Wellness Library

Must See

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.

The best defense against getting the flu is to get a flu shot each year. This year, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever to protect yourself and the people around you from the flu, as well as to reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. Getting vaccinated can protect those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, including babies and young children, older people, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic health conditions. The CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year.

This fall and winter, it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread, and healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.

Contrary to some rumors, getting the flu vaccine cannot cause someone to get the flu. The vaccines contain either inactivated (not infectious) virus or a particle designed to look like a flu virus to your immune system. Although the nasal spray flu vaccine does contain a live virus, the viruses are changed so they can’t give someone the flu.

Just like any medical product, the flu vaccine can cause side effects, but these are usually mild and go away within a few days. Common side effects from the flu shot include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site; headache; fever; and muscle aches.

When should you get a flu vaccine? As soon as possible! It's best to get vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community, and it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body. The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, but getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial.

To offer the flu vaccine to as many patients as possible and in the safest manner possible, the Mount Nittany Physician Group is hosting several drive-up and in-person flu clinics this fall. An appointment is needed.

For more information, answers to frequently asked questions, and instructions for scheduling an appointment, visit mountnittany.org/flu.

Fall is here, bringing with it cooler, crisper weather and colorful leaves. This time of year can also bring allergies and the accompanying uncomfortable symptoms. Fall allergy triggers are different, but they can cause just as many symptoms as spring and summer allergies.

Typical allergy symptoms include runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, headaches, rashes or hives on the skin, and asthma symptoms such as coughing or wheezing. It’s important to note that fall allergy symptoms can overlap with the common cold, flu, or COVID-19. A critical distinguishing factor for allergies is that they do not cause a fever.

What causes fall allergies?

Grasses and weeds such as ragweed are a major source of late summer/fall allergies. Ragweed in particular seems to wreak havoc between August and November, reaching peak levels in mid-September. Just one ragweed plant can product up to 1 billion pollen grains, and the pollen can travel far.

Mold is another fall trigger. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold. Breathing in spores can aggravate asthma and cause coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and other upper respiratory symptoms in people with mold allergies.

Dust mites can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your heat in the fall, triggering allergy symptoms.

Going back to school can also bring on allergies in kids because mold and dust mites can be present in schools and older buildings.

Allergies can also predispose patients to upper respiratory tract infections, so children with allergies may get more colds in the fall and winter.

How are fall allergies diagnosed?

To determine what’s causing your allergy symptoms, your doctor can talk to you about your medical history and symptoms and may recommend a skin test. This involves placing a tiny amount of the allergen on your skin -- usually on your back or forearm -- and then pricking or scratching the skin underneath. If you're allergic, you’ll get a small, raised bump that itches like a mosquito bite. In some cases, your doctor may do a blood test to evaluate the allergies.

How can I keep fall allergies to a minimum?

Mold spores and pollen can stick to everything, including hair, skin, and clothing. You might be unknowingly tracking irritants into the house. Minimize your risk with the following tips:

  • Wear a face mask when you rake leaves outdoors to avoid breathing in mold spores.
  • Throw your clothes into the washer and head straight for the shower after outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, gardening, and raking.
  • Brush or wipe down pets after walks—pollen can hitchhike on their fur.
  • Leave your shoes outside to keep pollen and mold from spreading throughout the house.
  • Close windows during your pollen/mold allergy season, and stay indoors with doors and windows closed when pollen is at its peak (usually in the late morning or midday).
  • Before turning on the heat for the first time, clean heating vents and change the filter. 
  • Change the furnace/air filter every 90 days.
  • Use a dehumidifier in the basement. Damp basements are a common source of mold.

How are fall allergies treated?

Many medications are available for treating allergies, including steroid or antihistamine nasal sprays to reduce inflammation in your nose, antihistamines to help stop sneezing and itching, and eye drops to help itching, redness, and tearing of the eyes. Decongestants can help relieve stuffiness but should only be used for a few days in a row. Steroid creams and ointments can treat itchy rashes. Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots can also help.

Be sure to discuss these treatments with your doctor, who may also recommend allergy shots or prescription-strength medications and can discuss other options.

This article originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times.

default

ViewMedica Video Sheets

Simple Ways to Avoid COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the world. We all want to avoid this dangerous virus. Let's look at some simple ways to lower your risk of infection.

To watch the video:

Scan the QR code

Using your mobile device, scan the following code:

 

OR

Go to the website:

www.kramesvideo.com

Enter the prescription code:

 LHF


default

ViewMedica Video Sheets

Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection

You're not feeling well. You're worried you may be infected with the COVID-19 virus. But what are the signs? Here's what to look for.

