Category: News

HIV Awareness Day

Although the world has made significant progress since the late 1990s, HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. 

Get the Facts

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. There is currently no effective cure for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners and risk behaviors.

How do I know if I have HIV?

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Knowing your HIV status helps you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV.

Are there symptoms? 

For many, yes. Most people have flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks after infection. Symptoms may last for a few days or several weeks. Having these symptoms alone doesn’t mean you have HIV. Other illnesses can cause similar symptoms. Some people have no symptoms at all. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Rash
  • Muscle Aches
  • Night Sweats
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

When people with HIV don’t get treatment, they typically progress through three stages. But HIV treatment can slow or prevent progression of the disease. With advances in HIV treatment, progression to Stage 3 (AIDS) is less common today than in the early years of HIV.

Take Action

The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. Knowing your status gives you powerful information to keep you healthy.

If your test result is positive, you can take medicine to treat the virus. HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load). Taking HIV treatment as prescribed can make the viral load so low that a test can’t detect it (undetectable viral load). Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load (or staying virally suppressed) is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.

What should I expect when I go in for an HIV test? 

Your experience may be different depending on the setting.

If you get an HIV test in a health care setting or lab, the health care provider will take a sample of blood or oral fluid.

  • With a rapid test (oral fluid or finger stick), you may be able to wait for the results.
  • With a lab test, it may take several days for your results to be available.

Your health care provider may talk with you about your risk factors, answer any questions you might have, and discuss next steps.

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or click here to contact us.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

 

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, December 1). HIV basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/index.html

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. About 1 in 3 people over 65 die from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

Get the Facts

Alzheimer’s disease is a primary cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease damages nerve cells in the brain. In the early stages, there may not be many, if any, symptoms. However, short-term memory loss is often the first sign. Over time, as more neurons are damaged, Alzheimer’s disease results in problems with judgment, language, and thought processes. Eventually, it affects a person’s ability to function and care for themselves.

The term dementia defines brain diseases related to memory loss and diminished cognitive skills. Alzheimer’s disease is probably the most recognized type, but other types of dementia exist.

They include:

  • vascular dementia
  • dementia with Lewy bodies
  • mixed dementia
  • dementia caused by Parkinson’s disease
  • dementia caused by Huntington’s disease
  • Statistics from 2022 estimate that there are more than 6.5 million people with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.

There’s ongoing research into ways to prevent and manage Alzheimer’s disease. As science learns more about how Alzheimer’s disease develops, there may be ways to prevent or slow the progression. However, there are a few medical treatments available. The newest medication, Aduhelm (aducanumab), was just approved in June 2021. This medication reduces the buildup of beta-amyloid protein plaques in the brain. In Alzheimer’s disease, these plaques start to block and disrupt normal nerve cell function.

Take Action

In Alzheimer’s disease, there’s a buildup of inflammatory proteins in the brain. Many chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, are also shown to involve inflammation. So, talk to your doctor if you are at risk for diabetes or heart disease.

Other recommendations include:

  • eating an anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean way of eating
  • regular monitoring of blood pressure and treatment with dietary changes, activity, and medications, as needed
  • quitting or cutting down on smoking if you smoke
  • practicing physical activity
  • managing cholesterol levels with dietary changes and medications as needed
  • monitoring blood sugar levels and managing prediabetes or diabetes with dietary changes, physical activity, and medications as needed

Heart disease may also be a cause of vascular dementia, which results from narrowed blood vessels in the brain. This leads to a decrease in oxygen to brain tissues.

For more information, visit the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts (healthline.com)

 

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or click here to contact us.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

Community Health Net Annual Meeting: Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities

Join us on Friday, October 21, 2022, at Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel

The 2022 Community Health Net Annual Meeting is your opportunity to network with healthcare and business professionals from throughout the Erie Region as we gather to discuss the important impact of mental health on our community. During the program “Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities,” community members will enjoy a lively presentation from our guest speaker, Mary Anne Albaugh, MD, DLFAPA.

