Back to School: Common Classroom Illnesses

common classroom illnessesThe start of the school year brings with it new teachers, full backpacks, and plenty of homework. Unfortunately, it also brings an increased risk of illness for your children. Kids in school spend more time indoors, in close proximity to one another, sharing supplies, toys, — and infections. Learn about the common classroom illnesses that your kids might come home with this school year, and how best to care for them.

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis)

Pinkeye –or conjunctivitis– is one of the most common eye infections in children. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white of the eyeball. Pinkeye is most often the result of a virus, and can be very contagious; outbreaks sweep through schools and playgrounds.

Pinkeye symptoms include the hallmark pink or red appearance of the eye, along with eye itchiness, pain, swelling, and/or a feeling of sand in the eye. Discharge from the eye and tearing are also common. If you suspect your child has pinkeye, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the spread of the infection to others, and help ease symptoms. Visit our clinic at the first signs of symptoms of pinkeye.

Flu

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that occurs seasonally, usually from October through May (the bulk of the school year.) The flu is spread through tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Symptoms come on suddenly, can be mild to severe, and include fever, body aches, decreased appetite, headache, and severe exhaustion. The illness can lead to serious complications, especially in young children. If your little one develops symptoms, head into our clinic for a proper diagnosis and fast treatment.

To prevent flu, make sure your family receives the annual flu vaccine and teach your child good hygiene habits such as covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing.

Common Cold

The common cold is usually the result of rhinoviruses. These viruses spread through the air and close personal contact, and kids are more susceptible than adults. If your child comes down with a cold, they’ll likely be sneezy, and suffering from a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, and a headache. They may also develop a mild fever. There is no cure for a cold. Just make sure your little one gets some rest and drinks plenty of fluids.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a contagious infection of the throat and tonsils caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria spread easily through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Kids can get strep by breathing in these droplets, touching a surface where they are present, or by sharing food or drinks with someone who is sick.

Signs of strep include a sore and scratchy throat, difficulty swallowing, headache and fever. Your child’s tonsils may appear red and swollen, sometimes with white patches, along with tiny red spots at the back of the mouth and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck. If your child is suffering from any symptoms that may indicate strep, it’s important to see a medical provider. Untreated strep throat can cause serious complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever.

As a parent, it’s difficult to see your child not feeling well. But, childhood illnesses are inevitable. Teach your kids healthy habits, keep track of their symptoms, and remember that our medical team is here to care for your family!

How to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Sports are an amazing way to get exercise, be social, and improve your overall well-being. But every time you step onto the field, you run the risk of injury. Collisions, poor technique, overuse, or simply, bad luck can leave you with a serious medical issue.

common sports injuries, man holding tennis racket

Common sports injuries include:

  • Sprains: A sudden twist or fall can put too much stress on your joint, causing the ligaments to overextend or tear.
  • Muscle Strains: running, jumping, throwing, slips, and lifting heavy objects can all lead your muscle or tendon to stretch either suddenly or too much.
  • Fractures (Broken Bones): a collision in contact sports or landing wrong from a fall can lead to an acute fracture. Repetitive impact such as running or jumping can also cause stress fractures.
  • Knee Injuries: acute, sudden trauma, chronic overuse, or a combination of the two can lead to a variety of problems in the knee, the body’s most complex joint.
  • Shin Splints: improper shoes, high intensity workouts, or exercising without stretching can lead to aching shins due to too much stress on the shin bone and its connective tissues.
  • Dislocations: force from a hit or fall can push the bones in a joint out of alignment. Finger, hand, and shoulder dislocations are the most common bones affected.

While some sports injuries are bound to happen, many common sports injuries are preventable. Take the following steps to reduce your risk:

  1. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. Build up your endurance and increase the intensity as your fitness improves. A little pre-participation training can help build muscle and reduce overuse injuries.
  2. Always begin activity with a gentle warm-up to increase blood flow to the muscles and improve your flexibility. Cool-down with some light stretching.
  3. Make sure the playing field is safe and well-maintained. Watch for sprinklers, holes, and other tripping hazards.
  4. Wear protective gear that is appropriate to your sport – helmets, shin guards, knee pads, etc. Clothes and shoes that fit properly are also important!
  5. Learn the correct form and techniques involved in your sport.
  6. Ensure children in team sports are matched on skill level, weight and physical maturity. All children should have a sports physical before starting a new activity.

If you suffer a sports injury, know that our medical team is available to care for you 7 days a week.

Simply walk in to receive fast, affordable treatment for sprains, strains, fractures, pain, and dislocations. We can also refer you to a specialist if medically necessary and help coordinate your care.

Did you know there are different types of headaches?

Whether your headache is throbbing, squeezing, mild, or severe, one feeling is universal: you want it to go away!

When it comes to any pain in the head region, most of us will label it as “just a headache”, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, and move on with our day. But, headaches are much more complicated than this! There are over 100 types of headaches, each with its own unique causes, symptoms, and remedies. Learn about the most common types of headaches so that the next time head pain strikes, you can get a more specific diagnosis, and a better treatment plan.

