Benefits of Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.

Telemedicine is not a separate medical specialty.

The practice of medicine through telecommunications, or telemedicine, began in the early 1960s when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) first put men in space. Physiological measurements of the astronauts were telemetered from both the spacecraft and the space suits during NASA space flights. These early efforts were enhanced by the development of satellite technology that fostered the development of telemedicine.

Now, telemedicine is expanding and may soon redefine modern health care. With the aid of wearable health monitors, computers, and video, doctors will be able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat you—all without your physical presence in their office.

How is telemedicine used today?

Telemedicine provides opportunities to keep people healthy and outside of hospitals. For example, in certain regions and medical practices in the US:

  • You can send a digital image of a suspicious rash, along with your medical history, to a dermatologist, who will review it, diagnose, and prescribe medication to treat it.
  • You can check-in with your doctor after surgery for follow-up care in your own home.
  • If you have diabetes, you can monitor your blood sugar levels at home and upload the readings to your doctor's computer, saving yourself a time-consuming visit. Irregular blood sugar levels would generate an alert to the doctor's staff to call you in for immediate intervention to prevent complications.
  • If you have hypertension, you can wear a monitor that tracks your blood pressure daily and transmits your results to your medical record, allowing your doctor to track your progress.

Convenience. Need a quick consultation with your doctor? Telemedicine can save you travel time and the hassle of sitting in a waiting room with other sick people.

Increased rural access. There’s a shortage of doctors in many rural areas of the US. Telemedicine has a unique capacity to increase medical service to rural patients.

Cost and efficiency. Doctors often charge less for a telemedicine consultation than they do for an in-person visit. A telemedicine consult might cost $40 to $70, compared for $130 to $180 for an office visit. In addition, telemedicine allows doctors to efficiently and closely monitor patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Second opinions. Telemedicine allows a far-away specialist to evaluate your MRI, X-ray, or other scans and tests. This will help patients who want a second opinion, as well as doctors who want to consult with experts on complicated cases.

These technologies offer convenience and huge potential cost savings, but they are not without controversy. Some doctors are concerned about the safety of prescribing drugs without examining the patient in person.Can they really assess what the patient needs over a video link? They also worry that telemedicine could depersonalize your healthcare. In addition, some medical problems will always demand a personal exam.

Sources: Berkley Wellness

FDA Strengthens Heart Safety Warnings on Painkillers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling on drug makers of some popular painkillers to strengthen their warning labels after a review of new safety information. The warning labels on non-aspirin non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, must be updated to identify an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.

NSAIDs are typically given to relieve pain or fever that results from, but not limited to, arthritis  flu, headaches and menstrual cramps. Higher doses require a prescription, while lower doses are available over-the-counter. The warning applies to both. Brand names include Celebrex, Advil, Naprosyn, Aleve and Daypro, to name a few.

Bayer (manufacturer of Aleve) released a statement to CNN saying: "When taken as directed on the label, Aleve (naproxen sodium 220 mg) is a safe and effective pain reliever, used by millions of consumers since its introduction as an OTC product 20 years ago. Importantly, data collected for nearly 20 years indicates no signal (i.e., trend) for OTC naproxen sodium with regard to the occurrence of (cardiovascular) thrombotic and overall (cardiovascular) events."

The statement added: "We will work with the FDA to incorporate additional label information as appropriate."

Pfizer (manufacturer of Celebrex and Advil) released a statement saying: "For over 30 years, extensive consumer use and several clinical studies have shown that Ibuprofen, when used as directed, is a safe and effective over-the-counter pain reliever delivered in a lower strength than prescription ibuprofen.

"We are committed to patient safety, and we will work with the FDA to make sure that new safety information is appropriately added to our packaging/drug facts label so that consumers can continue to safely use our products."

The FDA issued, what it calls a drug safety communication, saying the labels must include, "the risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID. The risk appears greater at higher doses." Additionally, labels should say that the risk is not limited to patients with heart disease, and that patients with heart disease have a higher risk. The FDA says there is not sufficient evidence to determine whether the risk is the same for all NSAIDs. There is also an increased risk for heart failure associated with these medications.

The risks for prescription NSAIDs are greater because they are higher dosages and prescribed for daily use. In contrast, over-the-counter NSAIDs are taken intermittently and at lower dosages and thus carry a lower risk.

