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When you’re not feeling well, you may reach for some type of medicine whether it’s an over-the-counter medicine like aspirin for fever or a prescription medicine from your doctor.

There are things you can do to ensure that you are using medicines safely. All medications have benefits, but they also have potential risks. Here are some ways you can understand the benefits and risks of the medications you take.

  • Keep a list of all medicines that you take. This list should include any prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal remedies. Include information about how much of the medicine you take and how often you take it. Be sure to list medicines that you only take when needed. For instance, if you take an over-the-counter allergy medicine during pollen season, write that down. Take this list with you each time you visit your doctor so that you can discuss the medicines with your doctor. You also may want to keep this list with you in your purse or wallet in case you need emergency medical care.
  • If you use more than one pharmacy, make sure that each pharmacy knows what medicines you are on. The pharmacist can help look for potential interactions with your medicines that might lead to unwanted or even dangerous side effects.
  • Ensure your doctor and pharmacist know of any allergic reactions or severe side effects you have to medications. You should make sure this information is entered into your patient records and include it on your medication list.
  • Read the label carefully and follow the directions. This is especially important if you are getting up during the night to take a medication or giving medicine to your child.
  • Make sure you understand exactly how you should take each medication. Ask your doctor if the medication is taken at specific intervals (such as every eight hours). Find out if you need to take the medicine on an empty stomach or with meals. Ask what you should do if you miss a dose of the medication.
  • Don’t take someone else’s medicine or take medicine that is past its expiration date. You should check your medicine cabinet and dispose of any medicines that are past their expiration date.
  • Use antibiotics wisely. Antibiotics work against bacterial infections not viruses. Don’t expect your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic for every cold or sniffle. If you are given a prescription, you must take all of the medication exactly as prescribed. Don’t stop taking the medicine just because you feel better. Improper use of antibiotics is helping bacteria become resistant to different types of drugs, which makes them harder to treat.
  • Store medicines properly. Some medicines must be kept refrigerated. You should keep medicines in a cool, dry location – which usually means the bathroom is not the best place to store medicines. It’s also important to keep medicines away from small children.
  • Think about medication safety even if you are in the hospital. Ask what medicines you are being given. Make certain the nurse checks your nametag and compares it to the medicine you are given. If a medication that you normally take looks different, ask why. It may be a generic. Remind the hospital staff about any allergic reactions you may have had and be sure to tell the nurse and your doctor if you seem to be experiencing any side effects.

By working together, you and your health care team can help ensure that your medications will work for you. If you’d like to learn more about medication safety, go to The Institute for Safe Medication Practices at http://www.ismp.org.

http://doctorshospitaldallas.staywellsolutionsonline.com/InteractiveTools/Quizzes/40,PrescriptionQuiz

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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The image of the old family doctor who treated the grandparents, parents and children has become a thing of the past. In today’s mobile society few people keep the same doctor throughout their lives. We are on the move – across town, the state or even the country. We change jobs and insurance plans, which may mean changing doctors.

Choosing the right doctor for you and your family may be one of the most important decisions you make. The doctor-patient relationship should be a partnership that involves open, honest communication. You should work together with your doctor to make the best health care decisions for you and your family.

Before looking for a physician, it may first help to think about what you want and need.

  • Do you need a primary care doctor who can provide care for you and your children? Or would separate physicians for the adults and for the children be better?
  • Do you have special health needs that should be addressed?
  • Are you looking for a doctor who takes a personal interest in patients or one with a more business-like approach?
  • Do you prefer a male or female doctor?
  • What age range should your doctor be in?
  • Where should your doctor’s office be located?

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake offers free a physician referral service that is designed to match your needs and preferences with doctors in your area. We can match callers and doctors based on a wide range of criteria, including area of specialization, office locations, health insurance, physician age and board certifications. With more than 500 experienced physicians on our medical staff, we can help you find the right doctor for you and your family. For a free physician referral, call 800-887-2525 or visit DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/Physician.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Everyone needs some sun exposure. The emphasis is on “some” because too much sun can cause skin cancer, eye problems, weakened immune system, prematurely aged skin, or unsightly skin spots. People with fair hair and complexion, or a personal or family history of skin cancer are at greatest risk of sunburn. But regardless of skin color, everyone can take steps to be sun smart.

  • Try to stay out of the sun when rays are strongest, typically from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day. Up to 80 percent of rays can penetrate even on an overcast day and reflect off water, sand, and concrete.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants and a hat to cover the skin and protect against harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays.
  • Apply a generous amount of broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher 15 minutes before going out in the sun. Remember your lips, hands, ears, feet, shoulders, behind your neck, and top of your head if you don’t have much hair. Throw away suntan lotion that is past the expiration date or more than three years old.
  • If around water or swimming, select waterproof or water resistant sunscreen that stays on skin longer. However, you will still need to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours.
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses that offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection.
  • Check if any medications can increase sun sensitivity, such as antibiotics or acne medications. Sunscreen may not be able to protect skin from sun sensitivity caused by medications.
  • If you use an indoor tanning bed, wear goggles and do not go over your time limit.
  • Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer. See your doctor if you notice anything unusual.

