Asthma – Know Your Triggers

Asthma symptoms range from minor to severe and vary from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks, which means that you have symptoms only at certain times, such as during exercise or you may have ongoing symptoms that you affect you on a daily basis.

Signs and symptoms of asthma may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

Many things can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms. Your doctor will help you find out which things (called triggers) may cause your asthma to flare up if you come in contact with them.

Asthma Triggers: For some people, asthma symptoms flare up in certain situations

  • Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases, tobacco smoke or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches, dust mites, pollen and sulfites or preservatives in processed food
  • Emotional anxiety and stress may increase asthma symptoms and trigger an attack

Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Likewise, having these symptoms doesn’t always mean that you have asthma. The best way to determine if you have asthma is to see your physician for the proper testing.

Allergy-induced asthma may produce problems year round, because it’s triggered by substances found in the everyday living environment. Other people only deal with the symptoms at certain times of the year, especially if they have the outdoor allergies, meaning that triggers are commonly found outdoors, rather than indoors. And still, others have allergy/asthma symptoms year-round but find they get much worse in the summertime when summer pollens are in the air

Know your triggers: It is important to recognize what triggers your asthma and minimize your exposure to allergens (substances to which you are allergic). Allergen exposure can temporarily increase the inflammation of the airways in a person with asthma, making them more susceptible to an asthma attack.

Article Provided by: Pam Alley, Respiratory Therapist at CaroMont Regional Medical Center

CaroMont Health Partners with Gaston County Schools to Provide Athletic Training Services

CaroMont Health and Gaston County Schools have announced a partnership to provide athletic training support and services for the upcoming academic year. The partnership will place CaroMont Health as the exclusive athletic training provider for the County’s high school athletes.

“We understand the importance of the student-athlete experience in education and the critical role that keeping student-athletes safe and healthy plays in our county,” said Doug Luckett, President and CEO at CaroMont Health. “Our history of providing high-quality medicine and a comprehensive continuum of care makes us uniquely and expertly qualified to support the school system. We look forward to supporting these student-athletes to ensure their physical well-being into the future.”

CaroMont Health’s Athletic Training program is managed and staffed by nationally-certified athletic trainers who are state licensed to provide optimal medical care. The partnership will offer five trainers to cover the 10 high schools in Gaston County, and CaroMont Health has extended offers to existing Athletic Trainers should they want to join the program under CaroMont Health’s leadership.

CaroMont Health will also provide fast-track Emergency Department services, Saturday morning bumps and bruises clinic with on-site physician support, and ongoing injury reports and assessments for all schools. Additionally, CaroMont Health hosts a Sports Medicine Council compromised of a multidisciplinary team of physicians, physical therapists, administrative leaders and athletic trainers. The Council meets regularly to discuss and review topics that are pertinent to the field and conducts an annual program review to evaluate progress and devise ways to continually improve the program.

“The athletic trainers provide a valuable service to our high schools, and we are grateful for everything they do to support our athletics program and ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes,” said Superintendent of Schools, W. Jeffrey Booker. “We look forward to working with CaroMont Health to develop ways to enhance our athletics program. Our high schools, student-athletes, parents, and the community will continue to see a high level of athletic training services.”

CaroMont Health offers collaborative care in one system, which results in an optimal situation for student-athletes and their parents. The Athletic Training program will help guide athletes through the treatment and rehabilitation process when there is an issue or injury.

“We are thrilled by the opportunity to support our community’s athletes,” said Luckett.

CaroMont Health Announces Plans to Enhance Emergency Care Experience for Patients

Renovation and Expansion Underway for CaroMont Regional Medical Center

CaroMont Health today announced several projects and partnerships being implemented in Emergency Medicine at CaroMont Regional Medical Center. The goal of this effort is to enhance emergency medicine offerings in the county and continue to improve patient experiences.

Emergency services play a pivotal role in a health care system and the increasing demand for these services is seen in emergency departments across the country. CaroMont Health treats an average of 100,000 patients each year making it one of the busiest emergency departments in North Carolina. This high patient volume places it in the “Mega ED” category; only five percent of emergency departments in the country see this annual high patient volume. Despite this trend, CaroMont Regional continues to be well below national medians for wait times.

