First aid kit: Building a lifesaver box

, , , , , , , ,

Solid preparation and safety are a part of the Minnesota way. Everyone should make a concerted effort to protect their health. Having access to a first aid kit should be taken just as seriously as fire alarms and flashlights. You never know when disaster may strike, but you can be ready to take on the brunt of injuries and illness that come with it.

Should I buy or build?

Browsing through the dozens of premade first aid kits online can be a fun time sink, but nothing will ever beat the DIY approach. This is an opportunity to make the kit of your dreams, complete with every tool or gadget needed to suit your lifestyle. The first aid kit a car mechanic needs in his shop may differ significantly from a suburban housewife’s in a drawer by the sink. As a bonus, by choosing pieces individually, you can maintain a higher level of quality control while truly learning the inner workings of your kit.

Only the essentials

Building a first aid can be a great family activity.

Building a first aid kit can be a great family activity.

Tri-County Health Care Emergency Medical Services Manager Cole Lugert weighed in on the topic and shared some of the essential items he believes should be in every personalized first aid kit. Find his list below.

  • Band-Aids
  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
  • A towel
  • Tourniquet

Additionally, Cole stressed the need to choose the best location for the kit. Just throwing it in the closet or on a shelf under your socket set isn’t good enough. Place the items in a secure watertight case of some kind. They should be kept away from liquids and storage temperature should always be considered. Ultimately, the best place is one you won’t forget and can be accessed quickly in stressful situations.

Personalize it!

Make the kit your own by adding items specifically tailored to the health needs of you and your family. Furthermore, make sure to include special medications, inhalers and EpiPen’s. Just be careful not to overpack the kit. While packing, ask yourself, Do I need this item? Do I even know how to use it? Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to seek out additional training.

Use the American Red Cross as a guide for more information on first aid kits and watch the video below.


Sebeka Clinic: My first impression

, , , , , , ,

Working in a rural community is a unique experience. You get a real sense of the people and the bonds they form with others. Handshakes are firmer, smiles are brighter, and conversations never seem to be forced. I love the Sebeka Clinic and my work family, so I felt like sharing my thoughts on the initial few months of working at Tri-County Health Care.

The Sebeka Clinic has been a fixture in the small community for years.

The perfect fit

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started. I was a little cautious because when you work in a rural clinic, sometimes the resources you have at your fingertips are different than working in a larger clinic. Rural health care is critical. In some areas, people simply don’t have access to solid medical health. Luckily that isn’t the case in Sebeka.

After the first week, I came to the conclusion that I absolutely loved it here. We are located close to large population centers, so higher levels of care are just down the road. The flow and feel are just different in the rural satellite clinics and it just works for me!  I also grew up in northern Minnesota, so I’m no stranger to rural life.

Talent and teamwork

It’s true that some days can be challenging, especially during a pandemic, but I genuinely believe the team I work with makes every challenge more manageable. We have the best staff and we all work so well together. The atmosphere of teamwork at Tri-County Health Care makes the day fly by smoothly. We all balance each other out because, ultimately, we are here to provide quality patient-centered care.

Joining the team

Tri-County Health Care is an amazing place to work. Right now, we have a wide range of openings across several departments. This is an excellent opportunity to join a team that feels like family. Check out the careers page and see if we have an opening for you. This video is a little old, but I thought it was a nice portrait of the surrounding community. Please enjoy!

Alyssa Jackson is often the only primary care provider at the Sebeka Clinic

Alyssa Jackson, APRN, FNP

About the guest author: Alyssa Jackson, APRN, FNP

Alyssa Jackson is a nurse practitioner at the Sebeka Clinic with experience in hospice, palliative and primary care. She places a high value on administering care tailored to the unique needs of each patient. Alyssa loves animals, so when she isn’t at the Sebeka Clinic, she can be found riding horses, chasing chickens, and playing with her five dogs.


Embarrassment and colonoscopies

, , , , , , , ,

Every year thousands of people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Our medical staff and surgeons have some of the most incredible tools that exist. However, no amount of tools will ever replace the early detection of cancer. Being able to catch cancer before it spreads opens up so many options. The problem is, early detection requires an active approach. They have to want to beat cancer before it starts. This kind of preemptive thinking is hard for some people. We get so busy with our lives, the last thing we want to think about is cancer. That needs to change. We need to change our perception of the procedure, so embarrassment and colonoscopies don’t go hand and hand.

