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Ways You Can Prevent Skin Cancer

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, but it brings our focus to a health topic that deserves attention every month. With more than five million cases diagnosed each year, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Fortunately, it’s also the most preventable.

Most skin cancers are caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Being in the sunshine for a certain amount of time is good for you, but there are ways to keep it from harming you. Here’s a look at how to protect the skin you — and your loved ones — are in.  

Slather Sunscreen

Even when it is cloudy outside, the sun’s damaging UV rays can penetrate the clouds then bounce off water, glass, and sand to cause even more damage. They are even more powerful on bright, sunny days. Wearing sunblock in any season — even if you have darker skin — is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. 

The MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests using a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more, and that offers both UVA and UVB protection. “Also make sure the sunscreen you choose contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” they recommend

Putting sunblock on once won’t be enough, either. “Ideally, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating heavily,” Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital advises. You may also need to wear more than you think, according to experts at The Skin Cancer Foundation. Rub “a nickel-sized dollop to the face alone,” they say. “If you’re using a spray, apply until an even sheen appears on the skin.”

Stay Out of the Sun

You may not need an umbrella in the sun, but staying out of direct, intense sunlight will keep your skin safer. Having fun inside or in the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM ET (which are the brightest parts of the day) is what experts at the American Skin Association recommend.

Cover it Up

Sunscreen works well, but it sometimes needs help. When you’re outside, “Broad-brimmed hats, bucket hats with wide brims and legionnaire-style hats are effective methods of sun protection to the head, ears, face and neck,” says the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts cover the most skin and are the most protective,” the American Cancer Society also advises. Keep in mind that dark colors reflect more of the sun’s rays than light colors, and loose-weave fabrics may not provide as much protection. Have fun with your sun-safe fashion by exploring clothes made with fabric that blocks harmful rays. 

Know the Signs of Melanoma

The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma. But if it is found and treated early, your survival rate increases. Pay attention to any new changes in your skin by using the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • A – Asymmetry: Most melanomas have an uneven shape.
  • B – Borders: The borders of a melanoma are often scalloped or uneven.
  • C – Color: Harmless moles and freckles are usually only one color, but a melanoma may also be white, blue, or red in places.
  • D – Diameter (or also Dark): Melanomas may start small but grow larger than a pencil eraser. Also, they can be darker than other moles.
  • E – Evolving: If you have a mole that changes size, shape, or color, or starts bleeding or itching, talk to your doctor right away. 

At YourTown Health, we care about the skin you’re in from head to toe. If you have a new skin concern or want more advice about taking care of your skin and everything it covers, visit our website to contact us.

Key Things to Know About Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD, or autism for short) is a developmental disorder that affects communication, socialization, and behavior. While children are born with autism, its signs may not become noticeable until later in their development. For example: when they begin interacting with other children their age.

If you’re wondering if your child could have autism, here are some basics that may be helpful to monitor.

Autism Symptoms to Watch For

Most signs of autism appear by age two or three. In some cases, a child may be diagnosed as early as 18 months old. Watching for early signs is important, since early intervention is linked to positive outcomes later on in life.

The National Autism Association explains that children with autism have difficulty communicating, may repeat specific behaviors, and face a variety of other social and cognitive challenges. Some don’t express any symptoms until ages one or two, when they may begin showing a loss of some of the earlier growth skills they’d gained. This is known as regressive autism. 

Regardless of at what age they occur, autism symptoms to watch for include:

  • Desire to be alone
  • Lack of interest in playing make-believe games
  • Lack of speech or delayed speech
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Obsessive interests
  • Hand flapping, spinning in circles, or body rocking
  • Limited social skills
  • Repetition of words or phrases
  • Avoidance of physical contact

Children with autism may also engage in particularly notable behaviors, such as carefully lining up their toys, or playing in the same way over and over. They may become upset by minor changes, have obsessive interests, or express extreme anxiety over very specific things. It’s also common for children with autism to become fixated on specific objects, such as wheels. They may have frequent meltdowns, be hyperactive, act without thinking, cause self-injury, or be aggressive towards others.

Not all of these behaviors automatically mean autism is present, but they are all worth keeping track of and talking about with your pediatrician. 

Potential Causes

A leading national autism organization, Autism Speaks, notes that there is no single identifiable cause behind autism. But there are certain factors that appear to increase risk. These include:

  • Gene variations carried by parents
  • Advanced parental age
  • Pregnancies spaced less than one year apart
  • Complications during pregnancy or birth, such as low birth weight

We do know for certain that there is no link between vaccines and autism. While some families report the first appearance of symptoms around the same time their children have received their recommended shots, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has compiled many studies indicating the safety of vaccines.

