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    Avoid the Spots! Get the Shots!!

    Last updated 3 days ago


    For the vast majority of Americans, the threat of getting the measles is slim-to-none.  But keeping that extremely contagious virus at bay depends largely on taking the most effective preventative measure – getting a vaccination.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, the United States is actually experiencing a record number of measles cases with 593 confirmed cases reported between January and August of this year.  The CDC says this is the highest number of measles cases recorded since 2000. 

    So why is this happening now?  Well, visitors from other countries where they don’t typically receive the vaccine are coming to the U.S. with the virus and infecting others.  In homes and communities where children are not getting the vaccinations needed, the risk is the greatest.  Sometimes when diseases like this are felt to be eliminated (based on years of effective immunization programs) people may assume they no longer need to worry about it and simply choose not to get vaccinated.  But guess what?  That’s how the disease gets away from us and we end up with widespread outbreaks that can be deadly.

    So here’s what you need to know.  Whether you think measles is a threat or not, getting a vaccination is how we, as a society, prevent this dangerous respiratory disease from spreading.  If you or someone in your household hasn’t been immunized for measles, call your doctor.  If you don’t have a physician, call our free referral service at 1-850-864-0213 and we can provide information on where you can go to get this important preventative shot. 

    Suicide Provention

    Last updated 9 days ago

    This is a sad topic but one that shouldn’t be ignored.  Last month Robin Williams committed suicide.  It was the headlining topic of virtually every news show for a week.  A man who had made generations of people laugh out loud took his own life.  It was hard to understand, it was sad, but this man who apparently had a life-long battle with depression and substance abuse spurred an important conversation about mental health for several days.

    Robin was an international entertainer and of course the tragedy of how he died as talked about world-wide.  That’s how his suicide made it into the news.  But the truth is that every 13 minutes someone in America commits suicide.  For whatever reason, whether due to depression, substance abuse, or simply the inability to cope with some situation in their life, every 13 minutes someone who somebody cares about dies at their own hand.

    September 7-13 is National Suicide Prevention Month and it’s important that all of us keep in mind that we may have friends or family who are suffering with some mental health issue that could result in this kind of tragic death.  Here are some of the warning signs of suicide and steps you can take when you recognize that someone is at risk.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control most of the time, people who kill themselves show one or more of these warning signs before they take action:

    • Talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead
    • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as hoarding medicine or buying a gun
    • Talking about a specific suicide plan
    • Feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
    • Feeling trapped, desperate, or needing to escape from an intolerable situation
    • Having the feeling of being a burden to others
    • Feeling humiliated
    • Having intense anxiety and/or panic attacks
    • Losing interest in things, or losing the ability to experience pleasure
    • Insomnia
    • Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn from friends, family, and others
    • Acting irritable or agitated
    • Showing rage, or talking about seeking revenge for being victimized or rejected, whether or not the situations the person describes seem real.

    If you know someone who is exhibiting this type of behavior, you need to take action.  If the behavior is extreme and it’s obvious they are in crisis, call 911.  Don’t be afraid to help.  Otherwise, let that person know you care and want to help them.  Make the call to a mental health provider and find out what the best next step is.  Stay with the person or make sure someone else in the family can be with them until they’ve gotten the help they need. 

    You can call our free health information and physician referral line at 1-850-864-0213 to get information on mental health services in our community.  But don’t ignore the problem. 

    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is wishing you a safe Labor Day holiday! What are your plans?

    Last updated 18 days ago

    National Immunization Awareness Month for a Good Reason!

    Last updated 21 days ago


    August is National Immunization Awareness Month and there’s more reason than ever to pay attention to timely vaccines for your children. While there is debate about benefits and effects of traditional immunizations, the truth is that some of the worst childhood diseases have been virtually eliminated with generations of children receiving timely vaccinations and preventing the spread of diseases throughout our schools.

    And it doesn’t stop with infant immunization and even grade school boosters. Your pre-teens and teenagers need to get regular check-ups and vaccines as recommended by their physician. And if you’re about to become an empty nester with a kid headed to college, even they need to get their shots updated.  Remember, whether it’s kindergarten, middle school, or college, they are going to be with socializing with others who might not have received appropriate vaccines. This is the best way to protect your treasured family from illnesses that can easily be prevented.

    Flu season is just around the corner. The very best step to take in keeping that nasty bug out of your home is through annual influenza vaccinations. When we look at infectious diseases like the flu, pertussis (whooping cough), and bacterial diseases like meningitis that cause blood infections, it’s so simple to prevent a family tragedy just by staying aware and making a quick stop at your doctor’s office to receive the shot. We’re fortunate to live in a society where these vaccines are available, affordable, and safe.

    While we’re focused on immunizations in August as our children – no matter what age – are preparing to return to schools and dormitories, call your family doctor and find out if they are due a booster shot or if there’s a new vaccine recommended for their age group.  If you don’t have a family physician, call our free health information and physician referral line at 1-850-864-0213 and we’ll help you find a doctor that fits your family’s needs.

    Open Heart Surgery: A Patient's Guide to Recovery

    Last updated 26 days ago

    Open heart surgery is any type of surgical procedure during which the chest is opened to access the heart. This term may encompass many different procedures, including heart valve surgery, bypass surgery, and other surgical procedures to repair the heart muscle, arteries, or veins. After your open heart surgery, you will remain in the hospital for a few days. During this time, hospital staff will provide personalized information regarding your recovery, both before and after you are discharged.

    How You Will Feel

    It is normal to feel fatigued after open heart surgery. You may not feel very hungry or even feel nauseated for up to two weeks after your procedure. Try to eat small, nutritious meals and drink plenty of fluids to bolster your body’s healing processes. Some patients have trouble sleeping; taking pain medication before bed can help you sleep through the night. You may also experience swelling in the legs, constipation, and tightness or numbness in your back and shoulders. Wearing TED hose can reduce swelling and minimize the risk of a blood clot as you recover.

    How to Care for Your Incision

    During your hospital stay, staff will check your incision regularly. After you return home, follow your physician’s instructions. You may wash the incision site over the bandages with warm water and mild soap, but avoid scrubbing. If you still have tape or sterile strips remaining one week after surgery, you may remove them carefully. Inspect your incisions at least once a day and notify your doctor if you see swelling, redness, drainage, or experience tenderness around the area or a persistent fever. These are indications of an infection that may need to be treated with antibiotics.

    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is the only hospital in the Tri-County area to offer open heart surgery. Our nationally-recognized Heart Center provides comprehensive cardiovascular care, including surgery, cardiac rehabilitation, and heart catheterization. Please call 1-850-864-0213 to learn more about our cardiac, vascular, and vein services, or check out our blog for tips on maintaining a healthy heart. 


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