Pink Eye

Having healthy eyes is something many of us take for granted. Unless one is visually impaired, they wake up, open their eyes, and go on about their day without giving their sight a second thought.

Yet, as soon as there’s a visual disturbance or a change to the eye’s appearance, worry creeps in. Why do your eyes look pink? Why are they so itchy? And how can you get them back to their healthy state?

One common eye condition that causes irritation is conjunctivitis (more commonly known as “pink eye”).

What is Pink Eye?

Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the clear, thin layer that covers the front surface of the eyes and lines the inside of the eyelids.

When such inflammation occurs, the small blood vessels in the eyes expand, making the whites of the eyes look pink or light red.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis can be caused by several different things:

  • An allergic reaction
  • A foreign object in the eye
  • Wearing contact lenses that weren’t cleaned properly
  • A viral infection
  • Bacteria

If the pink eye is the result of a virus or bacteria, the condition is contagious at some stages.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

The symptoms of conjunctivitis are fairly obvious:

  • Red eye
  • Itchiness
  • Tearing
  • Crusting while sleeping

When to See a Doctor

While most cases of conjunctivitis clear up on their own, see a doctor if you’re also experiencing pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, if your symptoms don’t improve within a couple of days, or if you have a weakened immune system due to an underlying illness, such as lupus, cancer, HIV, or hepatitis.

Pink Eye Diagnosis and Treatment

In most cases of conjunctivitis, it is not necessary to visit a doctor for a diagnosis. If you do schedule a doctor appointment, they’ll be able to diagnose it by taking a look at your eyes. If the condition is severe, or if your doctor suspects an underlying condition, you’ll be asked additional questions about symptoms and health history.

In rare cases, the doctor will take a sample of the liquid in your eyes for further analysis.

If you wear contact lenses, take a break from them until the condition clears up. If it’s a recurring issue every time you wear lenses, consider switching to one-day disposable contacts.

If the condition was caused by bacteria, your doctor may prescribe eye drops. If it was caused by a virus, you’ll just have to wait it out until the illness runs its course.

Home Remedies for Pink Eye

If the condition was caused by a foreign object in the eye, flush the eye with cold water.

Other ways to reduce irritation include holding a cold compress against the eye or applying eyedrops/artificial tears if you’re experiencing eye dryness.

If the irritation was caused by allergies, remove the allergen from your home. Change air filters, close windows, and purchase dust mite covers for bedding.

Complications of Pink Eye

If you don’t take measures to alleviate the symptoms of conjunctivitis, it could result in inflammation of the cornea, also known as keratitis. As a result, your vision could be affected.

Risk Factors for Getting Pink Eye

Risk factors of conjunctivitis include being exposed to someone who has it. Therefore, if you are experiencing it, take a couple of days off from school or work to avoid spreading it to others.

If you’re prone to pink eye and you wear contact lenses, opt for disposable ones and disinfect contact lens cases regularly.

If you suffer from allergies, install HEPA air filters in your home.

Pink Eye Prevention

There are several things you can do to prevent contracting or spreading conjunctivitis:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Change your pillowcases regularly
  • Do not share makeup or cosmetics
  • Throw away cosmetics and eye makeup if you’ve already been sick
  • Do not share towels
  • Avoid allergy triggers

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you think you have pink eye, we can provide the care you need at one of our Urgent Care facilities. 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.

Fevers in Children

Having children comes with plenty of trips to the doctor for vaccines, the common cold, ear infections, and the occasional Lego stuck up a nostril. And while it’s expected that kids will have minor health-related issues every now and then, parents may be confused as to when they can address a concern with over-the-counter medications and home remedies and when it’s necessary to see a doctor.

To better help you understand fevers in children, below is an overview of how to recognize a fever, and how to know when it’s time to see a doctor.

What Is a Fever and What Causes It?

The average body temperature of a healthy person is 98.6 degrees. However, when a person has an infection, the temperature will rise as the body tries to fight it.

A child’s body temperature will also rise if they have been active or are wearing several layers of clothes. However, if their temperature reaches 100.4 degrees (or 99.5 degrees for a baby), they have a fever.