The move comes after an advisory committee reviewed these medications and the associated risks for cardiovascular events in February 2014, and recommended a strengthened warning.

Dr. Steven Nissen, chief of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, agrees with the evidence that these drugs do increase a person's risk for heart attack and stroke. He says the warning, though is vague but has to be because there is no good data to give consumers or doctors a definitive answer. "What patients need to know is, if you take the drugs, 'What is my risk of heart attack?' and that's not known yet," Nissen says. He blames this on the drugs being approved before current vigorous outcome data was required by the FDA.

Nissen told CNN, "The writing has been on the wall for a long time." After all, he is no stranger to these concerns. His 2001 study was the first to raise a red flag over the drug Vioxx, a COX-2 inhibitor, made by Merck, that was pulled from the market. On the heels of that, another COX-2 inhibitor, Bextra, was withdrawn.

Fifteen years later there is still not a definitive answer.

"We don't have any good data," Nissen says. In search of that robust scientific data on the risk of these drugs and whether or not the risk varies between these drugs, he and a group of his colleagues have been following 24,000 patients since 2007 in a randomized clinical trial. The study participants are divided into three groups treated with ibuprofen, Celebrex, or naproxen. The patients nor the doctors know who is getting which drug. The Precision trial, as its called, is funded by Pfizer and results are expected next year.

Atlanta internist Dr. Anna Steinberg agrees that the FDA's warning is too vague. She says doctors already avoid NSAIDs for patients with congestive heart failure or high blood pressure. For patients with no risk, "I am not going to tell them to stop taking these," she says, adding that alternatives for pain relief other than acetaminophen are limited. She believes the FDA should have waited until it could offer more definitive guidance, saying this creates, "Way to much room for mass hysteria."

In the meantime, Nissen says the best advice for patients is "take these at the lowest dosages for the least amount of time that relieves symptoms." He says people should not be afraid to take ibuprofen but if you have heart disease you should be more cautious.

The FDA advises patients who experience shortness of breath, chest pain, sudden numbness or weakness, or sudden slurred speech to seek immediate medical attention. Other side effects should be reported to the agency.

Source: WDSU

How to Prevent and Treat Insect Bites Without Harsh Chemicals

Summertime calls most of us to spend time outdoors. Alas, bugs can be a real buzz-kill at best, and carriers of disease at worst. Additionally, most commercial insect repellants contain a chemical known as DEET, which should be used with caution, if at all. Many studies have found DEET to have harmful effects.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tricks to keeping biting bugs at bay, and they don't involve applying toxic chemicals to your skin. There are also many natural remedies that can help take the sting out of your insect bites, should preventive methods fail. Some of the most common biting insects include: 

  • Mosquitoes
  • Fleas
  • Gnats
  • Spiders
  • Certain flies
  • Bedbugs
  • Midges
  • Ticks

Fortunately, it's fairly rare to catch diseases from most insect bites if you live in countries far away from the equator, such as northern parts of Europe, United States, and Canada. The closer you are to the equator, the risk of being bit by mosquitoes and other insects carrying diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness, yellow fever, encephalitis, West Nile virus and dengue fever increases.

Ticks, however, can spread human babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease—one of the most serious and controversial epidemics of our time—regardless of your geographical location. To avoid ticks, make sure to tuck your pants into socks and wear closed shoes and a hat—especially if venturing out into wooded areas.

Simple Preventative Measures to Avoid Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes are probably the most pervasive when it comes to biting bugs that can ruin an otherwise pleasant outing. There are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world, about 200 of which occur in the US. Naturally, the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to prevent coming into contact with them in the first place.

You can avoid insect bites by staying inside around dawn and dusk, which is when they are most active. If you must be out during those times, wear light-colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants, hats and socks. Mosquitoes are also thicker in shrubby areas and near standing water.

Body temperature and skin chemicals like lactic acid also attract mosquitoes, which explains why you're more likely to be "eaten alive" when you're sweaty, such as during or after exercise, so trying to stay as cool and dry as you can may help to some degree. You may also want to forgo bananas during mosquito season. According to Dr. Janet Starr Hull, "there's something about how your body processes the banana oil that attracts these female sugar-loving insects."