“We are known across the country for providing exceptional care, and our ED services must reflect that standard,” said Doug Luckett, President and CEO at CaroMont Health. “Our ED is a major entry point for patients, so it is critical that we provide an excellent experience every time.”

With this in mind, CaroMont Health is working to create opportunities for improvement. Here is an overview of the projects underway at CaroMont Health:

Renovation: Over the next several weeks, CaroMont will begin a major renovation and expansion project for the Emergency Department (ED) at CaroMont Regional Medical Center. The $16.5 million project will add more than 20,000 square feet of space to the existing department, including a larger waiting room and intake area for patients and four private triage rooms. Additionally, imaging will be relocated to better facilitate basic radiology procedures directly from triage, and a dedicated pediatric unit will offer separate waiting, triage and treatment rooms.

The project will take place in multiple phases over the next 18 to 24 months. To minimize interruption during the renovation, the main patient waiting area and entrance will be relocated to the opposite side of the ED. The patient waiting room will transition to what is currently overflow seating and traffic patterns for patients and ambulances will also shift, with all traffic entering from Entrance B (Veterans Drive) beginning Friday, August 22. During this time, additional services will be provided to patients and visitors, including security-monitored parking and valet services.

“This expansion project is important for the residents of our community,” said Doug Luckett, President and CEO at CaroMont Health. “Our last renovation of the Emergency Department was about 15 years ago and was designed to service 60,000 patients a year. We’ve made good use of that space, but we’re ready to expand our footprint and services to ensure we continue to provide excellent care well into the future.”

Emergency Medicine Provider Partnership: CaroMont Health recently began a partnership with ApolloMD, a physician-owned multispecialty practice that provides emergency medicine physician staffing. ApolloMD’s leadership team works closely with each partner hospital to improve patient care within the department by decreasing wait times while improving patient satisfaction and clinical quality.

The collaboration between CaroMont’s ED staff and ApolloMD has made for a very smooth transition, and patients are already seeing positive results. In fact, since ApolloMD began work at CaroMont on July 1, 2014, the typical wait time in the ED has decreased by 20 percent.

“We are dedicated to providing the highest quality Emergency Medicine services and committed to working collaboratively across specialty lines to better serve Gaston County,” said Yogin Patel, MD, President for ApolloMD Region IV. “We look forward to working closely with CaroMont’s incredible nursing team and skilled medical staff to build a lasting partnership with the community and a strong, thriving Emergency Medicine practice.”

CaroMont Regional Medical Center – Mount Holly Construction: In January 2015, CaroMont Health will open CaroMont Regional Medical Center – Mount Holly, a freestanding ED located across from Mount Holly’s city offices.  The goal of this new facility is to offer more than 20,000 residents in the northeastern part of the county more convenient access to emergency care and to alleviate some of the volume at the ED at CaroMont Regional.

The 38,000 square foot facility is uniquely designed using an innovative “no wait” model for patient care delivery. Upon entering, patients are immediately taken back for triage and initial assessment into one of the six Rapid Medical Evaluation (RME) rooms where they are seen by a physician/nurse team. The ED has 12 exam rooms and two resuscitation/trauma rooms.  Also included is a diagnostic imaging suite (CT, X-Ray, Ultrasound) and laboratory.

“Once again, we are able to build, expand and grow in our own backyard with our community encouraging us,” said Luckett. “We are pleased to offer this level of service to Gaston County.”

A Commitment to Excellence Puts CaroMont Health in a League of its Own

During the Prevention Partners’ Annual Meeting earlier this month, CaroMont Health was recently recognized for providing the highest standard of excellence for comprehensive wellness programs offered to their employees.  The national award, which celebrates hospitals’ commitment, focus and creativity in making wellness and healthy places a priority, is shared with only one other health system in the state.

“We are honored to receive this award,” said Andrea Serra, Vice President of Community Care Services at CaroMont Health.  “It represents years of commitment from the organization’s leadership and its employees to enhance individual health and to raise the bar on health and wellness in the workplace.”

Instituting a culture of health and wellness was something CaroMont embarked upon nearly four years ago when its Board of Directors modified their corporate vision statement to include a focus on health enhancement and prevention.  Fueled by the continuous flux in health care, global obesity issues and the growing chronic disease epidemic, the need for better wellness and prevention strategies is a trend taking shape across the country and in Gaston County.

