Under Pressure

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Get pumped about managing Hypertension!

Considering nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, it’s a term we hear frequently, but what is it exactly? High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is when the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries is consistently too high. When left untreated, hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. It’s normal for our blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, but when it stays high for long periods of time your heart can be damaged leading to health problems or even death. The good news is, there several steps you can take to manage hypertension and live a healthy life!

Stop Smoking.

You should do this today. Smoking is harmful for many reasons and we encourage all patients who are smokers to quit immediately. It’s often easier said than done, so check with your provider for some strategies to ensure you quit smoking for good.

Exercise.

Physical activity strengthens your heart, and a stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort, thus decreasing the force on your arteries and lowering your blood pressure. For some patients, exercise lowered blood pressure enough to quit taking medication. Daily exercise can also prevent hypertension as you grow older. If you are implementing a new exercise routine, or starting to exercise for the first time, be sure to chat with your doctor before you begin.

Eat a Heart Healthy Diet.

In other words: put down the salt shaker! Incorporating the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) into your daily life can have a big impact on not just hypertension, but your health overall.

DASH DIET:

  • Eat more vegetables and fruit
  • Eat less foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fats
  • Eat more whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts
  • East less sodium, sugar and red meats

The diet itself is pretty simple but following it can be a challenge. Try making small changes at first and ease your way into a new diet. Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner, choose fruit, plain popcorn or low-fat yogurt as your afternoon snack, switch to low-fat dairy products, limit how much butter, salad dressing or other condiments you use, and if you don’t know already, learn to read food nutrition labels and choose low sodium foods.  

Take Your Medications.

You may not be able to manage you high blood pressure with diet and exercise alone, but there are medications that can help you reach your blood pressure goal. Talk with your doctor about the right approach for you. They will know when it’s time to work medications into your routine. Once you are prescribed a medication for high blood pressure, it’s important to take it exactly as directed. If you are not able to follow your physician’s instructions, be sure to discuss your options at your next appointment. Don’t make changes to your treatment without guidance from your doctor.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home.

Once you implement changes into your lifestyle, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis to understand if you are going in the right direction. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to check it daily to ensure your numbers are stable and staying in a safe zone. Check with your provider for best practices for measuring your blood pressure at home. They can also help you find the right fit when it comes to purchasing a cuff. Once you’re ready to go, use this helpful log to keep track of your numbers for the month.


Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from getting the care you need. We put protocols in place to ensure your safety while visiting any IHA practice. Contact your primary care physician or cardiologist to schedule your next appointment today.

Originally posted February 2020

Flu Season 2021

We’re seeing less flu activity in the wake of COVID-19

Before COVID-19, Influenza was the virus making headlines every fall. This year however, we’re seeing unusually low flu activity at IHA, a 98% decline in positive cases in fact, but numbers are also much lower around the country according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

It’s not entirely a surprise to see flu numbers drop. People are staying home more, washing their hands, wearing masks and social distancing when they do go out. Since the flu virus spreads via respiratory droplets in a similar way to COVID-19, all the protections that are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19 are helping to curtail the spread of influenza. People are also taking more precautions when they are symptomatic with an illness and staying home. Going to work or school sick, coughing or sneezing is a thing of the past.

It’s not just Michigan seeing a drop in cases of the flu, the CDC reports that seasonal flu activity is lower than usual this year nationally. Take a look at these flu activity maps for the same week January 2020 versus January 2021. Most states are reporting minimal cases of the flu this year, while last year it dominated the map.

Perhaps the biggest contributor to the decline of influenza this year has to do with children, who have been attending school virtually across much of the state and country or at least wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands while at school. Kids are catching the flu virus in smaller numbers and are not bringing it home to their parents and families like in past years.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


The flu season is not over and it’s not too late to be vaccinated against the flu! A flu shot is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.

Contact your primary care practice to schedule a flu shot today.

COVID-19 Vaccine Myths & Facts

The development of the COVID-19 vaccine brings hope that we will soon be able to hug loved ones, greet people without a mask and meet friends for dinner. While the COVID-19 vaccines available have been proven safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, it’s understandable that there may be some apprehension around getting the vaccine. We’re here to help sort out the myths from the facts, so you can confidently get your vaccination and move toward an end to the pandemic.

Visit ihacares.com/covid19 for the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates and frequently asked questions .

