Asthma & Shortness of Breath

Having an asthma attack can be a terrifying experience, especially when it’s your first one and you don’t fully understand what’s going on. In addition, there can be instances when a person simply thinks they are fatigued, “out of shape,” or tired, when in reality, they’re experiencing the kind of shortness of breath that signals an asthma attack.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects your lungs and airways. When a person gets an asthma attack, their airways become extremely inflamed, making it difficult for air to reach your lungs. If not treated adequately, it can be life-threatening. However, millions of people have learned to recognize and manage symptoms of asthma successfully.

When Shortness of Breath is Really an Asthma Attack

There are situations when shortness of breath has more to do with having allergies or getting used to a new exercise regimen. Even simple levels of exertion (like going up a flight of stairs) may result in shortness of breath when a person leads a sedentary lifestyle. Yet, gasping for air is of relatively short duration, and the person will start breathing normally again minutes after feeling short of breath.

That said, if you’re having an asthma attack, the episode will go hand-in-hand with several other symptoms.

Additional Warning Signs of an Asthma Attack

In addition to feeling like you can’t get enough air into your lungs, an asthma attack has the following symptoms:

  • Breathing quickens
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightening
  • Coughing

Attacks can vary in severity, so while a person may feel short of breath for only several minutes, the experience may last for hours for someone else.

The condition may feel worse for people who already have an underlying illness of their respiratory tract, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, anxiety, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or lung cancer.

When to Worry About Shortness of Breath

Experiencing shortness of breath may be cause for alarm if in addition, you’ve noticed any of the following red flags:

  • Dry, painful cough
  • Chest pain
  • Attacks always start after exercising
  • It’s harder to breathe when lying down
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Paleness
  • Feeling exhausted all the time

*All of these symptoms are chronic

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re not feeling well, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Most Common Broken Bones Seen in the ER

If you’ve ever had a bone fracture, you’re aware of how painful they can be. And due to the extended time it can take for them to heal, the injury can significantly interrupt your daily activities. From personal hygiene to participating in your sport of choice, being sidelined can be frustrating and disheartening.

What are the most common broken bones, and how can you learn to recognize their symptoms?

The 5 Most Common Broken Bones Seen in the ER

The following injuries are the most common broken bone injuries seen in the ER:

1. Broken Arm

The most common cause of arm fractures is falling and trying to break the fall with your arms. It’s also common for them to occur in people who play contact sports or who’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident. Seeking medical treatment is crucial to prevent complications such as infections, a permanent limited range of motion, or post-traumatic arthritis.

Symptoms of a Broken Arm

Symptoms of a broken arm include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Limited range of motion
  • An open wound, with the bone protruding from the skin

2. Broken Foot

Fractures to the foot can range from hairline fractures (stress fractures) that occur from repetitive motion, to full-on breaks on the bone after experiencing blunt trauma. For hairline fractures, you’ll need to rest from the activity that caused it. This includes long-distance running, gymnastics, soccer, or any other sport that requires repetitive movements. Other fractures require immobilizing the foot with a cast and keeping your body weight off the foot with crutches, while the most severe of injuries may require surgery to realign the bones or insert screws to help you regain mobility.

Symptoms of a Broken Foot

Symptoms of a foot fracture include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Foot deformity
  • Intense pain
  • Inability to put your body weight on the injured foot

If you have a stress fracture, the pain starts when doing physical activity involving the injured foot and goes away when resting.

3. Hip Fracture

Hip fractures are always the result of blunt trauma, such as a fall or accident. They are also more likely to happen on people with osteoporosis. When they occur in older adults, the injury may require surgery. Sometimes the injury is not necessarily a bone break, but a dislocation of the ball-and-socket joints on either side of the hip. Rehabilitation for either type of injury may take months.

Symptoms of a Hip Fracture

Symptoms of a hip fracture include intense pain that radiates to the groin or upper thighs.

4. Broken Ribs

Broken ribs are also the result of blunt impact. The injury can range from a hairline fracture to a rib, to multiple broken ribs, or breaks along multiple parts of a rib.

