Hiring In-home services or repairs

Source: Centers for Disease Control

CDC offers the following tips for staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19 while scheduling services or repairs inside the home. This may include installation and repair of plumbing, electrical, heating, or air conditioning systems; painting; or cleaning services.

In general, the closer and longer you interact with others, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Limiting close face-to-face contact and staying at least 6 feet away from other people is the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, along with wearing masks and practicing everyday preventive actions. Before welcoming service providers into your home, consider these tips to help keep you, your family, and the service provider safe during in-home services or repairs:

BEFORE THE VISIT

  • Check with your local health department to see if there is a stay-at-home order in your state or local community that restricts non-essential activities or services. If a stay-at-home order is in effect in your community, consider if the service request is essential or if it can be delayed.
  • If you or someone in your home has COVID-19, has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, wait to schedule non-emergency services that require entry into your home until it is safe to be around others.
  • If you or someone in your home is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with underlying medical conditions, consider not being inside the home during the service, or find someone else who can be in the home instead.
  • Do as much of the pre-service consultation as possible before the service provider arrives, to reduce the amount of time the service provider spends inside your home. For example, discuss the details of the service request on the phone or by email, and send pictures ahead of time.
  • Discuss any COVID-19 precautions the service provider is taking, including the use of masks for the duration of the service visit, any pre-screening procedures (such as temperature checks) and using the restroom during the service call.


DURING THE VISIT

  • Do not allow service providers to enter your home if they seem sick or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Ask the service provider to wear a mask before entering your home and during the service visit. Also, you and other household members should wear a mask. Consider having clean, spare masks to offer to service providers if their cloth face covering becomes wet, contaminated or otherwise soiled during the service call.
  • Avoid physical greetings, for example, handshakes.
  • Minimize indoor conversations. All conversations with the service providers should take place outdoors, when possible, and physically distanced indoors, if necessary.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the service provider, and limit interactions between the service provider and other household members and pets.
  • During indoor services, take steps to maximize ventilation inside the home, such as turning on the air conditioner or opening windows in the area.


AFTER THE VISIT

  • If possible, use touchless payment options or pay over the phone to avoid touching money, a card, or a keypad. If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after paying.
  • After the service is completed, clean and disinfect any surfaces in your home that may have been touched by the service provider.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to be tested, Save Your Spot at Fever and Upper Respiratory Illness Clinic at an IHA Urgent Care near you.

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.

Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccine

What parents want to know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Source: PHG Foundation

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

• The vaccine strengthens your immune response

• The vaccine protects better against variants than natural immunity

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

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

Does COVID-19 really affect kids? Yes.

• Children account for 22.4% of COVID cases

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

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

*Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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

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

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

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


Vaccine scheduling for adolescents is coming soon!

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

Diagnosing COVID-19

What you need to know about testing for COIVD-19.

What is the difference between a PCR test and a Rapid Antigen test for COVID-19?

IHA currently offers two types of diagnostic tests for COVID-19:

  1. Antigen test (frequently referred to as a rapid test). This test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. Turnaround time for results is usually very quick and, in some cases, results can be reported in 15 minutes.
  2. PCR test. PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19  (SARS-CoV-2) detection. This test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even when the patient is asymptomatic. Turnaround time is longer than the antigen test, results take approximately 2-5 days to return. Some rapid testing could have a quicker turnaround time. Result turnaround times will fluctuate based on the community testing demand but can take up to 5 days and sometimes even longer.

How do I know which test I should get?

Discuss your personal situation with a healthcare provider to receive the best guidance on the most appropriate test. A rapid antigen test can be used when a patient is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Positive results from an antigen test are highly accurate, and while false positives can occur, they are rare. If your antigen test is negative, your healthcare provider may recommend that you have a confirmatory PCR test.

Should I wait until I have symptoms to get a COVID-19 test?

We recommend waiting 5-7 days post exposure to COVID-19 before getting tested unless you develop symptoms of COVID-19.  If a PCR test is negative and the patient remains asymptomatic, we recommend quarantining for 14 days from time of exposure.

What is a COVID-19 antibody test?

Antibody, or serology, tests look for antibodies in your blood to determine if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies can usually be detected in a person’s blood 2 – 3 weeks after symptoms begin. An Antibody test cannot be used to diagnose an active infection and is not recommended for patients currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

What tests are available for antibody tests?

