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February 19th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

SAVING LIVES WITH GUS: Don’t get frostbite!!

By Dana Sparks

Outdoor winter thermometer showing -30 degrees

Signs and symptoms of frostbite include:

  • A slightly painful, prickly or itching sensation
  • Red, white, pale or grayish-yellow skin
  • Hard or waxy-looking skin
  • A cold or burning feeling
  • Numbness
  • Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness
  • Blistering, in severe cases

Read more about symptoms and treatment. Watch this video designed to educate, entertain and deliver lifesaving tips with high-tech mannequins.



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Tags: frostbite, Saving Lives with Gus

January 8th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Winter’s Severe Cold Snap Calls for Extra Dose of Caution

By Dennis Douda

snowy winter scene in city parkHospital emergency departments see an influx of weather-related injuries with each icy assault from old man winter. "There are really four types of things that we'll see," says David Nestler, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "Probably the most common is actually falls. The snow and ice make it easy to slip and fall. We see many, many broken bones because of that," Dr. Nestler says. Weather-related vehicle accidents, heart attacks triggered while shoveling snow and exposure injuries, like frostbite, also send more people to emergency rooms with each new storm.

Slowing down, exercising caution and wearing the proper winter clothing, Dr. Nestler says, will greatly reduce your risk of injury in most situations. With many northern states caught in the grip of sub-zero temperatures this week, Dr. Nestler offers additional insights on frostbite's warning signs and when to seek medical care in this video.

Journalists: Broadcast quality video of Dr. Nestler's comments and b-roll of people out in the extreme cold are available in the downloads. To see a transcript of potential sound bites, click here.  To schedule an interview with Dr. Nestler, contact Kelley Luckstein, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005 or


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Tags: Dr David Nestler, Emergency Department, frostbite, winter

February 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Women and Heart Attacks

By Dennis Douda

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of all women are unaware of this fact. Founder of the Women's Heart Clinic at Mayo Clinic Sharonne Hayes, M.D., says, "While there’s been a steady decline in cardiovascular deaths in the general American population over the past 30 years, that has not been the case for women under the age of 55, which has seen a slight increase."

Journalists: Sound bites are available in the downloads. This is part 1 of Dr. Hayes' insights on women's heart health. Also see "Women Urged to Take Charge for Better Heart Health" posted February 24, 2014.

Dr. Hayes says part of the problem has been an outdated belief that women had a lower risk of heart disease than men. She says it's now known that women actually have some additional risk factors that can damage their cardiovascular health.

Sound bite #1 - Women’s Risk Factors (Dr. Sharonne Hayes, Mayo Clinic Cardiovascular Expert) "Some of those are autoimmune diseases, like Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, or depression and anxiety,
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Tags: cardiovascular, Cholesterol, Dr. Sharonne Hayes, Dr.Hayes, heart attack, High Blood Pressure, Pregnancy, Women's Heart Clinic

February 5th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

When Cats Bite: 1 in 3 Patients Bitten in Hand Hospitalized, Infections Common

By Sharon Theimer

Grey cat with mouth open showing sharp teeth.

Middle-aged women were most common cat bite victims

Rochester, Minn. — Feb. 5, 2014 — Dogs  aren’t the only pets who sometimes bite the hands that feed them. Cats do too, and when they strike a hand, can inject bacteria deep into joints and tissue, perfect breeding grounds for infection. Cat bites to the hand are so dangerous, 1 in 3 patients with such wounds had to be hospitalized, a Mayo Clinic study covering three years showed. Two-third of those hospitalized needed surgery. Middle-aged women were the most common bite victims, according to the research, published in the Journal of Hand Surgery.

Journalists:  sound bites with Dr. Carlsen are available in the downloads.

Why are cat bites to the hand so dangerous? It’s not that their mouths have more germs than dogs’ mouths — or people’s, for that matter. Actually, it’s all in the fangs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: animal bite, antibiotics, bacteria, Brian Carlsen, cat, cat bite, debridement, Dog, dog bite, emergency room, fang, hand, hand surgery, Hospital, Infection, irrigation, Mayo Clinic, middle-aged, News Release, orthopedics, Plastic Surgery, reconstructive surgery, redness, surgeon, swelling, women, Minnesota news release

January 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Reminders for Avoiding Winter Mishaps

By Dana Sparks

Snow, ice and the arctic air of winter are more than inconveniences  — there are major health concerns to be aware of, some which can be prevented.

Lori Schumacher, emergency medicine physician assistant at Mayo Clinic Health System, discusses a few common potential health issues to watch out for throughout the rest of winter.Woman hurts leg in winter fall on snow and ice

Slips and falls  

Slips and falls account for nearly 9 million injuries in the United States each year, per the National Safety Council. Most slips and falls occur at building entrances, on lawns, in parking lots and garages, and inside of walkways.

Watch out for uneven ground, protruding structures, holes, and debris that can cause slips, trips and falls. Also, be aware of ice- and snow-packed surfaces — they increase the risk of falling.

