According to recent articles in the Washington Post, Forbes and many other national media publications, the 2023 spring allergy season is starting earlier than ever due to the effects of climate change, which is changing the pattern of when trees, plants, and grass spring to life.
If you suffer from spring allergies, you’ll want to start taking your medication sooner than you might have in the past. Taking your medication before symptoms appear helps your body to keep the misery from getting out of hand. Check here for today’s pollen count in our area courtesy of Map My Air.
“We perform an assessment of your symptoms, prescribe a custom treatment plan, and are available for follow up care, said Lakes Urgent Care medical director Dr. Haidar Al-Saadi. “At Lakes Urgent Care, we can also make sure your symptoms are caused by allergies and not something else, like a deviated septum or sinus infection.”
Instead of guessing which over the counter medication is best for your unique symptoms, plan an annual visit with your primary care physician to review what you did the year before, what worked, and what didn’t. And you can always consult with us at Lakes Urgent Care any time, no appointment needed. If we saw you last year for allergy care, we can also review how things went and adjust your medication plan as needed for the 2023 spring allergy season.
“If spring allergies give you asthma symptoms, sustained use of bronchodilators such as albuterol have been widely proven to be both safe and effective.” said Dr. Al-Saadi.
Spring allergies are less severe in Detroit
Here’s some good news. If you suffer from spring allergy symptoms, you’ll be much less miserable here in metro Detroit than just about anywhere else in the country. According to a new study done by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, out of 100 cities tested nationwide, metro Detroit was the sixth-best city for fewest allergens in the air, patient medication use, and patient access to an allergy specialist.
There are a few proactive things you can always do to minimize your spring allergy symptoms. In your home, keep windows closed and rely on your home’s heating and cooling system along with good quality air filters and dehumidifiers to reduce symptoms while indoors or sleeping. When coming in from any outdoor activity, showering and changing your clothes can help reduce your exposure to allergens. If you can determine the specific allergens that trigger your symptoms, this can help you reduce or potentially eliminate exposure to the elements that cause you grief.
Remote work, Zoom meetings, and telemedicine are all here to stay. Here’s how to know when a telemedicine call with your health care provider is appropriate and when it’s not.
The COVID pandemic changed the way we work and communicate. And telemedicine, or telehealth, which enables video or phone appointments between a patient and their health care provider, is now an accepted and safe way for you to communicate with your doctor. A telemedicine visit can minimize the spread of infectious diseases by allowing the patient and provider to communicate remotely. But as described in an article from Harvard Health, it does have its limitations.
“Telemedicine can be a great tool, but only under very specific circumstances,” said Lakes Urgent Care medical director, Dr. Haidar Al-Saadi. “Because of the services we provide and the treatments we offer at Lakes Urgent care, we’re almost always going to want to see you in the office.” If you’d like to set up a remote call with Lakes Urgent Care, contact us first to discuss your health concerns, and one of our providers will be able to determine if a call is appropriate.”
Lakes Urgent Care now provides telemedicine appointments, but the best application of a this type of appointment is as a follow-up to a previous in-person visit. It’s also a great way to discuss a new concern with your primary care physician, who is already familiar with your health history.
Click here for more information about scheduling a telemedicine visit with a Lakes Urgent Care provider.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs during the cloudy fall and winter months. If you think you might be suffering from SAD, Light therapy is a treatment option that might be right for you. This treatment involves exposure to bright, full-spectrum light, usually from a specialized light box, for a certain amount of time each day. The goal is to mimic the effects of natural sunlight and regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
The use of light therapy for SAD was first proposed in the 1980s, and since then, numerous studies have evaluated its effectiveness. The results have been promising, with many patients reporting improvement in their symptoms after just a few weeks of treatment. In fact, light therapy is now considered to be a first-line treatment for SAD by the American Psychiatric Association.
The reason why light therapy works is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the regulation of melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in regulating your body’s sleep-wake cycle. In SAD patients, melatonin levels are often elevated during the day, leading to feelings of fatigue and depression. By exposing SAD patients to bright light, the therapy may help to reduce melatonin levels and improve mood.
Light therapy is typically administered using a light box, which is a device that emits bright light. The patient sits or works near the light box for a certain period of time each day, usually in the morning. The duration of treatment and the intensity of the light varies based on the severity of symptoms.
Light therapy should not be used as a substitute for other treatments such as counseling or medication. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any treatment, especially if you have a history of bipolar disorder or other psychiatric conditions. Side effects are generally mild, but can include headaches, eye strain, and nausea.
If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Light therapy can be an effective treatment option. Talk to your healthcare professional, or visit us at Lakes Urgent Care in West Bloomfield or Livonia, to see if it’s right for you.
Do cold, sinus, or allergy symptoms have you all stuffed up? A neti pot could bring you relief. Neti pots have been around for a long time, and they are easy to use. According to a recent article in the New York Times, a substantial amount of medical research confirms that, when administered correctly, using a neti pot is both safe and effective.