To watch the video:

Scan the QR code

Using your mobile device, scan the following code:

 

OR

Go to the website:

www.kramesvideo.com

Enter the prescription code:

 RQ9


default

Video HealthSheets™

How Does a COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Work?

Some of the COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. This video will show you what an mRNA vaccine is and how it works.

 

To watch the video:

Scan the QR code

Using your mobile device, scan the following code:

OR

Go to the website:

www.kramesvideo.com

Enter the prescription code:

  J87


default

Urinary Tract Infections in Men

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are most often caused by bacteria that invade the urinary tract. The bacteria may come from outside the body. Or they may travel from the skin outside the rectum into the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. Pain in or around the urinary tract is a common symptom for most UTIs.

Woman more commonly get UTIs than men. That’s because their urethra is shorter. Older men get UTIs more commonly than younger because older men may have an enlarged prostate. A UTI in a male is usually a sign that something is wrong with their urinary system. Using a catheter also increases the risk for UTI.

Most UTIs are treated with antibiotics. These kill the bacteria. How long you need to take them depends on the type of infection. Take antibiotics exactly as directed until all of the medicine is gone. If you don't, the infection may not go away and may become harder to treat in the future.

Home care

The lifestyle changes below will help get rid of your current infection. They may also help prevent future UTIs:

  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice, or other caffeine-free drinks. This helps flush bacteria out of your system.
  • Empty your bladder when you feel the urge to urinate and before going to sleep. Urine that stays in your bladder makes an infection more likely.
  • Use condoms during sex. These help prevent UTIs caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.
  • If you are uncircumcised, pull the foreskin back and wash under the foreskin each time you take a bath or shower.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised if your symptoms continue after finishing all of the antibiotic medicine. Your healthcare provider may do tests to make sure the infection has cleared. If needed, more treatment can be started.


When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • Weak urine stream
  • Feeling that you can't empty your bladder
  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher , or as directed by your healthcare provider
  • Urine that looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color. This may mean that blood is in the urine.
  • Urine smells bad
  • Feeling pain even when not urinating
  • Tiredness
  • Pain in the belly (abdomen) area below the bellybutton, or in the back or side, below the ribs
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Have a strong urge to urinate, but only a small amount of urine is passed (dribbling)
  • Feeling confused or very tired (in older adults)


default

Trichomonas Infection (Trichomoniasis) (Male)

Trichomonas infection is often called “trich.” It's caused by a parasite that is passed during sex. This makes trich a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An STI is sometimes called a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Both men and women can get trich, but it's more common in women.

Most people who have trich don’t have any symptoms at first. Symptoms in men are not very common. If symptoms do occur, they may take weeks or months to develop. Men may have trich and pass it to women during sex without knowing they were ever infected.

Symptoms in men can include:

  • Itching or sore feeling inside your penis
  • Fluid or frothy discharge from your penis
  • Needing to urinate often
  • Burning after urinating
  • Burning after ejaculating

Trich is most often treated with antibiotics. Without treatment, trich can increase the risk of more serious health problems such as HIV and certain other STIs.

Trich passed on to a female partner and not treated can lead to problems such as:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Preterm delivery. This means giving birth to a baby early if you’re pregnant.

Home care

  • Take the antibiotics you’re prescribed exactly as directed. Finish all of the medicine, even if your symptoms go away.
  • Don’t drink alcohol until you’re done with your treatment. It can cause severe side effects.
  • Tell any partners you have sex with that you have trich. They will need to be tested for trich and possibly treated as well.
  • Don’t have sex until 7 to 10 days after you and all of your sex partners have been treated.

Prevention

You can get trich again after treatment. You don’t become immune to it. The only way to completely prevent trich or other STIs is to not have sex. If you choose to have sex, then take these steps to lower your health risks:

  • Use latex condoms when having sex.
  • Limit the number of partners you have sex with.
  • Get tested regularly for STIs. Ask any partner you have sex with to do the same.
  • Don’t have sex with anyone who has symptoms that may be caused by an STI.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. You will likely be tested to make sure that the infection has gone away.


When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these:

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your provider
  • Symptoms that get worse, or don’t go away even after treatment is done
  • New symptoms, for you or your partner or partners
  • Side effects that bother you or a reaction to the medicine


814.231.7000

To our team, you're more than just a number. We see you. And we're committed to you. Our experienced providers are here and ready to get you the care you need.