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Top fashion tips for spring and summer

HEA-Spring-fashion-trends

(BPT) – Spring is just around the corner – time to start planning your warm-weather wardrobe updates. To help you stay on top of the trends for spring 2014, the experts have plenty of advice to share.

Lynne Riding, who is the fashion coordinator at The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, and Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds, who has the same role at The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, offer some pointers.

Q: What are the top five trends for spring 2014?

A: “Look for clean, simple lines,” says Riding. “You’ll also see pleats, sheers and lace, and prints – both floral and graphic.” Hammonds agrees that pleats, especially knife pleats, will be big this spring. “Graphic prints are a major trend, using written words embroidered or printed across ready-to-wear garments,” he adds. “We’ll also see accessories with metallic touches in gold and bronze this year.”

Q: What are this spring’s top colors?

A: Both experts agree that lilac and other pastels are the most important color story for spring. Greens, especially mint green, are also big. “Muted and sophisticated tones predominate, although brights are also seen, particularly when paired with metallic touches,” Hammonds says.

Q: What one piece should everyone consider adding to her wardrobe to be on trend for spring?

A: “A poplin dress shirt in white, lilac or mint green is a great spring/summer addition,” says Riding. “It could either be a long wrap shirt without buttons or a long shirt worn on the hips with a belt.” Hammonds recommends adding a modern accessory, such as a metallic bag or clutch, statement eye frames, or even a metallic shoe that can go from day to night.

Some other ideas to give your wardrobe the fashion edge this spring? Consider a longer skirt (mid-calf or upper ankle length), wearing a classic shirt untucked with the bottom several buttons undone, or an accessory with fringe. And be sure to hang on to fashions with color blocking. Riding says this trend is continuing to be popular.

Whatever you do, Hammonds advises, dare to be edgy and always be true to yourself and your personal style. Riding adds, “A trend only works if it works for you. Does it fit your style, your lifestyle, what’s flattering? For instance, if lilac is not your color, don’t add a lilac dress to your wardrobe. Instead, choose a flower print that includes lilac or wear a print skirt with lilac tones along with a crisp white shirt.”

 

 

 

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Parents: spring chicks may carry Salmonella

HEA-Spring-chicks

Health officials at the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Community Health warn parents that the baby poultry found in feed and pet stores in the spring may carry Salmonella, a common bacterial illness found in the droppings of poultry that can cause illness in people.

“Raising birds can be a great experience, but children need to be supervised and wash their hands after handling chicks and other poultry,” said State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill. “Even birds that appear healthy can carry bacteria that will make people sick.”

“Live poultry, especially baby poultry, can carry Salmonella germs, so it’s important to not keep them in the house and to wash your hands immediately after touching poultry or anything in the area where they live or roam,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health. “Treating poultry like you would a pet increases the risk for Salmonella infection in a household.”

Salmonella can make people sick with diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal cramps lasting 4-7 days or more. People should always assume baby chicks carry Salmonella and should follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:

Children younger than five-years-of-age, older adults, or people with weak immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry because they are more likely to become severely ill.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.

Use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Chicks should have a heat lamp and should be kept in a barn or garage, in a draft-free cage that keeps predators out.

Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.

Do not kiss the chicks.

Do not touch your mouth, smoke, eat, or drink after handling live poultry.

Clean all equipment such as cages, feed, water containers and other materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house.

For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/live-poultry-04-13/advice-consumers.html

 

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Community health forum

March 27 6-8 p.m. at Metro Health in Cedar Springs

N-Kent-County-logo

The Kent County Health Department needs your help! The Health Department is currently conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment to identify strengths, weaknesses, and the health concerns of several communities within Kent County. Our Cedar Springs area meeting takes place on March 27, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Metro Health, on White Creek (near Save A Lot) in Cedar Springs, and is currently lacking in participation. We need your help to spread the word! The community health forum is open to men, women, and children alike; every person in attendance will receive a meal and be entered into a drawing for one of several $25.00 Meijer gift cards.

