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Your Checkup

  • Fight the Bite: Mosquito and Tick Season Begins in Ohio

    by Haley Thomas | May 09, 2017

    ODH offers tips on how to prevent mosquito- and tick-borne diseases

    COLUMBUS – Mosquito and tick season has officially begun in Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) urges people to “fight the bite” and take precautions to prevent bites from mosquitos and ticks which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus and Lyme disease.

    In Ohio, ticks are most active April through September, and mosquitoes May through October.


    Ohio has a type of mosquito that can transmit West Nile virus, and 17 cases were reported in the state last year.

    The primary mosquito that transmits Zika virus is found in the tropics and southern U.S., but it is not known to be established in Ohio. A “cousin” of the mosquito is found in parts of Ohio and may potentially transmit Zika virus. Ohio had 95 travel-associated Zika cases last year in returning travelers from Zika-affected areas, and three travel-associated cases so far in 2017.

    Nationally, there have been more than 5,000 travel-associated Zika cases in the U.S. since Jan. 2015. The only cases of local mosquito-borne Zika transmission in the continental U.S. were in South Florida and Brownsville, Texas, last year.

    “You can take some simple precautions at home and when traveling to prevent potentially serious mosquito-borne diseases,” said Sietske de Fijter, ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases.

    Mosquitoes can live indoors and outdoors, and some species bite during the day while others bite at dusk and dawn. Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites and prevent mosquito-borne diseases:

    • If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
    • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
    • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
    • Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).
    • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

    Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:
    • Eliminate standing water.
    • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
    • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
    • Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.


    The types of ticks found in Ohio can transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, and 160 cases were reported in the state last year.

    “If you find a tick attached to your body, remove it and monitor your health to watch for a fever, rash, muscle or joint aches or other symptoms,” said de Fijter. “If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.”

    Here are some tips to avoid tick bites and prevent tick-borne diseases: 
    • Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and by walking in the center of trails.
    • Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).
    • Use EPA-registered tick repellent and follow the label directions.
    • Here are some tips for finding and removing ticks attached to your body:
      • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
      • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick, which can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
      • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water.
      • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
      • Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" a tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly or using heat to make the tick detach from your skin. 

    Go to the ODH website at odh.ohio.gov for more information about how to prevent mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases and other information and resources. ODH’s statewide campaign started Monday, May 8.



  • Van Wert Medical Services Announces Dr. Gammill as Internal Medicine Physician

    by Haley Thomas | Apr 03, 2017

    VAN WERT, Ohio – Van Wert Medical Services welcomes Todd Gammill, M.D., as a physician in internal medicine. Gammill joins Christine Ulrich, C.N.P. and Scott Jarvis, M.D. in Suite 105 of the Van Wert Health Center, which is located at 140 Fox Road, Van Wert, Ohio.  Dr. Gammill is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiology.

    “One of the things that I enjoy most about being a physician is really listening to my patients. I like being able to make an impact on their lives,” Dr. Gammill said. He will treat patients with acute and chronic medical problems and sees adult patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses.

    Dr. Gammill was a cardiologist with Arkansas Heart Hospital Clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas, before coming to Van Wert. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Arkansas in 1979 and completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Gammill also completed a Fellowship in Cardiology at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis.

    Dr. Gammill welcomes new patients to his office and accepts most insurance plans. At his office, you will find courteous and friendly staff, same day appointments, and exceptional medical care. To schedule an appointment, please call 419-238-7727.

  • Spring into a Healthier You!

    by Haley Thomas | Mar 28, 2017

    Spring is the perfect season for new fitness goals—especially if your New Year’s resolution of getting in shape didn’t pan out. Here are some top tips to help you enjoy getting active and, more importantly, sticking to it!

    Make fitness fun.
    If you choose an activity that you enjoy doing, you’ll want to take time out of your day to do it. If you like to run, now’s the perfect time to get outdoors. Start off slow and watch yourself progress week by week. If you’re not a runner, find a class or any type of fun activity at the gym. If you prefer to work out in the comfort of your own home, choose a workout video. There are several ways to get active without joining a gym.  

    Be Realistic.
    If you decide you’re going to run a marathon, but have never even ran a mile, chances are you have set the bar too high. Start with small goals. For example, sign up for a 5k, and then a 10k, and then a half marathon and maybe one day you will reach that full marathon goal.

