Mosquito Buzz

6 Tips to Prevent Mosquito Bites & Viruses

More than a pest, mosquitoes can carry and spread dangerous diseases to both humans and animals. And, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause and spread illness. The only way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses is to avoid being bitten by them. Since we still have many weeks of mosquitoes, until the nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing, The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued the following recommendations to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites:

  1. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. For those that work outdoors or cannot avoid being outdoors at dusk or dawn, be diligent about using insect repellent, and cover as much of your skin as possible.
  2. Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  3. Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET or other EPA – approved product to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  4. Use nets over outdoor eating areas.
  5. Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
  6. Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

If you’re concerned about or experiencing symptoms from a mosquito bite, reach out to your primary care physician: Make An Appointment

Or visit an Urgent Care location near you: Save Your Spot

Men and Cancer

Screening for the most common cancers in men

Each year 300,000 men die from cancer in the United States. The most common types that affect men include skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colorectal (colon) cancer. Luckily, there are screening tests available that can detect cancer before you start seeing or feeling symptoms. This early detection can save lives. This Father’s Day we’re encouraging the men in our lives to focus on their health and schedule cancer screenings when recommended by a physician.

Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Unless you are considered high risk, a colon cancer screening is typically done starting at age 50 and continue on a regular schedule through age 75. This screening can be done using a few different methods including, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Your physician will recommend a screening schedule depending on the type of test used.

If you think you may be at risk for colorectal cancer ask your doctor when you should begin screening, which type of screening is best for you and how often you should be screened.

Prostate Cancer

The second most common cancer in American men, Prostate Cancer occurs when cancer grows in the prostate, a part of the male reproductive system. There are two tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer: Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test and the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE). There are risks associated with screening, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Before deciding whether to be screened, patients and physicians should discuss the balance of benefits and harms based on family history, race/ethnicity, current health, and any other health needs.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US. It often doesn’t present symptoms until the cancer is in an advanced stage. For high risk individuals, a screening may be done when the patient is asymptomatic in an effort to diagnose and treat the cancer early on. If you are 55 to 80 years old and are a heavy smoker or a past smoker who quit within the last 15 years, talk with your doctor about having a low-dose CT scan every year.

Skin Cancer

Most cases of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells. In the short term, this damage can cause a sunburn. Over time, UV damage adds up, leading to changes in skin texture, premature skin aging, and sometimes skin cancer. UV rays also have been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts. Skin cancer screening can begin at home. Examine your body on a regular basis noting any new or unusual moles or changes to the skin. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have and whether or not you may be high risk for developing skin cancer.

Staying current with recommended screenings is important, but staying healthy involves daily effort.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit it to no more than two drinks a day
  • Don’t smoke
  • Protect your skin from the sun and avoid tanning beds
  • Get a checkup every year

Is it time for your annual physical? Scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician is easy! Click below to make an appointment online, or call your practice to schedule.

Celebrating Safely

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Holiday safety tips for a fun and festive 4th of July

This Fourth of July, more than ever, we are looking forward to celebrating with family and friends.  Although some of the restrictions around COVID-19 have been relaxed, there are some other health concerns to consider.  Follow these safety reminders to keep yourself and your family safe this holiday weekend.

Firework Safety

Fireworks are a favorite tradition and for the Fourth of July, but they can cause death and injury, including burns, cuts, bruises, and foreign objects in your eyes.

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
  • Designate the people who will be responsible for igniting fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper, which often means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumers.
  • Make sure you and your family watch fireworks displays from a safe distance. Draw a line using chalk or string, so children have a visual indicator not to cross and get too close to where the fireworks are being launched.
  • Call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

Food Safety

Hot weather and food that’s been left out a little too long are a recipe for a stomachache. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the summer months typically see a spike in reports of foodborne illness.  Whether hosting or attending a 4th of July picnic or BBQ, follow these tips to ensure you and your family

  • Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry and ready to eat foods, like raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs.
  • Don’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours – one hour if the outside temperature is over 90 degrees. Keep perishable food in an insulated cooler packed with ice or ice packs. If you are not the host or hostess and are unsure about how food is being handled, consider bringing your own cooler of food.

