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Understanding the basics of hygiene is crucial to maintaining health and preventing disease. Hygiene has been THE hot topic since the Coronavirus pandemic began. While our top hygiene exercise is currently social distancing, the Center for Disease Control(CDC) has put emphasis on practices such as washing your hands often and for 20 seconds at a time, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and staying home if you are sick.

While these are some of the most important tips, there are countless hygiene rules that we should be following throughout our everyday lives. There are two categories to describe these types of hygiene: Personal and Domestic.

Personal Hygiene

Personal Hygiene is how you take care of your body. These basic habits minimize the risk of infection and also enhance overall health.

  • Bathe regularly: Wash your body and hair often. Your body is constantly shedding skin, and that skin needs to come off.
  • Trim your nails: Keeping your finger and toenails trimmed and in good shape will prevent problems such as hang nails and infected nail beds. Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Brush and floss your teeth: At the very least, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Brushing minimizes the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Wash your hands: We all know this one… Washing your hands before preparing or eating food, after going to the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after handling garbage, goes a long way toward preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses. Keep a hygiene product, like an alcohol-based sanitizing gel, handy for when soap and water isn’t available.
  • Sleep: Get plenty of rest. At least 8 hours. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling run down and can compromise your body’s natural defenses, your immune system.

Domestic Hygiene

It is also important that everything in your living space is kept clean. Rubbish and dirt build up quicker than most people realize, allowing germs and parasites to multiply and grow. This will lead to people living in the space getting sick.

Domestic hygiene activities include all the jobs which are done to keep the household and people’s clothes and bedding clean.

  • Sweeping and washing floors
  • Dusting all surfaces
  • Cleaning toilets, showers and sinks
  • Washing clothes and bedding
  • Washing dishes and cooking utensils after meals
  • Washing your pets and cleaning up after them

Additional steps that you can take to keep your household clean include:

  • Taking off shoes before entering your home: This helps lessen the chances of bringing outside bacteria into the home (ie. Animal droppings, dust, dirt, mud etc.) At the very least, keep your shoes off furniture.
  • Donating or throwing away things you don’t need: A cluttered home provides more space for bacteria to hide and grow.
  • Keeping a schedule: If you have a busy calendar, schedule time to clean so that it does not get overlooked or pushed off.

References:



Remember, your pharmacist is a part of your healthcare provider team. It is important that you take the opportunity to ask your pharmacist key questions that will help you understand your prescribed therapy. How much you know about your prescribed medication will help empower you to optimize the way you comply with your therapy and potentially enhance the intended therapeutic benefit. Here are a few questions to ask your pharmacist regarding your prescribed medications:

  • Will this prescription interact with my current medications?
  • When should I ideally take this medication?
  • How should I take this medication; ie. With or without food, avoiding certain foods…
  • What are some side effects (adverse events) that I should be aware of?
  • Is the dose for this medication fixed? Or may I adjust based on my symptoms?
  • Are there generic forms for this medication with identical therapeutic benefit?
  • I take …(mention any over the counter supplements you may be taking)…, will any of these over the counter supplements potentially interact with this prescription medication?
  • If I miss a dose, should I attempt to make up for it by taking it once I remember, or should I stick with the prescription schedule allowing for a missed dose?
  • Is there anything specific to this medication that I haven’t considered that I should know about? Please assume that even the most elementary points are of interest to me.

Your healthcare provider team works hard to collaborate, optimize and calculate your therapy. You should know that you are also an integral factor in your therapeutic outcomes. Join the team by ensuring you ask the questions above and become an engaged team member for your greater health outcomes.



As winter sets in and we enter the coldest months of the season, we often start to feel and see the effects on our health. Winter poses unique health problems that we do not generally see throughout the year due to colder temperatures, less hours of daylight and less access to fresh and healthy foods. If we are aware of what may be coming our way over the next few months implementing a few easy things into your life can prevent winter from getting the best of you.

  • Common cold/flu/sore throat/cough

It is no surprise to anyone that you are more likely to get sick during the winter and this year has been especially bad for many of our patients. While the cold weather does not cause the viruses, we are spending more time indoors and in close proximity of each other, which allows viruses to spread easily. The cardinal rule to avoiding viruses and bacteria is hand washing. Whether you work in an open plan office, ride SEPTA to work or stay at home with your children, washing hands often and thoroughly with warm soapy water can help keep many of the viruses and bacteria at bay. As with any illness, when you start to feel that tickle in your throat or increase in fatigue, listen to your body. It is best not to try to push through. Start to increase hydration, rest and limit exposure to the cold air. If you are feeling sick, we always recommend avoiding public spaces to protect others around you. If you have been feeling unwell for a few days or weeks and feel you need to be evaluated in our office, we try to keep appointment slots open daily for you to be seen.

