Squeeze 30 Minutes of Exercise Into Each Day

Boost your heart health with regular activity.

Don’t exercise enough? You’re not the only one. During American Heart Month, learn how to squeeze at least 30 minutes of exercise into each day. The CDC recommends around 150 minutes of moderate activity a week for adults. If you can work out for 30 minutes a day, you’re doing your heart and body good. Here are some tips to get it done:

Take a lunchtime class
Many gyms offer shorter than usual group fitness classes during regular lunch hours. Consider escaping your regular work routine and taking in a class that gets your body moving and your heart pumping. Some larger workplaces and universities even offer classes on site.

Use a fitness DVD
In the morning or early evening, pop in a fitness DVD that includes around 30 minutes of cardio. With the guidance of an instructor on your TV, you’ll be surprised at how fast the time flies. The key is to stick to this routine even when the couch is right there calling you.

Go for a brisk walk
Get outside and go for a brisk 30 minute walk at least five times a week. Try exploring new areas if you don’t enjoy walking around your neighborhood. Bike or drive to a nearby park to explore gentle walking trails. Bring a friend for motivation and companionship.

Practice a sport
Need some extra motivation when it comes to getting your workouts in? Join a local sports league and practice. When you’re working on your skills, you won’t even notice that you’re working out.

Mix and match
You don’t have to do the exact same activity every day to get your 30 minutes in. You can do seven different activities a week or mix and match as much as your attention span requires. If you’re on vacation or your routine is different, get creative. Just keep moving.

This February, find out if your heart is in good shape. Visit us online to learn more about cardiac health and our Heart Institute. 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 Look Inside the Cath Lab

Learn more about The Heart Institute at Oak Hill Hospital’s cath lab capabilities.

If your knowledge of heart disease and treatment comes primarily from medical shows on TV, don’t worry. You’re not alone in not understanding the mysteries of the human heart. At The Heart Institute at Oak Hill Hospital, we specialize in non-invasive ways to diagnose and treat heart conditions. The cath lab helps us better serve you.

What is a cath lab?
The cath lab is how we refer to the area of the hospital and team that performs cardiac catheterization. The National Heart Lung and Blood institute describes cardiac catheterization as a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions. The cath lab is where you go to have specialized, non-invasive procedures done to diagnose and treat problems with your heart. There, doctors have better capability to find out what’s wrong and help treat it.

How does cardiac catheterization work?
During cardiac catheterization, a very narrow, soft, flexible plastic tube called a catheter is threaded into the femoral artery from an insertion at the groin. You are awake during this process, but should feel little to no pain or discomfort. The catheter is guided to the heart using x-ray imaging.

What is cardiac catheterization used to diagnose and treat?
Sometimes the cath lab is used to diagnose heart conditions. Other times it is actually used to perform treatments that help repair the heart, such as angioplasty. During this procedure, a tiny un-inflated balloon is inserted via the catheterization. When it reaches the right area of the heart,  the balloon is slowly inflated. This flattens the plaque against the artery wall and widens the artery opening, allowing blood to again flow at a normal or better rate. Click here for a full list of procedures.

Learn more about the heart in our online Health Library today. To find out more about our services and capabilities at the Heart Institute at Oak Hill Hospital, give us a call at 352-596-6632 in Hernando or 352-628-6441 in Citrus.

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Best Tips for Surviving Cold & Flu Season

Avoid getting sick and get better faster this cold and flu season.

The time has arrived for sniffles, coughs, colds and the flu. While it seems like getting sick is inevitable, there are ways to avoid getting sick and ways to get better faster if germs get the best of you. Try these tips for surviving cold and flu season:

Wash your hands well.
It seems obvious, but handwashing is the best defense against getting sick. Learn how to wash your hands properly and wash them often using soapy water. Bring hand sanitizer with you when you know you won’t be able to access running water and soap. Wash before you eat and avoid touching your face or eyes.

