Saturday, March 20, 2010

Healthcare Tips

For those of you who don't already know this, I am a Registered Nurse, and when I do work (which not very often anymore, only about 2-3 times a month) I work in the Emergency Room.  With this healthcare bill passage looming, I think it's time to post a few tips for you because, I believe as a nurse that this bill is going to seriously hurt a lot of Americans, and most of my cohorts in the Emergency Room agree based on what we deal with on a regular basis.  So it's going to be more important than ever to stay healthy and not have to use the healthcare system except when you really need it.
  • Vomiting one time is not a medical emergency.  Vomiting many times and not being able to keep any liquids down to compensate for the fluid loss, or adding in fever or diarrhea deserves a call to your doctor (who has your medical history available and can make the determination on whether or not you need immediate medical attention).  And remember vomiting has a functional purpose too, it's not all bad.
  • Fever of 100.5 is not a medical emergency.  A fever of 105.0 however, is a different story - and please don't not treat the fever because you don't want to 'mask the fever', we want you to treat a fever that's high instead of letting it just get higher and higher and possibly have febrile seizures.  If the fever is 102.0, treat it and call your doc to see what they think-.  Also remember that fever too has a functional purpose and is also not all bad - it's your body's way of killing off bacteria and viruses.  Most health professionals don't even recommend treating a fever under 101.0, but if you're concerned or want to hear the opinion of someone who knows you personally, ask your faily doctor or nurse since they know your history and can give you more personalized information based on your medical history.
  • Eat healthy - people who eat nothing but junk don't have the optimal physical condition to naturally fight off infections
  • Exercize - people who exercize regularly are generally healthier (this doesn't mean you need a membership, this means get your butt off the couch and clean your house, cook your own meals, work in your flowerbeds, walk the dog, play with the kids, go for a walk, etc)  MOVE MORE!!!!
  • Wash your hands - this can't be said enough, but wash your hands with plain old soap and water several times a day - when they are dirty, before you eat, after using the bathroom, and after play.
  • Don't be a germa phobe - things like over using hand sanitizer, scrubbing every surface with bleach like a mad woman and spraying lysol on everything is not necessary.  DO take precautions, DO practice good hygiene, but DO NOT obsess to the point of craziness.  And believe it or not (and you can research this for yourself) exposure to normal germs is good for your immune system.  Now I'm NOT saying to go lick the dog or the gas station bathroom floor, but if your kid eats a God-knows-how-old Cheerio out of the corner of your living room, don't head to the ER to get his stomach pumped either.
  • Call your doctor's office for questions, that's why they are there
  • Invest in one of those home remedies or home medical manuals, they have lot's of great informaiton out there (and you can find them at most thrift shops)
  • Get plenty of sleep - this also helps you fight off infections
  • Get annual exams, once a year check ups for healthy adults is a good way to catch problems before they become BIG problems.  Regular cholesterol, glucose, triglyceride screenings are helpful in making sure you are doing your part in maintaining good health.
  • Immunizations - this one is controversial, so all I'm going to say is to do your research and make your decision then take whatever precautions are necessary depending on what your decision is.  We personally did not get the H1N1 vaccine, but my kids are also not in public school or daycare, so our risk was lower than some other groups.
Anyway, more to come on this later - I'm not into writing posts that may make your eyes pop out :)

1 comment:

slk2042 said...

Thank you for the common sense approach. It is so refreshing!

I'm not medically trained, but I would like to add one tip: Don't be disappointed if you go to the doctor, and his/her advice is to just let nature run its course. This is especially true of viral infections. It is not always a bad thing if you walk out of the doc's office without a prescription.