  • Dry skin

With increase in hand washing and a decrease in moisture in the air our skin starts to dry and can sometimes even crack. Using an unscented cream or Vaseline on the dry areas between hand washing or bathing can help replenish the skins hydration. Another simple solution for dry skin is increasing water intake, this will rehydrate your skin from inside out. Avoid harsh soaps, and use warm water rather than hot water when bathing to prevent stripping your skin of its natural moisture. It is also recommended to use a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep to counter the dry air coming from heaters.

  • Poor indoor air quality

We tend to spend more time indoors with windows shut and heaters going during the winter. To ensure that the air you are breathing is clean make sure to change your air filters, vacuum and dust surfaces more often than normal and wash your bed linens regularly. If you are using heaters or have a fireplace, make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.

  • Seasonal depression or winter blues

Even if you do not have seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder it is not uncommon to feel more lethargic and less happy during the winter months. Days are shorter and nights are longer and getting into sunlight and outside regularly can be a challenge. Do you best to stick to your normal routine throughout the year, plan activities to get you out of the house and keep up with exercise and activity. It can feel hard to get up and go in the winter, but finding a friend or partner to do this with you can help you get there and keep your mood lifted.

  • Weight gain

As winter sets in we start to lean into comfort foods and foods that are convenient. There is also a lack of fresh vegetables in the winter that make our meals less bright and healthy. Make sure to make your meals as colorful as possible with a variety of vegetables and lean proteins. Canned and frozen vegetables can make that easier during winter months or try a new winter vegetable or recipe you have never tried before! And as always, get out and get moving for at least 30 minutes per day.

Be proactive about your health this season. We are still offering flu vaccines at the office and it is not too late to get yours. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Stay active and engaged with friends and family. And as always, stay hydrated and listen to your body when it needs a bit more rest than normal.



Celebrating American Heart Month every February provides an annual opportunity to reflect on our lifestyle choices, and how these impact our cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading killer of both men and women in the U.S. (and increasingly, worldwide).  CVD includes Coronary Artery Disease, Stroke, and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).  Many of the biggest risk factors for CVD-related morbidity and mortality are preventable and modifiable.  Smoking, overweight/obesity, poor diet, and inactivity all contribute to increased CVD risk.  Modifying these risk factors, in turn, can prevent/improve other well-known risks, including Hypertension, Diabetes, and High cholesterol.

Smoking is perhaps the biggest modifiable risk factor for CVD—don’t start!  Stopping smoking will start lowering one’s cardiovascular risk within months, and within years, a former smoker’s risk is equivalent to that of a nonsmoker.  It really is never too late to quit, from a cardiovascular perspective.

Improving one’s diet improves heart heath independently, but also by reducing other CVD risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Following a diet which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber, monounsaturated fats, and foods with a low glycemic index, as well as 2-3 servings of seafood weekly (a great source of omega-3 fatty acids), is advised.  The Mediterranean Diet is a great example of a heart-healthy diet strategy.

Physical activity is one of the most critical tools for reducing one’s CVD risk and for weight loss.  Most experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week for heart health (less if you are exercising more vigorously).  Conversely, studies have also shown that prolonged periods of inactivity, such as sitting at work or watching TV, can increase your cardiovascular risk significantly.  The answer—get up and get moving!   Even lower-intensity exercise such as brisk walking makes a difference.

Making therapeutic lifestyle changes can have a tremendous impact on your cardiovascular health.  It can be daunting to alter longstanding habits, but the benefits are immeasurable.  Enlist help if you need it—see a nutritionist, get a trainer, set up a lunchtime walking date with a coworker or an office appointment to discuss medication for smoking cessation—whatever it takes!   Your heart is worth it!



It is after hours and you are experiencing health-related concerns. Your PCP is not available; you have two options: urgent care or emergency room.  What is the difference and which one should you choose?

Simply put, the difference is the severity of the health problem. If the condition is life-threatening and your care may require rapid or advanced treatments, go to an emergency room. If you have a minor illness or injury that needs to be treated right away, but is not a true emergency, go to an urgent care.