Your nose does a great job of trapping and filtering much of the bad stuff we all inhale each day, such as viruses, bacteria, and pollutants. But if you are congested, rinsing the sinus cavities with a warm saline solution will wash it all away, and can help you feel better without the use of drugs or medications.
You can pick up a neti pot online or at any local drugstore. Fill it with a saline solution made with distilled water, tilt your head, and pour the spot through one nostril and it flushes out the mucous and other irritants that are causing discomfort and difficulty breathing out the other.
“It’s important to always use distilled water when using a neti pot,” said Lakes Urgent Care medical director Dr. Haidar Al-Saadi. “There have been many instances of infections caused by using regular tap water, but if you always use distilled water you are safe. You can also boil tap water for three to five minutes and let it cool before using.” Before using a neti pot for the first time, here’s a step by step guide from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for making the saline solution with the distilled water.
If you have chronic sinus or congestion issues, regular and consistent use of a neti pot can help you feel better. If you still need help, the staff at Lakes Urgent Care in West Bloomfield or Livonia can offer additional treatment options.
Here in metro Detroit, and across the country, cases of RSV are showing up earlier and with more frequency than usual this year. RSV is nothing new. It stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and it’s a common cause of typical cold-like symptoms. People who get infected with RSV get a runny nose, cough, and fever, and are contagious for three to eight days.
We are hearing about RSV in the news right now because the virus is showing up in our population earlier this year, there are more cases than usual, and some have produced more severe patient reactions, according to a recent article in AOL News. A November 3, 2022 story in Patch reports that they are seeing a “sharp increase in RSV cases within the last month.”
“This surge of RSV is the worst that we’ve seen in 25 years,” said Dr. Matthew Denenberg, chief and chair of Beaumont Children’s at Corewell Health East (formerly Beaumont Health system) as reported in recently in Crain’s Detroit. Crain’s went on to report that Corewell East’s eight hospitals have 90 pediatric beds and 12 intensive-care unit beds. All are full.
“If your child is having difficulty breathing, immediately go to your primary care physician’s office or local emergency department right away. In severe cases, the patient will receive oxygen, breathing treatments, and steroids,” said Lakes Urgent Care medical director, Dr. Al-Saadi. “For most children and adults, a case of RSV will result in nothing more than typical cold symptoms,” said Dr. Al-Saadi. We offer an RSV test at our offices in West Bloomfield and Livonia. We can also provide a treatment plan to lessen the symptoms.”
Respiratory Syncytial Virus is most dangerous with infants, older adults, and anyone who is prone to a severe lung infection. Babies and small children, who are most vulnerable to RSV were sheltered from virus during pandemic lockdowns and safety precautions are encountering RSV for the first time.
The best defense against RSV is to do all the things that always help you from getting sick. Wash your hands. Cough/sneeze into your shoulder. If you are feeling sick, stay home and avoid contact with small children. If you must be around others or small children, mask up. If you are the parent of a small child, pay extra attention to their surrounds and avoid putting them in contact with others who may be sick.
We’ve all done it: we don’t use up a prescription or we leave a long-expired medication in the medicine cabinet. That’s why the annual DEA Drug Take Back Day this Saturday from 10am-2pm is an excellent reminder and opportunity to go through your home and dispose of it all safely.
“Leaving medications unneeded or expired prescription drugs in your home is not safe,” said Lakes Urgent Care Medical Director Dr. Haidar Al-Saadi. “Children are curious or think a medication looks like candy. Teens and adults may seek to use certain drugs, like opioids, for illegal or unintended purposes. Lakes Urgent Care supports the DEA Drug Take Back Day and encourages everyone to bring all expired medications to one of the safe drop off locations in our community.”
Local police departments and other DEA sanctioned locations will safely collect and dispose of any unwanted medications. Farmington Hills and other area police departments have permanent and secure collection bins at the front desk area year-round, so if you can’t make it this Saturday, you can likely find a place where you can safely dispose of unneeded prescription drugs.
Just like Christmas tree displays pop up in the stores before Halloween, free flu shot offer signs also show up a bit too soon. If you haven’t gotten your annual flu shot yet, you are right on schedule.
“October is really the ideal month to get your annual flu shot,” said Lakes Urgent Care Medical Director Dr. Haidar Al-Saadi. “That’s because it takes a few weeks for the vaccine to become effective and flu season typically begins in November as we all start to move all activities indoors, kids are back in school, and celebrate holidays together.”
Everyone six months and older is eligible and should get a flu shot every year. For adults 65 and older, Lakes Urgent Care has a special high-dose version of this year’s vaccine, available at both our West Bloomfield and Livonia locations. Walk in any time, no appointment needed.
“Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors and early indications about the flu season in Australia, this is shaping up to be a worse than normal flu season here in Southeast Michigan,” said Dr. Al-Saadi. “We encourage everyone to get their annual flu vaccine in addition to being up to date with the latest COVID vaccine booster.”
According to a recent article in Popular Science and other sources, there are a few clear-cut indicators that suggest we may be in for a rough flu season. Essentially, a bad flu season abroad and low US/Southeast Michigan vaccination rates for the flu are the reason why so many people are predicting that we may be in for a rough flu season.