Headaches fall into two many categories: primary and secondary.

A primary headache occurs because of the headache condition itself, and is not due to an underlying disease. The most common primary headaches include:

  • Migraine: A severe, throbbing headache that usually occurs on one side of the head. Symptoms include muscle tension, nausea, and vomiting, as well as increased sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Cluster Headaches: A series of relatively short, but intensely painful headaches that occur everyday for weeks or months at a time. Sufferers experience one sided pain, usually centered around one eye, and symptoms such as, red or teary eyes, runny or stuffy nose, flushing or sweating of the face or a sense of agitation.
  • Tension Headache: Head pain that is dull and aching, and feels like a tight band around the head.

If you have a stable pattern of headache over many months or years, it is most likely a primary headache condition. Head into our clinic for a proper diagnosis. Our medical team can provide medication and recommend lifestyle changes to help you manage your pain.

A headache is secondary when it is a symptom of another disease or condition. There are a multitude of conditions that can affect the pain-sensitive nerves in the head and lead to secondary headaches. Common conditions and diseases that cause secondary headaches include:

  • Concussion
  • Dehydration
  • Dental problems
  • Ear infection (middle ear)
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Glaucoma
  • Hangovers
  • High blood pressure
  • Medications to treat other disorders
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Overuse of pain medication
  • Panic attacks and panic disorder
  • Pressure from tight headgear
  • Sinus infection

As well as more serious, life-threatening conditions, such as:

  • Brain aneurysm
  • Brain tumor
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Meningitis
  • Stroke

The American Migraine Foundation provides this helpful list of warning signs to help determine if your headache is caused by an underlying condition.

Seek emergency help for:

  • Abrupt, severe headache
  • Headache with a fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or speaking difficulties
  • Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse

In other instances, simply walk into our clinic.

Our friendly medical team can evaluate your head pain, assess additional symptoms, and recommend a treatment plan to help you find relief. Headaches are common, but you don’t have to live with the pain. Let us help you better understand and treat your headaches.

A UTI or an STI? The Trouble with Similar Symptoms

uti or an stiIf you’re making frequent –and painful– trips to the bathroom, you might assume you have a urinary tract infection. But, there are other conditions that cause pelvic pain and trouble with urination, most notably, sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

So, how can you tell if you’re suffering due to a UTI or an STI?

It’s difficult to differentiate a UTI from an STI based on symptoms alone, since both cause burning during urination, pelvic pain, and a frequent, sudden urge to urinate. However, if you also have vaginal symptoms such as discharge, bleeding and/or irregular periods, and are sexually active, it may suggest an STI. Make sure to talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms and risk factors for these types of infections.

The only way to determine exactly what kind of infection you are dealing with is to head to the doctor for testing.

Why it’s important to seek treatment

Urinary Tract Infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. In most cases, UTIs can be successfully treated with a short course of antibiotics and symptoms will clear up within a few days of treatment. However, when left untreated, urinary tract infections can lead to serious complications including recurrent infections, kidney disease, and even sepsis.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are bacterial infections that spread through sexual intercouse and develop in the reproductive organs, the urethra, throat, and rectum. Both infections are curable and are treated with antibiotics. Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause permanent health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and increased risk of HIV.

If you think you have a UTI or an STI, visit our clinic today. With onsite lab testing, our compassionate providers can determine the cause of your symptoms and provide you with an appropriate treatment plan.

Stop Your Seasonal Allergies Before They Start

seasonal allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (AKA hay fever), then you know the symptoms are downright miserable. The constant sneezing, runny nose, and itchiness make it difficult to deal with even the most simple daily tasks. This spring, learn the best way to stop your seasonal allergies before they start.

Understanding Hay Fever

Hay fever is caused by pollen carried in the air during different times of the year, and spring, with so many trees and plants in bloom, tends to be a heavy-hitter. Trees, weeds, and grasses release pollen to fertilize other plants. When someone with an allergy inhales this pollen, their immune system perceives an intruder and reacts by releasing histamine into the bloodstream to attack it. This response triggers symptoms such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes

How can I prevent seasonal allergies?

The best way to control hay fever is to avoid the allergens that cause it. And while it may be difficult to completely avoid pollen, you can actively monitor the pollen count in your area and limit outdoor exposure when counts are high. The National Allergy Bureau now offers a helpful online tool that reports on pollen counts for specific trees, grasses, weeds and mold spores throughout the country. Check your local pollen count now »

Staying aware of the pollen counts can also make your allergy medications more effective. Antihistamine medications work best when taken preemptively. If you take your medication before you come into contact with pollen, it can prevent the release of histamine and stop your symptoms in their tracks.

Antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids can all help manage hay fever allergies. Talk to a doctor to learn which medication is right for you.

If you suffer from spring allergies, visit our clinic today. Our medical team can prescribe allergy medications and offer helpful advice on how to keep your hay fever under control.