Fact vs. Fiction: Concussion and Youth Athletes

Monday, September 08, 2014 2:28 PM comments (0)

concussionPlaying a sport, whether contact or not, puts your children at increased risk for injury. This includes many of the activities and sports kids and teens participate in during or after school. With any injury, especially head injuries, it’s important to know the difference between fact and fiction.   

Elizabeth Pieroth, PsyD, ABPP, the Associate Director of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Sports Concussion Program, helps parents distinguish the facts from the fictions when it comes to concussion:

  • Fiction: You need to be “knocked out” to have a concussion.
    Fact: The majority of concussions do not cause unconsciousness. In fact, only about one in every 10 concussions result in loss of consciousness.  
  • Fiction: Men suffer from concussions more than women.
    Fact: Women are just as prone to concussion as men. Some of the highest rates of concussions occur in women who play soccer, basketball or do cheerleading.  
  • Fiction: If you’re feeling fine, you probably don’t have a concussion and can continue to play.
    Fact: If you suspect that you or someone on your team has suffered a concussion, it’s important to stop play immediately. Symptoms don’t always surface right away, and it’s best to get examined by a trainer or team/family physician before going back to the game.
  • Fiction: The use of helmets and mouth guards can prevent and reduce your risk of concussion.
    Fact: While wearing a helmet can protect the head from fracture, it doesn’t guarantee reduced instances of concussion. As for mouth guards, there isn’t sufficient evidence to support the claim that head injuries can be reduced. Safety equipment in any sport is important, even if it doesn’t always protect from concussions.
  • Fiction: If someone has a concussion, they must avoid any and all stimulation until they are symptom-free.
    Fact: Most newly concussed patients will feel better if they avoid loud noises, bright lights and busy environments. However, there is no scientific evidence to support prolonged avoidance of stimulation. In fact, it may be counterproductive. It is more important to examine what triggers a person’s symptoms to better manage their environment.  
  • Fiction: It takes months to recover from a concussion.
    Fact: Most people who suffer a concussion recover in 1-2 weeks, although some have symptoms that persist. There are, however, treatments to treat lingering symptoms.

Questions? Well let's chat! Join us on Twitter on September 15th from 11 to 12 p.m. @NorthShoreWeb and @DrEPieroth will answer all your questions on concussion and youth sports, from diagnosis to treatment and prevention. Tweet your questions using #nschats.  

Comment

A Caregiver's Love: Russ Bond Shares His and His Husband's Journey Through Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 5:12 PM comments (0)

russ bond

Patient Don Tabler was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, with some charts giving him only six years to live. His husband Russ Bond cared for him throughout his 12-year journey with prostate cancer.

Here, Russ discusses the important role of a caregiver as well as the care his husband received at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center, including the cutting edge treatments and clincial trials that helped Don's doctor, Daniel Shevrin, MD, Medical Oncology and Palliative Medicine, improve and maintain his quality of live and extend his survival far beyond what was intially projected.

Comment

Ready to Hit the Books: Healthy Kids Make Happy, Successful Students [Infographic]

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 11:40 AM comments (0)

The kids are back in school and already busy with homework, classes and practice. Don't let hectic schedules put your children’s health in detention. Parents can do plenty to help their children stay healthy and succeed in school—from ensuring they get adequate sleep and regular exercise to serving up balanced meals and more. After all, children’s health has been shown to be directly linked to success in school. 

Our latest infographic explores the connection between children’s health and academic performance with health information and tips from the experts at NorthShore University HealthSystem. Click on the image below to see the full infographic. 

 

Join NorthShore's new online community, The Parent 'Hood, to connect with other new and expecting parents, as well as our expert physicians. Find support, ask questions and share your stories. Click The Parent 'Hood to start now! 

Comment

Fresh Recipe: Kale Salad with Homemade Honey Dressing

Friday, August 29, 2014 9:00 AM comments (0)

kale saladKale is all the rage. It's in grocery stores and on restaurant menus, but if it also happens to be in backyard garden, we’ve got the recipe for you. Packed with vitamins A, C and K, as well as plenty of antioxidants, there aren’t many leafy greens quite as healthy as kale.

Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, shares a recipe for kale salad that is sure to have the entire family asking for more:

Recipe makes 5 servings

Ingredients:

For dressing:

  • 1/4 cup hazelnut oil*
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

For salad:

  • 2 bunches of kale (should yield 5-6 cups chopped kale)
  • 1 large head of broccoli (should yield 2 cups of chopped broccoli florets)
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 medium golden beets, cooked and sliced 
  • 1/2 cup of toasted hazelnuts

Instructions:

  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Remove the inner rib from the kale and finely chop the leaves.
  3. Remove the stem from the broccoli and finely chop the florets.  
  4. Remove the stems from the strawberries and thinly slice.
  5. Cook the beets until tender, peel the skin, and remove the stems. Slice each beet into 8 segments.  
  6. Combine the kale, broccoli, strawberries, beets and hazelnuts in a large bowl. 
  7. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories:  292
Fat: 16g  
Carb: 31
Fiber: 4
Protein: 6

*Canola or olive oil can be substituted if hazelnut oil is not available.

Comment

Four Essential Nutrients for a Healthier Lunch Box

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 4:06 PM comments (0)

lunch boxHot dogs, pizza, tater tots, chicken nuggets, ketchup and bagged chips – these high-fat, high-sodium and low-fiber foods are made available every day in some schools across the country. With over one-third of American children overweight or obese, it’s little wonder First Lady Michelle Obama has made improving standards for school lunches a focus. And improvements are happening, but packed lunches are still a great way to help your children keep calories and fat under control, as well provide the essential nutrients they need to grow and thrive. 

Kimberly Hammon, Dietitian at NorthShore, shares some healthy lunch tips for how to include essential nutrients – vitamin D, calcium, fiber and potassium – into your kid’s packed lunch:  

Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various cancers, including colon and breast, heart disease and depression. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium to maximize bone growth and strength. 

What to pack?

  • Most milk products have vitamin D.
  • If your child isn’t a milk drinker, pack vitamin D-fortified orange juice instead.
  • Up vitamin D intake in the morning with yogurt, oatmeal or cereals.

Calcium: Calcium is an essential nutrient that helps build strong bones, but it also can help with heart rhythm, blood clotting and muscle function.

What to pack?

  • Milk or flavored milk is a healthy addition to every meal.
  • Orange juice with added calcium is a non-dairy option.
  • Add cheese to sandwiches or include cubes or sticks. Low-fat mozzarella and Swiss have the highest amount of calcium.
  • Trail mix with raw almonds is a healthy dessert or snack. Almonds are high in protein, fiber and calcium, and promote heart health and, when consumed in moderation, can help prevent weight gain. 

Fiber: Fiber can help prevent type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. It also helps tummies feel fuller longer. 

What to pack?

  • A sandwich with whole grain bread. Whole grains not only have lots of fiber, but protein, B vitamins and antioxidants.
  • While fiber from whole grains and fruits and veggies is still the best option, cereal bars can be a complaint-free way to get a little more fiber into your child’s diet. Make sure you check labels! Some brands don’t have enough fiber to justify the added sugar.
  • Apples have lots of fiber. Tip: to keep apple slices from going brown, sprinkle with lemon juice. Other high-fiber fruits include bananas, berries and dried fruits. 
  • High in fiber and heart-healthy fat, avocados can add flavor, creaminess and nutrients to sandwiches and wraps. 

Potassium: Potassium-rich diets promote heart and muscle function, maintain fluid balance, energize and help build strong bones. 

What to pack?

  • Dried fruit, especially dried apricots, have lots of potassium, as do bananas, nectarines and oranges.
  • Try to sneak some vegetables into sandwiches or wraps, especially spinach, which is high in potassium. 

What do you pack to provide a healthy lunch for your kids?

Comment

From Survivor to Supporter: Debbie Hulick Helps Raise Funds for Ovarian Cancer Research

Friday, August 22, 2014 11:28 AM comments (0)

Debbie Hulick

Debbie Hulick is not only the co-chair of the 2014 American Craft Exposition and an active board member of the Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem, she’s also an ovarian cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in June 2007. With three daughters of her own, raising awareness and raising funds for ovarian cancer research has become a passion. The American Craft Exposition (ACE), which provides funding to the research efforts of her own physician, Dr. Gustavo Rodriguez, was a natural next step after she completed treatment at NorthShore. 

Debbie tells us what led her to ACE and why research into this “silent” killer is so important:  

What is your role with the American Craft Exposition (ACE)?
I am co-chair of the 2014 American Craft Exposition and an active board member of the Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem.

How did you learn about ACE? Why did you want to become involved?
After my treatment for stage three ovarian cancer at NorthShore was completed, I found out that ACE was funding the ovarian cancer research efforts of my physician, Gustavo Rodriguez, MD, for at-risk women. Having three daughters, it was very important for me to become involved and help support this very significant cause. Today the funds raised at ACE are being applied to help better the lives of women in our community and I could not be more proud to have a hand in these efforts. 