Symptoms of a Broken Rib

Symptoms of a broken rib include:

  • Intense pain that worsens when taking a deep breath, laughing, coughing, or sneezing
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Shortness of breath

Since the ribcage cannot be immobilized by a cast, your doctor may recommend sleeping in an upright position, holding a pillow against your chest when sneezing or coughing, and icing the site of injury.

5. Broken Clavicle

The clavicle is your collarbone. It’s an injury most commonly experienced by children and teenagers. This is because the clavicle doesn’t fully harden until around age 20. While it’s often the result of trauma (such as falling, being involved in an accident, or playing contact sports), it’s also possible to occur to a baby during birth.

Symptoms of a Broken Clavicle

Symptoms of a broken clavicle include:

  • Pain that worsens when you try to move your shoulder
  • Bulge on the collarbone
  • Cracking sound when you move your shoulder
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness

When the injury occurs to a baby, you’ll also notice the baby has not moved the injured arm for days.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re not feeling well, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Abdominal Pain: Common Causes & Signs You Should Go to the ER

Most people experience abdominal pain at some point or another. Sometimes, it can be due to overeating, gas, soreness from exercise, or simply being bloated. Other times it can be a sign of a more serious condition. What are the most common causes of this type of discomfort and how can you tell the difference between a simple stomach ache and a legitimate reason to go to the emergency room?

What are the Most Common Causes of Abdominal Pain?

It’s important to note that most cases or abdominal pain are not due to life-threatening conditions. In fact, some of the illnesses that cause the most damage usually show very mild or no symptoms during its beginning stages, such as colon cancer.

Some of the less serious reasons for abdominal pain include:

If you’re experiencing abdominal pain due to any of the reasons listed above, the pain will usually resolve on its own.

Signs You Should Go to the ER for Abdominal Pain

Now, there are also plenty of instances when you should listen to your body and seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is because there are many other organs located in the abdominal area, such as the stomach, intestines, the appendix, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, and kidneys, and your symptoms may be a sign that there’s something wrong with any of them.

You may also have an undiagnosed chronic condition, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, or Endometriosis. If that’s the case, you’ll want confirmation from a doctor so that you can learn how to manage it.

Signs that you should go to the ER due to abdominal pain include:

  • Pain that lasts longer than 24 hours.
  • Chronic pain
  • Intense pain
  • High fever
  • Diarrhea that continues for over 24 hours
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blood in your stools
  • Anal bleeding
  • The abdomen is sensitive to the touch
  • Pain that radiates to the chest
  • Exhaustion
  • Fainting

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately, since they may be signs of a serious health condition.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re not feeling well, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

The Most Common 4th of July Injuries

The 4th of July is one of the most fun American holidays. People get together with friends and family, eat their favorite foods, take some time off work, and watch fireworks shows. But along with that laissez-faire attitude can come plenty of instances for getting hurt (especially when alcohol does tend to get involved).

In hopes of helping you prevent injuries, below is a list of the most common types of injuries typically seen in emergency rooms across the country over the 4th of July weekend.

7 of the Most Common 4th of July Injuries

1. Hand Injuries

Sparklers may look beautiful and are an attractive, “safer” option for children. However, they are still capable of inflicting serious burns to skin. In addition, it’s also common for the flames to touch people’s clothes, increasing the likelihood of getting injured. If they are one of your favorite things and you can’t imagine a 4th of July celebration without them, have a bucket full of water nearby whenever you or anyone else in your group is using them. In addition, always keep your arms extended when using sparklers, and only light them in open spaces, far away from anything flammable.

Related: 7 of the Most Common Hand and Wrist Injuries

2. Face Injuries

A substantial portion of ER injuries during the 4th of July weekend are related to fireworks. They mostly occur to people who either held the fireworks too close when lighting them, or children who shouldn’t have been allowed to handle them in the first place. If you do opt to light them, walk away from them as quickly as possible, and never allow minors to do it themselves. Also, never wear loose clothing while dealing with fireworks.

2. Car Accidents

Any time there’s an event where people drink heavily, the number of car accidents increase. The 4th of July is the deadliest of American holidays when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, even worse than New Year’s Eve. You can try to stay safe by celebrating at home, avoid driving from 6:00PM until the next morning, or learn how to spot drunk drivers (swerving, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, driving in the middle of the street, driving with their face too close to the windshield).

