How to Deal With Depressing Situations as a Medical Assistant

depression in healthcareLet’s face it, whether you are a tough skinned and tough minded person, as a health care worker – whether it be as a medical assistant, a nurse, or a doctor – you are going to have to deal with gut wrenching and mind numbing scenarios. There is no way to avoid this, either. When you decided to major in health care, you knew that this would be one of the risks. Gruesome scenarios  are common place in the health care field and you have to know how to be able to handle it – mentally. The health care field is all about helping people, and that means that you have to help people who are in need. So how do you deal with something as gruesome as the Zika Virus which deforms infant children?

There is no simple way to deal with these kind of scenarios. A human can only take so much. One of the best ways is to be able to separate work from your outside life. You have to split your mind into two. Your at work mind and your away from work mind. While this sounds like a ridiculous concept, you have to take into consideration that besides therapy there are no real ways to help you with these traumatic events. Most health care workers resort to negative feel goods such as alcohol and cigarettes, but this only pushes them further away from being in a healthy place.

One of the things they teach you in medical assisting diploma program is to cope with these scenarios and be able to do recreational activities outside of work. They have to be healthy recreational activities that involve a great deal of physical work. Physical activity helps with the release of serotonin which causes an elevation in mood.

Malaria Vaccine Could Be in Sight

malaria vacineAccording to an article written by The Independent, a United Kingdom web based publication, scientists are making great strides in finding a possible vaccine for Malaria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die. In 2015 an estimated 214 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 438,000 people died, mostly children in the African Region. About 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”

The new study that The Independent reported on goes on to explain that scientists are exposing adults to weakened versions of the malaria causing parasite. This is usually what vaccines and flu shots are like during their final stages. A weakened version of the virus is exposed to the human body and the body learns to form immunities against whatever disease has plagued it. The new study is providing results that show that these adults are showing an immunity to the malaria that lasts about a year long.

Kirsten E. Lyke, a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, had this to say about the study, “These results are really important. Malaria has such a devastating effect on children, especially in Africa. This vaccine has the potential to help travelers, military personnel, and children in malaria-endemic areas.” The study goes on to report that people given this in-testing vaccine are given “sterile protection” which means that people cannot get the malaria or pass it on to other people.

Walgreens Launches New Platform for Mental Health Patients

walgreens storeOn Tuesday, May 10, 2016, Walgreens launched a new mental health initiative whose sole goal is to help connect people with mental health with resources and to screen millions of people for various mental health conditions.

Originally reported on Fortune, Walgreens teamed up with Mental Health America (MHA for short, which is a community based nonprofit organization that is dedicated to addressing the needs of people with mental health issues, to bring forward a new online application that is dedicated to providing screenings and information on conditions such as: anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. With the goal of screening about three million people by the end of 2017, Walgreens and MHA’s collaborative site will connect to MHA’s free and scientifically based screenings that allow people to anonymously rate their conditions.

The launch marks a pretty significant step forward in raising awareness to not only mental health, but to May being the month of Mental Health Awareness which has gone severely unnoticed by the media for years. Mental Health Awareness is a popular subject currently and for good reason, one in four Americans are affected by mental health issues every year. According to Fortune, the Walgreens team had been working on the site for nearly two years with the goal being to provide customers with the right resources. Walgreens’ CMO Harry Leider had this to say, “supporting patients with treatments sounds mundane but it is incredibly important. It is a triple win. It helps patients get better, helps our bottom line, and ultimately helps lower medical costs for payers”

This is a really great and big step for those who suffer from mental illness and have found no real support in terms of a digital medium. We can only hope that more companies will follow the example being set by Walgreens and offer resources to those in need.

How the Zika Virus Works

Zika VirusEarlier today United Kingdom based web publication Dailymail reported that researchers had apparently made breakthrough research in determining how the Zika Virus, a virus that is currently causing a lot of infant related deaths in the United States alone, functions within the human body. According to the study which can be found published on Cell Stem Cell, the Zika Virus causes the stemm cells to self-destruct.

Why is the Zika Virus so deadly to infants?

The Zika virus causes an immune response that leads to the death of early brain cells. Infants are very much developing, they are after all just newborns. The Zika Virus stops their brains from developing properly and causes these afflicted infants to not be able to live normal lives, or it causes them to not be able to live at all. Ryan O’Hare writes, “Researchers may have reached a breakthrough in understanding how the Zika virus causes babies to be born with birth defects and developmental problems.A study found the virus activates a branch of the immune system which disrupts the activity of genes needed for brain development, resulting in microcephaly. In particular, the findings show the immune response to the virus – which causes stem cells in the brain to die – could potentially be dialed down in order to reduce the effects of the virus and its assocciated birth defects.”

