Nova Health and Louisiana-Based SouthStar Urgent Care Announce Merger

Eugene, OR – June 23, 2021 – Nova Health, a provider of high-quality, convenient urgent and primary care services, announces its merger with Louisiana-based SouthStar Urgent Care. The merger of the two companies is targeted to be complete in August 2021.

Nova Health and SouthStar Urgent Care share a similar mission and commitment to their patients. As one company, both organizations will continue to operate with a focus on patient care at the forefront. With a presence in six states, both brands will gain the benefits of access to more resources, talent, and room for expansion.

“We strongly believe the merging of these two businesses will enhance the organization as a whole and allow our teams to continue to focus on delivering quality care for our patients.” Says Jim Ashby, CEO of Nova Health.

The Nova Health and Southstar brands will remain intact in the states in which they currently operate. This merger allows for both Nova Health and SouthStar Urgent Care to help more patients as they expand nationally.

 

About Nova Health

Nova Health is a comprehensive provider of high-quality urgent care and primary care services with 28 clinics throughout Oregon, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, and Colorado.

 

About SouthStar Urgent Care

SouthStar is a leading provider of urgent care services with 28 clinics in Louisiana. SouthStar is known for its exceptional urgent care services, customer service, and commitment to the healthcare industry. 

Media Contact: Emma Stevens, 541-743-6111

Cataract and Eye Health Awareness, and Remembering Helen Keller

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart.”

Those words were penned by the incredible Helen Keller—a woman who overcame monumental challenges after being born deaf and blind to become a famous author and global inspiration. Keller redefined what was possible for individuals living with visual and auditory impairments in an era that lacked the same level of sophisticated technologies and medical treatments available today.

In honor of Keller, born on June 27, 1880, every year, we celebrate Deafblind Awareness week during the last week of June. This year, to help further the conversation around preventive measures to minimize vision loss risks, we’re bringing you cataract and eye health best practices from our team of medical experts.

What are Cataracts and What Causes Them?

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the eye’s lens. This eye condition is common in older adults and can slowly cause blurry vision. Symptoms of cataracts may include:

  • Clouded, blurred, or dim vision that makes the patient feel that they are looking through a frosty window
  • Increasing difficulty or discomfort with night vision
  • Double vision in a single eye
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • The need for extra light when reading or completing other activities
  • Frequent changes in the prescription of your eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Fading or yellowing of colors

While cataracts can cause some vision discomfort, if untreated, they can develop into blindness. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

What Can You do to Minimize Your Risk of Cataracts?

While cataract development is common in older adults, there are some healthy lifestyle practices that you can follow to minimize your likelihood of developing cataracts as you age.

Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet

Some research indicates that high antioxidant foods may help prevent cataracts. Try to add foods high in vitamins C and E to your diet, such as:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Red and green peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Wheat germ
  • Almonds and peanuts

Protect Your Eyes from Sun Exposure

Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure can cause changes to your eyes and damage the proteins in your lens, putting you at greater risk for developing cataracts. Anytime you are outside during the day, even if it’s a bit cloudy, be sure to protect your eyes with sunglasses specifically designed to block UV light. If you are an outdoor athlete, such as a cyclist, runner, or even if you play a contact sport, you may benefit from protective athletic eye ware designed to block UV rays.

Watch Your Blood Sugar

Being diabetic may put you at an increased risk of developing cataracts. When one’s blood sugar remains high for a prolonged period, the eye lens changes blood sugar into sorbitol which, when it collects in the lens, may cause a cataract to form. Eating a diet low in sugar and closely monitoring your health for early signs of diabetes can help minimize your chances of cataracts.

Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption

Research indicates that those who drink fewer than two standard-size alcoholic drinks daily are at a lower risk of developing cataracts. Conversely, those who drink more than two standard drinks per day face an increased risk of cataract development. If you need help moderating your alcohol intake, talk to your doctor.

Quit Smoking

Smoking may increase your risk of developing cataracts, as it creates more free radicals in your eyes, which are chemicals that can damage healthy cells. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor or visit smokefree.gov.

