My wife Tracy and I had our last child Zoe when she was almost 41 (although I still don’t think Tracy looks a day over 29). That was 11 years ago. Today, school events are interesting when I go to pay for something and they see my AARP card* and think I’m Zoe’s grandfather. (*Just kidding! I haven’t joined yet but I could.) Read More
Creating a bucket list is fun! It’s great to think about and list all the things we want to do in life. What isn’t so much fun is thinking about the health care we do or don’t want during an emergency or as we near the end of life. Read More
Invest in Your Skin—It’s With You for Life
Investing in your skin at any age can payoff in the long run. Take it from me, the teenage sun-soaker with good ole baby oil and iodine. Sound familiar? Not until my early 30s did I start to see the damage creep up to the visible layer of my skin. I was mortified. It was also at about that time I was completing my physician assistant program (career #2).
Taking Control of My Skin Care Routine
Several light therapy laser treatments and a new medical grade product line later, I was finally reaping the benefits of my investments. No more brown splotches, no more gaping pores. I was on track.
Fast forward to today…If I had a dime for everyone who asks me how they can get their skin to look as good as mine (disclosure: I’ll be 50 next week), I’d back down to working only 10 hours a week. That being said, very few people can start out with the complexity of my daily product routine without having major anxiety.
Four Simple Skin Care Steps For Every Age Group
If you’re interested in improving your skin, here are the four overall steps I recommend to everyone.
- Cleanse Your Face: Morning and Night
Yes, two times even if you aren’t wearing makeup or are just waking up for the day. Don’t tell me you don’t brush your teeth twice a day!
- Use Vitamin C: Morning
(Or equivalent antioxidants)
- Moisturize: Morning and Night
- Sunscreen: Morning and Before Going out in the Sun
That’s it! If you can do this at any age, five or more times a week, you are doing better than 80% of the population.
Let’s Talk About Cleansers
First things first, please don’t use body soap on your face. Use face-specific products so you don’t strip your skin and dry it out.
Here’s what you can do in your:
- 20s: This depends on your skin type. For oily or acne prone skin, a cleanser with salicylic acid is beneficial to address these issues and cleanse your skin. For normal skin, a simple foaming cleanser is a good choice.
- 30-50s: I recommend a cleanser with glycolic acid to help exfoliate dead skin.
- 50 and up: I typically recommend the glycolic based cleansers OR a gentle cleanser depending on your skin.
- For those with dry or sensitive skin: A good ceramide-based or gentle cleanser works wonderfully.
Vitamin C & Antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect your skin against free radicals and conditions in our environment such as dirt and air pollution. These rob your skin of oxygen and steal electrons from healthy cells. Topical Vitamin C is best known to protect your skin against these stressors. There are also some other new products now available.
Here’s what you can do in your:
- 20s-mid 30s: At this age, you can get by with a product that contains 10% or 15% Vitamin C. The maximum percent that your skin can absorb is 20%.
- Late 30s and up: This is the time to really step it up with a multi-defense antioxidant product that contains Vitamin C and may also include Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid or Resveratrol. These are just a few ingredients that provide an extra boost to your skin.
Be aware: Not all Vitamin C is created equal! To penetrate your skin and make a difference, it has to be formulated in a serum that has a pH of 3.5 or lower. Spoiler alert, over-the-counter products can’t achieve this!
Moisturizers are Simple!
Easy tips for all ages:
- Find one that fits your skin needs, or come ask me.
- Medical grade products are able to offer more specialized components not found in over-the-counter products to address specific needs.
- SPF is not needed in your moisturizer because you simply don’t need it at night and it is intended for reapplication throughout the day.
SPF – It’s Not Your Mom’s Sunblock Anymore!
This brings me to the last and most important step, SPF! It is crucial to start using this every day of your life, no matter what! If you like a tan face, use a bronzer or self-tanner.
Did you know?
- SPF only rates UVB rays, not UVA.
- SPF 32-50 provides the most effective protection and are essentially of equal value.
- Infrared (IR) light and blue light (think computer screens and phone screens) contribute to skin damage.
