can go a long way in maximizing the great health and wellness benefits employees get from employers in exchange for their hard work and dedication. Make the most of it and we all win!".

Deductibles

Insurance benefit contracts are typically for a 12 month period, known as policy year. The plan deductibles start over at the beginning of the following policy year. Considering many health insurance policies begin on January 1st and end on December 31st, now is a good time to review your policy. If you have health care or dental needs and you have met your annual deductible, it may be in your best financial interest to have those services completed this year. If you wait until 2017, you may have to meet a new deductible before your insurance benefits will start to pay out. Also, if your insurance benefits are changing for the next year, you may have higher out of pocket expenses with regards to deductibles, coinsurance and copays.

Here is an example. Let's say you have a $500 deductible (which you’ve met for 2016) and then your insurance company will pay 80% of the remaining bill. You know you need a medical procedure that costs $1,000. Your out of pocket expense could just be $200 in 2016. If you wait until 2017, you will have to start your deductible over again which means your out of pocket expense would be $600: $500 deductible + $100 (80% of the remaining $500) = $600.

Annual Maximums

Some insurance plans have an annual maximum. After the insurance company pays a certain amount in total for health care services, the remaining expenses will be your responsibility. Most often, dental plans operate in this fashion. For example, the dental insurance may only pay a maximum of $1,500 per year. Any expenses above that amount would be your responsibility to pay in full. If you have not met your annual maximum and you still need some dental services, now is the time to make that appointment to see your dentist before we bring in the New Year. The same is true for any other health benefit that has an annual maximum. Talk to your dentist about scheduling the root canal or the fillings that you have been putting off.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

If you elected to have money deducted from each paycheck for your flexible spending account, you want to make sure you use that money. You would have set up this account with your employer during your annual benefit election time. These accounts are designed to help set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for expenses that are not covered by your insurance policy including deductibles, coinsurance and copays. Most often, there is a 'use it or lose it rule. If you still have money remaining in your FSA, considering having an eye exam and purchasing a new pair of glasses or contacts. You could also schedule that elective procedure you have been putting off. The deductible, coinsurance, copays and some other non-covered items could be paid for with your Flexible Spending money. You can get a list of covered expenses from your FSA company.

Now is the time to take charge of our lives as well as our insurance accounts. In order to use your insurance policies to your best benefit, you must know the status of these policies. Let’s be proactive in order to keep ourselves as physically and financially healthy as we can.