Jackie's blog

Making that resolution stick

Here it is two weeks into the new year and I’m just beginning to feel “detoxed” from ridiculous amounts of sugary, rich holiday food. It’s sad that it takes only days to break our good health habits and weeks or months to make them stick. (Research from University College of London shows that it takes an average of 66 days for a new healthy habit to feel automatic.)

Tips for happier kids (and parents)

Nearly three decades ago, my husband and I took our first newborn daughter home without any formal training on how to be good parents. I laugh now about how clueless we were.

I’m thankful, however, that through trial and error, help from our parents and prayers along the way, Paul and I raised two kind, compassionate, beautiful young women. I only wish I had known about someone like sociologist Christine Carter, Ph.D., when my kids were little.

Beating Arthritis

We take the little things for granted: turning a door knob, pulling a pan of brownies out of the oven, opening a bottle of water. You may think I’m exaggerating, but the arthritis in my hands has gotten so bad that even simple tasks have become difficult, if not impossible. I have moderate to severe arthritis in both hands, and I have the X-rays to prove it. I can blame my mom in part because there is a genetic component to arthritis. I can also add age, stress and overuse of certain joints for my arthritis pain. And I know I’m not alone in how I feel.

What I wish I would have known about aging parents

My family’s life turned upside down shortly before Thanksgiving 2011. Dad had a major stroke and too much time passed before he was correctly diagnosed, meaning he missed the window for getting treatments that might have diminished the effects of the stroke. That was mistake No. 1. Dad, an extremely active 80 year old, suddenly faced life in a wheelchair, which for him was a death sentence.

New Gardasil vaccine works even better

The FDA says a new vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90 percent of cervical cancers. Gardasil 9 targets nine strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer as well as other types of cancer. It’s approved for use in females ages 9 through 26 and males ages 9 through 15.

Meredith Loveless, M.D., a pediatric and adolescent gynecological specialist with Norton Healthcare, explains why getting this vaccine is so important.


Are dietary supplements safe?

Americans spend millions of dollars every year on over-the-counter weight loss supplements and herbal remedies. According to Consumer Reports, 25 percent of individuals taking supplements believe that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has guaranteed them safe and effective. I spoke with Maggie Mangino, a Norton Healthcare pharmacist, who cleared up the confusion about the regulation and safety of dietary supplements.

What I learned from my staph infection

Since being hospitalized for a staph infection earlier this year, I’ve been surprised to learn how many of my friends and colleagues have had a similar experience. For most people, treatment with an antibiotic topical or prescription oral medication is sufficient to stop a skin infection. But for others, like me, taking an oral antibiotic isn’t enough, which is why I ended up in the hospital for IV drug treatment and surgery to remove the stubborn infection that set up residence in my left elbow.

Kids and Cars: Summer heat can be deadly

It happens every summer, a baby or child dies after being left in a car on a warm day.  On average, 38 children die from heatstroke after being left in a car every year.  What many parents don't realize a child's body temperature can rise five times faster than an adult's.  I talked to Jill Howell-Berg, MD, pediatrician, Kosair Children’s Hospital Medical Associates – Clarksville about the dangers of leaving children in cars in the summer heat and what to do to help prevent heat-related deaths. 

Don’t take your good health for granted

Never take good health or good health care for granted. I experienced that firsthand this week when my usually super-good health went downhill fast. I woke up one morning feeling terrific, ready to start the day in my typical zero-to-60 fashion. But a sudden throbbing in my left elbow gave me pause and made me wonder what I might have done to hurt myself. Except for the tiniest of scrapes, neither my husband nor I found much to worry about. Within hours, however, my elbow was swollen — as big as a tennis ball, quite red and hot to the touch. My oldest daughter, Katie, who’s a physician assistant, quickly diagnosed an infection and encouraged me to see my primary care physician. That’s rule No. 1: Everybody should have a primary care physician.