Vaccination rates plummet amid pandemic
Health news from MESSA
Michigan’s vaccination rates have plummeted during the pandemic, putting our kids at risk for other serious illnesses such as measles and whooping cough. In May, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that child vaccinations were down 44.5 percent overall compared with the previous two years.
That is a significant drop that can have serious health consequences for kids, said Dr. Julia Spalding, MESSA’s medical director.
No one can deny that this is a tough time to be a parent. With COVID-19 cases rising across Michigan, the temptation to keep a healthy child far away from the doctor’s office is strong. However, keeping your child up to date on vaccinations is a crucial part of protecting their health that should not be ignored.
If you’ve been putting off a well-child visit, it’s time to get back on schedule. Being prepared for what to expect can help alleviate your concerns about taking them to the doctor. Here are some questions to ask your child’s doctor office before visiting:
- Is my child up to date on their vaccinations?
- Do you have designated hours for well-child visits to keep healthy kids separated from children who may be ill?
- Are there separate entrances for healthy children and those who may be ill?
- Do you offer remote check-in from my vehicle?
- Do patients wait in the waiting room or in the parking lot?
- Do you offer vehicle visits, where the provider meets the patient in the parking lot?
- How often are the waiting rooms and patient rooms sanitized?
Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou May/June 2020
As a MESSA member, you have access to Express Scripts pharmacy for convenient home delivery of the medications you take regularly.
The benefits of using Express Scripts include home delivery of a three-month supply of your long-term medications, free standard shipping and 24/7 access to a pharmacist from the privacy of your home.
3 STEPS TO GET STARTED
- Log in to your MyMESSA member account. Click the “Rx home delivery” link to register, transfer eligible prescriptions to home delivery and order refills.
- Contact your doctor. Call your doctor to obtain a new prescription for a 90-day supply of your long-term medications.
- Register adults covered by your plan. Dependents over 18 need to register with Express Scripts separately at express-scripts.com, and they need to authorize you to view and order prescriptions for them, if desired.
Just like at a retail pharmacy, your standard copayments and deductibles apply. Please note that short-term medications such as antibiotics must be filled by a local retail pharmacy, and specialty medications must be filled through your local pharmacy or via AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, a specialty home-delivery pharmacy.
For questions specific to Express Scripts’ delivery service, call Express Scripts at 800.903.8346 (TTY: 800.876.1089).
MESSA DiscoverYou is a bi-monthly health and wellness newsletter available to MESSA members. For more information about MESSA health benefits and services, call 1-833-341-6276. Visit MESSA online at www.messa.org.
Improve mental, physical health by getting enough rest
Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou March/April 2020 newsletter
Do you get at least seven hours of sleep each night? If not, you should plan to hit the sheets earlier tonight.
Overworked or overstressed adults often tend to treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, getting enough sleep is as critical to your overall well-being as eating and breathing. Research shows that robbing yourself of sleep can impact your ability to store memories and concentrate, as well as regulate your mood and appetite. It can lead to weight gain and a weakened immune system.
The problem is that too many people don’t get as much sleep as they should. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night. However, more than one-third of adults report they usually get less than that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou newsletter
With precious few daylight hours available, and nothing but frigid temps and gray skies on the horizon, the winter blues can be hard to keep at bay.
If you’re feeling down, don’t be too quick to dismiss those feelings as simple moodiness. Seasonal Affective Disorder — also known as SAD — is a very real type of depression that many people experience during Michigan’s long winter months.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of SAD include:
- Low energy
- Excessive tiredness
- Craving for carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Social withdrawal
Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou November/December 2019 newsletter
The power of gratitude has been studied for years, focusing on subjects from across demographics and all walks of life. A large body of research shows that intentionally engaging in a practice of gratitude has benefits for both the mind and body.
The benefits for mental health can’t be denied, and have been quantified. According to researchers at Indiana University, the mental benefits of gratitude include:
- Decreased feelings of depression and anxiety.
- A better ability to cope with stress.
- Increased feelings of confidence and self-worth.
- Generally higher feelings of happiness.