Pool Safety

According to the CDC, drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1 to 4 years old than any other cause except birth defects.

  • Designate a responsible adult to watch all children swimming or playing in or around water. Drowning occurs quickly and quietly, so adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children. If there are multiple children swimming, have multiple adults to supervise, each assigned to monitor specific children.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Always swim with a buddy. Whenever possible choose swimming sites that have lifeguards.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous.

Heat Safety

From parades to fireworks, the Fourth of July typically means a lot of time outdoors and in the sun. In hot temperatures your body may be unable to properly cool itself. This could lead to serious health problems.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay in the shade when you can, and when you can’t, create your own shade. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher – the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.

Bug Safety

Uninvited party guests like mosquitoes, ticks, and some flies can spread diseases like Zika, dengue and Lyme disease. They’re also really annoying and their bites can cause pain, itching and in some cases, an allergic reaction.

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET for protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs. Remember always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
  • If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks for maximum protection, especially if walking in a grassy area.
  • Check yourself and your children for ticks. Learn more about ticks and how to remove one from your skin: blog.ihacares.com/tick-tick-boom/

Despite taking precautions, illness and injury can still happen. IHA and St. Joe’s Medical Group Urgent Care locations will be open this holiday weekend to care for you and your family. Click below to save your spot in line at an urgent care near you.

Watch Less, Play More: Setting limitations on screen time

Omkar Karthikeyan, MD

How did anyone ever parent before smartphones? We all know the scenario: a family is sitting at a restaurant eating dinner and a young child gets restless. A parent hands over a phone or a tablet to keep them occupied while they finish their meal and have a nice conversation. This seems innocent enough, but we are learning that when we hand over screens or place a child in front of the TV, we are doing it at the expense of their language and socio-emotional development as well as physical exercise.

Time that a child spends staring at a digital device, or screen time, is time they are not interacting with other people. Learning to bond and interact with others is crucial for children starting at a very early age. Now, I’m not saying that parents need to engage in deep conversations or read books every time they interact with their child. Simple conversations with a young child, even narrating your activities helps. Screen time is a strictly passive activity. Kids are rarely, if ever interacting with a screen in a meaningful way. However, even the most basic of activities, such as building and knocking down towers of blocks, doing puzzles together or scribbling with crayons on a piece of scrap paper (or a napkin) help teach kids cause and effect, and foster human interaction. These are invaluable for stimulating language development and creating a healthy emotional foundation.

A child that has more than the recommended exposure to screens at a young age is more likely to lead a more screen-filled, sedentary lifestyle as a teenager and beyond. This often goes hand in hand with mindless, unhealthy eating. Kids playing video games all day aren’t usually reaching for apples and carrots. People with active lifestyles that include regular exercise and exposure to the outdoors tend to be more physically and mentally healthy in the long run. My recommendation to parents is to turn of the television and put handheld devices away. This is true for both kids and adults. It’s hard to ignore a TV that’s on or a phone that’s blinking with a notification. Parenting without screens is certainly more challenging, especially in the early years, but it’s definitely worth the investment in the long-run. Teaching your child to entertain him/herself without the aid of screens will benefit them throughout their childhood.

So, what are the age-based recommended limitations on screen time? Below are the recommendations from The American Academy of Pediatrics. Remember though that at ALL ages, less is more, especially in preschool/early elementary-aged kids.