“Gone are the days when we look only at someone’s sickness when they come to the hospital,” said Serra.  “We are not only treating the symptoms, but looking at optimal treatment options that will help to prevent future health issues.”

Beginning in 2011, CaroMont’s wellness strategy began incorporating employee wellness into corporate goals in order to create an environment to support health workplace wellness.  These included:  creating employee incentives for healthy behaviors, redesigning the health benefit structure, offering clinical health risk assessments and redefining the philosophy in food services management.

“Health and wellness is a lifestyle,” said Serra.  “We are continually looking for creative ways to encourage health and wellness for employees by making healthier options and activities more accessible.”

Today, when employees and visitors visit the hospital cafeteria they have a plethora of healthy and nutritionally balanced meal options at their disposal.  Food is prepared fresh daily and includes a colorful salad bar with more than 25 items, as well as a sushi bar, vegan corner, various hot meat and vegetable options, seasonal fruits and vegetables, grill station, deli station and daily lunch specials. Foods are baked or grilled, never fried.  Nutritional values are visible on most food items to help patrons identify the healthiest options.  Additionally, all vending machines throughout the hospital are stocked with healthy snacks.

While eating well is important to staying healthy, so is exercise.  It’s not uncommon to find employees taking walks during breaks and at lunch.  Employees are encouraged to get the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise before, during and after work.  Employees also have access to the CaroMont Health and Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art gym that offers cardiovascular equipment, strength-training stations and group fitness classes.  The fitness center extended its services to the community in January of this year.  Other employee wellness programs include:  metabolic testing, tobacco cessation, fit breaks and healthy back classes.

CaroMont Health continues to set the bar for organizational wellness in terms of programs and incentives for employees, and this dedication also extends to their work in the community.  Last month, CaroMont held the first annual CaroMont Community Challenge—a run, walk and bike event aimed to motivate the community to get healthier drawing nearly 800 attendees.

The excellence award also comes on the heels of the Healthiest Employer Award by the Charlotte Business Journal in which CaroMont surpassed many larger business and health systems in the greater Charlotte area to receive the first place distinction as a healthiest employer.

Remember to Play Safely This Summer

With summer upon us and the temperatures rising, many people will take advantage of the warmer weather by participating in more outdoor activities. It’s always great to be outside during the summer, but we must be aware of some of the dangers that lurk. Dr. John Kliesch, physician at CaroMont Urgent Care in Steele Creek, shares some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy this summer.

Water Safety

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 15. Always supervise children around water, and adults should avoid swimming alone. If you’re planning a trip to the beach, consult rip current warnings, and when at the lake, remember to wear a life jacket.

Sun Protection

When outdoors or in the water, make sure you wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays. Remember to reapply every few hours, especially if you’re in the water.

Insect Protection

The best way to protect yourself from insect stings and bites is to use repellents, avoid areas with high grass and brush and try to limit time spent outdoors in the late evening. It’s also important to check your pets for fleas and ticks.

Head Injury Prevention

Head injuries can have life-altering or life-threatening consequences. It’s important to always wear a well-fitting helmet when playing contact sports, and riding a horse, bike, motorcycle or ATV. A good rule of thumb is if it has wheels, wear a helmet.

Cooking Safety Outdoors

When handling raw food, wash your hands and keep food away from items that may have been exposed to raw food. Keep food on ice, and always marinate food in the refrigerator. Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using a grill for the first time each year. Preheat the grill so it’s hot before placing raw food on grates and use a food thermometer to make sure the temperature reaches the recommended level. If you cook with charcoal, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a proper receptacle.

Summer Eye Safety

Wear sunglasses that have 400 UV protection or higher, especially during long hours on the beach or in water. Overexposure to sunlight without proper eye protection can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts and corneal problems later in life. For additional protection, wear a hat or visor. If you play outdoor sports, wear proper eye gear with lenses made of polycarbonate, which can withstand high impact.

Fireworks Safety

Most fireworks-related accidents could be eliminated if some basic safety steps are taken. Some of these include: only use fireworks outdoors, wear protective eyewear and have water available should you need it, never allow young children to handle or play with fireworks, never relight a “dud” firework, only handle one sparkler at a time and teach children not to wave sparklers or run while holding them. It is also important to read caution labels before handling fireworks.

