Healthy Holiday Tips with Dr. ​David Lefkowitz

Many holidays focus on family & friends, but it's important to take time for oneself. Read Family Medicine physician, Dr. Lefkowitz's Healthy Holiday Tips.


The holidays tend to be a time of joy, abundance, and long-awaited social gatherings. However, this can come at the cost of over-indulgence, stress, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. The key to this is balance. Here are a few tips to help you and your families stay healthy this holiday season.



  1. Plan ahead. Trying to coordinate travel plans, often with multiple different family members, can be quite stressful. Try to do this well in advance of your planned get-togethers. Having one (or two) “trip coordinators” can help minimize confusion between groups. Pick someone who wants the position, has the time to plan, and will be respectful of people’s requests. And when all is said and done, don’t forget to thank that person for helping to make everything a success!
  2. Be aware of your food and drink intake. The key here, again, is balance. If breakfast is very heavy, then make sure lunch and dinner aren’t. If dinner is going to be a grand affair, then make sure that lunch (and snacks) are on the lighter side. Also, don’t forget the power of portion control. Portion control allows you to have a little of all that delicious food, but not a lot of it. Eat until satisfied, not full.
  3. Don’t forget your exercise. If on vacation or away from home, it is often easy to skip physical activity (even if you’re used to doing it at home). This is the “vacation mentality.” Don’t fall for it. Stay active and you will feel better. Also, physical activity will help to offset some of those extra calories you take in if you slip up on tip #2!
  4. Get your rest. Sleep is absolutely essential for not only feeling good, but for your body to function as it should. Your stress level will decrease and your energy level will increase if you choose to get adequate rest during the holidays. How much? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being.
  5. Be mindful. Simply put, enjoy the moment. When you are gathered with friends and family, try to forget the stress of work and the daily grind. Forget the stress of planning the vacation (if you didn't follow tip #1). Forget having to “get back to reality” at the end of the trip. Live in the moment, take a look around, and enjoy the people gathered with you. After all, that is what the holidays are all about.


To make an appointment with Dr. Lefkowitz, click here.

Viral Hepatitis with Dr. David Lefkowitz


The most common cause of hepatitis is viral hepatitis.


1. What is hepatitis? What are the differences between the types of hepatitis?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The most common cause of hepatitis is viral hepatitis, consisting of virus types A, B, C, D, and E.

Hepatitis A is primarily transmitted through contaminated food and water.  The contamination occurs when the virus travels out of an infected person in their feces, and gets into the community’s water system.  It is less commonly transmitted through sex. It causes an acute infection that’s self-limited, meaning the virus will run its course without causing chronic infection. “Most infected people get over the illness without a serious issue.  There are very few deaths unless one has a compromised immune system”, says Dr. Lefkowitz.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through body fluids like semen and blood, and through infected mothers to their babies during birth. “This type can cause both and acute and chronic illness, and twenty-five percent of people who develop a chronic infection, if left untreated will develop liver disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer”, says Dr. Lefkowitz. Ninety-five percent of infants who are born with Hepatitis B transmitted from an infected mother, will develop chronic infection. Dr. Lefkowitz emphasizes this is the reason babies receive their initial hepatitis B vaccination right after birth.

Hepatitis C is transmitted through body fluids like semen and blood, with blood being the biggest risk. Hepatitis C can also be transmitted through infected mothers to their babies during birth, but less commonly than hepatitis B. “Seventy percent of the people who get acute hepatitis C will develop chronic infection; of those, fifteen to twenty percent, if left untreated will develop severe liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer”, says Dr. Lefkowitz.


2. What are the symptoms?

Acute hepatitis symptoms include fever, body aches, and nausea/vomiting. More liver specific symptoms are jaundice, light to clay-colored stool, and dark urine. Hepatitis A is notorious for causing diarrhea.

However, Dr. Lefkowitz state “Patients with acute hepatitis A, B, and C sometimes don’t show symptoms, people with hepatitis C are usually unaware they’re infected with the virus.”


3. What can people do to prevent getting viral hepatitis?

Stay up to date on the Hepatitis A and B vaccines. Practice safe sex, like using condoms, and avoid sharing needles.


4. Is there any way for hepatitis to be treated?

Hepatitis A is self-limited, and will pass after the virus runs its course.

Hepatitis B has treatments but there isn’t a cure.

Hepatitis C has treatments for acute and severe cases, and most patients can be cured with treatments developed in the last ten years.Because of the higher risk of developing chronic problems from Hepatitis C, and the potential for cure, it is recommended those at risk for hepatitis C obtain lab testing to see if they have active infection.

