The seasonal attack of airborne allergens

Summer is off to an early start and that means warm weather’s airborne allergens are ready to strike. Perhaps you know already from years of experience what the allergy season has in store for you. Or, maybe you are just starting to figure it out based on how you felt last summer. Either way, there are some simple steps you can take now to make your summer more comfortable and symptom-free.

airborne allergens

What’s in the air?

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis can occur year-round, but when people only get hay fever in warm weather, it’s called seasonal allergic rhinitis. The seasonal variety is often caused by pollen, a fine powdery substance produced at various times by trees and other plants. In fact, pollen from ragweed causes 75% of all hay fevers. Spores from molds and fungi are the two other top seasonal outdoor substances that can trigger an allergic attack. When people who are Continue reading

Thoughts on Life and Grief

U-M Health System recognizes Grief Awareness Week May 10-16

When six members of the U-M Survival Flight crew died in a plane crash in 2007, the U-M Health System was dealing with grief on a large scale and put together a team to help employees through the grieving process.

Under the guidance of Lisbeth Harcourt, LMSW, Lung Transplant Program and Transplant Cumulative Grief Committee chair, a grief support group began offering grief lectures, flower planting at the crash memorial site, and social events for Transplant Center staff to grieve and share together. Out of that experience, a need for more grief awareness and assistance began to take shape at UMHS.

“Grief Awareness Week grew out of those early efforts that worked toward acknowledging the difficult work we do in our transplant department, which can often involve patient loss,” says Sue Sefansky, LMSW, Office of Decedent Affairs coordinator. “While working on programs to help the transplant team cope with the loss of so many members of their transplant family, we realized that there were many areas in the hospital that deal with loss on a fairly frequent basis. We looked at grief awareness events held at other institutions and began gathering resources to plan even more events here for a broader audience.

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Grief Awareness Week 
The U-M Health System Grief Awareness Week is May 10-16. Most activities are focused specifically for UMHS faculty and staff, but some are also open to the community. Windows in the University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Frankel Cardiovascular Center will be transformed into Grief Walls from May 11 to May 15.

The Grief Wall is a place for faculty, staff, patients and visitors to express their grief. Using paint markers on the windows, people can share their thoughts, emotions and coping strategies.

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Breathing easier after groundbreaking lung transplant

Kyle Clark is first in state to receive lungs optimized in a special incubator

lung transplant

Kyle Clark after lung transplant

Nearly two months after receiving a new set of lungs, “I’m not sore!” is the first thing Kyle Clark, 25, of Imlay City likes to share about his near-miraculous lung transplant experience at the University of Michigan Health System. Kyle was born with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that floods the body with mucus, which builds up and reduces the ability of organs like the lungs to do their job.

Over the years, cystic fibrosis slowly damaged Kyle’s lungs, interfering with his college education, job and one of his favorite pastimes, hunting. By 2014 Kyle needed oxygen round the clock and reluctantly gave up most of the activities he loved. Breathing became a daily struggle, and Kyle was even admitted to UMHS at one point in critical condition, though he recovered enough to go home.

A medical device new to the market saved Kyle’s life. On Feb. Continue reading

For George Magulak, an agonizing wait for a liver transplant

April is Donate Life Month

liver transplant

George Magulak

George Magulak isn’t feeling as well today as he did last August when he was featured in the latest “Wolverines for Life” video promoting organ donation. The Oakland County dentist was diagnosed twelve years ago with primary biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune disease that has progressed to near-liver failure. Since there aren’t enough available livers for everyone needing a transplant, George is in the heartbreaking position of knowing he needs to be clearly in danger of dying in order to move to the top of the waiting list.

“It’s been a challenge lately. I’m noticeably weaker, less steady on my feet and things are getting worse,” he says. George was Continue reading