Two specific sunscreens that should be in everyone’s arsenal for the face are:
- Total Defense and Repair® by SkinMedica® (tinted or non-tinted)
- Colorescience® Sunforgettable® line of sunscreen
- These both block infrared light and Colorescience® additionally blocks blue light
How to Start Your 4-Step Routine or Step Up Your Game
I recommend you find the right products for your age and skin in each of these four areas and begin using them every day! If you’re confused or don’t know where to start, I’m happy to visit with you. I take the time to get to know your current routine (or lack thereof) and go from there. At The Spa at Bryan LifePointe, we offer free consultations to help you determine what’s best for you.
To learn more about services to enhance your skin, visit bryanlifepointe.org/spa.
PA-C, Bryan LifePointe MedSpa
Carrie earned her physician assistant degree in 2001 from Union College after working as a registered dietitian for eight years. Following graduation, she worked in both family practice and aesthetics offices. Her experience in aesthetics led her to The Spa at Bryan LifePointe. Carrie enjoys working individually with patients to help them look and feel their best.
It’s unknown to most people but serious and life threatening.
Being an ICU nurse, I have seen it all. I’ve seen young children come in struggling to breathe due to an asthma attack. I’ve seen elderly people come in after having CPR to restart their heart. I’ve helped bring people back to life. But, the thing that I have seen most in the hospital might surprise you. When you think of what the number one cause of death in the United States would be, what comes to mind? Cancer? Heart disease? While those are prevalent throughout the United States, it might surprise you to know that sepsis is the leading cause of death in United States hospitals.
So, What in the World is Sepsis?
With September being Sepsis Awareness Month, I feel it is important for you to know what sepsis is and how to prevent/detect sepsis in yourself or your loved ones. So, what in the world is sepsis? In general, it is the body’s overwhelming response to an infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, amputations, and even death.
You may have never even heard of sepsis. Most people haven’t. Yet, it is the number one killer with people coming to the ER when they are already in organ failure. Like a heart attack or stroke, time is of the essence when treating sepsis. This is necessary to protect your organs from going into failure.
Do You Know the Warning Signs and Importance of Immediate Treatment?
Here are some facts that may surprise you:
- Less than 1% of the population can name the signs and symptoms of sepsis
- Death from sepsis increases by as much as 8% for every hour that treatment is delayed
- Most cases of sepsis begin at home (up to 87% of sepsis cases) and not in the hospital
- As many as 80% of sepsis deaths could be prevented with rapid diagnosis and treatment
Most people either don’t know about sepsis or they assume it only happens to a vulnerable population. The truth is, sepsis knows no age discrimination, it doesn’t affect men more than women, and it doesn’t affect the older generation more than young children.
What are the Warning Signs?
Sepsis can start with something as simple as a small cut or a toothache that can develop into an infection. Now, not every cut or toothache develops into sepsis, but it is important to know what to look for as a possible indication of sepsis. So you may be asking, what are the signs and symptoms?
S – Shivering, fever, or very cold
E – Extreme pain or general discomfort (“worst ever”)
P – Pale or discolored skin
S – Sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused
I – “I feel like I might die”
S – Shortness of breath
If you see a combination of these symptoms and suspect sepsis, see a medical professional IMMEDIATELY. The sooner treatment gets started, the better chance you or your loved one has at surviving and making a full recovery.
When caught early, immediate administration of IV antibiotics and fluids can be all you need to make a full recovery. However, if organ failure has already started by the time someone comes to the hospital, they may need to come see me in the ICU. You may need medications to raise your blood pressure or have a breathing tube hooked up to a ventilator to help provide the oxygen you need. The longer someone delays getting treatment for sepsis, the greater the likelihood that the person will have severe complications such as kidney failure requiring dialysis or problems taking care of themselves (such as walking by yourself, bathing, brushing your teeth, etc.). It can even lead to death.
Be Informed, Tell Others – Let’s Raise Awareness and Save Lives
As a nurse, I have made it my job to tell all my friends and loved ones about the signs and symptoms of sepsis, and ways to prevent it.
Prevention starts with something as simple as washing your hands and cleaning any cut/injury. A lot of people don’t realize that bacteria naturally lives on your skin and given the right circumstances can grow into an infection from something as little as a cut or burn.
I urge you to tell everyone you know about the signs and symptoms as well as the ways to prevent sepsis. With your help, we can increase awareness of sepsis so people will seek treatment sooner, and lives will be saved.
Learn More About Sepsis
To learn more about Sepsis, listen to our latest Bryan Health podcast. Bill Johnson, MD, Nebraska Pulmonary Specialties shares how you can spot this condition, and emphasizes how early diagnosis and treatment can be lifesaving.
