As the sun sets on the summer months, days get shorter and the temperature drops, so does our mood. Snow, scarves and holidays are a novelty and enjoyable for a few weeks after the heat of summer, but the dark, cold days of January and February bring much less joy to many. If you find your mood changing (not for the better), at the same time every year, you may have seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This mood disorder typically comes and goes when the season changes. The most common form of SAD appears in the fall and resolves in the spring or summer.
The signs and symptoms of SAD are similar to those of non-seasonal depression, but typically improve or go away with warm, sunny weather. Here’s what to look for starting in the fall or early winter:
Fatigue and hypersomnia
Increased appetite and overeating
Loss of interest, including withdrawal from social activities or people
Desire to be alone (may feel like hibernating)
Like non-seasonal forms of depression, there are treatments available to combat SAD. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether you have another type of depression, the treatment for SAD may include:
Bright light therapy
Changes to sleep hygiene, outdoor walks and regular exercise
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are four-times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men. Other factors that may increase your risk of SAD include: living far from the equator with major shifts in seasons, and a personal or family history of depression or bipolar disorder. Age can also have an impact on whether you get SAD. Young adults seem to be affected more frequently than children, adolescents and older adults.
If you’re feeling any or all the symptoms of SAD, make an appointment to see your provider. They can help find the best treatment plan to get you feeling better.
With the new year comes a fresh start and for many people an opportunity to make some positive changes in their lives. With great intentions, they head off into the new year determined to make a go of this year’s resolutions. Too often, busy lives take over and resolutions are abandoned after just a few weeks. Forming new, positive daily habits is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Read on for some advice on how to incorporate a new habit into your daily routine and make your 2022 resolutions stick!
Pick one goal.
Don’t spread your willpower too thin. Focusing on one goal at a time will increase your chances of actually achieving it.
Look at the small picture.
Rather than setting a resolution for the whole year, start with one month or even one week. Your goal should feel attainable with as little pressure as possible.
Make a sub-habit.
There are things you do every single day without even thinking about it: brushing your teeth, feeding the dog, walking into the house after work, you get the idea. Try setting your goal as a sub-habit of one of your already established daily habits. For example, “after I feed the dog, I will take him for a ten-minute walk” or “when I walk in the door after work, I will put my workout clothes on and run one mile”.
Take it one (baby) step at a time.
When forming a new habit, a low-level commitment is much easier to work into your day. Start with simple tasks that make it almost impossible to fail. Once you get started, you may find yourself doing more. Here are some suggestions for daily micro-commitments:
Take a 5-minute walk
Write one paragraph in your journal
Eat one serving of vegetables
Plan for obstacles.
Weather, time, cost or illness will no doubt present a challenge in achieving your goal of forming a new healthy habit. Plan ahead for challenges and be ready to work through them. Come up with “if-then” statements to help make it over predictable stumbling blocks;
If I am not able to sustain the cost of a gym membership, I will walk in my neighborhood or local mall
If I am not able to walk outside due to weather, I will do floor exercises in the basement for 20 minutes
If I’m not feeling well enough to walk or do a full work out, I will lift weights for 10 minutes
Hold yourself accountable.
We all have the friend that checks in at the gym every day on social media. Well, maybe they have the right idea. When your progress is monitored or witnessed by others, you are more likely to follow-through with your commitment. Consider creating or joining a group with similar goals, and post or text each other when you complete your daily goal. You may also want to tell your primary care physician about your goals and expect to follow-up next year or at your next exam.
Take time to celebrate your success! Having something to look forward to will motivate you along the way. Choose rewards that support your new healthy habit – avoid rewarding yourself with sugary treats or days off from your new habit. Instead, download new music for your workout routine, see a movie, or grab lunch with a friend.
Have you scheduled your 2022 wellness exam? Make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss some health goals that may benefit your physical and psychological well-being.
Take a proactive approach to preventing Type 2 Diabetes.
Author: Tendai Thomas, MD, FACP
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects one in ten Americans today. Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. In normal circumstances, your pancreas is able to produce a hormone called insulin which regulates and maintains normal blood sugar levels. However, with diabetes, this process breaks down, causing blood sugar levels to rise to concerning levels. Diabetics have problems with high blood sugars due to a lack of insulin, or because their body does not know how to use insulin well. It is important to either avoid developing diabetes or keep your diabetes well controlled because diabetes increases your risk for several other conditions including heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss, nerve damage, and circulation problems.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes often occurs in young individuals when the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Subsequently, Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin every day to stay alive. Type 2 diabetes, which is much more common, tends to occur at an older age. Ninety percent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. These individuals produce insulin from the pancreas, but it is not used effectively to regulate blood sugar levels.
