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Health & Wellness - page 7

Nominate someone for the TriCity Family Services’ Award

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GENEVA—Is there someone that you know who deserves to be recognized for their dedication to the community? Consider nominating them for TriCity Family Services’ 27th annual William D. Barth Award. Established in 1985, the Barth Award recognizes one individual who has made a significant and positive impact through community service in the central Kane County area.

There are just a few weeks left to turn in a nomination, as all nominations must be submitted in writing by Friday, Sept. 30. A William D. Barth Award Nomination Form is available, but not required, if equivalent information is submitted. A nomination form and a list of prior awardees is available on the TriCity Family Services website, www.tricityfamilyservices.org.

The award will be presented at the annual Barth Award Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Riverside Reception and Conference Center in Geneva.

Nominees must be individuals whose investment in the community, and concern for those living here, is shown by an ongoing involvement in community life. The award recipient will exemplify the legacy of William D. Barth, a founder of TriCity Family Services and a dedicated community leader.

Send nominations to Miranda Barfuss, TriCity Family Services, 1120 Randall Ct., Geneva, IL 60134. Via fax, send to (630) 232-1471 and via e-mail, send to mbarfuss@tricityfamilyservices.org. For more information, call (630) 232-1070.

Flu shots fight new form this year

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SPRINGFIELD—Influenza vaccine is now at local health departments, pharmacies and health care facilities around the state. The Illinois Department of Public Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends people get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Dr. Damon T. Arnold of the Illinois Department of Public Health said vaccines take about two weeks to provide protection.

“Even if you received a flu shot last year, it is important to be vaccinated every year, because the effectiveness of the vaccine declines over the course of a year after vaccination,” he said.

The annual influenza vaccine includes three virus strains and typically one, or all three strains, change from year to year.

To be protected, children, ages six months through eight years, need two doses of influenza vaccine during their first flu season. However, if children in this age group received at least one dose of vaccine last year, they will only need one dose this year because the vaccine has not changed. This year is an exception.

“Every flu season is different and people are affected by the flu differently. Even healthy children and adults can become very sick from the flu,” IDPH Immunization Section Chief Karen McMahon said.

There is a new type of flu shot this year called Fluzone Intradermal, which injects a smaller amount of vaccine just under the skin, as opposed to the regular flu shot, which injects the vaccine into the muscle. For adults who don’t like needles, the intradermal vaccine is given using a needle that is 90 percent smaller than a regular flu shot needle. Fluzone is only recommended for adults, ages 18-64 years. The influenza vaccine is also available in a nasal spray. None of the three forms of vaccine causes influenza.

It is not too early to get your flu shot. You can be vaccinated in September and be protected throughout the entire flu season. The season typically runs from October through May, with the peak in January.

To reduce the spread of influenza and other contagious diseases, it is always important to practice the 3 C’s:
• Clean—properly wash your hands frequently
• Cover—cover your cough and sneeze
• Contain—contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

For more information, log onto www.idph.state.il.us/flu/index.htm.

Senior matchmaker enhances lives

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Photo: Marilyn Bawauah visits a few hours each week and watches “Let’s Make a Deal” with 87-year-old Mrs. Lewis. Photo by Sandy Kaczmarski

by Sandy Kaczmarski
KANE COUNTY—A senior companion program that pairs up volunteers and seniors with the goal of enhancing their lives is expanding throughout southern Kane County.

“(The program) enhances a senior’s life by having them want to get up in the morning with something to look forward to,” Program Coordinator Norma Turner said. “We also ourselves are enlightened by what we do with them.”

Turner said she’s made a lot of new friends since starting the program earlier this year. A first grade teacher for 35 years in Yorkville, Turner was offered this position last December while working as a receptionist at an assisted living facility in Yorkville.

“I thoroughly loved the seniors,” she said.

Now she spends time playing a sort of matchmaker to partner the right volunteer with the right senior. Volunteers are thoroughly screened and can just visit with a senior for a short time or take them to doctor appointments or out shopping.

Seniors looking for a companion must be 60 or older, but volunteers can be as young as 18. The program is offered by Senior Services Associates, Inc. in Aurora through a grant it received.

Marilyn Bawuah of Aurora worked at Asbury Gardens, an assisted living facility in Aurora, as a cook for eight years and found that she, too, liked working with seniors.

