How to get a flu shot without the sore arm

How to get a flu shot without the sore armEvery fall, thousands of Botsford Hospital employees make it a point to pay Tina Marinucci, RN a visit.  That’s because Tina is a nurse in the Employee Health department and part of her job is to give us all our annual flu shots.

Flu shots are important to us at Botsford not just because it helps to keep us all healthy, but it helps keep our patients safe too.  So when it comes to this time of year, we’re all usually pretty happy to visit Tina.

Usually the worst part of getting any shot, flu vaccine included, is the initial poke and resulting soreness.  The soreness that can follow a flu shot may feel like you received a hard punch in the arm.  But most of us at Botsford don’t really mind Tina’s flu shots, because she has a technique that keeps soreness to a minimum.

Next time you need a flu vaccine or other shot in the arm, remember Tina’s tip:

While sitting, place your hand flat on your upper leg and let your shoulder hang low.  Keep your shoulder very relaxed, letting it hang back and low until the shot is administered.  Keeping your shoulder so relaxed may feel a little unnatural especially if you’re tense but it works.  I hardly felt a thing from the shot and days later my shoulder was never sore unless I pressed on it.

It’s not too late to get your flu shot.  Flu season in the United States is October through May and usually peaks in February so if you haven’t already, there’s still good reason to get your flu shot now.

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Support for Alzheimer’s caregivers just a phone call away

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s has its unique set of challenges that only others in the same situation can truly understand.   Caregivers can face overwhelming emotions, exhaustion or even financial complications to name a few.   And then there are the questions caregivers often have about the disease, treatment and caring for the patient.  At the same time, caregivers rarely have time to care for themselves, let alone seek support on many of these issues.

However it is important for caregivers to get help – both for themselves and for the Alzheimer’s patient.  Doing so can help reduce stress and fatigue.

Don’t let lack of time stop you from seeking help or support from others.  Family members, friends and especially others in similar situations can all help in some way.  In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association has these tips for managing Alzheimer’s caregiver stress:

  1. Learn about resources that may be available, from adult day programs, in-home care or even meal delivery services.
  2. Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises or yoga.
  3. Get physical activity for at least 10 minutes per day.  This can be as simple as taking a short walk.
  4. Make time for yourself.  It’s difficult, but scheduling even a 30 minutes a week to check in with friends or do an activity you enjoy can make a difference.
  5. Be educated about Alzheimer’s, how it progresses and any new skills it may require from you as a caregiver (The new support group below will be helpful here).
  6. Take care of yourself by going to the doctor regularly, eating healthfully, getting exercise and plenty of rest.

Busy caregivers now also have an option to call in to a support group to find the help they need and save time.  Botsford Commons Senior Community, the Alzheimer’s Association and Senior Helpers are sponsoring a Dial-In Alzheimer’s Support Group the first Tuesday of every month at 12:00 PM.

Callers can ask questions about Alzheimer’s, talk to other caregivers, learn new ways to help loved ones and call in from any city on their lunch break.

For more information about the Dial-In Alzheimer’s Support Group, including dial-in instructions, please call Senior Helpers at (248) 865-1000 or email  Space is limited.


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A CT scan is more than just an image

Lori Killeen, CT at Botsford Hospital

Lori Killeen, a radiology technologist at Botsford Hospital, stands next to the CT scanner she uses to look inside the human body. Botsford is celebrating National Radiology Technologists' Week November 4-10 this year.

From broken bones to cancerous tumors, Lori Killeen takes a deeper look inside the human body.  And sometimes when people need a CT scan, they ask for Lori by name.   In recognition of Radiology Technologists’ Week (November 4-10, 2012), we take a closer look into Lori’s job and how she’s able to make her patients feel so comfortable.

How Lori’s story began

Lori started X-ray school later in life, but she did it for all the right reasons and it’s made a difference in the care she provides.

When her father was diagnosed with colon cancer, it changed her life.  It set her on a path to help others in similar situations.  For her, the experience wasn’t just a devastating diagnosis, the technicians who helped to diagnose her father spoke using cold terminology and left her feeling “stupid.”