Under 2 years of age: No screen time

Ages 2-5: Limit to one hour of screen time per day

Ages 5 and up*: Consistent limitations on screen time, ensuring children have healthy physical activity and sleep schedules as well as personal relationships and interactions.(*Notice this says “and up”. Screen time limitations are for everyone, not just children. It’s important for adults to limit the amount of time they spend plugged-in, not only for their own well-being, but to set a great example for children).You can start by being aware of just how much time your family is spending in front of a screen. Jot down the number of minutes per day on a piece of paper on your refrigerator, or try this tool from the American Academy of Pediatrics, to create a customized family media plan: Family Media Plan


Originally posted July 2019

Summer (Fruit) Snacks

Thirst-quenching and healthy snacks perfect for hot days

School is wrapping up for the year and families are heading outside to enjoy the summer. All that time out in the sun means 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: It’s a summer picnic staple and at 90% water means it’s great for hydrating. Watermelon is also high in cramp fighting potassium, the antioxidant 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.

Tick, Tick, Boom

Cicadas have been getting all the buzz this season with their big emergence after 17 years, but another insect is experiencing an uptick in its population. With the warm, wet weather early this spring, we are seeing a boom in the tick population here in Michigan.

Where do ticks live?

When visiting grassy, bushy or wooded areas, you can expect to find ticks. You may also find them in your backyard if you live close to areas like this or in places where there are animals. Activities like walking outside with your dog, gardening and hunting can expose you and your family to ticks.

How do I avoid ticks?

  • When possible avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass or leaf litter
  • Walk in the center of trails and don’t veer off paths into the woods
  • Treat clothing or exposed skin with insect repellents when venturing into areas where ticks may be present. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of registered insect repellents to help you find the product that best suits your needs: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you Always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
  • Animals may also bring ticks into your home. Be sure to use tick repellant on your dogs and cats too. There are many tick treatments available including collars, oral medications and topical medications.

What should I do when I come inside?

If you’ve been outside walking or working in an area that may have ticks, there are a few things you can do when you come in to help avoid a tick bite.

Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.

Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around the hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist
Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What is the best tick repellant?

The CDC recommends using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents external icon containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Remember always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.

What are the risks of a tick bite?

The most common disease spread by ticks is Lyme Disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms often include “fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.”

While there are many other tick-borne illnesses, many of them are not common in the state of Michigan. If you plan to travel visit https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/tickbornediseases/overview.html to know what to look for if you experience a tick bite in other parts of the country.

What should you do if you find a tick attached to your skin?

If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic—the key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers work very well.

How to remove a tick:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, place it on a plain background and take a photo of it. It helps to have a photo of the actual tick that bit you to show your healthcare provider, in the event you develop symptoms of a tick-borne illness.
  4. Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  5. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What should you do if you develop symptoms of a tick-borne illness?

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, make an appointment with your primary care or pediatric healthcare provider. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick. If you were able to take a photo of the tick that bit you, be sure to share that with your provider as well.

Print this handout from the CDC to keep in your car or on your refrigerator for a quick tick refresher.

Kids + Sports

Why playing organized sports is good for kids

by Melissa Ayoub Heinen, DO, MPH

After a year of COVID-19 restrictions, school closures and sports cancellations, we’re finally seeing steps back to “normalcy” amidst the chaos.  For young athletes, it’s time to get back on the soccer field, tennis court, football field or baseball diamond.   It’s a time to get active, connect with friends and enjoy some friendly (or fierce) competition.

If everyone obeys the state-mandated rules, our youth can safely compete again.

Getting involved in a youth sport allows kids to learn physical and social skills in a team-based environment.   With a plethora of choices available, it can be hard to choose the right sport for them. Parents should follow the child’s lead and interests when enrolling them in a new activity. The emphasis should be on the enjoyment of the sport, not on winning. You may find it takes your child a few tries to find a good fit, but with some research and a good sideline cheer section, you’ll find one that best fits their interests and the family schedule and budget.

Health Benefits of Sports for Kids

Reduced risk of obesity.  For many kids screentime has replaced physical activity. Getting involved in an organized sport with a schedule, a coach and a team create accountability and motivation to show up and be physically active. Pediatricians are finding that children who are physically active outside of school are more likely to maintain a normal, healthy weight.