This community health forum is crucial to the success and health improvement of Cedar Springs.  We encourage you to participate and hope that you’ll tell others within your organization, social circles, etc.  The greater the participation we see within the community the better we can assess health and work to improve.

To Sign-Up For One Of Our Forums, Please Follow The Directions Below:

1. Visit Our Website:  www.KentCountyCHNA.org

2. Select The ‘Meetings’ Tab.

3. Scroll Down The Page To Find A Meeting Near You.

4. When You’ve Found Your Community Meeting, Scroll To The Bottom Of The Page.

5. Select The Link “RSVP To A Meeting Near You” and complete the survey.

 

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Stomach illness on the rise in Kent County

 

GRAND RAPIDS – Reports of stomach illness to the Kent County Health Department have health officials reminding everyone to practice good hygiene to prevent the further spread of sickness. For the week ending March 8, 2014, gastrointestinal illness (vomiting and/or diarrhea) complaints are being reported to local medical emergency departments at a rate that is higher (16.9%) than the four year average for this time of year (14.9%).

Communicable Disease staff at KCHD has been in contact with local emergency departments as well as people impacted by the illness. The increase also prompted an alert, sent to food establishments, to be diligent regarding the health and hygiene of their food employees; to use proper cleaning procedures and reinforce proper protocol if someone on their staff or in their facility is ill. If you work in the food service industry, in a cafeteria, or in a restaurant, and you are ill, stay home until you recover. The Michigan Food Code requires food employees to be symptom-free from diarrhea or vomiting for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to work.

Many of the complaints exhibit symptoms consistent with norovirus infection, a highly contagious, easily transmitted illness.

“If you or someone in your family is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, avoid contact with those who are not ill,” said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “Although a surface may not be visibly soiled, the virus can live on this surface for long periods of time if not properly cleaned.”

If possible, infected individuals should use one bathroom while uninfected individuals use another. The infected person should use disposable paper towel to dry their hands after washing, to prevent the virus from spreading.

Be sure to clean that bathroom (and any other potentially contaminated areas) with a chlorine bleach solution, mixing ¼ cup of bleach with one gallon of water.

Other tips:

1. Wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and before, during and after preparing food:

• Rub your hands together to lather the soap, and be sure to really scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

• Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

• Rinse your hands well under running water.

• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dry them.

• After drying, use another clean paper towel to open the door, and then dispose of it.

2. If you have been suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, remain at home until symptoms subside.

3. Don’t prepare food for anyone else until you haven’t had symptoms for 24 hours or more.

4. If sharing food, don’t use bare hands when handling foods, and use utensils to transfer food from container to plate.

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Get the Most Nutrition from Your Calories

‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right’ during National Nutrition Month® and Beyond

HEA-National-nutrition-monthCHICAGO – While taste drives most food choices, eating nutrient-rich foods that provide the most nutrition per calorie is one of the best ways to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As part of the 2014 National Nutrition Month® theme, the Academy encourages everyone to choose the most nutritionally-packed foods you can from each of the five MyPlate food groups every day.

Nutrient-rich foods and beverages provide vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients that offer health benefits with relatively few calories.

“When your daily eating plans include foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, fat-free or low-fat dairy, beans, nuts and seeds in the appropriate amounts, you are able to get many of the nutrients your body needs, all with relatively low amounts of calories,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Debbi Beauvais.

Beauvais offers practical ways to add nutrient-rich foods and beverages to your daily diet:

Make oatmeal creamier by using fat-free milk instead of water. Mix in some raisins, dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries, too.

Make sandwiches on whole-grain bread, such as whole wheat or whole rye. Add slices of avocado, tomato or cucumber to lean roast beef, ham, turkey or chicken.

When eating out, look for nutrient-rich choices, such as entrée salads with grilled seafood and low-calorie dressing, baked potatoes topped with salsa, grilled vegetables and reduced-fat cheese and yogurt parfaits made with strawberries and blueberries.