Diagnosing Autism

Since there’s no single test to diagnose autism, doctors rely on a child’s behavior, parents’ observations, and other developmental baselines to make a determination. 

This is why regular well-child visits are important. During these, your child’s pediatrician may discuss developmental screenings beginning as soon as nine months old to monitor your child’s growth. They may also ask questions to track the common signs of autism. Afterward, if any signs seem present, they may recommend a formal evaluation from a specialist.If you think your child may have autism or have more questions about the condition, contact one of the caring providers from YourTown Health. Our team offers care for children of all ages and is ready to attend to your concerns. Visit our website to find one of our convenient Community Health Centers near you.

The Difference Between Seasonal Allergies and COVID-19 Symptoms

The arrival of warm spring temperatures, budding flowers, and longer daylight hours are making it easier and more pleasant to spend time outside. But with enjoyment of the great outdoors comes pollen and other possible airborne irritants.

So how do you know if your new congestion, sneezes, cough, or lack of energy mean you have regular spring allergies, or symptoms of the still-lingering COVID virus?

Similarities and Differences in Symptoms

There are some clear symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies which are very alike, including:

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

But COVID-19 often comes with other symptoms that allergies do not:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Fever or chills
  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you’re unsure whether your allergies are simply coming home to roost, or you have something more serious, paying attention to your eyes may be the greatest help. Both the CDC and the Mayo Clinic assure that if you have itchiness in your nose, eyes, mouth, or inner ear — that’s more likely to be allergies. “Coronavirus symptoms generally do not cause those uncomfortable itchy, watery eyes,” the American Academy of Ophthalmology also agrees. 

A COVID Test Will Help You Know for Sure

After two years of the COVID pandemic, it’s understandable if you are exhausted by safety rules and ever-changing information. Our advice is to simply get a COVID test when you fear you may have the virus. A test can not only help your state of mind, but it can also reduce the spread to your family and community. 

Free, at-home testing kits are available at our pharmacy location in Palmetto, Georgia.  

Vaccination is the Key

While you can’t be vaccinated against seasonal allergies, you can for COVID-19. If you are worried ahead of time that you won’t know the difference between allergies or the virus, receiving a vaccine can boost your confidence. Free vaccinations are available without an appointment at our mass vaccination center. 

There are several other benefits of being vaccinated, beyond gaining clarity around what could be causing your congestion. They are safe and highly effective, but our caring specialists are happy to talk through any questions or concerns you may have. 

Maintain Continuous Protection

Believe it or not, the face mask that provides a shield between you and airborne COVID-19 particles may also reduce your allergy symptoms. A November 2020 study published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and shared widely to the public by VeryWell Health shows that for some people, even a simple cloth mask can reduce the physical impact of seasonal allergies. “Although masks aren’t going to be the thing that resolves all your allergy issues, it’s a good tool to have in your toolbox,” says allergist Amina Abdeldaim, MD. “On your highest pollen days, a mask could really help alleviate symptoms.” 

Do keep in mind to wash your mask regularly, however, as small pollen particles may still cling to it.

Whether you’re suffering from allergies or something more serious, our team at YourTown Health is here to provide care for all our neighbors in need. Visit our website to learn more about our services. 

What Is a COVID Booster Shot and Why Is It Important?

Research on the COVID-19 pandemic is continually being updated, making it crucial to stay current and safe. Since August 23, 2021, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been fully FDA approved, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines remain approved under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). All three vaccines can be safely used to protect yourself and others. Now, there are also COVID booster shots: additional doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s what to know about the booster shots. 

What Is a COVID Booster?

Johns Hopkins Medicine provides a good overview in their guide to COVID vaccines: “A COVID booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to decrease over time.” It’s similar to needing an extra tetanus shot a few years after you got one as a child. 

Yale Medicine infectious diseases expert Albert Shaw, MD, PhD explains it another way: “The simplest answer is that it’s just another dose of a vaccine you received . . . particularly if there is evidence that protection is waning after a period of time.” 

Who Needs a Booster and Why?

Due to emerging variants including Delta and Omicron, the CDC recommends that everyone ages 12 years and up (who has already been vaccinated) gets a booster dose when they are able to, especially if they are 65 years or older. 

