Sunscreen Safety

sunscreen safetyIn just fifteen minutes the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your skin causing lasting effects that include premature aging of your skin, suppression of your immune system, and even skin cancer. You can protect your skin from the sun by wearing long-sleeved clothing, hats and sunglasses, and applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Sunscreen allows your skin to safely absorb or block ultraviolet radiation that causes damage and mutations in genes involved in the development of cancer.


While sunscreen can protect you from the sun, sometimes it can do more harm than good. For example, Vitamin A found in many sunscreen products can actually speed the growth of cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They conduct research to empower consumers to understand what is in products and the effects those products can have on their own health and the environment. EWG’s sunscreen database rates the safety and efficacy of sunscreens and other products with SPF. Below, we share some of their guidelines and research to help clue you in on what to look for when searching or high-quality sun protection:

When buying sunscreen look out for the following ingredients:

  • Oxybenzone – Acts like estrogen in the body and is associated with endometriosis (irregular growth of the uterine tissue) in women.
  • Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) – Accelerates the growth of cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight.
  • Added insect repellent – Reduces the potency/effectiveness of sunscreen by one-third.

Look for these safe, high-potency sun protection ingredients:

  • Zinc oxide
  • Avobenzone
  • Mexoryl SX

When buying sunscreen, avoid these types of products:

  • Sprays – Dangerous if inhaled, easy to apply to little or to miss spots.
  • Powders – Little sun protection and inhaling loose powders can cause lung irritation or other harm.
  • SPF above 50 – High SPFs may protect against sunburn but could leave your skin exposed to damaging UVA rays.

Look for these types of sunscreens:

  • Cream
  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • Water-resistant
  • SPF to suit your needs, 15-50 – These numbers represent the measure of a sunscreen’s effect against UVB rays, or maximum exposer time. (Varies slightly from person to person.)

Click the link to visit EWG’s website and to see a list of their top-rated Beach and Sport Sunscreens so you don’t have to waste your time standing in front of the sunscreen aisle when you should really be enjoying the beach.

EWG’s Sunscreen List

Fun in the Sun

DFD’s Tips for a Safe Summer

Summer is in full swing–you’ve fired up the barbeque, the kids are splashing in the sprinkler, and the sun is shining. DFD wants to make sure your summer is as safe as it is fun. Follow these helpful tips for summertime safety. fun in the sun

Be H2O Smart:

  • Enroll kids in swim lessons to help ensure their safety in the water
  • Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets on the water

Be Informed about Boating Safety:

  • Don’t drink alcohol and drive
  • Take a boating safety course – learn more here
  • Get a free Vessel Safety Check from the Coast Guard Auxiliary – learn more here

Keep Cool in Warm Weather:

  • Drink Plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • Put on and reapply sunscreen; wear a wid-brimmed hat to protect your skin from the sun
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down when feeling overheated
  • Never leave children or pets in cars

Don’t let Mosquitoes and Ticks Bug You:

  • Keep bugs at bay by using EPA-registered insect repellents. Try a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET
  • Perform tick checks after spending time outdoors
  • Wear loose, long clothing and tuck in your clothes to avoid openings

We’d love to hear how you’re having a safe summer. Let us know your favorite ways to beat the heat while having a blast this summer on Facebook.

8 Tips to Beat Ticks


adult tick walking to warm source - nature shotSummer is here and it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, the great outdoors also has ticks, those pesky, blood-sucking arthropods that love to feed on us and which can carry the tick-borne infectious disease, Lyme. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and rash. If left untreated, Lyme disease can spread throughout the body, infecting joints, heart, and the nervous system.

With more than 1,750 cases of Lyme disease reported in Maine last year it’s important to know how to protect yourself from ticks this season.

Before you go outside:

  • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in or near wooded or grassy areas. If you’re hiking, try and stay in the center of the trail and keep away from tall grassy areas.
  • There are many products out there that contain Permethrin to kill ticks. You can use this product to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear. Also, try using a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET.
  • If you know you’ll be in wooded grassy areas, wear long clothing and tuck in your clothes to avoid openings.

