Monthly Archives: July 2014

Prevent Foodborne Illness

072514_foodborne4Picnics, grilling, camping — summer was made for dining outdoors. But outdoor cooking experiences can also present unique challenges for food safety. Don’t let foodborne illness ruin your summer fun. Follow these safety tips to ensure your summer cookouts go off without a hitch.

Wash your hands and all cooking surfaces and utensils. If you are going to be camping somewhere without safe water, bring your own water and soap. Do not assume fresh water from lakes or streams is safe just because it looks clear — always disinfect water first by bringing to a rolling boil for one minute (longer if camping at high altitudes). You can also use disposable wipes for washing hands and quick cleanup.

072514_foodborne2Keep perishable food cold. Pack meats and other frozen products directly into a cooler without thawing first to keep them cold longer for picnics and camping trips. Try to pack food that will be cooked later toward the bottom of the cooler. Use a separate cooler for beverages that will be opened more often. Pack coolers as full as possible to help keep items cold, and fill extra space with large blocks of ice or frozen gel packs. Keep coolers out of the sun and covered with a blanket or tarp if possible.

Marinate the right way. To ensure your food is safe, marinate only in a refrigerated environment. Poultry and cubed meat can be marinated for up to two days. Beef, pork, steaks and lamb can be marinated for up to five days. If you plan on using the marinade in cooked food, keep a portion separate from the raw meat to use later. If you do serve marinade you’ve used to marinate the raw meat, it should be boiled first to destroy bacteria.

If you do suspect food poisoning, don’t hesitate to to go to your nearest Rex Express Care for treatment.

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Make a Splash with Water-Based Exercise

072514_swimming1If you find that activities like running or biking put too much strain on your body, or if you’re ready for a change in routine, water-based exercise may be the answer you’re looking for. From water aerobics to hydrotherapy, aquatic activities have many positive health benefits for individuals of all ages and abilities.

As a low-impact physical activity, water-based exercise allows you to reap the aerobic benefits of high-impact physical exercise without the wear and tear on your body that traditional aerobic exercises may cause. Water-based physical therapy (hydrotherapy) can help individuals with chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, improve the use of affected joints without aggravating symptoms.

072514_swimming3Individuals dealing with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, may find that exercising in water relieves their anxiety about being active and may even relieve pain by increasing blood flow to the muscles. If you don’t suffer from chronic disease, but still cope with joint or muscle pain, you may also see health improvements when changing from a land-based to a water-based exercise program.

Water aerobics and other water activities can also be beneficial to your mental health. Swimming can improve your mood by reducing stress and aiding relaxation. Exercising in warm water may also help relieve symptoms of depression in people with fibromyalgia.

Make it a family affair

072514_swimming2Besides being beneficial to your physical and mental health, recreational water activities are fun for the entire family and can help you forge stronger family connections. From going to the beach to playing on the water slide at your community pool, there are a variety of ways to enjoy the water with your family. Just be sure to follow safety rules and keep a sharp eye on small children and non-swimmers.

Take the plunge

Whether you’re looking for a low-impact exercise, an easy way to relax or a fun activity that can be enjoyed by the entire family, jumping in the water may be just what you need.

Float the idea by your doctor

Talk to your doctor to determine if aquatic exercises or hydrotherapy may benefit you. All five of our Wellness Centers have indoor swimming pools available for members, and all wellness centers offer a variety of aqua group exercises classes. Check them out today!

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The Benefits of My UNC Chart

072514_amyaustellbioPost by Amy Austell, UNC Health Care patient and co-worker.

I have a drawer in my office that is full of medical records.  After visit summaries, test results…some from my doctor at UNC, others from specialists at Rex and still more from my PCP in Chapel Hill.  But you know what?  It’s a mess. And when I am at an appointment and my specialist at Rex asks about a test result or procedure that my PCP had ordered, that drawer in my office is no help at all.

Three months ago, I signed up for My UNC Chart and, boom, all the information swimming around in my drawer at home was now organized in one place.  If you aren’t familiar with My UNC Chart, it’s a secure online health care patient portal that is connected to UNC Health Care’s Epic@UNC medical record system.

