After an insufferably long winter—one that will be remembered for its harsh temperatures and harsher gas prices—we've begun to enjoy the first of the fruits of spring. It's the time of year we begin work on our gardens and take stock of winter's damage to our exteriors (and I'm not just talking about peeling paint and dry rot). It's the time of year we return to outdoor activities, whether we're trimming our houses or trimming our figures. As healthy as this seems, it's also the time when coughs and colds give way to strains and bruises, and patients start knocking on your door with a new set of complaints. They'll come knocking, that is, unless their spring fling has led to a fingertip injury as described in this issue's cover article by Quincy C. Wang, M.D., and Brett A. Johnson, M.D., on page 1961. You won't want to miss this “Office Procedures” article, which is certain to be of help to one of your next patients.
It's probably safe to guess that you'll also see a banged-up bicyclist or two this spring, which might leave you wishing that you had read the article on page 2007, by Matthew J. Thompson, M.B., Ch.B., and Frederick P. Rivara, M.D., M.P.H. It would probably also be a good idea to take advantage of the patient information handout on injury prevention (page 2017), which might encourage your patients to use helmets and safety gear.
For your patients who like to wander through the woods, you might need the information on page 1969, in the article “When to Suspect and How to Monitor Babesiosis,” by Eleftherios Mylonakis, M.D. Babesiosis is a tick-borne hemolytic disease caused by intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites that may be encountered in woody and grassy northeastern coastal areas in the United States. Be sure to note the patient information handout on this disease, on page 1976.
If you're not in the groove for spring after this issue, don't worry. AFP has other seasonal topics in store for upcoming issues, such as fishhook removal and health issues related to scuba diving. But it's also not too soon to plan for next winter, with a review of the update on pneumococcal vaccine by Richard Kent Zimmerman, M.D., M.P.H. (page 1991) and its accompanying handout for parents (page 2003).