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Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common reason that people in America go to the doctor or miss work. Anyone can suffer from back pain but there are certain risk factors which predisposes the person to get back pain.

Repeated back muscle strain from repeated heavy lifting, bending or twisting movements.

Not being fit or being overweight also predisposes one to suffer from back pain even with regular routine activities.

Old age, pregnancy and poor posture.

Having certain diseases like Ankylosing spondylitis, scoliosis, endometriosis, certain infections and cancers can contribute to the back pain.

Smoking causes accelerated degeneration of the discs which are positioned in between the bones (vertebrae) of the spine and act as shock absorbers.

What are the causes of back pain?

Back injuries from back strain, after a fall or accident leading to fractures.

Arthritis of the spine from ageing or from inflammation in the body like in case of ankylosing spondylitis.

At times narrowing of the space in the canal through which spinal cord runs could lead to a condition called Spinal stenosis.

Calcification of ligaments of spine often happens in older patients who have Diabetes leading to diagnosis of DISH.

Herniated discs or degeneration of disc is also a common cause of back pain

Certain conditions like severe Scoliosis where curvature of the spine is abnormal could lead to the back pain.

How is back pain treated?

It depends on the cause of the back pain. Back pain is usually treated with hot of cold packs, analgesic creams, oral anti-inflammatory medications, stronger pain medications, muscle relaxants and injections. Some people experience relief in pain with use of alternative modalities like acupuncture, acupressure and TENS unit. Most of the back pains improve with time and treatment. Surgery is rarely indicated.

When to see a doctor

You see a doctor if your back pain is very severe.

You are experiencing numbness, tingling, weakness in your extremities, or difficulty urinating.

Back pain is associated with fever, unintentional weight loss.

After a fall, trauma or accident.

At Urgent Care we usually take care of most of the back pains. If someone needs additional care we refer them to the appropriate specialist.

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Flu Facts

Flu comes on as abrupt onset of symptoms of fever, chills, tiredness, aches, sore throat,  runny & stuffy nose, chest discomfort and cough. Children with flu can also have vomiting and diarrhea.

You can get flu by droplets from cough or sneeze and by direct contact from a person with flu. Flu virus can live outside a person on surfaces for 2 to 8 hours.

Incubation period of flu is 1 to 4 day. This means that you can feel sick with flu even one day after coming in contact with the virus.

Infectious period of flu is from one day prior to the symptoms to 5-7 days after the symptoms.  Children can have longer infectious period.

Flu Vaccine is the first line of defense against the flu. Flu vaccine will take about 2 weeks to work. You can still get flu after getting a vaccine; however the symptoms will be milder.

Anti-viral medications can decrease the intensity of flu symptoms. The medication needs to be taken within 48 hours of symptoms to be effective.

Anti-viral medications can also help in prevention of flu for the family members who are in close contact with the patient.

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Sore Throat

Sore throat or pharyngitis is a common medical condition which affects people of all ages. It occurs more commonly in children, smokers, patients with allergy and immunocompromised patients.

 

Causes:

Viral infection is the most common cause of sore throat. Common cold virus (rhino) or flu virus (influenza) can lead to sore throat. Other virus infections such as mononucleosis, measles, and chicken pox can occasionally cause sore throat.

Bacterial infection can cause more serious form of sore throat. Bacterial infections include streptococcus infection, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Other causes of sore throat include irritation due to allergies or gastro esophageal reflux disease.

 

Signs and Symptoms:

Painful throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, swollen glands in the neck, enlarged tonsils with patches.

Other symptoms: Hoarseness, cough, runny nose, sneezing, body-aches, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

 

Treatment:

Home treatment of sore throat includes rest, gargles with warm salt water, lozenges, hydration with warm liquids, and medications such as Motrin or Tylenol.

Patients with symptoms of difficulty swallowing or difficulty breathing should see a doctor right away.

Patients with symptoms which do not improve with home treatment should also see a doctor. Based on the clinical evaluation and tests such as rapid strep test or swab culture some patients will require treatment with antibiotics. It is important to complete the course of antibiotics if diagnosis of strep throat is made to prevent complications such as rheumatic fever.

