Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

Wishing you a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Foodborne Illness: A common occurance

Foodborne illness is caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, heavy metals, natural toxins and may be ingredient driven. Once the cause of the food illness is identified, the individual is treated accordingly. Until the cause is known, the symptoms are treated. Symptoms may include runny stools, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. They can be self-limiting or severe enough to cause death.

Common risk factors for exposure of food borne illness are but not limited to, raw or undercooked meats, fish and poultry, dairy products, poor food preparation, cross-contamination, working around animals or traveling outside the country. Crowding and poor hygiene are risk factors for illness so the incidence of exposure in day care, hospital facilities and restaurants are high.

An outbreak is considered an incident where 2 or more people experience a similar illness resulting from the ingestion of common food. Incubation or onset of symptoms may take hours to several days with a duration of illness ranging from short to long. Bacterial infection is typically the longer duration. Food borne illness continues to be a public threat. It is essential to seek medical care as the health care professional plays a key role in prevention by educating and providing resources on food safety.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Insurance Changes for 2011

Due to healthcare reform, employers will be making changes that will directly affect you to help control rising health care cost. On average, expect your premium to increase approximately 8-9% for the same coverage.
You will have to take a careful look at your current coverage and modify benefits if you cannot afford to maintain existing coverage with your current benefit package. Your employer will provide choices for your review.

Changes that will passed on to you:  higher premiums and co-pays. If you choose a higher deductible in your plans, this will help offset the increase in premium. The deductible is the portion of medical care cost you are responsible before your co-insurance kicks in. If you do not visit the doctor often, perhaps a high deductible plan would be a better option for you. You also must consider the increase in co-pays. When deciding which plan to go with, you need to plan for out-of-pocket costs. The out-of-pocket costs has the real potential of eating up any savings you may have. Do you have at least 3 months of savings?  In this case, consider supplemental insurance policies i.e. AFLAC. You can purchase these plans on an individual basis. Finding the right supplemental policy will ease the financial burden of medically related out-of-pocket costs.

If you smoke or are overweight, keep in mind this will hike your premium as much as 25%.  The best decision in this scenario is to quit smoking and lose weight. Not only are you financially paying more for the same coverage as a non-smoker, of healthy weight, but there are well-known associated health risks with these behaviors. Additionally, in a group policy, you are contributing to an increase in everyone's premium as the risk is spread out. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, most likely so is your co-worker.
There are plenty of at-your-finger-tips educational resources, be pro-active and take accountability to your self. By doing so, you are part of positive solution.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cold and Flu Season

Use common sense to help prevent the spread of germs.

1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
2. Wash your hands often. Especially after you cough or sneeze. 
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Limit touching public objects. Germs spread this way. Use alcohol based hand sanitizers. They are easy to carry.
4. Avoid close contact with people presenting with cough and runny nose. 
5. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, avoid contact with other people. Seek medical help.

Learn to recognize flu-like symptoms:
• stomache cramps, vomiting
• loose stools 
• fever >99.0
• headache
• general malaise
• cough
• runny nose
• muscle aches
• sore throat

Lastly, YOU CANNOT GET THE FLU FROM THE FLU VACCINE.  Those who believe this fallacy are completely misinformed. This fallacy prevents people from getting vaccinated. The virus in the vaccine is attenuated or killed. Your body will develop antibodies against these particular virus particles used in the vaccines.  The virus in the vaccine is not strong enough to cause illness. Educate yourself in the factual not "what your neighbor or friend of your second cousin who lives half way across the nation". Facts will never steer you wrong. If you receive your flu shot between September and December, you are protected from the current flu strain. Flu strains change their protein coats. This is why it is necessary to get the vaccine yearly. The current vaccine will provide protection against 2 flu strains.

Post-Vaccine Symptoms: 
Soreness at the vaccination site. Body aches and a low-grade fever. This is not the flu.  They are post-vaccine side effects. These mild symptoms are what some people may mistake as "getting sick with the flu after getting the flu shot."

Pneumonia is different from the flu. The flu is caused by a virus and pneumonia by bacteria, fungi and viruses. The vaccine targets bacterial pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumonia can be found in the upper respiratory tract and may cause a spectrum of infections including but not limited to, pneumonia i.e. lung infection, ear infections and meningitis. The vaccine provides protection for up to five years. However, if you are high risk you may need to be re-vaccinated every 2 years. Your physician will determine your vaccine schedule. 