“I got in touch with Norma through Senior Services and started volunteering,” she said.

She now spends a few hours a week visiting with Mrs. Lewis, as she prefers to be called.

“When she came through that door, I fell in love with her and she fell in love with me,” Mrs. Lewis said. “That’s the way we started.”

And Mrs. Lewis isn’t shy at all about telling her age.

“I am 87 years old. I don’t mind tellin’ nobody,” she said. “If the Lord let me live this long, I can tell it anywhere I go.”

Bawauh said the first time they got together, they just sat and talked about their families.

“She got me watching this ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’” Bawauh said. “She likes to watch that.”

Margarita Bonifaz, 74, loves to write songs and sing with her companion, Theresa Valez. When Turner first paired them up, she wasn’t even aware they were both from Puerto Rico.

“I’m certainly excited about this program,” Turner said.

Turner said she’s found that when seniors don’t just “sit around and stare at the four walls, they’re happy.”

“They have something to look forward to,” she said. “That is truly why I do the job, and why I love this program.”

The program is always looking for more seniors who would like some friendship and for volunteers who want to spend some time helping others. Anyone interested in either should call Norma Turner at (630) 897-4035 to find out how to sign up.

Senior Services Associates, Inc. serves Kane, Kendall and McHenry counties. Visit their website for more information at seniorservicesassoc.org.

IDOT, law enforcement launch crackdown on impaired driving

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SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has partnered with Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies across the state to kick off the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” mobilization, an intensive, two-week crackdown on impaired driving leading up to the Labor Day holiday. Through Sept. 5, the Illinois State Police will join over 350 local police departments and county sheriff’s offices for the crackdown.

“Impaired driving is a serious crime plaguing our society, and affecting the lives of innocent, law abiding motorists on a regular basis,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “IDOT will not waver in its strong commitment to directly fight against this careless and reckless act of indecency. The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ message and mobilization serves as a warning to those who choose to drive impaired in Illinois … law enforcement will find and arrest you, no exceptions.”

For the next two weeks, law enforcement agencies across the state will conduct over 200 roadside safety checks and hundreds of additional hours of impaired driving and safety belt saturation patrols. In addition, motorists are being warned to buckle up or risk getting a ticket.

In Illinois, impaired driving and the lack of safety belt use are two problems that often take place at night. According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the midnight to 3 a.m. timeframe is the deadliest time on Illinois roadways. The data also shows this time of day has the highest percentage of alcohol involvement and the lowest safety belt use.

“Illinois State Police want motorists to arrive at their final destinations safely during the holiday weekend and will be targeting designated areas looking for speeders, seatbelt violators, and DUI offenders,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Violating these laws can result in fines and possible jail time and will be treated as criminal acts by the police and court system.”
Illinois has experienced a continued decrease in impaired driving fatal motor vehicle crashes in the past few years. The fact remains, however, that impaired drivers still play a role in over 300 highway deaths and hundreds more serious injuries each year.

During last year’s Labor Day weekend (6 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Monday evening), 12 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, and one of the fatalities involved an impaired driver. Additionally, 763 people were injured during the same weekend. Data for the last five years (2006-10) during the Labor Day weekend report a total of 70 fatalities, with 25 of the 70 fatalities, or 36 percent, involving an impaired driver.

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety. The campaign features stepped-up enforcement supported by an intensive two-week media campaign intended to deter individuals from driving impaired. For more information on IDOT’s Traffic Safety program against impaired driving, log on to www.trafficsafety.illinois.gov/#DSI.

TriCity Family Services accepting nominations for William D. Barth Award

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GENEVA—TriCity Family Services is accepting nominations for the 27th Annual William D. Barth Award. Established in 1985, the Barth Award recognizes one individual who has made a significant and positive impact in the central Kane County area through community service.

Nominees must have an investment in the community and concern for those living here, as shown by an ongoing involvement in community life. The award recipient will exemplify the legacy of William D. Barth, a founder of TriCity Family Services and a dedicated community leader. The award will be presented at the annual Barth Award Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Riverside Reception and Conference Center in Geneva.

