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Advocate Christ Medical Center news

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The Hunting Game! Take Precautions

Oak Lawn, Ill. – No one wants their 15 minutes of fame tied to a hunting accident -- like the one involving a former United States vice president and a Texas attorney while hunting quail. That incident occurred nearly seven years ago and has since faded from memory. Or has it?

With hunting season here, you must take aim at the necessary precautions against the elements, such as insects, while minimizing the risk of injury and illness to yourself, others and even to your hunting dog.

For example, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns hunters that their dogs can be exposed to infectious diseases not only from infected animals, but from insect vectors and contaminated soil and water.

An avid hunter and owner of an animal that’s a two-time national champion bird dog, Frank Vicari, M.D., chief of pediatric plastic surgery and craniofacial surgery at Advocate Children’s Hospital, says safety is a number-one concern for him and his prize hunting dog. 

“If you have a dog that hunts with you, you must check it extensively for ticks when coming in from the field,” says Dr. Vicari.  “Among other precautions, I always wear long sleeves and pants, clothing that protects my neck, and I use DEET (an insect repellant that provides protection against mosquito, tick and flea bites, chiggers and other biting insects).

Oftentimes, the risks associated with of hunting and camping are not taken as seriously as they should be, but these dangers are real and can cause serious illnesses.

Stacy Carlson, now 46, was camping in the swing of hunting season when she noticed that she had developed a red bull’s-eye rash. Headaches, joint pain and common flu-like symptoms later followed, but she dismissed them.  She later learned that she had come in contact with a spirochete carried by blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks. Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spirochete tick.

“I felt dizzy for at least a week, but the rash subsided. Two weeks later, I went to see a doctor, who didn’t find anything wrong with me,” said Carlson.   “Finally, I consulted a specialist after suffering from arthritis-like pain, headaches and joint pain for an extended period of time.  A Lyme disease test was performed and it proved positive.”

If left untreated, Lyme disease may eventually lead to arthritis, meningitis, and facial paralysis or heart complications.

The AVMA has a few Common Sense Guidelines for Protecting Hunters from Risk: 

  1. Avoid hunting if you are feeling ill. People are more prone to disease if their immune systems are weakened by other illnesses or conditions.
  2. Take precautions to minimize insect bites.
  3. Do not handle or eat wild game or fowl that appear to be ill or were acting in an abnormal manner before they were killed.
  4. Do not eat, drink or smoke while cleaning wild fowl or game.
  5. Always protect your hands with gloves (heavy rubber, latex, or nitrile) when field- dressing wild game or fowl.
  6. Do not use the same utensils to clean different species.

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About Advocate Christ Medical Center
Advocate Christ Medical Center is part of Advocate Health Care, which is one of the nation’s leading health care networks.  A not-for-profit, 694-bed, premier teaching institution with more than 1,000 affiliated physicians, Christ Medical Center is a leader in health care and one of the major referral hospitals in the Midwest in a number of specialties, including cardiovascular services, heart and kidney transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, orthopedics and women’s health. The hospital also has one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in Illinois providing emergency care for more than 90,000 patient visits annually and is a leader in breakthrough technologies, including eICU® (electronic intensive care unit) monitoring, robotic da Vinci Surgery System® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery.  In both 2012 and 2013, the medical center was named to the Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals®, while U.S. News & World Report ranked the medical center among the nation’s leading providers for cardiology and heart surgery and for geriatric medicine and ranked it fourth overall among hospitals in the state of Illinois. The hospital is also recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Center. Magnet status represents the highest honor in the nursing profession. To obtain more information or to visit our newsroom, log on to:

About Advocate Children’s Hospital
As part of Advocate Health Care, Advocate Children’s Hospital is the largest network provider of pediatric services in Illinois and among the top 10 in the nation. The two main campuses are located in the Chicago metropolitan region – Oak Lawn in the southwest and Park Ridge in the northwest, with additional services accessible at other Advocate hospitals throughout the state.  Advocate Children’s Hospital serves as a major referral center for infants and children.  Through a special, wholistic approach, Advocate Children’s Hospital combines some of the country’s most respected medical talent with exceptional and compassionate care.  In fact, the children’s hospital has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s leaders in pediatric cardiology and neonatology, and numerous physicians have been cited as being among the “Top Doctors” regionally and nationally in their respective fields.  Advocate Children’s Hospital is staffed by more than 400 pediatricians and 230 pediatric subspecialists who offer a wide range of services for children.


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