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Roger Albrecht

Making progress one step, one smile at at time Get ready for

Outdoor Sports May is Melanoma awareness month

y h t l a e H ! g n i r p S

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Spring 2021 Issue - FREE

Think Wellness


Spring 2021 • Volume 2, Issue 2 Page Designer

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Contributing Writers

Christina Sankey

Danny Creel Jordan Greer-Friesz Josh Zimmerman Theresa Haefner Tim Keech Marie Wood Dr. Colin Weerts Dr. Katie Thompson Jeffrey Weideman, PA-C Travis Mattson, PT, DPT

The Free Press


5 Reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine


Meet Mankato Clinic’s new providers


Be a thriver: Get ready for outdoor sports


Roger Albrecht makes progress one step, one smile at a time


You can be a Mental Health First Aider


PEP Talk: Life jackets keep families safe


Annual check-ups and screenings impact your health


May is melanoma awareness month


This magazine is published by The Free Press Media in partnership with Mankato Clinic. The Free Press Media 418 South Second Street, Mankato MN 56001. For all editorial inquiries, call Marie Wood at 507-389-8716, or e-mail mariew@mankatoclinic.com For advertising, call 344-6364, or e-mail advertising@mankatofreepress.com. 4 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

Top 5 Reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine

1. The vaccine is safe and effective.

Safety standards for vaccine approval are stricter than other drugs. The approved COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages and races. To speed up the process, red tape was eliminated and vaccines were manufactured during clinical trials. Safety was not compromised. The FDA and the CDC found the COVID-19 vaccine to be safe and highly effective.

2. The vaccine will help protect you from getting sick.

The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus and cannot give you COVID or make you sick. Even if you do get infected with COVID-19, the vaccine may prevent serious illness. The vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus. After your shot, you may notice a fever, fatigue, chills and body aches that can last for 24-48 hours. These symptoms are a normal immune response. However, over 50% of people in clinical trials didn’t experience any side effects at all. Either way, you’re protected!

3. I have an underlying medical condition.

It is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have one or more medical conditions. In fact, the vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and cancer. These conditions can make people more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

4. Reach herd immunity.

When more people get vaccinated, we can reach herd immunity which occurs when enough people are immune to the virus making it unlikely to spread. Early evidence suggests immunity from the vaccine may last longer than natural immunity from infection and offer better protection from COVID-19 variants.

5. Return to Normal. The COVID-19 vaccine is the safest, quickest and best way to end the pandemic and return to normalcy. As more people get vaccinated, we can fully open our schools, churches, businesses, restaurants, music and sports venues.

When you get vaccinated, you may protect others who can get severely ill from COVID such as older adults. That means we can see our friends, grandparents and extended family again – in person!

Hang in there

Even after vaccination, please keep on wearing a mask, stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowded places, wash your hands frequently and stay home when sick. Most COVID-19 vaccinations require a 2-shot series spaced 3-4 weeks apart. It takes the body about 2 weeks after the second shot to reach full immunity – 6 weeks total. We need to use all of our tools right now to take down COVID. As more people are vaccinated, mask and social distancing guidelines are expected to loosen. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Expert Advice

Dr. John Benson

Mankato Clinic Family Medicine, Wickersham

“I feel very confident about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is one huge step toward resuming normal activities and ending this pandemic. I’m looking forward to going to the State Fair and a local high school hockey game. By getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. I am encouraging all of my patients, friends and family members to get the vaccine. If you have any questions about the vaccine, ask your primary care provider.”

Take your shot!

Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 5

Meet Mankato Clinic’s new providers healthcare needs. We are really undereducated. I like to help women bridge that gap,” Brittany said. Brittany, a certified nurse practitioner, joined the Mankato Clinic Obstetrics and Gynecology team in March. She provides preventive care including wellwomen exams, cancer screenings and contraceptive care throughout a woman’s life.

Brittany Duncan,

APRN, CNP, joins Obstetrics and Gynecology

As a women’s health nurse practitioner, Brittany Duncan, APRN, CNP, offers this advice to women who have questions or concerns about their health and bodies: “Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask your provider.” “Women have very unique

“I believe listening is the most important aspect of my practice,” Brittany said. “I enjoy getting to know my patients and providing personalized care that works for them, throughout the different stages in their lives.” With Ashley Dahline, PA-C, Brittany provides fertility services at the Mankato Clinic. “It’s such an honor to be part of that particular journey in couples’ lives – to help them achieve a dream,” Brittany said. Did you know the kidneys filter the blood to remove waste and excess fluids from the blood? About 15% of American adults are believed to have chronic kidney disease, which means their kidneys aren’t working properly.