 

Prevention:

Wash hands or use hand sanitizer.

Do not share utensils.

Avoid smoking.

Reduce exposure to dust and allergens such as molds and pollen.

Use humidifier.

This information is supplied by White Plains Walk In Medical Care

10 Chester Ave, White Plains, NY 10601

914-448-1000

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Spring time allergy relief tips

Hay fever is an allergic condition that causes cold like symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, and sneezing. It is caused with outdoor and indoor allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander.

Spring time can be the worst time of the year for allergy sufferers due to the increased exposure to pollen, but many people can have symptoms year long. Severity of the hay fever can make a person miserable and it can interfere with work or school performance. Learning to avoid the allergen triggers and finding the right treatment can have a big impact.

Symptoms:

  • Runny nose and nasal congestion

  • Watery and itchy eyes

  • Sneezing

  • Sinus pressure and facial pain

  • Decreased sense of smell or taste

  • Cough

Allergens

Seasonal triggers include:

  • Tree/flower pollen - Spring

  • Grass pollen - Late spring and summer

  • Ragweed pollen - Fall

  • Fungi and molds - Warm humid months

Year round triggers include:

  • Dust mites and insects

  • Pet dander

  • Spores from indoor fungi and molds

Treatment:

Best treatment for the Hay fever is to avoid the allergens that trigger the allergic reaction. However this is not possible for majority of people. Efforts to reduce the allergen exposure, such as wearing a dust mask for certain activities can be helpful. You can also sometimes modify the indoor environment to decrease the exposure to allergens.

If you do suffer from Hay fever over the counter medications may be enough to relieve the symptoms. Some patients with severe symptoms need prescription medications. If you do need medications, taking medication prior to the exposure to allergen is better.

You should see a Doctor if your symptoms are ongoing and bothersome; the allergy medications are not working for you; or if allergy medication side effects are causing problem. Patients with severe allergy can be referred to an Allergy Specialist for skin testing to determine the exact allergen causing the symptoms. Patients can then be treated with immunotherapy (allergy shots), to decrease the response of the allergen over the course of a few years.

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Low Testosterone (Low-T)

Testosterone blood test and treatment of low testosterone is becoming more common due to increased marketing by pharmaceutical companies.

After age of 30 there is gradual decrease in the level of testosterone. Clinically low testosterone can lead to symptoms of weakness, fatigue, depression, low sex drive and decrease in fertility.

Treatment of the low testosterone is daily gel or patch, however if fertility is the issue injections can also be used. Prescriptions for the treatment have quadrupled over the past 10 years. Treatment of Low-T is beneficial for aging men with debilitating symptoms.

There is a recent study published by UCLA point to caution in treatment of Low-T with testosterone. It shows that men over 65 years of age have double the risk of heart attack with testosterone therapy. Patients younger than 65 with heart disease also have doubled the risk of heart attack. Due to this study the FDA is currently reviewing the testosterone therapy.

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

The polar vortex is causing bitter cold weather conditions which can lead to frostbites and hypothermia.

Frostbite is a condition which initially causes tingling of the face or the extremity. This can lead to numbness, pale or reddened skin and also pain of the affected area. In severe cases frostbite can cause gangrene which can require an amputation of the fingers or toes.

Hypothermia is a related condition in which cold weather causes core body temperature to be lowered to dangerous levels. Hypothermia can cause brain function to decrease which can lead to confusion, slurred speech and drowsiness. Severe hypothermia causes slowing of the heart rate, metabolism and can cause death.

Safeguards to take to prevent hypothermia and frostbite

  • Dress warmly in layers.

  • Protect extremities with winter boots, gloves or mittens.

  • Protect you head with hat. Up 30% of heat can be lost from head.

  • Limit your outdoor activities and take frequent breaks indoor in warmer temperature.

  • Stay hydrated.

  • Get out of wet clothing or shoes as soon as possible.

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Cold and Flu

Common cold is caused by virus which leads to stuffy nose, sneezing, and sore throat which generally improves in one to two weeks.

