Kid’s Mental Health

How to help your children navigate anxiety and depression brought on by COVID-19

As we head into the final month of summer, the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine surround us as life begins to feel more normal. For many children and adolescents, it’s a time to get back to sports and activities, hang out with friends and family, and soon return to school. Unfortunately, re-entry into “normal” is not as easy as it may seem for many youth in our community. Fifteen months of social isolation during the pandemic has magnified issues in children and adolescents who have struggled with anxiety and depression.

There have been studies regarding the relationship between loneliness and mental health in healthy children and adolescents. We know social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of depression even a decade later. Throughout the country, pediatricians are concerned that the loneliness experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic will likely affect the future mental health of our youth.

Patrick Gaulier, Senior Clinical Social Worker at IHA WestArbor Pediatrics, notes that “many adolescent patients have talked about feeling isolated and separated from their friends and other supportive groups.” Children and teens have turned to social media as their primary source of maintaining a connection with their peers. In many cases, this online-only environment has ended friendships which, in turn, causes many adolescents to become reluctant to return to in-person learning. During a recent appointment, Patrick recalls a 10-year-old describing deeply disliking in-person learning because he “doesn’t know anyone anymore” and worries he will not be able to make friends again.  

What to look for

With the return to activities, symptoms of anxiety or depression could show up at any point. Some children may initially seem fine, with parents noticing signs several weeks later. Other children will exhibit symptoms right away. Not all children will be able to express their feelings of depression or anxiety in an obvious way. Instead, they will show complaints of physical symptoms or behavior changes. Parents and guardians should learn to recognize signs of mental illness, as it isn’t always obvious. Children and adolescents may express their worries through behaviors such as withdrawal from family and friends, irritability, argumentativeness, and aggression. Some may try to avoid activities that they previously enjoyed. Or, they may show physical symptoms like stomach aches or headaches. 

How to help the children and teens in your life

Checking in with kids about their mental health may be one of the most important things we do to help our youth out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes, it’s as easy as saying, “Hey, I see you are having a hard day today. Is something making you worried?” 

Encouraging children and adolescents to participate in physical activities and spend time outdoors with peers is an excellent step in helping improve physical and mental health. Kids will experience positive emotional benefits with increased safe socialization as we continue to vaccinate and cases continue to decrease. 

Of course, when in doubt, you should always reach out to your child’s pediatrician. Pediatricians routinely evaluate patients for mental health concerns. They can make recommendations such as healthy lifestyle changes or connect you with a mental health professional who has experience and expertise in treating children. 

We cannot ignore the negative impacts on mental health on the development of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that parents, family, friends, pediatricians, and therapists can all help address the mental health needs of children and adolescents. The earlier we intervene for our youth, the better chance we have of making a positive impact. If you would like to speak to a pediatrician about your child’s mental health, IHA Pediatrics is available for same or next-day appointments in-person or via video to determine the next steps. More information can be found online at then link below.

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.

Trinity Health Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for All Colleagues

IHA, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and Mercy Health included in decision

LIVONIA, MICH., July 8, 2021 – Trinity Health today announced effective immediately, the national health system will require all colleagues, clinical staff, contractors, and those conducting business in its health care facilities be vaccinated against COVID-19.  The requirement applies to Trinity Health’s more than 117,000 employees in 22 states nationwide in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and keep all patients, colleagues, and the broader communities safe. 

This includes roughly 24,000 Trinity Health Michigan colleagues working across five Saint Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals, three Mercy Health hospitals, and two employed medical groups — IHA and Mercy Health Physician Partners.

Since December 2020, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization, Trinity Health has strongly encouraged vaccination for all colleagues and within the communities its various Health Ministries serve.  To date, the health system estimates that nearly 75% of Trinity Health employees have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and it now looks to close the gap with this new requirement.

“As a faith-based health care system we have pledged to protect the most vulnerable, those that have a high risk of developing severe health complications if they were to contract this deadly virus,” said Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan and Southeast Regions.  “We are grateful to all colleagues working inside our hospitals, and specifically those navigating the frontlines.  We understand that not everyone will agree with this decision, but after listening to their feedback, and after careful consideration, we know this to be the right decision.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 331 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States.  The vaccines have proven to be safe and effective against symptomatic infections, hospitalizations and death, with more than 99% of COVID-19 deaths today occurring in unvaccinated people.

“As a trusted health care leader within Michigan communities, our patients and colleagues look to us to keep them safe,” said Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, PhD, MD, chief clinical officer of Trinity Health Michigan.  “There is widespread acceptance of the vaccines and their effectiveness within the medical community.  The science is clear – vaccines protect against infection and they help save lives.”

