Come to our Open House to see our new space! We hope you will enjoy some wine, see art by Fran Companian and visit with Dr. Jeanette Williams to answer any questions you may have about Direct Primary Care. We are celebrating the move to a new office and are looking forward to seeing old and new friends!
Shingles is an awful infection. It presents as a very painful, blistering rash on the skin that usually presents on the torso, neck or face, though it can present anywhere. Sometimes the pain can last for years after the rash has resolved. I always feel so sorry for my patients when they get this.
Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus that we had when we were young. We cleared that infection, but the virus can continue to live in our nervous system for many years. Some people may not remember having chicken pox, but studies show that close to 99% of adults over 50 have been exposed or infected. This means that these same people are at risk of having a shingles infection!We have had a shingles vaccination around since 2006 called Zostavax. I was happy to make this available to my patients because decreasing their risk of this awful illness with a simple vaccine makes a lot of sense to me. That vaccine was only about 50-70% effective, but it was the best we had.
Drumroll….. we now have a new vaccine that is greater than 90% effective!! Hooray for scientists and hooray for us!!! It is called Shingrix and I am so excited to be able to share this with my patients. It is indicated for healthy adults age 50 and older. Even if you already had the Zostavax immunization or if you have already had shingles, Shingrix is still recommended. It is given as a series of 2 shots that are separated by 2-6 months. So, if you are over 50, talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated!
The Calistoga weather forecast says we will be in the 90s ALL week. Are you staying hydrated?
I am sure many of you are tired of hearing me say it, but it is so important. We need to drink water! Our adult bodies are 50-60% water, with an even higher percentages in kids! That is a lot to maintain, but so important. Every cell in your body needs it.
How much do you need to drink? It might sound silly, but I think the best and easiest way to check yourself is by the color of your urine. Take a peek in the toilet after you go and give yourself a pat on the back if it is close to clear. We are looking for a VERY pale yellow, certainly not a strong or dark yellow! Also, don’t forget that caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, meaning that they take more water out of your body than they are putting into it. We have to compensate for this additional loss with greater water intake.
Another way to gauge your intake is to use a bottle or a pitcher to measure how much you are drinking. Set a goal for the day, every day. 2 liters (8 cups) is good for most people. Pay attention to how much you are getting through by watching that pitcher/bottle and if you find that the afternoon is dwindling and you still have a long way to go, down a few glasses to catch up! Take it like it is medicine because for the cells of your body, it is!
… If I were just going to give you all one piece of advice for keeping yourself healthy, it would be figure out a way to make exercise a daily habit. Exercise helps EVERYTHING! It improves energy, improves sleep, improves mood, decreases risk for heart disease, strokes, dementia, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and improves just about everything else you can think of!
Often, if we try to schedule our exercise later in the day, we find things that get in the way of our following through with this plan. One great way to combat this problem is to add a daily walk to your schedule each morning before you start the rest of your day. Set the alarm (if you have to), roll out of bed, put on your walking shoes and just get out there before you get a chance to talk yourself out of it! Before you know it, you will be back home from the walk feeling increased motivation, increased energy and feeling less stressed. Who wouldn’t want that?!
If you keep up this routine, before long, it will become a habit. What a lucky and valuable thing that will be!