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

The COVID-19 vaccine offers hope for the future, but for now ending this pandemic will require all the available tools. Your best defense against COVID-19 is the combination of the vaccine, wearing a mask, social distancing and continuing to wash your hands.

If you have symptoms of COIVD-19 or have been exposed, save your spot at one of our testing locations.

Virtual Care at IHA

Communication tips for the best virtual patient experience

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries to rethink how they deliver services to the public. The medical field is no different. Virtual Care, or healthcare via phone, video or email, offers access to timely medical care without leaving home or entering a waiting room in-person. This format is new to a lot of patients, so we pulled together our providers recommendations for a successful telehealth medical appointment.  

  • Practice using the technology. Download the platform (IHA providers use Zoom) ahead of your appointment time. Then, make sure it works! Virtual appointments require both video and audio. Ensure your device meets the requirements, know how to join your video appointment and do so a few minutes early.
  • Consider using headphones with a microphone for better sound and privacy.
  • Know where to go to troubleshoot any issues that come up.  Logging on early will give you an opportunity to work out issues before your provider joins the conversation. Visit ihacares.com/resources/video-appointments for information on video appointments with an IHA provider.
  • Find a quiet space where you can focus on your conversation with your provider. Discourage interruptions by putting a sign on your office door or tell those around you it’s not a good time to interrupt.
  • Eliminate distractions before your appointment begins – do not login for your video appointment from the car, cafeteria, bathroom, or while making dinner.
  • Consider your background. Try to minimize natural light by not sitting in front of a window. The glare can make it difficult for your provider to see you in your video.
  • Bring a flashlight along to your appointment if you have a skin issue such as a lesion or rash to help your provider your skin. Measure the are prior to the appointment if possible.
  • Confirm your insurance coverage and copays for telehealth appointments. Virtual appointment coverage varies based on insurance companies, so be sure to confirm your personal coverage ahead of time to avoid unexpected bills.
  • Treat a virtual appointment as you would an in-person appointment. Have relevant health history and treatments at your fingertips and come prepared with your questions or concerns. Write them down beforehand if possible.
  • If you would have brought someone else with you to your in-person appointment, have them sit with you, virtually or in-person if you are living with them, for your virtual appointment. It can be helpful later to have a second person listening and even taking notes. They may hear something you miss or come up with a question you may not have thought of.
  • If you use medical devices on a regular basis (blood pressure monitor, heart monitor, thermometer, glucometer, etc.), have them close at hand during your virtual appointment. Or better yet, take readings prior to your call or video appointment.

When it comes to healthcare, we understand patients have individual needs and one size doesn’t fit all! So we offer several ways to access care – Actually 5!

Allowing patients to get care in a way that works best for them is what we’re all about. Click below to schedule your appointment, your way.

Managing Anxiety

How does anxiety look & feel during a pandemic?

by Alberto Nacif, MD

Pandemics can be stressful. Holidays and elections can be stressful. Virtual school, social distancing and not seeing friends and loved ones can be stressful too. All these things together can be a recipe for anxiety. Anxiety and fear can feel overwhelming for both adults and children alike. Sometimes it can be hard to identify anxiety or understand the strong emotions that can come along with anxiety, especially for children.

What does anxiety look and feel like?

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Changes in behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances

What do you do when feeling anxious?

Being there for and taking care of family and friends is important but you should create a healthy balance with caring for yourself too. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control on coping with the stress that comes with living through a pandemic.

  • Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
    • If you think you may need a COVID-19 test, save your spot at an IHA testing location: ihacares.com/saveyourspot
  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
  • Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
  • Make time for quiet. If you find comfort in prayer or meditation, make time to incorporate this quiet time into your day. As little as 10 minutes can make a difference in your anxiety level. 

Quick tips for taking control of your anxiety.

  1. Take control of your breathing. Try square breathing: breathe in through your nose, pause, breathe out through your mouth and pause, counting to four at each step. Watch Alberto Nacif, MD give instructions on square breathing here: https://bit.ly/2Izy1aL
  2. Tighten and relax your muscles. In areas where you feel physical tension tighten your muscles and then relax them. 
  3. Go to your happy place. Yes! It does exist! Think of a time or a place in your life where you felt at ease, happy or at peace. Focus on the positive feelings associated with this moment in time.

Know when it’s time to seek medical professional help.