When you come inside:

  • Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks can be carried into the house on clothing. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat for at least an hour effectively kills ticks.
  • Shower within two hours of coming indoors. This will help wash off any unattached ticks and is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
  • Check your body. These parts are great hiding spots for ticks:
    • Under the arms
    • In and around the ears
    • Inside the belly button
    • Back of the knees
    • In and around the hair
    • Between the legs
    • Around the waist

What to do if you find an attached tick:

  • Remove the tick as soon as you notice it by grasping it out with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out.
  • Watch for a rash or fever in the next few weeks following the bite. Patients who get Lyme from a tick bite will develop a lesion/rash at the site of the bite that resembles a target. If you become ill after a tick bite, call your health care provider.

Now, go enjoy the outdoors!

Now Accepting Patients

DFD is now accepting patients at all locations.

At DFD Russell Medical Center, our commitment to patient-centered care means our experienced providers and innovative services focus on you, the patient.

We are committed to providing each patient with a medical team of physicians, providers and staff dedicated to getting each patient healthy and keeping each patient healthy.

With medical centers in Monmouth, Turner and Leeds you can access personalized care, close to home. Providers at all three  DFD Russell Medical Centers are accepting new patients. To see a full list of those providers, click here.

DFD Recognizes Stroke Awareness

Stroke is a disease that can happen to anyone at anytime, it occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Stroke affects nearly 800,000 Americans each year. The good news, nearly 80% of strokes are preventable. Let’s bring stroke awareness to your friends, family and community.

Be aware of the symptoms:

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

DFD providers will work with you to decrease your risks for disease like stroke. Some ways to decrease your risk for stroke include:

  • Lower high blood pressure and stress
  • Lower high cholesterol
  • Get regular exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a well balanced diet

If you suspect someone is having a stroke think FAST:


Stroke awareness










Drug Take Back

Join us Saturday, April 30th from 10 am to 2  pm for the Drug Take Back event.

Prescription medications play an important role in the health of many patients. However, expired medications or unused drugs often end up staying in the back of cabinets for months, or even years. Expired drugs can be a significant health risk to toddlers, teens and even family pets who may accidentally consume expired medications. Some expired medications are so potent that a single does could be fatal if ingested.

The misuse of prescription narcotic drugs is becoming a major health problem. In fact, over 46,00 Americans die each year from drug-related deaths, with more than half being from heroin and prescription opioids. 70% of people who first misuse prescription drugs get them from friends, family, or simply take them without asking.

In order to crack down on drug addiction and accidental overdose the DEA has initiated the “Drug Take-Back”. Proper disposal of prescription medication is the safest and most effective way ensure your expired or extra prescription medicine is not accidentally ingested or used illegally.

The Androscoggin County Sherriff’s office will have “Take-Back” locations from 10:00 to 2:00 pm at the following locations:

  • Auburn: Bedard Pharmacy 359 Minot Avenue
  • Lewiston: Farwell Elementary School, 100 Farwell Street
  • Livermore Falls: Livermore Falls Police Department, 108 Lewiston Street
  • Poland: Poland Town Office complex lot, 1241 Main Street
  • Sabattus: Sabattus Police Department, 190 Middle Road
  • Turner: Turner Fire/ Rescue station, 19 General Turner Hill Road

For a complete listing of all sites in Maine please visit the following link:

National Drug Take Back listings

Keep Your Sports Superstars Safe

Warm weather is here and spring sports are upon us. Each year an estimated 3.8 million sports and recreation – related concussions occur in the United States. These head injuries can have long lasting affects on kids. Be aware of risks and symptoms, and keep the game fun and safe for your sports superstars this season.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of brain injury that is caused by a bump or blow to the head. What may seem to be a mild injury can, in fact, be quite serious.

What are the sings and symptoms of a concussion?

If your child experienced a bump or blow to the head during a game or practice be aware of the following:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes

How you and your child can prevent a concussion:

  • Follow coach’s rules for safety
  • Practice good sportsmanship at all times
  • Wear the right protective equipment for the activity (equipment should fit properly and be well maintained)
  • Wear a mouth guard to reduce risk of brain injury

What should I do if I think my child has sustained a concussion?