Normalizing colonoscopies

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. This is a troubling statistic because it shouldn’t be so prevalent. We understand this disease and have ways to deal with it, but we still need to participate. When a person gets to 45, a colonoscopy should be an expected procedure. It should provoke little to no anxiety. It’s just another check-up with a bit more homework.

We’ve seen it all

I observe a lot of disgust for the procedure. I know the preparation for a colonoscopy is unpleasant, usually resulting in many trips to the bathroom, but it isn’t as bad as you think. What really concerns me is how embarrassed some people are about safeguarding their own health. Embarrassment and colonoscopies seem to be fused, especially in our community. In a hospital, medical staff is trained to confidentially treat a massive range of patients from every walk of life. I guarantee you, the surgeon performing your colonoscopy has seen it all. There is no need to be afraid or embarrassed.

Take a minute to watch this informative video. This video explains the procedure and its benefits.

Take action

If you find yourself avoiding a colonoscopy out of fear or embarrassment, ask yourself, is cancer embarrassing? Sometimes we have to do things that make us uncomfortable and a colonoscopy is definitely on that list but so is cancer. I want people to make the right choice! Be an active participant in your health. If you’re staring down 45, don’t wait for your doctor to bring it up; just ask about getting a colonoscopy. For more information about colon cancer screening at Tri-County Health Care, click here. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment!

About the guest author: Travis Swartz, DO

Dr. Swartz has a long history of helping people overcome health challenges. His passion for people is evident in and out of the operating room. When he isn’t with patients, Dr. Swartz enjoys spending time with family or fitting in a remodeling project.


Paddles and mammograms

, , , , ,

I know mammograms are invasive and uncomfortable, but I have good news, Tri-County Health Care has added the Hologic SmartCurve Breast Stabilization system to our workflow. The new technology we have is wonderful because it makes compression more comfortable during your mammogram through the use of conforming paddles.

Many women dislike mammograms because they are uncomfortable. You are in a vulnerable state when you have a mammogram. It is not only uncomfortable physically, but women are also uncomfortable mentally and emotionally. You are entrusting your body and your health to someone you just met. All of that anxiety on top of the fear of breast cancer can be exhausting. The outcome is unknown and could change your life.

The new paddles can accommodate a wide range of patients.

The new paddles can accommodate a wide range of patients. They conform to the size and shape of the breast while applying more even pressure.

Changes and improvements

We switched to using these new curved paddles with patient comfort in mind. We encourage women to get mammograms and are always looking for ways to make the procedure more pleasant. Mammograms are still the most sensitive test that we have to detect cancer in its earliest stages. One of the biggest reasons women don’t get a mammogram is because they are uncomfortable. These new paddles can help women feel more at ease during the exam with less pulling and evenly distributed compression throughout the breast—these paddles curve with the shape of the breast and the chest wall. Many women complain of the pulling at the chest wall, and these new mammogram paddles have a more natural curve that resembles the shape of the breast.

Safe screening

We have already received a flurry of positive comments about the new paddles and I know we will receive more. There has never been a better time to schedule a mammogram at Tri-County Health Care! If you’re 40 or older or have a family history of breast cancer, please consider this life-saving screening. I have personally witnessed this testing save lives. It can be scary, but it is worth it. Click here to learn more about our 3-D Mammography or call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment!

I found a short video that gives more information on the technological aspects of mammograms. Please watch and don’t hesitate to ask questions about mammograms during your next primary care appointment.

 

Guest Writer: Kate Lachowitzer, Diagnostic Imaging Manager

Kate has been working at Tri-County Health Care for over seven years. She started as a staff technologist and became the department manager after two years of dedicated service. She loves the people-first atmosphere of Tri-County Health Care and enjoys working with a team that cares so much!


Step-by-step guide to colonoscopies

, , , , , , , , ,

All too often, people fear the unknown. In the realm of healthcare, this is especially true. Part of receiving care at a hospital or clinic is getting quality consultation about procedures, medication and better living practices. Colonoscopies are no different. If a person is approaching 50 years of age, it’s time to start thinking about scheduling a colonoscopy. However, many people in this age range put it off. Using this guide is a step in the right direction.

Travis Swartz, DO, has spent a great deal of his career performing this procedure, helping hundreds stave off colon cancer. According to Dr. Swartz, the main reason people avoid a colonoscopy is embarrassment. They think being sedated and having an endoscope inserted into their rectum is an invasion of privacy with outcomes not worth the hassle. This belief is simply not true. Although it is not a fun activity, screening is a great tool to discover cancer.