Physical development. Participation in a sport will help your child with coordination, motor skills and muscle development. Kids also learn new skills or how they can use their bodies in different ways depending on the sport.

Social skills. Communicating using text has become the norm for most young people. Being part of a team means learning to communicate verbally and non-verbally with other people. Learning to work with others and support people on a team are skills that will provide lifelong benefits.

Confidence. Children develop self-confidence when they find success in something they enjoy doing. Sports provide many options for a child to find their niche and excel as an individual and as team.

Sportsmanship. Learning to be fair, how to handle defeat with grace and respect for coaches, referees, teammates and opponents are valuable lessons for people of all ages.

Have fun! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “When children have fun playing sports, they are more likely to remain involved in athletic programs and stay physically active throughout childhood, realizing lifelong health benefits for the developing body, brain and self-worth.” It’s important for coaches and parents to remain positive, encourage the team to try hard and create positive team dynamics.

Friendship. Participation in any extra curricular activities can result in forming life-long friendships. Encourage your child to talk to their teammates. To help your child begin to forge relationships, encourage them to play catch before practice starts, meet on off-days to work on skills, or get together to play at each other’s houses.


If your child is in middle school or older or is in a cheerleading or football program, and they plan to play an organized sport, they will need a sports physical this year. IHA Pediatrics performs Sports Physicals 6 days a week.  You do not have to be an IHA patient to schedule. Visit ihacares.com/pedsappts and select an “office visit” appointment at a time that works for you and your family.

We are also offering extra availability on the following Saturdays. Call your IHA Pediatric Practice to schedule:

• Saturday, June 12, 2021 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

• Saturday, July 17, 2021 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Active Kids!

Age-based physical activities for children

Kids need physical activity to grow up strong and healthy! All children should be physically active every day, and kids over 6 years old should be moving enough get their heart rate up at least one hour a day. Read on for guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how often your child should be active based on their age.

Infants:
Activity: Tummy time while awake.
Frequency: 30+ minutes throughout the day.

Toddlers:
Activity: Neighborhood walks or free play outside.
Frequency: 3+ hours throughout day.

Preschoolers:
Activity: Tumbling, throwing and catching.
Frequency: 3+ hours a day including 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity.

Elementary Students:
Activity: Free play and organized sports focused on fun.
Frequency: 60+ minutes of activity most days. Muscle/bone strengthening activities 3 days a week.

Middle Schoolers:
Activity: Activities that encourage socialization. Avoid specializing in one sport.
Frequency: 60+ minutes of activity most days. Muscle/bone strengthening 3 days a week.

Teenagers:
Activity: Activities that encourage socialization and competition when appropriate.
Frequency: 60+ minutes of activity most days. Muscle/bone strengthening 3 days a week.


It’s time for sports physicals

IHA Pediatrics performs Sports Physicals 6 days a week. You do not have to be an IHA patient to schedule. Visit ihacares.com/pedsappts and select an office appointment at a time that works for you and your family.

We are also offering extra availability on the following Saturdays. Call your IHA Pediatric Practice to schedule: ihacares.com/pediatrics

• Saturday, May 22 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

• Saturday, June 12 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

• Saturday, July 17 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccine

What parents want to know

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be used to vaccinate children ages 12-15. While this is encouraging news and yet another step toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that parents may have questions about the vaccine. IHA supports the scientific data behind this most recent vaccine and fully supports vaccination as the best way to end the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, with more than 261.5 million doses administered in the United States. Vaccinating this age group will help kids get back to their normal lives including school, sports and more, while keeping high-risk family members and others safe. Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions around children and the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have additional questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatric provider.

