DFD’s Summer Safety Guide

Tips for a fun and safe summer.

Water Safety

  • Enroll kids in swim lessons. Risk of drowning is decreased by as much as 88% when children ages 1-4 take swimming lessons.
  • Swim with a buddy. It’s a best practice for swimmers of all ages and abilities.
  • Enter the water feet first. Serious injuries can occur from diving head first into unknown water like rivers and lakes.
  • Have a phone handy. No matter where you are swimming, the ability to call 911 could be a lifesaver.
  • Learn CPR. Knowing CPR could mean the difference between life and death. Click the button below to find a class in your area today.
    Get CPR Certified

Sun Safety

  • Cover up. Dress in loose clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses that block 99% of UV light.
  • Lather up. Use broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
  • Find a shady spot. Limit direct sun exposure between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to avoid heat exhaustion, a life-threatening condition.

DFD’s Guide to Ticks

Ticks are in full-force this season and cases of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease are on the rise. Use the information below to make sure you and your family are being tick smart.


Deer Tick: Deer ticks are known to cause Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan.

Dog Tick: Dog ticks are not known to transmit Lyme disease.

Learn more about identifying ticks here: http://extension.umaine.edu/ipm/tickid/


  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing.
  • Use insect repellent on skin or clothing.
  • Do regular tick checks when returning inside.
  • Protect furry friends with repellents and ask your vet about a Lyme disease vaccine.

Did you find an attached tick?

How big is the tick, pencil eraser or pencil tip?
Was the tick embedded into your skin?
Do you know how long the tick was embedded?
Do you have a rash?


  • Using tweezers, grasp the tick close to the skin and gently pull until the tick lets go.
  • Using a tick spoon, place the wide part of the notch on the skin near the tick. Apply downward pressure on the skin and slide the remover forward to frame the tick until it becomes detached. –Maine CDC
  • Do not be concerned if the entire insect does not come out; it will work its way out. Do not dig for it.
  • Some redness at the extraction site is normal.
  • Clean the area around the bite and watch for any signs and symptoms for 30 days.


Symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • fever
  • headache
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • joint pain
  • rash
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • loss of coordination
  • speech difficulties
  • changes in behavior
  • seizures

If you remove an engorged deer tick, store it in a small container for potential testing and consult your primary care provider immediately.


Mental Health Awareness Month

As part of our commitment to whole person, patient-centered care, DFD is committed to your mental health and provides behavioral health specialists as part of your health care team.

Did you know?

  • 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year
  • One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14
  • 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services during the previous year
  • One in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.

Spot Mental Health Warning Signs:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and having low energy
  • Feeling excessively sad or hopeless
  • Confused thinking or difficulty concentrating and learning.

How to Get Help:

  • Talk with your doctor
  • Connect with other individuals and families
  • Seek a counselor

Spring Clean Your Health

You’ve scrubbed the floors, put away winter clothing and now it’s time to tidy up your health! Follow our tips below to give your health a fresh spring start.

Clean your home for your health:

Go through your medicine cabinet and safely dispose* of any prescription medications that are no longer in use or past their expiration date.

Wash your linens and blankets, and wipe down all smooth surfaces like ceiling fans to eliminate dust and pollen in your home. If you use forced air heating or air conditioning now is a great time to replace your furnace filters.

Go outside:

At the gym, people typically only spend about an hour or two exercising. Find an activity you enjoy outside, such as gardening, and you’ll find you might spend a whole afternoon getting in a natural workout.

Kill kitchen bacteria:

Your kitchen sink probably contains more E. coli than your toilet, and your sponge and dishtowels are breeding grounds for salmonella. Wipe down your kitchen regularly with a trusted cleaning solution. And don’t forget to regularly wash your reusable grocery bags, too!

Make an appointment with your primary care provider:

Many adults only visit the doctor when they’re sick. Make it a point to have regular check-ups with your primary care providers. Taking preventative measures now can prevent emergencies from happening later.


*Expired and unwanted medication is a significant public safety and health hazard. Androscoggin county hosts a drug take-back program every spring and fall. Visit healthyandroscoggin.org or call to talk to a DFD Community Health and Outreach Worker for more information.

DFD Raising Awareness: Colorectal Cancer

Did you know that 1 in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, but if caught early it’s treatable and can even be curable. Some symptoms of colorectal cancer can include:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one
  • Rectal bleeding and blood in the stool, which may make the stool look dark
  • Cramping or abdominal pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

These symptoms could be caused by something other than colorectal cancer, but if you’re experiencing any or all of these, talk to your doctor.

Regular screening saves lives. DFD offers InSure FIT testing. A non-invasive test completed in the privacy of your own home to catch colorectal cancer quickly.

Nearly 75% of all colon cancer cases could be prevented with healthy lifestyles. Lower your risk by following the tips below:

  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise daily
  • Reduce consumption of red and processed meat
  • Get enough calcium and Vitamin D

Responsible Prescribing

DFD is working to keep our community safe.

DFD has been diligently managing the opioid crisis, leading the medical community in responsible prescribing. By taking proactive steps we are able to achieve goals of ensuring responsible, safe, and effective prescribing of powerful pain medications (when truly necessary and if other measures fail). We want to keep our community safe, while at the same time treating patients in need of pain management with comprehensive measures to help improve their function and quality of life.

Steps we have taken include:

  • Additional training in pain management strategies
  • Expansion of behavioral health-oriented pain management techniques
  • Stronger relationships with physical therapy partners
  • Enhanced risk-oriented monitoring programs

There is always room for growth and improvement, but with these changes, we continue to lead the medical community in responsible prescribing.

Put a Little Love into Your Heart Health

February is heart month, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be raising awareness all the time about heart health. Did you know?

Heart disease is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States each year.

Heart disease is more deadly than all cancers combined.

45% of heart attack victims are under the age of 45.

1 in 5 Americans will develop heart failure.

Each year, an estimated 785,000 Americans will have their first heart attack.

DFD is committed to stopping heart disease before it starts. By emphasizing preventative care, we’re here every step of the way to get your heart happy and healthy. Below are steps you can take every day to lower your risk for heart disease:

  • Know and control your numbers: blood pressure (BP), cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI).
  • Quit smoking: quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. DFD offers a smoking cessation program to provide support and resources to help you kick the habit for good.
  • Get active: just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • Manage stress: take 15-30 minutes of personal time each day. Understand stress triggers, and learn how to respond at home and at work.
  • Choose good nutrition: a healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. Your diet should emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and should limit sugar and salt.

By taking these steps each day, we can change the stats of heart disease.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Join us in learning new ways to save money and eat healthy!

Starting Wednesday, March 8, we’ll be hosting educational classes where you can try and prepare new tasty recipes, take home prizes, and learn useful new information. 

The class is open to all DFD Russell Medical Center patients and families and will be held on the second Wednesday of each month from 4 pm – 5 pm. Classes will be located in the conference room in the basement of the Leeds DFD Russell Medical Center at 180 Church Hill Road, Leeds, ME. 

To learn more about SNAP-ED click here: https://www.mainesnap-ed.org/

Make 2017 Your Healthiest Year Yet!

Follow the tips below to get and stay on the track to good health.

Manage Stress: Balance work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends and try to keep a relaxed and positive outlook. Engaging in healthy activities and getting the right care can put problems in perspective and ease stress.

Get Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular check-ups to help find problems before they start or early enough for treatment and cure.

Stay Active: Find fun ways to stay active–like dancing–for at least 2 1/2 hours each week. It is one of the most important things you can do for your health.