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Michigan residents urged to “Fight the Bite” 

OUT-Fight-the-Bite-mosquitoWith warmer weather upon us, it is important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites.  The Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and Rural Development are reminding all residents to protect themselves from mosquito and tick-borne diseases in Michigan and while traveling out of state.

“As we spend more time outdoors, it’s important to remember that a single bite from an infected mosquito can have serious health consequences,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS. “The best way to protect yourself and your family against mosquito-borne illness is to prevent mosquito bites.”

Seasonal activity varies from year to year, but mosquitoes encountered in Michigan can carry illnesses such as West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and ticks can carry illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. International travelers may be at risk for exposure to other mosquito-transmitted diseases. People considering international travel, including Mexico, Central and South America, should consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travelers health page for specific health information about the country they are visiting.

“Horses and other animals can act as sentinels for mosquito-borne viruses such as EEE, which is why implementing preventive measures and vaccination is important,” said Dr. James Averill, MDARD’s State Veterinarian. “Additionally, dogs and domestic animals are susceptible to tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease. I encourage all animal owners to work with a licensed veterinarian to make sure your animals stay healthy.”

Mosquito and tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms, severe infections requiring hospitalization, and even death in some cases. Nationally in 2015, there were 2,060 WNV cases and 119 deaths reported to the CDC, including 18 cases and two deaths in Michigan. Those with the highest risk of illness caused by WNV are adults 50 years of age and older.

Michigan is considered “low risk” for mosquito transmission of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya virus, as the mosquitoes that spread the diseases have not been found in the state. Zika is a virus that is newly emerged in the western hemisphere, and while its symptoms are not considered severe, the virus can cause birth defects in fetuses of pregnant women exposed to the virus. To date in 2016, there have been four travel-related cases identified in Michigan. Protection against mosquito-borne disease is as easy as remembering to take these key steps:

• Avoid mosquito bites: Use insect repellent according to label directions when outdoors and mosquitoes are biting. Look for EPA-labeled products containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus). Re-apply as needed. Use nets or fans around outdoor eating areas to keep mosquitoes away. Start with a low-concentration product and reapply if necessary. Apply repellent on your hands and then rub it on the child and never apply repellent to children’s hands or their skin under clothing.

• Mosquito-proof homes: Fix or install window and door screens and cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.

• Help your community: Report dead birds to Michigan’s Emerging Diseases website to help track WNV and support community-based mosquito control programs.

• Vaccinate horses against WNV and EEE virus and work with your veterinarian.

• Pregnant women should not travel to areas with active Zika transmission. If they must travel, they should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

Michigan is also home to a number of tick species that will bite people and are typically found in wooded or brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter. The ticks mostly commonly encountered in Michigan can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other human illnesses. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease reported in the state with 148 human cases reported in 2015.

Many tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms. See your healthcare provider if you develop signs of illness such as a fever, body aches and/or rash in the days after receiving a tick bite or recreating in tick habitat. Early recognition and treatment can decrease the chance of serious complications. You can prevent tick bites by:

• Avoiding tick-infested areas. This is especially important in May, June, and July. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges. Dogs and domestic animals can also be impacted, so using a tick preventative is recommended.

• Using insect repellent. Apply repellent containing DEET (20-30%) or Picaridin on clothes and on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some camping gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying any repellents.

• Bathing or showering. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Ticks can get a ride indoors on your clothes. After being outdoors, wash and dry clothing at a high temperature to kill any ticks that may remain on clothing.

• Performing daily tick checks. Always check for ticks after being outdoors, including your animals, even in your own yard. Because ticks must usually be attached for at least a day before they can transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, early removal can reduce the risk of infection. Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

For more information about the diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks, visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases, or the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov.

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State lab begins testing for Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses

Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services state laboratory began conducting diagnostic testing for Zika, dengue and chikungunya, which are mosquito-borne viruses.

