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Get Immunized During National Influenza Vaccination Week

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It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, and there is no better time to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu if you haven’t already.

You may be wondering why National Influenza Vaccination Week happens so late in the year — flu season has been in full swing for some time now, right? But in 2015, the CDC reports, only about 40% of the U.S. population that was recommended to receive the vaccination had done so by the end of November. The CDC also notes that few people choose to get vaccinated once November ends, even though flu season often continues through March.

It’s so important to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu every year, no matter how late into flu season it is. That’s because the flu virus puts individuals such as senior citizens, young children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems at risk for serious health complications as long as the flu virus is actively spreading illness.

Even if you’ve already had the flu this season, you’re still at risk of getting sick, and you should still get vaccinated. Not only will you be helping to protect others around you, but you’ll also be protecting yourself from all of the virus strains that the vaccine is designed for.

It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated, too. Immunizations can be administered at your primary care physician’s office or at your local pharmacy. Your insurance will often cover most, if not all, of your cost for the flu vaccine, so there’s no reason to delay immunization if your doctor recommends it for you.

Throughout the past couple of months, the Charles County Department of Health has offered free vaccination clinics across the county. Click here to see the full schedule of upcoming clinics or call (301) 609-6900 to learn more.

To learn more about the seasonal flu, visit our Online Health Library today.

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Shine a Light for a Loved One at the Christmas Tree of Life on December 7

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Has someone close to you touched your life in a positive way? Recognize their impact by having a light shine in their honor or memory at our annual Christmas Tree of Life event.

On Wednesday, December 7, at 5:30pm at UM Charles Regional Medical Center, we’ll illuminate our Christmas Tree of Life and the entire Healing Garden to celebrate those who have made our lives better. In addition to the illumination ceremony, the event will feature a dessert reception and holiday music.

Through December 7, lights can be purchased for $15 each and Healing Garden Luminaries can be purchased for just $50 each. You can even ensure that a light shines brightly on the Tree of Life every year by making a one-time gift of $100 for an Angel Perpetual Light. Funds raised through these contributions help bring us one step closer to advancing vital programs and services for our community.

Honor your loved ones this holiday season and support a great cause by making your gift today. Visit the official Christmas Tree of Life event page to learn more.

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Now is the Time to Learn More About COPD

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often called COPD, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, is a chronic disease that affects the quality of life of millions of Americans.

COPD is characterized by the inflammation and thickening of the airways in the lungs, which causes a disruption of the normal flow of air in and out of the lungs. As a result, less oxygen is able to get into the body, which makes it harder for the body to get rid of carbon dioxide.

Here are a few of the top risk factors for developing COPD:

  • Smoking
  • Exposure to air pollution and secondhand smoke
  • Regularly working with chemicals, dust and fumes
  • A history of childhood respiratory infections

Avoiding secondhand smoke or quitting smoking not only reduce your risk for COPD, they also reduce your risk for other diseases like lung cancer. Quitting smoking can be difficult, but it’s possible to overcome the addiction with the right plan and support.  If you’re ready to take the first step towards quitting and reducing your risk of COPD, join us in the hospital cafeteria on Thursday, November 17, from 11am-1pm as we take part in the Great American Smokeout. This national observance is a day to quit smoking – or pledge to quit smoking – and learn about tools and support that can help you live a tobacco-free life.

If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, lifestyle changes like quitting tobacco, monitoring air quality, remaining active and protecting yourself from illness by receiving and annual flu shot can help you live a better, more fulfilling life. For additional tips on managing COPD, check out these resources from the American Lung Association.

As with any chronic disease, seeking support is a good way to stay on track. Better Breathers Clubs offer patient-focused, community-based support for people with COPD and other chronic lung diseases. The Better Breathers Club at UM Charles Regional Medical Center meets every other month and can help you improve your quality of life if you’ve received a COPD diagnosis. To learn more or register for this free support group visit our website or call (888) 332-4847.

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Arm Yourself with Lung Cancer Awareness This November

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There’s only one cancer that claims more lives than that of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined: lung cancer.  More Charles County residents die from lung cancer each year than any other cancer.  In fact, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that in 2016, there will be over 224,390 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in the U.S. alone.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s important to take some time this month to learn more about this disease, its risk factors and treatment options.