Visit DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/sunquiz and take the ‘summer sun exposure quiz’ and test your knowledge.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake Adds Maternity TrackerTM and Baby’s First Year Features to Mobile App

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake adds new features for its mobile app to further connect new and expectant mothers with health-related information.  The hospital app, powered by WorldLink, is available as a free download for iPhone™, iPad™, iTouch™, and Android™ products. 

One of the app’s new features, Maternity Tracker™, offers the following capabilities:

  • Appointment tracker and notes
  • Countdown timer based on due date
  • Journal entries
  • Contraction timer
  • Labor techniques and delivery methods
  • Body changes
  • Baby name ideas
  • Tips for both mother and father for the duration of the pregnancy

The other feature, Baby’s First Year, offers the following:

  • Appointment tracker and notes
  • Lullaby music
  • Baby’s weight and height tracker
  • Immunization reminders
  • Journal entries
  • Baby feeding timer
  • Information on childproofing the home
  • Information on solid foods
  • A breastfeeding guide

Maternity Tracker™ and Baby’s First Year complement the features of Doctors Hospital’s app, which include:

  • ER Wait Times
  • Map and Directions
  • First Aid Guide
  • Health Library
  • InQuickER
  • Physician Finder

“We have been pleased to provide our patients with access to health-related information through our mobile app. The newest features, MaternityTracker™ and Baby’s First Year, complement the services we already offer through our app by providing new and expectant parents with a one-stop shop for important information they need to prepare for pregnancy, childbirth and parenting,” said Molly Foster, RN, director of Women’s Services at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake.  “We’re pleased to offer such comprehensive health resources to new and expectant parents in the east Dallas community.” 

Existing hospital app users will be notified by their app store and the latest version can be updated. New app users can download the hospital app for iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch or Android. Please search “Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake” on the iTunes App Store or Google Play store. You can visit www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/MaternityMobileApp for more information.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Fireworks are fun to watch, exciting to hear, and a wonderful way to mark the Fourth of July. Most people have fond memories of watching a dizzying display of starburst fireworks light up the night sky. Others, unfortunately, may recall a trip to the hospital emergency room because of a fireworks-related injury.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 8,800 people are treated annually in hospital emergency rooms for injuries caused by fireworks. More than 50 percent of injuries are to the extremities, while approximately 40 percent of injuries are to the head.

Here are some safety tips to share if you know someone who is planning a fireworks show of their own:

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area.
  • Children should not be allowed to play with fireworks.
  • Watch children closely when setting off fireworks.
  • Only adults should light fireworks.
  • Keep an extinguisher, hose, or bucket of water nearby.
  • Do not light fireworks inside or near dry vegetation.
  • Do not pick up a firework that has not gone off. Do not try to relight it. Douse it with water and dispose of it.
  • Read the directions on fireworks before setting them off.
  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks.
  • Do not light more than one firework at a time.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing when lighting fireworks.

Fireworks can cause physical damage in addition to potential personal injury. Fireworks are associated with approximately 18,000 fires annually, including 1,300 structure fires and 400 vehicle fires. More fires in the United States are reported on Independence Day than any other day of the year.

To learn more about fireworks safety, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/FireworksSafety.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Folic acid can be taken to prevent certain birth defects. Calcium and vitamin D may help avoid or treat bone loss and osteoporosis. Fish oil is effective for lowering high triglycerides. But what about all the other supplements that you hear so much about? Should you take echinacea, flaxseed oil or ginseng? Is it best to buy generic brands or synthetic supplements? Here are a few tips about choosing and using supplements.

Dietary supplements are meant to add to your diet so you get the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for most of the 18 vitamins and minerals for which RDAs have been established. It is important to talk with your doctor before taking any dietary supplements because some can interact with medications, and may increase the risk of bleeding or response to anesthesia during surgery. Always read label instructions and take supplements in the proper dosage amount.

When buying supplements, keep in mind that generic brands or synthetic forms are usually cheaper and just as effective as name-brand or natural supplements. Be sure to check the expiration date and opt for products approved by the USP, NSF and ConsumerLab. This indicates that the supplement has passed tests to show it is free of contaminants, meets the label claim for strength of the product, and dissolves properly in the body.

Want to learn more about vitamins, minerals, herbs and amino acids? Take the free online, health quiz Choosing and Using Supplements available on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/SupplementQuiz. If you have more questions, talk with your doctor or call 800-887-2525 for a free referral to a physician near you.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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If you are a runner, you may have heard of runner’s knee. But this common ailment that causes pain around the front of the knee also can affect skiers, cyclists, soccer players or any athlete who does activities that put heavy stress on the knees. The good news is that runner’s knee can be prevented and treated. The bad news is during recovery you’ll have to put away the running shoes for a while.

