Category Archives: Medical Blog

Recent Tips from American Family Physician

I’ve been catching up on reading some recent American Family Physician issues since returning from Christmas vacation with family and saw a few tips I thought I’d pass along.

  • Chew gum after surgery:  One of my favorite parts of AFP is the Cochrane for Clinicians section in every issue.  The Cochrane Library is a collection of critical reviews of the literature addressing various issues.  A common complication of intra-abdominal surgery is ileus, a condition where the bowel ceases to function in its role of moving bowel contents steadily toward the rectum.  This can be very painful, and often delays recovery, extends hospitalization, and is generally no fun at all.  It turns out that just chewing gum in the immediate post operative period can help prevent this problem.  Patients who were asked to chew gum in the hospital after colorectal surgery, C-section, and all other surgeries had reduced time to first flatus (Farting in common language), first bowel movement, and hospital discharge. If I need surgery I plan to bring a big package of sugar-free gum to the hospital for post-op use.
  • Potential Impact of OTC Access to Birth Control Pills:  Unintended pregnancy is a major problem in the U.S.  The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has mandated that all insurance plans cover all FDA approved contraceptive methods at no out-of-pocket cost.  The Editorial in AFP 12-1-15 issue addresses the potential reduction in unplanned pregnancies that could be expected from availability of birth control pills without a prescription.  The AFP and the ACOG both have come out in favor of OTC birth control pills.  This is a quick and interesting read.

Happy New Year to all.

It takes more than Ankylosing Spondylitis to Keep Guti Down

One of the very few good things about my beloved Seattle Mariners this year, besides Nelson Cruz crushing the ball, has been the call up of Franklin Gutierrez. Guti has been one of my favorite M’s over the years, and to see him struggle with his health concerns since 2011 has been really sad and… Continue Reading

USPSTF “Strong” Recommendations for Preventative Services.

This article is the second in a series on the USPSTF recommendations to health care providers and U.S. residents on recommendations for preventative care services.  The previous article listed 16 “D” recommendations, i.e. things you should not do in an attempt to prevent health problems.  In that article I selected the most relevant “D”: recommendations,… Continue Reading

Why Wait Until 60 for your Shingles Vaccine?

In 2011 Merck received FDA approval to administer Zostavax (Herpes Zoster/ shingles vaccine) in patients age 50-59.  Since 2006 Zostavax has been approved for patients age 60 and older.  So why should you wait until 60 to get shingles vaccine? I wondered this and on reading the ACIP update on Zoster Immunization released this August… Continue Reading

Chikungunya Virus: The Latest Exotic Illness in the U.S.

Another disease previously not documented to have been acquired in the  continental US surfaced this month. A case of Chikungunya virus infection was diagnosed in a man in Florida on about July 15th, and in a Florida woman shortly thereafter.. I have to admit that this caught my eye primarily because of the unusual name… Continue Reading

This Month in the Medical News

Followers may have noted that I’ve not very much  posted in a while.  This is primarily due to spring migration.  As an avid birder, I have been spending nearly every free daylight hour, and some non-daylignt hours afield enjoying this miracle of nature.  The neotropic songbirds and Arcitc breeding shorebirds have been racing past to… Continue Reading

DIY Hay Fever Therapy- The Time is Now

Do-it-yourself (DIY) management is now something many if not most hay fever sufferers can effectively accomplish. The approval of an over-the-counter nasal corticosteroid, Nasacort OTC in October 2013 makes this the first spring where the drug most of us prescribe as the mainstay of hay feverpre therapy is available without a prescription. This is an… Continue Reading