Post-vaccine side effects are generally mild and short in duration. Redness at the injection site, drowsiness, decreased appetite and low grade temp.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

source:  Center for Disease Control

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HPV Linked to Cervical Cancer

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is now recognized as the main cause of cervical cancer. Epidemiological studies conducted over the past 30 years have consistently indicated that cervical cancer risk is strongly influenced by sexual activity, number of sexual partners, age at first sexual intercourse and sexual behaviour of the woman's male partners.

HPV (human papilloma virus) infections are the most common STDs (sexually transmitted disease) today. HPV infection is a transient or intermittent phenomenon. This range is greater than that for the association between smoking and lung cancer and is comparable to that of the association between chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer. HPV testing is in adjunct to Pap smear screening. 

Cigarette smoking is a well-known risk factor for cancer. Cigarette smoking has a direct carcinogenic action on the cervix. Nicotine metabolites can be found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke.
There is an excess risk of cervical cancer associated with long-term use (12 years or more) of oral contraceptive use. The association is somewhat stronger for adenocarcinomas than for squamous cell carcinomas. Adenocarcinoma is a glandular tissue carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is caused when the squamous cells morph in size, shape and quantity.
Women who use oral contraceptives undergo more frequent gynecological examinations. Additionally, are more likely to have disease detected earlier than those who do not use them. The accuracy of properly assessing the effect of oral contraceptive use stems from the fact this variable is highly associated with other risk factors, such as sexual activity and history of Pap smear screening.
Intake of foods high in beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin A may reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, yams etc. Although there are no routine screenings for HPV, you should visit your Gynecologist on a yearly basis for routine Pap Smears. There are preventative measures you can to ensure you are protected.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Need for Life Insurance

On a personal note. I was a 16 year old nurse's aid employed in a nursing home when I experienced death for the first time. I was caring for a terminally ill patient in her end of life stages when she took her last breath. I remember standing there feeling helpless. "what can I do to help her?" Nothing. Throughout my years of health care experiences and personal experiences of losing family members, friends and acquaintances, I appreciate the fragility of life and life is never taken for granted. 

 I recently attended a funeral. I overheard family talking about "bills" and "debt". Meanwhile, the deceased is only 30 feet away lying in his casket. Unfortunately this family is robbed from going through the mourning process in a healthy manner. 

The survivors left behind must go on living their life remembering the life of those gone. There is an emotionally draining transition from the immediate loss of life until time softens the pain. When there is a financial loss due to the death, the transition for the survivors is much more complicated and traumatic.

Wondering how to pay their next bill, buy food, medication, pay for everyday life's necessities quickly takes priority over mourning. This family was left in a dire financial situation that could of easily been avoided by having life insurance in place.

Taking care of  family for years to come after death, is one of the better gifts one could ever provide. Having a life insurance policy in force is a selfless act of love. My condolences to the family.

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Monday, November 1, 2010

Florida Residents Go Without Health Insurance

It seems that more and more people in Florida are losing their health insurance. This is happening either because they lose their jobs or because they choose not to have it.

According to a report issued by the Washington consumer advocacy group Families USA some 3,500 people in Florida remain without health insurance. By the end of the year the number is expected to to reach 185,000. Across the country it has been estimated that 2.3 million more Americans will be without health insurance coverage. This makes the recent moves by the Senate Committee, Congress and the president on speedy health care reform more justified that the nation needs a comprehensive health care reform making it affordable so all can have access.

According to the study, between 1999 and 2008 the average premium for health insurance for a family has increased by 119 percent from $5.80 a year to more than $12.60. These increases have led many employers to discontinue or reduce health care benefits. Simply put, providing insurance for employees has become a financial buden for employers. The American employer is a victim of increasing taxes thereby making it difficult to do business.

Under the COBRA law when a person loses employment, the individual may remain with the health insurance company for many months by paying the total premium. This has proved prohibitive for the majority of the unemployed as the cost is very high. When you lose your job, you pay for your COBRA insurance's full cost. You cannot modify the plan as it is a group insurance policy. Some people who had coverage for themselves and their spouses while working now are forced to leave out protection for the spouse because of the high cost of the premium.

In the state of Florida, the unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent, with the consequent loss of health insurance coverage. The good news is, is that there is affordable health insurance without compromising quality and the plans are written to fit your individual needs.