Emily Potter, APRN, CNP,

joins Nephrology (kidney care)

6 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

At Mankato Clinic, our Nephrology, or kidney care, team helps people manage this condition, lead active lives and prevent kidney-related health issues. In October 2020, Emily Potter, APRN, CNP, joined the Nephrology team. “As a family nurse practitioner, I enjoy helping patients and families manage and achieve optimal

Originally from Savage, Brittany is happy to be back in her home state of Minnesota. Brittany earned her advanced practice registered nurse degree at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tenn. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. Brittany has a dog named Remy, a Chihuahua mix, and enjoys traveling, trying new foods and restaurants. Call 507-389-8522 to request an appointment. Mankato Clinic Obstetrics and Gynecology offers a full range of services including pre-conception care, prenatal care, labor and delivery, OB classes, fertility services and services for women of all ages. Visit mankatoclinic. com/obstetrics-and-gynecology to see all of our providers.

health while living with chronic kidney disease,” Emily said. Originally from Burnsville, Emily earned her advanced practice registered nurse degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She also earned her bachelor of science in nursing at Concordia College, Moorhead and a second bachelor of science in Spanish and exercise science from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and reading. She also volunteers with Smile Network International on medical mission trips around the world.

Aimie Seehafer, PA-C,

joins Surgery

Aimie Seehafer , PA-C, joined the Mankato Clinic Surgery department in February. Originally from Plymouth, MN, she earned her master’s degree as a physician assistant at Bethel University, St. Paul. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato. Aimie is happy to return to Mankato, where she has family and went to college. When Aimie completed a clinical rotation at Mankato Clinic, she knew she wanted to work in surgery and made a point to meet the surgery team.


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Aimie lives in Mankato with her husband, Lucas. Outside of work, she enjoys biking, cooking, reading and spending time with her many nieces and nephews. To learn more about Mankato Clinic Surgery and other specialty care, visit www.mankatoclinic.com.


Prairie River Home Care is now ADARA Home Health ADARA OFFERS IN-HOME:

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Call ADARA at 507-519-4016 if you:

• Are being discharged after a hospital or rehab stay • Are looking for additional support and services in an assisted living or private home environment. Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 7

Travis Mattson, PT, DPT, mountain bikes on a local trail.

Be a thriver: Get ready for outdoor sports By Travis Mattson, PT, DPT, Mankato Clinic Physical Therapy 8 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

Travis Mattson, PT, DPT

As the weather warms up, we are so ready to take our running and cycling workouts outdoors. Before you hit the streets, trails and roads, follow these tips to prevent injury and enhance performance. If you haven’t been working out on a treadmill or stationery bike, it’s especially important to ease in and gradually build up to where you left off in the fall. If you’ve been working out indoors, we tend to push ourselves a little harder on road and trail. So listen to your body.

Cross train

Virtually all athletes will benefit from strength training. Strength training does not mean you will bulk up or slow down. Strength training helps your muscles work more efficiently, prevent injury and enhance performance. Many injuries occur from overuse and repetitive motions. Running and cycling are repetitive in nature and strength training is a great way to add variety to your training and resiliency to your muscles. It can be as simple as adding body weight squats and lunges to part of your routine and can become more detailed to meet your specific needs. Running and cycling are very one-directional sports, meaning our legs move primarily in a forward-back motion when running and pedaling. As a result, muscular imbalances are very common. The glutes tend to be neglected in both the runner and cyclist. One way to address this would be to add some single

leg stability training such as a single leg step up to address hip and glute strength. For cyclists, we spend a lot of time in the saddle in a hunched over posture with forward rounded spine and shoulders. To avoid excess back or neck pain, add some mobility work to offset extended time in this position. Try yoga especially variations of child’s pose and upward facing dog pose to keep the spine mobile and avoid excess pain or stiffness. Check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. With a quick search on her channel, you will find several yoga sessions for runners and cyclists that are 6-30 minutes long.