Symptoms of Fever

Typically, you’ll know a child has a fever if their skin is warm or hot to the touch. However, there are additional signs that indicate a fever:

  • Flushed skin
  • Shivering
  • Body Aches
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite

When Is a Fever Too High?

If an infant who’s younger than three months old has a fever, seek medical attention immediately. For children older than three months, a high-grade fever is 102 degrees or higher.

How to Decrease a Child’s Fever

If a child has an underlying infection that’s causing the fever, the pediatrician will likely prescribe antibiotics. However, there are additional things you can do at home to help decrease a high temperature:

  1. Tepid bath. You can decrease a child’s fever at home by giving them a sponge bath with lukewarm water.
  2. Drink fluids. Fevers often lead to dehydration. Make sure to give your child plenty of water or natural fruit juice.
  3. Keep the child cool. You can do this by placing a cool, wet cloth on their forehead and dressing them in light clothing.
  4. Rest. Allow your child to skip school, sleep in, take naps throughout the day, and avoid strenuous play.
  5. Ibuprofen. This will alleviate body aches that often come with a fever. Make sure to read the dosage instructions for children.

When to See a Doctor

While sometimes, fevers can be treated at home, see a doctor immediately if the child is under three months of age or experiencing any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue lips
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness

A note about seizures: There are two types of febrile seizures, and most of them happen to children under three years of age. When these occur, roll your child over to their side, do not restrict their movements, and do not place anything in their mouth.

Call 911 if it lasts longer than five minutes.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If your child has a fever, 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 5 Types of Shock

When most people hear the word “shock”, one of the first images that comes to mind is that of someone experiencing psychological shock after a traumatic experience. While this condition is serious and warrants medical attention, there are other equally dangerous types of shock that affect the human body.

The most pressing danger of shock is the interference of blood flow to the organs and soft tissue. If ignored, this obstruction of blood flow can be fatal.

5 Types of Shock and Their Causes

1. Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic Shock refers to a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction. It can occur as a result of eating particular foods, taking certain medications, or an insect bite. Symptoms occur within 15 minutes of exposure, so it’s crucial to be familiar with them.

Symptoms of Anaphylactic Shock

  • Itchy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Breaking out in hives
  • Labored breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting

The best way to prevent Anaphylactic Shock is to know and avoid its triggers. The next best thing is to carry antihistamines or Epinephrine.

2. Hypovolemic Shock

Hypovolemic Shock is what happens to the body when a person loses too much blood. As a result, the heart is unable to pump enough blood to reach the organs, which can lead to organ failure. It’s often the consequence of severe cuts, traumatic injuries, internal bleeding, or endometriosis.

Symptoms of Hypovolemic Shock

  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Blue lips
  • Blue fingernails
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Vomiting blood

Left untreated, the patient may suffer from brain damage or death. Call for medical emergency assistance immediately. Make sure the patient is lying down, with their feet elevated. Do not elevate their head. Use a tourniquet to prevent additional blood loss.

Once the patient receives medical attention, they will need a blood transfusion and medication to assist the heart in pumping blood to all organs.

3. Septic Shock

When a person has an infection, the immune system sends it’s special cells into the blood to fight it. The process causes inflammation and can lower blood pressure. If the blood pressure drops too low, the organs may not receive enough oxygen and blood flow, causing the patient to go into septic shock. This is potentially life-threatening.

Pregnant women, babies, senior citizens, and people with a compromised immune system are more likely to experience Septic Shock as a result of infection.

Symptoms of Septic Shock

  • Dizziness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Vomiting
  • Severe Muscular Pain
  • Disorientation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Consciousness

Septic Shock should be treated immediately. Treatment options can include intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy, antibiotics, or in a severe situation, surgery to remove the source of infection.

4. Neurogenic Shock

Neurogenic Shock occurs when there’s an uneven blood distribution throughout the body. It’s often the result of a severe injury to the central nervous system, a spinal injury, or damage to the brain. Left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to organs or even death.

Some of the most common causes for Neurogenic Shock include car accidents, gunshot wounds, sports injuries, or improper administration of anesthesia to the spinal cord.