072514_unc2If you are a patient a Rex, UNC Medical Center or UNC Physician’s group, you can quickly and easily sign up for My UNC Chart.  Then the Epic@UNC system populates your account with all the UNC Health Care medical records electronically on file for you: medical history, prescriptions and test results.  It also tracks current and past appointments, and allows you to message your doctor.  There’s even an app for your smartphone or iPad.

The first week I had my account, I received an email that said I had a message waiting for me in My UNC Chart.  I opened the My UNC Chart app on my iPad and saw a message from my doctor’s office asking me to fill out paperwork for my visit the following week.  I clicked on the link provided, and within 10 minutes answered all the medical history and pre-visit questions.

At work, I can receive a discount on my health care premium if I complete certain health behaviors and challenges.  One option is to have your doctor check your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., but in order to get the credit, the information has to be submitted in a format that proves it came from your doctor’s office.  Not a problem with My UNC Chart.  I just went to the site, opened up my test results and printed them.  The printout was formatted with the practice information and all the data I needed.

I recently had a question about a prescription.  Through My UNC Chart, I sent a message to my doctor asking my question, and I had my answer within two hours.  It saved me multiple phone calls and possibly a visit.  Just yesterday, I paid a doctor’s bill through the My UNC Chart app.  A couple of clicks and it was paid.

Simple, easy and organized.  That’s what I love about My UNC Chart.  Last month, I changed my medical home to a UNC Health Care practice because having all my records in My UNC Chart is that important to me.  What used to be hundreds of meaningless papers in a drawer is now an organized story of my health.

This weekend, I am cleaning out my medical record drawer.  I won’t miss it at all.

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Training for the 2014 Rex Sprint Triathlon in Garner

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system.

708014_tri3It is hard to believe, but the Rex Sprint Triathlon in Garner is just a few days away! This year I was given the privilege of preparing Kristey Evans and Keshia Best to participate in their first sprint triathlon.

Kristey has a full time job and children but thanks to a supportive husband (thanks Jason), has made time for training. Keshia works late hours so our meetings have for the most part been by cell phone and e-mail. Proof positive that carving out time to train can be done in spite of work and family obligations! Last year’s winner, Theresa Pearce, easily met her goal to complete the inaugural Rex Sprint Triathlon and continues to compete. I have no doubt that Kristey and Keshia will also be successful.

708014_tri2One of the best things about Rex Wellness of Garner is that we have a very active group of triathletes. As was the case last year, I recruited a number of Rex Triathletes to work with our trainees and all agreed to return, including Theresa who has excelled from trainee to trainer. Theresa and Shannon Thomsen, a seasoned cyclist, have spent valuable time getting Kristey comfortable with cycling in vehicular traffic which is always a challenge for both experienced and novice cyclist.

For people training for their first triathlon, It has been my experience that concerns vary from one triathlete to another. If you come from a swimming background, your greatest concern might be with the cycling or run. If you come from a running background, you may be worried about the cycling and swimming. Regardless of your background, there is always a concern about endurance.

708014_tri4So how do we overcome these challenges? We train. As a triathlete, you are not simply training to swim 250 yards, ride a bike 10 miles or run 2 miles. You are training to ride a bike 10 miles after swimming 250 yards and training to run 2 miles after swimming and cycling.

Thus, we must brick train. Brick training is a training session in which you train on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal to no interruption. Kristey and Keshia have been brick training for several weeks. On July 6, one week before the triathlon, we held a mock triathlon. Keshia could not attend but Kristey was able to participate. My wife Angie, Theresa, Keith Manning, Charlie and Carrie Frey all seasoned triathletes swam, cycled and ran the entire course with Kristey. She did great and in the minds of all of her trainers, she is ready.

On July 13, we will all be at Rex Wellness Center in Garner to cheer Kristey and Keshia on and I can’t wait!

From L to R: Charlie, Theresa, Carrie, Rodney, Kristey, Angie, and Keith.

From L to R: Charlie, Theresa, Carrie, Rodney, Kristey, Angie, and Keith.

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