Flu is caused by influenza virus and is a more serious illness. It is characterized by fever, headache, muscle ache and severe exhaustion along with other symptoms of common cold. It can also lead to complications including pneumonia.

Best way to prevent colds and flu is frequent hand washing. This is also the right time to get a flu shot.

Flu shot decreases your chances of getting flu and if you do get flu it decreases the severity of the illness.

Here are a few natural remedies for cold and flu.

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Migraine Headache

Migraine is a throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head with associated symptoms such as nausea or intolerance to light or sound. Migraine headache can last for a few hours to a few days.

Some patients also get an aura such as flash of light, blind spots and tingling sensation to the arm or leg which can occur preceding or during a migraine. An aura usually lasts for less than one hour.

Migraine headache has a genetic component and about two thirds of patients have family history of migraines. It is also about three times more common in women as compared to men. About 15% of population has migraine headaches.

Treatment of the migraine headache involves lifestyle changes and medications. Patients with headache often have to limit their normal activities and prefer resting in a dark quiet room.

Triggers of Migraines:

  • Emotional Stress.

  • Sensitivity to certain preservatives and chemicals in foods (example: MSG).

  • Missing meals.

  • Caffeine: Excessive caffeine or withdrawal from caffeine.

  • Alcohol.

  • Excessive fatigue.

  • Lack of sleep.

  • Menstrual period.

  • Loud noise, bright light, perfumes.

Not all headaches are migraine related. If you experience a worse headache of your life or if the headache is associated with mental status changes, you should go the emergency room.

Patients with an acute migraine headache which is not improving can be treated in an urgent care.

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Probiotics

Human beings have colonization of healthy bacteria in the gut or GI tract, skin, and GU tract.

Healthy bacteria are essential to the wellness of the organs such as skin, gut and GU tract and helps protects against infections and illnesses.

Probiotics are beneficial bacterial which are present in foods such as yogurt and fermented dietary products. They are also available as supplements.

Probiotics have shown to cause improvement in infants and children who have antibiotics associated diarrhea. Antibiotics can alter the beneficial bacteria in the intestines leading to the diarrhea and probiotics is thought to replace the depleted good bacteria leading to intestinal health.

Probiotics supplements are not regulated by FDA and more research is needed to determine its role. There is encouraging evidence that probiotics may be useful in illness and infections of the gut, skin and GU tract.

Studies are currently being done to check its role in wide range of illnesses and infections such as vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, irritable bowel, and eczema. They appear to be useful in improving side effects caused by a course of antibiotics

Foods That Contain Probiotics:

  • Yogurt

  • Pickles

  • Honey

  • Artichokes

  • Miso Soup

  • Olives

  • Cheeses

  • Fermented Vegetables

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Soy Milk

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Smoking

A Heat Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service of the United States within 12 hours of the heat index reaching one of two criteria levels. A warning will be issued if there is a heat index of at least 105°F but less than 115°F for less than 3 hours per day or if nighttime low temperatures are above 80°F for 2 consecutive days. High values of the heat index are caused by high temperatures and high humidity and can pose a threat to human life through conditions such as heat stroke.

One in 5 deaths in United States is traced back to smoking

  • Lung Cancer

  • COPD, Bronchitis

  • Most other Cancers including: Head & Neck, Stomach, Pancreas, Kidney, Bladder, Blood and Bone Marrow

  • Heart Disease: Heart Attack, Angina, Coronary artery disease

  • Stroke and TIAs, Dementia, Paralysis

  • Peripheral Arterial Disease: Leg pain, Gangrene, Amputations, Aneurysms

Other conditions linked to Smoking:

  • Diabetes

  • Osteoporosis

  • Skin aging, Wrinkles

  • Infertility, Preterm delivery, Still birth

  • Impotence, Erectile dysfunction

Smoking affects all senses:

  • Periodontitis, tooth decay, loss of taste

  • Cataracts, Blindness

  • Deafness, Hearing Loss

  • Loss of smell

  • Neuropathy, Loss of touch

In conclusion:  Smoking will Suck the joy out of your life before it kills you.

