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Family Medicine / Primary Care

Sunburns 101: Tips to Avoid the Burn

Posted July 03, 2023 by Darla Hadden, PA-C


Despite our best intentions and precautionary measures to protect our skin from the hot, blazing sun, many of us have suffered from sunburn at one time or another. But it’s no big deal if you’ve only been burned a few times, right? Wrong.

The dangers of even one sunburn go far beyond the short-term pain, redness and swelling. After the redness fades, lasting damage remains.

When your skin absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight, it can damage the genetic…

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Nutrition and Hydration – Tips for Training and Competition

Posted April 18, 2023 by Michelle Boltz, MS, RD, CSSD, LD


Proper nutrition and hydration is always important, not only on race day! Consistently consuming enough carbohydrates, and being adequately hydrated, supports training needs and recovery. 

Guidelines for carbohydrate intake should be fine-tuned for each individual and depend on training intensity. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and ACSM, moderate-high intensity endurance exercise lasting 1-3 h/day may require between 6-10 g/kg/…

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Shingles: Symptoms, Treatment and Frequently Asked Questions

Posted October 17, 2022 by Darla Hadden, PA-C


For many of us, chickenpox is a distant memory. But, unfortunately, this childhood illness can come back to haunt us later in life in the form of shingles.

The same virus that causes chickenpox can cause shingles, a viral infection to the nerves that results in a painful rash. About 1 in 3 people will get shingles, according to the National Institutes of Health.

After someone has been infected with chickenpox, the virus enters their nervous system and lies inactive. Eventually,…

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6 Things To Consider When Choosing The Right Healthcare Provider For Your Pregnancy Journey

Posted July 25, 2022 by Ashley Ballester, M.D.


It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: you’re pregnant! With so much to do to get ready for baby — purchase a crib, choose a name, install the car seat — where should you begin?

First things first: Choosing the right provider to partner with you on this magical 40-week journey should be a top priority on your to-do list. Having a strong relationship with your obstetrician (OB) or certified nurse midwife(CNM) is important in promoting a healthy…

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Summa Health's Project SEARCH helps young adults with disabilities gain employment

Posted April 18, 2022 by Jessica Goff, Manager, Volunteer Services


Summa Health is helping to educate and employ young adults with disabilities one student at a time through Project SEARCH.

Since 2005, Summa Health has partnered with the Six District Educational Compact, a regional collaborative that provides career-technical education programs, to offer high-school students a one-year, school-to-work transition program on-site. Modeled after the growing Project SEARCHnational program, the initiative is designed to help qualified students…

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What Makes a Great Doctor - Personal Insights, Advice, and Why they Chose Medicine [Podcast]

Posted March 30, 2022 by Dr. Shanu Agarwal and resident Kortnie Broschinsky


Dr. Shanu Agarwal and resident Kortnie Broschinsky discuss their journey into healthcare.

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Travel plans? Check out these tips for preventing and treating motion sickness

Posted February 28, 2022 by John Weeman, M.D.


Have you ever walked off a boat, stepped off a rollercoaster or gotten out of a car only to feel nauseous, dizzy and otherwise awful?  That’s motion sickness.  Anyone can experience it — one in three people do in their lifetime, in fact — but it’s most common in children and pregnant women.

Typically, motion sickness occurs with any form of travel, whether by car, bus, train, airplane or boat.  Sometimes amusement rides can cause it, too.…

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Do's and Dont's to safely care for cuts and scrapes at home

Posted January 17, 2022 by Mary Lareine Pastoral, M.D.


Cuts from household items, such as knives, broken glass or needles, are commonplace. All it takes is a slip of the knife during meal prep or a broken glass while cleaning up and suddenly, you’re bleeding. Now what?

Immediately apply pressure on the area with a tissue, gauze pad or clean cloth to stop any bleeding. It should stop after a few minutes, so don’t remove the gauze until you’ve applied pressure for two to three minutes. Removing the cloth too soon…

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Why is it so important to understand your family health history?

Posted January 03, 2022 by Lynn Hamrich, M.D.


You may have heard someone comment on a shared feature that you have with a family member, or heard someone is the spitting image of a relative.  It’s true family members share similar looks, but they also share genes — which aren’t as easy to see. For instance, you may be unaware that you also share your great-grandmother’s increased risk for heart disease.

When it comes to your health, knowing your family’s traits that you can’t see…

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5 tips for safeguarding your home against preventable accidents

Posted December 27, 2021 by Shivonne N Suttles


When you think of home, you often think of it as your safe haven from the outside world. It’s your safe space you get to return to every night.

The sobering reality, however, is more than 50 percent of unintentional injuries happen in or around the home, according to the National Security Council (NSC). People of certain ages, especially young children and the elderly, are more susceptible to serious injury from household hazards.

The good news is many of them are…

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The Importance of Knowing Your Family Health History [Podcast]

Posted December 16, 2021


Dr. Lynn Hamrich discusses why it is important to know the health history in your family.

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All About Gestational Diabetes [Podcast]

Posted December 08, 2021

Healthy VitalsDr. Katherine Wolfe discusses gestational diabetes.