Symptoms of Neurogenic Shock

  • Chest pain
  • Weak pulse
  • Discolored lips
  • Hypothermia
  • Blank stares
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Treatment includes immobilizing the patient to prevent further injury, intravenous fluids, and medication to increase blood pressure.

5. Cardiogenic Shock

Cardiogenic Shock occurs when the heart is damaged and can’t pump blood adequately. It’s often the result of a heart attack. This can lead to organ failure. Although rare, it’s very difficult to survive Cardiogenic Shock.

Symptoms of Cardiogenic Shock

  • Tachycardia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weak pulse
  • Pale skin
  • Cold hands
  • Sweating
  • Loss of consciousness

Because it is generally the consequence of a heart attack, it’s important to know the symptoms:

  • Chest pressure
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pain along the jawline
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

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.

Stress Fractures

If you’re an athlete, you’re likely familiar with the term “stress fracture.” Maybe you heard a peer complaining about the pain, or you’ve heard it at the court, field, track, [insert your sports venue of choice]. So if you’re experiencing pain that sounds like that associated with a stress fracture, you may be wondering if this is the cause.

What Is a Stress Fracture?

A stress fracture is the term used when a bone develops tiny cracks due to repetitive stress on a specific body part. As opposed to a sudden fracture from an acute injury, a stress fracture develops slowly over time. It occurs most often on a foot or lower leg.

Symptoms of a Stress Fracture

Signs of a stress fracture appear gradually. You may first experience slight pain while participating in your activity of choice. It’s easy to ignore in the beginning because as soon as you rest, the discomfort goes away.

However, if not diagnosed early, the fracture will become worse and pain will increase. Additional symptoms include

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Skin that feels warm to the touch
  • Difficulty bearing weight
  • Pain that subsides when resting
  • Bruising

Common Causes of  Stress Fractures

It’s important to note that practicing sports does not inherently mean that a person will get a stress fracture at some point. They usually occur when one doesn’t train or prepare properly, such as:

1. Not Wearing Adequate Shoes

There are different types of shoes for different sports for a reason. Depending on your activity, you’ll need support in different areas of your feet. Even within the same activity, there may be different styles to choose from, depending on your gait.

2. Being Overeager

Increasing the intensity or frequency of workouts all at once is a recipe for disaster. If you’re a beginner, let your body adjust to the level of activity. If you’re not sure, talk to a coach or read magazines targeted to people who participate in your sport of choice.

3. Not Resting

You have to allow your body enough time to recover from the workout. This is the time when your body repairs damaged tissue and replenishes its energy.

Risk Factors for Stress Fractures

Stress fractures could happen in any sport with repetitive motions, such as running, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, ballet, or anything else that involves running long distances or jumping frequently. Other risk factors include:

Diagnosis and Treatment of Stress Fractures

If you believe you have a stress fracture, your doctor will examine the area of pain for bruising or swelling. You’ll also likely walk around the office so the doctor can determine whether the pain is causing you to modify your gait. If the medical provider believes you have a stress fracture, they will order x-rays or an MRI to confirm.

Here’s the part we know most athletes will have an issue with: If you do indeed have a stress fracture, you will need to take time off from the sport that caused the injury. It doesn’t matter if you have a race or competition coming up. Take a deep breath, accept that you’ll likely have to miss it, and get comfortable with resting a lot more often than you’re used to. If the injury is severe or if you’re an elite athlete whose livelihood depends on the sport, your doctor will discuss whether you’re a good candidate for surgery. If surgery is not necessary, you may have to use crutches to keep weight off the limb while it heals. You can also ice the injury for 15 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day. If the pain is constant, talk with your medical provider about taking ibuprofen.

Complications of Stress Fractures

Ignoring medical advice regarding a stress fracture could result in an aggravated injury, long-term chronic pain, and a higher likelihood of additional fractures.

Additionally, while a stress fracture may heal on its own without treatment, it could result in malunion. This means that the bone doesn’t align correctly when it heals. As a result, the limb could end up shorter than it was prior to the injury. It could also lead to cartilage breakdown if the injury was located near a joint. This increases the risk of post-traumatic arthritis.

