Friday, February 21, 2014

Important Vaccines for People Over 60

Many people think that vaccinations are only for very young children. But the truth is that getting certain vaccines after you turn age 60 can strengthen your immune system and protect you from certain illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults over 60 have these vaccinations:

• Influenza Vaccine (seasonal flu) – every fall /winter

• Zoster Vaccine (shingles-painful skin rash) – 1-time dose

• Td Vaccine (tetanus-diphtheria, a bacterial infection) – 1 dose, then booster every 10 years

• Tdap Vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also called whooping cough) – 1 dose in place of one 10-year booster

• Pneumococcal Vaccine (infections in the lungs, brain, blood or ear) – 1-time dose

Flu and Shingles Statistics (CDC)

• An average of 24,000 people in the United States die every year from the flu; most are age 65+

• Nearly 1 million Americans get shingles every year; half of them are age 60+

Other factors such as your current health, lifestyle, environment or occupation may make you more susceptible to certain diseases. Talk to your doctor about other immunizations available that may prevent you from becoming ill.

Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher encourages all of her patients to get immunized against preventable diseases. If you are over age 60 and have not had all of the immunizations listed above, please contact Dr. Kutzscher in San Francisco today at 415-923-3560 or to schedule an appointment.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tips to Avoid Depression this Winter

If you tend to feel a little more depressed or SAD during the winter months, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). During the winter, the days become shorter so we are exposed to less natural sunlight and tend to move our bodies less. People who are particularly sensitive to light (or the lack of light) may be more prone to suffer from this condition.

Winter depression can show itself in any number of ways. Symptoms of SAD may include:

• Crying spells
• Lack of energy
• Desire to stay home
• Irritability
• Moodiness
• Weight gain

You may not even realize that you are suffering from SAD because the symptoms can be negligible as they begin but then gradually increase to something more serious – even leading to thoughts of suicide. If you have been experiencing the winter blues, there are things you can start doing immediately to promote winter happiness:

• Schedule a physical exam to make sure your symptoms are not the result of an underlying medical condition.
• Investigate light therapy to mimic sunlight. Simply having access to a light box for 30 minutes every day may reverse your symptoms. Check with a doctor prior to starting this therapy.
• Get off the couch and exercise. Find a physical activity that brings you enjoyment and try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Partner with a friend for extra motivation.
• Go outside – even if it’s cold – during the daylight hours for a few minutes every day.
• Remove processed foods and excess sugar from your diet. Choose colorful vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats to give your body clean fuel.
• Limit alcohol consumption.
• Maintain a regular sleep pattern.
• Schedule time to hang out with friends. Laughter can go a long way to increasing your mood.
• Practice stress reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga.

If your mood has changed this winter, contact Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher to determine if SAD is to blame. Her San Francisco office can be reached by calling 415-923-3560 or visiting