Visit to learn more about high end, affordable plans today. You and your family could be covered in as little as 1 week. Don't delay. Get the process started.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN, BSN

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Learn to De-Stress

HeartMath LLC logo

Cardiac Care: Be Heart Smart

Heart disease is the number 1 health related killer in the United States with cancer a close second. Every 33 seconds a person in the US dies from a heart related condition. Problems with the heart do not discriminate by age or gender, and all too often they occur when you least expect them. Getting sick is always an inconvenience and robs you of enjoying life to its fullest. There are factors in your lifestyle you can change and those factors you cannot. Either way, it your responsibility to live a healthy lifestyle and go for your annual examinations. Health care is accessible.

Some individuals suffer a cardiovascular event after sudden, acute symptoms arise. Others, may have chronic conditions that go undetected with no symptoms. While diagnoses vary and each individual is unique, the heart of the matter is that early detection of any underlying illness is the key to getting medical care as early as possible.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Long Term Care Insurance

Why have it? Life insurace policies pay out at the time of your death. It is the beneficiary of the policy who will financially benefit. Why not protect your assets now while your alive? Long term health insurance will do just that.
The Florida Department of Insurance, along with other states, tightly regulates Long Term Insurance. With large senior populations, Sarasota and Tampa were among the first places where long term care insurance became popular over two decades ago. Citizens of Sarasota and Tampa, Florida and others across the country are concerned about protecting everything they worked for their entire lives.

Go to for a free quote in addition to learn more about this valuable insurance.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN, BSN

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why Have Life Insurance?

Why have life insurance?

Everyone knows that life is ever changing and anything can happen at any given moment. The importance of preparing will provide peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place. Life insurance will cover the unpredictable and exorbitant expenses associated with end of life issues.

Of course it is a personal choice. The world is nothing without free will. Everything must be carefully considered when financial stability is brought into question. It is whether you are willing to take those risks and use your individual situation to your own advantage. We all have heard the tragic stories happening to people who experienced a sudden loss of a loved one and no life insurance was in force. The survivors are left with a major financial burden and many unanswered questions.

It is so important to do your research and decide which type of life insurance and how much to have that best fits your needs. Each of us has our own situation that is different from our neighbors and friends. Only you know what goes on in your household. Keep in mind, what may be best for someone else does not necessarily mean that is the best thing for you. Which is why YOUR needs must considered when purchasing a policy.

So, why have life insurance? Just a couple reasons:

Reason 1

Do you have any bills, a mortgage? This alone is a pertinent reason to have life insurance. This major bill will be paid off and not left to your survivors to deal with.

Reason 2

Young, fit and healthy? Then this is the best time to get life insurance. Your premium will be affordable and if you take out a policy that allows you to keep the same premium until the age of 65, you will have considerable savings... the earlier you start, the better. And then if you develop any health issues throughout your life, it doesn't matter, because you already have the policy in force.

Reason 3

Are you married? Do you have a domestic partner? Should you parish and leave no money behind to help cover bills, you now just placed a heavy financial burden on your loved ones. Do you want to put them through added financial stress on top of the emotional turmoil caused by your death?

Reason 4.

Peace of mind. If you develop a terminal illness, your life insurance will pay out a lump sum upon confirmation from your treating physician. You will have the money to help get your affairs in order.

Having life insurance is a small piece of the pie to make sure you and the future of your family are fully protected.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Skin Cancer is the #1 Cancer in America

Did YOU Know....
* 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer.
* There are 1.3 million NEW CASES of skin cancer yearly.
* Melanoma- the most dangerous of all skin cancers, risk has doubled in the last 10 years.
* >90% of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure.
* Those who use tanning booths are at a 75% increase risk of developing Melanoma.
* Women <39 years old have a higher probability of developing Melanoma.

Summer is here and people will be spending their time outdoors when the sun's intensity is at it's highest: between 10am-4pm. The sun weakens the body's immune system thereby reducing your defense against infection. When at the beach, the sun is about 80% stronger when reflected off the sand. Overcast days are not any safer than clear days, as 70-80% of ultraviolet rays pierce through the clouds.

What are UVA and UVB rays?
They are ultraviolet light rays carried by the sunlight that reaches the earth. UVA and UVB rays affect the skin's sensitivity to sun exposure in different ways.
UVA: the aging rays.
* Penetrate deeply into skin layers damaging collagen and cells.
* Causes wrinkling, hyper-pigmentation and elasticity loss.
* 50 times more prevalent than UVB
* Present every day of the year.
* Pass through windows. Yes even your car windows!

