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Patient Education

Fall Prevention

Many falls can be prevented. By making some changes, you can lower your chances of falling. Four things YOU can do to prevent falls:

1. Begin a regular exercise program. Exercise is one of the most important ways to lower your chances of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feel better. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling. Ask your health care provider about the best type of exercise program for you.

2. Have your health care provider review all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy, and can cause you to fall.

3. Have your vision checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.

4. Make your home safer. About half of all falls happen at home. To make your home safer:

Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes and shoes) from places where you walk.

Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape/rug grippers to keep the rugs from slipping.

Keep items you use often where you can reach them easily.

Keep your call light in reach at all times so you can call for help if needed.

Ask for assistance with tasks that might lead to a fall such as retrieving out of reach items or when getting in and out of the shower. Be sure to have someone assist you if you are feeling ill or are having increased difficulty with strength or balance.

Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.

Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.

Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.

Cold and Flu Season

It’s that time of year again. The Cold and Flu season is fast approaching. Sadly these upcoming months which are so happily associated with holidays and family gatherings are also the time of year when the seasonal flu and various “colds” are most prevalent. To arm ourselves against these illnesses there are a few things we need to know and some simple actions we can take.

1. Wash Your Hands!

The viruses that cause the seasonal flu, swine flu (also known as the H1N1 virus) and other common “colds” are spread when germs from sick people are released by coughing or sneezing and are then transferred to healthy people by way of the ill person’s hands or by objects the ill person has touched. This means you can’t catch the illness just by being in the same room as the sick person BUT you can pick up the virus on your hands by touching the door knob, pepper shaker, handrail or other surface they’ve touched. Keeping hands clean is the best way to prevent the spread of disease. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Wash using warm water and scrub hands long enough to finish singing the alphabet song (about 30 to 60 seconds). You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

2. Keep Germs Out!

Cold and Flu viruses enter our bodies through openings in the skin (like a cut or scratch) or through natural openings like our mouth, nose or eyes. To prevent germs from entering your body keep hands away from your face if at all possible and Always wash your hands before touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth. Keep cuts and scratches covered with a band-aid or other covering.

3. Get Vaccinated!

Vaccines for the Seasonal Flu are available now and are recommended for all persons over age 55. Other vaccines such as the H1N1 vaccine, Shingles vaccine and the Pneumococcal vaccine, better known as the “Pneumonia Vaccine”, are available as well if your doctor recommends you get these. The Flu Vaccine is covered by Medicare at no cost to beneficiaries and other vaccines are covered at little to no cost as well.

4. Keep Away!

If your friends, family or neighbors become ill or have been ill, keep away from them until at least a few days after their symptoms have gone away. Stay away from public gathering places like malls, sports events and churches where you may be exposed to ill persons.

5. If you get sick, Don’t Panic!

If you have other health problems and develop flu-like symptoms call your doctor right away. Your doctor may prescribe you medication that can reduce the severity of flu if is taken soon after symptoms start. If you develop breathing problems, pain in your chest, constant vomiting or a fever that keeps rising, go to an emergency room. Most people, though, should just stay home and rest and will recover from a cold or the flu without any further problems. Be sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat well. Cough into your elbow or shoulder. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks. Fluids and pain relievers like Tylenol can help with achiness and fever.