5 Winter Tips from Family Medicine Physician, Dr. Michael Israel

At Bluestem Health, we take pride in our exceptional family medicine doctors, and Dr. Michael Israel is no exception. Dr. Israel is a highly esteemed family doctor at Bluestem Health’s Thompson Clinic in Lincoln, NE.

5 Winter Tips from Dr. Israel

At Bluestem Health, we take pride in our exceptional family medicine doctors, and Dr. Michael Israel is no exception. Dr. Israel is a highly esteemed family doctor at Bluestem Health’s Thompson Clinic in Lincoln, NE. He believes that “experience cannot be taught” which is why he is committed as a family medicine doctor and has pushed himself to be involved, experienced, and informed. As 2018’s Young Physician of the Year, Dr Israel is the perfect example of a family medicine doctor who cares about the community, his patients, and the quality of his care. He is the type of family doctor everyone wants and deserves.

Dr. Israel joined the Bluestem Health team in 2016 and serves as the Chief Medical Officer (a liaison between administration and staff). He has volunteered for the Project Homeless Coalition and has served as a past medical director for the Lancaster County Corrections Center. Dr. Israel currently serves as medical director for KED Plasma Center and is a board member on Lincoln’s American Cancer Society Leadership Advisory Board. He is Nebraska Medical Association Leadership trained and serves on the Lancaster County Medical Society’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Israel’s Winter Tips

Dr. Israel understands that this winter season will be difficult for families as they try to navigate COVID-19 and other potential winter health issues, but here are 5 winter tips from Dr. Israel that he wants everyone, to know during these cold months.

#1 Common Winter Accidents

If you’ve experienced pain or an injury due to the winter weather, you are not alone. Through common winter accidents, your back, shoulders, neck, knees, and joints are more likely to cause you the most pain. Some common winter accidents include falling on the snow or ice, experiencing muscle strain from shoveling snow or scraping ice off the car, driving and motor vehicle collisions, or accidents while playing winter sports and activities.

  • To prevent accidents such as these from happening:
  • Thoroughly and regularly salt driveways, sidewalks, and stairs
  • Stretch before performing any physical exercise
  • Stay hydrated while exercising and shoveling snow
  • Ensure proper footing when shoveling snow or scraping ice off the car
  • Wear a helmet and protective equipment during winter sports
  • Always supervise children playing outdoors in the snow

It is important to educate yourself and your family about the potential incidents and accidents that can occur during the winter. If a serious injury occurs, be sure to contact your provider or one of our experienced family medicine doctors at Bluestem Health.

#2 COVID-19 Winter Precautions

We are still in the midst of COVID-19, therefore we need to ensure that we are protecting ourselves and our family members. There are certain things to prepare your body for a pandemic winter, such as:

  • Get your flu shot
  • Keeping up with your preventive screenings and checkups
  • Evaluate your COVID-19 precaution routines (hand hygiene, social distancing, wearing a mask)
  • Review list of COVID-19 symptoms and local care options

The signs and symptoms can be hard to identify, especially for children. The symptoms are also wide-ranging and take 2 to 14 days to appear. It is all the more important for you and your family to continue to go to your family medicine doctor for all preventive screenings and checkups, or to ask any COVID-19 related questions that you may have this winter season.

#3 Importance of Mental and Physical Health

Your mental and physical health should always be a priority, but this season especially is important for your well-being.

Some physical effects of the winter months include:

  • Joint pressure from the cold weather can cause tissues to swell, putting a strain on joints.
  • Catching various winter viruses and colds because we spend more time inside with other people that could be sick.
  • The cold, dry air causes the moisture on your skin to evaporate more quickly. Without this natural moisture, your skin feels unusually dry, tight, and flaky.
  • Without proper protection, cold weather can cause hypothermia or frostbite, especially in older adults.

As for your mental health, with the seasons changing our mood can easily be affected. Everyone has a natural sleep/wake cycle that serves as an internal clock. This is called the circadian rhythm, and it also controls your mood. The early darkness in the winter, combined with the fact that the sky gets bright later in the morning, affects your circadian rhythm, your brain chemistry, and as a result, your mood.

Many of these issues have simple solutions and others do not. It is important to check with members of your family during these months and try to keep up a consistent healthy routine that includes going outside, washing your hands, getting your flu shot, and visiting your family medicine doctor if more serious issues occur. If issues occur that relate to mental health, our behavioral health team at Bluestem Health works in conjunction with our medical team to help with mental health, addiction, and substance abuse issues.

#4 Protecting Your Family this Winter

In these cold winter months, it is vital that you make sure your children are protected from the harsh weather. Especially in Nebraska, the weather is known to be unpredictable, therefore you should make sure that your children are safe. Here are some tips for keeping kids safe this winter season:

  • Layer up with warm clothes, and make sure that their head, neck, and hands are covered.
  • Use sunscreen. The sun can reflect off the snow, so apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
  • In the drier winter air kids lose water through their breath. Offer plenty of water, and try giving them warm drinks or soup.
  • Signs of frostbite are pale, grey or blistered skin on the fingers, ears, nose, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite, bring the child indoors and put the affected area in warm water.
  • Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, and unusual clumsiness. If you think your child has hypothermia, call 9-1-1 immediately!

#5 Importance of Having a Family Medicine Doctor

As an exceptional family medicine doctor, Dr. Israel can play a vital role in your health and the health of your family over the span of a lifetime. Trust, comfort, consistency, and experience are essential when choosing the right family doctor for you. Not to mention, it really helps when a family medicine doctor’s team shares the same commitment to and philosophy for treating patients. In order to find the right family doctor, you need to do your research.

At Bluestem Health, we pride ourselves on creating lasting relationships with our patients and families. We understand the importance of cultivating a safe and healthy space that allows all family members to receive continuity of care throughout all milestones in their lives.

Dr. Michael Israel is a family doctor at Bluestem Health’s Thompson Clinic located at 2222 S. 16th St, Suite 435, in Lincoln. If you are looking for a family doctor who sees you as a person and not just as a patient, call 402-474-7445 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Israel, or contact our Bluestem Health Piedmont Clinic at 402-441-6642, located at 1500 S. 48th St, Suite 412, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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