COVID-19 antibody testing is done through a blood draw. A laboratory test order is required to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies and the test can be completed with other bloodwork if appropriate. Talk with your provider if you think a COVID-19 antibody test is appropriate for you.

If I got the COVID-19 vaccine, will my antibody test come back positive?

Maybe. The vaccine is intended to induce an immune response, so the antibody test (serology test) may be positive in someone who has been vaccinated.


Learn more about the COVID-19 testing and how you can get tested if you need to.

The COVID-19 vaccines are our best shot for ending the pandemic. Schedule your vaccine at an IHA Vaccine Clinic near you.

Returning to Normal*

*For kids it’s anything but normal.

By Patrick Gaulier, LMSW & Leah Diebel, LLMSW

Last year, Michigan parents and students were faced with a very difficult adjustment from in-person education to attending school virtually. As many schools push for more time in the classroom, parents and students are again making an adjustment, this time back to in-person learning. After a year of virtual classes where students didn’t have to leave their bedroom or home, walking into a school with hundreds of other children or teens can feel like a daunting task. As a parent, dropping your (nervous) child off after months of having them home is equally daunting. Even kids and parents that normally don’t experience social anxiety (or anxiety period) may feel nervous because they are out of practice. It’s normal to feel that way and there are ways to help the return to school go more smoothly for parents and children.

Prepare for school to be different from what they remember.

The school children left last spring is not the same place they will be returning to. Everyone will be wearing masks, friends will have distance between them, there may even be plexiglass shields, and lunchtime and recess will be a very different experience. Uncertainty around what school will look like upon their return will be a source of anxiety for children and teens, so the more information they have (at their level) the better. Talk to your kids about the new rules in place and how they feel about them. Try to get answers to their questions prior to their first day back in the classroom.

Let them worry.

Collectively, we say we are returning to “normal”, but really, we’re not. Kids are returning to school, but it won’t be what they remember as normal. The most normal thing about this whole process is worrying. Everyone has worries and parents can help children to see worrying is a normal part of life. Parents can help children manage worry and anxiety by asking open-ended questions like “what happened at school today?” or “what did you do at recess today?” or “did you see anything interesting on social media today?” Children may not be ready to share their feelings or answers to their questions, but they know you are ready to listen when they are. The most important takeaway is to not minimize or discount your children’s anxiety.

Create opportunities for conversations.

As you prepare as a family for the return to in-person learning, be sure to give your children an opportunity to voice their concerns and excitement as well. Plan to sit down for device-free dinners where conversations can happen. Spend a few extra minutes tucking them in at night and ask them how they are feeling about upcoming changes. For teens a chat while driving is an opportunity to talk without forced eye contact. Schedule an outing with children either individually or as a family, depending on how your child best communicates, where they have dedicated time where they can feel heard.

Brush up on social skills.

For some kids, it’s been a while since they had face to face interactions with other students, teachers and staff at their school. For younger kids, try role playing some basic greetings and conversations they can have with someone they haven’t seen is a while. Talk about some different conversations starters and questions they can ask. They should also think about a couple things they would want to share with friends. Going into school prepared can help kids manage the anxiety that comes with the change from virtual interactions to facet-to-face.

Create a new routine and stick to it.

Since so much about the school day will be different, the daily routine should evolve, not disappear. Structure and routine will provide stability in times of uncertainty. Kids should wake up early enough to complete their morning routine and parents should model structure by also waking up and preparing for the day. It won’t be acceptable to walk around in pajamas at school, so it shouldn’t happen at home as children get ready to make the change from home learning to classroom learning. If children are returning to virtual classes, they can still go through their morning routine even if their commute is to a desk at home.

Know when they/you need more help.

If you think your child is struggling or may need more help than you are able to provide, the IHA Pediatric Behavioral Health Care team is here for you and your children. They will work in collaboration with your child’s IHA pediatrician to improve your child or adolescent’s overall health as well as helping the family understand the child’s development. IHA Pediatric Behavioral Health Specialists are available for video appointments through any IHA Pediatric practice.