In endurance sports, we are prone to overuse injuries and overtraining. Making time to recover can be just as important as workouts for your overall progress and longevity. Rest periods ensure you are giving your body adequate time to recover, adapt from the stress of training and prepare for the next workout. Give yourself 1-2 days every week for rest. Along with weekly rest days, consider having an “off week” every 3-4 weeks. You don’t have to take a full week off from your sport, but you can lower your average intensity.

Injuries and medical care

With any endurance sport, some degree of suffering is expected during or after training. If pain or soreness is lasting greater than 1-2 days after training, then it may be time to take some time off or decrease your Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 9

Dr. Sreelatha Spieker, Mankato Clinic Department of Psychiatry, ran a half marathon in Las Vegas in 2019.

Providing products and services to keep you healthy and at home!

Bathroom Safety Compression Therapy Continence Care CPAP & Oxygen Custom Mobility Lift & Recline Chairs Ostomy Supplies Urologicals

Madison East Mall Jon Kearney, manager 507-779-7560 www.handimedical.com

10 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

intensity or volume. Also, if you begin to cut your workout short or modify it due to pain, it may be time to address the issue.

While brief rest may be helpful in the short term, it is often more important to understand why or where this pain is coming from. For the runner, it may help to check your shoes. Check for any unequal wear patterns, or you may be overdue for new shoes altogether. For cycling, you can check the condition of your seat and its positioning; you could possibly make some small adjustments to the fit of your bike. If your pain doesn’t improve with some simple modifications, it may be time to see a physical therapist or specialist in sports medicine. We can assess how you move as a whole and identify any restrictions or imbalances that may be leading to these issues in the first place. Visit www.mankatoclinic.com/ physical-therapy. Call 507-389-8760.


Always wear a bicycle helmet to protect your brain. If you are running or riding in the dark, which is more dangerous, wear reflective clothing and make sure you have reflectors and a bright light on both the front and rear of your bike.

Expert Advice

Happy running and cycling!

We got game

The Mankato Clinic Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy team works one-on-one with athletes to help regain range of motion, flexibility, strength, balance, control, endurance and power. Whether recovering from a sport injury or preventing future injuries, we can help you stay in the game.

Thomas Finn, DO,

Sports Medicine

Dr. Thomas Finn has specialized training in the body’s muscles and bones as a Sports Medicine physician. His focus is on non-surgical treatments for muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. He evaluates and treats injuries with the goal of helping athletes get back to performing at their best. The vast majority of sports injuries do not require surgery, but Dr. Finn works closely with the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic for injuries that may require surgery. Mankato Clinic Sports Medicine 507-389-8587 www.mankatoclinic.com/sports-medicine If you are a Mankato Clinic patient, please contact your primary care provider as a referral is required to see a physical therapist. Always check your coverage before making an appointment with a specialist. Mankato Clinic Physical Therapy 507-389-8760 www.mankatoclinic.com/physical-therapy

Teeing Up

Spring weather may be calling you to the golf course. First, find some open space outside for practice swings. No golf balls required. Start with 50% swings to warm up and loosen up the muscles in your back and torso after a winter layoff. Move slowly toward 75% swings and then full 100% swings. It may take several sessions before you get to 100%. When you do hit the links, remember that you can begin by playing 9 holes. You don’t need to jump right in to 18. Don’t swing at 100% unless you are ready.

Jake Nienow, PT, DPT

Mankato Clinic Physical Therapy

1230 East Main Street, Mankato

Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 11

Roger Albrecht plays with a pop-up toy with his physical therapist McKenzie Vermeire, PT, DPT, and his mom, Lynae, at Mankato Clinic Pediatric Therapy Services.

Roger Albrecht

makes progress one step, one smile at a time W

By Marie Wood hen Roger Albrecht, 3, comes to Mankato Clinic Pediatric Therapy Services twice a week, he has big smiles for the staff. His speech

12 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

language pathologist sits on a kid-size chair at Roger’s level as they work with flash cards to help Roger choose between eating Cheerios or blowing bubbles.