This represents an expanded effort by the department to identify and monitor new cases of these viruses in Michigan travelers returning from areas where the viruses are currently circulating. These testing services are being provided to healthcare providers in Michigan through the department’s Bureau of Laboratories. It builds on the current testing the Bureau conducts for West Nile, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and La Crosse encephalitis viruses.

Michigan is considered “low risk” for mosquito transmission of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya virus, as the mosquitoes that spread the diseases are not present in the state. Zika is a virus that is newly emerged in the western hemisphere; while its symptoms are not considered severe, the virus can cause birth defects in fetuses of pregnant women exposed to the virus. To date, there have been three travel-related cases reported in Michigan; none in pregnant women.

Dengue and chikungunya viruses can also infect people who travel to areas where these viruses are present in mosquitoes. These areas include tropical and sub-tropical destinations. There were 14 cases of dengue and eight cases of chikungunya reported in Michigan in 2015. All cases of dengue and chikungunya were in travelers returning from areas with ongoing transmission.

Zika, dengue and chikungunya virus disease are reportable conditions in Michigan. Healthcare providers and laboratories must report suspect and confirmed cases of these viruses to a local public health department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising those traveling to foreign countries to exercise caution because of the Zika virus, particularly pregnant women. It recommends:

*Pregnant women should not travel to areas with active Zika transmission. If they must travel, they should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

*For non-pregnant women and men who travel and experience no symptoms, it is recommended they avoid pregnancy for eight weeks.

*For men who return from travel and do have symptoms, it is recommended they use condoms for six months.

*Men who have a pregnant partner and have been in an area with Zika transmission should either use condoms the right way every time they have sex, or not have sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

For the most current information about Zika, visit www.cdc.gov/zika.

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Quick beauty tricks for a busy morning

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features)

When you’re crunched for time, you may be tempted to ditch the pampering from your morning routine. No matter how quickly you have to dash out the door, you can always find shortcuts to your daily beauty regimen that let you look and feel your best.

These time-saving tips will let you give your body the TLC it deserves, even when you’re pressed for time.

Be a multi-tasker. You can do two things at once to save time, such as applying a face mask or wash before brushing your teeth or letting a deep-conditioning hair mask work while you shave your legs. Letting the face wash sit on your skin while you brush allows you to get more of the skin care benefits without the added time, and pinning up your hair in the deep-conditioning mask while shaving then rinsing it out will help your hair feel softer and more hydrated.

Keep up with conditioner. You may find it tedious, but hair care is no place to cut corners. Keeping your hair well-conditioned helps keep it healthier in the long run. Healthy strands are easier to detangle and style, which ultimately saves time. Have an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner on hand for days when you simply can’t do both and save detangling time by using a wide-tooth comb in the shower.

Use products that do double-duty in the shower. Using a multi-benefit body wash can give your skin and senses needed nourishment in the shower. One example is the new line of Softsoap Luminous Oils Body Washes, which contain a touch of luxurious oil, essence of peony or iris and an alluring fragrance. The sheer, non-greasy formula will leave your skin feeling radiant and soft.

Master a few simple hair styles. Whether your hair is long or short, experiment with a few go-to styles you can rely on when time is short. Sleek ponies and messy buns can disguise a hectic morning. For shorter cuts, look for a style that lets you air dry for a carefree tousled look.

Lighten up when it comes to cosmetics. You may be surprised by how pulled together you appear with a minimalist approach to makeup. Use a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen to even your skin tone, then use natural shades to enhance your best features. Save complex eye makeup for a less rushed day and stick to the basics: mascara, a dusting of blush for color and a pretty nude gloss.

Speed up those busy mornings with these time-saving beauty tips. For more information, visit softsoap.com.

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Mother thanks blood donors who saved her baby’s life

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

Premature baby girl survives infection after two blood transfusions

As many people nationwide celebrated the special women in their lives during Mother’s Day earlier this month, Michigan Blood is celebrating Jamiee Mentink and her story of becoming a mom for the first time.

In March of 2012, daughter Ava was born through emergency C-section at only 28 weeks, due to Jamiee’s severe illness, preeclampsia. Ava, a tiny 1 lb, 11 oz. at birth, had been doing great in the NICU, but then fell sick to infection. Two blood transfusions were needed to save Ava’s life.

