Workforce Wellness – Bon Secours


Acting quickly when recognizing stroke symptoms saves lives

When you have a stroke, every second counts. Brain cells die as blood flow to the brain gets interrupted.

Years ago, having a stroke meant living with lifelong, serious disabilities. Today, advanced surgical procedures and treatments have changed that, dramatically reducing the effects of stroke for many.

At Bon Secours, neurosurgeons, physicians, nurses and staff work as a team to identify and treat stroke patients as quickly as possible. Within minutes, highly trained specialists put into action
treatment decisions to help prevent the damage that can occur after a stroke. Neurosurgeons remove blood clots, repair blood vessels and stop the bleeding.

This commitment to comprehensive stroke and neurological care is why all Bon Secours Virginia hospitals are certified stroke centers with six primary stroke centers, a stroke-ready free standing emergency department and two comprehensive stroke centers.

Using pioneering technology, Bon Secours stroke services include:

  • Early intervention – Patients who come to any of our emergency departments with stroke symptoms are evaluated immediately for possible treatment with clot-busting medicines.
  • Expert care – Our emergency medicine physicians, who have been trained to assess acute stroke patients, work in collaboration with neurologists.
  • Interventional team – When a blood clot in the brain causes an acute ischemic stroke, our interventional team can dissolve the clot or remove it using the latest technology and methods.
  • Neuroendovascular surgery – Stroke patients have access to minimally invasive interventional treatments to protect the brain.
  • Teleneurology – At any time, teleneurology allows us to connect an on-call stroke specialist to our emergency room. These neurologists can conduct an assessment as if they were standing at the patient’s bedside.

Despite advances in stroke treatment, it’s still important to seek emergency help immediately if you think you or someone else is having a stroke.

Patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of their first symptoms often have less disability three months after a stroke than those who received delayed care, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are the stroke signs to look for in yourself or those around you:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911. You need to get to a hospital right away. Even if the symptoms go away quickly, it may still be a stroke.

It also helps to know if you are at risk for a stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans, but the risk of having a stroke is nearly twice as high for blacks compared to whites.

Another risk factor is high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, you are four to six times more likely to have a stroke. Make sure to check your blood pressure regularly and seek treatment if it’s too high. Many people with high blood pressure have no symptoms.

Heart disease and having atrial fibrillation can also double your risk of stroke.

Other stroke risk factors include: diabetes, high cholesterol, sickle cell disease and having had a previous stroke or transient ischemic attack.

While you can’t control some risk factors, such as getting older, you can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables every day. If you’re overweight, lose the excess pounds to reach a healthy weight. Make sure you exercise regularly – 30 minutes daily can greatly improve your health. If you smoke, quit. And if you drink, limit your alcohol consumption.

Talk to your health provider so you can take action to control your risk.

For more information or to find a healthcare provider near you, call 804-359-WELL or visit



Virtual Doctor Visits Put Good Health at Your Fingertips

The night before you leave on a flight for a long-awaited vacation, you notice a rash spreading all over your arms.

The last-minute gardening you managed to cross off your list seemed like such an accomplishment. Now, it appears poison ivy is having its revenge. The itching gets worse by the hour.

Not long ago, a situation like this would mean rearranging your flight plans so you can get to the doctor in the morning. Or, taking the risk that you can find a doctor once you get to your destination.

Today, you have a better remedy. With Bon Secours virtual appointments, getting to a medical provider is as easy as downloading an app and making a few clicks on our website. You don’t even have to leave your home.

Bon Secours 24/7 allows patients to see a health provider without taking off time from work or school. You can talk privately to a licensed medical professional from your phone, tablet or personal computer.

The first step is to create an account at Bon Secours 24/7. You can also download the app to your phone or tablet. After that, you choose a provider and answer basic questions about why you need medical care.

Within minutes, you can speak face-to-face with a provider through your device’s video capabilities. Thanks to today’s video technology, health providers can examine skin conditions and detect breathing problems such as wheezing. Most appointments last about 10 minutes.

While some people need to see a doctor in person for further medical testing, Bon Secours 24/7 is appropriate for several non-emergency medical conditions:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Cold, cough, bronchitis and flu
  • Fever
  • Sinus and upper respiratory infections
  • Conjunctivitis or pink-eye
  • Skin conditions such as rashes
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Headaches
  • Sprains and strains
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

When you or your child are not feeling well enough to get out of bed, Bon Secours 24/7 provides a convenient way to access medical care. Our medical professionals can prescribe many medications during your virtual visit. Every visit is private and held to the same confidentiality and security standards as a regular office appointment.

To use Bon Secours 24/7, your smart device or computer must have a web camera or video capability enabled. Once you establish an account, you can test your computer to make sure it can support a virtual visit.

No matter where you are in the United States, you can access our virtual visits. Through Bon Secours 24/7, we’ll connect you with a medical provider licensed to practice in the state where you need care.


The Cause and Cure for Your Dizziness Problems

Dizziness is a common problem with many different causes. Standing up too fast may cause temporary dizziness. A drop in blood pressure can make you feel like you are falling (vertigo).

But when you experience frequent dizziness, it can pose risks for falling and disrupt your daily activities. Chronic dizziness can be caused by minor issues or more serious problems, including:

  • Injury to the inner ear
  • Medicine side effects
  • Inner ear infection or disorder
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (moving your head in certain ways)
  • Neck problems
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Brain injury

Working with a physician to find out the cause of your dizziness is important. You might be able to stop feeling dizzy with a simple change in medication.

