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. 

Trick-or-Treat

COVID-19 means a more frightful Halloween

By Martha Walsh, MD, MHSA, FACOG

Halloween and everything that surrounds it – trick-or-treating, costume parades, bobbing for apples – are fun, but can spread COVID-19 or other seasonal infections, like influenza. While celebrating Halloween this year will look very different from every other year, there are still ways to enjoy all that Halloween has to offer, while protecting yourself and your family from picking up a virus.

Giving Out Candy

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters
  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible
  • Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer before handling treats, and in between trick-or-treaters
  • Wear a cloth mask

Trick-or-Treating

  • Wear a mask
    • Make your cloth mask part of your costume
    • A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask
    • Do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult
    • Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing
  • Wash your hands
    • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people
    • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
    • Parents: supervise young children using hand sanitizer
    • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
    • Indoors and outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time

Make sure you are always doing the following. Every. Single. Day.

  • Wear a mask
  • Stay 6 feet away from anyone that does not live with you – indoors and outdoors
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently

If you decide not to take your kids trick or treating this year, here are some ideas how you can enjoy Halloween safely.

  • Decorate and carve pumpkins
    • Decorate your home for Halloween.
    • Carve pumpkins with members of your household or outside with neighbors or friends.
    • Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
  • Visit an orchard, forest, or corn maze. Attend a scavenger hunt.
    • Go on an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt.
    • Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching frequently touched surfaces, pumpkins, or apples.
    • Go to a one-way, walk-through haunted forest or corn maze.
  • Other Ideas
    • Hide Halloween treats in and around your house. Hold a Halloween treat hunt with household members.
    • Hold a socially distanced outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes.
    • Host a socially distanced outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors or an indoor movie night with your household members.

Flu Before Boo!

Protect yourself and your family during flu season by getting your flu vaccine before Halloween. Scheduling your flu shot is easy! Click below and choose an appointment time that works for you.

Source: Centers for Disease Control

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.

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.

An open letter to the communities we serve.

Who could have imagined the struggles that all of us would encounter from this unprecedented global pandemic? Not only has it brought our state and country great economic stress, but it also has changed how healthcare services will be delivered forevermore.

Early in the crisis, IHA’s healthcare providers and staff took multiple steps to help our community respond to the pandemic. Within a matter of days, our medical group opened drive-thru testing sites, implemented a free on-line COVID screening tool, and designated locations where patients with fevers and upper respiratory symptoms could be treated. Additionally, we rolled-out video appointments for all our patients and began piloting home care visits for our most vulnerable patients.

These are complicated times with rapidly changing standards, which is why IHA has been providing regular updates to our staff and providers, as well as our patients. In a matter of weeks, IHA has addressed the most significant and complex changes to face healthcare in our lifetime, but we are not done. We are moving toward what many are calling the “new normal.”

Staying safe in the “new normal”.
Video appointments continue to be our primary method used to treat patients. Since launching this service just a few weeks ago, we have
completed nearly 25,000 video appointments. The decline in new COVID cases is enabling IHA to reconnect in-person with patients whose
appointments, surgeries or outpatient procedures were cancelled. Over the next two weeks, our physicians and practitioners will slowly increase the number of in-person appointments they offer and surgeries they perform. As we reopen more offces, we want to assure you that we are committed to being both responsive and responsible, navigating these unusual times with everyone’s safety in mind.

Numerous safeguards and quality measures are in place across IHA to care for COVID and Non-COVID patients. These include our use of telehealth visits which are actively being embraced by our patients and our providers alike.

IHA is following CDC guidelines and has put additional cleaning and screening processes in place to keep anyone entering an IHA building
safe. These processes include requiring all staff and patients to wear masks and having their temperature checked before entering a practice. Along with maintaining appropriate social distancing, items such as hand sanitizer and tissues will be prominent in every location.

Saving lives, improving quality of life.

Our difficult journey is not over, but we must look to the future. Children need to maintain their immunization schedules, older adults or those with complex medical issues need their health and medications regularly monitored, and further delaying surgeries or exploratory procedures may cause serious harm or lead to other health problems. The steps we are following to reopen are being implemented with extreme care and will be constantly evaluated. As a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, we are working together on safety and security protocols. We have developed COVID-Free Zones, areas where we provide care only for people not known to have COVID-19 or COVID symptoms. We wish to assure the community that our healthcare delivery system is working closer than ever to keep your health and wellness at the center of everything.

