Summertime is Finally Here!

Summer is officially here and with the 4th of July around the corner we’d like offer some words of advice for when you are out in the sun enjoying your summer. Even though we are still at risk of dangerous UV exposure in the winter, during the summer months we tend to be at higher risk due to longer days, increased outdoor activities, and trips to the beach.

It is important to monitor the UV index and prepare accordingly to protect your skin from the dangerous effects of these potentially cancer-causing rays. The Global Solar UV Index measures the potential for exposure to harmful solar UV rays and ranges from 1–11+. Levels at 11+ are the most dangerous and when you are most likely to experience damaging effects of exposure to these harmful rays. Ways to protect yourself based on the UV index number are described in the Environmental Protection Agency chart below:

UV index guide

There are many ways to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. One way is to avoid the sun between the hours of 10am and 4pm. These are generally when the UV index is highest, and you are most likely to have increased exposure to UV rays. The “Shadow Rule” is an easy tool to help assess if your risk to UV exposure is higher. If your shadow is taller than you, the UV exposure is likely lower. If your shadow is shorter than you, then you are at increased risk for exposure and should use extra precautions when you are outdoors.

Another way to protect your skin when outdoors during the summer is the use of protective clothing. This can include wide-brimmed hats, UV-blocking sunglasses, and lightweight long sleeves shirts and long pants. These will protect the areas that are most vulnerable to sun exposure and reduce the risks of skin cancer. The scalp, face, ears, and arms are generally the most exposed areas and many skin cancers are found in these areas. Protecting these vulnerable areas can decrease your risk of developing skin cancer.

Sunscreen is crucial to protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. By using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher you are decreasing your risk significantly from the lasting damage done by UV rays. The higher the SPF does not mean the longer you can go between applications, it determines the number of harmful UV rays that it allows through. A sunscreen with SPF 30, when used properly, will block roughly 97% of harmful rays. Higher SPFs will block slightly more, but it is not considered necessary and can lead to a feeling of better protection which can mean you won’t be as vigilant about reapplying.

There are two main types of sunscreen available, physical blockers and chemical sunscreens. Physical blockers contain ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Physical sunscreen work by reflecting the harmful UV rays. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like avobenzone and benzophenone. These types of sunscreens work by absorbing the harmful rays. Physical blockers are good for people who have allergies to the ingredients in chemical sunscreens or who have sensitive skin. It is important to note that when using sunscreens, it is important to apply it at least 15 minutes prior to exposure and repeat applications often for continuous protection. This is especially true if you are going to be in the water or sweating a lot. We also recommend the use of water resistant sunscreen if you are going to be taking part in water activities or sweating.

Here’s some tips from the American Academy of Dermatology on choosing a sunscreen:

sunscreen-chart

Our office offers multiple sunscreens to help you protect your skin this summer. We have both physical blockers and chemical sunscreens available. We carry sunscreens from SolBar and EltaMD for your convenience. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you have about the sunscreens we carry. Stop by today or pick some up when you are in the office for your annual skin exam!

Thank you so much for letting us help you take care of your gorgeous, protected skin! Have a safe and fun summer!

For more information and resources check out the EPA’s website on Sun Safety.

Happy Memorial Day!

memorial day 2

Often touted as the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day is seen as a time for gathering with friends and family, cooking out, and hitting the beach. Most importantly, it is a time to remember the men and women who so bravely gave their lives in the line of duty serving in our military at home and abroad. At Andrus & Associates we are so thankful for our military and the protections and freedoms they allow all Americans the ability to enjoy.

Recent studies have shown that our military men and women are at increased risk to develop melanoma and other non-melanoma skin cancers. This is especially true for those who have served in tropical and desert environments. This is due in large part to the prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays without proper protection. While it may be difficult for them to protect their skin properly while deployed with protective clothing or sunscreen, they can help decrease their risks of serious complications by detecting skin cancer early.

Skin self-exams are a great way to start the detection process because no one knows your body better than you. If you see something that looks changed or new, it’s best to have it checked by a professional. Annual skin exams with your dermatologist can also help decrease your risk of complications from skin cancer. Early detection offers the best chance for curative treatment. While melanoma is known for being deadly, any type of skin cancer, if left untreated, can lead to death.

As you head out to the beach this weekend or cook out with friends remember to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful rays. The best way to do this is wear protective clothing, including hats, UV-blocking sunglasses, and long sleeves, and to apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher often. If you plan on swimming or will be outdoors for extended periods of time and will be sweating be sure to use a waterproof variety to get the best protection.

At Andrus & Associates we are glad to offer complimentary skin cancer checks every Thursday afternoon in limited appointment slots. Be sure to call today to schedule your complimentary skin check with one of our physicians. Thank you for allowing us to participate in the care of your skin.