A step-by-step guide

A great way of reducing anxiety is to break things down into pieces. Dr. Swartz has put together a guide to coloscopies at Tri-County Health Care. It covers everything from the initial consultation to discharge.

Travis Swartz, DO, wants you to take steps toward better colorectal health.

Travis Swartz, DO

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, a person should receive a colonoscopy around 50. Follow-up colonoscopies will depend on a patient’s risk for cancer.
  • Typically, a primary care provider discusses a colonoscopy during an appointment. If they don’t, ask about it. An active approach is the best way to prevent colon cancer.
  • The procedure usually takes place about a week after scheduling.
  • There is preparation to do before a colonoscopy. Cleansing the colon is the most difficult aspect of the process. A patient will need to consume around a gallon of liquid mixed with a medicine that will force bowel movements.
  • Avoid red or blue liquids because they create issues with the imaging equipment.
  • You will get a confirmation call before the appointment.
  • After check-in, you are brought to a private room and to meet with the surgeon. Shortly after, patients meet with the anesthetist.
  • The patient goes back to the colonoscopy suite. In the suite, a surgeon, a reporter and an assistant will complete the procedure.
  • The patient is sedated during a colonoscopy. The actual procedures takes around 30 minutes. The entire process takes around three to four hours.
  • After, the patient returns to the private room. The patient enjoys a meal and sent home.

Efficiency

Technology, colonoscopies have come a long way. The screening only takes a few hours. The patient goes home the same day with no special instruction for recovery. According to Dr. Swartz, patients are usually very tired from being up most of the night. Most go immediately home to enjoy a nice nap.

Tri-County Health Care offers multiple colon cancer screening options. Visit TCHC.org for more information about screenings. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule.


Mind, body and spirit: Dr. Lindblom

, , , , , , , ,

What is osteopathic medicine?

Osteopathic medicine focuses on the body as a unified system. To truly help someone, an osteopathic doctor will treat the whole person, not just the symptoms. This approach is a more holistic form of care that emphasizes the connection of mind, body and spirit. This form of care primarily uses physical manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, but the overall outcome depends on the patient living a healthier life.

The mind, body and spirt are treated collectively in osteopathic medicine.

John Lindblom, DO

John Lindblom, DO, has dedicated his life to the pursuit of improving the lives of others from the ground up. His style of care is as unique as his discipline. Meeting with Dr. Lindblom for the first time goes beyond simple evaluation and measurements. Osteopathic medicine is about the whole body, the mind, and the spirit that guides it. During an initial meeting with Dr. Lindblom, he gets to know the whole you.

“I love taking things apart and putting them together. In high school, my desire to help people steered me toward medicine. My hands-on nature and my drive to help others came together with osteopathic medicine.” – Dr. Lindblom

Osteopathic medicine health treats the whole body, including the mind and spirit.

John Lindblom, DO

Prevention

A core tenant of osteopathic medicine is prevention. Treating the mind, body and spirit is about building a person up to stave off illness in the future. Dr. Lindblom is all about helping you today so that you can be healthy tomorrow! Regular appointments with Dr. Lindblom can assist with a wide range of ailments. Aches and pains are common reasons for scheduling an appointment, but osteopathic medicine can help with far more complex issues. In some cases, it can even prevent the need for invasive procedures.

Dr. Lindblom is from the Fergus Falls area and has a strong passion for the outdoors. He enjoys metalworking, welding and exploring the wilderness of Minnesota with his trusty metal detector.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lindblom, please call 218-631-3510. To learn more about our providers, please visit tchc.org/primarycare and follow Tri-County Health Care on social media for regular updates.


Pharmacy Week: Mark Carlson Q&A

, , , , , ,

Pharmacists provide a much-needed service in the healthcare industry. They are responsible for the storage, distribution and mixing of medications. They also play an important role in patient education. To celebrate National Pharmacy Week, we caught up with our pharmacist, Mark Carlson. In this interview, we discussed his career at Tri-County Health Care.

Mark Carlson

Q: Why did you become a pharmacist?

A: I wanted to become a pharmacist after working in a pharmacy as a technician.  I saw the diverse career paths in the profession with many options ranging from retail to research.