She also recommends supplementing with one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Research also suggests that regularly consuming garlic or garlic capsules may help protect against both mosquito and tick bites. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has a helpful factsheet of things you can do to prevent mosquito breeding on your property. The Three D's of protection from mosquitoes are:

   Drain—Mosquitoes require water in which to breed, so carefully drain any and all sources of standing water around your house and yard, including pet bowls, gutters, garbage and recycling bins, spare tires, bird baths and so on

   Dress—Light colored, loose fitting clothing offer the greatest protection

   Defend—While the AMCA recommends using commercial repellents, I highly recommend avoiding most chemical repellents, especially those containing DEET. Instead, try some of the natural alternatives suggested in this article

Bat houses are becoming increasingly popular since bats are voracious consumers of insects, especially mosquitoes. For more on buying a bat house or constructing one yourself, visit the Organization for Bat Conservation.Planting marigolds around your yard also works as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance that bugs do not like. This is a great way to ward off mosquitoes without using chemical insecticides. A simple house fan could also help keep mosquitoes at bay if you're having a get-together in your backyard.

Steer Clear of Chemical Repellents, Especially DEET

Currently, DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is used in more than 230 different products -- in concentrations of up to an astounding 100 percent. If a chemical melts plastic or fishing line, it's not wise to apply it to your skin -- and that is exactly what DEET does.

Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia spent 30 years researching the effects of pesticides. He discovered that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair cell function in parts of your brain -- demonstrated in the lab by death and behavioral changes in rats with frequent or prolonged DEET use. Children are particularly at risk for subtle brain changes because their skin more readily absorbs chemicals in the environment and chemicals more potently affect their developing nervous systems. 

Other potential side effects DEET exposure include:

  • Memory loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Tremors

Another potentially harmful chemical found in many bug sprays is permethrin. This chemical is a member of the synthetic pyrethroid family, all of which are neurotoxins. The EPA has even deemed this chemical carcinogenic, capable of causing lung tumors, liver tumors, immune system problems, and chromosomal abnormalities. Permethrin is also damaging to the environment, and it is particularly toxic to bees and aquatic life. It should also be noted that permethrin is highly toxic to cats.

Even a few drops can be lethal to your feline pet. It is used as an ingredient in some topical flea products, so when you see "for dogs only" on the label, it likely contains permethrin. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released an extensive review of the safety (or lack thereof) of virtually all bug repellant ingredients.

Keeping Insects at Bay the Natural Way

Fortunately, there are highly effective repellents on the market comprised of natural botanical oils and extracts that are every bit as effective as DEET, but with none of the potentially harmful effects. You can also make your own repellent using:

   Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET).

   Clear vanilla oil mixed with olive oil.

   Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100% pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java Citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market.

   Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times more effective than DEET).

Another option is to use the safe solution I have formulated to repel mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, ticks, and other biting insects. It's a natural insect spray with a combination of citronella, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, and vanillin, which is a dynamite blend of natural plant extracts. In fact, an independent study showed my bug spray to be more effective than a product containing 100 percent DEET. And it's safe for you, your children, and your pets.

Treating Bites and Stings with Herbs and Other Natural Agents

Once you've been bitten, the objective changes from repelling to treating the itch and inflammation caused by the bite. Fortunately, many herbs and other natural agents are soothing to the skin, and many have anti-inflammatory properties. So for your occasional mosquito bites, try one of the following:

Aloe vera: It contains over 130 active compounds and 34 amino acids that are beneficial to your skin.

Calendula: An herb with soothing, moisturizing and rejuvenating properties.

Chamomile: The most soothing herb of all, whether used in a tea or applied to the skin. It is rich in the bioflavonoids apigenin, luteolin and quercetin.

Cinnamon: In addition to possibly repelling mosquitoes, cinnamon has antibacterial and anti fungal properties.

Cucumbers are helpful for reducing swelling.

Raw organic honey: An especially powerful variety is Manuka honey from New Zealand, made from bees that feed on flowers of the Manuka bush, also known as the "Tea Tree."

Lavender: One of the most popular essential oils for its calming scent, lavender is as antimicrobial as it is soothing.

Neem oil: Effective against fungal conditions, boils, eczema, and ringworm, and it would undoubtedly help an insect bite as well.

Tea Tree oil: Helpful for healing cuts, burns, infections and a multitude of other skin afflictions. It is also a good antimicrobial, including fungal infections.