“Immediately after the transfusions, you could see a difference. Ava’s skin turned pink again, and she became her feisty self again,” said Jamiee. “All the medical stuff in the world couldn’t replace the blood that Ava so desperately needed.”

With time, Ava fought her way back to being a healthy, thriving baby. Ava is now a fun, feisty, sweet little girl who is energetic about dance lessons and loved being a wedding flower girl recently. She just celebrated her 4th birthday in March.

Through the experience with Ava, and as the Director of Inpatient Emergency Services at South Haven Hospital, Jamiee realizes first hand the importance of blood donation. She is now a loyal blood donor herself.

“As a nurse I used to give blood to patients regularly, but I feel bad that it took Ava’s experience for me to regularly donate,” adds Jamiee. “Like I did, I think people take for granted that somebody else is donating blood. If people could realize that donating takes just a short amount of time, but it’s something that’s so worth the cause.”

Jamiee also wishes to thank those donors whose blood saved Ava’s life.

“Thank you for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.”

To view Jamiee and Ava’s full story, watch their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pisYzF9iGAQ

Upcoming blood drives nearby include:

  • 6/03 – Spectrum Health – United Hospital, Conference Rooms Sides A and B, 615 S. Bower Street, Greenville, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 6/06 – Rockford Area Donor Site at the Community Cabin, main room, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • 6/09 – Cedar Springs United Methodist Church – 140 S. Main Street, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a blood drive to support three local students. Emma Orr, Brison Ricker and Bree Town. For every person that attempts to give blood, $10 will be donated. Please call 233-8509 or go to www.miblood.org to make an appointment.
  • 6/21 – Cedar Springs Area Donor Site at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health St. Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) or schedule online at https://donate.miblood.org

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Health Department receives grant 

 

To enhance emerging disease preparedness

GRAND RAPIDS–The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is one of only eleven local health departments in the United States, and the only one in Michigan, to be awarded a $25,000 grant to enhance coordination for preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks. The grant is awarded by the National Association of County and City Health Organizations (NACCHO).

With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Lessons in INfection Control (LINC) Initiative awards recipients will test new approaches to prepare for and respond to healthcare-associated infections and other emerging infectious diseases.

“Not only will this funding increase KCHD’s capacity to respond to healthcare associated infections (HAIs) and other emerging diseases,” says Brian Hartl, Supervising Epidemiologist at KCHD, “it will also increase collaboration and communication between public health and health care facilities across West Michigan to strengthen HAI surveillance and control activities.”

The LINC Initiative supports local health departments in improving healthcare and community infection control practices by working with hospitals, long-term care facilities and other healthcare settings to identify and address the needs and opportunities. KCHD and other award recipients will test creative solutions and ways to combat the estimated 700,000 healthcare related infections in the U.S. each year.

Local health departments that received the award include the following:

• Barren River District Health Department (KY)

• Clark County Public Health (WA)

• Eau Claire City-County Health Department (WI)

• El Paso County Health Department (CO)

• Flathead City-County Health Department (MT)

• Florida DOH Pasco County

• Kent County Health Department (MI)

• Marion County Public Health Department (IN)

• Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (WV)

• Public Health – Seattle & King County (WA)

• St. Louis City Department of Health (MO)

The awardees will implement this project throughout 2016.

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The 10-Step Sugar Detox Plan: For you and your children

Healthy drink.

Healthy drink.

For adults who crave candy and ice cream almost as much as their children, the bad news on sugar continues to pour in.

Earlier this year, research into sugar’s deleterious effects showed a connection to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. More recently, the American Dental Association reminded parents just how bad sugar is for their children’s teeth.

(http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2016-04-01/health-tip-limit-your-childs-sugar-consumption)

“We think we’re so advanced in 2016, yet when it comes to health and a nutritious diet, many of us have a long way to go,” says nutritionist and juicing pioneer Cherie Calbom, who is known as “The Juice Lady.”