The top 7 risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include:
Sedentary lifestyle (lack of physical activity or exercise)
Unhealthy eating habits
A family history of diabetes
Hypertension and high cholesterol
Diabetes during pregnancy
If you are at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes, there are some steps you can take to delay or even prevent the diagnosis.
Lose weight and keep it off. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important factor preventing diabetes. Losing 5% – 10% of your body weight can make a big difference in reducing your risk of getting the disease. Once you achieve your weight loss goals, work to keep the weight off.
Stick to a healthy eating plan. Reducing your daily calorie, carbohydrate and sugar intake is key to weight loss. Consume smaller portions at every meal, eat less processed and simple sugar filled foods, and avoid drinks high in sugar. Remember your food groups when meal planning for the week. A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from every group!
Exercise 5 days a week. Exercise provides many benefits to your health. Make a goal to get 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. You can also consider obtaining an exercise partner to help keep you focused and on target. If exercise hasn’t been a part of your routine, talk to your physician for ideas to start slowly and work towards your goal.
Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance and many other health conditions related to diabetes. If you do smoke, please talk with your doctor about different approaches you can take that will help you quit.
Go at your own pace. When we make major changes to our diet or activity level, it’s easy to get frustrated along the way. Go slowly and create goals that are realistic for you and your body. Start with small steps and small changes and work your way up!
Keep your physician in the loop. Make an appointment to discuss your concerns with your primary care physician. They will help determine what else you can do to reduce your risk for Diabetes, and if you have already been diagnosed, they can help prescribe and manage any medications necessary to keep you feeling your best!
If you have already been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, there are several treatments for managing your diabetes. For all individuals, nutrition is the key element for managing diabetes. In addition, since most people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, lifestyle changes that include regular exercise and weight loss are extremely important. Other therapies include the use of oral medications, injectables, and insulin administration. Talk to your primary care physician to find the best treatment for you.
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:
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.
Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
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.
Use nets over outdoor eating areas.
Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
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
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.
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.
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.
There’s nothing like the holidays. For many people, the holidays mean reuniting with family and friends, lots of hugs, handshakes and – So. Many. Germs. (Of course, the holidays are in the heart of flu season!) We’ve pulled together some tips for staying healthy during the holiday season, so your New Year is merry too.
hands every chance you get. This is great advice for adults and children
alike. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially
after greeting family or friends. You may want to bring along a couple travel
size bottles of hand lotion. All that washing can dry your skin.
up! Depending on where you are celebrating, wear weather appropriate clothing
and outerwear. Doing your best to stay dry and warm will help keep you well.
stress. Well, manage your stress. The most wonderful time of the year is
often the busiest. Take time out for yourself and your family if you are
feeling overwhelmed. Seek support from family and friends and get your sleep.
eyes on children. When you’re hosting or part of a large gathering, it’s
easy to lose track of kids. Keep potentially dangerous decorations, candles,
drinks and food away from children. Work with the other adults in attendance to
ensure someone always has an eye on the children in the group.
and consume food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and
surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures
and refrigerate foods promptly. If you aren’t sure about the hygiene of the
kitchen or the length of time the food has been sitting out, don’t eat anything
that can potentially get you sick.
of yourself. Get your annual exams checked off for the year or catch up on
your vaccines over the holidays.
In spite of your best efforts, if you catch something other than the holiday spirit this season, don’t stress. IHA Urgent Care locations have holiday hours. Don’t spend your holiday waiting in a waiting room. Save your spot in line at an Urgent Care location near you, and wait at home.
12 Safety Tips for a Merry & Bright Holiday Season
The holiday season is downright magical. The lights! The cherished
family ornaments! The candles, plants and tree! After the first holiday season
with an active child, we quickly realize all decorations aren’t made to be
kid-friendly. It takes some effort from the grown-ups to ensure little ones are
safe while celebrating the magic of the season. Luckily, The American Academy
of Pediatrics created a list of tips to keep everyone in your home safe, and
the holidays merry.
When purchasing a live tree, check for
freshness. The needles should be hard to pull off, and should not easily break
when you bend them. When you tap the tree on the ground, only a few needles
should fall off. Cut a few inches off the bottom of the trunk before putting it
in the stand, and be sure to keep the stand filled with water.