Drink nutrient-rich, low-sugar beverages such as low-fat or fat-free milk or 100-percent fruit juice.

Top foods with chopped nuts or reduced-fat sharp cheddar to get crunch, flavor and nutrients from the first bite.

Spend a few minutes to cut and bag vegetables so they are in easy reach of every family member: some ready-to-eat favorites include red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower flowerets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or radishes.

Serve meals that pack multiple nutrient-rich foods into one dish, such as hearty, broth-based soups that are full of colorful vegetables, beans and lean meat. Make chili with a dollop of low-fat yogurt. Serve these with whole-grain breads or rolls.

For dessert, enjoy a tropical treat by blending mango, plain low-fat milk, ice and a splash of pineapple juice, or stir chocolate syrup into a cup of coffee-flavored yogurt, freeze and enjoy.

“You should enjoy the foods you eat. In choosing nutrient-rich foods, you’ll find they are familiar, easy to find and represent the five MyPlate food groups,” Beauvais says. “Achieving balance and building a healthier diet can be simple and stress-free. Selecting nutrient-rich foods and beverages first is a way to make better choices within your daily eating plan.”

Beauvais also recommends limiting added sugars and reducing the major sources of solid fats. “Drink few regular sodas, fruit drinks and sports drinks, and cut back on cakes, cookies, ice cream, cheese and fatty meats like sausages, hot dogs and bacon,” she says.

“You don’t have to give up these foods entirely, but find ways to enjoy small amounts occasionally,” Beauvais says.

Visit the Academy’s website to view a library of recipes designed to help you “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

As part of this public education campaign, the Academy’s National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition based on the “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” theme.

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Did you know: Probiotics can improve more than just stomach health

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monticello - Shutterstock

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monticello – Shutterstock

 

(StatePoint) If you’re familiar with probiotics, you probably know that these “good bacteria,” found in such foods as yogurt and pickles, are associated with good digestive health.  But the health benefits of probiotics are more extensive than just improving digestion. Experts now say that paying attention to your probiotic intake, including the use of probiotic supplements, can potentially help you achieve better health — from developing a stronger immune system to reducing stress.

“Probiotics have formed a vital part of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets for thousands of years and are credited, in part, for the remarkably low rates of chronic, age-related diseases that prevail in those regions,” says Michael A. Smith, M.D., senior health scientist with Life Extension in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and host of Healthy Talk on www.RadioMD.com.

Gut Health

The human gastrointestinal system has the all-important job of digesting food and absorbing nutrients. If it fails at this, you’ll quickly become malnourished. These tasks are managed mostly by bacteria and not by your own body. Foods and supplements that replenish important bacteria are called probiotics.

Additionally, probiotics are said to ease inflammation by decreasing production of inflammatory proteins called cytokines.

Immunity

Your gut system is exposed to lots of dangerous bacteria, molds and fungi. A vast majority of your immune defenses are right there in the gut. Probiotics can help keep these critical defenses functioning properly.

Stress Management

Have you ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach? This sensation isn’t just “in your head.” The gut contains over 100 million neurons. One particular nerve, the vagus nerve, communicates directly with your brain. When you’re stressed, your digestive system suffers as a result. But new research shows that probiotics can potentially alleviate these symptoms.

Though more research is needed in this area, scientists are uncovering new ways that your mind is connected to your gut.

Reaping the Benefits

Start by incorporating more probiotics into your diet. Sources include yogurt, sour pickles, certain soft cheeses and miso soup. While these foods do supply a small dose of beneficial bacteria, Smith says that if you’re not already doing so, you should consider supplementing your diet with probiotic supplements or foods with added probiotics.

“Thanks to new research and the emerging field of pharmabiotics, you can increase your intake with a broad spectrum of probiotic products, as well” says Smith.