Get sleep, eat healthy food and exercise regularly.
Keeping your body sound will help your immune system stay tough. You’ll avoid getting sick and you’ll get better faster if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water every day and eat a well-balanced diet. If you’re experiencing stress, do what you can to manage it. Working out is a great way to keep your body strong.

Visit your doctor when you’re sick and get your flu shot.
Let your medical care provider assist you in the fight against the flu and the common cold. If you get sick, you probably don’t need antibiotics, but you’re better off getting checked out. High fevers and illnesses that last more than a few days are always a good reason to visit your doctor.

Treat symptoms as they arise.
In addition to taking a multivitamin during cold and flu season, you should treat symptoms as they arise. Avoid taking a medication that treats symptoms you’re not currently experiencing. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice if you’re not sure what to take to feel better. Even if medications are helping, never go to work sick or send your kids to school sick.

Arm yourself with knowledge as you fight cold and flu germs. Visit our online health library to learn more about 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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Preparing Your Child for Hospitalization

Learn how to help your child get ready for a stay in the hospital.

No matter how excellent a hospital staff is, kids will be nervous about spending time hospitalized. Carefully prepare your child for hospitalization or an outpatient procedure. When you’re honest with kids, you give them the tools to cope with potentially upsetting or scary situations. Even if your child doesn’t have hospitalization scheduled, it’s a good time to talk about the possibility of visiting the Pediatric Emergency Care Center some day.

Be honest
You don’t need to get into every detail about a surgical procedure or risks, but you should avoid lying to your child. If they ask “will it hurt,” let them know that it might hurt but only for a little while. Tell them that you’ve been nervous about things that hurt before and talk about what you do to help, such as looking away or wiggling your toes. Explain that doctors and nurses have lots of tools and medicines that are used to make things hurt only a little bit. If your child is having surgery, KidsHealth.org recommends explaining the reason for the surgery in simple, nonthreatening words.

Bring something from home
Talk to the hospital’s patient services department about what your child can bring from home. At the very least, a special stuffed animal or small blanket can offer comfort. Consider bringing portable entertainment devices to help kids stay occupied in waiting rooms and while hospitalized. Label everything carefully.

Ask for help
If you’re not sure how to talk to your child about hospitalization, surgery or other procedures, reach out for help from hospital staff members. Pediatric doctors and nurses are highly skilled in dealing with children’s worries and anxieties, and they can help you communicate medical terms on a kid-friendly level.

The Oak Hill Hospital Pediatric Emergency Care Center is open from 11am – Midnight, seven days a week. If you think your child may be experiencing a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or 911. For non-urgent matters, call our Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 for health information or for help finding a physician.

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What is Nuclear Medicine and When is It Used?

Get the facts on nuclear medicine and how it affects you.

Wondering what nuclear medicine is? It's more common than you might think. Discover how and when it's used in the medical world.

What is nuclear medicine?
Nuclear medicine is a fancy way of describing radioactive materials used in medical diagnoses and treatment. While it might bring to mind images of huge power plants or weapons, nuclear medicine is something that happens on a very small scale, with very small amounts of radioactive materials. Though tiny amounts are used, they’re still regulated by The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

How is nuclear medicine used?
According to the NRC, nuclear medicine helps physicians locate and identify tumors, size anomalies, or other physiological or functional organ problems. It can also be used therapeutically, usually in cancer care.

What does nuclear medicine diagnose?
When used diagnostically, nuclear medicine can give doctors a detailed look at the body. According to Medline Plus, nuclear scans can help doctors diagnose various types of cancers, injuries and infections. These special scans can also show doctors how organs in the body are functioning. Before a scan, a very small amount of radioactive material is introduced to the body via an injection. In some cases it can also be swallowed in pill form or inhaled as a gas. Doctors weigh the risks with the need for diagnosis and special care is taken when performing these types of scans.

Does nuclear medicine treat cancer?
Brachytherapy is a type of nuclear medicine used to treat cancer. It involves a very small amount of radioactive material placed inside the body. For example, a small pellet may be placed in the body beside a tumor to help shrink it. Doctors and nurses who specialize in radiation therapy complete these types of cancer treatments.