How does ACE help women with ovarian cancer?
Funds raised at ACE support pioneering research being conducted at NorthShore that is already showing promising results in preventing ovarian cancer in at-risk women. Ovarian cancer is called the “silent” killer because symptoms are easy to dismiss and the disease is often diagnosed too late for effective treatment. More than 100 researchers are engaged in breast and ovarian cancer studies at NorthShore encompassing an array of multi-disciplinary programs addressing better methods for prevention, detection and treatment.

What excites you most about this year’s exhibition? What will visitors see?
I am very excited that we have over 30 new artists exhibiting at ACE for the first time this year, including artist Thomas Marrinson. His brightly colored ceramic bowls create a stunning display and are sure to “wow” attendees! Besides Marrinson’s work, visitors will have the opportunity to peruse and purchase stunning pieces from over 160 of the country’s finest craft artists. We also are bringing back our Craft in Action stage this year where visitors can watch both ceramic and wood demonstrations. 

The American Craft Exposition is open to the public starting Friday, August 22nd. Visit americancraftexpo.org for all of the details.

Comment

Summer Cold or a Sinus Infection?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:07 AM comments (0)

Cold-SinusAt one time or another—and maybe even multiple times each year—we’ve all had the symptoms of a cold. But there's no worse time to suffer the symptoms of a cold than in the summer. The familiar prolonged running nose and sniffling, and the sinus pressure that comes along with it. How do you know if it’s just a common cold or a sinus infection?

Ilana Seligman, MD, Pediatric Otolaryngologist at NorthShore, breaks down the differences between a cold and a sinus infection, and tells us the right time to make an appointment with a doctor: 

Common Cold
There are not perfect steps to follow for cold prevention; instead, it’s best to wash your hands frequently, and avoid sharing cups and toothbrushes. If you already have a cold, there isn’t much a doctor can do because prescribing antibiotics is not recommended. You can, however, treat the symptoms. Most colds typically last 7-10 days, and common symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Fever
  • Sore throat or cough
  • Clear or colored nasal discharge

Treating the Symptoms

  • For a stuffy nose, nasal decongestants can help you breathe easier. If you want to go the more natural route, try a saline nasal sprays or even a Neti Pot. 
  • For cough, warm liquids, like tea with honey, can be enough to provide relief. The honey also pulls double duty by soothing sore, scratchy throats. 
  • Sleep! Rest is the key to bouncing back fast.  

Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is an infection or inflammation of the lining of the sinus cavities. Very few colds—only 5-10%—will turn into sinus infections. Common signs your cold is a sinus infection include:

  • Continued nasal congestion after 10 days
  • Significant headaches, teeth or facial pain
  • High fever or persistent drainage

If you experience these symptoms it may be a sinus infection, which means it's time to consult your physician. Common treatment often includes prescribing antibiotics.

Do you know when you have a cold versus a sinus infection? What home remedies to you defer to when you have a cold?

Comment

Tips for Handling Back-to-School Jitters with Kindergarten and Elementary Students

Friday, August 15, 2014 6:37 AM comments (0)

back-to-school

Nervousness on the first day of school is perfectly normal both for parents and young students. New routines, new people, new information: it’s a time of transition. But “transition” doesn’t have to be a bad word. 

Nancy Zinaman, LCSW, shares some simple back-to-school preparation tips that will make the first day easier on the entire family:

For kindergartners try not to make the first day over emotional. If parents are anxious they need to be aware of their own feelings so as not to make their children more nervous.

Children who have made a smooth transition into preschool may have a harder time transitioning into Kindergarten. You can help make this transition easier by playing on the school playground with your child before classes begin. Visit the school when it is empty or schedule a tour. If time allows, visit or arrange a one-on-one meeting with the teacher and staff. Familiar faces and places will make the first day so much easier.

For children with special needs it’s important for parents to connect with teachers prior to the first day of class to make sure they are aware of separation anxiety, ADHD or any other family challenges

Find out the best way to communicate with your child’s teacher. Ask your child’s teacher what he or she would prefer: email, phone, etc. This will foster a positive, productive relationship from the start. 

Prepare for the new routine early. Don’t wait until the first day to start implementing your new routine. Put the school day structure in place one or two weeks before: establish a back-to-school bedtime; get up early; give kids a fun school-day task like packing their own lunch or backpack. Don’t over-schedule after school activities the first couple of weeks because your children will be tired after a long day of school.

Talk to your children. Find out how your children really feel about starting a new school year. Is there something in particular that is causing nervousness or dread? Give yourself time to address it or talk to the school about it if it’s something the school can address. Let your children know their feelings are normal and that they are not alone.

How does your family prepare for the first day of school?

Comment

Get Serious about Laughing: Giggling is Good for You!