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day!
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”                                                                                                       – President Harry S. Truman

 

 

sandiego1

The view of San Diego from the Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

Last week Andrus & Associates sent me to sunny San Diego to attend the Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers annual meeting. I’m so thankful to work for a company that encourages continuing my education and allowing me to become a more educated and thoughtful leader.

I met so many practice managers and administrators from all around the country that encouraged me, enlightened me, and empathized with the many struggles we face every day in providing the best healthcare to our patients. As a relatively new practice manager, going to these meetings really helps me feel like I am not alone in the challenges of managing a busy and successful practice in the ever-changing world of government regulations and difficult managed care guidelines.

At Andrus & Associates Dermatology, it is our goal to provide the best care for our patients from the moment you step through the door for the first time and for as long as we are privileged to be your provider. Part of the process of giving the best care to our patient is employee training and maintenance of certifications. Our doctors are required to have at least 50 hours per year of continuing education. This ensures that they are up to date with the latest developments regarding diseases and treatment options.

Our nurses are also required to have continuing education every year as part of their certification. Each of our nurses are members of the Dermatology Nurses Association and many of them attend statewide conferences every year. Our head nurse, Margaret-Anne, was also lucky enough to go to San Diego this year to participate in the DNA’s annual meeting.

Shaquita, our billing manager, is credentialed through the American Academy of Professional Coders and is required to take 32 hours of continuing education every year to maintain her certification. Our entire staff undergoes HIPAA and OSHA training every year to ensure confidentiality and safety standards are being met by everyone in our office.

Taking great care of our patients is a priority in our office. If you have an issue with your visit, please ask to speak with me. Your concerns are very important to us and we hope all our patients leave feeling like they were listened to, taken care of, and have gotten the best care. Thank you for being our patient!

-Melanie

Stay tuned for a blog from Margaret-Anne about her San Diego adventures!

Cheers to 20 Years!

MA working jan 2018This month I celebrated my 20th year with Andrus & Associates and I join the ranks of other staff members who have been here 20+ years. What a wonderful place to be!

I came to Andrus & Associates as an RN with my Bachelor of Nursing Science degree and 6 years of home health nursing experience. I was pleased to learn that this office focuses primarily on clinical dermatology and sees all age groups and skin types.

It has been an interesting education learning about skin diseases from acne to zoster and everything in between. My education continues as I have been fortunate enough to attend many Dermatology Nursing Association conventions over the years, and in 2003 took the DNA exam to become certified.

In 2012 I was promoted to Head Nurse in the office. I enjoy working on the nurses’ assignment schedules and ensuring that the clinical area runs smoothly. One of the ways we promote efficiency in our office is to return phone calls left on the nurse’s line the day they are received and usually within 2 hours.

One of the most challenging tasks facing patients and staff in any specialty of medicine is obtaining prior authorizations for medications. Our office strives to be as efficient as possible when handling these special circumstances. As soon as we learn about the need for a Prior Authorization (PA) from your pharmacy, we begin the process by contacting your insurance company and requesting the appropriate forms that your insurance company  requires to be completed. Based on the physician’s records, myself and the other RNs complete these forms. Since we are all RNs, we can provide detailed explanations for requiring the medication that the physician prescribed. Unfortunately, the insurance companies sometimes deny coverage for their own reasons, but we are able to obtain a response from them quickly, often within 1 day.

I’ve seen many changes in my 20 years here, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the commitment from everyone in our office to take care of our patients. It has been a pleasure to grow with the changes and I look forward to new challenges and adventures. One change that I’m very excited about is the permanent addition of Dr. Willis Martin to our staff.

Please feel free to approach me with any comments or concerns when you are in our office.

-Margaret-Anne

From Our Family to Yours

The holidays are always a great time to look back on the year that has passed and wait with great expectation on the new year about to begin. This year has been a wild ride at Andrus & Associates, but we are thankful everyday.

We are thankful to have such kind patients who treat us so well and help make doing our jobs easy. We are thankful for the opportunity to take care of our patients, because without them we wouldn’t be here. We are thankful for each other. Through the ups and downs, ebb and flow, we are here together as a wonderful work family.

The end of this year brought some change to our office. Dr. Oyler is no longer here, but Dr. Willis E. Martin has stepped in and is seeing patients now. Sylvia, the office manager, has retired and will be sorely missed around the office. Melanie is now our new office manager and she’s excited for what the future of Andrus & Associates holds. We also had some part-timers retire and one full-timer move to part-time. Luckily, we have Leslie and Juli here to help fill in where they left off.

Moving into a new year is always a transition, but at Andrus & Associates we are excited for what this new year will bring!

We hope you all have a safe and very Merry Christmas and the happiest New Year!

PS: Special thanks to Margaret-Anne for the picture!