Over the past two months, no one industry has learned more than healthcare about the need to change and adapt quickly in order to
care for those we serve. Our lives have drastically changed but fulfilling IHA’s mission of healing will remain with us forever. Please know that we stand ready to care for you. IHA’s motto “our family caring for yours” has never meant more to us than it does today.

We encourage you to call your provider’s office or visit ihacares.com today to learn about the many ways we can connect and safely provide the care that you need. IHA is here for you.

Mark LePage, MD | IHA CEO

Cindy Elliott, RN | IHA President & COO

Caring for Someone with COVID-19

Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers of COVID-19 patients

Close contacts of COVID-19 patients should follow these recommendations:
• Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and otherpersonal needs.
• Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected. Ask the healthcare provider to call the local or state health department for additional guidance. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for COVID-19.
• Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
• Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
• Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick.
• Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
• Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• The patient should wear a facemask when you are around other people. If the patient is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), you, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient.
• Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine.
• Throw out disposable facemasks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse.
• When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (see below “Wash laundry thoroughly”).
• Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
• Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
• Wash laundry thoroughly.
• Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
• Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.

• Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
• Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
• Discuss any additional questions with your state or local health department or healthcare provider. Check available hours when contacting your local health department.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of COVID-19, take our free online screening today.

QuaranTEEN

Tips for parenting teens in the COVID-19 crisis

By Kathaleen Bruce, LMSW

This week in Michigan, school was officially cancelled for the remainder of the year in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. For many students an occasional snow day is a welcomed site, but trading once-in-a-lifetime events like prom and graduation, fun with friends, concerts and performances, sports and end of year class parties for several weeks or months of quarantine is a different story. With the announcement this week, your child, especially teens, may be left feeling a sense of loss. As parents, you want to support your children as they navigate this unprecedented stage of life, but you’re also working through these changes while trying to keep up with working from home, homeschooling and keeping the family healthy. We’ve got you covered! Read on for some quick tips on how to support your teen through quarantine.

It’s OK to feel angry.

High school seniors have lost out on much of what they’ve been working for over the last 12 years, and teens in general are missing out on high school and college rites-of-passage. Understandably, they may be feeling angry, sad, disappointed, and just plain miserable. For parents, expressing empathy for their current situation can go a long way in helping them cope.

Say this: “I’m sorry that you’re missing out on so many things you were looking forward to. This will end and life will get better, but I understand that you feel miserable right now.”

It’s OK to feel happy.

On the flip side, your teen may feel a huge sense of relief with the premature end of the school year. For some, the stress of studies, pressure of performances, or social struggles means quarantine is actually a welcomed change. It’s important to allow your child to feel both disappointment and relief.

Say this: “It’s okay to feel relieved that some of the things you were worried about are now not going to happen.”

Be ready for friction.

For teens, friendships can be as important and their relationships with their family members. Expect that they are not going to enjoy being forced to stay away from their friends for many weeks. Be ready for arguments and anger as you keep them home to keep them well. This will be even more challenging as other parents may not follow the rules and allow their children to interact with friends outside their homes.

Say this: “I’m following the advice of medical experts during this quarantine, and I can’t allow you to go to someone else’s home or have someone over to ours, regardless of the choices your friend’s parents are making.”

Give them a voice.

As you navigate a new family schedule, be respectful of the fact that your teen has their own idea of how they would like to see their day go. Layout your expectations for schoolwork, help with younger siblings and housework. Ask for their input and come to an agreement together.

Say this: “I need some things from you during this quarantine, and I know you have needs too. Let’s look at our weekly schedule together and come up with one that works for both of us.”

Take breaks.

When you’re working from home, it can be more difficult than ever to disconnect from work. It’s important to give your family, and especially your children, undivided attention, sans work. Set aside time every day where you can put your devices away and focus on family.

Say this: “At five-o’clock today, let’s head outside and take a walk before dinner. It’s important to get our work done, but we need to make time for time for each other. Spending time with you is one of my favorite things to do!”

Know when your child needs help.

Despite your best efforts, your child’s response to the stress surrounding COVID-19 may require some outside help. The IHA Pediatric Behavioral Health team is here to support you. Call today to learn more.

Say this: “I can see you’re struggling, and I want to do what’s best to help you. I know someone that can help.”