Staying Fit as a Family

Discover ways to keep healthy and get everyone involved.

When you have kids, it can be difficult to carve out the time to get fit. Multitask your free time by coming up with fun ways to be active as a family. Fitness won’t feel like a chore when you’re enjoying time together. Here are some tips for staying fit as a family.

  • Go geocaching or hiking. Walking and hiking are great ways to stay fit. Make your walks an adventure by seeking out a geocache or exploring an area you’ve never seen before. Check out a new hiking trail or drive to a local park.
  • Ride bikes together. Outfit yourself and your kids with a bike and helmet. Even babies can enjoy biking with a safe bicycle seat for infants. Find safe places to bike together, such as bike trails and parks. Obey traffic laws when riding on or near the street.
  • Do yard work together. Lawn work isn’t that much fun, but it’s still a great way to spend time together. Work as a team when gardening, mowing and weeding. You’ll all get a fitness boost and at the end you can reward yourselves with some relaxation indoors.
  • Be creative. The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition recommends that kids 6-17 get about an hour of activity every day. Adults need about 30 minutes a day. Kids get a lot of activity at school, so you can meet in the middle by trying to be active for 30 minutes a day together. Get creative. Wrestle in the back yard, go swimming, play an active video game that requires jumping or dancing, play tag or go jogging together.

Visit our online health library to learn more about physical fitness. You can also call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 to ask any questions or to request a physician referral.

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A Few Facts on Organ Donation

Get familiar with organ donation and learn how to save lives.

This month is National Donate Life Month. While it may be unsettling to imagine what will happen to your body and organs after you’re deceased, you should consider whether or not you’d like to register as an organ donor. Try to focus on the people who can be saved and helped by an organ donation. Did you know that you can save up to eight lives through organ donation according to

How does organ donation work?
Organ donation is the removal of healthy organs and tissues from one person to be transplanted into another person. People need organ and tissue transplants to recover from various diseases. Organ donation often saves lives. In some cases, organs can be transplanted from one living person to another, such as kidney donation.

Can anyone donate tissues and organs?
Unless you have AIDS, severe infection or certain types of cancer, you can donate tissues and organs. Anyone from infants to the elderly can become organ donors. Transplant experts will make decisions regarding the viability of your organs for donation.

Who does organ donation help?
Thousands of people are added to transplant waiting lists every month. The need is huge and there’s always a shortage of organs for donation. reports that about 18 people die each day waiting for transplants. When you give the gift of life, you can save someone waiting for a transplant or change the life of someone in need of one.

Will organ donation disfigure the body?
It is important for many individuals to know that organ donation does not affect the ability to have an open casket funeral. This can be a comfort to donors and loved ones. Transplant surgeons are specially skilled in removing organs and tissue without affecting the appearance of the body.

Find out what you should know about your immune system and organ transplants from Oak Hill Hospital. If you have any health questions or need a physician referral, call our Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.

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5 Tips for Fighting Your Pollen Allergy

Learn how to feel better during allergy season.

Pollen allergies can make life miserable in the spring and early summer as trees and grass bloom all over. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16.9 million Americans experienced hay fever from allergies in the past year. This beautiful time shouldn’t have to be one of discomfort and illness. Learn how you can fight your pollen allergy and live better this season.

1. Don’t bring the pollen inside.
When you return from any time spent outdoors, fight the invasion of pollen. Change your shoes and leave the grassy ones covered or in your garage. Change your clothes and wash your hands and face. If you’re home for the night, take a shower and wash your hair so you don’t bring pollen into your room.

2. Keep your windows closed.
Even though the temperature outside feels really nice, you should avoid leaving your windows open during pollen season. No amount of air filtration will take the place of leaving your windows safely shut.

3. Use an air purifier.
Keep the air in your home clean by using air purifiers. While you have your windows shut, it’s important to filter and treat the air that could be obtaining allergens and chemicals from your pets, household cleaners, fragrances and more. If you have to choose one area to treat, treat your bedroom.