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10 ways to stop and prevent nosebleeds

Posted December 06, 2021 by Gary Huang, M.D.


Nosebleeds are very common and can strike at any time. While they can look scary with blood trickling out your nose, the good news is nosebleeds are rarely serious.

But you may be wondering, what is causing this messy nuisance?

There are many reasons why you could be getting nosebleeds. The most common cause is dry air. During the winter months, dry household heat and cold, dry air outside can irritate nasal membranes and trigger nosebleeds.

Other reasons for nosebleeds can…

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Finding pain relief for your autoimmune disease

Posted September 27, 2021 by Aisha Rahman, MD


Chronic, severe pain from autoimmune diseases can have a detrimental impact on your health, work and relationships. When you’re suffering from chronic pain day in and day out, it’s only natural that you become less active, antisocial, moody and find it difficult to sleep.  

Not to mention, the stress, anxiety and even depression that comes from dealing with pain can make it even worse.

Autoimmune diseases are a chronic condition in which your immune system…

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Why is it so important to get your flu shot this year?

Posted September 13, 2021 by Thomas File, MD and Shanu Agarwal, MD


Last winter, the community took several precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. From masks and social distancing to virtual work and school to cancelled events, an unforeseen positive side effect was a less intense flu season.  

Flu cases documented during last year’s flu season were historically low by a wide margin. Medical professionals haven’t seen anything like it.  

So with many precautions still in place amidst an ongoing pandemic, you may be…

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Dos and Don'ts for campfire safety and burn prevention

Posted August 23, 2021 by Kevin D. Markowski, MD


For many, summertime is not complete until one activity has been done—a campfire! From gooey s’mores and roasted hot dogs to sharing ghost stories, campfires are a sure-fire way to get into the summery spirit, all while surrounded by family and friends.

Unfortunately, a burn from the campfire can quickly put a damper on those summertime memories. As one of the most dangerous activities without the proper burn prevention and protocols in place, campfires are a…

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Summer Safety: Knowing the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke could save a life

Posted August 02, 2021 by Lindsey Meade, MD


Summer often brings some much-needed fun in the sun. But as temperatures and humidity rise, so do the dangers of heat illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 600 people are killed by extreme heat every year in this country.

Infants and people aged 65 or older, especially those with chronic conditions, are most at risk for heat illness. However, it can affect anyone, even young athletes and those in good physical condition.

The good news…

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Is working from home a pain in the neck — literally?

Posted February 08, 2021 by Ann Wargo PT MsMHA CMCP CAPS

Many agree one positive that has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the work-from-home order to prevent further spread. No more long commutes and fighting traffic, more time spent with family and less interruption from chitchat around the water cooler.
In the United States, it’s estimated nearly 50 percent of the working population is now working at home. But as more and more companies embrace remote working for the long haul, one negative has emerged: new or…

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Thyroid disease 101: Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing serious complications

Posted February 01, 2021 by James Salem, M.D.

The thyroid gland has an important job to do in the body. It produces thyroid hormones that help regulate metabolism and the body’s overall temperature. Metabolism is a process that turns food into energy, which is vital to keeping all of our body systems working correctly. This small, but mighty gland impacts just about every area of the body, including heart function, digestive function, muscle control, mood and brain development.
The thyroid gland is a small,…

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Urologic cancers 101: Be in the know so you can catch it early

Posted January 11, 2021 by Naveen K Arora, MD


Bladder cancer is the most common urologic cancer in both men and women. Each year, about 57,000 men and 18,000 women are diagnosed with the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But, urologic cancers don’t only affect the bladder. They also can affect the kidneys, ureter (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), urethra, and specifically in men, the penis, prostate and testicles.

In fact, the CDC states prostate…

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Cold feet: Common winter foot problems and ways to avoid them

Posted December 07, 2020 by Dr. Jacqueline Tulodzieski-Ahlstrom


Winter is upon us — freezing temperatures, snow flurries and whipping winds — and we all know what that means. It’s time to bust out our heavy, winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves to keep us warm on these frigid days. But, don’t forget about your feet, too. It’s important to always wear winter shoes and boots to protect them against the harsh elements.

Lower temperatures can be hard on your extremities, especially your feet. Exposure to cold air causes the body to slow…

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Family preparedness: How to help keep your loved ones safe if disaster strikes

Posted September 04, 2020

Planning ahead of time for disaster—whether it’s natural or manmade—is the best protection for you and your family. From house fires to infectious disease outbreaks to tornadoes, disasters unfortunately can and do happen—striking at any time, with little to no notice. 

Unfortunately, only about 39 percent of people have developed an emergency plan on what to do as a family if something goes wrong, according to the Centers for Disease Control and…

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6 reasons why your wound won't heal

Posted July 27, 2020 by Lesa Lariccia, Wound Care Center Consultant


You know the saying, “Time heals all wounds.”? Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true. Chronic wounds can linger for weeks, even months, and in many cases don’t heal without medical intervention. 