If stress or anxiety get in the way of your daily life several days in a row, it may be time to contact your primary care provider. There are many resources available for managing these feelings and your provider can help you find the best fit for you.

Celebrating Thanksgiving During COVID-19

Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Please be sure to follow the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) orders to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.

Wear a Mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.

  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu.
  • Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Wash your hands.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Attending a gathering.

Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the MDHHS order, consider these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering:

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

Hosting a gathering.

If having guests to your home, please limit the number of people based on the MDHHS order. Additional ideas that can make your celebration safer include:

  • Have a small outdoor meal.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils and plates.

Consider new Thanksgiving activities.

Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you

  • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.

Watch television and play games with people in your household

  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
  • Find a fun game to play.

Shopping

  • Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
  • Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
  • Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.

Other Activities

  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.

Safe travel tips for college students.

There is no universal approach to Thanksgiving this year for colleges and universities. Though some are encouraging students to stay on campus for the holiday, others are allowing them to go home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Still more are sending students home to begin their winter break or finish their semesters remotely.

Take the risk seriouslyYoung people have been identified as sources of some family outbreaks, infecting their older, more vulnerable relatives who live in the same household. Experts also point out that travel could increase students’ risk of exposure to the virus, and that holiday celebrations held indoors could facilitate transmission.

Self-quarantine and get testedIn the days before leaving campus, students should be tested, preferably with a PCR test, the laboratory test used to diagnose the coronavirus. Many colleges and universities have been regularly testing their students, and some have rolled out special guidance for holiday travel.

Source: Centers for Disease Control


Save Your Spot for drive-up COVID-19 testing at select IHA Urgent Care locations 

During this pandemic, feeling sick can be scary. If you have symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, it is important to get tested for COVID-19. You should always contact your doctor with questions or concerns, but having test results will help with their recommendations for your care. 

IHA offers convenient drive-up COVID-19 testing for new and established patients. We offer both PCR and Rapid tests. Your provider will determine which test is best for you based on your symptoms. Rapid testing is not always recommended. Do not go to your local IHA Urgent Care or emergency department for COVID-19 testing. 

Patients in need of a COVID-19 test, please be aware:
1. You must have an appointment. Save Your Spot at one of our COVID-19 testing locations below.
2. Testing is being prioritized for symptomatic patients and patients who have had a high-risk exposure.
3. COVID-19 test results usually take 24 to 72 hours to return, but due to recent significant increases in testing – results are taking up to 5 days.
4. If you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have not had a high-risk exposure, please visit Michigan.gov to find an alternate testing location. 

Flu Vaccine FAQs

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Flu season is here, which means Flu SHOT season is also here. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


What are the benefits of the flu vaccination?

Receiving the flu vaccines reduces flu illnesses, sick appointments, hospital stays, and missed time from work or school. It can also be lifesaving for high risk patients like children, seniors, and pregnant women.

Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?

The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. However, you may experience some minor side effects like, soreness, redness or swelling at the shot site, a low-grade fever, and some aches.

For those that receive the nasal spray, the viruses are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. Side effects from the nasal spray may include, runny nose, sore throat, cough, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, or fever.

Who should get vaccinated this season?

Everyone six months of age and older should receive a flu vaccine at the beginning of the flu season, typically every fall.

Who should not be vaccinated against seasonal flu?

A patients age, health or allergies may determine they should not receive the flu vaccine. Talk with your physician to ensure you or your children should receive the flu vaccine.

Should a flu vaccine be given to someone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19?

No. Vaccination should be deferred (postponed) for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, until they have met the criteria to discontinue their isolation. While mild illness is not a contraindication to flu vaccination, vaccination visits for these people should be postponed to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other patients to the virus that causes COVID-19. When scheduling or confirming appointments for vaccination, patients should be instructed to notify the provider’s office or clinic in advance if they currently have or develop any symptoms of COVID-19.

Additionally, a prior infection with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or flu does not protect someone from future flu infections. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.

Why should I get my child vaccinated?

The flu is dangerous for all people, but children under five years old are at an especially high risk when they get sick with the seasonal flu. The flu vaccine is your children’s best defense against contracting and spreading the flu.

When should I get a flu vaccine?

For people receiving one dose of the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that people get the flu vaccine by the end of October. If your child requires two doses, they will need to be given four weeks apart, so chat with your pediatrician on the best time to give the first dose. Getting the vaccine in the summer months may result in reduced protection later in the flu season, especially for high risk patients.  There are benefits to receiving the flu vaccine later in the season, so it’s never too late to be vaccinated!