Receiving the initial doses of a COVID vaccine still offers protection. But that degree of safety may lessen over time. A booster shot helps to further increase your ability to fight infection, should you be exposed.

Two Vaccine Doses +  Booster?

Consider the booster shot a top-up on your protection. The initial vaccine establishes a frontline of protection, and the booster then later amplifies that protection. That’s why your medical provider would never give you two vaccine doses and a booster at the same time. Pacing the shots according to public health guidance ultimately leads to better immunity. 

According to guidelines from the CDC, if you’ve received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, it’s advised to get a booster shot at least five months afterward. While these mRNA vaccines are the preferred standard, if you’ve gotten Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, it’s advised to get a booster at least two months later.

No matter what vaccine you had originally, a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster shot is advised.

What Does Being Boosted Mean for You?

The ultimate purpose of a COVID booster is to ensure that you have maximum protection against COVID infection. Receiving a booster means that you can rest assured that you have done everything medically possible to improve your immune defenses. In the case that you do test positive, a booster provides the best chance that you will avoid the severe effects of illness. 

So for your peace of mind, and for the sake of your community, family, and friends, consider receiving a booster shot.

As a reminder: regardless of your vaccine status, you should still mask up when indoors and around crowds. Also, stay aware of COVID surges in your area.
At YourTown Health, we offer appropriate medical care to all our neighbors in need. This means offering COVID vaccination and ensuring we are all protected. Call (770) 626-4038 or visit our website to learn more.

How to Bring in the New Year Safely

Along with any other personal resolutions you may have already made, one thing to keep front-of-mind as we welcome a new year is to care for your own health and safety. Here are a few ideas from the caring team at YourTown Health that can help you prioritize these two things well into 2022 and beyond.

Stay COVID Safe and Get Vaccinated

While many of us are eagerly looking forward to when we can say goodbye to face masks, in order to protect against the spread of the virus and its new variants, we may need to continue social distancing and wearing masks in everyday life through 2022. 

The CDC also recommends that everyone over 5 years old gets vaccinated for COVID-19, and everyone over 18 gets a booster if already vaccinated. Making these appointments, standing in lines, and getting an injection may not be pleasant experiences, but the COVID-19 vaccines bring many benefits, and provide added protection during normal activities. Getting the vaccine doesn’t only help the recipient; it has been shown to also help protect the unborn fetuses of expectant mothers and newborns who are nursing.

Keep in mind, however, that the COVID vaccine isn’t the only one to think about at this time of year. Getting the flu shot is also essential for helping us to keep our community healthy, and our COVID-strained hospitals better equipped to help those in the most dire need. 

Thankfully, many health clinics offer both COVID boosters and flu shots at the same time. Modern Family star Sarah Hyland shared her experiences getting both a COVID booster and flu shot on her social media platforms, and other celebrities have shared their vaccine experiences to help encourage everyone to stay safe together. 

Keep the Habit of Washing Your Hands

Making sure to wash your hands regularly has been lifesaving during this pandemic as “one of the most effective ways of keeping diseases at bay,” as Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region has noted.

The simple act of washing your hands can not only help to protect you against the COVD-19 virus, but also many other viruses and diseases, as well as those caused by bacteria on food. For this reason, we must maintain the habit of regular hand washing in 2022 to continue keeping ourselves and our communities safe.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Take Precautions

Health and safety aren’t just about the things you can’t see, like viruses and bacteria. Some of the most important precautions you can take are right in front of your face… or under your feet.

As you travel around your community, stay aware of your surroundings. Make sure to check for oncoming traffic and make an effort to always be a safe pedestrian. Also remain mindful of things such as where exits are in a building in case of a sudden emergency. 

Taking precautions like wearing non-slip shoes so you don’t fall on slippery floors seems simple but can also help. If you’re driving — or in a car at all — one of the safest choices you can make is to put on your seatbelt. It only takes a couple of seconds, but making sure that you and your passengers wear your seatbelts every time can help you and your family avoid accidental injury and keep you all safe.

At YourTown Health, we have been serving our communities for over 35 years and are devoted to providing high-quality health care to everyone in our community, regardless of insurance coverage. For more information on how you can stay safe and healthy, visit our website.

How to Safely Celebrate the Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic

For the second year in a row, it appears the COVID-19 pandemic may affect how we gather and celebrate during the holiday season. While cases have reportedly dropped since early September, exercising caution will still keep us healthiest. 

Fortunately, there are ways you can enjoy the holidays while keeping your risk of COVID-19 low.