Basil contains camphor and thymol, two compounds that can relieve itching. Either crush up some fresh herb and apply directly to the bite, or buy the essential oil.

Lemon and lime both have anti-itch, antibacterial and antimicrobial actions. Avoid applying citrus juices to your skin when outdoors however, as blistering can occur when exposed to sunlight.

Peppermint—the cooling sensation can block other sensations, such as itching, providing temporary relief. Either the essential oil or crushed fresh leaves will do. 

Hot or Cold Therapies Can Take the Sting Out of a Bug Bite

Using either ice or heat are other options that can help ease the discomfort associated with bug bites. For example, an article in Scientific American recommends using a simple ice pack to treat painful insect bites in lieu of analgesics. The article also explains why common topical steroids like hydrocortisone aren't always the answer—one reason being that you're not supposed to put them on broken skin.
According to an article published in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin just last year, there is also little direct evidence supporting the efficacy of commercial preparations for insect bites, including antihistamines and topical corticosteroids. The authors concluded that the best course of action for mild local reactions is to simply clean the area and apply a cold compress.
Alternatively, applying heat directly to the bite also appears to relieve itchiness. One simple way is to apply a heated spoon directly to the area, as demonstrated by Just hold the spoon under hot tap water for about a minute to heat the metal, then press it against the bite for a couple of minutes. Make sure the spoon is not too hot.

To Enjoy the Outdoors, a Little Preparation and Planning Can Go a Long Way

With a little planning and preparation, you should be able to enjoy the outdoors without getting eaten alive. Remember the Three D's of protection from mosquitoes: drain, dress, and defend

Eliminating the breeding grounds for mosquitoes is the first step to limiting their numbers. Planting marigolds around your yard and maybe installing a bat box or two can also go a long way toward preventing them in the first place.

A Detroit Hematologist-Oncologist Was Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison

A Detroit-area doctor who authorities say gave cancer treatment drugs to patients who did not need them -- including some who didn't actually have cancer -- was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison.

Dr. Farid Fata, 50, pleaded guilty in September to giving cancer treatments to misdiagnosed patients, telling some they had a terminal blood cancer called multiple myeloma. He pleaded guilty to 13 counts of Medicare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering. 

Federal prosecutors called him the "most egregious fraudster in the history of this country." To Fata, they said, "patients were not people. They were profit centers."

Fata forfeited $17.6 million that he collected from Medicare and private insurance companies. Some 553 patients received medically unnecessary infusions or injections, prosecutors said.

The hematologist-oncologist gave an emotional apology in court, saying he was "ashamed" of his actions.

"I have violated the Hippocratic oath and violated the trust of my patients," Fata said, according to CNN affiliate WDIV. "I do not know how I can heal the wound. I do not know how to express the sorrow and the shame."

    But to the dozens of Fata's victims who filed into U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan throughout the week to watch his sentencing, his apology doesn't matter. Many will live with the effects of his, at times, unnecessary treatments, for the rest of their lives.

    As Geraldine Parkin, the wife of one former patient said in court, many were "tortured until their last breaths."

    Robert Sobieray went to Fata and was given chemotherapy treatments for two and a half years. But he never had cancer. "It just gets to me," Sobieray said. "What was the motivation? Why, why me? I don't know what did I ever do to him."

    The chemotherapy treatments were painful, and made him physically sick. They were so strong that his teeth fell out and his jaw started to change shape. Years after finding out he didn't have cancer, he has lost all but one of his teeth.

    "With all the bills piling up, I can't afford to get new teeth," Sobieray said. "(I) would like to eat a good meal again someday. Like salad, used to love eating salad. I can't eat that anymore. A lot of things I love I can't eat anymore."

    Patty Hester went to Fata in 2010 after being recommended by another doctor. Her white blood cell counts were low, and Fata was a renowned hematologist and oncologist.

    "He was, according to the web page, and according to the fliers, he's world-renowned," Hester said. "When you went in his office, he was top doc."

    Hester, who worked in an emergency room at the time, was devastated when Fata told her she had myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

    "He said, 'You need to start on chemo, like, immediately,'" Hester recalled.

    She was in disbelief. And after debating with Fata, he instead put her on iron treatments and, eventually, blood plasma treatments. She was still taking those pricey plasma treatments the day co-workers made her come to the TV and see the news: her doctor had been arrested.