I liked where the pharmacy profession was heading from a patient experience perspective.  It is very rewarding to educate patients on medications and the nuances of how the medication works for their condition. I find drug-to-drug interactions, adherence and medication safety to be fascinating.

Q: What was your education like?

A: I went to Augsburg College for my Bachelors of Arts in Biology and then obtained my Doctorate of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota. I was in the second class coming out of the Duluth campus. This program focused on pharmacy in rural Minnesota.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: I enjoy the variety. My day involves the clinical side of pharmacy, like knowing medication information and helping develop treatment options. Additionally, there is a lot of administrative work as well. I am very blessed to have a tremendous pharmacy team. They are very skilled and often go above and beyond.

Q: How has COVID-19 affected your work?

A: I have been able to integrate with other departments more during the pandemic. It has been a great experience to work with so many talented individuals. The vaccine and monoclonal team have done an excellent job. The pandemic has added to the daily challenge. but our collective effort is really making a difference.

Q: What is it like being a pharmacist at Tri-County Health Care?

A: Being a pharmacist at TCHC has been an excellent opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills. Everyone over the past five years has been great to work with. I was allowed to learn and develop on the job. Before coming here, I didn’t have as much hospital pharmacy experience. Tri-County Health Care places a high value on professional growth.

Q: What career achievement are you most proud of?

A: Being a part of the COVID-19 pandemic response team. Our mission is to help improve the health of the communities we serve and I firmly believe we are doing that, even during these challenging circumstances.

Please call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment. To learn more, visit TCHC.org and follow Tri-County Health Care on social media for regular updates.


Treating the tongue-tied

, , , , , , ,

Imagine being a new mother, you just gave birth to a beautiful baby, but after closer inspection, you notice something is amiss. The doctor confirms that your baby suffers from ankyloglossia, more commonly known as tongue-tie. This medical condition occurs at birth when a baby is born with a tight piece of connective tissue under the tongue. This tissue restricts the tongue’s movement. Luckily, this condition is well known and treatable. Being tongue-tied may result in difficulty breastfeeding or swallowing.

Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmich, CNM, has alot of experience with tongue-tied babies.

Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmich, CNM

Midwife perspectives

Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmich, a certified nurse midwife, has worked with many tongue-tied babies. According to Dawn, only about 10 percent of babies are born with this problem. In the last 20 years, she’s cared for over 100 babies with ankyloglossia. Her second daughter was actually born with ankyloglossia.

“Typically, this condition is very treatable and doesn’t cause any long-term issues if dealt with right away. If the frenulum is not snipped it can cause speech ipediments later in life. This is the reason we chose to have our daughter’s snipped.” – Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmich

When Dawn works with a baby having trouble feeding, she looks at the frenulum. If she finds the frenulum is interfering with feeding, she recommends the baby have the frenulum clipped by a provider or ENT specialist. After the frenulum is snipped, she works with the parents to reteach the baby how to feed.

Chiropractic intervention

Dr. Mitchell does occasionally work with tongue-tied babies.

Carissa Mitchell, DC

Tri-County Health Care has a diverse staff of medical professionals trained to detect this issue. From birthing services to chiropractic care, everyone is on the lookout for symptoms of tongue-tie. Carissa Mitchell, DC, has extensive knowledge of the muscle and bone structures of the human body. As a chiropractor, she is trained to observe and feel for problems affecting bodily alignment. She does see newborns and has had success detecting ankyloglossia. “I see many infants that have trouble latching or feeding and I focus on that. As a chiropractor, I’m not the person to diagnose a tongue-tie but rather check the musculoskeletal components and make sure they’re functioning properly,” explained Dr. Mitchell.

In some cases, extra tissue may not be causing restriction to the tongue. It could be an issue with the nerves and muscles associated with the tongue. A chiropractor can make adjustments to ease the tightness of the tongue, allowing for easier breastfeeding and swallowing.

Read more about this process in this article published by Andrew Dorough DC, CACCP.

Schedule today!

To learn more about obstetrics and birthing services, please visit TCHC.org. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment and follow Tri-County Health Care on Facebook for regular updates.


Masks matter in schools!

, , , , , ,

“I choose to wear a mask for a couple of different reasons. I currently have a high-risk teacher, and I want to protect the residents I work with at Mills Manor. I also don’t want to miss out on things like homecoming, prom, sports, and graduation,” said Lauryn Gravelle when asked about masks in school.

