The Importance of Adequate Sleep in Your Teen’s Health

By: Meg Irish

Ever wonder why your teenager is habitually grouchy when they come home from school? Rather than just a bad day, it could be a lack of sleep. Most teenagers are not getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, which can lead to many health and behavior problems.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends teenagers 13 to 18 years of age sleep eight to ten hours a night during this critical stage of growth and development. We know that there can be long-term impacts associated with poor sleep, which include a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, enlarged tonsils, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior. Read more

man sitting on ground holding foot

Common Foot and Ankle Injuries in Athletes

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, there’s no doubt you are more susceptible to injury, particularly foot and ankle injuries. This can be a hard pill to swallow for athletes limiting their ability to run, jump, and even walk.

When our feet aren’t able to effectively pick up the load, other structures and tissues are bound to compensate, which sets the stage for injury. Our feet serve as the foundation for the rest of our body. Ensuring they are functioning properly plays a vital role in performance and health. Often athletes unwittingly sacrifice their feet, setting themselves up for injury. Here are a few of the most common foot and ankle problems to watch for and preventative measures to keep you in the game.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury and is linked to athletes who perform sports with repetitive action or abrupt motion, such as tennis, soccer, or dance. This causes intense strain on the tendon and will result in inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Treatment for this condition varies depending on severity. For moderate injuries, Sara E. Zelinskas, DPM of TPMG Foot and Ankle in Virginia Beach recommends the following treatments: heel lift, night splint, and physical therapy to help reduce inflammation and strengthen the affected area. Read more

Local Hand Surgeon Joins TPMG Orthopedics Division

Newport News, VA, May 29, 2019 – TPMG is pleased to welcome local hand surgeon Nicholas A. Smerlis, MD, FAAOS, CAQSH, to their Orthopedics division as of June 3, 2019.

Dr. Nicholas Smerlis, Hand  Surgeon

Nicholas A. Smerlis, MD, FAAOS, CAQSH

Dr. Smerlis is widely recognized as the premier hand surgeon in our area, and we are thrilled to have his expertise joining the TPMG family.

“As TPMG continues to grow we’re excited to welcome Dr. Smerlis to our team to meet the demands of our community,“ said Scott J. Banning, MD, President of TPMG. 

“This is an exciting time for TPMG and TPMG Orthopedics. Shane McGowan, MD will also be joining the practice in September as a fellowship trained spine surgeon,” said David Warren, CEO of TPMG. 
These two exceptional surgeons will join a robust practice of talented physicians and help to create a comprehensive Orthopedic practice offering the best care in Southeastern Virginia. 
Dr. Smerlis is a board certified orthopedic hand surgeon specializing in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of the hand, wrist, and elbow. He is board certified in both General Orthopaedics and Hand Subspecialty by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons. Read more


What Parents Need to Know During a Measles Outbreak

As the number of measles cases hits a record high this year, surpassing previous annual totals this century, parents are raising concerns. The disease, which was once eliminated in the United States, has resurfaced and spread across 23 states with an estimated 764 cases in May 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What is the measles?

A highly contagious airborne virus, the measles is transmitted by direct contact and infectious droplets. The virus can live on surfaces for up to two hours and can be spread days before visible symptoms are present or after recovery. Initial symptoms include fever, runny nose, watery eyes, followed by a rash starting from the head and spreading to the rest of the body. In some cases, measles can cause severe health complications including pneumonia and encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. Read more

TPMG and Virginia Oncology Associates Presenting Men’s Health Seminar in Newport News

TPMG is proud to partner with Virginia Oncology Associates and Anthem HealthKeepers to present a Men’s Health Seminar

Newport News, VA – Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (TPMG) is proud to partner with Virginia Oncology Associates (VOA) to present the “Man Up” Men’s Health Seminar on Saturday, June 8th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The seminar features physicians from a variety of medical specialties and includes topics ranging from prostate cancer to genetic testing for cancer. This is a great opportunity for men across Hampton Roads to learn more about specific topics related to their health and speak to professionals who specialize in the field.  Read more

What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist?

The difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is not common knowledge but choosing an eye care provider is an important healthcare decision.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specializing in eye and vision care who receives twelve or more years of training and education. Ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine and surgery and this advanced training gives them the ability to diagnose and treat a wider degree of conditions than optometrists. Since ophthalmologists are medical doctors, they often can be the first one to recognize signs of hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid disease, tumors, autoimmune disease, and more.

“In the eyes, you actually have an unobstructed view of microcirculation when you’re looking at the blood vessels in the retina.  There is nowhere else in the body that you have this direct view, other than surgically, so it’s important for individuals with issues of circulation, like hypertension and diabetes, to have their eyes examined.  This gives the physician a unique window into the disease process,” said TPMG Ophthalmologist Anthony DeRosa, MD.