You may also find relief from dizziness or its side effects by undergoing vestibular rehabilitation with a trained physical therapist.


Your vestibular system is located within your inner ear. If you are standing upright or lying down, it’s responsible for helping you keep your balance and understand how your body is oriented in space.

Your vestibular system can get thrown off by many problems, causing dizziness and other symptoms like headache, nausea, neck pain and blurry vision. The goal of vestibular rehabilitation is to ease these symptoms, reduce your fall risk and, if possible, correct issues in the vestibular system.


During vestibular rehabilitation, your physical therapist will create a personalized treatment plan based on the cause of your dizziness. You may participate in treatments like:

  • Adaptation exercises that help your brain adjust to head movements that are causing dizziness
  • Vestibular ocular exercises to move your head and eyes in ways that reduce vertigo
  • Balance exercises to help retrain your body’s ability to balance
  • Cardiovascular exercise to improve heart health and increase endurance
  • Fall prevention to help keep you safe when you do feel dizzy

At Bon Secours Physical Therapy, our expert physical therapists help patients achieve their goals and experience a higher quality of life. If you think you could benefit from physical therapy, talk to your physician to learn more or visit us at



Healthy Strategies to Enjoy National Ice Cream Month

When the weather heats up in July, a cold, sweet scoop of ice cream can seem as refreshing as a quick dip in the pool.

Perhaps that’s why July was designated years ago as National Ice Cream month and its third Sunday as National Ice Cream Day.

If you love the smooth creaminess of ice cream and want to indulge a little during our hot summer months, there are simple ways to enjoy this cool treat without sending your blood sugar soaring too high. All it takes is a little effort to read labels and a commitment to stick to your healthy eating goals.

Here are some easy tips to cut back on the sugar, fat and calories that often come with ice cream desserts:

  • Go easy on the scoop. An actual scoop should be about one-half cup or 200 calories. Don’t be afraid to measure your ice cream scoop – it’s how people avoid eating more calories than they intended. Most people scoop out two-thirds of a cup as a serving, which is a whopping 270 calories.
  • Skip the cone. Order your scoop in a bowl if not at home. Cones only add more calories.
  • When eating ice cream at home, choose a smaller serving bowl. Everything looks bigger in a smaller cup. (This strategy also works for people who want to drink less wine. A recent study has shown that a smaller glass can equal less consumption.)
  • If you want to add toppings, choose healthy ones: fruits and nuts make excellent pairings. Fruits are naturally sweet and full of fiber. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats and packed with nutrition.
  • Try to avoid hot fudge and candies as toppings. They can easily double your sugar and fat calories.
  • Don’t be fooled by food stereotypes. Frozen yogurt may sound healthier than ice cream, but it really depends on what’s listed on the food labels. Many frozen yogurts contain less fat than ice cream but they are often brimming with sugar. Federal dietary guidelines recommend getting no more than 10 percent of your daily calories from sugars.


Remember, ice cream is a treat. Let it be something you and your family enjoy occasionally, not every night after dinner – especially late at night when those calories will never be burned.

Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Want to learn more about making healthy food choices? Visit us at

Bon Secours offers a nutrition counseling program run by Registered Dietitians to help people choose foods that meet their health goals and fitness needs.

Successful weight loss programs help people lose weight safely based on their individual health needs.

Learn more about the comprehensive medically supervised programs offered at Bon Secours by calling 804-287-4528.



How Does the UV Index Impact Your Risk of Skin Cancer

When it comes to skin protection, what you don’t know about the Ultraviolet Index could burn you.

Most of us understand that we need to wear sunscreen on sunny days, especially if our skin burns easily. But what about when the forecast calls for clouds? Do you really need to wear sunscreen? And does it matter what time of day you plan to be at the beach?

If you look at the UV Index, you can schedule your Memorial Day activities for the best time of day based on how much radiation is expected.

Too much exposure to UV rays can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer. In fact, research shows that about 95 percent of melanoma cases – a deadly form of skin cancer – are linked to UV exposure. It’s one reason why the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is trying to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and to encourage everyone to protect their skin as they head outdoors during the summer.

Knowing the UV Index before you settle in your beach chair is one way you can practice sun safety.

The UV Index predicts the level of solar UV radiation that is expected to reach the Earth on a particular day. How much UV radiation will reach us depends on many factors including ozone depletion, and seasonal and weather variations, according to the EPA.

UV Index Basics
When the index is between 0 and 2, it means the average person faces a low risk for sun damage. A UV Index reading of 3 to 5 means there’s a moderate risk if you step outdoors without sun protection. So, even on cloudy days, you should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of 30 or higher every two hours.

If the UV Index reaches 6 or above, make sure you wear sunglasses to protect against eye damage. At this level, you should reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are outside, stick to the shade and wear protective clothing.

Stay safe. Know the UV Index.

Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, figuring out the UV Index wherever you are — your neighborhood or vacation destination — is as simple as entering the corresponding zip code into an online UV calculator. The EPA website will also give you an hourly UV Index forecast so you can decide whether it’s better to swim in the morning or late afternoon. You can sign up for UV Alerts by email as well.

In general, the UV Index increases during the morning, peaking mid-afternoon. Be careful, though: by 10 a.m., the UV Index could already range from 3 to 5.

Don’t forget that white sand and bright surfaces can reflect UV rays, doubling your UV exposure.

Check your skin.
The best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly. If you notice any changes in moles or new skin growths, contact your health provider.


For more information or to find a healthcare provider near you, call 804-359-WELL or visit