So What Does This Mean?

The good news when it comes to this study is that now that researchers know how the virus operates, they can reverse engineer it and find ways to either prevent the harmful immune response, or they can develop some sort of vaccine in order to prevent its harmful effects on infant children. While this may be a small step, it is a step at least.

Tips on How to Prevent Lyme Disease for This Summer

Summer time is coming up and a lot of folks are gearing up to go camping, have fun in the lakes, and just genuinely exploring beautiful and wild landscapes near them. While all of these are very fun things to do in the summer, outgoers need to beware possible health risk factors, and one of the most common – especially within the outdoors – is Lyme disease.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by the bite of black legged ticks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention some of the side effects of Lyme disease are: fever, headache, fatigue, and a unique skin rash called erythema migrans that spreads outward from the initial bite. The CDC goes on to state that if Lyme disease is not treated that it can cause further health issues because the infection can spread to the joints, heart, and eventually the nervous system.

So How Do We Prevent It?

While Lyme disease can be treated fairly easily with a general course of antibiotics here are a few tips that can help you prevent it before it even starts.

  • Know Risk Areas – As stated before, the outdoors are a big risk area when it comes to Lyme disease as Ticks contract it from consuming the blood of animals from birds to livestock. For the most part, however, ticks tend to reside in vegetative areas with a lot of greenery such as: forests, woodlands, and moors.

Use Repellant on Skin And Clothes – it’s common knowledge that ticks stick to the skin, we’ve seen it in movies, and we know that they are called the vampire insect for a reason, but what most people don’t realize is that they also stick onto your clothes without you noticing. From here the tick can easily latch on to open skin when you are removing your clothes, so be aware.

Health Care under Ransom by Hackers

healthcare hackersIt’s no surprise that hackers would set their sights on medical records now that hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices are moving their documents from physical to digital. While most medical offices and health care facilities have always been a safe place when it comes to patient information, it is not the case nowadays. With the switch from print to digital there is a lot of security optimization that has not taken place. These facilities do not have a stable or up to date security system in place as they have never needed one before.

So What’s All the Buzz About?

Earlier today global news and information magazine Politico wrote an interesting article reporting on the current state of Information Technology in the Health Care field. Their opening line went as follows,”A stolen credit card is worth about $2 on the black market. A stolen medical record? It’s worth $25 or more — just one reason why hackers are stepping up their pursuit of privileged health care information, and why there’s every sign the problem will get worse before it gets better.” Politico held a long and detailed forum discussion with health care IT leaders covering the current state of health care IT and its battle in protecting information from hackers. The conversation was split between optimists and realists, but the general consensus is that, “you are vulnerable as your most gullible employee, I have over seen security for many organizations and at the end of the day the most common root cause to any of our failures are related to people.

People are your first and last line of defense.” Politico went on to report that a lot of those who participated in the forum agree that instead of relying on support by the government, that health care IT leaders should learn from industries that have already gone digital like credit card companies.

3 Myths about Skin Cancer

skin-cancerSummer time is almost upon us and while most people are excited to go to the beach and have some fun in the sun, most of us health conscious people fear the effects of the sun on our skin. I’m a Floridian and as a Floridian you are taught to constantly protect yourself from the sun because of the growing rates of skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, affects about 70,000 Americans each year, and out of those 70,000 it kills about 10,000 of them. One of the saddest things about this statistic is that Melanoma can be treated if caught early on – it is a highly treatable form of skin cancer.

But Why Does This Happen?

While most cases of skin cancer can be chalked up to people not taking the proper precautions – there are other factors to be considered as well. Here are the six most common myths/urban legends that people trick themselves into believing when it comes to preventing skin cancer.

  1. SPF is enough – A lot of people believe that sun screen with high SPF value is enough to protect them from skin cancer. This not the case. There are two types of damaging sun rays, Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B (UVA and UVB, respectively), and you have to make sure your sun screen protects you from both rays of the sun.
  2. Dark Skin as Protection – Sadly, this is one of the most common excuse that people use for not protecting themselves from the sun. It’s a pretty popular myth among people and entirely false.

Sunscreen causes cancer – Again, another very common misconception amongst the superstitious. Because sun screen has a lot of chemicals as ingredients people think that it is actually harmful for you. Not the case.