COVID-19 Vaccines 101

Understanding how the COVID-19 vaccine works

Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine has become the third COVID-19 vaccine given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a harmless adenovirus to activate an immune response to the coronavirus spike protein. As we work to vaccinate more of our patients and communities, we’re working to increase understanding around how the different vaccines work to protect against COVID-19 and why the best vaccine is the one you can get.

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” cells that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

It typically takes a few weeks after your last dose of vaccine for your body to have the highest level of protection.

Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever, muscle aches, feeling tired. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

Types of Vaccines

Currently, there are two types of COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized for emergency use in the United States. None of these vaccines can give you COVID-19 because they do not contain any live COVID virus.

  • mRNA vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build cells that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future. (Moderna, Pfizer- BioNTech)
  • Vector vaccines contain a weakened version of a live virus—a different virus than the one that causes COVID-19—that has genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 inserted in it (this is called a viral vector). Once the viral vector is inside our cells, the genetic material gives cells instructions to make a protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Using these instructions, our cells make copies of the protein. This prompts our bodies to build cells that will remember how to fight that virus if we are infected in the future. (Johnson and Johnson)

How the Vector COVID-19 Vaccines WorkTrinity Health

Most COVID-19 Vaccines Require More Than One Shot

All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized for emergency use in the United States use two shots. The first shot starts building protection. A second shot a few weeks later is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer. One vaccine (Johnson and Johnson) only needs one shot to provide protection.

The Bottom Line

Getting vaccinated is one of many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Protection from COVID-19 is critically important because for some people, it can cause severe illness or death. All vaccines have been proven to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. It doesn’t matter which vaccine you get, just get vaccinated when it is your turn.

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like masks and physical distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.


Learn more and read frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccination.

Sports & COVID-19

Youth sports are back in Michigan…with restrictions

One of the many great disappointments during the pandemic was the loss of sports. From preschool t-ball to professional sports, being active and on a team is such an important part of so many lives. And those that don’t participate, spectate! The rules of the game have changed several times since the beginning of the pandemic, most recently with the resumption of contact sports for Michigan youth.

Beginning February 8th, in-person practice and competitions for sports leagues are now allowed…with some restrictions. For contact sports to resume, masks must be worn at all times during practices and competition. If masks can’t be worn during play, participants must be regularly tested for COVID-19, consistent with MDHHS’s Testing and Additional Mitigation Measures for Athletic Practice and Play guidance according to the state.

If your or your child’s sport of choice is non-contact and played outdoors where the athletes can maintain a social distance, masks will not be required. For all other sports, indoor or outdoor, masks or testing protocol will be required.

Following the guidance outlined by the state is crucial to stop the spread of the virus among athletes and spectators. There will be less people in the stands – up to 250 people are allowed in stadiums that seat fewer than 10,000 people, and up to 500 people are allowed at venues that seat more than 10,000 people, and those that do attend will also need to wear a mask at all times.

General Mitigation Measures for Athletics from the state of Michigan:

  • Wear a face mask at all times in practice and competition.*
  • Wash hands frequently and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Use separate equipment as much as possible. Frequently clean and disinfect any shared equipment and surfaces.
  • See the MDHHS Guidance for Athletics for more recommendations to mitigate risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in sports.

*Exceptions are for athletes in contact sports where face masks pose a safety hazard. In these situations, additional mitigation measures, including testing before unmasked play, are required. Please see the MDHHS Guidance for Athletics for more information

For more details on the how COVID-19 impacts youth sports in Michigan visit: http://bit.ly/3s9XxV5

COVID-19 Vaccine Myths & Facts

The development of the COVID-19 vaccine brings hope that we will soon be able to hug loved ones, greet people without a mask and meet friends for dinner. While the COVID-19 vaccines available have been proven safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, it’s understandable that there may be some apprehension around getting the vaccine. We’re here to help sort out the myths from the facts, so you can confidently get your vaccination and move toward an end to the pandemic.

Visit ihacares.com/covid19 for the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates and frequently asked questions .

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

The COVID-19 vaccine offers hope for the future, but for now ending this pandemic will require all the available tools. Your best defense against COVID-19 is the combination of the vaccine, wearing a mask, social distancing and continuing to wash your hands.

If you have symptoms of COIVD-19 or have been exposed, save your spot at one of our testing locations.