If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s
labeled “Fire Resistant.”
When setting up a tree at home, place it away
from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way
of traffic and do not block doorways.
Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant
materials to trim a tree.
Check all lights before hanging them on a tree
or in your home, even if you have just purchased them. Make sure all the bulbs
work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
Be cautious about trimmings that may contain
lead. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded materials.
Light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes
in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who
might try to put lights in their mouths, and wash your hands after handling
Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be
sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string
them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug
lights to remove them. Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with
ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks. And, watch your step
if using a ladder to deck your halls.
When lighting candles, remove flammable
materials from the area, and place the candles where they will not be knocked
over. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Do not use lighted candles on a
tree or near other evergreens.
In homes with small children, take special care
to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small
removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or
inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may
tempt a young child to eat them.
Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation
while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container
directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial
Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons
and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can
pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child, or can cause a fire if
Keep potentially poisonous holiday plant
decorations, including mistletoe berries, Jerusalem cherry, and holly berry,
away from children, and pets too.
Don’t forget: When you leave your home or head to bed for the
night, take a look around to be sure all decorations are turned off, candles
are blown out and nothing is stirring (not even a mouse).
IHA Urgent Care is open on holidays!If your little sugarplumb experiences an injury or illness this holiday season, we’re here to help, and are open on holidays. Save your spot in line at an IHA Urgent Care location near you.
Fifteen minutes. According to the Center for Disease Control, that’s all it takes for the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage your skin. When you’re on beach or pool time, 15 minutes goes by quickly. It feels great to soak up those rays, but they are harming your skin and are putting you at risk for long-term skin damage and worse, skin cancer. Before you head out into the sun for the day, take some time and precautions to keep yourself and your family safe all summer long, and you’ll be golden for some fun in the sun!
It’s one of the easiest ways to prevent skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB, an SPF of at least 30, and water resistant. When applying sunscreen, more is more. You want to be sure to get a thick layer of sunscreen on your skin in order for the SPF to do its job. For an average size person, remember the teaspoon rule, and adjust for all ages and body types:1 teaspoon to the face/neck/scalp1 teaspoon for each arm1 teaspoon to the chest and abdomen1 teaspoon to the back2 teaspoons for each leg
Sunblock lotions are the preferred choice, but if you are using a spray sunscreen, apply outside by holding the bottle close to the skin and spray on each area for approximately 6 seconds, or until the sunscreen is visible on the skin (typically, when it looks white). Then, rub it in. Don’t apply spray sunscreen directly to the face. Instead, spray generously into your hand and apply to your face as you would a lotion. Don’t forget to apply a lip balm with an SPF of 30, too!
Sunscreen will wear off throughout the day. Be sure to reapply every two hours and following exposure to water or sweat.
If you’re avoiding sunscreen because you don’t like how it feels on your skin or you had an allergic reaction, try another type or brand. There are a variety of choices by a variety of brands, so if you aren’t happy with one, try another until you find one that works with your skin. You may want to make an appointment with your primary care provider or dermatologist to discuss your individual needs. After all, the best sunscreen is the one you will wear!
Avoid exposure between 10 am and 4 pm
Have you heard of the shadow rule? If your shadow is shorten than you are in real life, the sun’s rays are strong. During this time, you should avoid exposure or follow precautions to protect yourself and your family. For our region in the Midwest, the sun is most intense from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so you’ll want to be the most vigilante in protecting your skin during this time.
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.
Don’t. Tan skin is damaged skin and the impact can last or even shorten a lifetime. Tanning should not be part of a beauty regiment at any point in a person’s life.
Protection 365 Days
Skin cancer prevention is not seasonal. Sure, we wear less clothing and spend more time outside in the sun’s rays during the summer months, but protection from those rays is just as important during the winter months. UV rays reflect off snow just as they do off of sand, water and concrete. Apply sunscreen to the face and any other exposed skin, wear sunglasses and lip balm every day. When it comes to sun safety, there’s a lot of information to soak in. Download this handy checklist and keep it in your beach bag to help ensure you and your family are covered for summer skin protection.
For questions concerning dangers to your skin from the sun, consult with your dermatologist.
It’s easy to schedule an appointment with your dermatology provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your dermatology provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!
It’s easy to schedule an appointment with your provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!