Nominations must be submitted in writing by Friday, Sept. 30. Forms are available at tricityfamilyservices.org. Nomination forms are not required if equivalent information is submitted. Send nominations to Miranda Barfuss, TriCity Family Services, 1120 Randall Ct., Geneva, IL 60134, or fax (630) 232-1471 or email mbarfuss@tricityfamilyservices.org. Call (630) 232-1070 for more information.

Keep cool while spending less on energy

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SPRINGFIELD—The hottest days of summer are ahead—can you keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank? The Energy Education Council offers some simple tips to boost comfort and save on electric bills during the sultriest of days:
• Make sure your air conditioner filter is clean; change or clean it monthly during the cooling season.
• Ensure air can move freely around the AC unit coils. Remove leaves and plant overgrowth that could keep it from operating efficiently.

Use ceiling and oscillating fans to create a “wind chill” effect. The moving air makes the temperature feel cooler, and allows a higher air conditioner thermostat setting while maintaining cooling comfort. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, cooling costs can be lowered by about 3 percent.

Avoid unnecessary trips in and out of the house, which let in hot humid air. Turn off lights, televisions and computers when not in use.

Close drapes and shades on sunny days. Plan to do hot work—washing and drying clothes, cooking and baking—during cooler morning and evening hours.

Keep your kitchen cooler by cooking in a microwave oven, or grill outdoors.

Make sure heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They will increase the temperature near the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run when it is not needed.

“There are several low-cost measures that can yield big energy savings,” EEC Executive Director Molly Hall said. “Replace traditional light bulbs with lower wattage compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Incandescent bulbs waste 95 percent of their energy in heat; CFLs burn cool, use only a fourth of the energy and come in many styles and color temperatures.

Other low cost suggestions include:
• Install a timer or programmable thermostat to increase and decrease the temperature automatically. Leave it on a higher temperature while you’re away, and set it to cool the house half an hour before you return home.
• Seal air leaks and cracks. Weather stripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to improve efficiency and cut energy costs year round.
• Ventilate the attic and check insulation. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up. If your attic has less than 6 to 8 inches of insulation, consider adding more. Proper attic insulation can save up to 30 percent of your cooling bill. Be sure the insulation does not block vents or cover exhaust fans.

Increased summer electric demands do not only place a strain on budgets, they also can place a severe strain on your home’s electrical system—a dangerous shock and fire hazard. Flickering or dimming lights, TV or computer monitors; or frequent circuit breaker trips, are signs of an overloaded electrical system or faulty wiring that should be checked immediately by a professional.

For more information and tips to help cut costs and improve home safety, visit www.EnergyEdCouncil.org
or www.SafeElectricity.org.

Remove sources of standing water to prevent West Nile Virus

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KANE COUNTY—The recent wet spring is sure to breed a good crop of mosquitoes, but while they may be annoying, they are not the kind that spread West Nile virus. The mosquitoes we typically see in late spring and early summer are called, appropriately, “nuisance” or floodwater mosquitoes.

West Nile virus is most commonly associated with the Culex mosquito. Hot, dry weather and stagnant water are the two main ingredients prized by the Culex. As temperatures rise, we usually begin to see our first human cases in July or August.

“Now is a good time to get out and inspect your yard for items such as old tires and clogged gutters where stagnant water can accumulate. These are the types of areas that provide the ideal breeding spots for the Culex mosquito,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “By identifying problem areas now, you will be able to protect yourself later in the summer.”

Last year there were five cases reported in people in Kane County. In 2009, an unusually mild summer with cool temperatures, there were no human cases of West Nile virus reported in Kane County. There were three cases of the virus reported in 2008. In 2007 there were 13, four in 2006, 17 in 2005, two in 2004, none in 2003 and nine in 2002.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Only about two out of 10 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Kane County Health Department’s website at www.kanehealth.com/west_nile.htm, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm. People also can call the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Weather Service issues Heat Advisory for Friday afternoon

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With the thermometer expected to rise into the 90s and the humidity climbing to uncomfortably high levels Friday, the Kane County Health Department again is urging residents to take precautions as these conditions can lead to heat illness.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Kane County that will be in effect on Friday from noon until midnight. With temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, heat index values could reach the upper 90s or higher Friday afternoon.

