What Are the Most Prevalent Health Concerns for Seniors?

More seniors are staying healthy longer than ever before, thanks to medical advances and a better understanding of common conditions associated with aging. By being alert to the symptoms of the health problems they are most likely to experience, seniors and their loved ones can better manage these conditions and know when to seek ER care if a problem strikes. Here are some of the health problems seniors are most likely to experience.


Falls are a major health risk for seniors. Everything from osteoporosis to arthritis and medication side effects can contribute to the risk of falling, which can often lead to serious injury. One way to reduce the risk of falls is to remove trip hazards, such as area rugs, from the home and to ensure there is a clear walkway throughout the house. Another important step to take is discussing your medication side effects with your doctor. If you do fall, seek ER care for any injuries to minimize the chances of serious complications.


Many different triggers can cause malnutrition in seniors. Because they often have smaller appetites, some seniors simply don’t consume enough food. Others may struggle to eat because of chewing disorders and swallowing difficulties, and some seniors may have inadequate access to food or be unable to cook for themselves. Malnutrition can appear as weight loss or weight gain, so talk to your doctor about weight fluctuations and appetite changes.


It is common for seniors to have increased difficulty remembering things, but dementia is a more serious problem that affects memory and cognitive ability. There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing problems with memory, as early treatment can often slow the progression of dementia.

Putnam Community Medical Center offers a comprehensive range of healthcare services for patients of all ages. In addition to emergency care, diagnostic imaging, and inpatient surgery near Palatka, FL, we offer a Senior Friends program to help our older patients achieve better health. For more information about our services for seniors, please call (386) 328-5711.

Protecting Your Child from the Flu This Winter

The flu is a serious condition for anyone, but it can be especially dangerous for kids. The good news is that there are several things you can do to protect your little one from the flu this winter, as well as the associated complications and trips to the ER. Take these steps to help your child stay healthy during this winter season.

Schedule a Flu Vaccine

No other step is more effective at protecting your child from the flu than getting the flu vaccine. The vaccine is not live, so it will not give your child the flu, and it is available via nasal spray or an injection. During your next pediatric care appointment, talk to your child’s doctor about the vaccine. Depending on your child’s age, he or she may need more than one dose to achieve immunity. Keep in mind that the flu vaccine needs to be administered annually so your child has protection against the most common flu strains each year.

Talk about Hand Washing

The flu vaccine protects against the more common forms of the flu each season, but it doesn’t protect against every type of the virus. That is why it is still so important to talk to your child about washing his or her hands after using the restroom and before eating, especially at school. Germs can spread easily in the close quarters at school, but washing hands can dramatically reduce the chances that your child will pick up the flu from another student.

Take a Sick Day

A good policy for all parents is to keep their kids home when they are sick. This helps to contain the flu and other illnesses rather than introducing them into the school environment or other public places. If all families follow this guideline, flu outbreaks can be significantly minimized, which helps to protect all kids.

When your child needs pediatric care near Palatka, FL, including emergency care, Putnam Community Medical Center is here to help. Call (386) 328-5711 to request a referral to one of our pediatric specialists or to get more information about healthcare for your entire family.

Busting Common Myths about Heart Failure

Heart failure affects millions of Americans and is a common problem seen in cardiology practices. Despite the prevalence of the condition, many myths persist about heart failure and its treatment. If you have questions about heart failure, talk to your cardiology specialist to get the facts. This look at the truth behind some common myths will also help you get a better understanding of the disease.

Myth: Heart Failure Is the Same Thing as Cardiac Arrest

Contrary to popular belief, heart failure and cardiac arrest are not the same thing, and having heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped. Instead, heart failure means that your heart no longer works as efficiently as it once did because of damage to the heart muscle itself or the heart valves. The decreased ability to pump effectively means that your body may not receive adequate amounts of nutrient-rich blood.