Roger may be nonverbal, but he’s very expressive and social. Roger was born with Cri du chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder in which a variable portion of chromosome 5 is missing. The syndrome causes developmental disabilities in eating, speaking, sitting and walking. At age 3, Roger is learning to walk. His mom, Lynae Albrecht, has joined the sessions today. Lynae is catching up on Roger’s progress and learning more ways to help him at home. “You can tell that Roger has progressed. His mobility is improved. He is more active now. Before he didn’t really move a whole lot. We’re trying to get him to walk and use his arms more. He’s more dexterous. He picks up toys and he’s using his legs,” Lynae said. Roger is the youngest of four boys. While it’s hard and stressful raising a child with health issues, Lynae and Adam Albrecht said Roger has brought the family closer together. Due to his diagnosis, Roger receives his primary care from Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, which has a convenient satellite location at the Mankato Clinic Children’s Health Center. For some services, the Albrechts can go to the satellite office, close to home, in Mankato. During the early months of the pandemic, Roger transitioned from baby to playmate. His brothers had more time to play with him and Roger bloomed with all the interaction. In the physical therapy room, Roger works closely with McKenzie Vermeire, PT, DPT. She sits behind him in front of the mirror as she helps him move to a standing position over and over. He also plays with a toy on a stack of mats to motivate him to stand.

Mankato Area Children in Need Adaptive equipment – bikes, trikes, gait trainers, bath chairs and swings – doesn’t come cheap. While medical insurance covers some things, many parents have to buy gear on their own. This equipment, though expensive, can make a big difference in the lives of children and families. That’s why Nancy Dobson, PT, co-founder of Pediatric Therapy Services, started Mankato Area Children in Need, a non-profit organization to help fund equipment for children with special needs in southern Minnesota when insurance or other funding sources are insufficient. For over 20 years, Mankato Area Children in Need has helped enhance and enrich the lives of children with special needs in our region and relieved some of the financial burden for their families. The application process is very simple and applications are reviewed quarterly. The Albrecht family received a scholarship to buy a bath chair and a seat for a shopping cart for Roger. Lynae is grateful that Mankato Area Children in Need is there for families who can’t afford the equipment. “It’s nice that it’s there for kids. It’s an amazing thing,” Lynae said. “Roger and his family exemplify our mission. By providing a couple pieces of equipment, Roger is better able to interact with his family and community in daily life,” Nancy said. In the last 20 years, over $400,000 has been raised to provide equipment and meet the needs of children throughout southern Minnesota. “Our primary fundraiser is an annual golf tournament and I continue to be amazed and grateful for the generosity and support we have for this event,” Nancy said. To participate in the next fundraiser/golf tourney on June 14, 2021 or to make a donation please visit www.mankatoareachildreninneed.com.

Nancy Dobson, PT

“Roger is happy here and enjoys going. When he’s done he’s tired, but he’s in a good mood. He knows it’s play time too. We’re Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 13

Importance of Early Intervention Children are developing in leaps and bounds in the early months and years of life. To help children reach their full potential, it’s important to help children early on if they are struggling and not reaching milestones like crawling, walking, talking and eating. When Heather Johnson, PT, DPT, at Mankato Clinic Pediatric Therapy Services, works with a child, she works closely with their parents, caregivers and pediatrician or primary care provider. She is a teammate, coach and cheerleader to help a child improve function and movement. “The earlier that we can get them in for a diagnosis or address it, the better we can set them up for success long term. We can take advantage of a time when there’s a lot of development going on. Before they go to preschool and school, we can make a big impact,” Heather explained. One of the easiest ways to make sure your child is growing and developing are at well-child visits with your pediatrician or primary care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends well-child visits to keep track of your child’s immunizations, health, physical, emotional and social development. “During the well-child visit, we do a head-to-toe exam, take measurements and give scheduled vaccines. We talk over any health concerns and answer your questions. Each stage of parenting comes with different questions,” said Amy Deehr, DO, Mankato Clinic pediatrician. Your healthcare provider will also check in to make sure your child is meeting developmental milestones such as feeding, waving “bye bye,” rolling over, walking, throwing a ball and saying more than 50 words. “Developmental milestones give us a general idea of skills and changes to expect as a child gets older. As a parent or caregiver, you know your child best. If you have any concerns, don’t wait. Talk to your pediatrician or healthcare provider. We are here to help your child thrive,” Dr. Deehr said. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends well-child visits at 3-5 days, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 months. Well-child check-ups should continue at age 2, 30 months and then annually beginning at age 3. To learn more about pediatric care at the Mankato Clinic, visit www.mankatoclinic.com/childrenshealth-center-2. Call 507-389-8529.