At Rittenhouse Women’s Wellness Center, we encourage all of our patients to contact us if you are experiencing any type of health related issue. While in most cases we will recommend you come into our office to be evaluated, sometimes we will not be able to see you as quickly as an urgent care or an emergency room would. Even if we cannot be the ones to see you, we want to help you make a decision on what to do next.

As a guide…

Here are symptoms that are best evaluated in an urgent care:

  • Fever without a rash
  • Vomiting or persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Dehydration
  • Moderate flu-like symptoms
  • Sprains and strains
  • Small cuts that may require stitches

Here are symptoms that are best evaluated in an emergency room:

  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Weakness/numbness on one side
  • Slurred speech
  • Fainting/change in mental state
  • Serious burns
  • Head or eye injury
  • Concussion/confusion
  • Broken bones and dislocated joints
  • Fever with a rash
  • Seizures
  • Severe cuts that may require stitches
  • Facial lacerations
  • Severe cold or flu symptoms
  • Vaginal bleeding with pregnancy


Winter is just around the corner—the days are getting shorter and the holidays are upon us. Winter can be a depressing time of year for many as the holidays wrap up, the hours of darkness increase, and the temps continue to drop. However, cooler temps have a number of health benefits including: the ability to burn more calories, fight infections, and clear up skin—all of which can make the holiday season and winter months a little brighter.

When exposed to the cold our bodies are constantly working to keep us warm and regulate our core body temps. This process uses a significant amount of energy and burns calories in the process. Exposing your body to cooler temps also helps to increase your amount of brown fat. Brown fat is mitochondria rich fat which helps to boost your metabolism making it easier to burn more calories and indulge in a few extra holiday treats.

Throughout the winter we are exposed to more viruses, such as the common cold and the flu. However, cold winter weather enhances our immune system. Studies have shown that stress-inducing conditions, such as exposing yourself to cold temperatures, activates the immune system. Additionally, during the winter months allergies are low and sleep is enhanced further increasing the body’s ability to fight infections. While we may be more at risk, we are better able to fight off infections in the winter months.

Lastly, cooler temps make for clearer skin. When skin is exposed to moderately cool temps the blood vessels constrict, meaning there is a decrease in blood flow to the vessels closest to the skin. This constriction leads to less redness and inflammation. Plus, during colder months your skin naturally produces less oil and sebum the culprit of acne breakouts. Despite these benefits winter can also be very drying to the skin so it is extremely important to continue to moisturize throughout the winter as much as possible to give your skin that nice flawless winter glow.

To read more about the health benefits of clearer skin you can follow this link.

https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/beauty/a27237/reasons-why-the-cold-weather-is-actually-good-for-your-skin



One of the top reasons patients come in to see their primary care provider is because they are having musculoskeletal pain or chronic pain. It is common for patients to want a “quick fix” or something that will take away their pain immediately, but non-pharmacologic pain management often has better outcomes and better long-term pain control. Additionally, it has been shown that the long-term use of pain medications have diminishing effects over time and can cause other chronic health problems.

Pain, especially chronic pain, does not always correlate to the physical state of the body but there are many contributing factors including sleep, nutrition, stress, and emotions. A non-pharmacologic approach to pain management includes, but is not limited to, physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, and psychotherapy.

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapists are highly trained and skilled in assessment and diagnosis of causes of pain. They can prescribe exercises targeting your specific impairments and help you with lifestyle modifications and pain management strategies that can safely decrease pain symptoms. The results from physical therapy often have long-term benefits
  • Exercise: It is often thought that when in pain resting is the best method to ease discomfort, but it is actually shown to increase pain and cause weakness in the area. Gentle movements and walking can successfully decrease pain and prevent the area that is causing discomfort to become stiff or weak.
  • Acupuncture: Alternative modalities and holistic approaches to pain management have varying degrees of efficacy but many studies show that acupuncture is clinically proven to reduce pain with long-term benefits. Many insurance companies are now covering acupuncture services as pain management therapy.
  • Psychotherapy: Pain is often rooted in depression, anxiety or mental stress. Seeking care from a mental health professional or engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy can greatly reduce pain symptoms.


Getting an appropriate amount of restful sleep is important for a variety of reasons. Sleep effects our mental and cognitive function, our immune systems, and our general overall health. If we are not getting enough sleep, we may experience poor health outcomes including new or worsening anxiety and depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, about 1/3 of adults in the United States are not getting enough sleep.

