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Category Archives: Health Tips

Breast cancer survivors speak out

The health care professionals at Ringgold County Hospital strongly encourage all women over the age of 40 to have an annual mammogram. It’s a simple, noninvasive procedure. “It’s only 10 minutes,” said Shelly Shields, medical imaging manager. “But those 10 minutes can save your life.” The 3D Mammography machine brings the most advanced imaging available today to the area. Patients don’t have to travel to get the best of the best. “The convenience of it being right here means we’re detecting more breast cancers, earlier,” said Shelly. “Early detection is what saves lives.”

Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews

“It’s my firm belief that everyone should get an annual mammogram. I usually get one every year on my birthday in August. But for some reason, I waited until December in 2018. If it weren’t for the 3-D machine, we never would have found the cancers. I had cancer in both breasts. “It was a big blessing that I didn’t have to do chemo. I had surgery in early 2019 along with radiation. For the next five years, I’ll take a pill as a preventative measure to prevent future cancer. But that’s it! I’m feeling good and doing well. Having a positive attitude is key. I knew that God would take care of me.”

Diane Wood

Diane Wood

“I’ve had a mammogram every year since I turned 40 because I have a family history of breast cancer. My mother, my grandmother and my grandmother’s five sisters all had it. Three years ago, when I was 69, my mammogram indicated stage one breast cancer.

“The doctor recommended a lumpectomy, but because of my family history, I opted for a double mastectomy. I had no radiation and no chemo and I’m feeling really good. My advice? Get a mammogram every year!”

Debbie Bradley

Debbie Bradley

“I’m very fortunate. Thirty-some years ago I became eligible to have regular mammograms through my insurance company. I started immediately and have never missed one. I lost a dear aunt to breast cancer and her memory was my motivation. In recent years, my husband and I have been going to Ringgold County Hospital for all our medical needs. When it was time for a mammogram in 2019, RCH had just installed a 3-D machine. They credit that machine for finding the cancer. It was really early detection and wasn’t even stage one yet. I was 73 years old. “My surgery was a lumpectomy and removal of three lymph nodes. That was followed by several radiation treatments. I received wonderful care from start to finish and recovered quickly. After my 2020 follow-up mammogram, I received a letter from RCH stating, “Your recent breast imaging showed an area that we believe is probably benign (probably not cancer). However, in six months, you should have a follow-up imaging to confirm that this area has not changed. “You can bet that I will be there in six months.”

Print and Read the Full Story – October Newsletter

Seasonal Flu Shots

Call the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic at 641-464-4470 to schedule your annual flu shot. Prepare for your visit by downloading and completing the screening and consent form for each person receiving a flu shot and bring your insurance cards or completed registration and insurance form with you:

ADULT Screening and Consent  OR CHILD Screening and Consent

Patient Registration and Insurance Form

 

Mental Health in a Pandemic

Cathy Sneed, LISW

Not many of us have lived through times like these before. Cathy Snead, Senior Life Solutions Therapist for Ringgold County Hospital, outlined some strategies for keeping you and your family mentally strong.

Children
Children have become isolated from some friends and family. Routines have changed, they’re fearful of the virus, and are often spending too much time in front of a computer. Parents can start with the basics and provide a healthy diet and time for exercise and p l a y . “Parents should watch for behavior changes like wanting more time alone, Solutions Therapist acting out verbally, or behavioral outbursts,” said Cathy. “If you are aware of these kinds of changes, seek out expert help as early as possible. Ask a counselor for advice on how to speak with your child. It’s important to listen openly and to encourage them to feel safe asking for and accepting help.”

Parents
Children are not the only ones affected. Parents are being pulled in many directions as they try to work from home while they tend to children and perhaps elderly parents as well. If you or your spouse are experiencing mood changes, wanting to isolate, having crying spells, or are having difficulty concentrating, it’s most likely stress related. Along with counseling, Cathy recommends self-care. “Self-care is being aware of your personal needs,” she explains. “It’s important to make time for yourself to prevent burnout and fatigue during stressful times.” She adds that it’s normal to feel depressed occasionally, but if it continues for extended periods of time, seeking professional help is a good plan. “I suggest they start with their primary care physician to rule out a medical complication,” advised Cathy. “If there are no medical concerns, a mental health professional can help identify techniques and strategies that will work best for the individual.”