The good news for parents is they can ferret out the sugar-laden products that may be hidden in their and their children’s diets, and dedicate themselves to a healthy, sugar-free lifestyle, says Calbom, author of “The Juice Lady’s Sugar Knockout.” She offers her Sugar Addiction Quiz at www.juiceladycherie.com/Juice/the,sugar,knockout.

Below is Calbom’s solution: a 10-step detox plan that parents can work on with their children to eliminate sugar in both their diets.

1. Avoid all sugar. If you can do it for 30 days, you can change your lifestyle. During this time, avoid even healthy sweeteners like honey, and substitutes, which overwhelm the taste buds.

2. Cut caffeine intake. There are multiple benefits to cutting back on your caffeine, including the temptation to use sugary creamers and accompanying sweets along with actually causing sugar cravings.

3. Skip foods that turn to sugar easily. This includes wheat and other grains, alcohol and starchy foods like white potatoes.

4. Enjoy healthy smoothies. Healthy smoothies that include dark leafy greens like kale or chard make you feel good in the long term and can help eliminate the urge for sugary snacks and excessive caffeine.

5. Power up with protein. Eggs, nuts, fish and other meats balance blood sugar and insulin.

6. Eat your veggies. Non-starchy vegetables provide your body with much-needed vitamins that also will cut your urge for unhealthy, sugary snacks.

7. Drink eight glasses of water a day. Sufficient pure water keeps you hydrated, reduces headaches and constipation, and flushes out toxins.

8. Supplement your diet. GTF chromium, L-Glutamine, B vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin C assist your body in various ways to overcome sugar cravings.

9. Sleep well; sleep enough. Lack of sleep messes with your hormonal balance and contribute to feelings of hunger.

10. Fight sugar cravings with fat. Healthy fats like avocados and fish make you feel full and satisfied.

“Beware of sugar in places you might not have expected, like tomato sauces, salad dressing and marinades,” Calbom says. “Make a habit of studying labels.”

Cherie Calbom holds a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University. Known as “The Juice Lady” www.juiceladycherie.com for her work with juicing and health, she is author of 31 books, with millions of copies sold worldwide. No stranger to healthy diet trends, Cherie joined George Foreman as nutritional spokesperson in the Knockout the Fat phenomena that forever changed grilling in America.

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Pine Rest offers substance use disorder family recovery group

Pine Rest offers a family recovery group led by certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor Stacey Williamson-Nichols for those with a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder.

The group sessions are held every Tuesday at the Pine Rest campus Retreat Center from 5:30-7 p.m. One topic per session is taught over a 10-week period. An orientation meeting must be attended prior to starting group and will be scheduled at the time of registration.

Besides developing an understanding of addiction, participants will learn ways to cope, set appropriate boundaries, build self-esteem and assertiveness skills. The recovery group places an emphasis on the family or support person of an individual struggling with substance use. The goal is to keep the people supporting their loved one healthy and knowledgeable.

The Family Recovery Group is open to the public for a fee of $15 per session, and free of charge to family members who have a loved one participating in Pine Rest’s Retreat Center/Addiction Medicine Services. Orientation is free for everyone. The Pine Rest Retreat Center address is 300 68th Street SE, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49548. To register, please call 616/258-7467. For more information, go to www.pinerest.org/events/.

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Walk to cure arthritis at John Ball Park Zoo

Funds raised is a step closer to finding a cure for the leading cause of disability

Over 800 walkers will be on hand at the 2016 Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at the John Ball Park Zoo in Grand Rapids, MI, to help support the Arthritis Foundation and its mission to cure arthritis and make it easier for people living with the disease to achieve everyday victories. On-site registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the opening ceremony starts at 9:40 a.m. with the walk immediately following. As the Arthritis Foundation’s signature, national fundraising event, the Walk to Cure Arthritis brings together communities to fight arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability, and is a great way to experience the power of giving back to the community.

Supporters have the opportunity to walk a 1 or 3 mile route. Registration is free. With a $25 donation, participants can enjoy free admission to the zoo for the day. Walkers raising $100 or more will receive an official Walk t-shirt. The event also features arthritis information, refreshments and activities for the entire family.

