Clinic news from Boca Grande has been a mixture of excitement and sadness. Dr. Gordon Nidiffer and Mr. John Sielert are retiring after long stints serving the community. Although they cannot be replaced, we have after extensive search processes, hired Dr. Lauren Hana and Mrs. Hilja Bilodeau.
Dr. Hana is an Internist, recently practicing at the University of Florida, but with years of private practice experience in Kankakee, IL. She starts full time at BGHC on July 11th.
Mrs. Biladeau is a practice administrator from Cohasset, MA, who brings extensive experience to our CEO position. We look forward to a smooth transition.
Of course the saddest news is that The Island Doctor, Hank Wright has passed away. His charm, wit and caring will be missed by all who had the great fortune to know him.
In other health related news, Venice Regional Bayfront Hospital and Englewood Community Hospital have hired new CEOs. Sarasota Memorial’s bid to build a satellite hospital off of Laurel Rd. has been rejected by the state. All of the local hospitals are recruiting new, well-trained staff, primarily specialists. We are in the process of vetting these new doctors to increase our pool of referral doctors.
Update on Zika:
To date there have been 206 pregnant women with lab evidence of Zika infection in the US, and 166 reported from US territories. (The latter number seems low to me.) There have been 691 total Zika Virus infections reported in the US and 1305 cases in US territories.
91 cases have been reported in the State of Florida, limited to 15 counties, and all have been travel related. 5 cases have occurred in pregnant women. There have been no cases of Zika Virus Disease contracted from mosquitos in the continental US.
Meanwhile the CDC has recently published a Draft Interim Response Plan and the US Congress dithers instead of voting on funding for Zika control, vaccine and treatment.
Recent research has found that pregnant women infected late in pregnancy have little risk of their babies having birth defects. Women infected early in pregnancy have the greatest risk. Even women who have no symptoms of their Zika infection can have babies born with microcephaly or other birth defects. I’ve seen reports of male Olympic athletes planning to freeze sperm, but I have no guess as to why. Zika Virus can be detected in the semen for 2 months after infection, but then clears. Their partners would be better off abstaining or using condoms for 2 months after the Olympics.
There is no evidence that pesticides or any other chemicals are involved in the birth defects seen in South America and other countries. Zika Virus has been conclusively determined to be the cause and has been found in fetuses and placentas of infected mothers. Ignore rampant conspiracy theories, they are wrong.
The best way to prevent Zika infection is to prevent mosquito bites. First of all avoid traveling to countries or US territories where the infection is prevalent and is being transmitted by mosquitos. Second, avoid mosquito bites at home by using approved mosquito repellant and wearing long sleeves and pants. Third, allow no amount of standing water on your property. Even a bottle cap is large enough for an Aedes mosquito to lay her eggs. For more information and informative videos, visit the Florida Department of Health website. http://www.floridahealth.gov/
Prevent driving and boating accidents. Always wear your seat belt, don’t text and drive and don’t operate an automobile or boat while intoxicated.
Sun burn and long term UV ray exposure. Remember to wear sunscreen and reapply every hour or two, whenever you are out of doors. Prevent sunburns and skin cancers by covering up.
Dehydration and heatstroke. If you are outside and sweating be sure to drink plenty of fluids. A mixture of fluids with potassium and sodium and water is best, e.g. Gatorade and water. Heatstroke is a medical emergency. The body temperature is elevated, but the person is not sweating and is confused.
Avoid poison ivy. “Leaves of three let it be” is the watch phrase. Know how to recognize poison ivy and steer clear. If you are out trekking stay out of shrub areas or wear high boots and socks.
Food borne illness. Use coolers for any foods that contain animal products, including dairy and eggs. Bacteria can produce dangerous toxins that will make you sick. Do not eat raw animal products such as meats, poultry, fish or eggs. Keep raw products separate to avoid cross contamination. Discard all foods that have been left unrefrigerated, especially if in the sun, for more than two hours.
Ticks and Lyme Disease. Avoid tick-infested areas such as wooded areas or land with tall grass and weeds. Thoroughly check yourself and your children, pets or hiking partner for ticks. If you find a tick on your body, remove it immediately. Ticks rarely transmit disease if they are attached for less than four hours.