How safe is the mRNA vaccine? The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe and effective.*

• The mRNA vaccine technology is not new for COVID19. We were able to get to this point quickly because this vaccine has actually been in development for years

• It was first developed during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Scientists were able to adjust the vaccine they had been creating back then

• In early 2000s we were not successful since mRNA breaks down VERY quickly and it needed to be transported by something. Finding that something has been a challenge until now. Scientists tried fat bubbles for COVID19, and it worked! • mRNA is more than just DNA’s lesser-known cousin, RNA plays a role in turning on information for your body’s proteins. This remarkable molecule can carry the instructions (messenger RNA or mRNA)

• Scientists believe an mRNA vaccine could be safer for us compared to traditional vaccines because they are NOT made up of the actual pathogen. This means that, unlike traditional vaccines, they do not contain weakened, dead, or noninfectious parts of a virus. They contain only the instruction manuals to tell cells how to fight COVID19. You cannot get COVID19 from the vaccine since it’s just instructions on how to fight it.

• The other cool thing about mRNA vaccines is that they quickly degraded in the body. After it does its job boosting your immunity against COVID19, it is gone. It cannot insert itself into human DNA.

• Even though everyone can react differently, the boosting immunity part is why many feel common side effects of fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, tried or achy for a day or two. These are all normal signs that tell you your immune system is working to build up the fight against COVID19, even in kids.

• Only time can tell us, but since the mRNA technology degrades itself after sending its message and mounting an immune response, it gives scientist confidence that there will not be long term side effects. From the many years of vaccine experience, we do know it’s rare to see concerning side effects happen after six weeks in any vaccine.

*Source: PHG Foundation

My Child had COVID-19. Do they still need the vaccine? Yes.

• The vaccine strengthens your immune response

• The vaccine protects better against variants than natural immunity

• The natural immunity is not as effective as the vaccine and it goes down after a few months

• Checking antibody titers is not very helpful since we don’t know enough. We cannot say for sure even if you have antibodies that you are fully immune, which variants are included or who long the immunity will last.

Does COVID-19 really affect kids? Yes.

• Children account for 22.4% of COVID cases

• Children make, on average, 13.8% (or 3.78 million total cases) of all COVID19 cases in the U.S. But this is changing. According the American Academy of Pediatrics, last week children accounted for 22.4% of cases (71,649 out of 319,601 COVID diagnoses). Just one year ago, pediatric cases made up 3% of U.S. cases.

• Some studies have reported 25% of children suffered persistent symptoms after COVID and many can have prolonged symptoms of fatigue with increased physical activity.

*Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Should I be concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine and infertility? No.

• There has not been any data to support concerns regarding infertility.

• In early December 2 scientists in Europe were part of freedom movement that raised concerns that the one of the COVID virus proteins could interfere with the placenta. However, there was no research or evidence to back up this claim. We now know that COVID virus protein does not cause infertility. If fact, due to the pandemic, the rate of pregnancy has increased along with the number of COVID cases! If a disease doesn’t have the potential to cause concern, neither does the vaccine.

Click here to learn more from Paul Offit, MD, Director of Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, on why this claim is false.


Vaccine scheduling for adolescents is coming soon!

Stay updated with the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine and scheduling a vaccine for your child or yourself.

Sun Safety: Protection is key for fun in the sun

Fifteen minutes. According to the Center for Disease Control, that’s all it takes for the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage your skin. When you’re on beach or pool time, 15 minutes goes by quickly. It feels great to soak up those rays, but they are harming your skin and are putting you at risk for long-term skin damage and worse, skin cancer. Before you head out into the sun for the day, take some time and precautions to keep yourself and your family safe all summer long, and you’ll be golden for some fun in the sun!

USE SUNSCREEN

It’s one of the easiest ways to prevent skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB, an SPF of at least 30, and water resistant. When applying sunscreen, more is more. You want to be sure to get a thick layer of sunscreen on your skin in order for the SPF to do its job. For an average size person, remember the teaspoon rule, and adjust for all ages and body types:1 teaspoon to the face/neck/scalp1 teaspoon for each arm1 teaspoon to the chest and abdomen1 teaspoon to the back2 teaspoons for each leg

Sunblock lotions are the preferred choice, but if you are using a spray sunscreen, apply outside by holding the bottle close to the skin and spray on each area for approximately 6 seconds, or until the sunscreen is visible on the skin (typically, when it looks white). Then, rub it in. Don’t apply spray sunscreen directly to the face. Instead, spray generously into your hand and apply to your face as you would a lotion. Don’t forget to apply a lip balm with an SPF of 30, too!