Register online at www.WalkToCureArthritis.org/GrandRapids or contact Sue Arend at sarend@arthritis.org or 616-954-7649.

Local honorees will share their inspiring stories of living with arthritis during the Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis.

  • Youth Honoree Collin Scarpino, 17-years-old, Grand Rapids, MI – ankylosing spondylitis
  • Adult Honoree Holly Hubbard, 39-years-old, Jenison, MI – rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis
  • Medical Honoree Kory Johnson, DO, Orthopedic Specialist, Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan

More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the U.S. live with arthritis. Costing the U.S. economy $156 billion dollars a year, arthritis affects one in five Americans and causes more activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes. The Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis will help those living with arthritis by supporting community programs, advocacy initiatives, as well as fund crucial research aimed at finding a cure for the disease.

Arthritis is more than just a few minor aches and pains. It’s a debilitating disease that robs people of their dreams,” says Michelle Glazier, executive director of the Arthritis Foundation, Michigan. “When you support Walk to Cure Arthritis, you become a Champion of Yes, helping us build a lifetime of better while accelerating the search for a cure. Whether you are close to the disease or simply looking for an inspiring charity event that truly makes a difference, Walk to Cure Arthritis is a great way to experience the power of standing together in the fight against arthritis. Together, we can Walk to Cure Arthritis and help us reach our goal of raising $90,700 to help find a cure for this disease.”

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Affordable health screenings 

 

May 2, at Solon Center Wesleyan

Residents living in and around the Cedar Springs, Michigan can learn about their risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other chronic, serious conditions with affordable screenings by Life Line Screening. Solon Center Wesleyan Church will host this community event on Monday, May 2. The site is located at 15671 Algoma in Cedar Springs.

Screenings can check for:

The level of plaque buildup in your arteries, related to risk for heart disease, stroke and overall vascular health.

  • HDL and LDL Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes risk
  • Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
  • Kidney and thyroid function, and more

Screenings are affordable, convenient and accessible for wheelchairs and those with trouble walking. Free parking is also available.

Packages start at $149, but consultants will work with you to create a package that is right for you based on your age and risk factors. Call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at www.lifelinescreening.com. Pre-registration is required.

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Allergy Woes: Downside of Good Hygiene?

HEA-Allergy-woesBy Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

LANSING, Mich. – All the runny noses and itchy eyes tell us it’s allergy season in Michigan. From April to June, grass pollen creates problems for many. In autumn, ragweed and other pollen-shedding plants cause misery. If it seems that more people have allergies than ever, that indeed is the case.

Dr. Bill Miller, an author and blogger who studies the causes of allergies, said one problem is that many Americans are too clean; researchers call it the hygiene hypothesis. Miller said we’ve upset the balance of internal germs in our bodies by protecting ourselves more than our ancestors did.

“They had the cows and the goats, and all the pigs and everything,” he said. “The family unit lived right on top of the farm animals. Kids used to roll in the dirt. Kids spent almost all their day outside. Now, in our modern society, we live indoors.”

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has cited research that suggests early antibiotic use changes the bacterial flora, which affects the development of allergic diseases, including asthma. Other studies suggest we may be using too many products such as acetaminophen to treat children.

Miller said people need to back away a little from the use of hand sanitizers and antibiotics.

“Are antibiotics the problem? No, they’re wonder drugs,” he said. “They’re one of the greatest inventions in all of world history but we’re using them so commonly that we’re having unintended side effects.”

Miller said we’re upsetting the natural balance in our bodies, and that doctors need to stand their ground and not give out prescriptions so easily.

“I was taught to use antibiotics when you should,” he said. “But, that said, as a front-line physician, I can tell you that there’s a lot of pressure on doctors to offer antibiotics to patients or parents for their young children, because there’s such a profound belief that they do the trick.”

Miller stressed that children should play with other children and have pets early in life because exposure to other germs can help them avoid allergies later in life.

More information on and from Miller is online at TheMicrocosmWithin.com/author.

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