14 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

Roger Albrecht works out at home too! playing but we’re working,” Lynae said. Roger practices walking in a gait trainer, a walker that bears some of his weight and offers extra posture support. One of the current goals is for Roger to independently propel the gait trainer forward so that he may interact with his environment and participate with family and friends. To cheer him on, Lynae stands at one end of the room and encourages him to walk to her. Roger does his best to reach mom. “The gait trainer is a lot of work. He’s working every muscle in his body,” Lynae said.

Amy Deehr, DO, Mankato Clinic pediatrician

Prior to seeing McKenzie, Roger spent many hours working with Heather Johnson, PT, DPT, in physical therapy. “Roger progresses at his own rate, but he always makes steady gains.” Heather said. “Our goal and job as a physical therapist is to embrace his abilities to help him be as functional as possible. We are continuously working towards him

becoming as independently mobile as he can, in whatever capacity that may be.”

The Albrecht Family

Roger also works with an occupational therapist with a focus on fine motor skills such as picking up smaller toys, putting toys down instead of winging them and keeping toys from going in his mouth. The work doesn’t stop when Roger goes home. The therapists give Lynae lots of home activities and exercises for Roger. “It’s great to continue therapy at home. They give you exercises that fit into a living room and don’t require equipment you don’t have,” Lynae said. “Our experiences have been really spot on and great here. They have the kids’ best interests at heart.”

In one’s own time

Sometimes it takes longer to get where we are going. This is especially true in measuring progress in children with special needs. “We meet them where they are at and we celebrate the little things. We appreciate what the kids can do and we celebrate every accomplishment big and small. We let them get there in their own time. And celebrate at their pace,” Heather explained. “Roger’s a good kid. I’m excited to see what he will do!” Lynae’s advice to other parents who have children with special needs: “You’ll get through it. You’ve got to take your time.”

To learn more about Pediatric Therapy Services, visit www.mankatoclinic.com/ pediatric-therapy-services. Lynae Albrech Call 507-388-5437 t attends ther ap

y sessions wit h her son,

Roger. Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 15

You can be a Mental Health First Aider By Marie Wood

Sara Palmer received a call from her daughter who was away at college. Her daughter was depressed and in the midst of a mental health crisis. Sara was able to calm her down, get to the heart of the problem and connect her with the professional help her daughter needed to treat her feelings of depression. “We didn’t even know she was having these issues until it all came boiling over that day,” Sara said. Sara had the tools to help her daughter because she attended the Mental Health First Aid workshop the week prior. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour training session that gives people the skills they need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. Sara’s daughter is not alone. In a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of 5,400 young adults, 60% of participants reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. Since 2018, Mary Beth Trembley, RN, Mankato Clinic Department of Psychiatry, has trained 500 Mental Health First Aiders. Mental Health First Aid is part of a global movement led in the U.S. by the National Council for Behavioral Health. The goal is to make Mental Health First Aid as common as CPR.

Mary Beth Trembley, RN, Mankato Clinic, Mental Health First Aid Instructor 16 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

“As a trained Mental Health First Aider, you will be able to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders to members of your community,” Mary Beth said. “You can be the difference in someone’s life.” The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression skyrocketed in 2020, according to a new study, 2021: The State of Mental Health in America. And in 2020, more people reported frequent thoughts of suicide and self-harm in Mental Health America screenings than ever before. Mary Beth is well aware of the prevalence of mental illness. The issue is compounded by a shortage of mental health providers and the stigma around mental health. Mental illness often goes untreated. The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years. “Basically 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness. Chances are you, a friend, family member or coworker may struggle at some point with anxiety, depression, substance use disorder or another mental illness,” Mary Beth said. “These issues are common, yet people are ashamed to reach out for help. We need to bring mental health out into the light.”

Sara Palmer, CMA, Mankato Clinic, Mental Health First Aider

Aaron Hoy, Ph.D., assistant professor, MSU-Mankato, Mental Health First Aider

Aaron Hoy, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, attended the Mental Health First Aid course this year. He is now a certified Mental Health First Aider for three years. “Mental Health First Aid was so informative and helpful. I’m sure that I will use what I learned in working with my students, and I’ll definitely spread the word among faculty here on campus. With so many students struggling with mental health at the moment, it will be important, I think, that faculty be prepared to support them,” Professor Hoy said. Mary Beth also teaches Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety. The course is designed to teach law officers, corrections officers, first responders and dispatch staff to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The course includes tools to de-escalate incidents and better understand mental illnesses. “We focus on the unique experiences and needs of our public safety personnel. On a daily basis, our officers respond to calls and citizens who are struggling with substance use and mental illness,” Mary Beth said. Commander Chris Baukol, Mankato Public Safety, coordinates officer and staff training in Mental Health First Aid. Law enforcement from the surrounding region, including Eagle Lake and North Mankato, have joined the training also. “Responding to individuals who are dealing with mental health issues is common for law enforcement. Often these individuals are in crisis when officers contact them,” Commander Baukol said. “The more we understand about mental health disorders, the more likely we are to have a safe, successful and positive outcome for the person in need and our officers and staff.”

