Be Concussion Smart

Protect your sports superstars this fall.

A concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Those who suffer concussions often report trouble focusing, short-term memory loss, difficulty performing daily tasks, and feeling “slower overall. A quick crack on the noggin can make a lasting impact, so it’s important to take concussion prevention seriously.

Symptoms of concussion as reported by athletes: Concussion smart

  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Just not “feeling right” or “feeling down”

Signs of concussion observed by coach or caregiver:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can’t recall events after hit or fall

Concussion Danger Signs

In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain in a person with a concussion and crowd against the skull. An athlete needs to receive immediate medical attention after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body if s/he exhibits any of the following danger signs:

  • One pupil is larger than the other
  • Is drowsy or cannot be awakened
  • A headache that gets worse
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Cannot recognize people or places
  • Becomes increasingly confused, restless, or agitated
  • Has unusual behavior
  • Loses consciousness (even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously)

Concussion Prevention Tips:

  • Make sure athletes follow the coach’s and sport’s rules for safety.
  • Children should always wear the right protective equipment for the activity.
  • Protective equipment should fit properly and be well maintained.
  • Encourage your athletes to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Emphasize the importance of reporting concussions and taking time to recover from one.

Did You Know?

  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
  • Athletes who have, at any point in their lives, had a concussion have an increased risk for another concussion.
  • Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults.

By being aware of the risks, symptoms, and how to avoid concussions; your athletes can have a safe and fun season. Wishing all our athletes a fun and successful season!

National Health Center Week

DFD_InfoStats_403x403_Facebook_AUGUST_2016_5This month we celebrated National Health Center Week to raise awareness of the important role health centers play in  our communities.

But, why just celebrate one week? Let’s spread awareness year-round about the positive impact health centers have.

Health centers serve 23 million patients in the United States, which is about one in fifteen people who utilize health centers as their health care home. As a Patient-Centered Medical Home, DFD meets and exceeds the healthcare needs of its patients through innovative, patient–centered primary care services. Through our system focused on care coordination, patient education, and medication management, DFD Russell has seen a:

  • 20% decrease in non-preventative medical provider visits
  • 50% decrease in patient visits to the ER
  • 38% decrease in patients requiring hospital stays

Health Centers across the United States perform just as well or better than private physicians on 94% of quality measures and save an average of $1,263 per patient per year.

DFD is the highest-ranking community health center in Maine and the nation for its commitment to quality care. Each year DFD serves more than 8,000 local patients with 25,000 encounters.
But what makes DFD different from other providers?

  • More night and weekend hours
  • More likely to accept new patients
  • Community-governed
  • More services under one roof



Health Centers make a tremendous impact in our communities. DFD alone employs 54 individuals, providing over $3,900,000 in salaries and benefits that go back into our community each year.

Together, let’s raise awareness about the positive impacts health centers have on our communities, Share with friends and family on how DFD is supporting our neighborhoods and can help support them.

Get Back-to-School Ready with DFD

Back to school readySummer is finally coming to an end, and it’s time to start gearing up for another school year. We’ve got a list of tips to help make your students ready for a fun and safe school year.

Backpack Safety:

Backpacks that are too heavy can cause back and shoulder pain and promote poor posture for your kids. Your child’s backpack should weigh no more than ten percent of your child’s weight, and they should always use both shoulder straps.
When selecting a backpack look for:

  • Wide, padded shoulder straps.
  • A padded back.
  • Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight.
  • The correct size–never wider or longer than your child’s torso, and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist.

Bullying is Never OK:

Bullying can have life-long effects on our children. You can help prevent bullying by educating your kids at home:

  • Teach your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help.
  • Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
  • Encourage your child to include all students/peers in activities they are participating in.

Develop Good Homework Habits:

Getting back into the swing of a school schedule can be tough after a summer packed with fun. Help your child develop good homework habits and to avoid schoolwork frustration:

  • Schedule ample time for homework–this provides consistency for your child to get in the habit of sitting down and completing homework.
  • Supervise internet use–The internet is a useful tool for students, but can also be an easy distraction.
  • Be available to assist your child with homework but never do homework for them.

Schedule a Visit with DFD:

Make sure your child is up-to-date with their well-child visits, immunizations, and sports physicals. Call to schedule an appointment today!

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.