Want to learn more about diagnosis and treatment of cancer? Visit us online or call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 for health information and physician referrals.

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Hit the Ground Running: Get from Couch to 5k This New Year

Learn how to prep for a race in the new year.

Think you can’t run a 5k? Think again. These short races are perfect for beginners, and with the right training, you can ramp up slowly and gently. Give yourself plenty of time and be ready to stick to your training habits. You’ll be crossing the finishing line before you know it.

Set a Specific Goal
Choose a race a few months in the future. When you have a specific race in mind, it will help keep you motivated and it won’t give you any wiggle room to put off training sessions. Go ahead and register for it so you can’t back out.

Use a Buddy System
Get support as you train for your first race. If you don’t have a training buddy to actually run with you, ask friends and family to track your progress and cheer you on. Try posting to your favorite social network or using a website like Daily Mile to share your progress with your friends.

Don’t Worry About Walking
When you’re just getting started, you’ll end up walking more than you run. This is perfectly okay. Set intervals such as two minutes running and five minutes walking at first. When you run, run slowly and gently. A 5k is a race, but your goal is to finish it, not win it.

Increase Distance Slowly
Don’t run 5k on your first training session. Start with half a mile, and then a mile, increasing slowly as your body gets used to the distances. Give yourself a day off between your longer, harder runs. It’s important to recover and get used to workouts before you make them harder. Track your runs with these Tools To Keep You Active.

Wear Good Shoes
Don’t skimp on footwear. Visit a running store to be fitted specifically for running shoes. Everyone has different types of feet and different ways of running. An expert can help you find shoes that support your knees and back as you run.

Ready to start training? Visit our online health library to learn more about 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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Guide to Healthy Holiday Eating

Maintain your healthy eating habits this holiday season.


Staying healthy over the holidays doesn’t mean abstaining from everything delicious. You can enjoy the bounty of the holidays without going overboard. Learn how to stick to your healthy eating habits as you celebrate with family and friends.

Pay attention to portions
When you load a plate with food or snacks, be very aware of portion sizes. Moderation is crucial, especially if you’re indulging in sweets or fattening foods. The CDC says that serving yourself bigger portions leads to unintentionally consuming more calories. To maintain a low calorie diet, stick to small servings.

Combat germs in the kitchen
No one wants to spend the holidays sick from foodborne illness. Improperly cooked foods sicken as many as 76 million Americans a year. Cook foods to the proper temperature, keep cutting boards and cooking surfaces clean, and never leave leftovers out on the table. Offer guests clean towels or paper towels where they wash their hands and always encourage hand washing before meals.

Don’t ditch your diet
Whether your diet is due to allergies, weight loss goals or health concerns, you can’t afford to ditch it during the holidays. Take necessary steps to maintain your diet even when eating at restaurants or someone else’s home. Talk to family and friends about your dietary needs ahead of time to ensure that you’ll have food you can eat. If you’re attending a potluck, offer to bring a dish that's on the healthier side. Be especially cautious with baked goods if you have a nut allergy.

Avoid family style meals
Instead of serving food “family style” at the table where you’re eating, use a buffet table. When your guests need to get up from the table to load plates up with food, they’ll be less likely to eat seconds and continue eating past the point of fullness.

Need help learning how to eat right and maintain a healthy weight? Find out how Oak Hill Hospital can help. Visit our online health library or call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 for health information and physician referrals.

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Preparing for an Emergency Room Visit

Learn what to do before you head to the Emergency Room.


No one wants to head to the ER, but sometimes it’s necessary. Fortunately, with some planning ahead, you can be prepared to make your visit as smooth as possible. Try these tips to get ready for a potential visit to the ER:

Keep phone numbers handy. Sometimes it isn’t completely clear whether or not you should go to the Emergency Room. Keep numbers such as your primary care doctor, your pediatrician, your dentist and poison control handy near your phone or stored in your phone. In a stressful situation, it should be easy to find the phone numbers to call and check with medical personnel.

