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Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by a virus that can vary in severity of symptoms from mild cold symptoms to death. Those who are at highest risk for more severe flu symptoms are those who are pregnant, young children, elders, and those who have chronic medical conditions. The flu t…

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No one likes stress. It makes us anxious and irritable, but does it also make us more likely to have illnesses? It seems so, and not just for the things that come to mind, such as ulcers and high blood pressure.

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Karla Matthias is an independent director with Thirty One and she contacted Becky Bacon, ER Nurse Manager about donating 31 bags for local chemo therapy patients that are going through treatments at the Hiawatha Community Hospital. Karla initiated the fundraiser in March for Chemo Comfort Ca…

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Medicines are not always needed for anxiety and depression. In fact, they sometimes are not even the best choice. Medicines for depression have some undesirable side effects and tranquilizers for anxiety can increase the risk of accidents and can be habit-forming.

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When making healthy food choices, beware of the loopholes of food labeling and know the truth about food packages.

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With summer picnicking, fishing and other outdoor activities, there is a good chance of coming in contact with poison ivy. Everyone knows it has three leaves, but few people can readily identify the plant. In fact, most people who get the rash had not seen the plant. Yet with only a few exce…

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When it comes to having a baby, there are many options out there and many questions to ask. What do you want your labor experience to include or exclude? What are your plans for pain control during the labor process? Would you like to have an epidural and be as pain free as possible, or do y…

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Lead may be a forgotten problem, but it should not be. Many people live in houses that were built before 1960 when nearly all paint contained large amounts of lead. Lead is harmful to children—it damages the brain as well as the blood cells.

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A broken nose is one of the most common fractures. It can happen in sports, falls, and fights. Nasal fractures can be more severe and complex when they occur from automobile accidents or penetrating injuries. And if they are not treated right, they can be quite troublesome later.

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Anyone who has had a kidney stone says it is the worst pain he has ever had. It may look like a grain of sand, but it feels more like a rock. The stones feel much bigger than they are.

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Sprained ankles are a common and frustrating problem. Due to an uneven surface, or just stepping wrong, the ankle turns in and tears the ligaments on the outside of the joint. It is nearly always the weak ligaments on the outside of the ankle that get torn.

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You’re having a baby! Congratulations! Now you have the task of deciding which facility you will use to bring your miracle into this world. Here at Hiawatha Community Hospital’s OB department, we are making huge strides to improve our quality of patient care for our childbearing families. We…

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Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common problem. Many people suffer from its symptoms, which range from constipation to diarrhea, and cramping to excessive gas.

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Asthma is still a serious disease. The number of deaths from asthma is barely decreasing in spite of better medicines. In fact, the trust people have placed in these effective medicines may be the cause of delays in seeking treatment of some severe attacks.

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A person should not learn to live with arthritis — he should learn to cope with it. Coping with an illness means that the person actively plans ahead and carries out ways to tolerate a chronic illness.

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Doctors always say, “Cut down on salt.” But is it really that important, and how do you do it?

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Falls in elderly people are a major health problem. Approximately 20 percent of all elderly people have at least one fall each year.

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Parkinson’s is a disease of a very small area of the brain called the substantia nigra. When this area gradually loses its functioning cells, the typical symptoms of Parkinson’s develop.

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It can be very annoying listening to a dry, useless cough in your child. The cough just comes every few minutes for no apparent reason and never clears anything from the throat. What causes it and how can you get rid of it?

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Seizures are fairly common and they are very frightening to watch. There are a number of things you should do to prevent any unnecessary injuries or problems in case you witness a seizure.

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The cost of firearm injuries is high — not just in dollars, but in loss of innocent lives. Each year about 40,000 Americans die from firearm injuries. Many of these are young children or teenagers playing with guns their parents left loaded and unattended in their homes. Sometimes the guns a…

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Having a sick child is bad enough, but when he has a seizure, it becomes very alarming. About 3 percent of children from ages 6 months to 3 years will develop a seizure when a fever rises suddenly.

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It’s usually your wife or a friend who gently suggests it: “You need a hearing aid!” They are the ones who get tired of repeating things for you. It may be okay to repeat things in a conversation, but during a movie or meeting, having to ask what was just said is distracting to both persons,…

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Halloween is traditionally thought of as a time of fun for children but it can also be a time of danger. Tampering with candy tops the list of fears that parents have and it certainly has been well-publicized.

