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Take your time this holiday season

Sweetwater Memorial offers tips on staying health and accident free

ROCK SPRINGS — With fall comes a holiday season that spans Halloween through the first of the year. It also brings forth certain accidents, emergencies and other health issues.

The health care professionals at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County recommend care and planning. As Benjamin Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“Use common sense,” said Dr. Justine Macneil, University of Utah emergency room doctor with MHSC. “Wear seat belts, avoid ice and don’t overeat. Hurrying is never worth the accident. Decrease stress, make lists, and plan where you’re going. Make some tea.”

Starting in November and late December, MHSC sees an increase in mental and behavioral health cases, said Melissa Anderson, Acute Care Services & Emergency Services Director.

“Of course, the first snowfall of the season, we also have accidents on the highways and roads,” she said.

Other top diagnoses during the fall and winter months include upper respiratory illnesses, norovirus, strep, urinary tract infections, chest pain, alcohol intoxication, lacerations and fractures from falls, and hypertension, Anderson said.

Unhealthy eating during this time of year also can prompt health issues, including exacerbation of congestive heart failure, increasing hypertension and heart attacks, as well as surgical emergencies such as gallbladder attacks, Macneil said.

MHSC clinical dietitian Josie Ibarra said, “People in general tend to eat more during the holidays, which put many at risk of weight gain, which is hard to lose later on.”

Overeating can affect health, making it harder to control blood glucose for people with diabetes. Phosphorus levels can rise with overeating, affecting patients with chronic renal failure.

Sick people, those with a depressed immunity, such as patients receiving chemotherapy, hemodialysis and others, are at higher risk of foodborne illness, Ibarra said. Take extra care to cook food safely – including leftovers – at the right temperatures.

If you have any questions and concerns, contact your primary care doctor. The Family Medicine Clinics of Sweetwater Memorial at 3000 College Drive can be reached at (307) 212-7708.