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Letter From the Editor: Dr. Cindy Haines - April Edition

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Spring officially arrived March 20 -- here's hoping the weather catches up soon! It has been a long, hard winter for many of us. A focus on the weather can provide an opportunity to remember that such variables can impact physical as well as emotional health:

ASA: Lower Annual Temp Tied to More Stroke Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations for stroke and associated death rates may increase with changes in environmental temperature and dew point, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's International Stroke Conference, held from Feb. 12 to 14 in San Diego.

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And while warm (dare we even say hot?) days may still be fodder for fantasy, other headlines remind us that a hard winter may mean a hard summer, which can potentially impact mortality:

Hot Weather-Related Deaths Expected to Climb

A considerable increase in heat-related mortality is anticipated in the coming years, partly driven by projected population growth and aging, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

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I believe mindfulness around such "everyday" variables could make global differences in how we approach health and healing. Mindfulness around another everyday issue for health care providers was highlighted in a recent health headline proclaiming stethoscopes may be more contaminated than most parts of a physician's examining hand. Bad news, yes. Or maybe it's not news at all? I say there is news here (and good news, too): Once we are aware, reminded, and mindful of this potential issue, there are simple steps we can take to help better protect our patients.

Stethoscopes Contaminated After Single Physical Exam

Stethoscopes get contaminated after a single physical exam, with the contamination greater than that seen on most of the physician's dominant hand, barring the fingertips, according to a study published online Feb. 27 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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But let's get back to the weather…as springtime approaches (slowly but surely!), allergies will once again rise to the surface in our minds as we see more and more sniffling and coughing patients in our offices. Let's discuss! Please join us for our next Twitter Chat scheduled for Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at 1 p.m. ET. We are partnering with Mayo Clinic to chat with a variety of allergy experts from UCLA Health, the Cleveland Clinic, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, National Jewish Health, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hashtag: #AllergyChat.

In the meantime and as always, please let me know how we are doing and how we can improve in making your professional life easier and more efficient. You can reach me at PBeditors@healthday.com. Keep fighting the good fight -- let us know how we can help!

Sincerely,

Dr. Cindy Haines
Connect with Dr. Haines on Twitter: @drcindyhaines

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