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Sun Life

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A patient in a wheelchair receiving care from a Sun Life dentist and dental assistant.

Sun Life Dentistry now offers a multifunctional dental chair that will enable appointments that are more comfortable for patients who cannot be accommodated in a regular dental chair because of weight or mobility issues. The chair has the ability to act as a wheel chair lift, eliminating the need for patients who are wheelchair-bound to transfer out of their own chair.

It is important for everyone to see the dentist at least twice a year. Many dental problems will only become detectable to you once the issue is in advanced stages and is causing pain or infection. Visiting the dentist can help catch problems early on so that simpler, and often less costly, treatments can be done to avoid more serious problems in the future. Additionally, regular dental care also helps in the detection of oral cancer.

Aging populations and patients with complex medical conditions are especially at risk for these types of issues. Even patients without teeth need to be checked for oral cancer at least once a year, and several studies have linked poor oral health to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Poor oral health can inhibit a person’s ability to eat or speak and may also have psychological effects. Dental disease can often lead to infections that may have serious consequences if left untreated.

Sun Life is dedicated to providing access to care for all patients, and with the addition of this chair, we are making dental care more accessible for our community. The multifunctional dental chair is available to adults and children alike, and is located at Sun Life’s Pediatric Dental office. To learn more about the multifunctional chair, or make an appointment, call Sun Life Family Dentistry, 520-381-0381, or Sun Life Pediatric Dentistry, 520-350-7560. When scheduling an appointment, please mention your need to use the multifunctional chair.

ABOUT SUN LIFE FAMILY HEALTH CENTER
Sun Life Family Health Center is Pinal County’s largest primary care provider, and was one of the first community health centers in the state to have received accreditation from the Joint Commission (the gold standard of quality in healthcare). Sun Life serves both insured and uninsured patients, and provides health services in family practice, dentistry, women’s health, pediatrics, integrated behavioral health, diabetes education, and much more.

Sun Life operates several family practice offices, located in Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, Maricopa, Oracle, and San Manuel. Women’s wellness and maternity services are available at our Centers for Women in Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Chandler and Maricopa. Both Family and Pediatric Dentistry are available in Casa Grande. Our Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Eloy, Florence, Maricopa, and San Manuel locations offer a public pharmacy. Sun Life offers Pediatrics in Casa Grande and Maricopa.

To learn more about office locations and hours, visit www.sunlifefamilyhealth.org. Sun Life… Excellence in health, wellness and education.

 

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Submitted photo

By Andrew H. Jones, Community Relations Coordinator

If your child attends daycare, he or she probably catches the cruddy cold, runny nose, and cough more often than a loving parent could have ever imagined. Whenever children are together in a shared common space, the germs will pass at an alarming speed, the most common is the common cold (Rhinovirus). According to the CDC, “Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work each year in the United States; there are millions of cases of the common cold with adults having an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more” (CDC, 2017). While the cold is transmitted through both contact and airborne, there are several steps parents can take to decrease the chance of the spread from daycare to home. “Though you can’t protect your child from every virus he or she encounters, these healthy habits can increase his or her resistance” (Moninger, 2017).

  • Wash hands frequently with warm water and soap. This will not inactivate the Rhinovirus, but will rid the hands of it.
  • Keep your home clean by regularly disinfecting light switches, door knobs, and other areas prone to a high volume of contact which increases the spread of germs.
  • Keep hand sanitizer in your car to use when leaving the daycare facility. This will help eliminate germs from getting into your car.
  • Teach children at a young age appropriate sneezing and coughing techniques.
  • Keeping children active will boost their immune system. “Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC), WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease” (Medline Plus, 2017).
  • Upon arriving home, immediately have children shower and brush teeth or have fresh play clothes ready and wash hands as soon as they enter the home. Since the Rhinovirus is transmitted through close contact, this measure will ensure that when another family member hugs the child who attends daycare, he or she will not come into contact with contaminated clothing.
  • Making sure your child gets enough sleep.

Healthy Eating Habits for Children

Healthy eating for your child is one of the most important aspects of preventative care a parent can take. “Lowered immune function may result in an increase in acute illnesses such as colds and the flu” (Diagnose-Me.com, 2017). With proper nutrition for your child, the immune system will build up. A child with a lowered immune system is more susceptible to infection. Thus, feeding children a healthy, balanced diet to include all of the food groups, in proportion of the child’s age, will result in a nurtured immune system.