Remember, not all probiotics are created equal — there are many strains and preparations on the market. One of the complications many commercial probiotics face is their inability to overcome hurdles in the digestive tract before hitting their target area, which can limit their beneficial effect. Additionally, some supplements only provide one type of bacteria. It’s important to get clinically effective strains in whatever product you choose. To learn more, visit www.Lef.org/FlorAssist or call toll-free, 1-855-870-0682.

An improper balance of good-to-bad bacteria can wreak havoc throughout the body. But by being proactive about probiotics, you can better achieve optimal health.

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Fifth Flu-Related Death Reported in Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS – The Kent County Health Department received notification today of a fifth flu-related death: a man from Kent County over the age of 50. The initial test confirms the man was suffering from Influenza A/H1N1, the predominant strain people have been catching this season. The health department has no medical history on the man, so it is unclear if there were any known underlying medical conditions in this case.

“Health care providers report a leveling-off of cases of flu-like illness in recent weeks, but we still need to practice prevention,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department.

“In some years, we see flu season peaks as late as March. If you are suffering from the symptoms, consider seeking help from a health care provider, and stay home until you recover.” Kent County had five known flurelated deaths in the 2009-2010 season, the initial year that the H1N1 strain was circulating. There were no deaths reported in Kent County in 2012-2013.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10 – 14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot. Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10 – 14 days before their immunity develops.

Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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Boomers: help stop a silent killer

Tony Thomas and his family

Tony Thomas and his family

(BPT) – Eating well, exercise, sleep—these are all things we can control when it comes to our health. But unfortunately, some health-related things are out of sight, and therefore, often out of mind. Hidden health issues can escalate for years before becoming potentially life-threatening. For example, the term “silent killer” refers to fatal medical conditions that often exhibit no warning signs. High blood pressure is one such condition that many people are familiar with, but there is another very serious condition that most people have never heard of: abdominal aortic aneurysm.

More than 1 million people are living with an undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm, also known as AAA (pronounced “triple A”), and it’s the third-leading cause of death in men 60 and older. The good news is that AAA can be managed and treated if found in time through a simple ultrasound screening test; so, it’s important for boomers to know the risk factors for themselves and their loved ones so they can ask their doctor about screening, if necessary.

What exactly is AAA? AAA is a balloon-like bulge in the body’s main artery that can burst unexpectedly. The problem with AAA is there are no symptoms, and when the aneurysm ruptures, only 10 to 25 percent of people will survive.

Tony Thomas of Detroit, Mich., is one of the lucky survivors. One morning Thomas woke up feeling great, and with no warnings, suffered a ruptured AAA. He was reading a newspaper, suddenly felt a gurgle on the right side of his back and quickly become incapacitated. His daughter called an ambulance and he was rushed to emergency surgery.

Today, Thomas feels very fortunate to have survived a ruptured AAA. He has partnered with a non-profit, AAAneurysm Outreach, to become an advocate for their ambassador program – made possible by Medtronic, Inc. – spreading the word about AAA risk factors and the importance of screening.

A quick and painless ultrasound screening of the abdomen, similar to a pregnancy ultrasound, can easily detect the condition. In just a few minutes, a doctor can determine if AAA is present and if corrective action is necessary. The good news is at least 95 percent of AAAs can be successfully treated if detected prior to rupture through screening and most health plans cover AAA screening tests at no cost for people who fit the risk profile.

So who is at greater risk of developing AAA? Risk factors associated with this condition include:

* Age: Individuals 60 or older are most likely to develop this condition.

* Gender: AAAs are between five to 10 times more common in men than in women. However, research shows AAA may be more deadly in women.

* Family history: 15 percent of those with AAA have close relatives with the condition.

* History of smoking: Tobacco users are eight times more likely to be affected than non-smokers.

* Other health conditions: Including clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol.

“I want to urge others to learn about AAA and get screened if they are at risk. I didn’t have that opportunity when I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery,” says Thomas. “It’s important for others to know that a simple ultrasound screen can help save your life.”