You don’t have to be a smoker to develop lung cancer. Occupational and environmental hazards such as radon, asbestos and air pollutants have also been linked to lung cancer. And common symptoms of lung cancer, such as persistent cough, hoarseness, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, swelling of the neck and face, loss of appetite and fatigue, are often mistaken for other problems, which can delay diagnosis of this serious disease.

Though not all cancers are preventable, 87% of all lung cancer cases can be traced to tobacco use. This means that the best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to quit — or never start — smoking tobacco and reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke. Below are some resources from the American Cancer Society.

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November is American Diabetes Month

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You’ve probably heard about diabetes from your doctor, in the news or from someone you know. But do you know just how prevalent this disease is in our country?

Although many people with diabetes live productive and happy lives, it’s important to understand how this disease affects our community. And during American Diabetes Month, we invite you to learn more about diabetes and how to prevent and manage this disease.

The Statistics
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and another 86 million people (1 in 3 adults) have prediabetes. Here are some important numbers to know about diabetes:

  • 1 out of 4 people don’t know they have diabetes, and 9 out of 10 people don’t know they have prediabetes
  • 12 out of 100 people in Charles County have diabetes
  • Every year, diabetes causes $245 billion dollars in medical bills and lost wages
  • People with diabetes are at higher risk for blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke or loss of toes, feet or legs, as well as chronic wounds that often require treatment

The Difference Between Types of Diabetes
Not all forms of diabetes are the same. Here’s a brief overview of the differences between type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

  • Type 1: Previously known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin to control blood sugar levels. Although it can strike at any age, it often appears before the age of 18. There is currently no known way to prevent this type of diabetes.
  • Type 2: 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This type occurs when your body is able to produce insulin, but doesn’t produce enough to properly control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes has been linked to obesity which means a balanced diet and physical activity can contribute to prevention and management.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Though relatively uncommon, this type of diabetes is brought on by pregnancy. Being overweight prior to becoming pregnant can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes.

The Risk Factors
Being overweight, inactive and having a family history of the disease can contribute to a higher risk of developing diabetes during your lifetime. Your doctor can help you determine your individual risk factors, but you can also take our type 2 diabetes risk assessment to learn more about your level of risk now.

The Good News
Although there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are things you can do right now to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Losing weight, eating healthy and being more active can greatly reduce your risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes in your lifetime. In addition, knowing the symptoms of diabetes can help with early detection, which may reduce the risk of further complications.

We know that a diabetes diagnosis comes with many questions, and we’re here to help you find the answers. Our new Center for Diabetes Education is here to help you live a healthier, more fulfilling life with diabetes. To learn more about the services we offer, visit our website or call (301) 609-4413.

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Get Vaccinated for Flu Season

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Flu season is here again, and like every year, it’s bringing with it the contagious virus that puts senior citizens, young children and those with existing medical conditions at risk for serious complications.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself (and others) from this debilitating illness. Getting vaccinated is an easy way to prevent sickness this flu season, and the Charles County Department of Health will once again be hosting several free flu immunization clinics through October and November. Below is the official schedule of free community clinics (open to all ages) in our area. Visit the official Charles County Department of Health website or call (301) 609-6900 to learn more.

Charles County Department of Health Clinic (View Location)
Friday, Oct. 28:  2:00pm-6:00pm
Saturday, Nov. 5:10:00am-2:00pm
Thursday, Dec. 15: 3:00pm-7:00pm

Community Clinics
Saturday, Oct. 15: 10:00am-1:00pm — JP Ryon Elementary School
Tuesday, Oct. 18: 3:00pm-7:00pm — Westlake High School
Thursday, Oct. 20: 3:00pm-7:00pm — La Plata High School
Tuesday, Oct. 25: 1:00pm-5:00pm — Western County Family Medical Center
Tuesday, Nov. 1: 3:00pm-7:00pm — Piccowaxen Middle School
Thursday, Nov. 10: 4:00pm-7:00pm — Smallwood Middle School
Tuesday, Nov. 15: 3:00pm-7:00pm — Thomas Stone High School
Thursday, Nov. 17: 3:00pm-7:00pm — La Plata High School

The seasonal flu is characterized by fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea and other debilitating symptoms. The best way to avoid getting sick this flu season, especially if you’re among the most at risk, is to get immunized today.

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Recognizing National Physical Therapy Month

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At UM Charles Regional Medical Center, we work to always show our recognition for the outstanding physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who work so hard to help us overcome pain as well as gain and maintain movement. But because October is National Physical Therapy Month, we’re sending a little extra recognition this month to all those who help keep us moving.