4. Take preventative medication.
Talk to your doctor about the types of medication you should be taking during allergy season. He or she may change your regimen during this high pollen time of year. Some individuals have success with a nasal spray, antihistamine or steroid inhaler depending on the type and severity of symptoms.

5. Start immunotherapy.
If your pollen allergies are numerous and severe, you may want to consider immunotherapy. Also known as allergy shots, this is a therapy that helps to alleviate your allergy over time. According to Medline Plus, allergy shots can help make you less sensitive to pollen and provide long-term relief.

Learn more about hay fever and allergens from Oak Hill Hospital's online health library. If you have any questions about treating your allergies or if you would like a physician referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.

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First Aid Kit Checklist for Parents

Find out what you should have on hand at home for first aid for kids.

When it comes to your kids, you want to provide the best care for them. Sometimes this means heading to the Emergency Room when an injury or illness occurs. Other times you can care for scrapes and bruises at home. Whether you seek a doctor’s care or you can handle bumps and small cuts yourself, you should keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your house for your family’s use.  Here’s a handy checklist to get you started:

First aid items to keep stocked:

  • Suction bulb
  • Fever reducer (such as Children’s Tylenol)
  • Antihistamine (such as Children’s Benadryl)
  • Medicine cups and syringes for child doses
  • Band-Aids or other adhesive bandages in various sizes
  • Finger splints
  • Wrap bandages for injuries/sprains that need support, like the ankle or wrist
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Adhesive tape
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Triangular bandage
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer and tip covers
  • Instant ice bags
  • Cotton balls
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sterile eyewash
  • Hydrocortisone cream, ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment

Additional first aid reminders:

  • Check your kit regularly, and replace any supplies that are getting low. Keep an eye on expiration dates and replace as needed.
  • Keep your child’s health history in a binder that can easily be taken to appointments and critical care visits.
  • Keep your doctors’ contact information organized in a place where it can easily be located by a caretaker or family member. Don’t forget the number of a pediatric dentist.
  • The toll-free Poison Help line number (1-800-222-1222) should be kept near all phones and somewhere easily seen. Store it in your cell phone along with other emergency numbers.
  • Consider keeping a basic disaster supply kit in your home.
  • Know how to get to your nearest pediatric emergency room.

Learn more about our Pediatric Emergency Care Center in Spring Hill. We are the only hospital in the region dedicated to pediatric emergency services. Give us a call at 352-596-6632 in Hernando and 352-628-6441 in Citrus for more information. Call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 to ask any questions or to request a physician referral.

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3 Ways to Cut Your Risk of Colon Cancer

Find out how you can reduce your risk of colon cancer.

It’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer affects 1 in 20 Americans and is the third leading cause of cancer death, according to the American Cancer Society. Do you know how to reduce your risk of colon cancer? Find out how to adjust your habits to lead a healthier lifestyle that focuses on prevention of colorectal cancer and other chronic illnesses.

1.  Get screened often
It’s important to begin getting screened for colorectal cancer when you turn 50. Screening tests can find polyps, which can be removed before they turn into cancer. If you get screened early and often, doctors can catch and remove polyps before they have a chance to develop into cancer. This can literally save your life. In fact, the Colon Cancer Alliance estimates that 30,000 lives could be saved each year if patients and doctors worked together for a comprehensive screening program including fecal occult blood tests and colon exams.

2.  Adjust your diet
As with many types of cancer, diet can have a huge impact on prevention. If you are concerned with your risk of colorectal cancer, limit red meat. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and enjoy whole foods instead of processed foods whenever possible. Ensure that your diet is getting you lots of vitamin D and calcium or talk to your doctor about appropriate supplements.

3.  Maintain a healthy weight and level of fitness
If you are obese, talk to your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight gradually and safely. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight when it comes to lowering cancer risk and reducing the risk of other chronic diseases. Physical fitness is important regardless of your age. Engage in a fitness routine that’s right for your level of health and fitness. Even walking can make a difference.

The Cancer Institute at Oak Hill Hospital provides cutting edge treatment. To learn more about cancer treatment and detection options for you or a loved one, call (352) 596-6632 in Hernando or (352) 628-6441 in Citrus.

