Fort Walton Beach Medical Center

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a 257-bed hospital located in Fort Walton Beach in the panhandle of Northwest Florida.


When Smiling Hurts

There’s actually a national recognition week in August to celebrate smiles. Smiles are wonderful things. As soon as a smile appears on your face, things start improving. It’s like the thawing of the village in the movie Frozen, things just begin to brighten up! The smile spreads from you to those around you. Smiles are infectious – it’s hard for someone not to smile back. A genuine smile is like a big billboard on the side of the road that shouts – it’s all good!

So imagine a friend or family member who is so unhappy with something in their life that smiling actually hurts. They can’t find the happiness inside that inspires a real smile. Forcing a smile is like a denial that something is wrong and it just makes things worse.

It’s not hard to spot the problem in someone you know well. It might be that whatever is bothering that individual is temporary and will right itself with a little time. But when the smile never comes and your loved one just can’t find the joy in life, it’s time for professional help. While they might not recognize it, you do. Helping them find the best resource for treatment of their depression or anxiety is the greatest gift you can offer them. People tend to want to avoid the conversation, but addressing these illnesses are every bit as important to quality of life as managing diseases like diabetes, cancer or heart conditions.

We can help you, help them. Our network of hospitals and services includes a focus on behavioral health. We have a free health information and referral phone line staffed by registered nurses who can answer questions and provide a list of physicians and services in our area that are appropriate. It’s free and it’s available 24/7. You want your loved one to smile again and feel the joy that comes with that simple expression of happiness.

Give us a call at 850-864-0213 and let our professional staff help stop the hurt.

Celebrate Your BFF Through Healthy Choices

Think about what life would be like without your girlfriends. They add so much happiness and support to everything you do. And you’d do anything for them. So helping that special girlfriend stay healthy in mind and body is an easy commitment to make. Here are few little tips to help that ‘girlfriend’ time improve your life as well as that of your BFF!

Eat healthy when you’re hanging out. We all know that a healthy diet will keep us stronger longer! So when you’re out on the town or just hanging out at the house, snack on fruit and vegetables, enjoy entrees like grilled chicken with salad. You don’t have to eat pizza and cake to enjoy yourself. When you’re with a girlfriend, everything will taste better anyway!

Of course it’s fun to hang out and watch a good movie, but it’s even better for you to spend time revving up your motor. It’s exhilarating and gets those good feeling endorphins stoked. Take a walk on the beach and talk about old times. Get a whole gang together and go salsa dancing and if you don’t know how, take a class together. And if you haven’t tried Zumba, go take a first class with a really good friend. Not only will you be moving, but odds are you’ll laugh your head off, which is exercise in and of itself. There are all kinds of ways to be active and have fun with girlfriends.

Helping your girlfriends through hard times is a no-brainer. It’s the foundation of ‘what friends are for.’ Sometimes girlfriends just need someone to quietly listen, and sometimes they need a friend who can offer sound advice. Sometimes friends are suffering with an illness, depression, or life changing event that can spin them out of control. That’s when seeking professional advice on what you can best do to help is a good idea. And if treatment is in order, help them get what they need.

Don’t let alcohol, tobacco, or drugs come between you. This can be tricky, but if you truly love your friend and you see behavior that is ruining their lives and can potentially kill them, love them enough to suggest they get help. And if it’s really out of control, talk to a professional about steps that can be taken to bring the help to them. You don’t need to act like judge and jury, but you can let them know you are concerned because you care and be persistent about them working on dangerous behaviors.

Finally, be a good role model. If you take care of yourself, it’s likely to rub off on your friend. Get your annual exams. Schedule your mammogram and suggest she go with you and get hers at the same time. Model how to deal with stress in a healthy way (like joining that Zumba class) and always let her know that she’s important to you.

And if your friend needs help with finding a doctor to meet her needs, help her! Call our free health information line at 850-864-0213 and we can match the right doctor or service with her unique needs.

Vaccinate and Protect the Herd!

With children of all ages heading back to school over the next few weeks, it’s no surprise that August is National Immunization Month. The goal is to remind us that vaccinating our children is vitally important to them and to others in our community who may be at higher risk because of their age or immunity status.

First and foremost, we want to protect our children from diseases that are effectively prevented through a simple vaccination. Why would we put them at risk of suffering a potential life-threatening illness when a trip to the pediatrician or health department can offer the protection they need? At each age, there are certain vaccinations that are called for. Everything from those first shots shortly after birth, to immunizations against diseases like meningitis before your older teen heads off to college should be part of the life checklist you have for your children.