There are many things that we can do to help improve our quality and duration of sleep. If you are struggling to get adequate sleep, try to incorporate at least a few of the following recommendations into your daily bedtime routine:

– Have a sleep schedule: Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day.
– Avoid naps, especially later in the day.
– Limit caffeine during the day, especially within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
– Exercise daily: The current recommendations are to get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise.
– Avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
– Create a relaxing sleep environment: this may include a cool bedroom, blackout curtains or an eye mask, and a sound machine or ear plugs.
– If you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, go into a different room and participate in a relaxing activity until you feel drowsy enough to fall asleep again.



Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus. Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent with regular screening tests and vaccinations. It is also very curable when found and treated early.

What causes cervical cancer?

Most cervical cancer is caused by an infection with HPV. HPV is a virus that enters cells and can cause them to change. HPV is spread by skin to skin contact, which means that condoms may not protect you. Some strains of the virus cause genital warts, however most strains cause no symptoms at all. Most of the time, your immune system will clear the virus on its own. If HPV does not go away on its own, it may cause cervical cancer over time.

Other factors which can increase your risk of cervical cancer are:

  • Smoking
  • Long-term oral contraception
  • HIV or reduced immunity
  • Multiple sex partners
  • Multiple Births

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Most of the time you may not notice any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer. Signs of advanced cervical cancer may include; abnormal bleeding or discharge from the vagina. These symptoms may not be caused by cervical cancer, but the only way to be sure is to discuss your symptoms with your provider

How often do I need to be screened for cervical cancer?

How often you should be screened depends on your and your health history. Talk with your provider to find out what is best for you

Most women can follow these guidelines:

  • If you are between the ages 21 and 29, you should get a Pap test every 3 years
  • If you are between the ages 30 and 64, you should get a Pap test and HPV test every 3-5 years
  • If you are 65 or older, ask your provider if you can stop screenings

How can I lower my chances of getting cervical cancer?

Prevention and treatment of cervical cancer continues to move forward; the best way to protect yourself is to make careful choices about sexual activity, consider getting the HPV vaccine and to continue your routine screenings and annual wellness exams.



You may have seen the slogan on a bumper sticker or a poster stating “Don’t Take Your Organs to Heaven, Heaven Knows We Need Them Here”.  Every day, 22 people die because they are unable to receive a life-saving transplant in time.  Every day, over 2,000 children and 100,000 adults continue to wait for the life-saving transplant they require.  And every 10 minutes, another child or adult is added to that ever-growing list.   April is National Donate Life Month and there is no greater time to be the heroine that someone needs and to commit to registering as an organ donor at RegisterMe.Org.

One donor can save up to 8 lives, restore vision to 2 people and heal more than 75 through organ and tissue donation.  However, you are allowed to dictate which organs and tissue that you wish to donate.  You are still able to have an open casket funeral and your family does not incur the costs associated with organ donation.  Every major religion approves of organ donation.

As a former Emergency Department nurse, I am unfortunately all too familiar with the pain and suffering that families and patients go through while waiting on a transplant match.  I am also familiar with some of the myths surrounding organ donation – the most common being that if a patient was an organ donor, we would not work as hard to save them.  I can personally attest to the fact that we have no idea whether or not our patients are organ donors unless one of their family members tells us of their donor status to ensure that their loved one’s wishes were met.  It is so important to tell your friends and family that you are a donor so that this selfless gift can be honored in times of crisis.

Here in Philadelphia, we are fortunate enough to benefit from the professionalism and experience of the Gift of Life Donor Program. Time is of the essence in those fraught moments where difficult decisions need to be made but I have personally witnessed the compassion with which Gift of Life transplant coordinators have guided and empowered family members respecting the final wishes of their loved ones.

Organ Donation is a way to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy.  It is a beautiful thing to know that your gift will provide another person the gift of health.  It is a comfort to those left behind to know that a part of their loved one is still living through another.  And it is an excellent time to register today so that you can be the heroine someone in the future will need.  In honor of National Donate Life Month, visit RegisterMe.Org to register as an Organ Donor or visit donors1.org for more information from the Gift of Life Donor Program.


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1632 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-735-7992
Fax: 215-735-7991
Email: info@rwwc.com

Hours

Monday – Friday:  8am – 8pm

Saturday: 9am – 2pm

Sunday: Closed

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