The diagnosing process is one of the scariest and anxiety-filled times for patients and their family members, while at the same time it is also a time when many decisions must be made.  Patients are nervous, but it’s important for them to be as calm and comfortable as possible both for a positive experience as well as to get a better test which facilitates a proper diagnosis and potentially catching something early.

Lori knows that the way a person feels about their experience at Botsford can make a difference in the person coming back here or going somewhere else.

So how does Lori do it?

She takes time to explain procedures, as many times as it takes and as simply as possible.  She treats every patient as though they’re her mom or dad, with compassion and concern for their feelings.  She recalls what it was like for her when those radiology techs spoke so coldly and technical to her.  She knows that sometimes it’s not just a tissue that the person on the table needs, but a soft touch on the arm, a hand to hold, or someone to wipe away a tear.  For her recurring patients, she makes a point to remember bits from their lives:   The kids in soccer, the beloved dog, whatever is important to them.

Lori is passionate about patient care and it shows.   She says you don’t learn about how to truly care for patients in a book – it’s inside you.

Learn more about CT and all the imaging services at Botsford Hospital.

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Halloween safety tips for kids and adults

Halloween at Botsford HospitalHalloween is an exciting holiday for children as they are dressing up in fun costumes, zipping from door to door or trying to keep up with other siblings and friends. These things combined can make them vulnerable to injury as well.

To make sure trick-or-treaters stay safe, our Injury Prevention Coordinator, Rhonda Thompson, RN compiled some helpful safety tips.

Safe Kids USA recommends that children:

  • always trick-or-treat with an adult until at least age 12
  • only trick-or-treat in familiar areas that are well lit
  • cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks
  • look left, right and left again when crossing; always walk, don’t run, when crossing streets
  • make eye contact with drivers and watch for cars that are turning or backing up
  • walk on sidewalks or paths; if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible
  • never dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars
  • wear light-colored, flame-retardant and properly fitting costumes decorated with retro-reflective tape or stickers
  • wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips and falls
  • carry a flashlight or glow stick to increase visibility to drivers
  • wear face paint and makeup instead of a mask; which can restrict a child’s vision

Drivers need to be extra careful to ensure the safety of trick-or-treaters as well, by following these recommendations:

  • be especially alert in residential neighborhoods
  • drive more slowly and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic on and near the road
  • be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances
  • take extra time to actively look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs
  • remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle
  • enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully
  • remember that children are excited on this night and may move in unpredictable ways
  • remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are during the typical rush-hour period, between 5:30-9:30 p.m.
  • reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and pedestrians

Additional Tips:

  • burn candles with caution and never leave them unattended
  • teach children to stay away from candles and watch that costumes do not get too close to the open flames
  • only enter the homes of people you know IF you are with a trusted adult

Please remember to be safe during Halloween and don’t forget to have some fun as well!

For additional information on child safety please visit

Rhonda Thompson, RN, Injury Prevention Coordinator, Botsford Hospital Trauma Services, (248) 888-2586 or

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Recipe: Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Botsford dietitian Denise Cykiert shows kids how to prepare fruit & yogurt parfaits at a recent workshop.

Here’s a quick and healthy recipe that the kids will love to help prepare. In fact, our dietitian Denise Cykiert recently showed kids how to make them at a recent workshop and they loved it!  These parfaits are delicious, nutritious and make great after school snacks.

Ingredients:  These are the brands we used at the workshop. Of course, you can substitute for other brands or even get creative with your fruit choices.

  • Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Yogurt, 6oz
  • Del Monte-Mandarin Oranges 2 oz (1/2 of a 4oz can)
  • Blueberries-raw, ¼ cup
  • Kellogg’s Special K-Fruit & Yogurt Cereal, 1/3 cup

Layer the yogurt, mandarin oranges, blueberries and cereal in a tall glass.

Nutrition Information:

Total Calories: 196
Total Carbohydrate: 43g
Total Fat: 1g
Total Protein: 6g

While you’re making these with the kids, take the opportunity to talk about the ingredients and why each one might be a good food choice.  It’s a great way to teach kids healthy eating habits.  If you need more help getting your kids to eat healthy, you can also talk to your pediatrician. Ask if your child might benefit from a session with a registered dietitian.  A little one-on-one coaching and education might just do the trick.  A dietitian will use props, food diaries and other tricks to help get your child more involved in making good food choices.