    Hester did not have cancer.

    Some of Fata's patients did have various forms of cancer. Chris Sneary faced Fata for the first time since his former doctor's arrest on Tuesday as he read his victim impact statement in court. He turned to glance at Fata, took a deep breath and read his story.

    Sneary came to Fata to be treated for testicular cancer from 2010 to 2013. He had 40 days of chemotherapy, 14 days of hydration therapy and dozens of other treatments and procedures.

    "I gave full and total trust to this man to get me and my family through this journey I was about to begin," Sneary said.

    Sneary discovered after Fata's arrest that he'd been given "gross overtreatment" -- more expensive and harsh chemotherapy than was necessary and, worse, he had a testicle removed that was medically unnecessary.

    "Dr. Fata took full advantage of my trust in him, my fear of dying and, most of all, my top of the line health insurance," Sneary said, at times fighting back tears in court.

    And one patient who did have cancer spoke out in court posthumously. Donald Crabtree's wife, Marietta, read a statement he wrote back in December last year, before he passed away.

    "None of the tumors were helped -- they increased in number, they increased in size," Crabtree read in court. "I believe Dr. Fata knowingly and purposely treated me for the wrong cancer and gave me the wrong chemotherapy."

    Crabtree said it was his dying wish for Fata to spend the rest of his life in prison.

    Before being sentenced, Fata turned to face those who were at his sentencing and apologized.

    "The quest for power is self-destructive," he said, according to WDIV. "They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed. Yes, I failed."

    Now some of his former patients have a chance to file claims and possibly be awarded some of the funds that he collected from Medicare and insurance companies.

    Fata is expected to serve at least 34 years of his sentence, possibly at a low-security prison in Michigan.

    Source: CNN

    Fireworks Safety Tips.

    Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

    Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths. How? By working with a national, state or local organization where you live to promote fireworks safety in your community.

    Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

    • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
    • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
    • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
    • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
    • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
    • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
    • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
    • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
    •  Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
    • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
    • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

    Exercise for Seniors

    Regular exercise and physical activity are important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. Regular physical activity over long periods of time can produce long-term health benefits. That's why health experts say that older adults should be active every day to maintain their health.

    How do I get started?

    It is important to wear loose, comfortable clothing and well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Your shoes should have a good arch support, and an elevated and cushioned heel to absorb shock.

    If you are not already active, begin slowly. Start with exercises that you are already comfortable doing. Starting slowly makes it less likely that you will injure yourself. Starting slowly also helps prevent soreness. The saying "no pain, no gain" is not true for older or elderly adults. You do not have to exercise at a high intensity to get most health benefits.

    For example, walking is an excellent activity to start with. As you become used to exercising, or if you are already active, you can slowly increase the intensity of your exercise program.

    Is it safe for me to exercise?

    It is safe for most adults older than 65 years of age to exercise. Even patients who have chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis can exercise safely. Many of these conditions are improved with exercise. If you are not sure if exercise is safe for you or if you are currently inactive, ask your doctor.

    What type of exercise should I do?

    There are several types of exercise that you should do. You will want to do some type of aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Examples are walking, swimming and bicycling. You should also do resistance (also called strength training) 2 days per week.

    Warm up for 5 minutes before each exercise session. Walking slowly and then stretching are good warm-up activities. You should also cool down with more stretching for 5 minutes when you finish exercising. Cool down longer in warmer weather.

    Exercise is only good for you if you are feeling well. Wait to exercise until you feel better if you have a cold, the flu or another illness. If you miss exercise for more than 2 weeks, be sure to start slowly again.

    When should I call my doctor?

    If your muscles or joints are sore the day after exercising, you may have done too much. Next time, exercise at a lower intensity. If the pain or discomfort persists, you should talk to your doctor. You should also talk to your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms while exercising:

       Chest pain or pressure

       Trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath

       Light-headedness or dizziness

       Difficulty with balance


    What are some specific exercises I can do?

    The next are simple strength exercises that you can do at home. Each exercise should be done 8 to 10 times for 2 sets. Remember to:

       Complete all movements in a slow, controlled fashion.

       Don't hold your breath.

       Stop if you feel pain.

       Stretch each muscle after your workout.