Get Vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine lowers your risk of infection and helps reduce the spread of the virus, even where there are reports of breakthrough cases in vaccinated people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends the vaccine for anyone over five years old, and boosters are also available for adults. If you’re unsure whether you should receive an additional dose, talk to one of our care providers about your eligibility. 

Increase Your Ventilation

If you’re hosting the holidays, ventilating your home could help by giving germs an escape route. You can increase airflow by including one fan in an open window to blow out indoor air, while opening other windows to bring in more fresh air. It’s helpful to do this before any of your guests arrive. Keep in mind that even when it’s cold out, your home can heat up when the oven is on and there are more people present.

Consider an Outdoor or Virtual Gathering

Hosting an inside gathering may be considered safe when everyone has been vaccinated. But it’s best to avoid unmasked, indoor get-togethers if you don’t know who’s been given a shot or not. To make sure everyone’s safe, an outdoor or virtual gathering may be best. Keep up the festive vibe by mailing gifts in advance and having a virtual unwrapping or plan a holiday picnic in the park if the weather is mild. Exchanging letters that share your reflections on the year may also make things meaningful. 

Mask Up in Public

To give yourself and your loved ones extra protection, wear a mask when you go out. This includes during regular tasks like grocery shopping, but also when you have an indoor party or event you’d like to attend. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, still advises that even vaccinated people should wear a mask in public, indoor settings. You can make it festive by finding a mask with sequins or a holiday print — extra wrapping for the gift that is you!

Creative Low-Risk Activities

To keep the holidays bright, focus on what you can do without introducing any COVID risks. Create some new traditions (or put a new spin on the old) with the following ideas.

  • Take a drive at night to see nearby light displays.
  • Have a virtual holiday cookie baking competition.
  • Challenge kids to get their rooms holiday-ready using only dollar store or at-home decorations.
  • Host a virtual movie night “watch party” including your favorite holiday snacks and films. Add some trivia to the mix to make it even more challenging! 
  • Play holiday music and have family members guess the artist for a fun, lighthearted game.
  • Deliver treats to friends, neighbors, and a local food pantry or homeless shelter.

Whether it’s virtually or in person, the best way to celebrate the holidays is to make memories with loved ones. By practicing COVID safety, you can continue to give each other the best gift of all: your health.YourTown Health offers COVID testing and vaccination services to help you stay healthy through the holiday season and beyond. To find a provider near you, visit our locations page. Or, request a telehealth appointment online.

Ways You Can Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is common and affects more than 10% of the U.S. population. While type 1 diabetes is diagnosed during childhood and can’t be prevented, type 2 diabetes often can. Even if you have risk factors such as a family history, here’s what you can do to identify and control your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Understand Your Diabetes Risk

Diabetes occurs when glucose, or sugar, builds up in the blood. In type 2 diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin, which normally helps absorb sugar. While experts aren’t sure exactly why this occurs, it’s believed that a combination of lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors leads to diabetes.

Being overweight is a known risk factor for diabetes, but not everyone who gets diabetes is overweight. Your diabetes risk is also higher if you:

  • Are over the age of 45
  • Have a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • Don’t exercise
  • Are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • Have high blood sugar or cholesterol
  • Have had diabetes during pregnancy
  • Have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Fortunately, identifying risk factors that can’t be changed will allow you to focus on the following risks that you can control.

Manage Your Weight

Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for developing diabetes, but it’s also one that can be changed. If you’re overweight, losing seven to ten percent of your body weight could cut your diabetes risk in half.

Adjust Your Diet

Even small changes in food choices can go a long way to reduce your diabetes risk. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Swap out sugary beverages for water to reduce your overall sugar intake, which can improve your body’s ability to process sugar.
  • When possible, choose lean proteins such as grilled chicken or beans over heavily processed meats. Go for whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread or pasta, as these cause less of a sugar spike in your system.
  • Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, since they help control blood sugar.
  • Control your portions. Smaller meals are easier for the body to process, so start with smaller servings and stop once you feel full.

Exercise Regularly

Combined with a healthy diet, exercise can be even more powerful than certain drugs for preventing diabetes. Exercising for 150 minutes a week (30 minutes, five days a week) is ideal for reducing your diabetes risk, but you can work up to that amount gradually over time. Finding an exercise you enjoy is the best way to stick with physical activity, but it doesn’t have to be complicated — walking is free, requires no special training or equipment, and can be done almost anywhere.