How effective is the flu vaccine?

The patient’s age and health status will determine the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, as well as how well the flu in the vaccine matches the flu circulating in your community. The CDC estimates that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population, when the seasonal flu circulating is well-matched with the flu vaccine. 

Besides vaccination, how can people protect themselves against the flu?

Getting the flu vaccine every year is your best defense against the flu. People should also take preventive actions every day. These include, frequently washing hands, covering coughs using the inside of your elbow, not your hand, and avoid having contact with people who are sick (even if they haven’t been diagnosed with the flu).

Where can I get the flu vaccine?

This year’s flu shot is available at IHA Primary Care and Ob/Gyn practices and pediatric doses are available at IHA Pediatric practices. Adults and children may receive the flu shot at any IHA Urgent Care location. Click below to schedule your flu shot.

Can the flu vaccine prevent COVID-19?

No, the flu vaccine cannot prevent you from becoming infected with COVID-19. You and your family should continue practice CDC recommendations to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19, including, wearing masks outside of your home, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

What is the difference between Influenza and COVID-19?

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

There are some key differences between flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Can getting the flu shot increase your risk of getting COVID-19?

Currently, there is no evidence that getting the flu vaccine can increase your risk of getting COVID-19.

Is it safe to go out to get the flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. To protect your health when getting a flu vaccine, follow CDC’s recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits, like wearing a mask outside of your home, social distancing and frequent hand washing. Continue to take everyday preventive actions.

What is IHA doing to ensure it’s safe for me and my family to come into the office for a flu vaccine?

Patient safety is, now more than ever, our top priority. We’re taking several precautions to minimize your risk of exposure to COVID-19 while visiting an IHA practice in person, including:

  • requiring all patients, guests, staff, and providers to wear masks in our practices
  • providers and staff wear personal protective equipment
  • taking the temperature of all patients, providers, and staff upon entry into our practices
  • limiting the number of people in our practices, which means you may be asked to wait in your car instead of our waiting room
  • spacing the timing of patient appointments
  • maintaining an acceptable (greater than 6 foot) distance between patients in all common areas
  • following the cleaning protocols laid out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure safe, sanitized environments
  • in pediatric practices, we’re scheduling sick and well patients at different times of the day

Scheduling your flu shot is easy! The flu shot is available at IHA and St. Joe’s Medical Group primary care and OBGYN practices, as well as, urgent care locations.  Click below to find a time and location that work for you.

Play it Safe

How to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure while playing youth sports

Many youth sports leagues are easing back into practice and in some cases competition. While it’s a much-welcomed change after a summer of quarantine, whatever you or your children play, you should play it safe. There are a number of steps you can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and reduce the spread while playing sports. The more people a participant interacts with, the closer the physical interaction, the more sharing of equipment there is by multiple players, and the longer the interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Therefore, risk of COVID-19 spread can be different, depending on the type of activity. Read on for guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Make a game plan to reduce risk

  • Lowest Risk: Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with members of the same household
  • Increasing Risk: Team-based practice
  • More Risk: Within-team competition
  • Higher Risk: Full competition between teams from the same local geographic area (e.g., city or county)
  • Highest Risk: Full competition between teams from different geographic areas (e.g., outside county or state)
  • If organizations are not able to keep safety measures in place during competition (for example, keeping participants six feet apart at all times), they may consider limiting participation to within-team competition only (for example, scrimmages between members of the same team) or team-based practices only
  • Similarly, if organizations are unable to put in place safety measures during team-based activities, they may choose individual or at-home activities, especially if any members of the team are at an increased risk for severe illness
Source: CDC

Prepare before you participate in sports

  • Bring supplies to help you and others stay healthy—for example, masks (bring extra), hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, and drinking water.
  • Prioritize participating in outdoor activities over indoor activities and stay within your local area as much as possible.
  • If using an indoor facility, allow previous groups to leave the facility before entering with your team. If possible, allow time for cleaning and/or disinfecting.
  • Check the league’s COVID-19 prevention practices before you go to make sure they have steps in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • If you are at an increased risk for severe illness or have existing health conditions, take extra precautions and preventive actions during the activity or choose individual or at-home activities.