CaroMont Recognized for a Commitment to Safety at Work

CaroMont Health and the Gaston Regional Chamber hosted the annual Safety Awards Banquet on Tuesday evening at the Gaston Country Club.  CaroMont Health and several other organizations in the community were honored with safety awards from the North Carolina Department of Labor to recognize their commitment to ensuring safety in the workplace.

Cherie K. Berry, North Carolina Commissioner of Labor, presented Gold Safety awards to ten CaroMont Health practices and departments, including: CaroMont Family Medicine-Belmont, CaroMont Surgical Associates, Endocrinology, Gaston Women’s Healthcare, CaroMont Pediatric Partners-Belmont, Facility Services, Imaging Services Ultrasound, Pediatrics, Public Safety and Sterile Supply Services.

The Department of Labor’s Safety Awards Program recognizes private and public firms throughout the state that achieve and maintain good safety records.  The program is designed to stimulate interest in accident prevention and to promote safety in the workplace by providing an incentive to employers and employees to maintain a safe and healthful workplace.  Since 1946, the program has presented nearly 2,000 awards each year.

Todd Davis, MD, Vice President, Patient Safety, Quality & Medical Affairs Officer at CaroMont Health, spoke on behalf of CaroMont during the ceremony.

“We are honored to receive these prestigious awards from the NC Department of Labor,” said Dr. Davis.  “Safety is a top priority at CaroMont Health and tonight’s recognition affirms this.”

 

To qualify for a Safety Award, an organization must have had no fatalities during the calendar year at the site or location for which the award was given, and have maintained an incidence rate at least 50 percent below the average for its particular industry group.  There are two award levels distributed—gold and silver. The Gold Award is based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Dart rate, which is based on rate of days away from work, restricted activity or job transfer.

CaroMont Health Honors 2014 Scholarship Beneficiaries

The CaroMont Health Foundation and the Gaston Memorial Hospital Auxiliary will present more than $150,000 in college scholarships this evening at a reception at CaroMont Regional Medical Center.

“CaroMont Health has a long and exciting history of providing scholarship assistance to students studying for health care careers,” said Debbie Windley, CaroMont Health Foundation Director.  “We are thrilled to be able to recognize and encourage the academic pursuits of more than 50 students this year who plan to receive initial or advanced degrees in a variety of health-related programs.”

Funding for the CaroMont Health Foundation scholarships is provided through five scholarship programs administered through the Foundation.

The Wayne Shovelin Scholarship was established in 2009 by the Duke Kimbrell family in honor of Shovelin’s many contributions to CaroMont Health, including his 23 years as President and CEO of the organization.  This year’s recipients of the Wayne F. Shovelin Scholarship are:  Catherine Campbell, Taylor Courtney, Blair Gibson, Kacee Griffin, Erica Marquard, Andrew Nguyen, Brittany Parker and Navreet Singh.

The Mr. and Mrs. Joe R. Hudson Nursing Scholarship was established in 1974 to support students and help staff the new Gaston Memorial Hospital at that time.  Awards from this scholarship loan program are given based on organizational needs, scholastics and acceptance into nursing programs for area students. Recipients of the Hudson Scholarship are:  Angela Black, Tamisha Clemons, Kristina Garmon, Elizabeth Haynes, Suzanne Howell, Brittany Lutz, Susan Murphy, Haley O’Brien, Shasta Pruitt, Cora Robb, Julie Scott, Maelia Stamey, Daphney Tench, Ashley Triplett and Sara Willis.

The H. Spurgeon Mackie, Jr. Scholarship was established in 2006 in honor of H. Spurgeon Mackie, Jr., upon his retirement from Wachovia Bank. This year’s recipients of the Mackie Scholarship are:

Taylor Bailey, Allison Cauthen, Kristen Lahm, Logan Lingerfelt, Josie Lucas, Taylor McEntire, Lyndsay Richard, Bethany Sawyer, Austin Toney and Makayla Wykle.

The Lonnie and Rachel Waggoner Nursing Education Scholarship is a permanent endowment established in 2005.  Awards from this scholarship fund are given to students seeking an accredited degree in the field of nursing.  Recipients of the Waggoner Scholarship this year are as follows:

Lauren Biggers, Catherine Bynum and Shay Sommer.