Importance of Childhood Flu Shots

Staving off a cold is imperative, as often times the cold can turn into the flu or a super cold. A good preventative measure for children is the flu shot. Parents can have their child receive this vaccine at an early age. However, the vaccine should be given annually as the cold and flu virus mutates. According to the CDC, “Some children 6 months through 8 years of age require two doses of influenza vaccine. Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season” (CDC, 2017). The first dose should be given as soon as the vaccine becomes available at your pediatrician’s office. Sun Life Family Health Center welcomes you to learn more about our pediatric services. Sun Life offers continuous and comprehensive healthcare to individuals and the entire family. In addition to providing care when you are ill, we will also help you achieve a healthy lifestyle and work with you to help prevent illnesses. Flu Season is Here! Is Your Family Ready? Be Proactive! Get the Flu Shot Now. For more information call our Maricopa Family Practice location today at (520) 568-2245.

 

References

CDC. (2017). Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/ children.htm CDC. (2017). Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/Diagnose-Me.com. (2017). Weakened Immune System. Retrieved from www.diagnose-me.com/symptoms-of/weakened-immune-system.php Medline Plus. (2017). Exercise and immunity. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm Moninger, J. (2017). All-Natural Cold & Cough Remedies. Retrieved from http://www.parents.com/health/cold-flu/cold/natural-cold-coughremedies/?slideId=51239

 

TIP OF THE MONTH

Germ Free Drop Zone

Create a Germ Free Drop Zone near the entrance of your home to drop back-packs, sanitize hands, and change clothes. This will decrease significantly the spread of daycare germs throughout the house.

#OneSmallChange

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The Cardinals are participating in the NFL's Crucial Catch project to fight cancer.

As part of its Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, the American Cancer Society has awarded a $75,000 grant to Sun Life Family Health Center to implement cancer prevention and early detection activities aimed to improve cancer outcomes by providing education, outreach, navigation, and access to cancer vaccinations and screenings in Casa Grande. This initiative is made possible by a partnership between the National Football League and the American Cancer Society.

The National Football League’s Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer initiative provides funding to support increased access to cancer education, prevention and screening resources in under-served communities through the American Cancer Society.

This grant-funded event is an opportunity to provide cancer outreach and education to increase awareness, help the community reduce cancer risk and promote cancer prevention and regular screenings. Casa Grande is one of 32 cities to have a grant recipient focused on reducing the unequal burden of cancer by focusing on addressing breast cancer disparities and outcomes.

Disparities predominantly arise from inequities in work, wealth, income, education, housing and overall standard of living, as well as social barriers to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection and treatment services. The Society collaborates with community health systems to reach individuals in communities with higher burdens of cancer and limited access to cancer screening.

Since 2012, CHANGE grants funded by the NFL have been awarded to community health systems to provide education, outreach, navigation and access to breast cancer screening resources within communities experiencing an unequal burden of the cancer. Collectively, grant funded health systems have provided more than 452,500 outreach and education interventions and have contributed to more than 148,300 breast cancer screenings provided at low or no cost. Thanks to our health systems grantees demonstrated impact and the NFL’s continued commitment to this life-changing work, the NFL is expanding its efforts on cancer prevention and early detection across multiple cancers in 2017. This expanded funding opportunity will continue to address breast cancer disparities while also addressing either colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, or HPV vaccination. The Society’s vision is a world free from the pain and suffering of breast cancer and all cancers. Prevention and early detection programs, such as the CHANGE grant program, help to eliminate cancer-related health disparities and reach this vision.