From infancy through their college years (and even as older adults), getting the appropriate vaccinations and boosters are key to keeping individuals and the community they live in healthy and safe from contagious diseases. There’s a concept known as community or ‘herd’ immunity that says when a majority of a community is immunized against certain diseases, most members of that community – even those who haven’t been vaccinated are protected because there’s less opportunity for an outbreak. But if very few have been immunized, everyone - particularly infants, the elderly, and people with immune disorders - are at much greater risk.

That ‘community’ might be your entire town, it might be your neighborhood, or it might be your child’s first-grade class. The bottom line is that no child should suffer with measles or any other disease when we have the ability to immunize and protect them and those around them. Yes, some people have medical issues that prevent them from being vaccinated, but a qualified doctor should help parents determine what is going to be safe and effective for their child. Vaccinations should be given at each stage of life.

To learn more about our community’s resources for vaccinations, or to be referred to a qualified physician, call our free 24/7 health information and physician referral line at 850-864-0213.

Give Your Child the Best Start this School Year!

There is only so much you can do to protect your child from the world. Give your kids an A+ in healthcare awareness by starting the school year out right! As a parent you have a lot to think about to make sure your children are ready for that first day back in the classroom. Clothes, school supplies, even transportation and possibly after school care are details that fall squarely on your shoulders, but ensuring their good health at school is the most important detail of all. Here are a few tips to help prepare your child for success when it comes to earning the grade in healthcare.

We all know that getting the right amount of sleep is important to everyone, no matter what age. But for your child, it’s critical to their mental and physical development. From age 6 to 13, children need anywhere from 9 to 11 hours of sleep. With the demands of homework, extracurricular activities, and their growing social life, that can be hard to do. But creating a routine and environment that helps them get the sleep they need is vital to their success and health.

Good nutrition is right up there with sleep in order to send your child off, fully charged and ready for the best day they can have. It’s no myth that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure they are getting a healthy meal that’s not loaded with sugar. Also, sending healthy snacks in their lunchbox can keep them energized through every class. Instead of tossing a bag of chips in with their sandwich, substitute frozen grapes, apple slices, or one of the many yogurt products that don’t need refrigeration. Healthy food choices that you put in their lunchbox are a lesson in nutrition that will last a lifetime.

Finally, making sure your child has received their immunizations is important to their health and that of their entire class. If your child has allergies, make sure there’s a plan that’s shared with school personnel in case of an allergic reaction during the day. And to give your child the very best healthcare send-off this year, take them to the pediatrician for their annual physical. This is also the time to talk with the doctor about any issues your child might be having that could impact their success this school year.

To speak to a registered nurse, 24/7, or for a referral to a qualified pediatrician, call our free Consult-A-Nurse service at 850-864-0213.

Prenatal Care is Key to a Healthy Pregnancy and Baby!

It’s a miracle of life! Finding out you’re pregnant is a life-changing day full of excitement, and a little bit of anxiety. But that’s ok, it’s expected, particularly if you are a first-time mom. Maybe you used one of those home pregnancy tests to get the big news as early as possible. That’s good, but now it’s time to make an appointment with the OB/GYN and get started with that all important prenatal care.

Maybe you’re one of those women who are never sick and just don’t make regular visits to the doctor. But things have changed. You are now responsible for the health of (at least) two people so you need a new mindset. Getting regular check-ups and following your doctor’s advice is key to a having an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivering the healthiest baby possible.

Your prenatal visits with your doctor will include physical exams, weight checks, and urine and blood tests. Depending on where you are in the pregnancy other tests like ultrasound exams may be in order. Your doctor will advise you on diet, prenatal vitamins, and physical activities depending on special health needs you might have. And reviewing any medications you’re currently taking that could have an impact on your pregnancy is important so make sure you give a complete and thorough medical history and current lifestyle when asked. It’s vitally important that your doctor has every bit of information about your health to properly care for you and your unborn child.

Good prenatal care helps reduce complications with both pregnancy and birth. This is an awesome time in your life. Having a positive and open relationship with your physician can offer both high quality medical care and comfort in knowing you’re doing everything possible for your child from the moment you see that little blue line on the test strip.

If you don’t have a regular doctor, call our free health information and physician referral line at 850-864-0213 and we can help you find an obstetrician that fits your personal needs. We can also provide information on our women’s services to help you plan for the big day ahead!

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