World Immunization Week and the Importance of Routine Vaccinations

Over the past year, no one can hear the word vaccine without thinking of one thing: COVID-19. The coronavirus has elevated our understanding of the efficacy of virus immunizations in ways that many Americans have not needed to think about in modern times. COVID-19 reminds us, however, that our bodies are, in many ways, fragile and that we must guard against virus contagion and keep those dangerous conditions that we have suppressed from the population over time through routine vaccinations at bay with continual routine vaccination best practices.

If you are a parent or hoping to become pregnant and you have considered the possibility of not giving your children the routine vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we implore you to talk to your doctor. Ask them about the risks of not seeking vaccinations for your children and the proven benefits of routine immunizations. Also, read on to learn about recommended routine immunizations and the dangerous health conditions from which they protect us.

Immunizable Conditions and the CDC’s Recommended Vaccine Schedule

The CDC’s recommended routine immunizations protect Americans from the following dangerous and sometimes deadly viruses and bacterial infections:

Vaccines Administered Starting at Birth

  • Hepatitis B. A virus that can cause chronic swelling of the liver and possible lifelong complications. If contracted, infants are more likely than adults to develop an incurable chronic infection that can result in liver damage and liver cancer.

Vaccines Administered Starting at One to Two Months

  • Diphtheria – A serious infection of the nose and throat in which a sheet of thick, gray matter covers the back of the throat, making breathing difficult
  • Tetanus (lockjaw) – A serious bacterial infection that affects the nerves and causes painful muscle spasms, and can lead to death
  • Whooping cough (pertussis) (DTaP) – A highly contagious respiratory tract infection that is particularly dangerous for infants causing a cough that sounds like “whoop,” a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) – A name for any illness caused by bacteria called H. influenzae, some of which—like ear infections—are mild while others—like bloodstream infections—are serious
  • Polio (IPV) – A virus transmitted through contaminated water and food or contact with an infected person that may cause paralysis, which can sometimes be fatal
  • Pneumococcal (PCV) – The name for any infection caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae, causing a range of infections that range from ear and sinus infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections
  • Rotavirus (RV) –Typically causes severe diarrhea and vomiting in infants and young children and dehydration that may result in hospitalization or death

Vaccines Administered Starting at Six Months

  • Influenza –The flu; a common viral infection that can be deadly, especially in high-risk groups, young children, and the elderly

Vaccines Administered Starting at 12 to 23 Months

  • Chickenpox (Varicella) – An infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus that causes an itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters; it is highly contagious to those who haven’t had the disease or been immunized against it
  • Measles –A highly contagious infectious disease that causes fever, often greater than 104 °F, cough, runny nose, and inflamed eyes
  • Mumps – A viral infection that affects the salivary glands and the parotid glands
  • Rubella – A contagious viral infection that causes a distinctive red rash; while it may cause mild or no symptoms, it can cause serious complications for unborn babies whose mothers become infected during pregnancy
  • Hepatitis A – A highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus that spreads from contaminated food or water or contact with someone who is infected; symptoms include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever 

Vaccines Administered Starting at 11 to 12 Years

  • Meningococcal conjugate – Any illness caused by the meningococcus bacteria which cause infections of the lining of the brain, spinal cord, and bloodstream, which are often severe and can be deadly
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) – The most common sexually transmitted infection, which can lead to genital warts or cancer

Vaccines Administered Starting at 50 Years

  • Shingles – A viral infection that causes a painful rash that often appears as a single stripe of blisters wrapping around one side of the torso

Vaccines Administered Starting at 65 Years

  • Pneumonia – An infection that inflames air sacs in one or both lungs, sometimes filling them with pus or fluid, causing such symptoms as cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing; the infection can be life-threatening to anyone, but particularly to infants, children, and people over 65

As we recognize World Immunization Week, we aim to reinforce the critical importance of vaccines as one of the world’s most successful health interventions and the crucial role that vaccines play in protecting us from infections and viruses whose symptoms range from uncomfortable to deadly. If you have questions about the vaccines appropriate for you, or what vaccines you should give to your children, and any possible risk considerations, talk to your doctor.

Nova Health Opens New Urgent Care Clinic in Dallas, Oregon

Eugene, OR – April 26, 2021 – Nova Health, a provider of high-quality, convenient primary and urgent care services in the Western United States, has opened a new urgent care clinic in Dallas, Oregon on April 26th, 2021. The clinic is located at 186 West Ellendale Avenue and accepts walk-in and same-day urgent care appointments.

“We are committed to a strategic but aggressive clinic expansion plan,” said Nova Health Chief Executive Officer Jim Ashby. “It is the foundation of our goal of bringing quality, trusted patient care to the communities and people who need it most. As we look ahead to the future of patient care, we will continue to prioritize walk-in urgent care services, telemedicine, and access to the most qualified and compassionate caregivers in the Western United States.”

