Tag Archives: Health

May is Mental Health Month

Dear Centegra Team Members,

Nationally, May is recognized as Mental Health Month.  This should serve as a reminder to every one of us to ensure we are taking active steps in our daily lives to maintain our mental health, as well as our physical health.  Good mental health can be fostered in many ways, such as: making sure you get enough sleep, exercising regularly, engaging in fulfilling social activities outside of your work, directing time towards hobbies you enjoy and seeking outside help when needed.

While we need to focus on actively maintaining our own mental health, we should also encourage and support each other in doing the same.  Recently while attending a Mental Health professionals’ conference, I heard a story of a man who in his 30s had decided his life was no longer worth living.  Literally, as he set out intent on carrying out his plan to commit suicide, he ran into an old friend who asked how he was.  They sat down, had coffee together, talked, and he sought help after their visit.  This random meeting and conversation saved his life.  This story is a powerful reminder for all of us of the value of checking in with each other and asking “are you ok?”

In Australia, they launched a campaign referred to as the “R U OK” campaign.  The focus here is, of course, to remind people that it is important and powerful to ask and that you may never really know how powerful or important that question could be some days.  Here at Centegra, we have some practices in place that remind us to ask the question and check in with one another.  Our defusing and debriefing gatherings are designed as a context for us to ask and ensure that we are ok.  While our work is rewarding and engaging, there are times when it is also profoundly sad or frightening.  Those moments demand our attention and need to be acknowledged even if they are an expected part of what we do every day.

So I encourage you to take stock in your current mental health coping strategies and build it up if needed.   I also encourage you to ask the question, “are you ok?”, when it comes to mind.  You may never know how valuable that acknowledgment may be to someone else.

Be well,

Sheila Senn, Psy.D.
Vice President, Site Administrator Woodstock Campuses
Centegra Health System

Increased cases of Mumps in McHenry County

The following in a memo released by the McHenry County Dept of public health on October 15th 2013.

This memo is to alert you of an increase in mumps cases in McHenry County. As of October of this year, there have been 4 cases reported. In 2009 there was 1 case of mumps reported and between 2010 –2012 there were no cases reported.
We are encouraging all healthcare providers to suspect mumps in any patient that presents with the following symptoms (despite their immunization status), test, and report:

  • Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle Aches Loss of appetite

Mumps Laboratory Testing & Specimen Collection

It is very important to obtain laboratory confirmation for cases and suspect cases of mumps. Due to cross reacting antibodies and other issues, sensitivity and specificity of commercially available IgM tests are problematic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the IDPH do not recommend mumps IgM testing by commercial laboratories for confirmation or elimination of a diagnosis of mumps. A positive laboratory confirmation for mumps virus with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or culture in a patient with acute characteristics of the mumps illness are the only laboratory tests that will yield a “confirmed” mumps case by CDC and IDPH case definition. Therefore, the collection of clinical specimens for mumps virus isolation on all individuals with suspected mumps is extremely important and should be done.

A positive laboratory confirmation for mumps virus with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or culture in a patient with acute characteristics of the mumps illness are the only laboratory tests that will yield a “confirmed” mumps

A buccal swab is the best type of sample and is the preferred specimen for viral isolation. Collect a buccal swab up to 5 days after symptom onset, preferably within 3 day after onset. In unvaccinated persons, virus may be isolated from 7 days before until 9 days after parotid swelling. Maximal viral shedding, however, generally occurs just prior to and within the first 3 days of parotitis onset. In vaccinated persons, buccal swabs should be collected within 1 to 3 days of parotitis onset, otherwise viral detection in RT-PCR or culture may have low yield. Massage the parotid gland area (the space between the cheek and teeth just below the ear) for about 30 seconds prior to collection of the buccal secretions. The parotid duct (Stenson’s duct) drains in this space near the upper rear molars.


According to the Illinois Adm. Code, Title 77, Section 690.100, any suspect case of mumps must be reported to the McHenry County Department of Health within 24 hours by calling 815–334–4500.


Preventing insect borne disease

As the summer season is on full swing so are the outdoor mosquitos. Protect yourself from mosquito and other insect borne illnesses such as West nile, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and more by using DEET containing insect repellant on skin and Permethrin on clothing.

  • DEET containing agents have the greatest efficacy against mosquitos.
  • Permethrin when used on clothing before wearing will dry without odor or residue. It is toxic to most insects and is good for 3–4 clothing wash cycles.


  1. CDC guide to preventing mosquito bites
  2. Illinois dept of public health, West Nile Page

Use of PCV7 vaccination reduces invasive pneumococcal disease – NEJM

Since the introduction of 7-valent pneumoccal vaccine (PCV 7) in the US immunization schedule there has been a steady decline in the number of invasive pneumococcal disease as reported in the July 11th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by Griffen et al.
The annual rate of hospitalization for pneumonia among children younger than 2 years of age declined by 551.1 per 100,000 children (95% confidence interval [CI], 445.1 to 657.1), which translates to 47,000 fewer hospitalizations annually than expected on the basis of the rates before PCV7 was introduced. The rate for adults 85 years of age or older declined by 1300.8 per 100,000 (95% CI, 984.0 to 1617.6), which translates to 73,000 fewer hospitalizations annually. For the three age groups of 18 to 39 years, 65 to 74 years, and 75 to 84 years, the annual rate of hospitalization for pneumonia declined by 8.4 per 100,000 (95% CI, 0.6 to 16.2), 85.3 per 100,000 (95% CI, 7.0 to 163.6), and 359.8 per 100,000 (95% CI, 199.6 to 520.0), respectively. Overall, we estimated an age-adjusted annual reduction of 54.8 per 100,000 (95% CI, 41.0 to 68.5), or 168,000 fewer hospitalizations for pneumonia annually. [1]


  1. CDC parental guide to pneumococcal vaccination
  2. CDC vaccine information statement

CHWN welcomes leaders

Centegra Physician Care now accepts Illinois HMOI members through the new Centegra Health & Wellness Network (CHWN). CHWN members benefit from convenient office locations and advanced services such as heart surgery, orthopedics, cancer care and state-of-the-art imaging.

CHWN is an association of more than 100 of the best primary care physicians and 200 of the top specialists in the McHenry County area. CHWN formed as a partnership between local community independent physicians and Centegra Health System employed physicians to help people receive safe, timely, patient-focused care.

CHWN will also enhance physician communication and coordinate processes to ensure better patient outcomes. People who choose CHWN will also benefit from discounts on Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center memberships.

CHWN is an independent contracting physicians’ group. HMO Illinois is offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

For a complete list of CHWN providers or for more information, visit http://chwn.centegra.org/.

To help coordinate this exciting new venture, Centegra has welcomed Jeff Schmidt as senior vice president, clinical integration and payer strategies and Julie Keppler as director of clinical integration. If you have questions, feel free to contact Julie at 815-759-8039.

Please welcome Jeff and Julie and in celebrating the successful launch of CHWN. Thank you for your continued support as we move forward with our thoughtful growth plans for our friends and neighbors.