About Our Speaker

Guest speaker Mary Anne Albaugh, MD, DLFAPA, is a Community Psychiatrist working with the Deerfield Behavioral Health of Warren group practice, a member of Journey Health System. A graduate of Gannon University and the Hahnemann University School of Medicine (now Drexel University College of Medicine), Dr. Albaugh is double-boarded in General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. With greater than 30 years of clinical experience, she has dedicated her career to improving the mental well-being of communities throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania. Dr. Albaugh’s powerful message is more important than ever and is sure to provide valuable insights for those in attendance. She will elaborate on lessons learned while providing psychiatric mental health care and consultation throughout the region. She will discuss the importance of improved mental health for children, adolescents, adults, and families, prevention and early intervention, attachment disruptions, and complex trauma, social determinants of health and mental health-whole person care, models of collaborative care that reduce disparities, and the need for increased access and support for the mental health needs of the community.

Details

Buffet lunch will be served beginning at 11:45 am, followed by the Annual Meeting
Tickets – $30 per person | $200 per table of 8

For more information, contact Mary Lynn Slivinski at 814-454-4530 ext 227 or mslivinski@community-healthnet.com.

October is Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a real fear for parents. It can affect any family, seemingly without reason or warning.

Get the Facts

Sometimes a baby who seems healthy dies during sleep. If this happens to a healthy baby younger than one year old, it’s called sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. In most cases, a parent or caregiver places the baby down to sleep and returns later to find the baby has died. But, unfortunately, it’s no one’s fault. SIDS can happen even when you do everything right.

What causes it?

Doctors don’t know what causes SIDS, but researchers are studying the possibility that SIDS may be caused by problems with how well the brain controls breathing, heart rate and rhythm, and temperature during the first few months of life.

Some factors may increase the risk of SIDS.

If during pregnancy, the mother:

  • Is younger than 20 years old.
  • Smoked or vaped.
  • Uses drugs or alcohol.
  • Did not have prenatal care.

If the baby is:

  • Premature.
  • Part of a multiple pregnancy (for example, a twin or triplet).
  • Put down to bed on their stomach or side.
  • In a bed on a soft surface or with loose blankets or pillows.
  • Sharing a bed with parents, siblings, or pets.
  • Dressed too warmly or in a very warm room.

Take Action

There is no sure way to prevent SIDS. But there are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS and other deaths related to sleep.

  • Put your baby to sleep on their back, not on their side or tummy.
  • Don’t expose your baby to secondhand smoke.
  • Have your baby sleep in a crib, cradle, or bassinet in the same room where you sleep. Don’t sleep with your baby in the same bed.
  • Never sleep with a baby on a couch or an armchair.
  • Keep soft items and loose bedding out of the crib.
  • Make sure that your baby’s crib has a firm mattress (with a fitted sheet). Don’t use sleep positioners, bumper pads, or other products that attach to crib slats or sides.
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature so your baby can sleep in lightweight clothes without a blanket.
  • Consider giving your baby a pacifier while they sleep.

 

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or click here to contact us.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month

Protecting your child from potentially treatable diseases is vital if you are expecting parents or new parents. Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child’s long-term health or survival.

Get the Facts

Newborn screening is a public health program that tests spots of blood from all newborns for certain conditions that are not noticeable at the time of birth but can cause serious disability or even death if not treated quickly.

Infants that develop conditions may seem perfectly healthy and frequently come from families with no previous history of a condition.

Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential.

Each year, millions of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened, using a few drops of blood from the newborn’s heel

Babies are screened for certain genetic, endocrine, and metabolic disorders, and are also tested for hearing loss and critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center.

The National Institutes of Health states, “Using a few drops of blood, newborn screening detects a treatable condition in about 1 in 300 babies born each year, a total of about 12,500 cases each year.”

Take Action

Screening occurs within the first 24 to 48 hours after delivery. A “heel stick” provides blood drops that are collected on sterile, absorbent filter paper.

Most states also include a hearing test in newborn screening.

Many states measure the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood to identify infants who need to see a heart specialist immediately.

Some states require a second blood test to ensure accuracy when an infant is ten days to 2 weeks old.

When you are thinking about getting a screening test, talk with your health care provider.

Find out what the test is like and how the test may help your child.

Ask what further testing and follow-up will be needed if a screening test result shows a possible problem.

 

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or click here to contact us.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

Helping Good People Feel Great!

Be your best self, live healthy and strong, and see clearly what’s ahead while showing your beautiful smile!

At Community Health Net, we love to help good people feel great every day! We provide top-quality medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, behavioral health, and other specialized health services, regardless of your ability to pay, insurance status, or type!