This is also an opportunity to introduce our fantastic team at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation. This physical therapy center in La Plata offers a wide range of treatments from some of the discipline’s most experienced and compassionate practitioners.

Through a variety of individually focused treatments, the staff at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation helps patients get back to living a more mobile life by treating conditions like sports injuries, joint replacements, osteoarthritis, spinal pain, post-surgical recovery and more.

The caring staff at  UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation can provide the assistance needed to move beyond injury and into a more active life. Wondering if your condition could benefit from physical therapy? Give UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation a call at (301) 609-5494 and take the first step towards moving better.

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Don’t Miss Our 22nd Annual Crab Feast on Oct. 20

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We’re less than two weeks away from rolling out the brown paper and tasting that Old Bay over all-you-can-eat crabs at our 22nd Annual Crab Feast. That means you have less than two weeks to get your tickets or secure a sponsorship for this great event on Thursday, October 20!

Join us at Captain Billy’s Crab House in Newburg from 2:00-8:30pm and enjoy a full range of menu options, including all-you-can-eat crabs or platters featuring shrimp, stuffed chicken breast, crab cakes, tilapia and more.

Time is running out to get your tickets, but you can reserve yours online right now.. And if you’re interested in promoting your business at the Crab Feast, we still have some fantastic sponsorship opportunities available — remember, all proceeds will support UM Charles Regional Medical Center initiatives to expand health services throughout our entire community.

Don’t delay because the Crab Feast will be here before you know it!  For details regarding tickets or sponsorships, please visit the official event page or call us at (301) 609-4132 today. We can’t wait to see you there!

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that one in eight women in the United States will receive a breast cancer diagnosis at some point in her lifetime. Even more staggering is the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that nearly 41,000 women succumbed to the disease in 2013 alone.

Those sobering statistics don’t have to be things we accept as reality forever — that’s why UM Charles Regional Medical Center is an advocate of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and invites you to arm yourself with knowledge to better understand that early detection saves lives.

Here are some quick facts from our Online Health Library to help you determine your level of risk of developing breast cancer:

  • Age Factors: 77% of new breast cancer diagnoses are in women over the age of 50.
  • Personal Medical History: Women with a history of breast cancer in one breast have three to four times higher risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast.
  • Breast Density: Women with more lobular and ductal tissue (dense tissue) are more likely to develop breast cancer — it also makes it harder for doctors to see abnormal areas on a mammogram.
  • Family History: Women in families that have a history of breast cancer are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
  • Lifestyle: Alcohol use and obesity have both been linked to an increased risk factor. Conversely, a healthy diet and exercise is linked to a reduced rate.

There are more risk factors to consider for breast cancer. Visit our Online Health Library to see them all and learn more about the disease as a whole. While you’re there, be sure to read why it’s so important to get screened with regular mammograms and find out what other tests exist for detecting breast cancer.

Your learning doesn’t have to end here! You’re invited to take part in our upcoming Breast Cancer Symposium on October 25. Get an update on breast and ovarian cancer from our team of experts.  Here are the details for this great event:

Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 11:00AM – 2:00PM
Waldorf Jaycees Community Center
3090 Crain Highway, Waldorf

RSVP by 10/20 to 888-332-4847 or visit charlesregional.org.

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Don’t Miss Our 22nd Annual Crab Feast on October 20

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With another successful Autumn Wine Tasting & Silent Auction in the books, it’s time to look forward to our next highly anticipated event, our 22nd Annual Crab Feast on Thursday, October 20.

Roll out the brown paper, grab your mallet and join us at Captain Billy’s Crab House in Newburg from 2:00-8:30pm. You’ll enjoy a full range of menu options, including all-you-can-eat crabs, as well as your choice of platters featuring shrimp, stuffed chicken breast, crab cakes, tilapia and more.

Tickets are on sale now. All-you-can-eat crab feast tickets are $55 per person and platter tickets start at $25 per person (children’s tickets are $8 each).

Sponsorships are also available! Sponsoring the Crab Feast is a great way to promote your business and support UM Charles Regional Medical Center. Don’t forget, ticket and sponsorship proceeds from this year’s Crab Feast will support initiatives to expand health services throughout our entire community.

For details about the Crab Feast, including purchasing tickets or securing a sponsorship, please visit the event page or call us at (301) 609-4132 today. We look forward to seeing you on October 20!

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