Mental Health First Aid Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour session that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Date: 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m., May 20, July 15, Sept. 16, Nov. 18 Location: Mankato Clinic Conference Room, Madison East Center To sign up, visit www.mankatoclinic.com/mental-health-first-aid. Mental Health First Aid sessions are in-person. At this time, class size is limited to 10 participants. Training room is set up for physical distancing and limited group interaction. Masks required.

Mankato Clinic Foundation In 2018, the Mankato Clinic Foundation awarded Mary Beth Trembley, RN, Mankato Clinic Department of Psychiatry, a grant to become a Mental Health First Aid certified instructor. Since then, she has trained roughly 500 Mental Health First Aiders. In the last 10 years, the Mankato Clinic Foundation has provided more than $1.8 million in scholarships and grants in the communities we serve. The Foundation awards grants to organizations which strive to improve health and wellness in our region. In quarter one of 2021, the Mankato Clinic Foundation awarded $87,000 in grants to organizations which include: • Educare Foundation • Feeding Our Community Partners • Greater Mankato Area United Way – First Steps program to support healthy pregnancies and babies • Mankato Youth (MY) Place The Foundation receives the majority of its funding from Mankato Clinic physicians and giving by Mankato Clinic staff and the greater Mankato community. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis through an application process. Visit www.mankatoclinic.com/ Mankato-clinic-foundation to learn more. The next grant application deadline is June 1.

Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 17

PEPTALK: Life jackets keep families safe By Colin Weerts, DO, Mankato Clinic Family Medicine Fishing opener is coming up quickly in Minnesota. Fishing brings great memories for children, parents and grandparents alike. There’s nothing cuter than seeing your kiddo reel in a fish, no matter how big or small your child or the fish! Our children are keepers! To ensure your child’s safety on the water, make sure your child is wearing a life jacket at all times when on boats, docks and bodies of water. In Minnesota, all children under age 10 are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket at all times while in a boat. For older children and adults, Minnesota law requires an approved, properly sized, and easily accessible life jacket for each person on the boat. Even though it’s not the law, the Minnesota Department of Resources recommends that everyone wear a life 18 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

jacket when on the water. As a family medicine physician, I encourage life jackets for the whole family. Drowning can happen quickly and silently. The best way to prevent drowning is to make sure everyone is wearing their life jackets – Grandpa, Mom, Dad and teenagers too.

Colin Weerts, DO, Mankato Clinic Family Medicine

Your children are watching you. As a parent and grandparent, you can set a good example by wearing a life jacket. Life jackets are especially important in the spring when the water is extremely cold. A fall into cold water triggers a cold shock response. Our reflex is to gasp and inhale water which may be breathed into the lungs and result in drowning. A life jacket can keep your head above water. Then in the first five to 15 minutes in cold water, cold incapacitation can set in. The arms and legs cool down, making your muscles slow, heavy, clumsy and numb. It can be difficult to swim and pull yourself up and into the boat. A life jacket can keep you afloat and give you time to be rescued and get back in the boat safely. Wearing a life jacket is similar to wearing a seat belt in the car. Teach your children to wear a life jacket as you’ve taught them to buckle up. Life jackets, like seat belts, save lives.

When buying a child’s life jacket, check for: n U.S. Coast Guard approved label. n A snug fit. Check weight and chest size on the label and try the life jacket on your child right at the store. Pick up your child by the shoulders of the life jacket; and tell them to raise their arms and relax. The child’s chin and ears won’t slip through a properly fitting jacket. Do NOT buy a jacket that is too large, hoping the child will grow into it. Children come in many sizes and shapes. If a lifejacket style does not work well, try another one. n Head support for younger children. A well designed life jacket will support the child’s head when the child is in the water. The head support also serves to roll the child face up. n A strap between the legs for younger children. This helps prevent the jacket from coming off over the child’s head. n Selecting a fit for children between 30 and 50 pounds. There are 5 types of personal flotation devices (PFD). While some children weighing between 30 and 50 pounds may like the freedom of movement that a Type III life jacket provides, only children that can swim and are comfortable in the water should use a Type III. Most children in this weight range should wear a Type I or Type II life jacket. n Comfort and appearance. This is especially important for teens, who are less likely to wear a life jacket.