Funding for the Gaston Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is provided through The Gertrude Clinton Health Career Scholarship Fund.   Mrs. Clinton served as Gaston County Social Services Director, CaroMont Regional Personnel Director and Auxiliary President.  Mrs. Clinton was also a founding member of the hospital auxiliary.  This year’s recipients of the Clinton Scholarship are:  Jon Arrowood, Lauren Biggers, Angie Black, Hannah Broome, Shallie Bryant, Tamisha Clemons, Jalyn Gamble, Elizabeth Haynes, Kristen Lahm, Deidre Lemon, Tristy Love, Josie Lucas, Taylor McEntire, Andrew Nguyen, Yvonne Nguyen, Haley O’Brien, Shasta Pruitt, Natalie Schrader, Elizabeth Scronce, Deven Smirz, Maelia Stamey, Austin Toney, Ashley Triplett, Jessica Weathers, Kelsey Whitesides, Sara Willis and Makayla Wykle.

A Long-Term Solution for CaroMont Health

Thomas, J. (2014, May 30). A Long-Term Solution for CaroMont Health. The Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/print-edition/2014/05/30/a-long-term-solution-for-caromont-health.html?page=all

CaroMont Health wants a 40-year lease for the land its flagship hospital sits on. It’s a strategic move that will allow the Gastonia health-care system to invest for the future amid looming uncertainty surrounding health-care reform, says Doug Luckett, chief executive.

CaroMont leases roughly 88 acres off Court Drive, as well as the hospital buildings, from Gaston County for $1 per year. That includes its 435-bed CaroMont Regional Medical Center, formerly known as Gaston Memorial Hospital. The health-care system owns the equipment and the state-issued certificate-of-need required to operate the facility.

CaroMont has spent nearly a decade trying to purchase that property; the last offer of $45.5 million came in July.

But the system shifted course recently when it submitted a 40-year lease proposal to the county.

On Tuesday, the Gaston Board of County Commissioners directed its attorney to proceed with negotiations to finalize an agreement.

“I think they want to work toward the middle, and we want to work toward the middle,” Luckett says. “I think there’s a spirit of cooperation and a shared vision for what the community needs and the benefits this will bring.”

CaroMont’s proposal will provide roughly $1.2 million annually to the county in compensation.

It would purchase a $20 million corporate bond on behalf of Gaston County, which would generate $800,000 in annual interest payments.

CaroMont also will contribute $450,000 per year to promote community health and invest in the development of active lifestyle options in Gaston County.

In addition, CaroMont would make $200 million in capital investments at its campus over the next decade.

That list of projects includes a renovation and expansion of CaroMont Regional’s emergency room, adding capacity as well as pediatric services. That project is slated to begin in the near future.

CaroMont also is prepping to install the EPIC electronic-health records system.

A bed tower is planned that would increase the size of inpatient rooms to accommodate equipment and support family-inclusive care.

Luckett recently talked to the Charlotte Business Journal about the lease proposal and CaroMont’s plans for the future.

You’ve previously attempted to buy the CaroMont property. Why consider a long-term lease?

We took a look at what the hospital and the health system is to the community and a lot more of the history of it. There’s a sense of pride and ownership in this place. It would be tough for a county commission or anybody to sell that history.

It’s more than a facility. It’s more than an operation. It’s a history. Recognizing that, I think a lease keeps the ownership with the county and the citizens around the county. I think we can accomplish most of the things we were trying to do with an outright purchase.

CaroMont’s current lease is for $1 a year and runs through 2035. Why do this now?

People can question us all day long on why, when, how — and that’s great. At the end of the day, it’s a business decision and a health-care decision.

We’re trying to do this strategically. We don’t know what the future (of health care) is going to hold, and it’s looking very rocky. In 15 years, we may not have anything that resembles what we have now in health care if payment is commoditized, if use rates are different, if hospitals and health-care systems change greatly and have an outpatient focus.

We want as much predictability as we can secure. We’re trying to secure something long term while we still have a little bit of resources and some means to do so.

At some point, we would have had to take a different strategy. We would have purchased a piece of land. We would have paid for the redevelopment of our campus. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re going to have to do that.

Does this deal support your efforts to remain independent?

I believe, absolutely, it helps cement our independence because you’ve got local partners, people who have prided themselves in local accountability for our health. We’re one of like 17 independent hospitals in the state.

There’s not many of us left. It’s difficult every day. Costs, jobs, services — the day we’re not independent, all that changes, and I don’t believe that helps Gaston County at all.