Some tips for preventing slips and falls:

  • Wear the right shoes. Properly fitted shoes increase comfort, reduce fatigue and improve safety.
  • Take your time. If you notice that the floor or ground doesn’t have much traction, walk slowly and be careful with each step.
  • Walk safely. Walk with your feet slightly pointed forward and try the “shuffle step” to prevent slips, trips and falls. Watch this video to learn more.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: dangerous falls, Emergency Medicine, Flu, frostbite, ice, Lori Schumacher, Mayo Clinic Health System, MCHS, slipping on ice, snow, winter falls, winter illness

January 7th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Frostbite Isn’t Only Danger in This Bitter Cold

By Dana Sparks

The frigid temperatures barreling across much of North America this week are creating many serious health conditions. Frostbite is often the first concern that comes to mind when faced with such freezing temperatures. Mayo Clinic emergency medicine specialist, David Nestler, M.D., explains how dangerous frostbite can be and reminds the public there are other health concerns to be aware of in the bitter cold.

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Nestler are available in the downloads.


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Tags: cold weather, Dr David Nestler, Dr Nestler, Emergency Department, Emergency Medicine, freezing temperatures, frostbite

January 3rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Safe Snow Shoveling Tips

By Dana Sparks

Man shoveling snow from around a red car

Shoveling snow can provide good exercise when done correctly but can prove harmful if people try to take on more than they can handle or use faulty techniques.

Here are some tips from physicians at Mayo Clinic Health System for injury-free snow shoveling:

• If you're inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor ... stop if you feel tightness in your chest. Heart attacks increase significantly in the winter months, particularly while people are shoveling snow.
• Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as possible when you exert yourself in cold winter months as it is in the summer.
• Dress warmly. Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as needed.
• Do not shovel while eating or smoking. Avoid caffeine or nicotine before you begin shoveling. This may place extra stress on the heart.
• Warm up your muscles in your arms and legs. Walk for a few minutes and stretch your arms and legs before shoveling. Warm muscles are less likely to be injured and work more efficiently.
• Take it slow! Pace yourself and take breaks. Keep a cell phone handy in case of emergency.
• Don’t pick up too much snow at once. Use a small shovel, or fill it only one-fourth to one-half if you use a large shovel. If necessary, just push the snow as you shovel. It is easier on your back. Keep the load of snow as close to you as possible.
• Protect your back. Bend from the knees, not your back. Lift with your legs bent, stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Try not to twist. If you move the snow to one side move your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.
• Clear snow as soon as it stops falling. Freshly fallen snow is lighter.
• Most importantly – listen to your body! Stop if you feel tired.

To interview a Mayo expert about snow-related injuries contact:
Mayo Clinic Public Affairs
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Tags: Emergency Medicine, MCHS, shoveling, snow shoveling

December 26th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

It’s Never Too Late for Safety Reminders

By Dana Sparks

Winter is well underway but it's never too late for reminders about how to properly handle snowblowers, especially in wet, heavy snow that can result in clogging a snowblower’s exit chute. According to the American Society of Surgery of the Hand, hundreds of people suffer serious accidents involving snowblowers each year, and the common weather conditions when injuries occur include a large accumulation of snow, typically greater than 6 inches, in temperatures ranging from 28 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.

Mayo Clinic Health System hand surgeon Jose Ortiz, M.D., says, “A ‘quick fix’ for a clogged snowblower can result in a lifetime of pain and disfigurement. It’s just not worth it.”  Dr. Ortiz recommends the following steps for safely clearing a clogged snowblower:

  • Turn off the snowblower.Man in blue vest pushing orange and black snowblower
  • Disengage the clutch.
  • Wait five seconds to allow the blades to stop rotating.
  • Use a stick or broom handle to remove the impacted snow.
  • NEVER put your hand down the exit chute or around any blades.
  • Keep all shields or safety devices in place.
  • Keep a clear head and concentrate.
  • Obviously, do not operate a snowblower if you’ve been drinking alcohol. 

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Tags: Dr Jose Ortiz, Dr Ortiz, Emergency Medicine, hand injury, hand surgery, Mayo Clinic Health System, MCHS, snowblower accidents

December 24th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Be Safe and Slow With Snowblowers (pkg)

By Dana Sparks

Snowblower accidents cause more than 6,500 injuries each winter. More than a thousand people lose hands and fingers. One Wisconsin man, a piano player, is hoping that hearing his story will remind others to slow down, be safe and not become a victim, too. Dennis Douda has his story.  [TRT 2:00]

Journalists: Broadcast quality video and audio are available in the downloads. News Network pkgs. can be edited into vo/sots and incorporated in your reporting. (Originally aired February 13, 2013)

Click here for a transcript of the report.

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Tags: Emergency Medicine, MCHS, snowblower, snowblower accident, snowblower injury, winter accidents

November 27th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Coughs, Colds and Fevers: When to Take Your Child to the Emergency Department (pkg)

By Dana Sparks

Runny nosesore throatcough and a fever. Those symptoms are typical of cold and flu season. Most of the time kids who catch a virus get better with treating the symptoms and a little TLC. But how do caregivers know when it’s time to take them to the doctor or even the emergency department? Here’s advice from a pediatric emergency physician at Mayo Clinic.  [TRT 2:02]

Journalists: Broadcast quality video and audio are available in the downloads. 

Click here for a transcript of the video report.  



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Tags: colds, coughs, Dr Jay Homme, Emergency Department, HL, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, Pediatrics, Pkg, runny nose, sore throats