“You’ll want to be extra careful when going outside on Friday. If you must work outside, be sure to take breaks in the shade and drink plenty of water. Or better yet, get inside an air conditioned building to cool off. We also hope you can check the welfare of neighbors and friends who may be vulnerable to the heat illness,” said Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the symptoms and treatment for heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related ailments here: www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress.

Keep cool with these tips:
· Go to a public air-conditioned environment, such as libraries malls or other public buildings.

· Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heat to your body.

· Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.

· Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.

· Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.

· Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Do not:

· Direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90°f

· Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, where temperatures can rapidly climb to fatal levels.

· Drink alcohol to try to stay cool

· Eat heavy, hot, or hard-to-digest foods

· Wear heavy, dark clothing

More information about coping with extreme heat is available by visiting the Health Department’s Web site at www.kanehealth.com/heat.htm.

State health director warns residents to avoid contact with bats

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SPRINGFIELD—With summer beginning, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold is warning Illinoisans to avoid contact with bats as they start becoming more active during this time of year. Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois. Thirteen bats and one bovine have tested positive for rabies already this year.

“Over the past couple years, the department has received increasing reports and phone calls about people coming into contact with, or being exposed to, bats,” said Dr. Arnold. “It’s important to remember that you should never try to approach or catch a bat, or any wild animal, in your home. Instead, call your local animal control agency for its recommendations.”

In 2010, 117 bats tested positive for rabies in Illinois.

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Humans can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth or a wound. Without preventive treatment, rabies is a fatal disease. If you have been bitten or exposed to a bat, seek immediate medical attention. Treatment with rabies immune globulin and a vaccine series must begin immediately.

“You cannot tell by looking at a bat if it is rabid. The animal does not have to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies,” said Connie Austin, state public health veterinarian. “Any wild mammal, such as a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to humans.”

Changes in any animal’s normal behavior, such as difficulty walking or an overall appearance of illness, can be early signs of rabies. For example, rabid skunks, which normally are nocturnal and avoid contact with people, may approach humans during daylight hours. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground or is unable to fly, is more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often easily approached, but should never be handled.

The following tips can help prevent the spread of rabies:
• Be a responsible pet owner. Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and ferrets.
• Seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet if your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.
• Call the local animal control agency to remove stray animals in your neighborhood.
• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn to reduce the risk of exposures to rabid animals.
• Maintain homes and other buildings so bats cannot gain entry.
• If a bat is in your home, do not release the bat outdoors until after speaking with animal control or public health officials. If you are able to do so without putting yourself at risk for physical contact or being bitten, try to cover the bat with a large can or bucket, and close the door to the room.

Information about keeping bats out of your home or buildings can be found by logging on to www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcbats.htm. Information about rabies can be found at www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/reportdis/rabies.htm.

IEMA, NWS observe Lightning Safety Awareness Week

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SPRINGFIELD—“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors” is the slogan used by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) to remind people to take cover when a thunderstorm approaches. But for one lightning-strike survivor, the phrase is important advice that everyone should heed.

During Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 19-25, Jim Ciulla of Lexington is working with IEMA and the NWS to spread the word about the life-changing effects of being struck by lightning.

On July 6, 2010, Ciulla was working as a flagger for a road construction crew on Route 89 in Woodford County when he was struck by lightning. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Peoria and then airlifted to the burn center in Springfield, where he was treated for first- and second-degree burns.

Ciulla says he is lucky to have survived the lightning strike, but the event has left lasting physical problems and severe pain that make it impossible for him to return to work or enjoy many of the activities he did prior to his injury. While he has made some progress nearly a year after the lightning strike, his feet are completely numb, it’s difficult for him to do any physical activity for an extended period of time and scars from his burns are a constant reminder of that life-altering day in July 2010.

“Being struck by lightning has completely changed my life,” Ciulla said. “I hope by telling my story, others will get to safety when thunderstorms are near. No sporting event, no outdoor job, nothing is worth the risk of getting struck by lightning.”

According to the National Weather Service, about 55 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured by lightning strikes in the U.S. each year. On average, two thirds of those fatalities and injuries occur outdoors at recreation events and near trees.

With prompt medical treatment, most lightning strike victims can survive. However, the long-term effects can include memory loss, personality changes, difficulty performing more than one task at a time, fatigue, irreparable nerve damage, chronic pain and headaches, difficulty sleeping and dizziness.