Stay home if sick

If the participant has symptoms of COVID-19, has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is waiting for COVID-19 test results, or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, they should stay home and not participate in any sports.

Have smaller team sizes

  • Sports with a large number of players on a team may increase the likelihood of spread compared to sports with fewer team members.
  • Limit your team to a core group of participants, by restricting non-team players from joining when your team is short players and not adding new members during the season.

Reduce physical closeness between players when possible

  • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and your teammates, other competitors, and officials while actively participating in the sport.
  • Focus on building individual skills, like batting, dribbling, kicking, and strength training.
  • Avoid high fives, handshakes, fist bumps or hugs.
  • Keep space between players in the practice areas, including on the sideline, dugout, and bench.
  • Wait in car or away from the playing area until just before the warm-up period or the beginning of the game.
  • Avoid congregating in the parking lot or near the field before or after games.
    • If it is not possible to avoid congregating, practice social distancing by ensuring there is at least 6 feet between participants.
    • If social distancing is not possible, wear a mask whenever possible to reduce risk of virus transmission.

Space out spectators by 6 feet

  • Limit nonessential visitors, spectators, and volunteers. Ensure they wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Wear a mask if possible

  • Wear a mask if feasible, especially when it is difficult to stay less than 6 feet apart from other people or indoors, for example in close contact sports such as basketball.
  • Lower intensity sports: Emphasize wearing masks and practicing social distancing for lower intensity sports.
  • Higher intensity sports: People who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing.
  • If unable to wear a mask, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.
  • In situations where individuals might raise their voices, such as shouting or chanting, we strongly encourage wearing masks.
  • For youth athletes, parents, coaches, and sports administrators should decide if the kids need to wear a mask.
  • It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for masks.

Minimize sharing of equipment or gear

  • Encourage players to bring their own equipment if possible, like gloves, balls, and helmets.
  • Limit the use of frequently touched surfaces on the field, court, or play surface.
  • Bring your own water to minimize use and touching of drinking fountains.
  • Clean and disinfect shared items between use.
  • Don’t share towels, clothing, or any items used to wipe your face or hands.
  • Avoid sharing food, drink containers (e.g., coolers), and utensils.

Cover your coughs and sneezes.

  • When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Used tissues should be thrown away and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used.

Wash hands

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
    • Before and after you play.
    • Before adjusting your mask—review information about proper use, removal, and washing of masks.

Limit travel outside of your area

  • Consider competing against teams in your local area (neighborhood, town, or community).

Checklist for coaches

  • Send a welcome email or call parents (for youth players) and/or players. Inform them about actions that the sports program will take to protect players. Remind them to stay home if sick or if they have been around someone who is sick.
  • Be a role model. Wear a mask and encourage family members, fans, officials, and sports staff to wear one during practices and games.
  • Provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to players before and after practice/game and encourage them to wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Educate players about covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their elbow. Discourage spitting.
  • youths practicing basketball
  • Encourage players to focus on building individual skills
  • Remind players about social distancing and identify markers (such as signage or tape on floor).
  • Encourage your players to focus on building their individual skills and cardiovascular conditioning, so they can limit close contact with other players.
  • Check with your sports administrator to make sure they are following cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on field, court, or play surface (such as drinking fountains) at least daily or between use.
  • Clean and disinfect shared equipment.

If you have questions or concerns about your child participating in sports this fall, make an appointment to talk it over with yout pediatric provider.

Summer Snacking

Thirst-quenching and healthy snacks perfect for hot days

We’re entering the final weeks of summer and no doubt soaking up as much time outside as we can before temperatures fall. All that time outdoors mean sweating which may put you at risk for dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as skin sensitivities. Eating fresh, in-season fruit is a great way to combat the effects of summer heat. Try one – or several – of these picks next time you head out(side).  