Preventing Stress Fractures

There are several lifestyle changes you can implement to lower your risk of a stress fracture:

1. Be Mindful about Nutrition

Eating the right foods play an important role in bone health. Specifically, you need calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium.

2. Buy Shoes from a Specialty Store

There are several factors that come into play when purchasing the right pair of athletic shoes: Your gait, whether you’re an overpronator, or whether you have flat feet. This is why you need knowledge of the staff at a specialty store.

3. Increase Workout Intensity Gradually

No matter how eager you are to get better at your favorite sport, one way to prevent injuries is to increase the frequency and intensity gradually.

4. Cross Train

Since stress fractures are caused by overuse, changing up your routine gives your bones and muscles a break from the activity you participate in most. This will give them time to recover and be in optimal condition for your next favorite workout. If you’re a runner, go for a swim, ride a bicycle, or do yoga.

5. Lift Weights

Lifting weights will make your muscles stronger. This reduces some of the stress on your bones when you do a repetitive activity.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you think you may have a stress fracture, 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.

Pneumonia

There are several diseases that seem so commonplace, that the average person tends to believe they have a rudimentary understanding of them and how they affect people. Such is often the case with the common cold, the flu, stomach “bugs”, and pneumonia. However, failing to understand how certain illnesses can progress can result in dire consequences.

In an effort to shed light on one illness, below is an overview of pneumonia: What, exactly, is it? What are the symptoms? How can you treat it?

While our aim is to educate our readers, always seek medical attention when you believe your health has been compromised.

What Is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a lung infection that’s caused by a virus (viral pneumonia) or bacteria (bacterial pneumonia).

Viral Pneumonia is caused by a recent bout with influenza or an upper respiratory virus.

Bacterial Pneumonia is commonly caused by a bacteria called streptococcus or “strep” throat.

When the infection reaches air sac located inside the lungs, they become inflamed, causing the lungs to fill with fluid. As a result, a patient has difficulty breathing and coughs up phlegm. It is spread in droplets from the infected patient’s coughing, sneezing, or breathing, or by touching infected surfaces.

While an otherwise healthy patient could recover within three weeks of contagion, a patient with a weak immune system or who fails to seek medical attention could experience complications; which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Symptoms of pneumonia vary and can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of infection, the age of the patient, and the patient’s medical history. The most common signs of the illness include:

  • Coughing
  • Phlegm
  • Chest pain when coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Pneumonia Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery Time

To diagnose pneumonia, your doctor will examine your lungs and breathing patterns with a stethoscope. If there are any abnormal sounds during this exam, the doctor will order X-Rays. If the symptoms are severe, the doctor may also order blood tests or take a sample of the fluids in your chest.

Treatment includes antibiotics and rest. Typically, a patient will start to feel better within several days of starting antibiotics.

If antibiotics do not work well, the doctor will likely order a bronchoscopy to look at the air passages with a tiny camera inside the lungs.

If you’re at high risk, your doctor may order a pulse oximetry to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Home Remedies for Pneumonia

Home remedies for pneumonia are straightforward: Take time off from work or school until you feel better. This will promote faster healing and prevent the spread of the illness to other people. Sleep as much as you want including naps throughout the day. Your body needs the rest to fully heal.

In addition, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. This will help loosen the mucus in your lungs.

To alleviate throat discomfort, drink hot tea with honey and lemon.

If you have a fever, place a cool wet cloth on your forehead to lower your body temperature from the outside.

Pneumonia in Children

Pneumonia is most serious in children and older adults (over 65 years of age).

Since small children may not be able to communicate the symptoms, it’s important to recognize the signs of pneumonia:

  • Wheezing when breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Blue hue in lips and fingernails

Pneumonia in the Elderly

In addition to being at risk for being age 65 or older, senior citizens who spend a lot of time in hospitals or who reside in an assisted living community have a higher likelihood of developing pneumonia.

In this sector of the population, pneumonia could be fatal; therefore, time is of the essence when seeking medical treatment.