Runner’s knee actually refers to a number of medical conditions that can be caused by misalignment of the kneecap, overuse, injury, weak thigh muscles or flat feet. Symptoms typically include popping or grinding sensations in the knee, pain behind or around the kneecap, pain when bending the knee, and pain that worsens when walking downstairs or downhill. The condition can be diagnosed following a physical examination, as well as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans.

Treatment for runner’s knee starts with discontinuing the activity that causes knee pain. Minor to moderate cases should heal over time when combined with rest, ice, compression and elevation. Anti-inflammatory painkillers may be recommended to help with pain and swelling.

It is important not to rush back to activities before the knee has healed. To prevent the condition from recurring or avoid it in the first place, keep thigh muscles strong and limber, use orthotics for flat feet, make sure shoes have good support, avoid running on hard surfaces, maintain a healthy weight, wear a knee brace if you have had runner’s knee before, stretch before exercising, and increase training gradually.

To find an orthopedic specialist near you, call Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake’s free physician referral service at 800-887-2525.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Your target heart rate is the range at which sustained physical activity is considered safe and effective. The ideal range, which is a percentage of what your maximum heart rate should be, depends on your age and how physically fit you are. It is important to know this because regular exercise can help you stay healthy and maintain a normal weight.

You can estimate your heart rate during exercise by briefly stopping to find your pulse on your neck or wrist. Place two fingers on either of these locations and press lightly. Count the number of beats for a full minute, or for 30 seconds and double the result. You also can buy an inexpensive pulse monitor at the store.

A 40-year-old, for example, has an estimated target heart rate of 90 to 135 beats per minute. Results will vary by each individual depending on their physical condition and age.

Even if you aren’t ready to run a marathon, you can improve your fitness with a 30- to 60-minute workout of moderate intensity most days of the week. Beginners should start at a less vigorous level and work up to a moderate intensity. If you have any heart problems, or if you are elderly, consult with your physician before starting a rigorous exercise program.

Check your target heart rate with the free, online Target Heart Rate Calculator on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/TargetHeartRate.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Many parents have fond memories of going to summer camp when they were young – fun activities, exciting adventures, and making new friends. To help their own children have the same pleasant recollections when they grow up, parents can take steps to ensure a safe and healthy camp experience.

But before suitcases are even packed, children need to have all vaccinations up-to-date. Parents should ask a doctor or nurse if they are not sure which vaccines are recommended for summer camp and check ahead of time about the type of physical their child may be required to have to attend camp. Any special needs or allergies should be clearly marked on the camp application or physical form. 

Parents can talk with their children about staying safe at camp. This may include warning children not to swim alone or if they have diarrhea, which can cause many water-borne illnesses. Children also should watch wild animals from a distance and not try to pet them since many animals carry diseases that are dangerous to people, such as rabies. A helmet, life vest or other protective gear can be packed if the camp does not provide them.

Parents should encourage children to stay hydrated while at camp. Children shouldn’t wait until they feel thirsty, but instead drink plenty of water or non-carbonated, sugar-free fluids throughout the day. Children also need to wear plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent to protect against sunburn and bug bites. Kids also should stay hydrated, rest in the shade, and wear layers of light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing to prevent getting over-heated.

For a few more tips on preparing your child for sleep-away camp, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/SummerCamp.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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How much sleep is enough? According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns typically need between 12 to 16 hours a day. School-age children require between 10 and 11, teenagers need a little over nine, and adults should average seven to nine hours. Not getting enough sleep can have negative effects on your health in both the short and long term.

To help raise awareness of the importance of good sleep habits, The Sleep Center at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake will recognize March 5 to 11 as National Sleep Awareness Week. An on-line screening quiz is available on the hospital’s website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/SleepQuiz to learn more about how to get a good night’s rest, snoring, and sleep quality. For an informative overview on why sleep is important, facts about sleep disorders, and help for sleep problems visit www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/Sleep.

Inadequate sleep can harm your health, contribute to poor school or work performance, and increase the risk of injury. So if you want to get a better night’s rest and improve your sleep, here are a few tips to help you catch some more Zzzzzzs.

  • Go to bed only if you are sleepy.
  • Have a pre-sleep ritual that can help you relax.
  • Go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every day.
  • Exercise on a regular basis (but not right before going to bed).
  • Make your sleeping area quiet, dark and a little cool.
  • Avoid daytime naps if possible.
  • Have a small snack before bed so you do not go to bed hungry.

The Sleep Center at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake provides treatment designed to alleviate or prevent sleep disorders and help sufferers enjoy a good night’s rest. For more information about The Sleep Center, visit www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/TheSleepCenter.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com