It seems like everyone is playing Pickleball these days. This fast paced outdoor game is part tennis, part ping pong, and a lot of fun to play. But while it can be a casual and social game, some take their Pickleball very seriously, the action can get intense, and Pickleball injuries are on the rise. Those quick stops, starts, and spins can lead to ankle sprains, pulled muscles, or worse.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, Pickleball injuries were on the rise even before the pandemic. One analysis, published in 2019 in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, estimated that there were 19,000 pickleball injuries in 2017, with 90 percent of them affecting people 50 and older.”
For minor sprains and strains, the R.I.C.E. method works best: rest, use ice on the injured area, and keep it elevated. This can help dull the pain, minimize the swelling, and help you heal and recover faster. You can also add an anti-inflammatory drug such as NSAIDs to help with pain and swelling.
But if you injure yourself and cannot reliably bear weight on a lower extremity or use your upper extremity for simple tasks like opening a door or carrying a book, it is best to have a physician evaluate that injury and take diagnostic x-rays to rule out the possibility of a fracture. Keep in mind that even though somebody may be able to move a joint, there may still be an underlying fracture and the only reliable method to determine this is with an x-ray and a physician evaluation.
“Since most of us are weekend/after work athletes, Lakes Urgent Care is open late, and we can be a great resource for all sports injuries,” said Dr. Haidar Al-Saadi, Lakes Urgent Care’s medical director. “We have digital x-ray capabilities on site, and we can quickly help determine if you just have a sprain or strain. If your injury is more serious, we can either treat your injury on-site or refer you to a specialist.”
The human monkeypox virus was first discovered in 1970 and there are presently 19 confirmed infections of monkeypox in Michigan; eight are in Oakland County. Right now, the risk to the general public is low. But it’s important for you and your family to be informed so we’ve created a concise guide to help you understand how the virus started, how it spreads, and how Lakes Urgent Care can help if you think you have symptoms.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is caused by infection from the monkeypox virus which comes from the Orthopoxvirus genus, according to the World Health Organization. The disease can be “transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus,” the WHO says on its website. According to a recent article in USA Today, there is absolutely no connection between COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine and the monkeypox virus.
The state has set up a robust site about monkeypox in Michigan, along with updated case counts by county:
What are the symptoms?
The Oakland County Health Department lists fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion as the primary symptoms. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after a fever, a rash (often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body) occurs. Lesions progress through several stages before falling off.
What should I do if I think I have it?
See a healthcare provider immediately if you have any of the symptoms associated with the monkeypox virus. At Lakes Urgent Care, we can perform a test to confirm if you have monkeypox. If you have it, avoid all contact with others until the virus has run its course. The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks, and a person is considered infectious from when symptoms begin until lesions have crusted, those crusts have separated, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath, according to the Oakland County Health Department.
Is a vaccine available to prevent or treat monkeypox in Michigan?
If you have a confirmed case of monkeypox in Michigan, consult with your primary care physician immediately. Right now, there is not a treatment specifically for the monkeypox virus. However, since monkeypox is like the smallpox virus, the State of Michigan indicates that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox can be used to prevent and treat MPV infections.
States are receiving vaccine allocations from the Strategic National Stockpile in accordance with the number of MPV cases and the size of the underlying at-risk population. Presently, Michigan has received a limited supply of the vaccine.
Michigan launches monkeypox website, Oakland County forming task force to address outbreak (Detroit Free Press)
Our changing climate, as discussed in a recent MI Radio report, is giving ticks the opportunity to gain a stronger foothold in Southeastern Michigan. Knowing how to avoid and remove ticks is smart summertime safety, as ticks can spread disease to you, your family, and your pets.
How to avoid ticks: When on a hike, walk in the center of the trail. Wear light colored clothing to make ticks easy to spot. Apply an insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET. Consider wearing clothing treated with permethrin when hiking or working in wooded areas. After returning from a possible exposure area, consider placing clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 60 minutes. This will kill the ticks. In Southeast Michigan, the greatest time of risk is from April through September.
How to remove a tick: Ticks are skillful at attaching themselves to skin, and it’s difficult to remove them. Use fine tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull at a perpendicular angle to the skin surface until the tick lets go. Remove a tick as quickly as possible to decrease the length of exposure. Avoid “breaking” the tick. Any small pieces left in the skin could cause a localized infection. You may also visit us at Lakes Urgent Care for this procedure.
If a bite gets infected: Initial signs and symptoms include itching, burning, and redness in a circular fashion around the tick bite. Sometimes that rash can proceed to what is called a bull’s-eye lesion with concentric red circles around the bite area. If the disease is going to progress, you’ll start to have flu-like symptoms including muscle aches, fatigue, headache, and fever.
If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, immediately see your primary care physician or a certified urgent care like Lakes Urgent Care for diagnosis and treatment.
Additional links and information:
There’s a tick boom in Michigan – Here are 5 things you should know