Paige Fellers is a registered nurse in the ICU at Bryan Health.
You have the power to prevent cancer your child could get later in life
The dog days of summer are upon us and my family of six has spent countless days at the pool, baseball games and summer camps. Now a new school year is starting, and it’s a good time to make sure our children are up to date on their check-ups with the doctor, dentist and optometrist. As a parent of kids ranging in ages from eight to 13, this year also included discussions about the importance of getting the HPV vaccine for cancer prevention.
What is HPV, and how does it lead to cancer?
HPV stands for the human papillomavirus. It includes a group of more than 150 related viruses. Some types of HPV can cause warts or papillomas, which are non-cancerous. Most of the time our body’s natural immune systems can fight off the infections the virus can cause. But, some types of HPV cause cancer in both men and women. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), HPV causes most cases of cervical cancer, and nearly all cases of pre-cervical cancers. It also causes many vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, throat and tongue cancers.
As I began to learn more about HPV, I found myself wondering how common is the virus. What I found was astounding:
- Each year in the United States 31,500 people are diagnosed with a cancer related to an HPV infection.
- The virus spreads through skin-to-skin contact. Any man or woman who has ever had sex, including vaginal, anal or oral, can get the virus.
- Four out of five people will have HPV at some point in their lives, according to the latest estimates. The virus is so common that the best way to prevent an HPV infection is to get vaccinated.
Is the HPV vaccine safe?
This is the first thing I wanted to know after hearing about this cancer prevention vaccine! I felt comforted knowing that more than 270 million doses have been given around the world since 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As a registered nurse, I understand any vaccination has potential side effects. Yet many people who get the HPV vaccine report no side effects. Potential side effects of the HPV vaccine have been mild like other vaccines. The HPV vaccine is approved by the CDC, and like all vaccines, receives ongoing monitoring.
So how can I prevent cancers that my kids could get later in life?
As a cancer nurse navigator and a mom of four children, I was very interested in the current recommendations to prevent HPV related cancers. I started by having a conversation with our family doctor. I learned my kids could receive the two series vaccination (six-12 months apart), as early as age nine or ten. The CDC highly recommends kids be vaccinated at ages 11 or 12, as that is when the vaccine has been shown to be the most effective. If a child starts the vaccination series between the ages of 15-26, a third vaccination is recommended.
The HPV vaccine prevents infections from nine HPV types that cause HPV cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, receiving the vaccine before being exposed to the virus can prevent up to 90% of HPV cancers!
As I was making doctor’s appointments for my kids, my almost 11-year-old son openly shared his disgust in having yet another “shot” scheduled with his upcoming appointment. This brought up a great moment to have a conversation about the purpose of this vaccine in preventing certain cancers later in life. He has heard many of my stories over the years of people struggling with cancer. He asked several great questions about the vaccine, and I didn’t hear him complain again.
A week later his sister was giving him a hard time that he was the ONLY kid who needed a shot this year. He promptly responded, “I’d rather have a two-second sting than a cancer that I didn’t need to have!” Proud mom moment!
I have had the personal experience of caring for patients with HPV related cancers. With this new cancer prevention vaccine, I feel so lucky to live during a time where these types of cancers could be greatly reduced or even eliminated in my kids’ generation!
My suggestion for parents is to talk with your child’s doctor about the HPV vaccine, and to your children about why “another shot” is so important. For more information, check out the links below.
*Information for this blog provided by American Cancer Society.
RN, Cancer Nurse Navigator
Carmen Orr is a Bryan Medical Center oncology nurse navigator, which is a specially trained nurses who are here to help you and your family through each step of your cancer journey.
How Important is the HPV Vaccine?
Listen to our podcast with Dr. Philip Boucher, a pediatrician with Lincoln Pediatric Group, to learn more about the importance of the HPV vaccine, research done on its effectiveness and tips on talking to your child about why they are getting the vaccine.
Did you know that 55 percent of students are wearing backpacks that are too heavy for their body? Take the load off your kids and make sure they are wearing the right backpack properly. Improper backpack use has led to more reports of back pain in children. It is important to teach our children to pack it light and wear it tight. Read More
What is negative self-talk?