UVB: the burning rays.
* Affect the outer layer of skin: epidermis.
* Causes hyper-pigmentation: freckling, dark spots, sunburn.
* Vary at time of day but stronger during Summer.

Protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. A few quick tips to be sun smart:
1. Daily use of a broad-spectrum suncreen. Protect against both UVA and UVB.
2. Apply before going outside. Doing so provides ample time for the sunscreen to be absorbed.
3. Use high SPF suncreen to block the burning rays.
4. Avoid over-exposure during peak time hours.
5. Wear protective clothing.

Tan skin does not give a "healthy glow". Conversly, suntanned skin is damaged skin. Over the years, skin is bombarded by sunlight. Skin cancer is caused by the cumulative effects of tan and burns. It is a precurser to skin cancer.

For more information visit the American Cancer Society's website.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti, RN,BSN

Friday, June 4, 2010

Protein Shakes: Read the Ingredients

Heavy metals found in some popular liquid and powdered protein shakes are Arsenic(AS), Cadmium(Cd), and Lead (Pb). These muscle building drinks (anabolic) protein can have untoward effects on the human body. Excessive intake of AS, Cd, and Pb can lead to heavy metal toxcity which causes damage to the liver, kidney and heart.
One of the most popular protein chocolate shakes contains more Pb and Cd than the daily recommended allowance. Even the protein shakes targeted to pregnant women and teens, the benefits may not outweigh the risks.
Extra protein in the urine is called proteinuria. As blood passes through the kidneys, they filter out waste products and leave compounds the body needs behind. Most proteins are too large to pass through the kidneys' filtering system. With excessive intake of protein, some protein may pass from the blood and leak into the urine when the kidneys' filtering system is damaged.
Cd causes kidney damage. High amount of Pb causes neurological deficits and kidney damage. AS causes cancer, kidney failure and liver cellular death.
Do due diligence. Read the lables, research and be mindful of the other foods your ingesting. It all adds up.
Talk with your physician about the risks and benefits of adding protein shakes to your diet.
Be kind to your kidneys. They keep your blood chemically balanced and normalize blood pressure.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Brief Summary of Health Insurance Changes

* Provides immediate access to high-risk insurance pools for people who have no insurance because of preexisting conditions.

* Bars insurers from denying people coverage when they get sick. What does this really mean--ANY coverage, or high cost services, or things that weren't going to be covered to begin with?

* Prevents insurers from denying coverage to children who have preexisting conditions. Children, not adults yet.

* Bars insurers from imposing lifetime caps on coverage, i.e. aggregate limit. There are some low end plans that have bottom limits, either lifetime or per year.

* Requires insurers to allow young adults to stay on their parents' policies until age 26.

* Requires individual and small group insurance plans to spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical services. Large group plans would have to spend at least 85%.

* Increases the Medicare payroll tax and expands it to dividend, interest and other unearned income for singles earning more than $200,000 a year and joint filers making more than $250,000.

* Provides subsidies for families earning up to 400% of the poverty level to purchase health insurance.
* Requires most employers to provide coverage or face penalties.
* Requires most people to obtain coverage or face penalties.

A few items to think about: Cost-containment: pre-existing illness, chronic illness..where’s the cut off to help prevent out of control premium? High rates: premium no longer affordable. Multi-million dollar lifetime limits. Which chances are may never be reached, What about keeping something in reserve and using dollars wisely? Increased taxes: to help offset the increased addition of people w/o insurance, pre-existing and chronic costly illness. Cost-effectiveness: where is it? All added together places increased strain on small, medium and large sized employers, the policy holders and the medical community.

It pays to be healthy.
Trisha M. Pacenti RN, BSN

Monday, April 19, 2010


Herbal supplements have become popular in the treatment of common colds, stress, weight maintenance, sleep aids, etc. Informal studies have shown that 1 in 3 Americans use herbs as a choice medicine over conventional medicine and/or with conventional medicine. Be aware that there may be an inherent danger in the use of herbs with or without conventional drugs.
The herbal industry is not FDA regulated. Therefore, there is limited research on the effects of herbs. Government quality assurance standards do not apply to the manufacturing of herbs and their labeling. The ingrediants may be misrepresented and or contaminated. These products may contain a mixture of chemicals. Their use carries risks.
If you are considering using herbal supplements, please consult with your physician before doing so.

Good health,

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

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