Employees at Trinity Health and its Health Ministries must meet a series of rolling deadlines, with most locations requiring them to submit proof of vaccination by Sept. 21, 2021.  It has not yet been determined if a COVID-19 vaccine booster will be required annually, but if so, employees will also need to submit proof of the booster as needed.  Exemptions are available for religious or health reasons and must be formally requested, documented, and approved.  Employees who do not meet criteria for exemption and fail to show proof of vaccination will have their employment terminated.

About IHA

Established in 1994, IHA is one of the largest multi-specialty medical groups in Michigan delivering more than one million patient visits each year, practicing based on the guiding principle: our family caring for yours. Led by physicians, IHA is committed to providing the best care with the best outcomes for every patient and an exceptional work experience for every provider and employee. IHA offers patients from infancy through senior years, access to convenient, quality health care with extended office hours and urgent care services, online patient diagnosis, treatment and appointment access tools. IHA is based in Ann Arbor and employs more than 3,000 staff, including more than 700 providers consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, care managers and midwives in more than 100 practice locations across Southeast Michigan. IHA serves as the Medical Group for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and a member of Trinity Health. To learn more about IHA, visit www.ihacares.com.

About Trinity Health Michigan 

Trinity Health Michigan is a leading health care provider and one of the state’s largest employers. With more than 24,000 full-time employees serving numerous counties, Trinity Health Michigan is composed of eight hospitals, including the five hospitals of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System located in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Howell, Livonia and Pontiac, and the three-hospital Mercy Health, operating in Grand Rapids and Muskegon. The health system has 2,348 beds and 3,400 physicians. With operating revenues of $3.4 billion, Trinity Health Michigan returns $195 million back to their local communities each year. Together with numerous ambulatory care locations, three home health agencies, one hospice agency and 17 senior living communities owned and/or operated by Trinity Health, Trinity Health Michigan provides the full continuum of care for Michigan residents.

Nationally, Trinity Health is among the country’s largest Catholic health care systems. Based in Livonia, Michigan, with operations in 22 states, Trinity Health employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,500 physicians and clinicians. The system has annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion, assets of nearly $27 billion, and returns about $1.2 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. For more information, visit www.trinity-health.org.

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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

IHA Begins Construction on New Medical Center in Chelsea

An architectural rendering of the new IHA Chelsea Medical Center, which began construction in June 2021.

CHELSEA, Mich. (June 23, 2021) –  On Wednesday, June 16, IHA, the area’s leading multispecialty medical group, celebrated the start of construction on the new IHA Chelsea Medical Center at a groundbreaking ceremony. IHA has been providing exceptional care to the Chelsea community for nearly 40 years. This new medical center will be designed to enrich the overall patient experience and provide coordinated care across multiple practices and throughout IHA’s extensive delivery care network in Southeast Michigan.

“This building is the continuation of a critical development strategy for IHA. Over the past 15 years, we have actively consolidated practices to regional facilities where we can provide convenient, multi-specialty services to our patients,” said Lowell Sprague, Director of Facilities and Real Estate Management. “This building, in particular, will allow IHA to bring together and expand the existing primary care services IHA provides in Chelsea under one roof.” 

This new medical center is scheduled to open in July of 2022 and will bring together three established IHA practices including IHA Chelsea Primary Care, IHA Obstetrics & Gynecology Chelsea, and IHA Chelsea Pediatrics. When complete, the building will be over 18,000 square feet and will provide capacity for three practices, 14 providers and over 40 support staff.

The Chelsea Medical Center project has been a long time coming for IHA. Planning for the medical center began in 2015 and more than 10 locations across the Chelsea area received consideration before this site was selected. The new building will be located on Old US 12 and was established in partnership with St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea and Silver Maples of Chelsea. “We are excited to have the opportunity to open this new medical office building alongside our partners at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea to collectively provide affordable and high-quality healthcare to Chelsea and the surrounding communities,” said IHA CEO, Mark LePage, MD, who gave remarks at the groundbreaking event.

About IHA

Established in 1994, IHA is one of the largest multi-specialty medical groups in Michigan delivering more than one million patient visits each year, practicing based on the guiding principle: our family caring for yours. Led by physicians, IHA is committed to providing the best care with the best outcomes for every patient and an exceptional work experience for every provider and employee. IHA offers patients from infancy through senior years, access to convenient, quality health care with extended office hours and urgent care services, online patient diagnosis, treatment and appointment access tools. IHA is based in Ann Arbor and employs more than 3,000 staff, including more than 700 providers consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, care managers and midwives in more than 100 practice locations across Southeast Michigan. IHA serves as the Medical Group for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and a member of Trinity Health. To learn more about IHA, visit www.ihacares.com.

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