Senior year of high school is a major milestone in a person’s K-12 education. It is the grand finale that makes all the homework, cramming, and pop quizzes fade away. However, students have been missing out on this well-earned victory lap in the last couple of years. In 2020, graduations and proms were canceled in mass or held in an orthodox fashion. This year is gearing up to be no different as schools around the nation report high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases.

Lauryn is very busy with school, sports, and masks!

Lauryn Gravelle

Out of fashion

For a good chunk of 2020, masks were in style. Students across the country were sewing and bedazzling mask fabric in an act of pandemic unity. Unfortunately, things have shifted over the last several months, with mask no longer being seen as a helpful resource, only a hindrance. Right now, masks and the vaccine are two of the most powerful tools in the fight against COVID-19, but fatigue has set in. Months ago, classrooms were filled with masked students doing their best to continue studying during a pandemic. That fatigue is seen in school systems across the country.

Doing the right thing isn’t always comfortable

Lauryn’s mother, Wendy Gravelle, is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Tri-County Health Care. She is also passionate about masking and the vaccine. “I was surprised as I didn’t know she was doing it. At a volleyball game, I saw her wearing it. I asked why she had it on, thinking maybe she wasn’t feeling well,” explained Wendy. Lauryn told her mother she wanted to protect those around her and do more to help during the pandemic.

“I honestly was just so proud at that moment to realize this is something she chose on her own, and it wasn’t me forcing her to do it.  Her sisters have also started wearing their masks, and I believe it was because of the impact she had on them.” – Wendy Gravelle

Wendy has four children, and all of them willfully chose to be vaccinated. Her family is very connected to the caregiving environment, and they would never want to accidentally transmit the virus to others, especially the elderly and immunocompromised. Lauryn works in an assisted living home and is frequently around people highly susceptible to COVID-19.

Masks have fallen out of fashion at many schools.

Masked and united

Masking is still crucial in the fight against COVID-19. It’s so important that even the vaccinated should wear one. Breakthrough infections can still occur in the vaccinated, making masks necessary for everyone when out and about. “I decided that Lauryn is empowering me to also follow her lead, and I wore my mask to her volleyball game. Everyone assumes you’re sick if you wear it. I informed them that if Lauryn can wear her mask at school, so can I,” said Wendy. Lauryn and some of her friends have been wearing masks to school, sporting events and while out shopping. They hope wearing their masks will inspire others to do the same. Lauryn is especially concerned for younger people that claim COVID-19 is a hoax.

The vaccine is currently available to children 12 and up. The vaccine is expected to be open to children ages 5 to 11 soon. Wendy spoke with Tri-County providers before getting her kids vaccinated. She recommends that parents talk to a trusted medical professional in addition to gathering information from trusted sources.

Wendy Gravelle is supporter of masks and vaccinations.

Wendy Gravelle

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Tri-County Health Care aims to vaccinate as many people as possible. To schedule an appointment, call 218-631-3510. Patients can also request the vaccine during regular provider appointments. Please follow Tri-County Health Care on social media or visit TCHC.org/covidvaccine for regular updates.


Fight the flu!

, , , , , ,

Necessary prevention

“I never get the flu shot.” How many times have you heard that? Avoiding this crucial vaccination seems to be a point of pride for some people. It shouldn’t be a proud choice to leave yourself vulnerable to illness during a pandemic. This year, help yourself, your family, and the ailing healthcare systems across the nation. Join us and fight the flu!

Every year the flu does immense damage to the population, resulting in many hospitalizations. Over the years, the flu has become another obstacle we deal with, but we can’t take the risk this year. With beds filling rapidly, hospitals and clinics may not have the resources to stave off the flu effectively. Help them fight back and get the jab.

Do it for you too!

There are many reasons to get the flu shot aside from lending a hand to nurses, doctors and other medical staff. Here are our top three:

  1. Healthy holidays

Getting sick on Christmas or Thanksgiving is pretty crumby. We’ve all experienced that woeful Thanksgiving where the rest of the family enjoys a delicious dinner while you struggle to keep down warm soup. Do yourself a favor and don’t let the flu stifle your plans to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Preserve time off

Wouldn’t you like to enjoy a day off doing something you love? Having to use up all of your vacation days battling the flu is no fun. Don’t let the flu dictate your days off, miss work for something fun and fight the flu.

  1. Do it for the immunocompromised

Fight the flu! Don't let the flu stifle our COVID-19 treatments.Some people can’t get the vaccine due to medical complications and allergies. We can help them by reducing the amount of illness in the population. Remember them when offered the flu shot at your next appointment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released updated information regarding this year’s flu season. Visit their website for more details.