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Tonsillitis does not always mean that a person has strep throat. There are many other causes of red and swollen tonsils, both infectious and non-infectious. Tonsillitis simply means that the tonsils are inflamed from something, just like a bursitis can be an inflammation from overuse or trau…

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People have always wanted to get rid of wrinkles — they announce to the world that you are aging. But doctors have always said that wrinkles are forever, that the sun-induced damage to the skin cannot be reversed.

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Snoring is not as funny as all the jokes about it. It may be an indication of a serious problem called sleep apnea. Snoring is a sound that is made when a person’s tongue and the soft tissues of the throat cause partial obstruction of the airways during sleep. Breathing becomes difficult thr…

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An overactive thyroid can be just as troublesome as one that is underactive. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is called Grave’s Disease where a person’s body develops antibodies against the thyroid. This results in an inflamed and slightly enlarged gland which releases too much thyro…

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The pain of having shingles is only the beginning of the problem for many people. Often, a person develops a very painful neuralgia, or neuritis, that can last for years after the rash from shingles has disappeared. This chronic nerve pain is more common the older one gets.

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Over the years doctors have told parents not to treat the common red birthmarks that some children have at birth. There was good reason for this advice; the treatments often did more harm than good, and many of the birthmarks would eventually go away, or improve, on their own.

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Can you touch your toes? Do you get cramps in your calves at night? You may be getting enough exercise but perhaps not enough stretching.

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As the weather becomes cooler, we enter the season when many athletes have a greater chance of developing exercise-induced asthma. This is a form of asthma that is commonly brought on by exercise. It is caused mainly by the drying out of secretions in the airways, which then causes more irri…

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There are many problems for menopausal women. They get hot flashes, emotional changes such as depression, irregular bleeding, thin bones and troublesome vaginal changes. Treating these symptoms is very important and estrogens are helpful, but carry some significant risks.

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Good posture and proper lifting are things we seldom think about until it is too late. We develop poor work habits, improper posture when sitting and standing, and we get overweight.

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Toxic shock is not as common now as when we had hyper-absorbent tampons, but it is still with us. Toxic shock syndrome is a serious, life-threatening bacterial infection that produces a toxic substance that enters the blood stream.

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All children are active. In some children, this activity is poorly controlled. They are inattentive and careless and cannot control their impulses. They are more active than other children, and the disarray of their actions makes it more disturbing to others, especially when they are in grou…

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“A banana a day keeps your potassium okay,” is what most people believe. Bananas are helpful, but treating a low potassium may be more difficult than that.

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A tragic accident that can happen simply by leaving your child in the car is overheating. Infants and young children are not able to effectively dissipate excessive heat since they cannot sweat as efficiently as adults. And their small bodies warm up from ambient temperatures much more quick…

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Tremors are a problem for many older people. Sometimes they are considered benign, sometimes they indicate a more serious disease. Often times medicines can help the problem.

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Accidental burns are very common — nearly everyone has had one at some time. Most are just minor burns that do not require any special care. Larger burns, however, can be very serious.

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Everybody knows about appendicitis, but it is still a very difficult diagnosis to make in many cases.

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Food producers can give their products any name they like. Putting “Lite” or “Low-fat” in the brand name is legal, but putting misleading statements in the ingredient list is not.

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When you take a fish hook out of a fish, it seems easy enough, but when it comes to taking one out of your own finger it is entirely different. Each summer many people find that there is no way to pull a hook back out once the barb has penetrated the skin.

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Bunions are those troublesome deformities that develop at the base of the big toe. They look unsightly, they make shoes fit poorly, and they can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.

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Our bones get thinner as we get older, starting as early as age thirty. In recent years there has been a great interest in treating osteoporosis to prevent the risk of broken hips and to keep the back from becoming stooped. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to delay these changes, especi…

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When you have asthma, you may not have any wheezing until your lung function is decreased by up to 40 percent. Since asthma is still a serious disease, it is important to treat it before your lung function drops to that level.

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“Spring colds” are often caused by the first pollens of the year — tree pollens. Trees start to pollinate in the early spring months. March, April and May are the most common months, but some trees even bloom in February depending on the year and the location.

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Allergy shots are the most specific treatment for allergies. In order to prescribe allergy shots, however, testing must be done to determine which pollens, molds, dusts and danders are causing your allergies. After the exact causes of your allergies are known, your doctor can order serum tha…

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Everyone knows that when you get chest pain you could be having a heart attack and should go to the ER. However, when having a stroke, or a “brain attack”, many people still do not feel an urgency to seek medical treatment. They may let the symptoms go on for hours or longer before seeking t…