Myth: You Can’t Exercise If You Have Heart Failure

Exercise can be a very important part of your heart failure treatment plan. It improves blood flow, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and protects your heart from further damage. However, you may need to adjust the way you exercise and be careful about the amount of time you spend working out to avoid exacerbating your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about safe exercises for you and warning signs that you have overexerted yourself and need emergency care.

Myth: There Are No Treatments for Heart Failure

Heart failure is a progressive condition for which there is no cure, but there are many things your cardiologist can do to manage your disease and slow the progression of your symptoms. By taking your medications as prescribed and following your doctor’s suggestions for lifestyle changes, you can improve your quality of life and your overall prognosis.

Putnam Community Medical Center provides extensive cardiovascular care near Palatka, FL, including emergency care and a cardiac ICU. If you need a referral to one of our cardiology specialists or more information about our heart care services, please call (386) 328-5711.

Should You Go to the ER for Stomach Pain?

Stomach pain can be a tricky symptom when it comes to determining the appropriate type of medical care, because there are a wide range of conditions that may be causing your discomfort. While abdominal pain might be associated with something as benign as gas and bloating, it can also be caused by much more serious conditions such as appendicitis. Therefore, you will not want to ignore stomach pain when you have any of the following symptoms. In these situations, you should head to a Palatka ER for immediate medical attention.

You have severe, sudden pain.

If abdominal pain is so severe that you cannot stand up straight, it is likely related to something more serious than general gastrointestinal distress. Young people should be particularly wary of sudden and severe abdominal pain, as appendicitis is the most likely culprit for this symptom.

You’ve seen blood in your vomit or stool.

When internal bleeding is present, there may be blood visible in the vomit or stool, or you may have dark, black stool. In either case, you should report these symptoms to a triage nurse in the ER to get the diagnostic imaging you need to identify the source of your bleeding.

You have a high grade fever.

A fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit can be indicative of a more serious condition when it accompanies stomach pain.

You have recently had abdominal surgery.

If you have had gastric bypass surgery, an endoscopy, or any other type of abdominal surgery, abdominal pain may indicate post-surgical complications that should be addressed in the ER. After having any surgical procedure, be sure to discuss possible symptoms and side effects that you may experience in your recovery so that you know when immediate medical care is needed.

When you need emergency care in Palatka, you can count on Putnam Community Medical Center to provide exceptional care with short wait times at all hours of the day. To hear current ER wait times for our hospital or get answers to your health questions, call us at (386) 328-5711 to reach our 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line.

Learning to Manage Your Asthma Symptoms

While asthma is a chronic condition with no cure, it is manageable with the right clinical care and lifestyle choices to keep symptoms at bay. If you are living with asthma and you suffer frequent asthma attacks, you will want to follow the guidelines in this article to improve your respiratory health and minimize inflammation of your airways.

Identify your triggers

There are a number of environmental, physical, and mental triggers that can complicate asthma and cause an influx of symptoms. Common triggers include allergens such as dust mites, mold, and animal dander; tobacco smoke; viral and bacterial infections; emotional stress; and even acid reflux. Sudden weather changes may also aggravate your asthma symptoms. By identifying which triggers affect your asthma, you can learn methods for minimizing your exposure and breathing easier from day to day.

Consider long-term controller medications

Most people with asthma carry fast acting inhalers that will provide temporary relief of sudden symptoms, but long-term controller medications may be overlooked by patients. With these medications, which are taken daily, you may experience symptoms much less frequently with a long-term improvement in your respiratory health.

Build up a workout routine

Asthma can pose difficulties when it comes to exercise, but physical activity can actually help relieve asthma symptoms over time. Therefore, you might benefit from talking to your doctor about building an exercise routine that is fit for your needs. Combining the right medication, exercise, and other lifestyle choices is the most effective strategy for minimizing asthma emergencies and keeping asthma from getting in the way of activities you love.

At Putnam Community Medical Center, you can find asthma education and respiratory therapies to give you a more comprehensive approach to your respiratory care in Palatka. For a closer look at our services or a physician referral for your respiratory care, call us at (386) 328-5711 and speak with one of our registered nurses.

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