Sunscreen will wear off throughout the day. Be sure to reapply every two hours and following exposure to water or sweat.

If you’re avoiding sunscreen because you don’t like how it feels on your skin or you had an allergic reaction, try another type or brand. There are a variety of choices by a variety of brands, so if you aren’t happy with one, try another until you find one that works with your skin. You may want to make an appointment with your primary care provider or dermatologist to discuss your individual needs. After all, the best sunscreen is the one you will wear!

AVOID EXPOSURE BETWEEN 10 AM AND 4 PM

Have you heard of the shadow rule? If your shadow is shorten than you are in real life, the sun’s rays are strong. During this time, you should avoid exposure or follow precautions to protect yourself and your family. For our region in the Midwest, the sun is most intense from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so you’ll want to be the most vigilante in protecting your skin during this time.

USE SUNGLASSES

Your eyes will absorb those harmful rays much like your skin does. Look for sunglasses that block and absorb UVA and UVB light. The lenses should fit close to the skin and be large enough to cover your eyes and the surrounding areas. The bigger the better! Polarized lenses will help eliminate glare, which is great for driving or days in the water or snow.

DRINK MORE WATER

When you’re sweating, you are losing water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in hot weather to keep dehydration at bay. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Also, look for signs of heat exhaustion such as; feeling overheated, tired or weak. Nausea, headaches and dizziness are also indications that it’s time to get out of the sun, cool down and drink some water. Heat stroke is a more serious condition. If you or someone in your family stops sweating, has red and/or hot skin, a high temperature, confusion or is suddenly uncoordinated, seek medical attention right away.

GO LONG!: WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Long-sleeved shirts and long pants provide an extra layer of protection while spending time out in the sun. Look for clothing made with tightly woven fabrics. Those linen pants aren’t going to protect you from the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen underneath. When playing the water, look for bathing suits that feature a sun shirt, especially for little ones.

HATS OFF ON!: WEAR A BROAD RIMMED HAT

Wearing a hat with a full brim is a great way to protect the scalp, ears, face and neck from exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Tightly woven fabric is the key to a good hat, straw hats are cute, but don’t provide the protection you need. When purchasing sun hats for the family, be sure to pick the correct sizes for each person. Kids will pull off a hat that slips down over their eyes.Seek the shade & avoid direct sunlight

Trees or shelters block the sun’s UV rays and provide ultimate protection. Seek out these spaces when spending time outdoors to help protect yourself and your family from painful sunburns and help reduce the risk of skin cancer. When you can’t find shade, make it! Invest in a beach umbrella or tent to shield your family from the sunlight.

BE CAUTIOUS OF REFLECTIONS

Your exposure to the sun’s rays increases when the sun shines onto and reflects off of bright surfaces, like water, sand or house paint, for example. When spending time near a reflective surface, ensure everyone is sporting sunglasses and sunscreen or protective clothing are being used consistently.

TANNING

Don’t. Tan skin is damaged skin and the impact can last or even shorten a lifetime. Tanning should not be part of a beauty regiment at any point in a person’s life.

PROTECTION 365 DAYS

Skin cancer prevention is not seasonal. Sure, we wear less clothing and spend more time outside in the sun’s rays during the summer months, but protection from those rays is just as important during the winter months. UV rays reflect off snow just as they do off of sand, water and concrete. Apply sunscreen to the face and any other exposed skin, wear sunglasses and lip balm every day. When it comes to sun safety, there’s a lot of information to soak in. Download this handy checklist and keep it in your beach bag to help ensure you and your family are covered for summer skin protection.

For questions concerning dangers to your skin from the sun, consult with your dermatologist.