About the American Cancer Society:The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2 million volunteers saving lives in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 25 percent decline in the cancer death rate in the U.S. since 1991, driven by less smoking, better treatments and earlier detection. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings and more. For more information, to get help or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at (800) 227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

IF YOU GO
What: Sun Life Family Health Center in Casa Grande presents: Crucial Catch – Intercept Cancer. Fun activities, food, Arizona Cardinals mascot “Big Red,” Arizona Cardinals players and cheerleaders.
Who: Open to the public – All are welcome.
When: Tuesday, October 24th, 2017, from 3–6 p.m.
Where: Sun Life Center for Women, 1864 E. Florence Blvd., Suite 2, Casa Grande

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From left to right: Jared Hatchard, Community Pharmacy Operations Manager, Kenny Leutz, Pharmacy Manager- Florence, Matthew Bertsch, Director of Pharmacy on University of Arizona College of Pharmacy Graduation day 2017

By Matthew Bertsch, Director of Pharmacy
Sun Life Family Health Center

Giving back to the communities that we work in is extremely fulfilling. When hiring for rural healthcare, one needs to find someone who is

Know your Pharmacist

Get to know your Pharmacist on a first name basis to be engaged and better understand your health and well-being. Never be afraid to ask your Pharmacist a question. No appointment needed. #OneSmallChange

dedicated and passionate, and strives to make the community a healthier place. Recruiting and retaining great employees is of the utmost importance to the success of an organization embedded in rural healthcare. We at Sun Life hired Kenny Leutz onto our pharmacy team in November of 2015. Kenny was one of our first true “homegrown” Pharmacy Managers. We trained Kenny from Intern through Pharmacist and now we are preparing him for his role as Pharmacy Manager at our site in Florence. As is the case with many pharmacists graduating from pharmacy schools around the nation, there is the desire to spread the message that pharmacists, in general, are more than meets the eye. The career is no longer just about filling and looking at prescriptions and medications. The career is focused on patient safety, and making certain that patients leave our hands with the best possible outcomes.

Kenny Leutz answered the following questions regarding pharmacists and patient care.

How can a pharmacist improve patient care?

“Pharmacists can play an important role in providing comprehensive health care to every patient that they have. Pharmacists verify that appropriate medications are prescribed to patients, free from dosing errors, serious drug-drug interactions and drug-disease interactions. Additionally, patients need to be counseled on how to take medications correctly. Having the right medication prescribed means nothing if the patient is not educated on when medications should be taken, how they should be taken, and signs that the medication can be harmful instead of helpful.

Kenny verifies prescriptions during his training as a
staff pharmacist at the Casa Grande location

What do community health centers mean to rural healthcare?

“Community health centers are extremely important to residents of rural communities mainly because access to health care is so limited. Many residents of rural Arizona lack health care coverage, have lower than average income, lack physical access to health care facilities, and have no supplemental support that is needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Community health centers are essential to help bridge this gap in care to underserved communities by providing primary and preventive care, health education, mental health, pediatric, dental, and pharmacy services among others.”

What do you see in your future?

“I see myself continuing to work in rural communities providing quality, comprehensive health care. I feel that I can play a larger role in rural communities due to the limited number of providers and resources that are available”. Pharmacy, in general, is so much more than meets the eye. It is the assistance with over-the-counter medications, education of the patient at the time of prescription pickup and the friendliness of the familiar face when patients visit regularly that is expected of pharmacists. What is rarely seen is the work behind the scenes, the constant communication with providers, ensuring proper medication dosages, and the careful preparation of prescriptions that often pharmacists do not get recognized for. We, as pharmacists, take pride in the quality of care that we offer patients.

For questions regarding Sun Life’s pharmacy services or any of our 13 locations please call Sun Life Family Health Center at 520- 836-3446 or visit our website at www. sunlifefamilyhealth.org.

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Submitted photo

By Andrew H. Jones

Is it a cold or allergies? This is a question that plagues many people this time of year. On one hand, you’ve been sneezing and sniffling, swallowing over-the-counter meds every few hours. On the other hand, it’s been going on for two and a half weeks now and it seems there is no end in sight. Let’s take a closer look at some of the similarities and differences to better understand what may be ailing you.

Similarities of Allergies & Colds:
• Sneezing
• Runny nose
• Congestion and stuffy nose
• Coughing
• Sore throat

Differences of Allergies & Colds:
• Itchy eyes are a less common symptom of a cold
• Severe colds can cause fevers and body aches and are not usually signs of allergies
• Sore throat in allergies is most often caused by postnasal drip
• Allergies can cause rashes

“People with allergies are sometimes more prone to catching colds. Recovery from a cold is usually quick – in fact, the average duration of a cold is 7 to 10 days.

If symptoms last more than a week or two, the cold may have progressed into a secondary bacterial infection such as bronchitis or sinusitis. Allergies are more difficult to predict and can be a little tricky, they can be seasonal, or come and go daily and reoccur often” (Dr. Ted Crawford, DO, Medical Director, Sun Life Family Health Center, 2017).