How to select and fit a life jacket for adults n A properly fit life jacket will be snug, but not uncomfortable-it should allow for free motion. n When selecting a life jacket, make sure to wear your paddling clothes while trying it on. n To fit the life jacket, tighten all straps and buckles.

Man Up & Wear a life jacket

Men between the ages of 20 and 60 are least likely among all boaters to wear a life jacket according to data from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Men not wearing life jackets are also the most likely to drown while boating. Wear a life jacket so you can stick around for many more fishing openers!

n Have another person pull up on the shoulders of the life jacket. If the shoulders move up past your nose, try tightening the straps more. If it still moves, the life jacket may be too large. n Test out your life jacket in a pool or shallow water. It should not ride up on your body or slip while in use. Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 19

Annual check-ups and screenings impact your health By Katie Thompson, DO, Mankato Clinic Family Medicine Several studies show that people canceled, or didn’t schedule, their annual check-ups and routine cancer screenings in 2020 due to the pandemic. Physicians are concerned that drops in routine screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, can lead to detecting cancer in later stages when it’s more difficult to treat. Annual check-ups are the easiest way to stay up-todate in preventive healthcare. So let’s get your health back on track.

Annual check-ups

Your annual check-up is a great way to get to know your primary care provider and talk about your overall health. We review your medical history, family health history, medications and mental health. You may also want to discuss stress, behavioral health and self-care. If you’re delaying your check-up because you gained weight, please remember that your medical provider experienced 2020 right along with you. We understand that some of our healthy behaviors went out the window this year. Your activity may have gone down and your food and alcohol consumption up. We can help you get back to thriving. We can discuss small changes to help you live healthier. Please be honest with your provider. We are here to help you. We often look at your risks for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Your provider may recommend a simple blood test to measure your cholesterol and blood sugar. Most healthy adults should get their cholesterol checked every 3-5 years. Your cholesterol and blood sugar numbers can help us determine if steps are needed to lower your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. At your annual check-up, your provider will let you know what cancer screenings are recommended.

What are cancer screenings?

Screenings are tests to find cancer before symptoms show up. Common screenings include regular mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap tests. These are the best methods to detect cancer in its earliest stages 20 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021

when it’s easiest to treat.

Cervical cancer

Pap smears are recommended every three years for women age 21-29 to screen for cervical cancer. From age 30 to 65, the preferred screening method is a Pap test combined with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years.

Katie Thompson, DO Mankato Clinic Family Medicine

These screenings can actually prevent cervical cancer because we can detect abnormal cervical cell changes, known as pre-cancers. We can treat the abnormal cells before they can turn into a cervical cancer.

Breast cancer

The American College of Radiology recommends that women of average risk should get annual mammograms beginning at age 40. Annual mammograms allow us to compare your breast tissue from year to year and look for changes. If you have a higher risk for breast cancer, annual mammograms may be recommended earlier. Your primary care provider can let you know when to begin screening mammograms.

Colorectal cancer

If you’re 50, it’s time for a colonoscopy! From age 50 to 75, the U.S. Preventive Task Force recommends colonoscopies every 10 years or sooner with a family history of colon cancer. This is the only screening that can prevent colorectal cancer by removing precancerous polyps. You may have risk factors that require earlier screenings.

If you think you may be at an increased risk, learn your family health history and ask your doctor if screening should begin before age 50. And if you are of African American descent, please talk with your provider about being screened at age 45.

a guide to identify a man’s risk for developing prostate cancer.

To learn more about patient safety at Mankato Clinic, visit safemankatoclinic.com.

The Mankato Clinic has extra precautions in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

What are you waiting for? Schedule your annual check-up today! We look forward to seeing you!

Patient Safety

Lung cancer

Lung cancer can be screened with a CT which stands for computed tomography. The screening only takes a few minutes and requires no injections or dyes. If you smoke or quit smoking in the last 15 years, are between the ages of 55 and 80 and have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer, you may qualify for an annual CT screening.