4. Swimming Accidents

Fourth of July parties involve a lot of pool parties, as well as swimming in beaches and lakes. From alcohol to unattended children, the stage is set for drownings. No matter how young your children may be, teach them how to swim. Also, learn CPR, provide your children with arm floats or other flotation devices, and never leave them unattended.

Related: Top 7 Important Water Safety Tips

5. Boating Accidents

Just as alcohol impairs drivers, it also affects boating. In fact, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, 4th of July leads the list of holidays with the highest amount of boating accidents. If you’re going to drive a boat, take a state-approved boating safety course, limit your alcohol intake, make sure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket, know how to call for help and inform authorities of your exact location in the event of an accident.

6. Dehydration or Heat Stroke

It’s the middle of the summer, and most of the 4th of July celebrations occur at swimming pools or beaches, where people spend the entire day in the sun. Whether by engaging in water sports and/or drinking alcohol, the circumstances are prime for a person to become dehydrated. Take breaks to go indoors or sit in the shade and consume water and fruits throughout the day. Finally, learn how to recognize symptoms of heatstroke: fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea, or fainting. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of them, move to an air-conditioned or shaded area, drink water, and call 911 if the person becomes unconscious.

Related: How to Prevent Dehydration This Summer

7. Food Poisoning

This happens from both, undercooked meats done at a barbecue as well as perishable foods that have been left outside in the heat all day, such as cheeses, potato salad, mac and cheese, and anything else that you would normally keep refrigerated on any other occasion. If you’re having an outdoors event, bring out coolers, since heat causes bacteria to multiply faster. Never leave perishables unrefrigerated for more than an hour.

Related: Food Safety Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning This Summer

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one were injured, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Eye Injuries: What Is Considered an Eye Emergency?

There are many different types of eye trauma, and they can all vary in severity. Sometimes it’s just a minor issue that will go away with an ice pack or flushing the eye with water, while other problems require immediate medical attention.

In a country where so many people can’t afford to receive healthcare, it’s tempting to “tough it out” and see if the pain and discomfort will go away on its own. However, failing to receive medical treatment when you need it can lead to chronic conditions, complications, or sometimes even blindness. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn to recognize when your injury is serious and get the care you need.

Signs and Symptoms of Injuries for Eye Emergencies

There are several different causes for eye emergencies. These include trauma, foreign objects, burns, or chemicals.

Symptoms will vary depending on the type of injury you’re suffering from. Seek emergency care if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Eye pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blood in the white of your eye
  • There’s a foreign item in your eye
  • Eye swelling
  • Cuts on the eyelid
  • Bruising around the eye
  • Unusual size or shape of the pupil
  • The injured eye is sticking out
  • Double vision
  • Pain around the eye
  • Severe itching
  • Irritation
  • Headache

If any of these apply to you, do not rub your eyes, and do not attempt to remove any object stuck in your eye on your own. If you’re wearing contact lenses, do not remove them. Wait to receive emergency care, and let your medical provider remove them for you.

If you have a chemical in your eye, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, hold your eyelid open and flush the affected eye with cold water for 10 to 15 minutes, then go to an emergency room.

Common Non-Emergency Eye Problems

1. Eye Scratch

This can happen by playing with a small child or pet, or working in minor home improvement projects. Fortunately, your eyes are efficient at tearing up to take care of it naturally. Avoid rubbing your eye and blink as much as possible. Wear sunglasses to avoid light sensitivity and avoid using over-the-counter eyedrops, as they may exacerbate the pain. Schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist, who will prescribe medication if necessary and let you know of activities you should avoid while you heal.

2. Small Foreign Object in the Eye

This can be an eyelash, pet hair, or dust. Blink rapidly several times to see if it clears on its own. You can also use eyedrops to try to flush it out. Do not rub your eye to avoid irritation. If after several tries, the item is still stuck in your eye, see a doctor.

3. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

This is commonly known as Pink Eye. Your eyes have a clear layer which covers the surface, called the conjunctiva. An allergic reaction, wearing dirty contact lenses, or getting a small foreign object stuck in your eye can cause it to become inflamed, resulting in conjunctivitis. Symptoms include redness, slight itchiness, tearing, and crusting while sleeping. The good news is that it usually clears up on its own.