Move Throughout the Day

In addition to routine exercise, small movements throughout the day can help prevent diabetes. Breaking up long periods of sitting with short walks has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. If you have a desk job, set reminders on your phone to get up and move each hour.

Get Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body control blood sugar. If you’re vitamin D deficient, taking a supplement could help your body produce insulin to significantly reduce your diabetes risk. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. If you think you might not get enough of the nutrient from your diet, ask your doctor about taking supplements.

If you want to learn more about ways to prevent diabetes or there’s another health issue you’d like to discuss, turn to one of our caring practitioners. Find your closest location, or request a telehealth appointment for a virtual visit.

Celebrities Who Have Received the COVID-19 Vaccine

Hearing reassuring stories from people you trust and admire can help ease your anxiety about almost everything. When you see familiar faces who have gotten through the other side of trouble, your own fears may subside. Especially when it comes to getting vaccinated. 

We at YourTown Health are caring members of your community — not just nurses and doctors, but neighbors who want you to stay healthy and safe. So we collected a few other friendly faces (including Dolly Parton, Morgan Freeman, and Olivia Rodrigo) who are in support of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, too. 

Confident Leaders

Many world leaders have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of COVID vaccines. Former President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were vaccinated as early as January 2021, as was current President Joe Biden

Other international leaders who have been vaccinated include:

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
  • Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud 
  • Chilean President Sebastian Pinera
  • South African President Cyril Ramasphosa
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel 

Officials across the U.S. government also protected themselves with early vaccination, including Vice President Kamala Harris, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. 

Inspiring Performers

They lift our spirits with their performances and their personalities, so why wouldn’t we be motivated by their vaccination experiences, as well? The list of vaccinated celebrities grows daily. Here’s what a few of them had to say about it:

Anthony Anderson – “I was hesitant because of past medical malfeasance against Black people. But I’m an African American male, 50 years old and a diabetic. My mom is an African American woman who is a smoker and diabetic. We checked too many of those boxes.”

Morgan Freeman – “In math, it’s called the distributive property. In people, it’s called taking care of one another.” 

Miss Universe Andrea Meza – “I’m doing it and this is my way of inviting you to take care of ourselves – the importance of wanting to take care of ourselves but at the same time, take care of our families, take care of others in society.” 

Dolly Parton – “I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it.”

Richard Petty – “I might have been a little bit hesitant, to begin with, but after looking at all of the statistics — I don’t see anything after you take the shot. Everyone seems to get along with it pretty good.”

Olivia Rodrigo – “It’s important to have conversations with friends and family members encouraging all communities to get vaccinated and actually get to a vaccination site.”

Danny Trejo – “I’m so proud to take this shot. . . .  If you don’t take it for yourself, take it for your family. . .” 

Trisha Yearwood – “I know there’s a lot of talk about whether or not, whether to. For me, it felt like, when I found out that we were going to have a vaccine and that I was going to be able to get the vaccine — and that we in the world were going to be able to be vaccinated — I cried because I feel like it’s a gift from God.”

Your Friends and Neighbors

A candid conversation with your family members, friends, co-workers, and close neighbors may provide all the star power you need. They can listen with care and may understand your fears the most. If they’ve gone through vaccination, their experiences may be the most reassuring medicine for you yet.
We’ve highlighted what being vaccinated can do for you, but are always available to address your COVID-19 concerns. Please contact us for more information, or call 770-463-4644.

Preventing COVID-19 This Fall: What You Can Do to Help Stop the Spread in Our Community

We’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year now. And during that time, we’ve learned plenty about the spread of disease, plus what it’s like to live life in unexpected times. We’ve also been hit with new information about the virus, and safety steps to take, almost every single day. 

All of that can be hard to keep up with — especially when it’s coming from so many different sources. It can be difficult to know who you can trust and which guidelines to follow. Of the many voices out there, we hope that YourTown Health provides one of the clearest. 

As we head into fall (and the end of the year), here are ten simple steps you can follow to stay protected and healthy. No matter how other rules of the world change, these can be trusted standbys. 

1. Wash your hands. 

Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after any activity (shopping at the store, blowing your nose, going to the bathroom, or driving a car for example) keeps you clean and rids your skin of germs. 

2. Wear a mask.

Though masks can feel uncomfortable, if you have any type of virus, wearing a mask will lessen your chances of spreading it to others. There are many comfortable options that will also protect you from breathing in virus particles from someone else. 

3. Keep your distance.

Keeping six feet between you and the next person in a social setting is a great way to reduce the spread. Also keep any touching to a minimum – that means cut out shaking hands, kissing, and hugging.