As the season begins to warm, the plants begin to pollinate, spreading the ‘joy’ in the air to all of us who are susceptible to seasonal allergies. However, we are still in the middle of cold and flu season. So the sniffles may very well be one last ride on the Rhinovirus bandwagon..

TIP OF THE MONTH
Cut down on dust in your home
Concentrate on cleaning your bedroom where you sleep. Wash all of your bedding regularly. Wipe dust
off dressers, night-stands, appliances, ceiling fans, and wear a dust mask while doing so. Clean your
house regularly with a vacuum. #OneSmallChange

Allergies range from mild to seasonal allergies with more severe symptoms; which can cause life-threatening reactions. People can have an array of symptoms and allergic reactions to any number of things, including various airborne pollens, foods, medications, and allergy shots. Whether you have a mild or severe allergy, you should know the proper response to a reaction, address accordingly, and minimize your discomfort.

Keeping track of the local daily pollen percentages in your area can be very helpful and might make you Ah-Ah-Ah-choose to stay inside, wear a preventative mask, or limit your outdoor activities. Here is a helpful website that can help keep you informed of your local air pollen content. https://www.pollen.com

Scheduling an appointment with your Sun Life Family Health Center provider is the first step to treating your cold or allergies. He or she will be able to diagnose your symptoms and refer you to a local (specialist) allergist. The allergist can then test you to find out what triggered your allergic reaction and can prescribe medication or give you allergy shots to help manage your symptoms.

REFERENCES
Dr. Ted Crawford, DO, Medical Director – Sun Life family
Health Center
Pollen.com

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Sun Life Family Health Center hosted its second “For the Love of Chocolate” 3-mile run and 1-mile walk at Copper Sky on Saturday. The run had 81 participants, with the top finisher being Bob Marabella of Brigham City, Utah (19:10). Proceeds benefited the nonprofit health services provider. participants received medals and goodie bags of chocolate treats.

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Beginning today, all Sun Life Family Health Center locations will offer free enrollment assistance for the newly restored KidsCare program.

KidsCare coverage has been restored for Arizona children who are over-income for the state facilitated Medicaid program, known as AHCCCS. KidsCare coverage will allow qualifying families to insure their children through the Medicaid program for a low monthly fee. KidsCare is Arizona’s version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, which will be of no financial burden to the state through 2017.

Applications for the program will be facilitated through the same website as AHCCCS, healthearizonaplus.gov. However, the application for KidsCare will not be available until July 26. Once available, families can apply to gain coverage for their uninsured children and once approved benefits will begin starting Sept. 1.

Costs will range for the program. Costs can be as low as $10 per month for one child, or they can range up to $70 per month for multiple children. KidsCare will offer the same comprehensive benefits as AHCCCS, including preventative visits such as well-child checks and dental visits. The program is in place to give working poor families the chance to affordably insure their children and get them the health benefits they need to lead healthy lives.
Sun Life Family Health Center has staff in every one of their communities ready to help qualifying families navigate the application process. The staff are trained to administer the help needed to assist with the online application process and answer questions about program benefits. If interested in an appointment, or to learn more about your child’s healthcare options please call your local Sun Life office or 520-381-0394.

Sun Life Family Health Center is taking every precaution to provide for the health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors, and is reminding our communities to follow the most current recommended guidelines from the Pinal County Department of Health regarding the current increase in measles activity.

Pinal County now has 13 confirmed cases of measles.

If you think you or your family may have been exposed to measles, Pinal County Department of Health recommends the following:

* If you have a healthcare provider, contact them by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.

* If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles. For more information on measles’ signs and symptoms or where you may find vaccine, please check with your healthcare provider or your county health department.

You are immune to measles if you have received two measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR] vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine.

Health care providers, like Sun Life, are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department. Public health continues to investigate contacts and places of exposure for these new cases. The Department will continue to provide updates and additional information on confirmed cases and potential public exposure as information becomes available.

For information on signs and symptoms of measles, or where you can find vaccine, please visit StoptheSpreadAZ.com. Medical questions should be directed to your health care provider. For outbreak-related questions, community members may call 602-839-2275.