Become familiarized with the symptoms listed above and be aware that pneumonia in the elderly may also cause confusion or disorientation. If they are coughing, experiencing chest pain, have a fever, and are having a hard time articulating what they want to say see a doctor on an emergency basis.

If the patient already has a series of health ailments, they may require inpatient treatment until fully healed from pneumonia.

Complications from Pneumonia

Patients who are at high-risk, or who fail to seek medical treatment could face the following complications:

  1. Breathing issues. If the condition becomes severe, the patient may need hospitalization for oxygen treatment.
  2. Pleural Effusion. The pleura are thin membranes that line the lungs. They serve as lubrication and make breathing easier. When irritated, they can cause fluid buildup in the lungs. This is known as “pleural effusion” or “water on the lungs”.
  3. Bacteria in the bloodstream. This is known by several names: sepsis, bacteremia, or blood poisoning.

Risk Factors for Developing Pneumonia

Risk factors for developing pneumonia include a weakened immune system due to an underlying medical condition such as HIV, cancer, or a recent bout with the flu.

The probability of developing pneumonia is higher for people with chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Being hospitalized can also increase the chance of becoming infected with pneumonia, due to the substantial amount of germs in the environment.

Pneumonia Prevention

  1. Get vaccinated. Get the vaccine against both influenza and pneumonia. While they may not fully prevent you from getting sick, they can help decrease the length and severity of illness.
  2. Wash your hands regularly. Doorknobs, office telephones, faucets, shared coffee pots, items in shared lounges and kitchens are all teeming with germs. Wash your hands regularly throughout the day to prevent bacteria from entering your system.
  3. Strengthen your immune system. You can do this by sleeping welleating healthyregular exercise, and reducing stress.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you think you may have pneumonia, 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.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Did you know that one out of every four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease? It’s a sobering statistic that showcases the pandemic proportions of this malady. It’s also an urgent reminder to (a) learn to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, and (b) be proactive about incorporating healthy lifestyle changes to lower the likelihood of suffering a heart attack.

What Is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is obstructed. The blockage is caused by a buildup of fat deposits, cholesterol, and plaque buildup inside the arteries that provide blood to the heart.

The longer the blockage remains, the larger the extent of damage to the heart, which can range from permanent damage to death.

Other causes of a heart attack include significant amounts of stress or physical exertion since both can cause the arteries to contract, restricting blood flow.

Risk Factors of a Heart Attack

There are many factors that increase the risk of a heart attack:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Having suffered a previous heart attack
  • Autoimmune disorders

While there are some things that are out of a patient’s control if they suffer from an autoimmune disease, many of the risk factors are directly related to lifestyle choices. Therefore, by incorporating exercise into your daily routine, opting for healthier food choices, and quitting smoking, you can significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack.

7 Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

While some heart attacks are sudden, there are many instances when a patient feels symptoms gradually. If you experience any of the signs below, call 911 immediately. It’s better to have a false alarm than to wait it out and risk death. Call for help even if you feel like you’re alert enough to drive. Symptoms could worsen on the way to the hospital, and you’d be putting your life and the lives of other motorists at risk.

1. Shortness of Breath

This is one of the earliest signs and can sometimes start weeks before a heart attack. If you’re suddenly feeling fatigued or exhausted despite the fact that there’s been no increase in your level of physical activity, this is cause for concern.

2. Chest Pain

It could range from mild discomfort to actual pain. It can feel like your chest is being squeezed or like there’s pressure or weight on it. The pain or discomfort can appear for a while, disappear, and return several hours later. Some people don’t experience chest pain at all.

3. Jaw Pain

A person who’s experiencing a heart attack often feels jaw pain that radiates to the teeth, neck, back, and down the left arm.

4. Pain in the Lower Abdomen

This symptom is more common in women.

5. Lightheadedness

This feeling is exacerbated when standing up.

6. Cold Sweat

This is due to the body working in overdrive trying to deliver adequate blood flow and oxygen to the heart.

7. Nausea

Keep in mind that not everyone experiences this symptom.