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Hypertension

Definition and Statistics

One in three American adults has hypertension. Blood pressure of > 140/90.

One in three American adults has normal blood pressure. Blood pressure of <120/80.

One in three American adults has prehypertension. Blood pressure that is in between 120/80 and 140/80.

Prehypertension increases your risk of getting hypertension.

63 million American adults have hypertension. The risk of getting hypertension increases as you get older. One in two adults over the age of 50 has high blood pressure. One in five people with hypertension don’t know that they have the disease.

 

Silent Killer

Hypertension is the leading cause of Heart disease and Stroke. Heart disease and Stroke are first and fourth leading causes of death in United States. When you have high blood pressure you are four times more likely to die of stroke and three times more likely to die of heart disease.

 

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of hypertension is made by getting your blood pressure checked.  Small percentage of people have white coat hypertension that refers to a situation in which blood pressure readings taken in a doctor’s office or hospital are significantly higher than those taken at home.

 

Treatment

Treatment of pre-hypertension and hypertension involves life-saving changes.

Key life-saving changes include:

Decrease total salt intake to 2300mg per day.

Balanced diet that is low in saturated and trans-fats and added sugars.

Exercise 30 minutes a day; five days a week.

Patients with prehypertension and hypertension benefit from the life-saving changes. Those with hypertension will also need prescription medications. Although the treatment can be difficult for some patients, majority of patients can be adequately treated for hypertension which can save them from getting heart attacks and strokes.

 

References:

http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002020_SubHomePage.jsp

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Herpes Simplex Infections

Cold Sores

Herpes Simplex 1 virus causes cold sores which are blisters on the lips. This is non sexually transmitted disease which can occur by kissing. It can also occur with non-direct contact such as sharing utensils and towels. Herpes simplex 1 is a childhood condition and chances of getting the virus increases with age.  In United States 44% of young adults have HSV 1 virus and prevalence increases to 90% after age of 70. Once a person gets the virus it resides in the nerve cell in a dormant state. Some people get symptoms with episodes of cold sores and others can have no symptoms. People without symptoms do shed virus and ones with cold sores shed a lot more virus. Diagnosis of cold sores is made with physical exam. Culture swab of the blister or blood test can also be done to confirm diagnosis. Treatment of cold sores involves antiviral medication and ointments. There is no cure available.

Genital Herpes

Herpes Simplex 2 virus causes genital herpes which causes blisters around the genital areas. This is a sexually transmitted disease which occurs with direct contact. In United States about 20% of adults have HSV 2. Prevalence is higher in women as compared to men. A lot of people with herpes simplex 2 virus have no symptoms. Patients with symptoms of genital herpes have multiple breakouts of blisters during a year with initial breakout being the worse. Symptoms do get better with time. The risk of transmission is highest in people who are unaware that they have herpes. Condoms only protect partially against herpes simplex 2 virus since infection can occur by direct skin contact of region around the genital area.  Diagnosis of genital herpes is made with physical exam and culture swab of the blister.  Blood test is also done to for diagnosis. Treatment of the genital involves antiviral medication and ointments. There is no cure available.  Condoms, antiviral medication and abstinence during breakouts can decrease chances of transmission between sexual partners.

Cold Sore virus (herpes simplex 1) can cause genital herpes with oral sex. Herpes simplex 2 virus can also lead to cold sores with oral sex.

There is a social stigma associated with the disease which can be worse than the actual disease for many patients.

Reference:

Age-Specific Prevalence of Infection with Herpes Simplex Virus Types 2 and 1: A Global Review.

Jennifer S. Smith1 and N. Jamie Robinson2

http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/186/Supplement_1/S3.long

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Sun Screens

Lots of people worship Sun, but it does have harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Ideal sun screen provides protection against UVA and UVB and is also nontoxic and easy to use.

UVA can lead to Skin cancers including Melanoma and UVB causes skin burns.

Sun block SPF rating only blocks UVB and protects against the sunburn. It may not have any protection against harmful UVA which can cause cancer.