A wound is considered chronic if it has not healed significantly in four weeks or completely in eight weeks. If you’re suffering from a wound or sore that isn’t showing any signs of healing, talk to your doctor. If left untreated, chronic…

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Get the Facts on Cyberchondria

Posted February 24, 2020 by Shannon J. Perkins, Ph.D.


Suddenly, you wake up in the middle of the night with a bellyache. It starts off as a dull pain, but then quickly intensifies and seems to move down your torso. So, you immediately jump on your computer or phone to search for various conditions you could be suffering from. Could it be a stomach virus, or maybe an ulcer or worse yet, stomach cancer?

If this sounds familiar, you may be suffering from cyberchondria. It’s a hybrid term for cyberspace and hypochondria (now…

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Hand Washing Do's and Don'ts

Posted January 13, 2020 by Nancy Reynolds, MSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC


One of the best and most effective ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others is by washing your hands properly and often. It doesn’t take much time or effort and offers a very effective means of preventing the spread of illnesses ranging from viruses like cold and flu to other bacteria or viruses. As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you gather germs on your hands. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your face;…

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7 Serious Health Concerns Affecting African Americans

Posted November 25, 2019 by Edward A Pankey, MD


According to the CDC, the death rate for African Americans has declined more than 25 percent over the past 17 years, especially for those 65-years and older. However, new research shows younger African Americans are living with or dying from diseases most often found in Caucasians much later in life.

The African American community should be aware of a few serious health concerns that statistically affect them at higher rates. If you think you may be at risk, talk to your…

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6 Questions You Should Be Asking Your PCP

Posted October 07, 2019 by Maria A Schiaffino, MD


Your primary care provider (PCP) should be your partner in ensuring you are your best and healthiest self, which is why it is so important to have a strong and communicative relationship with them. When you meet with your PCP for a checkup or an annual visit, the provider typically has a limited amount of time they can spend with you, so it’s important you go in prepared with a list of questions to get the most out of your appointment. Here are a few questions you…

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A Guide to Your Health in the Heat - UV Index and Air Quality Index Explained

Posted August 04, 2019

We’re in the depths of summer heat, and as the heat rises, so does the threat of air pollution and the dangers of UV rays. Globally, extreme temperature events are increasing in frequency, duration and magnitude, which means it will become even more important to protect yourself and your family’s health from rising temperatures and extreme heat. 

While there are many factors to keep an eye on as temperatures rise, there are two numbers right within your local…

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Common Summertime Hazards to Avoid

Posted July 22, 2019 by Lynn M Hamrich, MD Family Medicine


Summer’s finally here and we’re all about having fun in the sun – but with the heat, summer often brings along some bumps and bruises. Here are a few tips on how to avoid common summer hazards so you can keep the good times rolling.

Mosquito Bites:

Those itchy little bites can be more than just annoying – mosquitos can carry diseases like West Nile virus. Travel is common in the summer and mosquito bites in other areas of North America can also put you…

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7 Everyday Items that Increase Sun Sensitivity

Posted July 08, 2019 by Vivek Bhalla, MD Family Medicine


Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer in the US and with summer sun on the horizon, proper protection should be priority number one. While you should practice sun safety year round, you should monitor your sun exposure closer during these longer, hotter days.

Sunscreen, long sleeves and a hat are the easiest ways to protect your skin, but did you know there are common everyday items that could increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun?

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5 Types of Integrative Medicine You Can Do at Home

Posted December 03, 2018 by Tara Scott, M.D. Summa Health Obstetrics & Gynecology

Yearly visits to your primary care physician are an important part of a healthy lifestyle plan. Another form of care known as integrative medicine should be an additional resource you consider when building a complete lifestyle plan. Sometimes confused with other treatment options like complementary or alternative, integrative medicine puts the patient at the center of both physical and mental health by expanding treatment options. However, all three of these terms refer to different types of care.

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Battling Bladder Control: Male and Female Incontinence

Posted June 26, 2018 by Lawrence L Geller, MD Summa Health Medical Group - Urology


Normally associated more with females than males, urinary incontinence affects at least 25 million Americans each year. And while 75 percent are female, the issue can affect any person, at any age.

Interesting fact: Incontinence is not a disease, it is always a symptom or cause of something else. There are at least 4 different types of incontinence and a host of causes and issues that can cause bladder leakage.

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4 Questions to Ask Your Primary Care Physician When Prescribed New Medication

Posted April 03, 2018 by Dr. Vivek Bhalla


According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 25 percent of new prescriptions are never filled at the pharmacy. Even more staggering is the fact that medication is not taken as prescribed up to 50 percent of the time. Before your primary care physician (PCP) prescribes any medication, we review all medical history, possible allergies and evaluate and treat the cause for your visit.

There are many different reasons a PCP may prescribe new medication:

  • A…

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The Power of Vitamin D

Posted February 15, 2018 by Lynn M. Hamrich, M.D., FAAFP


You may have heard of the health benefits of vitamin D in the fight against the common cold.

A British investigation published in February 2017 concluded that taking vitamin D supplements can help protect against respiratory infections like colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. The researchers looked at data from 25 clinical trials involving some 11,000 patients from 14 countries and found a significant but modest benefit. These results occurred mostly among those…

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