If you or a loved one may be at risk for AAA, ask your doctor about a simple ultrasound screening. Visit www.AOutreach.org to learn more.

 

 

 

 

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No one dies alone

 

Hospice of Michigan volunteers sit vigil during patient’s final moments

After caring for her sick mother for months, doctors tell Stacey that her mother’s death is approaching.  Stacey’s focus has shifted from finding a cure for her mother to making sure she’s comfortable and that she doesn’t die alone. Stacey finds herself overwhelmed. Her grieving process has already begun and while she spends countless hours at her mother’s bedside, she fears she might not be there during the final moments.

“When it’s apparent that a patient has reached the end of life, it becomes very important to family and friends that the patient has support through the dying process,” says Kathy Julien, volunteer services manager at Hospice of Michigan. “It is our goal that a patient never dies alone. To achieve this, we have an incredibly compassionate and dedicated team of volunteers who go anywhere a patient is and ‘sit vigil’ during the final days and hours.”

HOM typically sends vigil volunteers for a two- to four-hour time frame. Volunteers play music, read inspirational readings or scripture, light candles, hold the patient’s hand, pray with the patient or just talk about the day. Julien says that in addition to sitting vigil with the dying when their family can’t be there, volunteers often sit alongside loved ones to offer comfort, reassurance and a shoulder to cry on.

“This isn’t a new concept,” Julien explains. “People have been sitting vigil with the dying for centuries. Traditionally, family, friends and clergymen would gather around the dying person to offer comfort and support to the patient and to each other.”

Julien explains that when people begin actively dying, their sense of sound is the last sense to go. While they may be unresponsive or appear unconscious, it’s very possible the patient can still hear what’s happening around them. In addition to creating a peaceful and comforting surrounding, sitting vigil is also the time to reassure patients that they are not alone, it’s okay to go and that their family will learn to cope with their passing.

“Hospice of Michigan vigil volunteers are very special and important people,” Julien says. “Most volunteers feel it’s a privilege to be with someone during the final moments in life. There is a love they have for their patients and this shows in the way they care for them and interact with their families.”

All prospective HOM volunteers go through a 12-hour training course where they learn more about HOM, the principles of hospice, the grieving process and how to help patients, families and staff. There’s an optional three-hour grief support session that, while not required, is recommended.  Julien explains that vigil volunteers also receive direction on:

Recognizing the signs that a patient is actively dying

Talking with the patient to provide comfort

When and when not to comfort patients through the physical touch of hand holding, rubbing their arms, etc.

Comforting family and friends and sharing details and stories from time spent with the patient

“When someone accepts that their loved one will die, their fear of the loved one dying is often replaced by a fear that they will die alone,” adds Julien. “It’s our job to help ease these fears and provide comfort, support and reassurance to patients and their families.”

If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities for Hospice of Michigan or sign up as a volunteer, contact Kathy Julien at 888.247.5701 or kjulien@hom.org.  For those who have experienced a loss, HOM encourages a waiting period of one year before becoming a volunteer in order to allow for processing grief.

 

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H1N1 detected in three recent deaths

 

From the Kent County Health Department

Testing has confirmed three recent deaths in people over the age of 50 in Kent County who were suffering from influenza A (H1N1) virus. Two of the individuals also had other known medical complications; we do not have a medical history yet on the third person. There are over 400 reported flu cases in Kent County so far this season, and of those reported, at least 26 people have been hospitalized.

“In two of these cases, we are certain there were additional underlying medical conditions,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “We have seen, in other parts of the state, healthy young adults are becoming extremely ill from H1N1, as well as several deaths.”

In late December, the CDC issued an advisory, noting an increase in severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults due to H1N1 this year.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. The CDC recently reported that the influenza vaccination prevented approximately 6.6 million illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations last year. It is critically important that people get a flu shot now. It takes 10—14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot.

Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10–14 days before their immunity develops. Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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