Something else to consider is that even though taking aspirin could help prevent your blood from clotting, doing so could interfere with other medications you’re taking; so let your doctor know if you’re taking prescription medications.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 for an immediate lifeline!  If you have questions, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help and can provide the care you need, 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.

ACL vs MCL Tear

The knees are such an integral part of the body. From routine activities, such as driving and walking, to more demanding movements, such as playing sports, they allow us to live life fully. When one of them is injured, the limitations on what you can do are many.

Two of the most common knee issues involve torn ligaments; specifically the ACL and the MCL. Yet, unless you work within the medical field, it can be confusing as to which is which and how to treat them. In aims of helping you better understand the anatomy of your knees, below is a basic analysis of the differences between an ACL and an MCL tear.

Overview of Knee Anatomy

The human knee is composed of the femur (the thigh bone), the tibia (the shin bone), and the patella (the round part of the knee). All these bones are held in place by several ligaments. These include the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL).

The ACL runs diagonally in the front of the knees, connecting the femur to the tibia. Due to its location, it’s the knee ligament that’s most prone to injury.

The MCL is located on the inner sides of your knees. They are most likely to tear when a person receives a hard blow to the outside of the knee.

Which Is Worse: An ACL or an MCL tear?

Both types of injuries are painful, and since ligaments are meant to provide joint stability, either type of injury will impair a person’s mobility. The limitations vary depending on which ligament was injured. However, while both cause a lot of discomfort, technically speaking, an ACL tear could be considered as worse, since it may require surgery to fully heal.  On the other hand, a minor MCL tear can heal on its own.

ACL Tear: It’s common for a person to actually hear a popping sound when he or she tears an ACL. They will also experience an immediate shooting pain. If the ligament is completely severed, the person won’t be able to place their full body weight on the knee, since the joint becomes unstable.

In addition, a person with a torn ACL will see the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Knee gives out
  • Inability to extend the injured leg

MCL Tear: When a person injures their MCL, they will experience similar symptoms as to those of an ACL tear. However, in addition to the shooting pain, swelling, and inability to carry the body weight, the person will also feel like they have a locked knee.

How To Tell The Difference Between an ACL and an MCL Injury?

If the pain is on the inside of the knee, the injury is likely an MCL tear. However, since the symptoms are so similar, always seek medical attention as soon as possible to rule out additional injury and to obtain adequate treatment.

Common Activities That Lead to Torn Ligaments

ACL tears tend to occur when a person does a sudden movement, such as changing directions quickly, landing from a jump incorrectly, or suddenly stopping.

MCL injuries are more common due to a strong impact or force to the knee. This injury is particularly prominent in the following contact sports:

  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Rugby
  • Basketball

Can You Walk on a Torn ACL or MCL?

Either type of injury will limit a person’s range of motion. If the injury is severe enough, the person will feel instability of the knee, which makes walking difficult. And if the ligament is completely torn, the person will not be able to walk until the injury heals.

ACL Tear and MCL Tear Treatment and Healing Time

For an ACL Tear: Treatment for an ACL tear will vary on two main factors: (a) The severity of the injury, and (b) the patient’s lifestyle. For minor injuries or for a person who has either a sedentary lifestyle or low activity level, conservative treatment such as physical therapy may suffice. However, an athlete and/or someone with a fully torn ligament will need surgery.

For an MCL Tear: Minor MCL injuries heal on their own. Home remedies include icing the injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, resting, wearing a compression sleeve, and keeping the injured leg elevated. While surgery is highly unlikely, you should still go to the doctor for a thorough examination of the injured joint to avoid complications.

ACL Tear and MCL Tear Prevention

While some injuries are hard to prevent, you can lower the likelihood of an ACL tear by warming up and doing stretching exercises before playing sports. Also, stay hydrated and pay close attention to proper nutrition for your sports of preference. This will prevent muscle fatigue and a change in athletic form.

To lower the risk of suffering from an MCL tear, always wear protective gear when playing sports and do strength training exercises so that your leg muscles can take some of the stress placed on the knee joint.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’ve injured a knee, let us help you. 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.