If you think that your child has experienced a concussion, get him/her evaluated by a medical professional. This will ensure the best path to recovery.

2016 Poison Control Week

Every eight seconds someone needs a poison control center and there are over 2 million poison exposures each year in the United States. Poisons are all around us and can affect anyone, anywhere and at any time. However, poisonings are preventable and treatable.

Know the risks and facts about poison to protect you and your family.

  • Drug-related poisonings cause nearly 70,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms.
  • Poisonings cause more than 35,000 deaths each year.
  • Children under age six account for half of all poison exposures.
  • 9 out of 10  poisoning deaths occur among people over the age of 20.
  • The top five causes of poisoning are:
    • Cosmetics or personal products
    • Household cleaning products
    • Sedatives, hypnotics and antipsychotics medicine
    • Foreign bodies, toys and other objects
    • Painkillers
  • Never mix household or chemical products together. Doing so can create a dangerous gas.
  • Never share prescription medicines. If you are taking more than one drug at a time, check with your health care provider to find out more about possible drug interactions.
  • Keep all chemicals, household cleaners, medicines and potentially poisonous substances in locked cabinets or out of reach of children.

If you suspect someone has been poisoned call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222


Oral Health Care at DFD

b12288c8-1567-4d03-86c9-6c71d9c1ba2cHeart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and preterm births. What do all of these conditions have in common? They are all linked to bacterial infections in the mouth.

You know the rule: brush and floss at least twice a day, every day. But too often we simply forget or skip it because, well, we’re busy. Life gets hectic. What’s the harm in skipping a day or two?

In your mouth there are 20 billion bacteria that reproduce every five hours. Going just 24 hours without brushing your teeth will result in those 20 billion becoming 100 billion bacteria. The longer the Plaque Bacteria sits undisturbed, the more destructive those germs become.

Bacteria buildup leads to gingivitis, and if left untreated, the infection will grow into the bone that holds your teeth in place. This more serious infection, known as periodontal or gum disease, is what is linked to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease.

The good news? Gingivitis is treatable. A regular, thorough dental cleaning by a hygienist and a commitment to brushing and flossing twice a day will help you reverse the gingivitis infection and improve your overall health.

One in five children have an untreated, decayed tooth, and tooth decay is the single-most chronic childhood disease – five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Despite the risks of going without, dental healthcare is often inaccessible for families. That is why DFD is now assessing our six to nine-year-old patients and applying sealants to their young teeth.

But oral health doesn’t just affect young children; nearly 75% of adults suffer from periodontal disease and don’t even know it. DFD has teamed up with CCS Dental Services and Tooth Fairies, Inc. to provide accessible oral health care for all DFD patients and their families.

A registered dental hygienist from Tooth Fairies Inc. will be providing dental cleanings, sealant placement, fluoride and brushing instructions periodically at DFD Russell Medical Centers in Leeds, Monmouth, and Turner.


Maine Care will cover this service for patients 21 years of age and under. The fee for uninsured children 12 and under is $42, and the fee for patients 13 years of age and up is $52. DFD’s model of care focuses on treating the whole person, which includes taking great care of your teeth!

By offering patients an affordable and accessible dental care option, we can help eliminate the need for costly emergency and specialist visits.

For more information and a list of upcoming dental cleanings view our Oral Health Care page.

John Meserve, MD

Meet John Meserve, M.D., our newest doctor to join the DFD team.

John Meserve, MD joined DFD after 30+ years of experience in primary care medicine. The move to DFD Monmouth is prompted by a desire to be closer to his two grandsons and many family and friends. He has extensive knowledge in Family medicine from over 19 years of providing obstetric care along with a full service practice providing care for newborns/pediatrics, adolescent medicine, and adult and geriatric medicine. He graduated from the University of Vermont Medical School and went on to complete his internship and residency in Pittsburgh where he was chosen as a Mead Johnson Scholar for Excellence in Family Practice. Dr. Meserve is currently accepting new patients at DFD Medical Center in Monmouth.