Why invest $200 million in your campus?

We have about 208,000 people that are in our coverage area. We want to be relevant and best-in-class for them. That’s the only thing we’re here for. It’s just making the services that we do have, what we know we need to be relevant for the next 30 to 50 years. That means larger patient rooms, more critical-care rooms and an ER that fits the community need better.

Why is it CaroMont’s role to be involved in community health?

We’re just trying to do our part. Typically, hospitals have been acute-care repair shops for years and years in talking about surgeries and medicine. What are we doing is to make sure Gaston County and the people who live within it have the best fighting chance to live a prolonged healthy and prosperous life.

It’s stepping up with things to promote that in the community. As you build them, people start using this stuff. As you bring greenways and thread trails and exercise stations, it’s amazing what happens. It really knocks the excuses out of why you don’t work out during your day.

There’s a feel of community ownership around CaroMont. How do you bridge that while running the health-care system as a business?

You manage it the best you can. If you want to be honest, everybody wants health care perfect, free and done yesterday.

Economically that is impossible. What we do is try to meet people’s expectations realistically and improve things that may have been a burr in their saddle for years.

What are your biggest concerns about health care moving forward?

I just want to make sure the public’s expectations, the funding, the policy and the execution of it all match together.

I believe and understand the government is the biggest payer of health care. I don’t know where it’s headed, but we’re not doing ourselves a favor in the direction we’re going.

If we’re going to put the (Affordable Care Act) in, put it in. Stop kicking the can down the road. Get more people insured; take the money out of somewhere else to make that happen.

I worry about us weakening our country’s path to research and development, new cures, new technology because we’re going to commoditize the very thing we value

Jennifer Thomas covers retail, health care and education for the Charlotte Business Journal.

Sunscreen Basics

Warmer weather means more fun in the sun, but don’t let a sunburn put a damper on your fun. Dr. Ashley Walker, Dermatologist at CaroMont Dermatology, provides a refresher on proper sunscreen use.

Why is it so important for people to wear sunscreen?

Sunscreen can prevent sunburns and reduce skin cancer risk. Sunscreens help block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage the skin’s DNA, thereby causing skin cancer development and accelerated aging.

What actually happens to the body when a person gets a sunburn? What are the long-term effects of a sunburn?

Sunburns are a result of excessive sunlight exposure. The amount of sunlight the skin can tolerate before redness or a burn occurs varies among individuals, but we are all susceptible to sunburns. Typically, sunburns produce redness, tenderness, and mild swelling of the skin, which physiologically result from dilation of the blood vessels and an immune-mediated inflammatory response in the skin. More severe burns can cause blistering of the skin and even systemic symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, rapid heart rate and low blood pressure.

Repeat sunburns causes thickening of the skin and chronic suppression of the immune system, thereby contributing to the damage of cells and the development of cancer in the skin.

What should people look for on the label when choosing a sunscreen?

As recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), I advocate daily usage of sunscreen containing an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or above. For the most extensive protection, look for sunscreens which are labeled “broad-spectrum” and which contain physical blockers, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. If you will be exposed to water when outdoors, apply a “water-resistant” sunscreen to remain protected while immersed in the pool, lake, ocean, etc. Similarly, water-resistant sunscreens are preferred if you sweat excessively.

I once heard that SPF’s higher than 30 do not provide much more protection? Is that true and why or why not?

Sunscreens with an SPF of 30 provide protection against approximately 97% of the sun’s UV radiation. Thus, while sunscreens with SPFs greater than 30 are effective, they provide little added benefit.

Are there any misconceptions about sunscreens or misunderstandings about how to use them?

•Apply sunscreen even when the weather is overcast. On cloudy or rainy days, nearly 80% of the sun’s harmful radiation is still emitted and can penetrate the skin.

•Apply sunscreen when driving in the car. Non-tinted windows in a vehicle do not protect against UVA, which is the primary culprit in sun-induced aging.

•Tanning beds do not decrease your risk for sunburns. Both UVA and UVA/UVB tanning beds can produce sunburn and each usage of the tanning bed increases an individual’s risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see when it comes to sunscreen use?

Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. Many people do not apply sunscreen as frequently as they should.

