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  • 6/4/2019 Summer is just around the corner which means I’ll start to see patients complaining of “swimmer’s ear.” Doctors tend to see more of this malady in hot, humid weather, but it can also be brought on by other conditions as well.
    The medical term for swimmer’s ear is otitis externa, indicating inflammation of the external ear. This is in contrast to the more common otitis media, or infection of the middle ear (the air filled cavity just behind the ear drum).
    The number of people who suffer from swimmer’s ear is about four per 1,000 per year, or about three to five percent of the population. It afflicts males and females in equal numbers and tends to present between seven and twelve years of age, though older people can certainly be afflicted.
    The wax (cerumen) that everyone is always trying to get out of their ears is actually there to protect the external ear canal. There exists a delicate balance of too much or too little cerumen. If there is not enough present, the ear canal can dry out, crack and develop infection. If there is too much, the ear canal can become too moist. This leads to swelling and breakdown of the skin lining the ear canal.
  • 5/20/2019 Readers have asked me to address more summer safety issues. It’s great to see kids and adults out on their bicycles now that the weather has warmed up (especially kids who aren’t sitting on the couch). This will undoubtedly result in more bike accidents. Some of the saddest experiences I had during my Family Medicine residency were to have to take care of kids who were brain injured as a result of a bike accident.
    In 2017, there were 783 deaths from bicycle accidents in the United States, a decrease of about 7 percent from the previous year. Most of these deaths were the result of head injuries from people being hit by or running into automobiles. Bike accidents account for about half a million visits to emergency departments each year and account for over $10 billion in health care costs.
    While most kids own bike helmets, often they tell me they don’t wear them. Parents often bring up the fact that they never wore a helmet when they were kids. Most of the time, the reason is because helmets did not exist when they were kids.
  • 5/13/2019 It will soon be warm outside (hopefully) – time to starting thinking about summer. This week, I want to briefly review some sun and water safety tips.
    Most people enjoy a good day in the sun. Whether it’s lounging by the water or working outdoors, we all get our fair share of sun every summer. Everyone knows you can get a burn if you’re out in the sun too long. However, many people don’t realize that you can still get a burn in the shade or on a cloudy day. Ultraviolet rays come in two forms: UVA and UVB. UVA accelerates aging of the skin, while both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer.
  • 5/6/2019 The summer sports season, gardening and other outdoor chores will be starting soon. If they haven’t already, weekend warriors will soon be doing all sorts of things to keep doctors who treat musculoskeletal injuries busy. I want to give everyone some pointers in how to take care of the inevitable sprains and strains of summer.
    It’s interesting to me how many people come to my office after suffering an injury and don’t have any idea how to do some initial first aid. It’s extremely important to treat injuries immediately to prevent additional damage and disability.
    When a musculoskeletal injury occurs, a biochemical chain reaction is triggered to begin the process of healing the injury. Injured cells release various messengers that start the process, but this also results in pain and swelling.
  • Hamilton Health - The Season of Sneezing
    4/29/2019 It’s once again time to run my annual column on allergies. Many of our readers are probably already cursing the annual return of allergy symptoms. The pollen levels in Indiana have already been quite high.
    Seasonal allergies are a major problem for many people. When allergy sufferers are asked about their quality of life, they generally rate allergies as more bothersome than heart disease and sometimes even cancer. There are many causes of allergies, but I want to focus on the seasonal type.
    Seasonal allergies are caused by pollen. Pollen contains the male genetic material of plants; it is analogous to sperm in animals. The goal of any biologic organism is to spread its DNA as far and wide as possible. Pollen is the perfect vehicle to accomplish this task.
  • Hamilton Health - What in the world is a thyroid anyway?
    4/22/2019 I’ve received a request to write about thyroid gland problems. Thyroid problems are common in a family medicine setting. For those who don’t know what the thyroid gland is or does, keep reading.
    The thyroid is an endocrine gland found in the front part of the neck below and to the sides of the larynx or Adam’s apple. Endocrine glands make hormones that are released into the bloodstream. The hormones then travel around the body and interact with cells in different tissues, biochemically instructing them to perform particular functions.
    The primary job of the thyroid gland is to control metabolism (energy use) in our cells. It does this by producing two hormones, T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronin). Both of these hormones contain iodine which is why iodine is so important in our diets.
  • 3/11/2019 Snoring can certainly be annoying, but it doesn't always indicate a serious medical problem. This week, however, I do want to focus on a harmful condition that can be associated with snoring – sleep apnea.
    Sleep apnea is a condition where people have pauses in their breathing while sleeping. Most people have pauses to some degree, but people with sleep apnea have much longer pauses, sometimes lasting up to 30 seconds. These long pauses cause the level of oxygen in the blood to drop and carbon dioxide to rise. These changes can be very hard on the body, especially the heart and lungs.
    There are two main types of sleep apnea – central and obstructive.
  • 3/4/2019 I’m running through my list of suggested topics from readers, and this one goes out to a reader from Sheridan. It’s a common problem, but one of those topics that doesn’t usually come up in casual conversation—constipation.
    There are three common times in a person’s life when constipation can become a problem. The first is during early childhood, the second when a person has decreased activity for some reason, and the last is during the elder years. Each one has different causes.
  • 2/25/2019 Last week I tried to explain the very complex non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). This week I want to cover Hodgkin’s lymphoma, more commonly known as Hodgkin’s Disease (HD). It gets its eponymous name from Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it in 1832.  
    Hodgkin’s is a potentially curable malignant lymphoma that carries a much better prognosis than non-Hodgkin lymphomas. It is a very specific type of lymphoma, defined by its microscopic appearance and by specific proteins that are found on the cell membranes of the tumor cells.
    The estimate for 2017 was that there would be 8,260 new cases of Hodgkin’s Disease (4,650 men and 3,610 women) and 1,070 deaths (630 men and 440 women).
  • 2/11/2019 We continue to see quite a few kids in our office each year with concussions. Usually this is an athletic injury, but it is commonly seen in others as well. Concussions have always been a part of sports, especially those involving high-energy collisions, most notably football, soccer, hockey and basketball. Intensive research, along with lawsuits like the one the NFL Players Association brought against the NFL, is causing research to move rapidly to help us get a firmer grasp on how to prevent and manage concussions.
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Thursday, June 20, 2019

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