“We are proud to hire and retain a highly skilled, respected, and committed team of care providers,” said Ashby. “As our nation continues to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are committed to ensuring convenient access to on-demand urgent care.”

The opening of the Dallas location marks Nova Health’s eighteenth urgent care location across Oregon, Washington, and Montana.

Nova Health Opens New Urgent Care Clinic in Butte, MT

Butte Location Represents Nova Health’s Third Clinic in Montana

Eugene, OR – April 21, 2021 – Nova Health, a provider of high-quality, convenient primary and urgent care services in the Western United States, has opened a new urgent care clinic in Butte, Montana on April 21, 2021. The clinic is located at 3545 Harrison Avenue, in Butte, Montana and accepts walk-in and same-day urgent care appointments.

“We are pleased to expand in Montana in 2021,” said Nova Health Chief Executive Officer Jim Ashby. “More and more communities like Butte are in need of accessible, quality urgent care and we are excited to be able to meet them”

Nova Health entered Montana in 2019 by acquiring former Zip Clinic locations in Belgrade and Bozeman. Ashby says the continued expansion in Montana is consistent with its commitment to serve more communities through the Western United States.”

Testicular Cancer and the Importance of Annual Physicals for Early Detection

Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men develop testicular cancer each year. They are our fathers, brothers, and friends, and about 400 of those diagnosed will lose their battle each year. While testicular cancer has a high survival rate, every single life that cancer takes is one too many. Like with every other form of cancer, early detection is critical to minimizing the evasiveness of treatment plans and maximizing cure rates. Whether you are a man or a woman who cares for the men in her life, familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer and understand the necessity of obtaining an annual physical to maximize ongoing health and wellness.

What are the Signs of Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer develops in the testicles—but typically only in one. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • A lump or enlargement in the testicle
  • An aching sensation in the groin or abdomen
  • Pain or discomfort in the scrotum
  • A heavy feeling in the scrotum
  • Fluid collecting in the scrotum
  • Tenderness or enlargement of the breasts
  • Back pain

Early Detection of Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer can often be detected early before the cancer cells have metastasized or spread to other parts of the body.  Often, a man will detect a concerning, telltale lump in his scrotum and make an appointment with his doctor. At other times, however, the lump is discovered during an annual exam. Alternatively, a patient and doctor’s discussion during an annual exam regarding general questions and concerns may reveal unusual discomfort or sensations that indicate to the physician the need to test the patient for a potentially serious condition.

For this reason, most physicians recommend incorporating a testicle examination as part of male patients’ routine annual physicals. Your physician may also recommend a monthly self-exam, particularly if you are at higher risk of developing testicular cancer. Risk factors include:

  • A family history of testicular cancer
  • The presence of a previous germ cell tumor in one testicle
  • An undescended testicle

Tests to Determine Testicular Cancer

If, after a physical exam, your doctor identifies a concern that you might have testicular cancer, he or she may conduct testing to determine the presence of cancer cells definitively. Testing may include:

  • An ultrasound of the testicles
  • Blood tests that identify tumor markers
  • A biopsy in which a small piece of the tumor is removed and examined
  • Imaging tests to determine if the cancer has spread

When to See a Doctor

If you detect a lump in your testicle, especially if you have a known risk of testicular cancer, make an appointment to see your doctor promptly.  Consistent awareness and vigilance are critical to early detection and survival. If hyper-vigilance sounds overwhelming, know that you are not alone. Receiving an annual physical from a physician you trust as part of your long-term care team is a vital step in maintaining overall wellness and leading a long, healthy life.

National Facial Protection Month and Shielding Yourself with Proper Sports Gear

After a year in which COVID-19 put many of our favorite sporting activities on hold, millions of Americans are ready to suit up and hit the court, field, track, and ice to resume their favorite sports activities. This month, however, in recognition of National Facial Protection Month, we remind our patient community to please remember to protect yourself with proper facial protection gear.

Common Causes of Facial Injuries

Your face is one of the most vulnerable parts of your body, and unfortunately, injuries to the maxillofacial area (more commonly the jaw and face) are all too common. Aside from sports-related injuries, common reasons for facial injuries involve vehicle, domestic, and work-related accidents. Sports-related facial injuries account for eight percent of all facial soft tissue injuries, with approximately 11 to 40 percent of all sports injuries causing facial damage.

Some of the most common sports-related incidents that result in patients sitting in urgent care or emergency rooms include a ball striking the face and player-to-player contact. With the rise in popularity of sporting activities among youth and an increase in more dangerous athletic activities such as mixed martial arts (MMA), sports-related maxillofacial accidents have also increased.

Possible Maxillofacial Injuries Caused by Sports

Without proper facial protection, no matter how talented an athlete you are, you could be at risk of a fractured nose, zygoma (cheekbone), mandible (jawbone), or dental damage. At a minimum, you may need ice or stitches. At worst, you could require complex surgery, dental repairs, and a long recovery.