In general, reapplication of sunscreen every 2 hours is recommended. However, each person’s sensitivity to the sun varies and must be taken into consideration when determining how often to reapply sunscreen. An individual who burns easily will need to reapply sunscreen more frequently throughout the day.

How long before sun exposure should sunscreen be applied?

The AAD recommends applying sunscreen 15 minutes prior to exposure to sunlight and the outdoors.

How much sunscreen do you recommend that people use per application?

Apply enough sunscreen to cover all areas not protected by clothing; most individuals require approximately one ounce, equivalent to a “full shot glass” or a “palm-full” to coat exposed skin. Sunscreen should be rubbed in thoroughly.

When should sunscreens be thrown away, and how long after the expiration date is sunscreen still effective?

If the expiration date on the sunscreen has passed, the sunscreen should be discarded. If the expiration date is not determinable, discard the sunscreen if you have had it beyond three years; the FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their efficacy for at least three years but does not guarantee efficacy beyond that point. Changes in the color or consistency of the sunscreen may also indicate expired or ineffective sunscreen. When in doubt, throw it out! And try to label your sunscreens with the purchase date to avoid confusion in the future.

Are there other things that must be considered when applying sunscreen on children?

It is not recommended for babies under 6 months of age to spend time in the sun. It is also not recommended to apply sunscreens to babies under 6 months of age. Instead, keep little ones in shaded areas, protected from direct sunlight. Dress them in clothing that covers the entire body and protect their heads and eyes with wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, respectively. For toddlers and children beyond 6 months of age, physical blockers such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are the preferred agents and tend to be less irritating to young, sensitive skin.

What are some other ways to reduce the risk of sunburn?

Other sun-protective measures include, avoiding the mid-day sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm, seeking shaded areas when outdoors, wearing sunglasses, wearing wide-brimmed hats that cover the nasal tip and ears, and wearing clothing and hats with built-in SPF.

CaroMont Health Announces Veterans Monument

In honor of Memorial Day, May 26, CaroMont Health announced today the official design and permanent location of a veterans monument on the CaroMont Regional Medical Center campus. The memorial is one of many projects spearheaded by the CaroMont Veterans Council. The Council formed nearly one year ago to engage the veteran community in Gaston County.

“It’s a privilege to listen and learn from the great men and women who make up the CaroMont Veterans Council,” said Doug Luckett, President and CEO at CaroMont Health. “The group has accomplished a lot in a short time, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate on initiatives that support our veterans.”

The monument, which will honor the servicemen and women of Gaston County, will be prominently located at CaroMont Regional Medical Center next to the Birthplace and visitor parking deck. The monument’s location will provide convenient access for visitors, while the angled walls offer privacy for contemplation.
Construction will begin soon and the monument is expected to be open in the Fall.

“CaroMont and the veteran community are in a place of cooperation and collegiality,” said Kurt Geske, Veteran Services Administrator at the Gaston County Veterans Services Office. “This is as a result of the collaboration of the CaroMont Veterans Council and their guidance on projects like the veterans monument.”

Last year, the CaroMont Veterans Council initiated other projects including, the renaming of the campus to Gaston Memorial Medical Park and updating street names.

Healing People

Leading the way in quality care, CaroMont Health believes in treating everyone with respect, having open and responsible communication, never compromising integrity, and highly values customer satisfaction. Patients can come to CaroMont Health with the utmost trust and confidence that our staff is hard at work pushing the edge of medical science and saving lives. In 2010, we achieved HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence. And our Cancer Center won the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission.

Gaston Memorial Hospital

Magnet Award
Health Grades Award
CareChex a rating service of The Delta Group

Building Community

We believe that a community’s wellbeing is dependent on everyone contributing and that together we can help our community thrive. By offering special events, sponsoring athletic competitions and attracting great speakers like Dr. Oz, CaroMont Health is creating shared community experiences. CaroMont Health has also developed CLiC Immediate Care Center in the Mountain Island lake community, which will save you time without sacrificing the quality of non-emergency care.

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Wellness

CaroMont Health has created support and educational services in a safe, family-centered environment to promote healthy lifestyle choices. By providing a variety of classes focused on topics for men, women, the elderly, newborns and more, CaroMont Health hopes to empower individuals to make a difference. Some classes offered for expectant and new parents for example, enhance the experiences involved in birth and beyond – such as Second Time Around, Moms in Motion, and Infant CPR and Safety.

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