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5 “Health” Foods That Really Aren’t

Find out which foods aren’t as healthy as you thought they were.

It's National Nutrition Month. To celebrate, take a hard look at the foods you eat. Are your healthy alternatives really that good for you?

Health waters and sports drinks
Sports drinks and vitamin-packed waters are carefully marketed to make consumers think they’re super healthy. The fact is, these drinks aren’t much better than sodas or sugary juices. They can be bad for adult and kid’s teeth and they’re either loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. When you’re thirsty, grab fresh water. According to, sports drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of teeth.

Breakfast muffins
Unless you make your own breakfast muffins, chances are the unhealthy ingredients are outweighing whole grains, fruit and bran. Store-bought and bakery muffins are often oversized, full of sugar and packed with ingredients you wouldn’t slap a “healthy” label on. Be wary of any baked goods masquerading as healthy meals.

Have you ever read the nutritional info on smoothies from your favorite smoothie bar? You may be shocked to find out that smoothies can be loaded with calories, fat and sugar. Smoothies aren’t inherently bad for you, but you’re better off making them at home where you know exactly what goes inside and you can skip ingredients like ice cream.

Big salads
Nothing wrong with a salad, right? What if it’s covered in deli meat or a wet salad, such as chicken or tuna salad? Suddenly your healthy greens have become packed with fat and calories. Be cautious when it comes to toppings and dressings. Make your own salads so you know exactly what you’re eating.

Granola is practically synonymous with health. The ingredients themselves aren’t unhealthy, but many brands of granola are packed with sugar. When you add all of that to milk or yogurt, you’re talking about serious caloric intake. You can’t eat unlimited amounts of granola. In fact, it can really hurt your diet. Try to limit portion sizes and read labels carefully. Find out how many calories you should be eating every day.

Visit us online to discover healthy recipes. You can also call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 to ask any questions or to request a physician referral.

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Phase 1 of Oak Hill Hospital’s North Tower Expansion Project Is Now Open!

The  North Tower Phase 1 expansion project here at Oak Hill Hospital is now officially open and admitting patients.

Happy Smiling Nurse

Some details on our expansion project:

  • Phase 1 is the completion of the new construction which adds a North Tower to the facility for the expansion of the Operating Rooms, Recovery Rooms, and private patient care rooms. The North Tower is a two story building which is stressed to accommodate future expansion up to six stories. The second floor of the new tower contains 36 private ICU (Intensive Care Unit) rooms.
  • The expansion also includes an additional 18 Post-Anesthesia Recovery beds. To accommodate this growth additional parking has been added for patients, guests, and families. Oak Hill Hospital is now a 262 bed facility making it the largest hospital in Hernando and Citrus Counties.
  • Phase 2 of construction has already begun to renovate 30,000 square feet of existing space for Endoscopy, Operating rooms, IV Therapy and Same Day Surgery.

Other interesting facts about the expansion project:

  • Total square feet of new construction – 70,000 square feet
  • Total square feet of remodeled construction – 30,000 square feet
  • The length of the North Tower is more than the length of a football field at 316 feet.
  • This is the largest healthcare remodel in the history of Hernando County.
  • The total amount of concrete for the entire building, including grout for the piles, is 4,000 cubic yards. This equates to 400 full 10 cubic yard trucks.
  • The amount of steel for this addition to the hospital is 700 tons (1.4 million pounds of steel).
  • Windows can withstand hurricane level winds up to 165 miles per hour.
  • 12,000 tons of debris were recycled, which equals 95% of total trash.

The total dollars of the construction is $40 million and the total cost of design/engineering/permitting/others is $12 million bringing the total cost of the project to $52 million.

Visit our Facebook Page to see more photos of the North Tower Phase 1 Expansion!

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What REALLY Causes Heartburn?

Get the facts on acid indigestion and reflux.

Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but the burning symptoms in the chest and throat may feel like you’re experiencing burning in that area. Unlike heart disease, heartburn has to do with your stomach. It’s caused when acids from the stomach flow the wrong way, into the esophagus, and cause painful symptoms.

Who gets heartburn?
Heartburn can affect anyone, but it may be more common during pregnancy, in people with a hiatal hernia and in individuals who are obese. Diet is also big factor when it comes to heartburn and its more serious condition, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What causes heartburn?
Heartburn is caused by stomach acids. Normally the opening between the stomach and esophagus prevents stomach acids from flowing the wrong way. If stomach acids escape, this is called reflux. Acid reflux causes the painful symptoms of heartburn.

What makes heartburn worse?
Many factors can contribute to heartburn. If you experience heartburn, do what you can to avoid these triggers. They include overeating, lying down after eating and eating trigger foods. Stress, pregnancy and obesity can also contribute to heartburn, according to

What should you avoid eating?
Many foods can trigger heartburn. They are different for everyone, but foods that seem to bother most people include acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes, onions, mint, chocolate, oily or fatty foods, spicy food and carbonation. Alcohol and smoking also make heartburn worse. If you smoke, find out how to quit today.

Learn more about heartburn at Oak Hill Hospital's online health library. If you have any questions or would like a physician referral, call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.

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Ear Infections: When is it Time to See an ENT Doctor?

Find out when you should act on chronic ear infections.

Ear infections are a common part of childhood. For many young kids, allergy symptoms or a common cold will eventually lead to a secondary ear infection. Find out when you should ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (ENT) for frequent ear infections.

How frequent are ear infections?
According to the National Institutes of Health, three out of four children will have at least one ear infection before the age of three. In most cases, these infections are easily cleared up with antibiotics. However, some kids experience chronic ear infections. Medline Plus describes chronic ear infections as an infection that occurs when fluid or an infection behind the eardrum does not go away.

Are ear infections dangerous?
If your child experiences frequent ear infections or has a stubborn ear infections with symptoms that aren’t going away, it’s important to seek medical attention. This is a good time to have your child seen by an ENT, or doctor of the ear, nose and throat. If left untreated, chronic ear infections can lead to complications like hearing loss and bone infection.

How are chronic ear infections treated?
An ENT will help diagnose your child’s ear problems. If it is not during regular business hours and your child has severe symptoms, such as a high fever, visit Oak Hill’s Pediatric ER. A strong course of antibiotics as well as ear drops are often needed to treat a serious, chronic ear infection. In severe cases, a child may need surgery to clear out infection or prevent further infection.

To learn more of find out how to get treatment for your child's frequent ear infections, give us a call at 352-596-6632 in Hernando or 352-628-6441 in Citrus.

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Elements of a Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day Dinner

Celebrate your love and love your heart this Valentine’s Day.

Whether you’re celebrating with a sweetheart or not, what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a heart-healthy meal? Learn how to put together a meal that boosts your health and focuses on what your heart needs to stay strong for many Valentine’s Days to come.

Eat your vegetables
Make vegetables the main course for your heart healthy meal. A little meat is okay, but the veggies should be the focus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends eating plenty of vegetables to maintain heart health. Remember to cook them without extra fats. This means no deep frying your green beans. Try broiling veggies in the oven or grilling them.

Focus on fiber
Learn to read food labels to find foods that are high in fiber. The American Heart Association says that foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp. Remember, fiber doesn’t just mean whole wheat. In fact, veggies and fruits can contain lots of fiber. Try to incorporate some of these foods into your Valentine’s Day meal, such as serving chilled citrus with dessert or savory soup with barley.

Avoid fatty foods
To lower your risk of heart disease, avoid foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats. The easiest way to accomplish this is to be mindful of the ingredients you use. Choose cuts of meat with low fat content and trim them well. Use low fat or fat free dairy products and dressings. Avoid cooking in butter or oil.

Visit our Heart Institute online to learn more about the care and treatment Oak Hill Hospital has to offer. For more information, please contact the Heart Institute at (352) 596-6632 in Hernando or (352) 628-6441 in Citrus.

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