Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer: What You Need to Know— by Camrey Tuttle, DNP, FNP-C

by Camrey Tuttle, DNP, FNP-C

As the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter, many of us eagerly head outdoors to soak up the warmth and enjoy various activities. While sunlight is essential for our well-being, providing much-needed vitamin D and boosting our mood, it’s crucial to be mindful of the risks associated with excessive sun exposure, particularly the development of skin cancer. While skin cancer most often presents later in life, the damage is often created in childhood to early adult years. Therefore, it is important to take proper skin precautions regardless of your stage of life.

Understanding Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and its incidence has been rising over the years. The primary cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in our skin cells, leading to mutations that can cause cancer. There are three main types of skin cancer:

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): The most common type, BCC rarely spreads but can cause significant damage if not treated.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): Less common than BCC, SCC can spread to other parts of the body if not caught early.

Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma is less common but more likely to spread and become life-threatening.

The ABCDEs of Skin Lesions

Early detection is key to successfully treating skin cancer. One of the most effective ways to catch skin cancer early is by performing regular self-examinations of your skin. Dermatologists recommend following the ABCDE guide to identify potentially cancerous lesions:

A – Asymmetry: If you draw a line through the middle of the mole or lesion, the two halves should match. If they don’t, this asymmetry is a warning sign.

B – Border: The edges of an early melanoma are often uneven, scalloped, or notched. A benign mole has smooth, even borders.

C – Color: Having multiple colors (shades of brown, black, tan, red, white, or blue) in a single lesion is another warning signal. Benign moles usually have a single shade of brown.

D – Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than a pencil eraser (about 6mm), but they can be smaller when first detected.

E – Evolving: Any change in size, shape, color, or elevation, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching, or crusting, points to danger.


Protecting Your Skin

Preventing skin cancer begins with protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure. Here are some essential tips:

Use Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Reapply regularly especially after swimming or sweating.

Seek Shade: Especially during the midday hours when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

Wear Protective Clothing: Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat can provide a physical barrier against UV rays.

Avoid Tanning Beds: The UV light from tanning beds is just as harmful as the sun and increases the risk of skin cancer.



By understanding the risks and taking proactive measures, we can enjoy the sun safely and reduce our risk of developing skin cancer. Remember, when it comes to your skin, vigilance and protection are your best defenses. Keep the ABCDEs in mind, practice sun safety, and consult with your provider if you have any concern about your skin.

See website here for CDC recommendations to avoiding skin cancer:

Consistency Is Key– Practical Strategies To Help You Master Medication Management

by Camrey Tuttle, DNP, FNP-C

We are all busy. And so, it is easy to miss taking our prescribed medications. Yet, the significance of taking your prescriptions every day cannot be overstated. Whether you’re managing a chronic condition or recovering from an illness, consistent medication adherence is key to maintaining and improving your overall health.

Skipping doses or neglecting your medications can lead to a range of consequences, from compromised treatment efficacy to increased risk of complications. Medications are prescribed with a specific regimen in mind, designed to optimize their effectiveness and help you manage your health condition. By following this prescribed schedule diligently, you enhance the chances of successful treatment outcomes.

Consistent medication adherence is particularly crucial for individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. These conditions often require long-term management, and medications play a pivotal role in controlling symptoms and preventing further health deterioration. Failing to take medications as directed can lead to worsened symptoms, increased healthcare costs, and a reduced quality of life.

Now that we’ve highlighted the importance of daily medication adherence, let’s explore some practical strategies to help you remember and stay on track with your prescribed regimen:

  1. Set Alarms and Reminders: Leverage the technology at your fingertips by setting daily alarms or reminders on your smartphone. This ensures you don’t miss a dose, even during the busiest days. (See additional resources here for IOS and Android medication management/reminder apps)
  2. Use Pill Organizers: Invest in a pill organizer that separates your medications by day and time. This visual aid can be a simple yet effective way to keep track of your daily doses.
  3. Integrate Medication into Daily Routines: Linking your medication routine with daily activities, such as meals or bedtime, can make it easier to remember.
  4. Enlist Support: Share your medication schedule with a family member, friend, or caregiver who can provide gentle reminders and support your commitment to daily adherence.

Remember, your health is an investment, and adhering to your prescribed medications is a proactive step toward a healthier and more fulfilling life.

6 Popular Medication Reminder Apps Available for Apple and Android

9 Best Pill Reminder Apps


The Value of Preventative Healthcare

by Camrey Tuttle, DNP, FNP-C


In a world where the pace of life seems to be ever-accelerating, taking proactive steps to safeguard our health often takes a backseat to daily responsibilities. However, the old adage “prevention is better than cure” holds true, emphasizing the importance of preventative healthcare in maintaining overall well-being. Among the key pillars of preventative healthcare, annual physical exams play a pivotal role, offering a proactive approach to health management.