  • Watermelon: 90% water means it’s great for hydrating. Watermelon is also high in cramp fighting potassium, lycopene and immune-booster gluathione.
  • Grapes: At 90% water, grapes are the perfect summer snack. They are also a great source of vitamin K and manganese. Plus, with a bit of fiber, they keep you feeling full.
  • Blackberries: This powerhouse of a fruit contains a lot of polyphenols, chemicals that can help cut inflammation that leads to heart disease. They also help your lower intestine break down sugar which could lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Bananas: Before you go bananas working out, be sure you have a banana on hand. They can help your body recover from tough workouts, and some cyclists said having a banana before they ride helped them go faster and recover faster than those that only had water.
  • Pistachios: Rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals, this small, but mighty snack is also high in antioxidants and may help with inflammation. Plus, about 20 of them is only around 80 calories and less than a gram of saturated fat. You may even burn a couple calories cracking them open!
  • Lemons: Not just a pretty garnish, lemons and limes are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids. Try one in your next glass of water.
  • Kiwis: This little fruit is mean, green, germ-fighting machine! Rich in vitamins C, E and K, high in fiber and contains lutein which may protect eyes from some diseases. Like the banana, the kiwi also has some potassium, a must have for heart, muscles, nerves and more.
  • Strawberries: This summer staple if full of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and folic acid.
  • Blueberries: When it comes to antioxidants, this is a blue-ribbon berry. They give the digestive system a boost, with up to 14% of your daily fiber intake and contain vitamin c you need to promote healing and give your immune system a boost.
  • Peaches:  You’ll feel peachy after you have one. A single peach can give you 10% or more of the vitamin C you need each day. A great way to boost your immune system and help your body’s ability to heal.
  • Pineapple: This fruit tray favorite is full of vitamin C, has some fiber to help your digestive track, bromelain, an enzyme that may ease inflammation, and manganese for muscle tone and bone health. Plus, one cup contains only 82 calories!
  • Avocados: Another great source of potassium. Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats and fiber, vitamins
  • Cherries: Delicious as they are healthy, grab a bag of cherries and you’ll get the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidant quercetin. Not to mention, help kill cancer cells, control blood sugar and help prevent heart disease.
  • Cantaloupe: Sliced, cubed or blended into a smoothie, the cantaloupe is rich in potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Chilled, it’s the perfect summer afternoon treat.

Interested in learning more about how your diet impacts your health? IHA offers nutrition counseling services at many practice locations. Nutrition counseling is provided by IHA nutrition specialists/registered dietitians. Their expertise can provide you with the necessary knowledge to achieve all your individual and family dietary needs.

Learn more by contacting IHA Primary Care.

Hiring In-home services or repairs

Source: Centers for Disease Control

CDC offers the following tips for staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19 while scheduling services or repairs inside the home. This may include installation and repair of plumbing, electrical, heating, or air conditioning systems; painting; or cleaning services.

In general, the closer and longer you interact with others, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Limiting close face-to-face contact and staying at least 6 feet away from other people is the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, along with wearing masks and practicing everyday preventive actions. Before welcoming service providers into your home, consider these tips to help keep you, your family, and the service provider safe during in-home services or repairs:

Before the visit

  • Check with your local health department to see if there is a stay-at-home order in your state or local community that restricts non-essential activities or services. If a stay-at-home order is in effect in your community, consider if the service request is essential or if it can be delayed.
  • If you or someone in your home has COVID-19, has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, wait to schedule non-emergency services that require entry into your home until it is safe to be around others.
  • If you or someone in your home is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with underlying medical conditions, consider not being inside the home during the service, or find someone else who can be in the home instead.
  • Do as much of the pre-service consultation as possible before the service provider arrives, to reduce the amount of time the service provider spends inside your home. For example, discuss the details of the service request on the phone or by email, and send pictures ahead of time.
  • Discuss any COVID-19 precautions the service provider is taking, including the use of masks for the duration of the service visit, any pre-screening procedures (such as temperature checks) and using the restroom during the service call.


During the visit

  • Do not allow service providers to enter your home if they seem sick or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Ask the service provider to wear a mask before entering your home and during the service visit. Also, you and other household members should wear a mask. Consider having clean, spare masks to offer to service providers if their cloth face covering becomes wet, contaminated or otherwise soiled during the service call.
  • Avoid physical greetings, for example, handshakes.
  • Minimize indoor conversations. All conversations with the service providers should take place outdoors, when possible, and physically distanced indoors, if necessary.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the service provider, and limit interactions between the service provider and other household members and pets.
  • During indoor services, take steps to maximize ventilation inside the home, such as turning on the air conditioner or opening windows in the area.


After the visit

  • If possible, use touchless payment options or pay over the phone to avoid touching money, a card, or a keypad. If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after paying.
  • After the service is completed, clean and disinfect any surfaces in your home that may have been touched by the service provider.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to be tested, Save Your Spot at Fever and Upper Respiratory Illness Clinic at an IHA Urgent Care near you.