Virtual Care at IHA

Communication tips for the best virtual patient experience

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries to rethink how they deliver services to the public. The medical field is no different. Virtual Care, or healthcare via phone, video or email, offers access to timely medical care without leaving home or entering a waiting room in-person. This format is new to a lot of patients, so we pulled together our providers recommendations for a successful telehealth medical appointment.  

  • Practice using the technology. Download the platform (IHA providers use Zoom) ahead of your appointment time. Then, make sure it works! Virtual appointments require both video and audio. Ensure your device meets the requirements, know how to join your video appointment and do so a few minutes early.
  • Consider using headphones with a microphone for better sound and privacy.
  • Know where to go to troubleshoot any issues that come up.  Logging on early will give you an opportunity to work out issues before your provider joins the conversation. Visit ihacares.com/resources/video-appointments for information on video appointments with an IHA provider.
  • Find a quiet space where you can focus on your conversation with your provider. Discourage interruptions by putting a sign on your office door or tell those around you it’s not a good time to interrupt.
  • Eliminate distractions before your appointment begins – do not login for your video appointment from the car, cafeteria, bathroom, or while making dinner.
  • Consider your background. Try to minimize natural light by not sitting in front of a window. The glare can make it difficult for your provider to see you in your video.
  • Bring a flashlight along to your appointment if you have a skin issue such as a lesion or rash to help your provider your skin. Measure the are prior to the appointment if possible.
  • Confirm your insurance coverage and copays for telehealth appointments. Virtual appointment coverage varies based on insurance companies, so be sure to confirm your personal coverage ahead of time to avoid unexpected bills.
  • Treat a virtual appointment as you would an in-person appointment. Have relevant health history and treatments at your fingertips and come prepared with your questions or concerns. Write them down beforehand if possible.
  • If you would have brought someone else with you to your in-person appointment, have them sit with you, virtually or in-person if you are living with them, for your virtual appointment. It can be helpful later to have a second person listening and even taking notes. They may hear something you miss or come up with a question you may not have thought of.
  • If you use medical devices on a regular basis (blood pressure monitor, heart monitor, thermometer, glucometer, etc.), have them close at hand during your virtual appointment. Or better yet, take readings prior to your call or video appointment.

When it comes to healthcare, we understand patients have individual needs and one size doesn’t fit all! So we offer several ways to access care – Actually 5!

Allowing patients to get care in a way that works best for them is what we’re all about. Click below to schedule your appointment, your way.

Managing Anxiety

How does anxiety look & feel during a pandemic?

by Alberto Nacif, MD

Pandemics can be stressful. Holidays and elections can be stressful. Virtual school, social distancing and not seeing friends and loved ones can be stressful too. All these things together can be a recipe for anxiety. Anxiety and fear can feel overwhelming for both adults and children alike. Sometimes it can be hard to identify anxiety or understand the strong emotions that can come along with anxiety, especially for children.

What does anxiety look and feel like?

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Changes in behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances

What do you do when feeling anxious?

Being there for and taking care of family and friends is important but you should create a healthy balance with caring for yourself too. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control on coping with the stress that comes with living through a pandemic.

  • Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
    • If you think you may need a COVID-19 test, save your spot at an IHA testing location: ihacares.com/saveyourspot
  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
  • Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
  • Make time for quiet. If you find comfort in prayer or meditation, make time to incorporate this quiet time into your day. As little as 10 minutes can make a difference in your anxiety level. 

Quick tips for taking control of your anxiety.

  1. Take control of your breathing. Try square breathing: breathe in through your nose, pause, breathe out through your mouth and pause, counting to four at each step. Watch Alberto Nacif, MD give instructions on square breathing here: https://bit.ly/2Izy1aL
  2. Tighten and relax your muscles. In areas where you feel physical tension tighten your muscles and then relax them. 
  3. Go to your happy place. Yes! It does exist! Think of a time or a place in your life where you felt at ease, happy or at peace. Focus on the positive feelings associated with this moment in time.

Know when it’s time to seek medical professional help.

If stress or anxiety get in the way of your daily life several days in a row, it may be time to contact your primary care provider. There are many resources available for managing these feelings and your provider can help you find the best fit for you.