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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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
Tighten and relax your muscles. In areas where you feel physical tension tighten your muscles and then relax them.
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.
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.
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.
Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.
Safe travel tips for college students.
There is no universal approach to Thanksgiving this year for colleges and universities. Though some are encouraging students to stay on campus for the holiday, others are allowing them to go home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Still more are sending students home to begin their winter break or finish their semesters remotely.
Take the risk seriouslyYoung people have been identified as sources of some family outbreaks, infecting their older, more vulnerable relatives who live in the same household. Experts also point out that travel could increase students’ risk of exposure to the virus, and that holiday celebrations held indoors could facilitate transmission.
Self-quarantine and get testedIn the days before leaving campus, students should be tested, preferably with a PCR test, the laboratory test used to diagnose the coronavirus. Many colleges and universities have been regularly testing their students, and some have rolled out special guidance for holiday travel.
Source: Centers for Disease Control
Save Your Spot for drive-up COVID-19 testing at select IHA Urgent Care locations
During this pandemic, feeling sick can be scary. If you have symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, it is important to get tested for COVID-19. You should always contact your doctor with questions or concerns, but having test results will help with their recommendations for your care.
IHA offers convenient drive-up COVID-19 testing for new and established patients. We offer both PCR and Rapid tests. Your provider will determine which test is best for you based on your symptoms. Rapid testing is not always recommended. Do not go to your local IHA Urgent Care or emergency department for COVID-19 testing.
Patients in need of a COVID-19 test, please be aware: 1. You must have an appointment. Save Your Spot at one of our COVID-19 testing locations below. 2. Testing is being prioritized for symptomatic patients and patients who have had a high-risk exposure. 3. COVID-19 test results usually take 24 to 72 hours to return, but due to recent significant increases in testing – results are taking up to 5 days. 4. If you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have not had a high-risk exposure, please visit Michigan.gov to find an alternate testing location.
Flu season is here,
which means Flu SHOT season is also here. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will
be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to
help conserve potentially scarce health care resources in the wake of the COVID-19
What are the benefits of the
Receiving the flu vaccines
reduces flu illnesses, sick appointments, hospital stays, and missed time from
work or school. It can also be lifesaving for high risk patients like children,
seniors, and pregnant women.
Can the flu vaccine give me
The viruses in the flu shot
are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. However,
you may experience some minor side effects like, soreness, redness or swelling
at the shot site, a low-grade fever, and some aches.
For those that receive the
nasal spray, the viruses are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often
associated with influenza illness. Side effects from the nasal spray may
include, runny nose, sore throat, cough, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle
aches, or fever.
Who should get vaccinated
Everyone six months of age
and older should receive a flu vaccine at the beginning of the flu season,
typically every fall.
Who should not be vaccinated
against seasonal flu?
A patients age, health or allergies may determine they should not receive the flu vaccine. Talk with your physician to ensure you or your children should receive the flu vaccine.
Should a flu vaccine be given to someone
with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19?
No. Vaccination should be deferred
(postponed) for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of
whether they have symptoms, until they have met the criteria to discontinue
their isolation. While mild illness is not a contraindication to flu
vaccination, vaccination visits for these people should be postponed to avoid
exposing healthcare personnel and other patients to the virus that causes
COVID-19. When scheduling or confirming appointments for vaccination, patients
should be instructed to notify the provider’s office or clinic in
advance if they currently have or develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
Additionally, a prior infection with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or flu does not protect someone from future flu infections. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.
Why should I get my child
The flu is dangerous for all
people, but children under five years old are at an especially high risk when
they get sick with the seasonal flu. The flu vaccine is your children’s best defense against contracting and
spreading the flu.
When should I get a flu
For people receiving one
dose of the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that people
get the flu vaccine by the end of October. If your child requires two doses,
they will need to be given four weeks apart, so chat with your pediatrician on
the best time to give the first dose. Getting the vaccine in the summer months
may result in reduced protection later in the flu season, especially for high
risk patients. There are benefits to receiving the flu vaccine later in
the season, so it’s never
too late to be vaccinated!
How effective is the flu
The patient’s age and health status will determine the
effectiveness of the flu vaccine, as well as how well the flu in the vaccine
matches the flu circulating in your community. The CDC estimates that the flu
vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the
overall population, when the seasonal flu circulating is well-matched with the
Besides vaccination, how can
people protect themselves against the flu?
Getting the flu vaccine
every year is your best defense against the flu. People should also take
preventive actions every day. These include, frequently washing hands, covering
coughs using the inside of your elbow, not your hand, and avoid having contact
with people who are sick (even if they haven’t been diagnosed with the flu).
Where can I get the flu
This year’s flu shot is available at IHA Primary Care and
Ob/Gyn practices and pediatric doses are available at IHA Pediatric practices.
Adults and children may receive the flu shot at any IHA Urgent Care location.
Click below to schedule your flu shot.