Rupture vs. Tear

If you play any sports, enjoy exercising regularly, or have to do heavy lifting regularly at work, you’re likely very familiar with occasional muscle soreness. You know it comes with the territory, and you’ve likely gotten adept at home remedies to alleviate discomfort.

But what happens when you feel like you’re actually injured? Could it be a rupture? Could it be a tear? What’s the difference between both terms anyway?

Anatomy 101

In order to understand these types of injuries, it helps to have a basic understanding of human anatomy. When speaking about ruptures or tears, the injured body part could refer to either a muscle or a tendon.

A muscle is soft tissue that allows humans to contract and expand different body parts. They allow us to do basic movements, such as getting up, walking, and reaching for objects. They are also essential to maintain a good posture and to provide stability to the joints.

Tendons are flexible fibers that connect our muscles to our bones.

Is it a Rupture or a Tear?

Getting straight to the point: A rupture and a tear are the same thing. When a person suffers from a cut to either a muscle or ligament, they have either ruptured or torn the injured body part.

This type of injury is the result of a sudden body movement.

Symptoms of a Ruptured Muscle or Ligament

Signs of a ruptured muscle or ligament include:

  • A popping sound
  • Sharp pain
  • Swelling
  • Muscle Spasms
  • An inability to carry your body weight if the injury is to a lower limb
  • If the injury is to a joint, the joint feels loose or unstable

Types of Muscle Tears

There are also different types of tears, depending on the severity of the injury.

Grade I: This type of injury feels mild, and the injured muscle still has most of its regular strength.

Grade II: A grade II injury is often accompanied by swelling and weakness of the injured muscle or ligament.

Grade III: This type of injury occurs when the muscle or ligament is completely ruptured. As a result, the person will experience a full loss of muscle or tendon function.

If the injury is Grade I or II, simple home remedies, such as the RICE Method (rest, icing, compression, and elevation) will help alleviate pain and reduce swelling. A Grade III injury may require surgery as well as physical therapy to slowly regain mobility.

It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes, a person may feel pain due to inflammation or irritation of a tendon (also known as tendinitis). This is a result of overuse. While painful, it’s not a tear.

Common Activities That Cause a Muscle or Tendon Tear

Most sporting activities may cause a muscle or tendon to tear. The movements that are most likely to cause this type of injury include:

  • Sudden pivots
  • Quick side to side movements
  • Running with the wrong type of shoes for your gait
  • Trunk rotation
  • Soccer, swimming, or golfing without an adequate warm-up
  • Falling and landing on the knees

Most Common Types of Muscle or Tendon Tears

The human body has over 600 muscles. This means that there are plenty of body parts that could experience a muscle rupture or tear. However, the most common types of muscle or tendon tears are the following:

Muscle Injury Healing Time

Healing time will depend on the type of injury. If it’s a Grade I trauma, the person will likely heal within one or two weeks. Grade II injuries can take up to two months to heal, while Grade III injuries will require surgery and may take several months before the patient is able to return to their physical activity of choice.

Muscle Tear Prevention

Preventing muscle tears requires easing into activity. Always warm up adequately. If you are into sports, do dynamic stretching prior to working out. If you have to do heavy lifting, make sure to use the proper posture to do so.

In addition, it’s important to ease into more intense workouts. No matter how enthusiastic you may be about a sport or exercise program, increase intensity and duration gradually. Strength training and maintaining a healthy body weight are also important to reduce stress in your muscles and joints.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If are experiencing muscular pain and suspect you may have a rupture or a tear, let us help you. 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.

UTI Dos and Don’ts

Having a urinary tract infection (UTI) can feel brutal. The constant urge to urinate is uncomfortable and disruptive. To add insult to injury, having a burning sensation while peeing can make even the most mundane of acts feel like torture.

What can you do when experiencing a UTI? Is there anything you should avoid in order to make it heal quicker?

What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?

The urinary tract is a system composed of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and the urethra. An infection to any of these components is called as a urinary tract infection.

Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms

Although a UTI can be asymptomatic in some people, those who experience symptoms go through a lot of discomforts, such as:

  • A strong, constant need to urinate
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine

In addition, depending on where in the tract the infection is present, the patient may experience extra symptoms.