Retinol A is widely used as an anti-skin aging and acne clearing agent. It increases the sensitivity to sun and sun exposure should be limited when using this agent.

Do not use combination of bug sprays and sunscreen.

Sunscreen containing Zinc Oxide>100nm and Titanium Dioxide are considered safer. Sunscreen can contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone which can be absorbed into the body.

For information regarding safer sunscreen look at ewg website.

http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Avoid Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and sometimes deadly condition as a result of drinking a lot of alcohol in a very short period of time.

 

Signs of Alcohol poisoning are:

Confusion, stupor

Uncontrolled vomiting

Breathing irregularly or slowly

Hypothermia (low temperature)

Pale bluish skin

Seizure

Loss of consciousness

 

Causes

Main cause of alcohol poisoning is binge drinking and especially excessive repetitive drinking by a person not accustomed to drinking. Binge drinking is defined as drinking 5 alcoholic drinks in a short time. Teenagers and young adults (men>women) are most susceptible to alcohol poisoning due to the binge drinking behavior.

 

Treatment

Alcohol poisoning is a lethal condition if not treated immediately.

If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning and the person is unconscious call 911 immediately.

Never leave a person suspected of alcohol poisoning alone. Do not try to make the patient vomit. Alcohol affects gag reflux and the individual can choke on his own vomit. If the person is conscious you can call poison control at 800 222 1222 and get instructions regarding treatment.

Patient with alcohol poisoning needs to be treated in the hospital with intravenous hydration, medications and close observation.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alcohol-poisoning/DS00861

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Concussion is Brain Injury

Concussion in sports is a major health care priority in America. It affects 3.8 million athletes in a year.

Symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, unsteadiness, memory loss and altered brain function after an injury. It may be accompanied by loss of consciousness.

It is vitally important that an athlete who suffers a concussion is checked by a Doctor who is experienced in concussion before they go back to sports.  The reason is that athlete who returns to sports before the concussion is healed can suffer one of three things.

  • Second impact syndrome is a rare condition from a second concussion on top of the previous unhealed concussion which can lead to brain swelling and possible death.

  • Early return to sports can also cause post-concussion syndrome from a repeat injury. This can lead to symptoms which can persist for months or even years.

  • Athletes with repeated concussion can also develop neurodegenerative disease of brain.

The symptoms from the concussion can resolved within a few days, but the objective measure of brain injury can last for a week or several weeks. A baseline cognitive test is a computerize test that athletes take prior to the entry into sports.  A repeat test after the injury is done to evaluate if the brain function has returned to baseline. There are also more sophisticated diagnostic tests to evaluate brain injury after a concussion.

The key point to know is that CONCUSSION IS BRAIN INJURY. Let it heal completely and get checked by the Doctor before returning back to sports.

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Prescription Drug Overdoses is a Major Killer

36000 people die in United States each year due to DRUG OVERDOSE.

Out of this 20000 patients died due to prescription drug overdose.

15000 patients die each year due to prescription pain killers such as morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl.

Other medications such as Xanax, Benadryl, and antidepressants are also common causes of drug overdose deaths.

 

Prevention:

Avoid taking multiple drugs and also combining prescription drugs with Alcohol, and any other illicit drugs such as cocaine.

Do not share prescription drugs with family and friends.

Keep prescription drugs secure and discard old prescriptions.

People who get prescription pain killers from multiple doctors or are on high doses of prescription pain killers are at highest risk of over dose.

There are also strategies aimed at Doctors and Pharmacies to prevent the accidental overdose of prescription overdose deaths which has become a major epidemic.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6043a4.htm?s_cid=mm6043a4_w

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Pneumonia (Community Acquired)

Pneumonia is an infection of lungs. Infection can occur due to bacteria, virus or fungus.  Pneumonia affects millions of American each year.

Risk factors for pneumonia include:

Chronic lung disease (COPD); Smoking; Flu; serious medical conditions such as diabetes and immune deficiency

Symptoms of Pneumonia include:

Coughing with greenish, tan or bloody mucus

Fevers with shaking chills

Shortness of Breath

Confusion in older patients

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of pneumonia is based on history and physical examination by the doctor. Blood tests, cultures and chest X-ray are also helpful in the diagnosis.