Learn more about Scoliosis with Dr. Jesse Lipnick

Scoliosis affects 6 to 9 million people in the United States”, according to the National Scoliosis Foundation. June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, and we interviewed Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Jesse Lipnick, MD, about scoliosis and its treatments.


What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a rotary disease of the spine, meaning parts of the spine rotates in multiple ways to cause curves in the spine. These curves rotate in regard to one another, developing a primary and secondary curve that take on an “S” shape.


What are some of the signs and symptoms of scoliosis?

  • Back Pain
  • Radiating pain from pinched nerves
  • Change in posture
  • “Humpback”
  • Rotated or uneven pelvis
  • Premature arthritis
  • Interference with other organs


What is the treatment process for scoliosis?

Scoliosis can be painful, but there are treatments that can ease pain. Treatments depend on the type of scoliosis a patient suffers from. The most common type is idiopathic, a scoliosis that develops during adolescence and if progressing, the child is fitted with a back brace. When one is born with scoliosis, it’s called congenital scoliosis. Congenital scoliosis is a rare type that is usually fixed with surgery. Physical therapy is commonly recommended for all types of scoliosis as it important to strengthen the core muscles. Degenerative scoliosis can develop in adults due to arthritic changes in the joints of the spine and can be accompanied by severe pain.  Medications that numb nerves and block joint pain are additional forms of treatment from which many have experienced positive results.


Living with scoliosis:

People with scoliosis can suffer with pain daily. Scoliosis can not only affect a person’s physical health but also their emotional health. Suffering from scoliosis can make it difficult to sleep, sit in a chair, work at a desk, find clothes that fit, and the self-perceived unpleasant appearance may impact one’s self-confidence. Advances in medication, interventional procedures and if necessary surgery can help manage scoliosis, allowing one to take back control over their life.

Toni Baldwin-Dufour, DNP Joins SIMEDHealth Primary Care!

We are happy to report Toni Baldwin-Dufour as of today has started seeing patients in our Chiefland location! Baldwin received her undergraduate degree in nursing from the Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and went on to earn her masters and doctorate in nursing from Valparaiso University.

Along with being a Doctor of Nursing Practice, she is also a board-certified family nurse practitioner, a trauma nurse specialist, and DOT certified medical examiner. Click here to schedule an appointment with Baldwin today!  

SIMEDHealth Renovations Update!

2019 is the year of the makeover for SIMEDHealth!

In the past six months, we have completed renovations on Suite 5 and Suite 8 at our primary Gainesville location, completed renovations on a new imaging center in Chiefland, and opened up a new building in Chiefland.

SIMEDHealth wants to thank all our patients for your understanding during this time. We know it is a hassle and an added stress, so we thank you for your patience.

We are so excited about these new updates and also what is to come. Next on the calendar is the renovation of Suite 6, Pulmonology! Construction will start Friday, August 9th and Monday, August 12th patients of Dr. Buel, Dr. Camacho, Dr. Tonner, and David Goodman will be going to Suite 15 on the second floor to see them. 

More information, reminders, and updates will be posted on our FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.


SIMEDHealth Announces Chiefland Clinic Expansion

We are excited to announce that SIMEDHealth will be expanding our Chiefland clinics! During the ground breaking ceremony physicians, managers and staff were excited to celebrate the expansion. It is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2019.

The expansion will include new clinic space, additional parking, accessibility improvements for both staff and patients and additional health services.

“I’m thankful to Chiefland, because Chiefland has welcomed us with open arms,” said SIMEDHealth’s Dr. Jessie Lipnick  “I think in rural settings, many health care practices are not stable, but we have been stable and I’m excited by this vision that we have of bringing specialty care to a rural community.”

Rural communities often face greater difficulty getting the care they need due to their distance from metropolitan areas and providers. Because of this, SIMEDHealth is proud to expand health care options in Chiefland.

“Every day I go online and I hear about another major entity in a rural setting shutting down. But the level of quality care that our doctors and staff have put into this community is what has allowed us to expand,” said SIMEDHealth CEO Dr. Daniel Duncanson

After taking a look at the blueprints for the expansion, doctors and managers gathered to put on hardhats and officially “break ground” to commemorate the good news.


“Now you can get up-to-date, comprehensive, excellent medical care in a rural community,” said Dr. Lipnick who has been serving the Chiefland community for over 17 years.

 “SIMEDHealth is excited that today we get to throw some dirt and build the next phase of Chiefland health care,” said Dr. Duncanson followed by a round of applause.

Click here to learn about the health services SIMEDHealth currently offers in Chiefland and look out for more updates in the coming months.