Prostate cancer

Men’s risk for prostate cancer increases with age, particularly after age 50. Urologists recommend all men age 50 and older get a baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam. African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin this screening at age 40. The PSA test is

Do you have a primary care provider?

A 10-year study from Stanford Medicine shows that access to primary care providers leads to longer life spans. Primary care providers help patients live longer and healthier by catching health issues early in routine check-ups and cancer screenings. In the event of a diagnosis, your primary care provider can refer you to specialists and coordinate your care. To find a provider, visit www.mankatoclinic.com/find-adoctor or call Mankato Clinic at 507-625-1811. Mankato Clinic offers primary care at n Main Street n Wickersham Health Campus n Children’s Health Center n North Mankato Family Medicine n Mapleton Family Medicine n Daniels Health Center in St. Peter.

May is melanoma awareness month One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. In May, we raise awareness about melanoma because it’s a serious form of skin cancer that can spread when it is not detected and treated early. When treated early, the 5-year survival rate is 99 percent! Keep an eye out for melanoma. Watch for new moles and the ugly duckling, the mole that stands out from the rest. Use the ABCDEs of melanoma as a guide. A- Asymmetry: If you draw a line through the mole, both sides will not be a mirror image. B- Border: Uneven borders, notched or scalloped edges C- Color: Multiple colors and shades D- Diameter: Lesions the size of a pencil eraser or larger E- Evolving: Changes in size, shape, color or elevation or any new symptom such as bleeding or itching If you notice any of the ABCDEs or a mole just doesn’t seem normal, get it checked by your primary care provider or dermatologist. The majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. Fair skin, a family history of skin cancer and a greater number of moles are also risk factors. If you are at a higher

Jeffrey Weideman, PA-C, Mankato Clinic Dermatology risk, a full-body skin exam from a dermatologist is a good idea. As the sun gets stronger this spring, remember to wear broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, seek shade and cover up when you can. Visit www.mankatoclinic.com/ dermatology. Mankato Clinic Dermatology is located at Madison East Center and River’s Edge Campus in St. Peter. Call 507-389-8538 to schedule an appointment. Check your coverage before scheduling an appointment with a specialist.

Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 21


SUNSCREEN Choosing the right sunscreen can help reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun.


15 in

Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

in the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a sunscreen that states the following on the label:

BROAD SPECTRUM This means a sunscreen protects the skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which can cause skin cancer.


This indicates how well a sunscreen protects you from sunburn.

Broad Spectrum

SPF 30 water resistant (40 minutes) 6.0 FL OZ (180 ML)

1 ounce

WATER RESISTANT While sunscreens can be “water resistant” (for 40 minutes) or “very water resistant” (for 80 minutes), sunscreens are not waterproof or sweatproof and need to be reapplied.

Most adults need about one ounce of sunscreen,

ENOUGH TO FILL A SHOT GLASS, to fully cover their body. SpotSkinCancer.org

Copyright © by the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

22 • Think Wellness • Spring 2021


Spring 2021 • Think Wellness • 23




Non-Invasive Stem Cell Therapy using your own stem cells following FDA guidelines Located in Mankato Clinic’s New Office in North Mankato on Lookout Drive

In 2018 I thought I was facing a total knee replacement. I was hesitant about the surgery as I witness what both of my parents went through with their replacement surgeries. At that time one of my doctors brought up regenerative medicine (stem cell transplant). I had never heard of this type of procedure and it sounded too good to be true. I contacted Bluetail for a second opinion. They requested my prior images and medical history to see if they could help me. After reviewing my file, they determined that I was a candidate. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. The procedure was outpatient and only took 2 hours. I liked It because they were using my own stem cells and I was avoiding the knife. The pain relief was quick and the downtime was only a couple of days. Today, almost 3 years later, all I have needed was a booster shot and my knees are better than they have been in 25 years. They are not perfect but I am doing things I wasn’t able to do before with very little to no pain. The best feeling is still having my own knee. Once you give them up you don’t get them back. I figured for the seemingly low cost, it was worth exploring. I knew I could still get my knees replaced at a later date if this procedure didn’t work. Another advantage is that technology keeps getting better every year. – Bill Marks, 69, Farmer from Amboy, MN

Doctor-to-Doctor Consultations Welcome

507-385-4014 1575 Lookout Drive, North Mankato bluetailmedicalgroup.com

Dr. David Crane, MD Leader in Regenerative Medicine

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