Treatment

Bacterial pneumonia is most common type of pneumonia and is treated with antibiotics and breathing treatments. Your doctor will determine if you need to be admitted to the hospital.

Prevention

Wash hands regularly

Stop smoking

Vaccines decrease the chances of getting pneumonia by common virus and bacteria which cause the infection.

Flu vaccine helps prevent pneumonia caused be influenza virus

Pneumococcal vaccine helps prevent pneumonia caused by Strep Pneumonia bacteria.

Reference:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000145.htm

If you need more information, please call 914-448-1000 or Email info@whiteplainsurgentcare.com

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Food Safety during an Emergency

Keep an appliance thermometer in the Freezer and Refrigerator.

Make sure that freezer is below 0 F and refrigerator is below 40 F.

During a power outage food will stay safe for only 4 hours in a refrigerator and up to 24 hours in a half full freezer or 48 hours in a full freezer if it is not opened.

Do not taste the food to determine its safety.

You should discard perishable foods from the refrigerator such as meats, poultry, fish, milk, soft cheese and eggs after four hours of power outage. Freezer items are safe if they have ice crystals before the power come back. Please note that freezer items will re-freeze once power comes on and may not be safe.

When in doubt, do not consume the food.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FACTSheets/Severe_Storms_and_Hurricanes_Guide/index.asp

If you need more information, please call 914-448-1000 or Email info@whiteplainsurgentcare.com

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Bottle water can have more bacteria than tap water

EPA standards for tap water are much stricter than FDA standards for bottled water. The result is that tap water is cleaner and cheaper.

Two independent studies confirmed the above statement.

The first study at Case Western Reserve University tested 39 samples of bottled water in Cleveland, OH and found that 15 of the samples contained about twice as much bacteria as tap water.

Another study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that about 18% of bottled water brands contained more bacteria than what is allowed by EPA for tap water.

Also about 25% of bottled water sold in the US is tap water. Aquafina (Pepsi product) and Dasani (Coke product) get some of water supply from tap.

Most bottle water is of high quality; however some are out of line with the strict guidelines for the tap water.

On rare occasions tap water gets contaminated and utilities are required by law to inform the people when this happens.

People that have well water need to get the water tested and then determine if it is safe to drink.

http://www.rd.com/health/rethink-what-you-drink/

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Flu Vaccine

Flu is a serious medical condition which can lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu vaccine is recommended for any one over the age of 6 months.

It is especially important for certain groups of people to get a flu vaccine due to increased risk of developing complication of flu such as pneumonia. It also includes people who have higher risk of getting flu.

This category includes people over the age of 65, pregnant women, and patients with medical conditions including asthma, COPD and diabetes. It also includes household relative of people who are at high risk and health care providers.

Patients with severe allergy to eggs, reaction to previous flu vaccine, age less than 6 months or a rare Guillain-Barré disease should not get a Flu vaccine. You should also wait for an illness with fever to recover before getting a flu vaccine.

Flu virus is contagious. Flu vaccine is the best form of protection for both you and your family.

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles is a painful rash which erupts on one side of the body or face. It is caused by Varicella Zoster virus which is the same virus that causes Chicken Pox. After a chicken pox infection in childhood this virus can stay dormant inside the nerve roots of the body. Some factors such as stress, medications or low immunity can cause the virus to become active and this can cause shingles. At the onset of infection, patients can have severe pain even before the rash develops. Shingles is also known as Herpes Zoster and is distinct from sexually transmitted Herpes Simplex viral infection.

The red rash appears as a group of fluid filled blister on one side of body and eventually they get crusted over. During the active phase rash sheds virus and can cause Chicken Pox to a person who does not have immunity by either previous infection or vaccination.

Prompt treatment of Shingles with anti-viral medications can make recovery from this disease faster. It also decreases the complications of the disease such as Neuralgia which is chronic pain after the acute infection has resolved.