Thursday, August 14, 2014 8:38 AM comments (0)

Laughter-YogaRemember the last time you had a good laugh? How about that feeling of amusement you get when you anticipate witnessing something funny? Mirth—otherwise known as merriment and glee—has been the recent subject of research. While still in its infancy, some of the studies’ early results might surprise you.

John Chamness, a licensed massage therapist at NorthShore’s Integrative Medicine program lists some of the recent findings behind mirth.  After watching funny movies, participants experienced the following health benefits:

  • Significantly lowered risk of a second heart attack in men who combined watching 30 minutes a day with standard cardio rehab
  • Increased beneficial blood vessel relaxation
  • Influenced the expression of genes, including turning on genes related to immune function
  • Reduced water loss from skin in elderly men with atopic dermatitis (dry skin)
  • Short-term improvement of erectile dysfunction

Are these the effects of the state of mirth, or the laughter that is often a result? Regardless, you don't have to wait for something funny to enjoy a laugh; laughter can be prolonged as a deliberate behavior.

In Laughter Yoga—a social movement that began in India and is catching on here—participants alternate 45 – 60 seconds of deliberate, sustained laughter with deep breathing and brief stretching for a total of 30 minutes. After seven sessions over three weeks, Laughter Yoga participants had significantly lowered their blood pressure.

During sustained laughter (through Laughter Yoga or not), the diaphragm increases from working an average of 12 times per minute during regular breathing to 300 forceful times per minute. Over 20 minutes of sustained laughter accounts for 6,000 contractions. That’s quite a workout!

So, what’s the key take away? Be serious in your pursuit of health, but don't always pursue health with seriousness.

What makes you laugh? Have you ever participated in a Laughter Yoga session?

Comment

The Importance of Well Woman Visits

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:06 AM comments (0)

As a woman, regular visits to the obstetrician/gynecologist are an important way to establish a long-term, trusting relationship with your clinician. They are also an opportunity to regularly review your medical history and evaluate your current health through various screenings, including a breast exam, mammogram or pelvic exam.

Dr. Carl BuccellatoDespite recent headlines from the American College of Physicians (ACP), a screening pelvic exam as part of your well woman visit is important for women both with and without symptoms. While a pelvic exam and/or breast exam may be moderately uncomfortable or even embarrassing for some, its enormous possible health benefits make it an essential appointment for every woman.&

A well woman visit does not consist solely of a pelvic exam or breast exam; instead these visits are an opportunity for women to have open conversations with their physicians and learn helpful information about their bodies and anatomy.  They can lead to the early detection of issues ranging from benign conditions like pelvic support and pain to sexually transmitted infection; ovarian, cervical, vaginal, skin and breast cancers; fibroids and more. 

Carl Buccellato, MD, Gynecologist at NorthShore, shares information about what you should expect from a yearly well woman visit:

  • Open conversation. It’s important so come prepared to have a frank conversation about contraceptive and preconception counseling and safe sex practices with your doctor.
  • Discussion about your state of health. Just like your yearly visit with your primary care physician, you will discuss any recent changes to your health, concerns from the last year and updates to your medical history.
  • Medications. Bring a list of your current medications, including any birth control.
  • Breast examination. A breast exam should happen at each of your yearly appointments starting at age 21. If you notice any changes to your breasts from self-examination, please inform your physician.
  • Pelvic exam. A pelvic exam is typically performed at each annual visit, and will not always include a Pap smear. A pelvic exam consists of both an external and internal visual exam as well as an evaluation of your uterus and ovaries through a manual exam, which should take no more than 2-3 minutes. You may feel some pressure and mild discomfort during this exam but it should not be painful.
  • Pap smear. You should consult with your physician on the best recommended schedule for this test. The timing of your Pap smear will depend on your age, health and medical history. We recommend you get your first Pap smear by age 21. It is commonly then performed every 3 years until you are 30, and every 3-5 years thereafter.

You should always be proactive about scheduling more frequent appointments and undergoing screenings if you have previously had abnormal test results from a Pap smear; family history of uterine or breast cancer; and/or any recent changes in health such as infection, pain or bleeding.

Studies performed by NorthShore researchers suggest a painful pelvic exam is one marker of chronic pain issues. It may be important to address this issue with your OB/GYN physician before chronic pain develops. This NIH-funded research study Chronic Pain Associated with Menstrual Pelvic Pain (CRAMPP) is being done by investigators Frank Tu, MD, and Kevin Hellman, PhD. 

While more research has yet to be conducted, a painful exam may not be entirely normal. If you experience pain and/or moderate-to-severe discomfort during your pelvic exam, please inform your OB/GYN physician.

Comment
× Alternate Text