Seniors
Seniors are being isolated for the sake of their own physical health, whether they’re in assisted living or in their own homes. They’re missing church, social activities, family visits, and regular meals and routines. According to Cathy, depression in seniors can be mild, evidenced by a low mood, lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy, or insomnia. Major depression affects a person’s thinking and can have them overstressing the negative, having inflexible rules, and taking responsibility for bad events. “Seniors may also experience generalized anxiety, chronic worry, while feeling uptight and restless,” she added. “These are all symptoms that can be exasperated by experiencing the current pandemic.” Friends and family members can offer emotional support and encouragement by listening with intent, offering to take the depressed person to the doctor or medical provider, and sharing validation for their feelings. It’s clear that mental health is as important as physical health. During these trying times, it’s critical that we keep our eyes on each other and watch for signs of stress and anxiety. If you or an older adult need help, or to speak to a professional, contact Senior Life Solutions at 641-464-4468.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – What you need to know

Ringgold County Hospital, an affiliate of MercyOne, continues to closely monitor the international situation concerning COVID-19. COVID-19, originally referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCOV), recently discovered in Wuhan, China. Cases of COVID-19 are appearing across the globe, and we are monitoring the virus to help keep our communities healthy.

At Ringgold County Hospital, we are following guidance provided by the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health to screen patients for symptoms including fever and respiratory signs as well as the patient’s travel history and exposure to those who have traveled. If a person is found to have symptoms and travel history, Ringgold County Hospital will isolate the patient and alert the Iowa Department of Public Health to coordinate testing. 

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, call your primary care provider before coming in.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?
Coronaviruses are respiratory, meaning most people who have a Coronavirus will have a cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and fever. 

In 80% of patients, COVID-19 causes only mild cold symptoms. The elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions appear to be more vulnerable to the virus.

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, call your primary care provider (contact Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic at 641-464-4470) before coming in.

How do people get Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, similar to the flu – through the air from a cough or sneeze of someone who has the virus.

It may be possible a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object which has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. 

How can we prevent the spread of COVID-19?
To help prevent the spread of all viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Should we wear facemasks to prevent COVID-19?
The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain like grocery stores and pharmacies. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. Learn more about cloth face masks.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Wear a facemask
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  • Monitor your symptoms

10 ways to manage respiratory symptoms at home – print instructions

Additional Information
More information about the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa can be found on an IDPH website dedicated to the outbreak. Iowans can also call 2-1-1 to get answers to questions about COVID-19. The hotline is staffed 24/7. For the latest CDC guidelines, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Diet Affects Colon Health

Katie Routh, Dietitian

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in cancers that affect men and women. The colon is the final part of your digestive tract. Since it’s part of the digestive system, the food you eat is an important factor in the health of your colon. Do you want to keep your colon healthy? 
• Eat a nutrient-dense diet
• Include more fiber-rich foods

Eating a nutrient-dense, high fiber diet not only keeps the walls of your colon strong, but it can also prevent hemorrhoids or pouches in your colon. Katie Routh, Ringgold County Hospital dietitian adds, “It also may prevent colon polyps, and potentially, cancer.” A typical American diet is low in nutrient density with larger portions of processed meats and refined grains, such as breads and cereals. “Our mid-western diet tends to be lower in nutritional value,” says Katie.

Fiber-rich foods, like fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds, are also more nutrient-dense.
And the fiber keeps you regular and controls the amount of bacteria in your colon. “The nutrients in those foods also may be beneficial in preventing digestive diseases as well as other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and help you manage your weight,” says Katie. When increasing fiber in your diet, do it gradually, and drink plenty of water.