“In a split-second, your life could be changed forever by lightning,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Whether at work or play, you should always be aware of changing weather conditions and be prepared to take cover as soon as you hear the first rumble of thunder.”

As the “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors” slogan suggests, people should move to shelter as soon as thunder is heard, even if the thunderstorm isn’t directly overhead. Lightning can strike from as far away as 10 miles.

The best shelter from lightning is inside a substantial building with the windows and doors closed. If no substantial shelter is available, seek refuge in a hard-topped vehicle with the windows closed. Once inside, stay there for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder before resuming outdoor activities.

“If you are close enough to the storm to hear the thunder, you are close enough to be struck by the next bolt of lightning,” said Heather Stanley, meteorologist with the NWS in Lincoln. “Being aware of the forecast, whether by listening to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards or another media outlet, is the first step in keeping yourself and your family safe from the dangers of lightning. However, just being aware of the forecast is not where personal responsibility ends. If thunderstorms are threatening, act on it—don’t wait for the rain.”

People who work outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects, with explosives or with metal have a high risk of being struck by lightning. Farmers, utility workers, construction workers, heavy equipment operators and plumbers are among the occupations with the most risk for being struck by lightning. Safety tips for these workers include:

• Pay attention to the daily forecast and stay alert for early signs of thunderstorms
• When the forecast calls for severe weather, don’t start anything that can’t be stopped quickly
• Know your employer’s safety guidelines, which should include a lightning warning policy that ensures warnings can be issued to workers in time for everyone to get to a safe location, and that workers have access to a safe location
• If severe weather is approaching, avoid anything tall or high, such as roofs, ladders, utility poles or trees; large equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, backhoes and tractors, materials or surfaces that conduct electricity, like metal tools or equipment, utility lines, water, water pipes and plumbing; and leave areas where explosives or munitions are located.

IEMA and the NWS developed a Lightning Safety Awareness Guide that contains additional information about how to stay safe during thunderstorms. The guide, as well as information about disaster preparedness, is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Bereavement support for children

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Geneva—Herbie’s Friends, a program to help grieving families cope with loss, grief and death, is offered by Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice (FVVH). The program begins on Wednesday, June 29, and meets Wednesdays through July 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at FVVH, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva. There is no cost to attend the program, and it is open to all families living in the Fox Valley area. Spanish interpretation is available. Registration by Wednesday, June 22, is required.

For more information, or to register for Herbie’s Friends, call Christy Pitol at (630) 232-2233, or e-mail info@fvvh.org.

Delnor honored for physician satisfaction

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GENEVA—Delnor Hospital has been honored at an awards ceremony sponsored by Professional Research Consultants, Inc. for achieving exceptional physician satisfaction.

In total, Delnor won 11 “Excellence in Healthcare” awards from PRC:

“5-Star” honors for overall quality of care, physician satisfaction with Delnor as a place to practice medicine, nursing care, medical records, administration, emergency services, and laboratory services. The 5-Star designation is given to healthcare facilities scoring in the top 10 percent of PRC’s national database.

How to choose the right physician

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GENEVA–Finding the right physician can be challenging. There are so many important questions and factors to consider, such as whether the doctor has specialized experience, whether the physician has a comfortable bedside manner, and whether the medical practice accepts your insurance.

“The first step is knowing what questions to ask,” says Lisa Walker, a physician referral specialist for Delnor Hospital. “One of the most important questions relates to professional qualifications. This includes asking about the physician’s educational background, board certifications, fellowships, memberships in professional associations, and hospital affiliations.”

Other critical factors, according to Walker, include a convenient location, compatible hours and timely and professional responses to phone calls. Determine in advance what the costs are for office visits and phone consultations and who covers for the doctor when he is unavailable. It’s also important to find a doctor who accepts your health plan.

There are a number of ways to find a physician. Many people ask family and friends. There also are online and telephone-based physician referral services available, such as Delnor’s Physician Finder.

“We offer a very personalized way to help individuals find a physician,” Walker said. “We take the time with callers to help them make informed decisions by providing a wide range of information about the more than 400 doctors on the medical staff at Delnor. Based on the individual’s needs, we help them find the physician who matches up with what they’re looking for.”

