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Health & Fitness

West Side Health & Fitness News & Notes

11/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Pertussis booster shots encouraged following increase in cases across Ohio

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is encouraging Ohioans to get up to date on their pertussis vaccinations following outbreaks in several communities across the state.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is highly contagious and is one of the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States, according to ODH officials. People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing.

Pertussis is most severe for babies. More than half of infants less than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized, according to ODH officials, who add that in rare cases (one in 100), pertussis can be deadly, especially in infants younger than 1.

“If your family is going to be welcoming a new baby or if you are a caregiver to young children, it is especially important to get a pertussis booster shot,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, director of the ODH.

There are pertussis vaccines for infants, children, preteens, teens and adults. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both provide protection against tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis.

The DTaP series of immunizations starts at 2 months and continues at 4, 6 and 12 months, with a final dose before kindergarten. Starting last year, the state of Ohio requires seventh-graders to get a Tdap booster.

Pregnant women are encouraged to receive an immunization once during pregnancy, and adults are encouraged to receive a Tdap, which also includes a tetanus shot, especially if they are around infants.

So far in 2013, Ohio has seen a 20 percent increase in reported pertussis cases as compared to 2012. As of Nov. 2, there have been 901 cases reported in 2013, compared with 742 on the same date in 2012.

Pertussis symptoms can be different depending on your age and vaccination history. Pertussis usually starts with cold-like symptoms but is often not suspected or diagnosed until a persistent cough with spasms sets in after one to two weeks.

In infants, the cough may be mild or absent. However, infants may have a symptom known as “apnea,” a pause in the child’s breathing pattern. Infants and children with pertussis can cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they’re forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound. This extreme coughing can result in vomiting and exhaustion. Illness is generally less severe in adolescents and adults. The coughing can last for 10 weeks or more.

Visit www.ODH.Ohio.gov or www.cdc.gov/pertussis for more information.


Akron General, Sound Physicians reach agreement on hospitalist services

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron General Health System and Sound Physicians, a hospitalist organization, have entered into an agreement in which Sound Physicians will provide hospitalist staffing at Akron General Medical Center (AGMC).

Hospitalists are specially trained physicians who care for patients who are hospitalized.

“Akron General is committed to providing compassionate, cost-effective, high-quality care,” said Alan Papa, FACHE, president and chief operating officer of Akron General Health System. “Sound Physicians has a track record of excelling in these areas, and we look forward to their contribution to the care of our patients.”

Working with AGMC’s leadership team, Sound Physicians will introduce its SoundConnect™ workflow and communications platform and processes to drive improvements in inpatient care outcomes, as well as financial performance.

“We believe Akron General Medical Center shares our mission to measurably improve the quality and satisfaction of health care delivery through exceptional inpatient care,” said Dr. Robert Bessler, CEO of Sound Physicians.


SummaCare’s Medicare Advantage plans now available in 41 Ohio counties

AKRON — Medicare-eligible individuals can select comprehensive and affordable medical and pharmacy benefits from one of SummaCare’s three Medicare Advantage plans, according to SummaCare officials.

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs through Dec. 7 for 2014 benefits. SummaCare, based in Akron, has expanded its service area this year to 18 new counties, now covering 41 counties in the northern half of Ohio, according to SummaCare officials.

SummaCare plan options this year are categorized as Ruby (HMO), Sapphire (HMO-POS) and Emerald (HMO-POS), with monthly premiums ranging from $0 to $165. All three plans include medical (including emergency room and urgent care) and pharmacy coverage; a $0 co-pay for visits to SummaCare primary care physicians; and $25 to $45 co-pays for specialist office visits, depending on the plan selected. Tier 1 preferred generic prescription drugs, 30-day or 90-day supply, have a $0 co-pay. Optional dental coverage also is available at all levels for an additional $25 monthly premium through a partnership with Delta Dental.

SummaCare also will continue to offer its Healthy You benefits to enrollees at no additional premium, including:

  • SilverSneakers® Fitness Program for free access to participating gyms and wellness centers;
  • EyeMed Vision Discount Program for discounts on comprehensive eye exams and hardware at participating locations;
  • SummaCare’s 24-Hour Nurse Line for members to call with questions;
  • Health Manager powered by WebMD for exclusive access to an online health manager;
  • free flu shots from any SummaCare provider; and
  • automatic health reminders to help members schedule check-ups and routine care.

For more information about the plans and expanded provider network, call 888-945-9854 or visit www.summacare.com/medicare.


Kathleen Collins and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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