The Importance of Wearing Proper Protective Facial Gear During Athletics

Too often, athletes—including kids and teens—neglect the use of protective gear because they find it uncomfortable, burdensome, they feel it’s overly cautious and unnecessary, or they dislike how it makes them look. Putting on a helmet, safety glasses, or a mouthguard takes only a second, and it could be the most critical step you can take to protect your face from permanent damage or scarring. If you regularly participate in athletics, whether competitively or recreationally, this month, commit to investing in the following crucial facial protective gear:

Helmets

If you bike, cycle, ski, snow or skateboard, participate in motorsports, play baseball, football, hockey, rugby, or any other type of contact sport, you absolutely must protect your head with a helmet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur annually in our country. A sports-related brain injury may result in a mild concussion or a devastating traumatic brain injury (TBI) with lasting effects. Protect your brain with a helmet.

Protective Eyewear

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that over 90 percent of all sports-related eye injuries can be prevented using appropriate protective eyewear. Clear or tinted goggles or sunglasses are available in varieties customized for nearly every type of sport.

Mouth Guards

In the 2011 Western Conference NHL final, Chicago Black Hawk’s Duncan Keith lost seven teeth when a puck struck him in the face. Hockey, understandably, results in many dental injuries, but dentists cajole that the simple decision to wear a mouthguard can help mitigate the need for cosmetic dentistry and repairs. Hockey players are not the only athletes who should protect their smiles. Basketball, football, and rugby players, wrestlers, and martial artists are just some of the athletes that need to protect their teeth from collisions with projectiles, player collisions, and falls.

If you need help choosing and sizing facial protective gear properly, visit a reputable sporting goods store and ask for help. What matters most is that you don’t lace up your skates, cleats, or sneakers until you properly gear up with protection for your face, head, and smile.

Identify the Signs of Stress and Healthy Ways to Cope

Every day you’re hustling. You run from work to homeschooling your kids, to volunteer work, to spin class, to the grocery store, and before you know it, the day has ended, you’re crashing in bed and sleeping just long enough so that you have sufficient energy to do it all again the next day. It’s not stress; it’s just the demands of everyday life, right?

Stress comes in a wide variety of formats—from the stress that results from highly traumatizing life experiences, such as war, the death of a loved one, being in a natural disaster or dangerous event, to the emotional stress that comes from unhealthy relationships to the pressure that builds after relentlessly grinding day after day to complete work and family responsibilities. This April, we recognize stress awareness month as a time to reflect on the short- and long-term detrimental health effects that stress can cause on the mind and body. Even more importantly, it is time to commit to identifying the causes of stress in your life and put a plan in place to make the lifestyle changes needed to minimize stress.

What Stress Can Do to Your Body

You may be a resilient, competent person. Still, it doesn’t mean that even if you are succeeding in work and family responsibilities despite a hectic schedule that you’re not putting your mind and body at risk of the adverse effects of stress. Stress can cause such mental and physical risk factors as:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Restlessness
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Irrational bouts of anger
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Disinterest in hobbies or once loved activities or social withdrawal
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Spending less time exercising
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Extreme fatigue and loss of mental clarity
  • Feeling overwhelmed emotionally
  • Change in sex drive

What to Do if You are Suffering from Too Much Stress

If you identify with the symptoms above, it may be time to talk to your doctor or a qualified mental health expert about managing your stress healthily. Also, embrace these coping strategies:

Identify Your Support Network

Make a mental list of the people you can turn to for help and support in your life. Consider individuals in every realm of your life, such as family, friends, co-workers, and your care team. The individuals that you identify should be people that you can reach out to not just for conversation but to help alleviate stress factors in your life. For example, which co-worker could you ask to share the burden of a long-term project? Is there a neighbor who could help you shuttle your kids to their athletic practices? Should you have a conversation with your partner about better distributing household chores?

Prioritize Your Sleep

Aim for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night—including weekends. With proper rest, you’ll feel rejuvenated every morning and can tackle your day with clarity and focus. Depending on what time you need to wake up every day, calculate what time you need to be asleep to catch your eight hours of ZZZs. Give yourself adequate time before lights out to start winding down. During this restful period, turn off all electronic devices, including your television, tablet, and smartphone. Their screens’ glows could be disrupting your ability to settle in and fall asleep at a reasonable time.

Recommit to Your Passions

One of the most effective ways to combat stress is to make time for activities that bring you joy and a sense of personal accomplishment. If you’re spending all of your days and nights on work or family responsibilities, you could put yourself at risk of burnout. It may feel like you’re neglecting your other obligations, but it’s one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Commit to enrolling in a yoga class, picking your guitar back up, tending to your garden regularly, or investing at least a few hours weekly to a hobby or passion.

If you are still struggling to cope with stress factors in your life after trying these three strategies, talk to your doctor. They can help you manage the factors and triggers in your life that are impacting your health.