Obtain Regular Eye Exams

Your eye doctor can help you identify changes in your eye health that may indicate an increased risk of cataracts. Adults between ages 40 and 64 should obtain a full eye exam every two to four years, and adults over age 65 should obtain an eye exam every one to two years.

17 Signs that You Could be Suffering from Post-Partum Depression

The months after you welcome your new bundle of joy into the world should be a time filled with joy, smiles, and mother-baby bonding. In reality, however, whether you are a new parent or welcoming a second, third, or tenth baby into your family, the months after a new baby arrives can be full of uncertainty, new challenges, and new stresses. It is common for mothers to face moments of stress, frustration, and even cry a time or two while balancing their new responsibilities and ensuring their new baby is healthy and happy. However, if you find that you feel irrationally frustrated, angry, or resentful of your baby and are struggling to bond with them, it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility that you are suffering from postpartum depression.

What is Post-Partum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a form of depression that women experience after they give birth. Unlike a bad day or week, postpartum depression can last for months or longer and become so severe that it becomes debilitating, making it difficult for you to care for your baby or yourself properly.

If you have recently given birth and are experiencing most of the following 17 common symptoms of postpartum depression, talk to your doctor or OBGYN.

What are the Signs of Post-Partum Depression?

Women who experience postpartum depression often describe the following symptoms:

  • Depression or hopelessness
  • Severe mood swings
  • Periods of extreme, inexplicable anger or frustration
  • Excessive crying
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Insomnia, or excessive sleep
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety or panic attacks
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family, friends, and responsibilities
  • Difficulty with decision-making or focus
  • Lost interest in hobbies and activities
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Extreme fear of not being a good mother that may cause avoidance of motherly duties or interactions with your baby
  • Feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame, or worthlessness
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If you fear you may not be a perfect mother and find yourself tearful or frustrated at times as you learn to fulfill the needs of your new baby, you should know that “baby blues,” a period of frustration and anxiety in the immediate few days or weeks after your baby is born, are very common—particularly for first-time moms. Seek the support and guidance of your partner and family and friends, especially those who are parents and can empathize with your concerns.

If your depression persists or interferes with your ability to care for or bond with your baby, make an appointment to talk to your doctor. If you are having thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or have thought of harming your baby, please seek immediate support from a medical professional. You can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at any time of the day or night at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Shingles vs. Chickenpox. What’s the Difference?

You may have heard that only kids can get chickenpox, while only older adults can get shingles. Or perhaps you’ve heard it said that it’s the same virus, but it’s given a different name, whether the patient is a child or a senior. We’re here to set the record straight on the differences between shingles and chickenpox so that you can protect your loved ones, of all ages, from the discomfort that comes from this itchy, painful condition.

What is Chicken Pox?

The varicella-zoster virus causes the infection we know as chickenpox. Symptoms include an itchy rash marked by tiny, fluid-filled red blisters. The rash often appears 10 to 21 days after virus exposure and typically lasts from five to ten days. During the total period in which symptoms are present, the rash typically evolves through three distinct phases:

  • During the first several days, the rash often appears as raised pink or red papules (bumps)
  • Next, small fluid-filled vesicles (blisters) form over a day, which then break and leak
  • The broken blisters then scab over, taking several days to heal

Since new bumps continue to form until the virus is destroyed, patients may have bumps on their skin in all three phases at once.

Other symptoms of chickenpox include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Tiredness and malaise

Chickenpox patients can spread the virus to others up to 48 hours before the rash appears and remain contagious until all broken blisters have scabbed over. The infection is highly contagious for those individuals who have never had chickenpox or who have never been vaccinated against it, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccination of children against the varicella-zoster virus.

While chickenpox is often thought of as a childhood illness, adults can contract the virus too, and when they do, their symptoms may be more severe.

What is Shingles?

Like chickenpox, shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus that creates a painful rash. Unlike the chickenpox rash, which can form all over the body, the shingles rash typically appears as a single stripe of blisters around one side of the torso.