Walker said Physician Finder can provide detailed information about doctors’ medical specialty, educational background, special credentials, medical practice philosophy, locations and office hours. The service even has up-to-date information about the insurance and managed care plans they accept.

For more information or a physician referral, please call the hospital’s Physician Finder and Information Service at (630) 208-3993 or visit www.delnor.com.

West Nile virus typically not carried by floodwater mosquitoes

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SPRINGFIELD—Weeks of rain and flooding in southern Illinois have made conditions ripe for mosquitoes. Floodwater mosquitoes (Aedes vexans and other species) typically appear approximately two weeks after heavy rains and flooding. While floodwater mosquitoes can be a nuisance, they are rarely infected with West Nile virus (WNV). However, as floodwaters recede into ditches, catch basins or other areas where water sits stagnant, house mosquitoes (Culex pipiens) will typically start to appear. House mosquitoes, in areas that have seen WNV in recent years, are often infected with the virus.

“With the floodwaters and increasing temperatures, we’re going to start seeing increased mosquito activity,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold. “It is important to protect yourself against mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent and taking other precautions.”

Last year, 30 of the state’s 102 counties were found to have a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. The first positive bird was collected on May 8, 2010, in Carroll County, and the first positive mosquito batches were collected on June 8, 2010, in Tazewell County. A total of 61 human cases of West Nile disease were reported in Illinois last year, the first reported on Aug. 31.

There have been no confirmed cases of West Nile virus so far this year.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The first human case in Illinois is not usually reported until July or later.

Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death are possible.

Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:

• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
• Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.

In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Public health officials believe that a hot summer could increase mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus.

Additional information about West Nile virus and mosquitoes can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm and http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcmosquitoes.htm.

Temperatures, high humidity combine to create dangerous conditions

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The Kane County Health Department is urging residents to take precautions as temperature and humidity levels climb Tuesday to create conditions where heat illness is possible. The National Weather Service is predicting that temperatures could climb to the upper 90s on Tuesday. When combined with dew points in the mid- to upper 60s, heat indices could climb over 100. Little relief is expected over night, and temperature and humidity levels could climb to dangerous levels again on Wednesday, when a cooler weather is expected to arrive Wednesday night and into Thursday.

“The effects of extreme heat conditions on the human body are cumulative and can lead to variety of health complications, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” Paul Kuehnert, Executive Director of the Health Department, said. “We are urging people to display caution as the temperatures rise and to follow a few simple tips to protect themselves.”

Keep cool with these tips:
· Go to a public air-conditioned environment, such as libraries malls or other public buildings.

· Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heat to your body.

· Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.

· Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.

· Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.

· Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Do not:

· Direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90°f

· Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, where temperatures can rapidly climb to fatal levels.

· Drink alcohol to try to stay cool

· Eat heavy, hot, or hard-to-digest foods

· Wear heavy, dark clothing

More information about coping with extreme heat is available by visiting the Health Department’s Web site at www.kanehealth.com/heat.htm.

Two Women, For Women close up shop

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Kane County—Almost 12 years to the day, the free mammogram fund Two Women, For Women officially ceased operations Wednesday.

“This is actually very, very good news,” said president Kay Catlin of St. Charles, who co-founded the organization in 1999 with friend Sharon Lough of Campton Hills. “When we started, free mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women were all but non-existent. Now there’s a viable state program—the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program—which, much to our joy, makes our program unnecessary.”

Over time, Two Women, For Women grew from a modest Tri-City program providing free mammograms to women in need to encompass a variety of additional programs, including free pap tests and gynecological exams to well women/menopause consultations for qualified women residing throughout Kane County.

The idea for the fund grew out of Catlin’s own battle with breast cancer that began in 1998 when doctors discovered a small tumor during a routine annual mammogram. Following subsequent surgery, radiation and hormone therapy, Catlin became and remains cancer-free.

“I owe my life to early detection and wanted to pass along the benefits without regard to any barrier whatsoever—including money,” she said. “Fortunately, Sharon agreed to join me in establishing and running the new program.”

During the past 12 years, the women have subsequently provided funding for more than 1,300 free mammograms and breast exams, follow-up extra views and ultrasounds, as well as pap tests, pelvic exams and well-women consultations. Along the way, numerous early-stage cancers were discovered and successfully treated.