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Hygiene Hypothesis: Is your child too clean?

Dr. Dilli Ramesh, Botsford Pediatric Associates

Dr. Ramesh, holding one of his newest patients at Botsford Pediatric Associates in Farmington, MI. Find him online at

For a couple decades now, there has been a theory that you may not have heard of:  The Hygiene Hypothesis.  It is the theory that allergies and other conditions may be caused by being “too clean.”  The thought is that we’re not exposing our kids to germs while they are young so they’re not able to fight them off when they grow older and as a result, our children are more often developing illnesses, allergies and even asthma.

This month, there is an updated study released in the UK that says the hypothesis might not be the whole story.  Researchers believe that our kids aren’t necessarily “too clean,” but rather just not exposed to the same kind of germs that we once were prior to the 1800s. Back in those days, we lived on farms and grew our own food.  Even the most unkempt modern home is quite different today and has an entirely different set of germs.  The floors in our homes are no longer made of packed dirt, our exposure to livestock is limited to a petting zoo and it’s rare to even plant small vegetable gardens in our yards let alone entire farms.

The Bottom Line

Personal hygiene and regular hand washing is still a must in our modern world.  Things like the seasonal flu and other infections are always a concern.  There are more people living closer together so these bugs can travel fast.  You must take proper steps to prevent them like hand washing and vaccinations.

When it comes to babies and young children, talk to your pediatrician.  For example, Dr. Dilli Ramesh of Botsford Pediatric Associates says that bathing babies every day is not necessary.  A bath every couple days (or when big messes happen) is usually best to avoid drying out their sensitive skin.  In between baths, a simple wipe down with a warm wet cloth should do the trick.  It’s also advised to teach children good hand washing habits and how to cough into their elbows while making sure they’re up to date on immunizations like the flu shot.

To make an appointment with Dr. Ramesh or any of the other pediatricians at Botsford Pediatric Associates, call (248) 477-0100 or visit

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2012 Women’s Health Day: Saving lives while having fun

2012 Women's Health Day at Botsford Cancer CenterEvery October for the past three years, Botsford Cancer Center has hosted a Women’s Health & Breast Cancer Screening Day to teach people about breast cancer, breast cancer prevention and to give away mammograms to those who need them.   Last Saturday was a beautiful fall day and perfect for our event.   Turnout was great (thanks in part to WDIV’s Paula Tutman telling everyone about it).  We were able to give away more mammograms than ever before!

Saving Lives…

We screened 47 people for breast cancer by giving them free mammograms. The participants were either uninsured or under-insured.  Dr. Andrew Mizzi, a Botsford radiologist, was on site reading mammograms immediately and reviewing findings with patients.  Of the 47 mammograms, 4 showed abnormalities so we took immediate action with additional exams, biopsies or follow up with the patient’s physician.  We can’t help but think about the possibility that we may have saved lives this weekend.

…While Having Fun

In addition to education and free mammograms, we had lots of food, giveaways and raffle

Reiki at Botsford Cancer Center

Sandra from Livonia takes advantage of the free Reiki sessions offered at the 2012 Women's Health Day at Botsford Cancer Center. Reiki is also free for patients.

prizes.  Farmington Hills-area businesses like The Vines, Panera Bread, Trader Joe’s and Busch’s Fresh Food Market donated items like bagels shaped like breast cancer awareness ribbons and prizes like store gift cards, fruit trays and goodie bags.  Massage therapists were also on hand giving away free Reiki and traditional massage sessions.  One woman was noticeably serene after her Reiki session and told us she felt physically and emotionally lighter.

View photos from the event on our Facebook page.

As always we hope next year will be even better, so mark your calendar now and follow us on Facebook to be notified when we announce the date.  In the meantime, if you’re due for a mammogram, please schedule one today.  You may save your own life.