Upcoming flu shot clinics

Tri-County Health Care will be hosting several flu shot clinics during September and October. Clinics will be available in Wadena, Bertha, Henning, Ottertail and Sebeka.

Wadena              218-631-3510

Saturday              Oct. 2                   7-12 p.m.            all ages

Saturday              Oct. 16                 7-12 p.m.            all ages

Bertha                  218-924-2250

Wednesday         Sept. 29               7-4:15 p.m.        65+ day

Wednesday         Oct. 13                 7-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Henning              218-583-2953

Wednesday         Oct. 20                 8-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Ottertail               218-367-6262

Tuesday               Oct. 26                 8-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Sebeka                 218-837-5333

Wednesday         Oct. 6                   8-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Tri-County Health Care offers a significant discount for individuals paying at the time of the flu shot clinic. Medicare Advantage Plans, Humana, Medicare, Medicaid and many other commercial insurances are accepted. Please confirm with your insurance company before the clinic. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, but walk-in appointments are available.


When is the pain too much?

, , , , , , , ,

Lorinda wants to help you with pain management.

Pain is a part of life. No one should suffer in silence and solitude. Getting help is the first step toward a life with less pain. Recently, I sat down and thought about my personal and professional feeling on the topic of pain regarding orthopedic health. After some deliberation, I put my thoughts down on paper.

  1. Chronic pain

Ongoing pain can be stifling. If you find yourself suffering from the same old pain every single day, it might be time to make the call. Check-in with yourself. Is your knee pulsing? Do you find it hard to move in certain ways? Don’t suffer in silence. Meet with a professional and figure out what’s going on.

  1. Activity loss

As we get older, we often experience a loss in mobility, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re experiencing trouble gardening or keeping up with the grandkids like you once did, consider seeking orthopedic consultation.

  1. Limited range of motion

Our joints take a lot of abuse. It’s important to keep an eye on our joints as they move. If things don’t feel the same, it’s probably a red flag. This change may be slow and gradual. Aches, pains, and problems doing household chores could be an indicator of joint issues.

  1. Difficulty standing and walking

We definitely take some movements for granted. Every day, most of us get out of bed knowing we will be unhindered. Unfortunately, for some, the simple act of standing can be painful. Struggles with standing and walking shouldn’t be taken lightly. This struggle could be an indicator of more problems to come and should be immediately addressed.

  1. Sprains and soft tissue injuries

Working hard and playing hard sometimes comes with consequences. Sprains are a problem, but in many cases, they don’t require immediate orthopedic intervention. However, if you experience a sprain that doesn’t improve in 48 hours and you’ve tried applying ice and elevation, please schedule an appointment. This kind of pain should be addressed by a professional.

Pain can sometimes be alleviated with simple stretching.

My injuries

I’ve had orthopedic injuries just like anyone else. I ran track in high school and strained my hamstring tendon. My parents got me into physical therapy right away to work on stretching my hamstrings which prevented further injury. I’ve also recovered from other injuries affecting my back. For me, consultation, stretching, yoga, and strength training put me on the road to recovery. During an initial appointment with me, we will work together to find what works best for you.

What to expect during your first visit

A first appointment can be anxiety-inducing, but it doesn’t have to be. In many ways, meeting with Ben Robertson, M.D., or myself isn’t all that different from a regular check-up. During a visit with Dr. Robertson or myself, you should expect us to listen to your story. Getting your perspective on what brought you to us is of great importance. Additionally, we need to know what treatments you have received. We will perform an exam and show you related radiologic images. We will discuss treatment options and outcomes so you can make an informed decision about your care.

About the guest author: Lorinda Zigan, PA-CLorinda Zigan, PA-C, is an expert in pain management and helping people live fuller lives.

Lorinda is passionate about pain management and orthopedic care. Throughout her career, she has helped many people live fuller lives with less pain. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family. She also enjoys tending to her garden and horses.

If you’re experiencing chronic pain, please consider scheduling an appointment with the Orthopedics team at Tri-County Health Care. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule today!


The COVID-19 variants and Mu

, , , , , ,

The nature of a virus is to mutate so it can more easily spread. COVID-19 is no exception, and right now, there are four dominant variants. According to the Centers for Disease Control, scientists actively monitor populations for new mutations. This is necessary for tracking the virus and devising treatments.