 

Prevention: Avoid direct contact with patient who has shingles, if you have not had chicken pox or chicken pox vaccine.  Also Herpes Zoster vaccine is available which can decrease the risk of getting shingles and also complications of the disease. This vaccine is recommended for adults over the age of 60 by United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

 

Resource:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001861/

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Health Screening

Good health is the most important thing in life. To maintain good health consider getting monitored for common health conditions. Most of this is done when you get a Physical. Always tell your doctor about your family history of medical problems since this will change the screening protocol.

 

Blood pressure: You should have blood pressure checked every two years if it is normal (under 120/80) according of American Heart Association. You need to check it yearly or more if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or family history.

 

Blood sugar (diabetes):  American Diabetes Association recommends screening for diabetes every three years if you have no risk factors. If you have high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, or have family history of diabetes; you should get tested every year.

 

Cholesterol: Get your cholesterol tested every five years. You will need to get cholesterol checked every one to two years if you are male over age 45; female over age 50; or have risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, or family history.

 

Breast cancer: The American Cancer Society recommends having an annual mammogram starting at age of 40. Doctor’s examination and self-examination are also important.

 

Cervical cancer: You should have Pap test done every 3 years if you are age 21 to 65 and have had three consecutive normal tests. You need yearly test or more if you have been diagnosed with precancerous lesion or have history of cervical cancer.

 

Colorectal cancer: A yearly fecal occult blood test is recommended for every one between ages of 50-75. Sigmoidoscopy should be done every 5 years and colonoscopy should be done every 10 years in this age group. Virtual colonoscopy can be done every 5 years.  More frequent tests are needed if abnormal polyps are noted or if you have high risk factors such as family history of colon cancer.

 

Osteoporosis: Bone density tests are done every two years for women age 65 or older, any woman who is at high risk of fracture due to history of smoking, or family history.

 

Prostate cancer: A routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is no longer recommended for men.  Prostate examination is done for man over the age of 40. Before doing a screening PSA test, men should know benefits and consequences of having the test.

 

Resources:

http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstopics.htm

http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/FindCancerEarly/CancerScreeningGuidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Should college students get meningococcal vaccination?

Meningococcal disease is caused by meningococcal bacteria. About 10 % of people have this bacterium in their throat with no signs of disease and they are called carriers. This bacterium can cause Meningitis which is an infection of brain covering. Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache and stiff neck. This can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and confusion.

People living in close quarters are at slightly increased risk of developing this disease. There is CDC recommendation for all freshman college students entering a dormitory should get Meningococcal Vaccination. Please note that meningococcal vaccine is not 100% effective. Anyone who suspects having the disease should see a doctor right away. People in close contact with the infected person also benefits from prophylactic antibiotics.

 

Resource:

http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/risk-factors.html

 

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis is a common viral disease which is caused by Epstein-Barr virus and is transmitted from person to person by saliva. It is also called “the kissing disease” and occurs most commonly in young adults.

Symptoms of Mono include fatigue, fever, headache and sore throat. The sore throat gets worse over time and patients develop swollen lymph nodes, tonsils and sometimes enlarged spleen. Symptoms of Mono occur 4-6 weeks after getting the virus. The illness of mononucleosis typically last for one month. Some of the symptoms can linger on for longer periods. The Epstein-Barr virus stays in the infected person for life in a dormant state.

If mono is suspected you should see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The diagnosis is based on history, examination and laboratory tests. Treatment of mononucleosis involves rest and supportive care. Antibiotics are avoided unless a secondary infection such as strep throat occurs. Patients who are given ampicillin can develop a rash. Patients are instructed to avoid contact sports due to risk of rupture of an enlarged spleen.

Prevention: Person with mononucleosis is contagious --before, during and a few months after the disease. If you or someone close to you has mononucleosis, avoid kissing and sharing food and utensils.

Resources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001617/
http://www.nytimes.com/ref/health/healthguide/esn-mono-questions.html

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Sports Injury in Children

Overview

In the United States, over 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports. Still more participate in informal recreational activities. Sports participation has tremendous benefits in social and physical development of children including fighting childhood obesity, it has a downside: risk of sports related injuries. About 3.5 million injuries occur each year.

