Friday, February 24, 2012

New Way to Track Disease Outbreaks is Internet Based


Source: NPR
Credit: Adam Cole, Maggie Starbard

Thanks to NPR's Health Blog for this fantastic article.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Passport Health Nurse goes to Ecuador with Ecuadent


February 2012 marked Ecuadent’s 21st year of providing medical and dental care to the most underprivileged children of Ecuador.  This year the medical team set up three operating rooms and a recovery room at a small community hospital in Salinas.  Salinas is somewhat of a resort town with wide, white beaches and marinas catering to Ecuador’s wealthier citizens.  However, if one walks just a few blocks from the Malecon (boardwalk) the living conditions are anything but luxurious.   The barrios and fishing villages, where residents eke out a meager hand-to-mouth existence, are where the Ecuadent Foundation sought out children who would otherwise have no access to medical care.

Although the foundation focuses primarily on cleft palate and cleft lip repair, the surgical needs are many and can be quite varied.  This year multiple syndactyly and frenulectomy procedures were performed.  One little boy had his right ear reconstructed---the foundation for the new ear was his own rib cartilage.  In total, 35 cases were completed.

My time was spent in the PACU where the monitors could relay only heart rate and, when functioning, oxygen saturations.  Since technology was minimal, the PACU nurses relied on assessment skills, nursing interventions, and their own intuition. The nursing experience was unlike anything at a hospital in the United States.  It focused on patient care.  This may sound strange since nursing should always be about patient care.  However, in US hospitals there is also a focus on data, documentation, and even administrative duties.  Documentation was, of course, a component but the long days at Hospital de Salinas were spent caring for, and interacting with, patients and their families.  For me this was incredibly rewarding.  It felt like a gift to be a part of someone else’s pivotal experience.  This goes without saying;  the kids were amazing—stoic, strong, and happy to be there.  And despite the lack of technology, and with only the most basic nursing protocols in place, every patient outcome was a positive one.

By:  Kate Skovron, Travel Health Specialist - Passport Health Baltimore

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Swine Flu in Mexico

Swine Flu is back in Mexico where a world pandemic started 3 years ago. An ongoing swine flu [influenza A/H1N1pdm09 virus infection] outbreak in Mexico has left at least 29 people dead and nearly 1500 others infected, health officials confirmed on Saturday January 29, 2012. Thousands more are also ill as the country faces several types of influenza this season.

The low appearance of the H1N1 virus the past two years is one reason it’s drawing so much media attention in Mexico. People have been lining up in hospitals and at school nurses for checks. A handful of private schools decided to close last week, and pharmacies reported shortages in antiviral drugs.

Health officials expect the cases to migrate north through Mexico and into the U.S., where incidents of H1N1 have increased in recent weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both the CDC and the Pan-American Health Organization also say that H1N1 cases this year are within the normal range.  Passport Health locations nationwide have the Seasonal Flu Shot (2011-2012 seasonal flu vaccine contains H1N1 component, A/California
H3N3 component, A/Victoria, B/Brisbane) available year round.  Its not too late to get vaccinated.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January Is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and is the second most common cancer in women worldwide.  In the United States 80% of women will have an HPV infection in their lifetime. Most people infected with HPV do not develop symptoms; therefore most people who have HPV don't know they have it.  Women usually learn they have it only after the results of an abnormal Pap test.  That’s why it’s important to get routine Pap screenings even if you feel healthy.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers; getting routine screenings and receiving the HPV vaccination are the two most important things you can do to prevent cervical cancer.  The HPV vaccine can prevent the two types of HPV that are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases.  The CDC now recommends the HPV vaccine for females and males.

Protect yourself!  Call Passport Health today 1-888-499-7277 to schedule an appointment for an HPV vaccination.

Friday, December 30, 2011

First Influenza Case Reported In Maryland


Health Officials Report First Influenza Case in Maryland

BALTIMORE, MD – 12/30/2011 – The flu has officially arrived in Maryland. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced today the first laboratory confirmed case of seasonal influenza in Maryland. This season’s first confirmed case comes months later than last season’s. Officials say last season’s first confirmed case was reported on October 14.
Health officials urge the public to be vaccinated. It is not too late to receive this year’s seasonal vaccine.
Influenza is a naturally occurring viral disease that causes respiratory infections. Symptoms may include:

  • A sudden onset of fever
  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness.

"Reduce the chance of spreading flu and other viruses by covering your cough with a tissue or your sleeve, washing your hands often and staying home if you are sick," says Fran Lessans, President and Founder of Passport Health, the largest private provider of travel medical services and immunizations in the United States. Founded in 1994, the Baltimore native company has expanded to 200 vaccine clinics nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized Passport Health in June of this year for 10 years of excellence in improving influenza immunization uptake and reducing the health impact of influenza.  Passport Health is proud to contribute to increasing immunization rates and provides onsite wellness clinics for major corporations nationwide. Customized wellness solutions not only include flu and pneumonia immunization clinics but also cholesterol and glucose screenings, physicals, drug screenings as well as travel medical services.

"It's never too late to get vaccinated against the flu."

Tammy Broghammer

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Not Too Late To Vaccinate Against Influenza

We are currently in the midst of National Influenza Week. 
 It's not too late to vaccinate!

It is important to vaccinate against the flu now if you haven't already.  Flu activity doesn’t usually peak until January or February in the United States and can last as late as May.  Please call Passport Health at 1-888-499-PASS to make an appointment in one of our convenient locations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Visit Nepal - Chitwan National Park

When one thinks of Nepal, trekking the Himalayas is the first thing that comes to mind. However Nepal is an incredibly diverse country that offers so much more. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal is the Royal Chitwan National Park.

Located in the south central region of Nepal, in the Terai. These southern plains are less than 100m above sea level. The best time to visit the park is after monsoon season when temperatures are cooler and vegetation is lush from all the rain; that time is now through about February.

Several lodges inside the Park offering full board and accommodations in combination with different types of tours make it easy for travelers to experience the beauty of the park first hand. When planning a visit to Chitwan, try to give yourself enough time for several safaris, as wildlife is unpredictable and there are many types of safaris you can enjoy.

Jungle walks/Elephant Tours: Leisurely guided tours by foot or atop an elephant give you an optimal way to see animals in their natural habitat. There is a good chance of seeing animals such as, the endangered one-horned Rhino, honey badger, sloth bear and many species of deer on this type of tour because they prefer to live in less disturbed areas. These types of tours are also great ways to explore the villages of the indigenous Tharu people and experience local culture first hand.

Jeep safaris: A jeep drive is the fastest way to visit a wide area of the park and offers a good chance of seeing big game such as Bengal Tigers, Leopards and Gaurs.
Canoe trips: Floating down the many rivers inside Chitwan National Park is the best way to see crocodiles and the rare gangetic dolphins in their natural habitats. It is also a relaxing way to watch birds and wildlife species that frequently come to bathe and drink.

Bird watching tours: Chitwan National Park is known as a paradise for birds and birdwatchers alike because of the vast variety that make the park home. Chitwan Valley records over 450 species of birds. Many of the birds that live here are endangered or near endangered, including the spotted eagle, bengal florican and oriental darter.

 Stay tuned for more highlights of Nepal throughout the month.