How does a busy ER doctor juggle a full-time gig on daytime TV? Just ask Dr. Travis Stork. The one-time star of ABC’s The Bachelor now makes his rounds as host of the syndicated talk show The Doctors offering audiences a daily dose of medical advice. Our reporter Mia Evans-Saracual has more.
Stork: If you’d asked me five years ago, would I be sitting here talking to you, I would have said no way! No possibility.
Evans-Saracual: How do you manage the schedule? You’re working full-time here at Vanderbilt Medical Center in the ER, and you travel out to LA to host the show.
Stork: It’s been the perfect balance, because both jobs support one another. I really couldn’t do one without the other.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Dr. Travis Stork splits his time between Nashville and Los Angeles. On the set of The Doctors, he’s a natural, but he’ll admit making the jump to TV was a rocky ride.
Stork: The very first day I walked out to host a show, you better believe I was scared, because I had never done it before! But over time, I’ve learned that if I just act the same whether there is a camera in front of me or not, people will see that this is me. This is just Travis. At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is that there is good, sound medical information. I hope I can help people avoid a trip to the ER someday.
Evans-Saracual: I know one way to prevent a trip to the ER has nothing to do with eating and exercise, but everything to do with your cell phone.
Stork: Texting while driving is essentially the same as drinking while driving. It’s just so tempting. You’ll get a text, and you’re tempted to look. On some days, 25 percent of the accidents we see are due to texting.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Eighteen states and Washington, DC, have already banned texting while driving.
Stork: It’s one of those things where until it happens to you, you don’t realize how easy it is to get into an accident while texting. You could hurt yourself or someone else. It’s not worth it.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: One way to keep your health in check and stay out of the ER is to manage your stress level. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, digestive problems and weakening of the immune system.
Evans-Saracual: How do you manage the level of stress that you must handle everyday and what do you do to personally stay healthy?
Stork: We’re all prone to stress. We’re all busy, and it’s really what we do in our own lives. The choices we make that we do have control over. It’s how active we are, and every time we sit down to eat a meal, that’s impacting our lives, impacting our stress and impacting how long we are going to live.
Evans-Saracual: A recent national survey revealed that 72 percent of the adult population are either overweight or obese or morbidly obese and that was on the CDC website.
Stork: Obesity is such a rampant problem. It’s increasing in prevalence so much, because we live rather sedentary lives. We spend a lot of time on the computer, watching TV. The problem is our human bodies are not designed to live this way. Some of the foods that we eat on a regular basis, they lead to heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure and early death. The beauty is it’s reversible. Fill your life with fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Whatever ones you like, choose them. Don’t eat things you don’t like. Eat things you enjoy. If I told you that there’s a miracle pill, it’s free. It’s going to add years to your life. It’s proven to make you happier. It’s proven to make you smarter. It’s proven to make you a better spouse, a better parent. A better person. Would you take that?
Evans-Saracual: Yes, definitely.
Stork: You’re going to enjoy it! That’s what being active is. It’s not exercise. It’s being active. Get out there in the garden. Whatever it is that you like to do, be active. If it’s just a walk with your husband or your significant other after dinner, with your kids… because every time you’re active, you’re giving your heart a workout.
Evans-Saracual: With all the news about the swine flu outbreak, what is it that you want to tell families about being prepared this flu season?
Stork: This is a flu season that could be particularly bad for both seasonal flu cases, which is the traditional flu that we get vaccinated for and H1N1, otherwise known as “Swine Flu”. So people this year do have to get two vaccines if they want to be protected against the seasonal flu and the swine flu. They are two separate vaccines. If we’re smart, you can actually avoid the swine flu, the regular flu and the common cold just by making simple changes. Washing your hand regularly for about 20 seconds and not touching your eyes, your mouth or your nose.
Evans-Saracual: For parents who do have a child who are sick with the flu, what do they do?
Stork: Keep them hydrated. Keep their fevers down. Watch your child. Pay attention. If your child’s not breathing right, if they are getting blue around their lips, if they are not feeding, then you need to take them to the doctor, take them to the ER. What I say to every parent: if your child gets the flu or you get the flu, it’s not a time to panic. Call your doctor and they can give you some guidance. But most kids are doing great with this.