    Wall Pushups

    Place hands flat against the wall. Slowly lower body to the wall. Push body away from wall to return to starting position.

    Chair Squats

    Begin by sitting in the chair. Lean slightly forward and stand up from the chair. Try not to favor one side or use your hands to help you.

    Bicep Curl

    Hold a weight in each hand with your arms at your sides. Bending your arms at the elbows, lift the weights to your shoulders and then lower them to your sides.

    Shoulder Shrugs

    Hold a weight in each hand with your arms at your side. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears and then lower them back down.

    Speak with your doctor before doing these exercises if you have a balance disturbance or are concerned about whether it is safe for you to do them.


    ‘Flesh-Eating Bacteria’ Lurking at Florida Beaches : How to Avoid it.

    Take caution if you’re headed to the Florida beaches this summer: A potentially deadly species of bacteria found in saltwater has infected at least eight and killed three people so far this year, according to state officials.

    Vibrio vulnificus blooms in Florida’s warm May to October climate. ABC News reported that there were 32-recorded cases of infection in that state last year, and seven deaths.

    The good news: Most of us are at a low risk of death, or even harm, from the bug, which some people are calling “flesh-eating” but is rarely that dangerous to watergoers, unless you have an underlying immune problem, like liver disease, and/or an open cut or wound. In that case, coming into contact Vibrio vulnificus could lead to inflammation, ulcers, and, if the infection worsens, amputation and even death.

    Even if you’re not immunocompromised, note that the bacteria does proliferate in raw shellfish caught in Florida—particularly in oysters, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—so “if you don’t cook your shellfish properly, you’re setting yourself up for trouble,” says Aileen Marty, MD, professor of infectious diseases at Florida International University. 

    Again, Dr. Marty stresses, most people have nothing to fear from wandering into the Florida waters this summer. But if you think you may have been infected, head to your doctor ASAP for antibiotics, and to make sure you’re protected, follow these tips from the CDC and the Florida Department of Health:

    •           Do not eat raw oysters or other raw shellfish.
    •           Wear protective clothing (e.g., gloves) when handling raw shellfish.
    •           Cook shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly.
    •           Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
    •           Avoid exposure of open wounds or broken skin to warm salt or brackish water, or to raw shellfish harvested from such waters.
    •           Individuals who are immunocompromised should wear proper foot protection.  To prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach.

    Tampa doctor arrested on fraud charges

    An eight-month undercover operation has led to the arrest of Tampa chiropractor Douglas Price.
    Investigators say he paid patients to come to his clinics in both South Tampa and Winter Haven then filed false insurance claims.

    State agents showed up Monday morning at Price’s Davis Island home and took him into custody. Another team of law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on his Auburndale clinic.

    Investigators say they've worked undercover since last October building a case involving insurance fraud and patient brokering. He’s accused of paying patients to come to his clinic for treatment, which is illegal.
    The investigation focused on both Price's South Tampa practice, which closed six weeks ago, and his Auburndale office, "The Florida Pain, Trauma and Injury Clinic".

    Agents searched the Auburndale office for more evidence, including patient and bank records. Officers also arrested one of the employees, Sonya Rivera. She’s accused of setting up the patients and facilitating the scheme.

    Warrants were issued for two others described as “runners,” people who would collect money from the doctor in exchange for steering patients into his practice.

    Investigators said Price would pay patients up to $1,000 each. He's charged with three counts of patient brokering.  Agents will comb through the records confiscated at the Auburndale location for more evidence.
    Investigators also plan to share their findings with the Department of Health, which could take action against Price’s license.


    JUNE is Men’s Health Month

    The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. 

    This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.

    Men can make their health a priority. Take daily steps to be healthier and stronger.

    Tips for staying healthy

    • Get enough sleep
    • Toss the Tobacco
    • Use Alcohol in Moderation 
    • Learn to Manage Stress
    • Stay Active
    • Eat Healthy
    • Get Regular Checkups
    • Find Affordable Health Insurance

    World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2015

    World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.

    The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

    In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

    WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

    NCEA joins ACL in inviting you to take a stand against elder abuse and protect seniors.

    Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.

    We need everyone to join together on this journey towards elder justice!

    We need everyone to join together on this journey towards elder justice! Visit the WEAAD microsite on to become a collaborator.