In addition to the painful rash, shingles symptoms may include:

  • A painful, burning, numbness or tingling that for some is intensely uncomfortable
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • An itchy, red rash that begins a few days after the first pain symptoms
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break and scab, as with chickenpox
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigue

It is possible for someone who had chickenpox to develop shingles later in life. In patients who have had chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. It can reactivate in the form of the shingles virus years later.

If not properly treated, shingles can result in health complications, including a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, in which a patient experiences shingles pain for a long time after the blisters have healed.

Also, like chickenpox, there is a CDC-recommended vaccine for shingles; however, it is recommended for seniors rather than children.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If you or a loved one has developed a red, painful rash, talk to your doctor. Whether it is chickenpox, shingles, or another condition, your doctor will diagnose the cause and recommend a treatment plan. Further, if you have any questions regarding recommended vaccines for chickenpox and shingles, and when you, your child, or senior parent may be eligible, talk to your doctor.

Common Triggers for Hives and When to Get Help

It starts as a mindless tickle on the side of your neck. You find yourself itching the spot casually. A few minutes later, you’re rubbing your side along your ribs with more persistence, moving to scratch the back of your hand next. You look down and recognize, in a second, the telltale sign of a larger issue than just an itchy sweater or pesky few mosquito bites.

Hives.

The unsightly red, itchy spots are noticeably appearing like unwanted house guests, and you feel helpless and desperate for relief. If you’ve ever developed an allergic reaction to a food item or an insect that has resulted in a hive breakout on your skin, then you know all too well the discomfort and stress of these little red spots. What causes hives, and if you’re susceptible, how can you avoid them? More importantly, when is the appearance of hives the first indication of a potentially dangerous allergic reaction, and when should you receive urgent treatment?

What are Hives?

Urticaria, or hives, are a skin rash that appears as welts or raised bumps on the skin. They are often red and uncomfortably itchy. They can range in size from small to large bumps, up to 8 inches in diameter at their largest, and may appear on one body part or all over the skin. When you press on a hive, it will appear white in the middle. Like their size, the duration of an outbreak of hives may vary as well. For some patients, hives may appear for a few minutes or last for several months, with most people experiencing hives finding them to last at least 24 hours.

What are the Most Common Causes of Hives?

Anyone at any age can develop hives if exposed to an irritant that causes an autoimmune response in the body. About 20 percent of people will develop hives at least once in their lifetime. The most common triggers of hives include:

  • Infections, including the common cold and other viruses
  • Food allergies, most commonly including eggs, shellfish, and nuts
  • Medications, such as aspirin, antibiotics such as penicillin, and sulfa
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Blood transfusions
  • Other autoimmune conditions, such as thyroid disease

Some patients experience chronic episodes of hives that can last over six weeks. In these cases, doctors cannot always determine the underlying cause of the outbreak.

Another form of hives is dermatographia, a condition in which light scratching of the skin causes raised, uncomfortable red lines at the scratch site. Delayed pressure urticaria occurs when skin under constant pressure, such as from constrictive clothing, swells and becomes irritated.

Other hive triggers may include:

  • Exposure to low temperatures followed by re-warming—a potentially life-threatening situation if there is a generalized body cooling
  • An increase in body temperatures during exercise, a hot shower, or an anxiety-inducing situation, known as cholinergic urticaria
  • Sun-exposure

When to Seek Urgent Medical Care?

Hives can often be treated with a topical or oral antihistamine medication. However, in more severe cases, hives are one symptom that appears during anaphylaxis. This potentially dangerous allergic reaction can cause swelling of the tongue or throat and difficulty breathing. If anaphylaxis occurs, call 911 immediately. If your doctor diagnoses you with a severe allergy to a specific food or other substance, they may prescribe you an epinephrine pen which can be administered during a severe allergic reaction to immediately abate swelling that can make it difficult to breathe.

Otherwise, if you often experience hives that do not cause respiratory issues and you believe you may be allergic to a food item or medication, talk to your doctor. They can conduct tests to help you identify the cause of your outbreaks. If you are experiencing chronic urticaria, your doctor may refer you to an allergist or immunologist for more specialized testing and treatment.