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Recipe: Healthy Trail Mix

Botsford Hospital registered dietitian Gina DeAngelis shared with us this simple and healthy recipe for trail mix.  Have the kids help for a fun activity that will get them thinking about eating healthy.  It combines sweet and salty flavors while providing protein, so it makes a great after school snack.


  • 1 cup cheerios
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup mini pretzels
  • 1/3 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts or hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips


  • In a large bowl combine all ingredients.  Store in plastic bags or a covered container for up to 2 weeks

Nutrition Facts:

Yield: 6 servings

Calories: 169
Fats: 8g
Sodium:  74mg
Carbohydrates: 24g     
Fiber:  1g
Protein:  4g

Gina counsels children and their families at Botsford Pediatrics about healthy nutrition. To make an appointment call (248) 477-0100.

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Forgetfulness: When is it a problem?

Forgetfulness can be caused by several things, not just Alzheimer's. Know what to look for and when to seek help from a medical professional.

Ever forget something and wonder: “Am I getting Alzheimer’s?”  Many of us have a fear of losing our memory but forgetfulness can be related to many different causes other than Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Forgetfulness could also be caused by:

  1. Physical Problems.  Some memory problems can be related to medications or vitamin 12 deficiencies and can be treated.  Thyroid, liver and kidney problems can lead to forgetfulness a well.  Lack of circulation to the brain, chronic alcohol abuse and brain injury can also lead to memory deficits. Treat the disease or cause and you may be able to improve your memory.  Talk to your doctor if you suspect physical problems are causing your forgetfulness.
  2. Emotional Problems.  Emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, feeling overwhelmed or major life changes such as losing a spouse or friend or retirement can impact memory.  The confusion and forgetfulness caused by emotions usually are temporary.   They usually resolve when the situation is improved.  Making changes to deal with these situations may take some time, family support or professional help.

More Serious Memory Problems

For some, memory problems may be a sign of a serious problem such as mild cognitive impairment or dementia.  If you are concerned about your memory see your doctor.  He or she will do a physical and mental assessment to determine the cause.

Some indicators that your memory may need further evaluation include:

  • Being unable to remember things consistently
  • Asking the same question or repeating the same story over and over
  • Becoming lost in familiar places
  • Being unable to follow directions
  • Becoming disorientated about time, people and places
  • Neglecting personal hygiene, safety and nutrition

Ways to keep your memory sharp

  • When planning tasks, make a to-do list and use memory aids like notes and calendars.  Some people find they remember things better if they mentally connect them to meaningful things such as a familiar name, song, book or show or movie.
  • Develop interests or hobbies and stay involved in activities.
  • Engage in physical activities and exercise.  Several studies show that exercise such as walking is associated with better brain function.
  • Limit alcohol use. Although some studies show that alcohol has health benefits, heavy or binge drinking over time can cause memory loss or permanent brain damage.
  • Engage your brain through reading, crossword puzzles, taking a course and maintaining friendships.

For more information on memory and dementia, join us for Walk with a Doc on Thursday, September 20, 2012at 12 noon at the Heritage Park Nature Center in Farmington Hills, MI.  Dr. Annette Carron will talk about memory loss and dementia and answer questions.  Call 1-877-477-DOC1 for information and registration.

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West Nile Virus Update

Follow the 4Ds to prevent West Nile Virus

Just because it’s September, doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about West Nile Virus.  While the Michigan mosquito season normally reaches its peak in late August, it won’t decline until evening temperatures get below 50 degrees, which might not happen consistently until next month.

At last count, the Michigan health officials are reporting 44 cases of West Nile Virus in Wayne County and 19 cases in Oakland County (updated case counts can be found here).  According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, we’ve seen the highest number of cases at this point in the season since 2002, the year West Nile first appeared in Michigan.

Continue to protect yourself and your family by following the 4Ds of West Nile Virus prevention:

  • DUSK – Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active: dusk and dawn.
  • DEET – Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • DRESS – Wear long sleeves and pants when possible outdoors.
  • DRAINAGE – Drain all standing water around your home.

For more information visit the MDCH or CDC websites on West Nile Virus or talk to your doctor.

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