Know your route. Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to figure out how to get to your local emergency facility. Map the route online and take time on a weekend to drive it if you’ve never driven that way. Remember that certain times may involve more traffic than other times.

Have paperwork in order. Keep all your medical paperwork organized. The easiest way to accomplish this is to keep a binder with your entire family’s important medical information. This should include the numbers of doctors, any allergies and health concerns, information about previous surgeries, information about special needs and health insurance information.

Pack only the essentials. If the time comes and you need to visit the ER, only pack essentials. If you or a loved one has to be admitted to the hospital, you can have someone return for items, such as a change of clothes, later. For now, bring important paperwork. Consider a book or small handheld device for entertainment. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Have questions about your health that aren't an emergency? Call our Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 for health information or for help finding a physician.

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5 Ways to Keep Back Pain Away

Discover five easy ways to banish back pain.


Did you know that back pain affects as many as 8 out of 10 people during their lives? This sobering fact is a testament to how pervasive back pain is in our world, especially as we age. Try these tips to prevent back pain.

1.  Talk to your doctor if you’re hurting.
If you’re frequently in pain, be sure to talk to your doctor to get help. There are many medical interventions and non-invasive therapies that can help you manage your pain. It’s important to get to the underlying cause, so don’t put off seeing your medical care provider.

2.  Get help after any injuries or accidents.
Back pain is often caused by an injury or accident. Don’t put off seeing your doctor if you’ve experienced an accident such as a sports injury, a fall or a car collision. The back is comprised of delicate nerves, muscles and bones and without a doctor’s care, it may be impossible to know if you’ve experienced a back or spine injury. A huge part of pain prevention is getting prompt attention.

3.  Exercise your back regularly.
You should stretch and strengthen your muscles about three times a week. Whether you do this with the guidance of a physical therapist or at home, it’s a habit you should keep up with throughout your life to keep your back healthy. Try gentle, partial sit-ups and knee-to-chest raising exercises. Intervals of 10 and holding for 10 seconds are a good amount to remember.

4.  Watch your posture and movements.
Be good to your back. Use a supportive chair at work and at home, especially if you’re sitting for long periods of time. When you pick things up or bend over to get dressed, always bend at the knees, don’t hunch over.

5.  Sleep soundly.
Invest in a good mattress and pillow. If you’re not sure what kind of bedding would provide you the best support, talk to your doctor.

For more information about spine care at Oak Hill Hospital, call us at (352) 596-6632 in Hernando or (352) 628-6441 in Citrus. If you have any questions or need a physician referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.

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Dos and Don’ts of Handwashing

Learn how to fight germs by washing your hands correctly.


Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to wash your hands. Use these tips to wash your hands well and encourage your family to do the same. Handwashing saves lives. December 2-8 is National Handwashing Awareness Week. Do your part every day.

Do use soap.
Regular soap is all you need to get your hands clean, as long as you scrub for the proper amount of time and you wash thoroughly. You don’t need to use hospital grade antibacterial soap.

Don’t worry about water temperature.
Hot water may feel good on a cold day, but it isn’t necessary to kill germs. The important part is working up lots of suds and washing all the surfaces of your hands thoroughly, including under the nails. Cold water will work just fine.

Do wash for at least 20 seconds.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Use this time to scrub your palms, the top of your hands, your fingers, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Don’t dry with a used towel.
When you’re at home or at a friend's house, don’t dry your hands on a towel that’s been hanging in the bathroom for a while. You should use a fresh towel, air dry or use paper towels. This helps stop the spread of germs.

Do wash frequently.
Wondering when you should wash your hands? The answer is frequently. You should wash:

  • before you eat
  • after touching your eyes or mouth
  • after changing a diaper or using the restroom
  • after coming in contact with garbage
  • after touching pets
  • any time you blow your nose, sneeze or cough

When in doubt, wash your hands. That way, you can never be wrong about preventing the spread of germs.

Looking for more information on your family's health and how to prevent illness? Our online health library is a great resource. You can also call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 to ask any questions or request a physician referral.

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