Jackie's blog

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.

Good hygiene helps keep norovirus away

Have you ever had the “stomach flu”? My family has and it’s the pits. What we commonly call stomach flu is a norovirus infection. Did you know norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 20 million Americans are sickened by norovirus every year, causing up to 71,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Norovirus is highly contagious and it can stay in your system for two weeks or longer, even after you feel better. The virus can spread through contaminated food, but it also can live on surfaces, such as countertops and serving utensils, for up to two weeks. The virus can spread quickly in closed places such as daycare centers, nursing homes, dormitories and schools, with most outbreaks in the U.S. occurring between November and April. Norovirus is not related to the virus that causes the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness.

ADHD medication and kids

In a report presented in May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that more than 10,000 toddlers in the United States are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to The New York Times, “the American Academy of Pediatrics standard practices guidelines for ADHD do not even address the diagnosis in children 3 and younger.” This report is the latest to raise concerns about ADHD diagnosis and medication for children in the U.S. A survey released by the CDC in 2013 found that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD and that one in five boys will receive the diagnosis during childhood.