4. Swollen Eyelids

Swollen eyelids can occur as a result of an allergic reaction or an infection. Fluid accumulates on the eyelid, and you end up with irritated eyes, teary-eyed, and experience slight pain. Common culprits include allergic reactions to pollen, dust, pet dander, contact lens solution, or makeup. They can also happen when you wear dirty contact lenses. Antihistamines, eyedrops, and a cold compress will help alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Also, try to narrow down what may have caused it so you can prevent reoccurrence.

5. Eyelid Bumps

Small bumps on your eyelids can be a result of fat deposits, chalazia (caused by blocked glands), or milia (small white bumps). These are typically harmless, painless, and go away on their own.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re not feeling well, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

When to Go to the ER for an Asthma Attack

There are few things people take for granted as much as breathing. It’s such an automatic act that unless someone is consciously aware of it, it goes unnoticed… Until suddenly, you can’t do it anymore, that is.

What does it mean to have an asthma attack? What are the risk factors? How can you learn to recognize an attack is on its way?

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes a person’s airways to become inflamed. As a result, they become narrowed, making it difficult for a person to get air to their lungs. They are typically caused by some type of allergen in the air; although the triggers are unknown for some patients. While some people develop it as children, it could start at any age.

There is no cure for asthma and it can be life-threatening. However, if you learn how to manage it, you can lead a relatively normal life.

Types of Asthma

There are different classifications of asthma. Some people only experience mild intermittent asthma. This means that symptoms occur sparingly.

There’s mild persistent asthma, which can occur as often as once or twice a week.

Moderate persistent asthma occurs about once a day, while severe persistent asthma can occur more than once a day, with symptoms worsening at night.

Symptoms of an Asthma Emergency

The signs of an asthma attack are impossible to ignore. While they may range from mild to severe, they include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightening
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

Some people experience symptoms on a daily basis, while others experience them seasonally.

Asthma Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that can contribute to a person suffering from an asthma attack:

  1. Environmental factors: This includes poor air quality due to pollution, exposure to cigarette smoke, pet dander, pollen, ragweed, substantial amounts of dust, cold weather, or being exposed to irritants on a regular basis while at work.
  2. Medical conditions. People who suffer from allergies experience infections of the respiratory tract, and people who are obese are more prone to obstructed airways.
  3. Family history. If your parents (or a parent) suffers from asthma attacks, there’s a higher likelihood that you will do so as well.

Treatment for Asthma

Treatment for asthma includes medications and inhalers. It’s crucial to keep the inhaler with you at all times, since they open airways and administer medication at the same time.

Your doctor will also ask detailed questions to help you recognize triggers and to find ways to avoid them as much as possible. If your asthma attacks change, your doctor may modify medication doses accordingly.

What to Expect at the ER

You will be asked a lot of questions about your asthma attacks. Make a list of symptoms you’ve experienced, how often you experience them, and any triggers you may have noticed. It’s also a good idea to record time of day when attacks typically occur, as well as medications you’re currently taking. All of this information will help your doctor narrow down triggers and what type of asthma you’re suffering from.

Asthma Attack Prevention

There are several ways to lower the risk of getting an asthma attack.

  • Avoid triggers
  • Change the air filters in your air conditioner once a month
  • If you live in a cold climate, wear a face mask when going outside in the winter
  • If you live in a humid climate, install a dehumidifier in your home
  • If you have any pets, get them groomed regularly
  • When cleaning your home, pay close attention to the kitchen and bathrooms to prevent mold growth.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, since being overweight can worsen symptoms

Related: Tips for Effective Asthma Control

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re not feeling well, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Visit us online to find the Complete Care location nearest you.

When to Go to the ER For a High Fever

Fevers are miserable. You can be burning up, but feel chilled. And if it’s your child who has a fever, it can be very worrisome. While fevers are not uncommon, how do you know if it’s something you can ride out or if you should seek medical attention?

Knowing what to do and when will bring you peace of mind.

What is a Fever?

Generally speaking, a normal body temperature is around 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6 degrees Celsius). If your body is trying to fight an infection, its temperature rises. This increase in temperature is a fever. Therefore, a fever is not a disease, but an indication that there’s something going on that your body is trying to combat.

