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by Jill Spencer, MD  March 20, 2024

As spring and summer approach, unfortunately, so do insect and tick bites. Here are a few high-yield facts to watch out for over the next few months.

  1. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) transmitted to humans by the bite of a tick. Thankfully, the prevalence in the midwest is low, with higher-risk areas including the northern and northeastern United States.

  2. TickThe ticks capable of transmitting Lyme disease are primarily black-legged deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis). 

  3. Ticks usually need to remain attached to the skin for at least 24 hours to transmit the disease.

  4. Prevention is key: wear protective clothing including long pants, long sleeves, socks and closed-toed shoes. Use insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin on clothing and exposed skin. Check skin thoroughly for ticks after spending time outdoors, and remove ticks before they become engorged. It is also recommended to treat and monitor your pets.

by Haley Womack, AuD   January 8, 2024

Tinnitus (pronounced tih-NITE- us or TIN-ih-tus) has been described as a ringing, buzzing, hissing, or humming noise when no other physical noise is present. It can be noticeable in one or both ears, and may be constant or intermittent sound.

There are several different reasons tinnitus can occur which includes:

  • hearing loss
  • ear infections or wax
  • head and neck injuries
  • certain medications
  • vascular conditions
  • stress and anxiety

In a large portion of the population, people who experience tinnitus can habituate to the sound. However, in a small portion of the population, tinnitus becomes so bothersome that it begins to affect people’s mental and emotional well-being. In cases where other health concerns have been ruled out, there are several different options for tinnitus management. These options include sound enrichment (sound machines, smartphone apps, TV, radio), hearing aids (if hearing loss is present), tinnitus maskers (device that look like a hearing aid but with no amplification), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

by Jill Spencer, MD   August 7, 2023

Whether you have atopic dermatitis (eczema) or just dry, sensitive skin, the way you treat your skin can have a major impact. Skincare can help protect the skin from dryness, cracking, flaking, and even rashes like eczema or infections. This is of utmost importance during the dry, cold season. Here are some tips to help best care for your skin:

  1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! The most important step for helping sensitive skin is maintaining the skin barrier. As a general rule, the greasier the moisturizer, the better. Ointments like petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) or Aquaphor® will provide the best protection for dry, cracked skin. The next best are those that come in a tub instead of a lotion with a pump. The most important time to apply emollients is within five minutes of bathing or showering, and if you can apply twice a day, even better!
  2. Avoid irritants. When the skin is compromised, chemicals like fragrances or preservatives are often quite irritating. Look for products that are fragrance free, hypoallergenic, or listed for sensitive skin. Avoid perfumes, scented detergents or dryer sheets,
  3. Avoid harsh cleansers. Use a mild, hydrating bar soap or cleanser. As above, it is best to avoid fragrances or dyes.

by Joseph B. Schneider DO   November 7, 2023

When I was in residency in Detroit, Michigan, my friend and colleague wore shorts pretty much year-round.  He simply tolerated the cold better than most people.  Different people tolerate cold temperatures differently.  The same can be said about different skin types.  Some folks’ skin just does better in the winter than others.  For instance, those who have eczema tend to have a harder time in the winter.  The decreased humidity causes us to lose moisture, causing the skin to dry out even more.  Those with rosacea often have a more difficult time with their condition due to cold wind and the irritant effect of going from cold (outside) to warm (inside) repeatedly.  Psoriasis is improved by natural sunlight, so in those winter months when the sun barely gets above the horizon before disappearing again, those with psoriasis generally flare.  Even those of us without a medical skin condition who generally have very little problems with their skin will be affected to some degree by the changing seasons. 

Winter recommendations are very similar to the recommendations given to those with sensitive skin.

by Colleen Reisz, MD   August 7, 2023

How to prevent bug bites during the summer

Preventing bug bites during the summer is essential to avoid discomfort, itching, and the potential transmission of diseases carried by insects. Here are some effective strategies to keep those pesky bugs at bay:

  1. Use insect repellent: Apply an EPA-approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (for ages 3 and above) on exposed skin and clothing. Follow the product instructions carefully, especially when using on children.
  2. Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes when spending time outdoors. Tucking pants into socks can also help prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
  3. Avoid peak mosquito activity: Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk, so try to stay indoors during these times. If you must be outside, take extra precautions, such as using repellent and wearing protective clothing.
  4. Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so regularly empty and clean items like birdbaths, flower pots, and gutters. This helps reduce mosquito populations around your home.

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