The Value of Preventative Healthcare:

Preventative healthcare is a whole-body approach that aims to identify and address potential health issues before they escalate into more serious conditions. Rather than waiting for symptoms to manifest, preventative measures focus on lifestyle choices, screenings, and regular check-ups to mitigate health risks. By adopting a preventative mindset, individuals can significantly reduce the burden of chronic diseases, enhance their quality of life, and potentially extend their lifespan.

Annual Physical Exams: A Foundation for Prevention:

One cornerstone of preventative healthcare is the annual physical exam, a comprehensive health assessment that goes beyond treating existing ailments. These exams are not just reserved for those with chronic conditions or advanced age but are beneficial for individuals of all ages. Here’s why:

  1. Early Detection of Potential Issues:

    Annual physical exams serve as an opportunity for healthcare professionals to detect potential health issues in their early stages. Through screenings, blood tests, and a thorough physical examination, doctors can identify risk factors for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Detecting these issues early allows for timely intervention and improved outcomes.

  2. Personalized Health Planning:

    Each individual is unique, and their health needs vary. Annual physical exams provide a platform for doctors to assess an individual’s specific health profile, considering factors such as current medical problems, age, family history, and lifestyle. Based on this information, healthcare providers can offer personalized advice on nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications to enhance overall health.

  3. Building a Long-Term Relationship with Healthcare Providers:

    Regular visits for annual physical exams foster a long-term relationship between individuals and their healthcare providers. This connection allows for better communication and understanding of the patient’s health history, facilitating more accurate diagnoses and tailored healthcare plans.

  4. Preventing Future Complications:

    By identifying and addressing health concerns early on, annual physical exams help prevent the progression of minor issues into more severe complications. This proactive approach not only improves health outcomes but also reduces the financial and emotional burdens associated with treating advanced diseases.

  5. Promoting Mental Health:

    Annual physical exams aren’t solely focused on the body; they also encompass mental health assessments. Given the interconnectedness of physical and mental well-being, addressing mental health concerns during these exams is crucial. Early detection and intervention for conditions such as depression and anxiety can lead to more effective treatment strategies.


Treating Your Seasonal Allergies at Home— by Camrey Tuttle, DNP, FNP-C

With the high-water year, many in our area have been fighting the seasonal allergy symptoms that have come with all this beautiful green. The most common symptoms of seasonal allergies include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy nose/eyes, and cough. Allergies may also worsen other conditions like asthma, eczema, and migraines.

So, what can you do?

 #1 – Avoid allergens

While sometimes unrealistic, the most effective strategy to help with your allergies is avoiding pollen. Strategies to help with this include avoiding outdoor activities on high pollen days which are commonly reported on weather reports, driving with your windows rolled up and recirculating air in your car for your AC instead of pulling in outside air, washing hands and clothes when you get in from being outdoors, vacuum/dust your home regularly.

# 2 – Steam Inhalation

Inhaling steam from a warm shower or humidifier helps to clean out your nasal passages and reduce the symptoms of allergies. For a bonus, add Eucalyptus or Mint oil to your steam for a refreshing effect.

# 3 – Herbal Preparations1

Many may want a more natural remedy for their allergies. Below are some herbal preparations that are backed by science. These can also work together with allergy medications if the medication itself is not enough.

  • ButterBur (Petcasites Hybridus)
  • Tinospora cordifolia
  • Menthol (Inhaled)
  • Benifuuki green tea
  • Ginseng
  • Tumeric

Just like medications, herbal preparations have side effects, including damage to the liver. Herbal preparations also have the potential to interact with medications you may already be taking. If you have concerns, ask your provider.

#4 – Vitamin C

Vitamin C has antioxidant, immunomodulatory (changes how the immune system acts), and anti-inflammatory mechanisms that have been shown to decrease allergy symptoms2. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 1000 mg, although there are different preparations so pay attention to the packaging instructions.

What do I need to know about over-the-counter allergy medications?3

Common allergy medications are in a medication class called Antihistamines. These medications block histamine which is an immune signal that leads to the symptoms of allergies.

Common allergy medications include:
  • Claritin (Loratadine)
  • Allegra (Fexofenadine)
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
  • Xyzal (Levocetirizine)

While in the same class. Benadryl is more likely to make you tired and is therefore less recommended for daily use during allergy season.

What about “ – D”? “ – D” means decongestant. This means it is a combination medication. For example, Allegra-D is Fexofenadine and Pseudoephedrine. While this may produce additional benefits, know that these decongestant medications can cause higher blood pressure, fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, and agitation. It is also generally not recommended for pregnant women to take decongestant medications.

Nasal Allergy Medications


  • Astelin/Astepro (Azelastine)
  • Patanase (Olopatadine)

Nasal Steroids: Steroids work by reducing allergy-related inflammation.

  • Rhinocort (Budesonide)
  • Flonase (Fluticasone)
  • Nasonex (Mometasone)
  • Nasocort (Triamcinolone)

You can use both nasal medication and oral medications together.

We are here to help!

At any time if your allergy symptoms are severe, unresponsive to treatment, associated with wheezing, or causing difficulty breathing please come by and see one of our providers for further treatment options.