    Make a plan.
     Going to the gym can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never been to the gym before. If you write out your workout plan and goals, whether written by you or by a certified trainer, you are more likely to follow it.  When you outline your workout plan, you can work towards your goal in small steps rather than becoming overwhelmed by the end result.  Our experienced, certified Wellness Center staff can help you with balance training, health coaching, or a personalized exercise plan.

    Get Support
    . Surround yourself with people that encourage a healthier lifestyle and find someone to workout with. If you do one or both, you will be more inclined to stick with your fitness plan and stay on track.

    Journal Your Progress
    .  Start on day one. Write down what you did and how you felt before and after. If you are able to see in writing what you accomplished and how you felt on a day to day basis, you’re more likely to stick with it and achieve your fitness goal(s). 

  • Sleep Better, Feel Better.

    by Haley Thomas | Mar 23, 2017

    How much sleep do we really need?

    Sleep can affect our overall health and well-being. Did you know that we spend up to one-third of our lives asleep? Most of us are aware that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but many of us struggle to make it a priority to get those eight plus hours of sleep every night.

    The amount of sleep that you need depends on your age group, but keep in mind that how much sleep you need is up to your own body.

     So, how much sleep is recommended?

    • For newborns (0-3 months), 14 – 17 hours of sleep is recommended.
    • It is recommended infants get between 12 and 15 hours of sleep.
    • For toddlers, 11 to 14 hours of sleep is recommended.
      • It should be noted that newborns, infants and toddlers get the recommended amount of sleep necessary over a period of 24 hours, including naps.
    • For preschoolers, sleep experts recommend 10 to 13 hours (including naps).
    • For kids 6 to 13 years old, 9 to 11 hours of sleep is recommended.
    • Teenagers between 14 and 17 years of age need 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
    • Young adults up to the age of 25 are recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep and same goes for adults.
    • Seniors over 65 should get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

    To begin a new path towards healthier sleep habits and an overall healthier lifestyle, make sleep a priority. Pay close attention to your energy, mood, and health after a poor night’s sleep versus a good one.

    To begin improving your sleep today, follow these simple and effective healthy sleep tips:

    George Wolfe, Van Wert County Hospital Sleep Center Coordinator, stated that “If your sleep is fragmented or your bed partner complains of disruptive snoring, speak to your Primary Care Physician about doing a nighttime oxygen study. They will set you up with a wrist-watch type device that you wear in your home for a single night to determine if your snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.”

    For more information, visit SleepFoundation.org and Sleep.Org



  • March is National Kidney Month

    by Haley Thomas | Mar 22, 2017

    Did you know that one in every 10 adults (age 20 or older) has a chronic kidney disorder? That is why the National Kidney Foundation is encouraging all Americans to do their part and give their kidneys some extra attention by getting a well-deserved check-up.

    The kidneys filter waste and perform vital functions that control things like red blood cell production and blood pressure. Over time, kidneys can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that your kidneys are in trouble.

    Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, MD, National Kidney Foundation Chief Medical Officer, stated that of the 26 million American adults estimated to have kidney disease, most of them do not know that they have it. He explained the importance of taking care of your kidneys, especially if you’re at risk for kidney disease.

    All Americans can do 5 simple things to protect their kidneys and keep them healthy and strong:

    1. Get tested. Ask your healthcare provider for an ACR urine test or a GFR blood test annually if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are over the age of 60, or have a family history of kidney failure.
    2. Reduce NSAIDs. Over the counter pain medications, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may alleviate your aches and pains, but they can harm the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Reduce your regular use of NSAIDs and never go over the recommended dose.
    3. Cut the processed foods. Processed foods can be significant sources of sodium, nitrates and phosphates, and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.
    4. Exercise regularly. Your kidneys like it when you exercise. Regular exercise will keep your bones, muscles, blood vessels, heart and kidneys healthy. Getting active for at least 30 minutes a day can also help control blood pressure and lower blood sugar, which is vital to kidney health.
    5. Control blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure. Managing high blood pressure and strict control of blood sugar levels can slow the progression of kidney disease. Speak with your doctor if you are having trouble managing diabetes or high blood pressure.

    Facts about kidneys:

    • 1 in 3 American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.
    • High blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure and being over 60 are major risks factors for developing kidney disease.
    • 1 in 9 American adults has kidney disease—and most don’t know it.
    • Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.
    • Kidney disease risk can be reduced by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, quitting smoking, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive use of pain medications.

    For more information, visit: www.kidney.org/news/national-kidney-month-take-five-your-kidneys