In addition to feeling hot, symptoms of a fever include:

  • Shivers
  • Sweats
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Achy muscles

High Fever in Babies and Infants

High fever in a baby can cause seizures.

When to go to the ER for a high fever in babies and infants: See a doctor if your baby is younger than three months of age. If your baby is between three and six months, go to the doctor if their temperature is higher than 102 F (38.9 C).

If your child is older than six months old, seek medical attention if they also have diarrhea.

High Fever in Children

Due to their regular contact with other children, it’s common for kids to get sick often. If your child has a fever, keep them home from school so that they can rest. Also, keep them hydrated. If they get tired of water, give them watermelon or orange slices as snacks. Another fun option is popsicles.

A good way to gauge their level of hydration is to check the color of their urine. If it’s too dark, give them more water, juice, and fruit. This will help to reduce their temperature. Also keep them in lightweight, cool clothing.

When to go to the ER for a high fever in children: Visit a doctor if the fever lasts longer than three days, is higher than 102 F (38.8 C), or if your child is lethargic, vomiting, won’t stop crying, seems confused, or was recently vaccinated.

High Fever in Adults

If the fever is less than 102 F, adults don’t generally need medical intervention. Good home remedies include plenty of hydration and lukewarm baths.

When to go to the ER for a high fever in adults: See a doctor if the fever is higher than 102 F, lasts more than three days, or if any of the following apply:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin Rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Earache
  • Bruising
  • Vomiting
  • Pain while urinating
  • History of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer
  • Being HIV positive

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re not feeling well, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Chickenpox: When to See a Doctor

If you have children, you’re used to having them come home with a cough, or having to rush to the pediatrician due to an earache or a Lego up the nose. But what about chickenpox? How much do you know about it, and is there anything you can do to prevent your kids from getting it?

Or if they already have it, is there any treatment that will alleviate their symptoms and accelerate the healing time?

What is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is an illness caused by a virus called varicella-zoster. The infection is highly contagious and occurs mostly in children, although adults who never had it during childhood can get it too.

Most people only get chickenpox once during their lifetime. Very rarely, a person will get it more than once.

Chickenpox Symptoms

Symptoms of chickenpox are visibly obvious, uncomfortable, and hard to ignore. They include red, itchy blisters that usually appear on the face or chest, then spread all over the body. It’s possible to have several hundred of these blisters. Once a person has been infected, they’ll experience the following symptoms a day or two before the blisters appear:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion

The blisters are filled with fluid. Avoid scratching them at all costs, to prevent them from bursting and scarring. Those that do burst will scab.

Causes of Chickenpox

The virus spreads through close contact with a person who has the active infection. So if you live with someone who has chickenpox, and you’ve never had it, and haven’t been vaccinated, you will get it too.

A person is contagious up to two days before the rash appears, so it’s possible for school children to spread chickenpox to classmates before they’re aware that they have it. Once you acquire the virus, it can take up to two weeks for symptoms to develop.

Risk Factors for Getting Chickenpox

Risk factors include:

  • Not being vaccinated
  • Never having had chickenpox (most people get it during childhood)
  • Working with children (daycare, pediatricians office, or school setting)
  • Newborns
  • Preteens or teenagers
  • Smoking

When to See a Doctor for Chickenpox

Go to a doctor at the first sign of symptoms to confirm diagnosis and obtain medication that may alleviate discomforts associated with the virus.

In addition, visit your doctor for any of the following:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Rash that spreads to the eyes
  • Skin that feels warm to the touch
  • A fever higher than 102 F

Be sure to consult with a doctor if anyone in your home has a weakened immune system or if anyone in your home is younger than six months of age.

It’s also crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you’re pregnant, since chickenpox during pregnancy can result in low birth weight and abnormalities.

Treatment for Chickenpox

The only treatment available for chickenpox is antihistamine topical creams to alleviate the itchiness. If you’re otherwise healthy, the virus will have to run its course.

That being said, anyone with a risk of complications will require antibiotics and/or antiviral drugs.

Home Remedies for Chickenpox

Yes, those blisters are itchy, but do not scratch them. Doing so will result in scarring. Take cool baths with baking soda and apply calamine to your skin after bathing. Benadryl also helps to relieve itching.