Did You Know?
Community Health Net has happily provided great healthcare to individuals and families in Erie for over 35 years. We are home to about 100 staff and clinicians who love the place we call home. Experience the care of our team at Community Health Net! Make an appointment today!  Call 814-455-7222 or click here to request an appointment online!

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Children are exposed to thousands of germs every day. On-time immunizations help provide immunity against potentially life-threatening diseases before children are exposed to them.


August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended immunizations. Making sure that your child sees their doctor for well-child visits and recommended immunizations is one of the best things you can do to protect your child and community from serious diseases that are easily spread.  Many children missed check-ups and recommended childhood vaccinations during the past two years. CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend children catch up on routine childhood immunizations following disruptions from COVID-19.

Get the Facts

  • Children who are not protected by vaccines are more likely to get diseases like measles and whooping cough.
  • Diseases are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies and young children.
  • In recent years, there have been outbreaks of diseases, especially in communities with low vaccination rates.
  • The national immunization coverage among kindergarten children during the 2020-2021 school year dropped by about 1% from the previous year— that amounts to 35,000 more children without immunization documents.

Read: Diseases & the Vaccines that Prevent Them

Take Action

  • Work with your child’s doctor or nurse to make sure they get caught up on missed well-child visits and recommended immunizations.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your prenatal care provider about recommended immunizations.
  • All pregnant people are recommended to get a whooping cough shot (Tdap) during the 27th through 36th week of each pregnancy. Getting a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy provides the best protection against whooping cough for you and your baby in the first few months of life before your baby is old enough to get their own whooping cough shots.
  • A flu shot during any trimester of each pregnancy provides the best protection against flu for you and can also protect your baby for the first several months after birth when they are too young to be immunized.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about any routine shots your child may have missed.
  • The immunization schedule is designed to provide immunity (protection) early in life before children are likely to be exposed to serious, potentially life-threatening diseases.

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit www.communityhealthnet.org for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public in learning more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

 

Erie Gives is Right Around the Corner!

Erie Gives Day is right around the corner, the time of year when our community comes together to support its local nonprofit organizations. Your donation matters! Your donation will make a difference! How?

When you give to Community Health Net, you affirm that our community’s health and vitality are prioritized! Your donation ensures that individuals in the Lake Erie region have access to high-quality healthcare, regardless of insurance type, status, or ability to pay! Your gift supports equitable access to medical, dental, vision, behavioral health, pharmacy, and other specialized health services that help our community continue to feel great!

On Erie Gives Day, you can feel good about donating to Community Health Net. Why? Because we have served the community for over 35 years and are home to about 100 staff and clinicians who love Erie. Alison Davis, LPN, is one of them. She has worked for Community Health Net for over 15 years in our Healthcare for the Homeless program, caring for individuals of all walks of life. Alison has seen many people that remind her of her brother, who, alone, could not care for himself after suffering a stroke and dementia. That experience provided a profound perspective that increased her capacity to empathize with her patients deeply, often extending herself after-hours to care for their needs. She noted: “Many of the patients in the program do not have family members who will support them. They need someone who isn’t going to judge them when they come in the door. They deserve to be seen and cared for with respect. We need to have compassion for people.”

This year, Erie Gives 2022 will occur on August 9, 2022, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. During the 12 hours of online giving, The Erie Community Foundation and other generous donors will match a percentage of your donation. Giving is simple! Just visit ErieGives.org and select Community Health Net as your charity of choice!

Are you considering donating by check? It’s easy! Make your check(s) payable to The Erie Community Foundation, accompanied by your Erie Gives Check Contribution Form, found online at www.ErieGives.org. All items must be turned into The Erie Community Foundation at 459 West 6th St., Erie, PA 16507, by close of business on Monday, August 8. If you need help locating the form, we are happy to assist!

Remember, your donation to Community Health Net on Erie Gives Day helps ensure Erie remains healthy and vibrant and will help improve the healthcare outcomes for people in our communities. Make your voice count! Thank you in advance for your support!

If you have any questions, contact Mary Lynn Slivinski, Director of Administrative Services, at mslivinski@community-healthnet.com or 814-454-4530 ext. 227.

 

 

 

 

June is National Men’s Health Month

Most of the factors that contribute to men’s shorter lives are preventable. This month let’s encourage early detection and treatment among men!

Get the Facts.