“Of course, none of this would have been possible without the cooperation and support of our service providers—Randallwood Radiology, Delnor Hospital, Fox Valley Family Physicians, Provena St. Joseph Hospital, Provena Health Center for Diagnostic Imaging, and Fox Valley VNA. We’d also like to thank the doctors who helped us out when it was necessary: Dr. Ceasar Co, Dr. Charlotte Schuhart and, most recently, Dr. Susan Acuna,” they said.

Kane and Kendall County women, ages 35 to 64, currently in need of breast and cervical cancer screening options are encouraged to contact the local lead agency for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program:
Fox Valley VNA
400 N. Highland Avenue
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 892-4355, ext. 8535

Additional program information is also available from the Office of Women’s Health—Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield at 1-888-522-1282.

Conley Outreach to offer Grief Day Camp

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KANEVILLE—Conley Outreach Community Services announced this year’s Good Grief Day Camp, “Your Unique Grief Journey.” The camp will be held Monday through Friday, June 27-July 1, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Conley Farm, 47W085 Main Street Road, in rural Elburn, just west of Kaneville.

This special program is a one-week, non-residence camp designed specifically for children ages 6-12 who have lost a parent or sibling to death. The camp will employ the healing elements of music, theater, art and nature to help children on their unique grief journey. In addition, spending time with other children who have experienced a similar loss will help them understand that they are not alone in their grief.

At Good Grief Day Camp, the goal is to help children begin the healing process by meeting them wherever they are in their feelings, offering understanding, and helping them express their grief experience and feelings.

Registration will be limited to 20 children and only to those who have lost a parent or sibling to death. The application deadline is Friday, June 10. The cost of the camp is $50 per camper, with a $100 limit per family. Scholarships are available to offset the cost of the camp. No child will be turned away for inability to pay, but they must be registered to attend.

Contact Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880 with questions or to request registration materials. Registration materials may also be downloaded from the Conley Outreach website at www.conleyoutreach.org.

Delnor offers informational session on sleep apnea

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GENEVA—When sleep patterns are affected, it could be Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Sleep apnea is very common, and affects more than twelve million Americans.

“Because of the lack of awareness, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences,” said Dr. Sunil Desai, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center, and board certified in sleep medicine,

Join Dr. Sunil Desai on Wednesday, June 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Delnor Health and Wellness Center as he discusses Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), cardiovascular and metabolic consequences; method of diagnosis, role of CPAP therapy in reducing CVA, atrial fibrillation, better blood sugar and weight loss. The event is free, but registration is required. Call (630) 208-3999.

Eggleston named interim executive director

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BATAVIA—Elderday Center, a nonprofit adult day center in Batavia, recently named Traci Eggleston, MSW, its interim executive director.

Eggleston will be responsible for creating a smooth transition for the agency’s future endeavors in providing quality day services to senior citizens and their caregivers in Kane County.

Since 1990, Elderday Center has provided day programming, socialization and caregiver support for older adults in Kane County. The agency promotes independence for older adults and prevents premature nursing home placement while having fun and remaining engaged in the community.

“I’m looking forward to having a greater impact by giving back to those who have served this community in a variety of ways. It’s an honor to provide quality programming and services to enrich lives. This is my way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those who have had an impact on my life—former teachers, maintenance workers, engineers, postal workers, nurses, business professionals, etc.,’” Eggleston said.

Prior to this appointment, Eggleston has been with Elderday Center for almost three years in a variety of roles, most recently serving as development director. Eggleston holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in social work with a specialization in gerontology, and a certificate in marketing.

To learn more about Elderday Center, call (630) 761-9750 or visit ElderdayCenter.org.

Cancer and the law: insurance options after cancer

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GENEVA—The LivingWell Cancer Resource Center will host a presentation led by Monica Fawzy, a staff attorney at The Cancer Legal Resource Center, on Wednesday, May 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. The presentation will discuss health and life insurance options after a cancer diagnosis.

Some questions that will be answered during this discussion include:
• How does cancer impact your ability to get health insurance or life insurance?
• What impact will the healthcare reform have for survivors in need of health insurance?

This program is free and open to the public, but registration is required by calling (630) 262-1111. Questions are encouraged, so please bring yours to this presentation.

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