The most common injuries are sprains and strains.

Brain injury is the leading cause of sports-related death in children.

The majority of head injuries occur during bicycling, skateboarding, or skating incidents.

Many injuries occur as a result of falls, being struck by an object, collisions and overexertion during unorganized or informal sports activities.

About 60 percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice. About 20 percent of children and adolescents participating in sports activities are injured each year, and one in four injuries is considered serious.

Sports injuries include:

  • Sprains and Strains

  • Overuse Injuries

  • Ankle Sprain

  • Eye Injury

  • Spinal Cord Injury

  • Head Injury

  • Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

  • Spleen and Liver Injuries

  • Teeth Injuries

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

  • Spinal Fracture

  • Fractures

  • Tennis Elbow

  • Dislocated Patella

  • Ace tabular Tears

  • Facial Fractures

Most common causes of sports injuries: What to avoid

  • Not wearing proper safety gear and equipment, such as helmets and pads.

  • Inappropriate shoes for the sport.

  • Inappropriate skill, weight, physical and psychological maturity level for the sport.

  • Lack of adult supervision.

  • Lack of appropriate hydration.

  • Unsafe playing environment.

  • Lack of enforced sports rules.

  • Too high or low temperatures.

  • Lack of shock-absorbing playing surface.

  • Lack of proper medical evaluation prior to participation in organized sports.

  • Sudden, dramatically-increased activity levels (doing too much too soon).

  • Inadequate rehabilitation of injuries before continuing to participate in a sport.

Safety Tips for All Sports

  • Be in proper physical condition to play the sport.

  • Follow the rules of the sport.

  • Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball or softball pitcher, a helmet and body padding for ice hockey).

  • Know how to use athletic equipment.

  • Always warm up before playing.

  • Avoid playing when very tired or in pain.

  • Get a preseason physical examination.

  • Make sure adequate water or other liquids are available to maintain proper hydration.

Treatment

Treatment for sports-related injuries will vary by injury. But if your child suffers a mild injury the best initial treatment is easy to remember: RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) the injury. Get seen by a doctor if any injury is severe.

Rest

Reduce or stop using the injured area for at least 48 hours. If you have a leg injury, you may need to stay off of it completely.

Ice

Put an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times per day. Use a cold pack, ice bag, or a plastic bag filled with crushed ice that has been wrapped in a towel.

Compression

Ask your child’s doctor about elastics wraps, air casts, special boots, or splints that can be used to compress an injured ankle, knee, or wrist to reduce swelling.

Elevation

Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart to help decrease swelling. Use a pillow to help elevate an injured limb.

Resources

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/sports_injuries/chi ld_sports_injuries.asp

http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/sports-injury-prevention.aspx

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

What to do with Heat Advisory?

A Heat Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service of the United States within 12 hours of the heat index reaching one of two criteria levels. A warning will be issued if there is a heat index of at least 105°F but less than 115°F for less than 3 hours per day or if nighttime low temperatures are above 80°F for 2 consecutive days. High values of the heat index are caused by high temperatures and high humidity and can pose a threat to human life through conditions such as heat stroke.

To cope with the heat, the residents are encouraged to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water. Electrolyte drinks are OK.

  • Soda with excess sugar and caffeine is harmful and cause dehydration.

  • Alcohol is harmful

  • Stay in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

  • Stay out of the sun.

  • Check on neighbors and relatives.

  • Reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or late evening.

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

  • Heat illnesses are easily preventable by taking precautions in hot weather.

Children, elderly, and obese people have a higher risk of developing heat illness. People taking certain medications or drinking alcohol also have a higher risk. Patients with health problems such as diabetes or heart disease are at higher risk. However, even a top athlete in superb condition can succumb to heat illness if he or she ignores the warning signs.

If the problem isn't addressed, heat cramps (caused by loss of salt from heavy sweating) can lead to heat exhaustion (caused by dehydration), which can progress to heatstroke. Heatstroke, the most serious of the three, can cause shock, brain damage, organ failure, and even death.

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.