Self-talk is the internal dialogue that narrates our daily experience. I often think of it as a digital voice recorder in our brain that is constantly recording and playing our thoughts. Read More
Have you ever heard someone greet you by name and when you turned to respond there was no one there? Have you ever walked into a room and remember seeing someone or something, and when you got closer, you realized what you thought you saw was not there? Most likely everyone can remember a time when they heard or saw something that others could not hear or see. When this situation happens over and over and interferes with our daily life, we need to take action. Read More
Some days it can seem impossible to juggle work and life while trying to stay healthy at the same time. Between working, caring for your children, assisting aging parents, making time for exercise and eating healthy, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Read More
This fall, my sister and mom of three (ages 10, 9 and 7) made a very bold and completely unexpected declaration. “We aren’t doing any winter sports this year. We need a break,” she announced.
I was honestly shocked. Read More
Blood pressure, diabetes and family history are a few well-known risk factors for heart disease, but some little-known risk factors can also threaten your heart. The scary part is you may not even be aware of them. Read More
I often see patients in my office who are dealing with a cough or chest cold that won’t go away or returns repeatedly. With these symptoms, I consider if my patient might have asthma.
People are often surprised when I mention my concerns for asthma because they haven’t thought of this. Their symptoms make them think of other illnesses, but not asthma. It is true that asthma symptoms can often be similar to other illnesses.
Symptoms of Asthma
- Persistent cough or chest congestion
- A cold that simply will not go away or that lasts many weeks
- Symptoms that seem to reoccur every now and then on an ongoing basis, or may be related to the season such as cold weather, an infection or activities such as exercising
- Shortness of breath or chest tightness
Medical History: The First Step to Uncovering Asthma
When I see patients with these symptoms, we perform a careful medical history. We determine if other diagnoses—such as lung disease, cardiac disease, chronic sinus disease and acid reflux—can be excluded because symptoms of these diseases may mimic asthma.
- Their cough
- Other symptoms they may experience, such as shortness of breath or chest tightness
- Whether or not they wheeze
- Symptoms of chest colds where people develop upper respiratory infections, which seem to always go straight to their chest and may last several weeks or even months
Often, these patients have been treated in the past for these symptoms with multiple cycles of antibiotics. These symptoms continue to occur over a number of years or may fail to improve, and patients become tired of dealing with this and are referred to me by their provider because of the persistent nature of their symptoms.
How to Test for Asthma
There are several tests that can help determine if a patient has asthma. These include:
- Pulmonary Function Testing or Spirometry: This is a test where you forcibly exhale into a device that measures airflow over time. The values of the test (or ratios) are then used to determine whether or not you have an airflow obstruction, which is a characteristic of asthma. If mild airflow obstruction is found, patients are given a medication or bronchodilator to see if this will reverse the symptoms. If the symptoms can be reversed, this would indicate asthma
- Challenge Test or Methacholine Challenge Test: This is a test to see if this reverses symptoms
- Lab Tests: These tests look for eosinophils or IgE level, which play a role in inflammatory asthma
- Chest X-Rays: These are helpful to rule out other illnesses, such as lung disease, fluid around the lung, congestive heart failure, infections and other diseases
- Allergy Testing
While one test cannot completely diagnose asthma, an evaluation of your history combined with tests can lead to an asthma diagnosis.
If a patient is diagnosed with asthma, education is important. Patients need to understand that asthma is a condition that does not just go away. Although this can be discouraging for patients, as a doctor, it is rewarding to let patients know we can offer treatment to really minimize their symptoms.
How to Treat Asthma
- Inhaler therapy, especially with the use of an inhaled corticosteroid, which reduces inflammation and minimize asthma symptoms
- Medication (either alone or combined with an inhaler)
- New therapies are available for patients with moderate to severe asthma, which can significantly improve asthma symptoms and quality of life
Next Steps For Those with Asthma Symptoms
If you have a persistent cough, wheezing or repeated chest colds, you may want to consider if this could be asthma and talk to your doctor. At Bryan Health, we have a new Asthma Clinic that can:
- Evaluate symptoms
- Provide needed testing
- Recommend effective treatment options and education, if needed
John Trapp, MD
John Trapp, MD, is a pulmonologist with Nebraska Pulmonary Specialties.
Explore Your Options at Bryan Health
To learn more about the Bryan Asthma Clinic and schedule an evaluation, call 402-481-8901 or visit the link below.