Can the flu vaccine prevent
No, the flu vaccine cannot
prevent you from becoming infected with COVID-19. You and your family should
continue practice CDC recommendations to minimize your risk of contracting
COVID-19, including, wearing masks outside of your home, social distancing and
frequent hand washing.
What is the difference
between Influenza and COVID-19?
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both
contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.
COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and
flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are
similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms
alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19
share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
There are some key differences between flu
and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more
serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show
symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference
is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to
prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed
to the virus.
Can getting the flu shot increase your
risk of getting COVID-19?
Currently, there is no evidence that
getting the flu vaccine can increase your risk of getting COVID-19.
Is it safe to go out to
get the flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. Getting a flu
vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. To protect your health when getting a
flu vaccine, follow CDC’s recommendations for running
essential errands and doctor visits, like wearing a mask outside of
your home, social distancing and frequent hand washing. Continue to take
everyday preventive actions.
What is IHA doing to ensure it’s safe for
me and my family to come into the office for a flu vaccine?
Patient safety is, now more than ever, our
top priority. We’re taking several precautions to minimize your risk of
exposure to COVID-19 while visiting an IHA practice in person, including:
patients, guests, staff, and providers to wear masks in our practices
providers and staff
wear personal protective equipment
temperature of all patients, providers, and staff upon entry into our practices
limiting the number
of people in our practices, which means you may be asked to wait in your car instead
of our waiting room
spacing the timing of
acceptable (greater than 6 foot) distance between patients in all common areas
cleaning protocols laid out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure
safe, sanitized environments
practices, we’re scheduling sick and well patients at different times of the
Scheduling your flu shot is easy! The flu shot is available at IHA and St. Joe’s Medical Group primary care and OBGYN practices, as well as, urgent care locations. Click below to find a time and location that work for you.
How to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure while playing
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
Prepare before you participate
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
Thirst-quenching and healthy snacks perfect for hot days
We’re entering the final weeks of summer and no doubt soaking up
as much time outside as we can before temperatures fall. All that time outdoors
mean sweating which may put you at risk for dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficiencies,
as well as skin sensitivities. Eating fresh, in-season fruit is a great way to
combat the effects of summer heat. Try one – or several – of these picks next
time you head out(side).
Watermelon: 90% water means it’s great for hydrating. Watermelon is also high in cramp fighting potassium, lycopene and immune-booster gluathione.
Grapes: At 90% water, grapes are the perfect summer snack. They are also a great source of vitamin K and manganese. Plus, with a bit of fiber, they keep you feeling full.
Blackberries: This powerhouse of a fruit contains a lot of polyphenols, chemicals that can help cut inflammation that leads to heart disease. They also help your lower intestine break down sugar which could lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes.
Bananas: Before you go bananas working out, be sure you have a banana on hand. They can help your body recover from tough workouts, and some cyclists said having a banana before they ride helped them go faster and recover faster than those that only had water.
Pistachios: Rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals, this small, but mighty snack is also high in antioxidants and may help with inflammation. Plus, about 20 of them is only around 80 calories and less than a gram of saturated fat. You may even burn a couple calories cracking them open!
Lemons: Not just a pretty garnish, lemons and limes are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids. Try one in your next glass of water.
Kiwis: This little fruit is mean, green, germ-fighting machine! Rich in vitamins C, E and K, high in fiber and contains lutein which may protect eyes from some diseases. Like the banana, the kiwi also has some potassium, a must have for heart, muscles, nerves and more.
Strawberries: This summer staple if full of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and folic acid.
Blueberries: When it comes to antioxidants, this is a blue-ribbon berry. They give the digestive system a boost, with up to 14% of your daily fiber intake and contain vitamin c you need to promote healing and give your immune system a boost.
Peaches: You’ll feel peachy after you have one. A single peach can give you 10% or more of the vitamin C you need each day. A great way to boost your immune system and help your body’s ability to heal.
Pineapple: This fruit tray favorite is full of vitamin C, has some fiber to help your digestive track, bromelain, an enzyme that may ease inflammation, and manganese for muscle tone and bone health. Plus, one cup contains only 82 calories!
Avocados: Another great source of potassium. Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats and fiber, vitamins
Cherries: Delicious as they are healthy, grab a bag of cherries and you’ll get the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidant quercetin. Not to mention, help kill cancer cells, control blood sugar and help prevent heart disease.
Cantaloupe: Sliced, cubed or blended into a smoothie, the cantaloupe is rich in potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Chilled, it’s the perfect summer afternoon treat.
Interested in learning more about how your diet impacts your health? IHA offers nutrition counseling services at many practice locations. Nutrition counseling is provided by IHA nutrition specialists/registered dietitians. Their expertise can provide you with the necessary knowledge to achieve all your individual and family dietary needs.
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.
What is Lifetstyle Medicine? Lifestyle Medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease.
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 having fun outside, 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 season 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 abdomen, 1 teaspoon to the back, 2 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.