  • Nearly three-quarters of men prefer to scrub the toilet or do other chores than see a doctor for preventive care, such as annual checkups.
  • The leading causes of death for men in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and accidents.
  • Men are less likely to recognize and seek help for depression.
  • As a male, you are more likely to get type 2 diabetes at a lower weight than women.
  • One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

Take Action

  • Get regular check-ups, and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about the uncomfortable stuff.
  • If you have chest pain, lightheadedness, back pain, or arm pain, go to the doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor about how often you should get a prostate exam.
  • Regular exercise and healthy eating can help prevent diabetes.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Feeling withdrawn.
  • Acting aggressive, irritable, and hostile.
  • Depression can also be seen in physical symptoms such as a racing heart, headaches, tightening chest, and digestive issues.
  • Deal with feelings by drinking, abusing drugs, or pursuing risky behavior.

In many cultures, it isn’t okay for men to be depressed because it is seen as “feminine.” But that isn’t true. Depression is a real problem that can affect any sex. Depression affects men in different ways than women. Having depression is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to your doctor or trusted friend about how you have been feeling. If it is an emergency, do not hesitate to call 800-273-8255 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

 

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit www.communityhealthnet.org for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

Biggest Hearts Belong to Healthcare Heroes

Community Health Net, Erie’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center, is home to three people who define the word “heart.” They embody community, stand for dignity and respect, genuinely love people, and have given their lives to and immersed themselves in caring for individuals and families of all walks of life and socio-economic status. Alison Davis, LPN, Stephanie Schaff-Turri, RN, and Toni Gromacki, LPN, are nurses with 59 combined years of service to Erie County. They are proven, battle-hardened healthcare heroes.

“My mother was my role model. She was a pediatric nurse,” said Alison Davis, a 16-year veteran LPN. “She would always talk about her patients and how much she loved them.” When Alison told her mother about her plans to become a nurse, she replied: “If you can love people, be concerned about them, and put them ahead of yourself, then you can.” Alison has lived by those words.

Mrs. Davis is a transplant to Erie, leaving her roots in Havana, Florida, over 15 years ago, working for Community Health Net for most of her career, assisting the organization’s healthcare for the Homeless program. “CHN does not turn anyone away from good, adequate care,” she said as she expressed why she works for the organization. Mrs. Davis sees many clients that remind her of her brother, who could not care for himself after suffering a stroke and dementia. “Many of the patients in the program do not have family members who will support them. They need someone who isn’t going to judge them when they come in the door. They still deserve to be seen and cared for with respect. We need to have compassion for people.”

“Mrs. Davis sees many clients that remind her of her brother, who could not care for himself after suffering a stroke and dementia.”

Stephanie Schaff-Turri feels the same, having spent 19 years with Community Health Net and 12 years as an RN. She is an Erie native with a background in Health Science and Community Health. “We care for one patient at a time. Individualized, patient-centered care significantly impacts families and, by extension, the community,” said Mrs. Schaff-Turri. Initially, she worked to build and ensure adherence to qualified healthcare processes and procedures at CHN before becoming a nurse. “I became an RN because I felt that I would be a greater benefit to the organization by helping people.”

Stephanie often stays after work to help her patients. She also volunteers at outreach events. “I’m not in healthcare for the money. I could be a traveling nurse and make big bucks,” she noted. “What I have is a sense of accomplishment. People who you care for appreciate you years later. They will never forget you. There is a real sense of community as I help patients.”

“I became an RN because I felt that I would be a greater benefit to the organization by helping people.”

Toni Gromacki, a 29-year veteran LPN has the same sense of duty, volunteerism, and love for people. Her family roots run deep in the Erie community. “My whole family is in nursing, social work, and community shelter services. Helping people is in my blood. So, being a nurse is a comfortable fit for me,” said Mrs. Gromacki, who started her career at Community Health Net in Pediatrics. She feels as if her patients are her second family.

Toni loves her job. She works to break down barriers to health care and ensure that everyone can access care. “Patients do not come in a box. You have to listen and read between the lines to understand their needs,” said Mrs. Gromacki. “Community Health Net offers services that they [patients] would not be able to get anywhere else. Health equity and access. That is why I get up every morning to come to work.”

by DaWayne Cleckley for Community Health Net. Read the Erie Time-News / GoErie Article here: https://bit.ly/3FyfCUJ

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