Variants of concern

The CDC uses the classifications of interest, concern and high-consequence. Fortunately, no current variants are high-consequence. However, four of them have been identified as variants of concern.

Delta

Delta is the dominant strain. It was first discovered in India and is significantly more transmissible. It may cause more severe symptoms.

Alpha

Alpha was found in the United Kingdom and is a quick-spreading variant. Vaccines and treatments are effective against the Alpha variant.

Gamma

The very transmissible Gamma variant was detected in Brazil and Japan. The Gamma variant draws concern due to its ability to spread quickly and render some treatments less effective.

Beta

Similar to Gamma, the Beta variant spreads quickly from one host to another. Vaccines are effective but it does seem to be more virulent, making monoclonal anti-body treatment less effective. This variant was discovered in South Africa.

Variants are a constant concern for the medical community.

Variants of interest and Mu

A global pandemic gives a virus many opportunities to mutate. It’s important to keep tabs on every new mutation so medical professionals can be ready. Several variants of interest have been identified.

There is one particular variant of interest that has many on edge. The Mu variant has been making headlines for some time now, adding to the slew of identified variants. The Mu variant was discovered in Columbia back in January 2021. It has slowly made its way to the United States in small numbers. The problem with the Mu variant centers on its elusiveness. Vaccine experts predict this could be the virus that evades the current roster of COVID-19 vaccines. If the Mu variant were to pick up speed and become the new dominant strain, it would mean starting from square one again.

Tackling the fourth wave

During a recent interview with Lakeland PBS News, Tammy Suchy, Tri-County Health Care Quality and Risk Management Director, spoke frankly about the current difficulties with COVID-19.

“We have unfortunately had to keep people here longer than normal for things like strokes, heart attacks and sepsis, because there are no beds available in our region. We’ve even transferred a patient as far away as South Dakota.”

Tammy and the staff of Tri-County Health Care know that with every new variant comes the possibility of worsening circumstances. During her interview, Suchy made it very clear that the vaccine is the only way out of the pandemic and defeating the slew of variants on our doorstep.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Tri-County Health Care aims to vaccinate as many people as possible. To schedule an appointment, call 218-631-3510. Patients can also request the vaccine during normal provider appointments. Please follow Tri-County Health Care on social media or visit TCHC.org/covidvaccine for regular updates.


Prostate cancer and early detection

, , , , , , ,

Prostate cancer is no joke. Every year, it claims the lives of thousands, reminding us of the importance of early detection. Around age 50, it is recommended that men get tested for prostate cancer. Testing and the early detection of the cancer allow for a wide array of treatment options.

The American Cancer Society lists prostate cancer as the most common cancer in men aside for skin cancer. They estimate around 248,530 new cases occurred in 2021 with 34,130 deaths.

Times have changed

Testing has evolved over the years. As a result, the days of rectal examinations are on the way out, with physicians favoring the prostate-specific antigen test. According to the National Cancer Institute, a PSA refers to a specific protein produced by malignant and normal cells found in the prostate. This test measures the level of the antigen present in a blood sample. An elevated PSA level may indicate prostate cancer.

A medical perspective

Dr. Hess has seen a sizable decline in traditional prostate examinations in recent years.

Ben Hess, M.D.

With blood testing gaining popularity, there is almost no reason to ignore the importance of screening. Chief Medical Officer Ben Hess, M.D., is a supporter of PSA testing.

“I very rarely have to do prostate exams. It is no longer recommended for asymptomatic patients. Instead I focus on how and why we use the PSA test instead.” -Dr. Hess

He commented on the hesitancy felt by men when the touchy subject is brought up. Dr. Hess reassures them that old-school rectal examinations are no longer universally recommended. The PSA blood test may be better in most cases.

Symptoms

Screening should begin around age 50 unless a family history of the cancer prompts earlier screening. Symptoms of the cancer are:PSA testing has replaced traditional prostate exams in many instances.

  • Frequent urination
  • Weak urination
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Pain in the rectum
  • Pain in the lower back

Treatment

This form of cancer can be treated in many ways, including surgery, radiation and cryotherapy. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the chances of dying from prostate cancer are fairly low with a 5-year survival rate of 99%. Most trusted sources point to early detection as the key to beating this cancer.

If you are nearing 50 or have symptoms of prostate cancer, Tri-County Health Care can help. To schedule an appointment, please call 218-631-3510.