4. Hands off your face!

Viruses are highly skilled at entering your system through your eyes, nose, and mouth. Keeping your hands away from these areas (especially in public) is a game-changer.

5. Keep things clean.

Making sure high-touch surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, toilets, desks, and faucets are regularly cleaned with disinfectant is a great way to keep COVID (and many other illnesses) from spreading.

6. No sharing (for now).

Being selfish this fall is how to keep germs from spreading, so you finally have an excuse not to share your food!

7. Don’t travel if you don’t have to.

Everyone misses their loved ones, and getaways just for fun. But avoiding travel this fall could save you from being exposed to germs and bringing the virus back to your community. 

8. Be prepared.

In case you need to stay home for a while, make sure your home is stocked with necessary items like groceries, water, medicine, and other important household items. 

9. Make a plan.

Getting sick is less scary if you have a “what-if” plan. Make a list of people who can check in on your health daily, prepare or deliver meals, or run any important errands for you if necessary.

10. Stay in touch.

While we don’t mean physical touch in this case, staying in close communication with your neighbors, friends, and family not only has its own medical benefits, but can help you track everyone’s health, too. Close communication with your doctor will also provide aid and advice when you need it. 

Taking care of your community is important, and all of us here at YourTown Health are members of that community, too. If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 or any other illness, request a telehealth appointment or contact a YourTown Health location closest to you. 

Tips on How to Safely Celebrate Halloween During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s officially fall, which means it’s time to start thinking about Halloween! But because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, admittedly this year (much like last year) still might look a bit different than you dreamed. We know that many are tired of factoring COVID-19 protocols into the holidays. Halloween is supposed to be a night of lighthearted mischief and haunt — not another opportunity to worry about the pandemic. 

We all want the best of both worlds, but it’s hard to know how to have a good time while staying safe.

Your neighbors at YourTown Health want to help you celebrate authentically (and safely), which is why we’re here to make sure the only scares that you experience this Halloween come from ghouls and goblins — not exposure to infection. 

Halloween in 2021

Although this Halloween might not look like those of years past, it’ll be a bit freer than it was in 2020. This more open feeling has much to do with the growing number of those who are vaccinated. If you’re one of the millions who have gotten your vaccination against COVID-19, rest assured that you have an extra layer of protection. And if you aren’t vaccinated yet, there’s still time to do so before the Halloween festivities begin. 

Though the safety reins clearly aren’t as tight as they were last year, we still recommend following the same guidelines:

  • Choose parties and community events being held outside. The more open air, the better.
  • Even if you’re partying outside, wear a mask when you can. You could even incorporate it into your costume! (Mad scientist? BioHazard Witch? The options are endless!) Keep in mind that decorative masks don’t take the place of those that safely cover your mouth and nose.
  • Carry hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes along with you, and if there’s an opportunity to wash your hands with soap and water – take it!
  • If the party gets crowded, social distancing becomes less possible. If people are taking off their masks, it’s an even more sure sign you should probably pack it up. Exposure in close quarters isn’t worth the risk, and you can have just as much fun at home. 

Wondering how? Keep reading.

Halloween at Home

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating this autumn holiday at home. Here are a few tips on how you can keep Halloween within your own four walls, but still have a terrifyingly good time. 

Go all out with decorations.

Get into the spirit by making your house the hub for all things Halloween. We’re talking spider webs, fog machines, string lights, skeletons, scarecrows — the whole spooky shebang. Letting loose with decorations (even if you can’t let loose in other ways) will make the holiday that much more noteworthy. (And photo worthy, too!)

Hunt for glowing eggs.

It’s like Easter, but creepy! Hide colorful, glowing eggs around the house and your yard along with candy treats, and everyone will have a blast searching once the sun goes down. 

Host a spooky movie marathon.

Nothing says Halloween like a scary movie. Depending on the age of your family members, you can choose from some Halloween Disney favorites or the scariest blockbusters of all time

No matter what you choose to do for Halloween, we hope that you stay safe, have fun, and make smart choices. Halloween is a time for community, and YourTown Health cares about yours. Give us a call at 770-463-4644 to make an appointment at one of our many locations to discuss Halloween health (or health any time) today. 

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Our Community Health Centers are unique in that they are located in areas facing limited access to affordable, quality healthcare.


About YourTown

About YourTown

Our community health centers are unique in that they are located in areas facing limited access to affordable, quality healthcare and have a large number of citizens who are uninsured or underinsured.


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