Recovery Time for Chickenpox

The first symptoms start about two days before the blisters appear. The blisters will dry up in between five and six days. To play it safe, stay home from school or work for about a week.

Chickenpox Complications

Chickenpox complications are rare. However, they can occur in people with a weakened immune system, pregnant women, and in babies. These include:

Chickenpox Prevention

There is a vaccine available to protect children against chickenpox. It’s administered in two doses and is more than 90% effective at preventing the infection. For the minute number of people who still get infected even after the vaccination, the symptoms they experience are much more mild.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or your child has chickenpox, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Zika Virus Symptoms, Testing, and Treatment

Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.

The virus infects mosquitoes when the bug bites someone infected with Zika. The infected mosquitoes then spread the virus to everyone they subsequently bite. The virus can also pass from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or near the time of birth. Anyone who lives or travels to an area with Aedes mosquitoes is at risk for infection with the Zika virus, including pregnant women.

Incubation Period, Symptoms and Treatment of the Zika Virus

Scientists have not yet established the incubation period, which is the time of exposure to the onset of symptoms, but symptoms often start a few days to a week after the mosquito bite or initial exposure.

About one in five people infected with the virus develop Zika and experience symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.” Other symptoms include a headache and muscle pain. Symptoms are usually mild and last for a few days to one week. Severe symptoms requiring hospitalization are uncommon, and deaths are rare.

Treatment for healthy people with the Zika virus includes rest, fluids, acetaminophen to relieve pain. Healthy people infected with the virus should not take aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen or ibuprofen until a doctor can rule out dengue to reduce the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.

Babies born to women exposed to the Zika virus during pregnancy may develop microcephaly, a serious birth defect that can cause small heads and damaged brains, and other poor outcomes.

The Zika virus typically remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days, but it lingers in some people. Because it can linger, an infected person can transmit the virus to other mosquitoes – and other people – for several days.

Prevention and Diagnosis of the Zika Virus

While scientists are working quickly to learn more about Zika and potentially poor health outcomes, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area with ongoing Zika transmissions. Anyone who must travel to these areas, or who has traveled to these areas recently, should speak to a doctor and follow steps to prevent mosquito bites. Women who are trying to become pregnant should speak with a doctor before traveling to any areas where Zika is active. There is no vaccine for Zika, so the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid the bite of the Aedes mosquito.

The Zika virus requires a medical blood test for diagnosis. Laboratory testing includes PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and virus isolation from blood samples. Diagnosis can be difficult in that Zika can resemble other diseases, such as dengue, West Nile, and yellow fever, in the laboratory.

Protect yourself from bug bites by trying to wear light colors, long pants, and long sleeves or a jacket when you are out and about when insects are not in hibernation. If you suspect you are suffering symptoms of a bite, find the nearest Complete Care location and schedule a test.

Causes and Symptoms of Abscesses

abscessesAbscesses are typically associated with the mouth, but they can develop on any area of the body. In most cases they can be treated with antibiotics, but, in some instances, they can require an emergency trip to your nearest Complete Care location to reduce the chance of serious complications. Here is some information on why this issue occurs.

What are Abscesses?

Abscesses are areas where pus (a thick fluid that contains bacteria, dead tissue and white blood cells) collects. They can develop due to infections or other causes. There are certain types of bacteria that are more likely to form pus as they damage tissue. When the body senses this type of infection, it will activate the immune system to produce the chemicals and white blood cells needed to fight it. As a result, some tissues may die, forming a cavity that can become pus-filled. If the infection continues, the cavity will become larger.

Where Abscesses Form

Again, abscesses can develop in any portion of the body. Most of them, however, form just underneath the surface of the skin. One of the most common examples is a boil, which occurs when a hair root becomes infected. Symptoms typically include pain, redness, warmth and swelling.

There are times, however, where an abscess can form inside the body, such as within an organ or in the space between organs. A liver infection, for instance, can result in a liver abscess. Dental abscesses typically develop in the teeth or gums.

Getting Treatment

If this issue is not properly treated, it can eventually become much larger and much more painful. If it is inside the body, it can make a person very ill. If you have any reason to believe you have this problem, get to your nearest Complete Care location as soon as possible.