Alternatively, an optometrist is not a medical doctor and is not trained in systemic diseases. An optometrist receives a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and provides vision care ranging from vision testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. Optometrists in the United States are licensed to prescribe medications to treat certain eye problems and diseases, and the scope of care is determined by state law. Read more

Sun Protection is More than Just Simple SPF  

We all think an hour or two in the sun won’t hurt us, a little vitamin D is good for you, right? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at least 5 million cases of skin cancer happen each year. In fact, it’s the most common cancer in the U.S. with 1 in 5 Americans developing skin cancer in their lifetime.   

How to protect your skin  

Protecting your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays plays an important role in reducing your risk of developing skin cancer. Preventative measures include using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, avoiding prolonged sun exposure between peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., wearing a broad-brimmed hat, wearing protective clothing, and reapplying sunscreen.  

Wear sunscreen every day regardless of if it’s sunny or not; remember the sun’s out every single day and the UV rays do penetrate through the clouds, says TPMG board certified dermatologist Valerie Harvey, MD, MPH, FAAD. 

Read more

Ear infections in children

What Parents Should Know About Ear Infections in Children

Many parents know how concerning it is when their child starts to complain about an earache. Ear infections are one of the most common reasons for a children’s doctors visit. An ear infection is medically known as Otitis Media (OM), which is inflammation of the middle ear and can occur as a result of a cold, sore throat, or other upper respiratory infection. Typically caused by bacteria, this condition affects 80% of children, who have at least one episode by age 3.

What causes ear infections in children?

The high prevalence of ear infections among children is due to several reasons. Eustachian tubes in children are smaller than adults, which can make it difficult to drain fluid out of the ear. Additionally, children’s immune systems are weaker making it harder to fight infection.

Ear infections in children

What are the factors associated with a higher risk of childhood ear infections?

Factors that may increase your child’s risk of developing ear infections include second-hand smoke exposure, family history of ear infections, sub-optimal immune system, daycare attendance, absence of breastfeeding, frequent colds, bottle feeding at night or while the child is on his or her back. Read more

May Is Women's Eye Health Month

Eye Health for Women – Risk Factors and Common Eye Diseases

Why Eye Care Should Be a Top Priority for Women

With so many daily concerns, eye health may fall straight to the bottom of your list. Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 61 million U.S. adults are at high risk for vision loss, and only half have visited an eye doctor in the past twelve months.

While it is normal to notice changes in your vision and buy a pair of “readers” to get you through, don’t forget your ophthalmologist when making your doctors’ appointments this year.

Early detection is the best way to help preserve and prevent the development of common eye disease. The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges everyone to make eye health a top priority, but especially women who tend to have a higher risk of eye disease than men.

“Of all patients with macular degeneration (AMD), roughly 65 percent are women, but that’s largely because macular degeneration becomes more common as we age and women live longer than men,” said TPMG board-certified ophthalmologist Anthony DeRosa, MD.

May Is Women's Eye Health Month

May is Women’s Eye Health Month. On average women are at a higher risk for developing eye diseases than men.

Common Risks in Women

On average women are living longer than men and experience certain eye problems with age. There is also a clear gender difference in dry eye disease: women are much more likely to develop it than men because it’s often hormonally influenced. Women are also more prone to develop auto-immune diseases, which can affect your eyes as well.

Pregnancy can also affect vision as pregnant women tend to retain fluid and their corneas can change in shape, creating blurry vision. There’s also a risk of preeclampsia (1 in 20 pregnancies) and elevated blood pressure, which can cause damage to women’s retinas.

Additionally, women with diabetes are 50 times more at risk of developing eye disease than those without diabetes. Eye disease conditions associated with diabetes include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Read more

New Imaging Technology Brings Better Diagnosis to Patients

TPMG Tidewater Medical Center at New Town in Williamsburg, Virginia has recently acquired a new piece of imaging equipment, the OEC 9800 C-arm. This advanced technology allows TPMG physicians to perform a variety of imaging tests including arthrograms, a radiological test used in conjunction with an MRI to better diagnose patients with joint conditions.

What is an Arthrogram?

An arthrogram is a type of medical imaging test that looks at joints using a specialized contrast dye, which is injected into the patient’s joint and then seeps into tears making them visible. This dye allows for enhanced imaging of ligaments and cartilage in the affected joint area. Once the contrast dye is inserted, the image is captured and then sent to an orthopedic surgeon for review. At a follow-up appointment diagnosis and treatment options are discussed.


At TPMG this procedure is done at the Williamsburg Procedure Suite, conveniently located in the New Town area of Williamsburg, and is a low-cost alternative to local hospitals and surgery centers. Prior to having this technology on-site in Williamsburg, this procedure could lead to a visit at a nearby hospital lasting anywhere from four to six hours. Read more