UTI Symptoms In the Kidneys

If the infection is located in the kidneys, the signs will also include back pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

UTI Symptoms In the Bladder

If the infection is in the bladder (also known as cystitis), the person will experience pelvic pain, pressure on the lower abdomen, and either red or brown urine, which indicates the presence of blood.

UTI Symptoms In the Urethra

If the infection is in the urethra, the patient also experiences burning while urinating.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infections

UTIs are caused when bacteria enter the urinary tract. This could occur due to several reasons, such as wiping front to back after a bowel movement, having a sexually transmitted disease, or an increased frequency of sexual intercourse.

Additionally, certain lifestyle factors or underlying medical conditions can increase the risk of developing a UTI, as discussed below.

Urinary Tract Infection Risk Factors

While both men and women can experience a urinary tract infection, they are more common in women. The risk is increased if a woman is pregnant. Other factors that increase the likelihood of a UTI include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Stones
  • Incontinence
  • Using a urinary catheter
  • Menopause
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Certain types of contraception
  • Certain types of feminine hygiene products

Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis & Treatment

A UTI can be diagnosed by conducting a urine sample. In most cases, the condition can be cleared by treating it for a couple of days (usually between two or three days). If it’s mild, over-the-counter pain relievers may suffice.

There are also simple home remedies to clear out the urinary tract, such as drinking a lot of water, increasing intake of Vitamin C, and taking a cranberry supplement. If you prefer juice to vitamins, make sure to purchase pure cranberry juice, since the alternative contains a high sugar content which can worsen the condition.

If the infection patient has developed cystitis or a kidney infection, the medical provider will prescribe antibiotics. In the most severe of cases, treatment could last up to several weeks.

Urinary Tract Infection Complications

The most common complication of suffering from a UTI is recurring urinary tract infections.

The most serious complications include permanent kidney damage and sepsis. If the patient is elderly, he or she may also experience an increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, brain inflammation, organ failure, or even death. Therefore, if you or a loved one is of advanced age, seek medical attention for a UTI immediately.

Urinary Tract Infection Prevention

There are several things a person can do to prevent contracting a urinary tract infection:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Urinate after sexual intercourse
  • Avoid using spermicide
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Wipe front to back
  • Decrease caffeine intake
  • Decrease alcohol intake
  • Use menstrual cups, sanitary pads, or period-proof underwear

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you have a urinary tract infection, let us help you. 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.

Pulmonary Embolism

Breathing is one of those things most people take for granted. It’s just something we do. It’s so automatic, it often falls into the background of our consciousness. At the same time, it’s as essential to life as a properly beating heart. So when you start having difficulties breathing, it’s cause for concern.

While there are several conditions that may affect a person’s breathing (such as asthma, bronchitis, or pneumonia), a pulmonary embolism is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases in the United States.

What Is a Pulmonary Embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is the medical term for when there’s an obstruction in a person’s pulmonary arteries. They are often caused by blood clots and can be fatal if left untreated. This is because such blockages can obstruct blood flow to the lungs. As if that weren’t a dire enough possibility, the clot itself can travel to the lungs.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

The signs of a pulmonary embolism can vary greatly from one person to the next. Factors that affect symptoms include the presence of an underlying medical condition, the size of the blood clots, and the location of the clots. That being said, the following signs may be an indication that a person may be suffering from a pulmonary embolism:

  • Chest pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pain that worsens when coughing, eating, or doing physical exercise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Blood in saliva
  • Blood in mucus
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen legs

What Causes Pulmonary Embolism?

The most common cause of a pulmonary embolism are blood clots, which are formed when blood pools in the blood vessels. This  makes it more likely for platelets to stick together.

Artery obstruction may also be caused by fat deposits, air bubbles, amniotic fluid, or a tumor. A fat embolism tends to be more likely after fracturing one of the body’s major bones, while air bubbles are likely if there is too much carbon dioxide in the blood.

Cigarette smoke is the most common cause for an increase of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Other causes include kidney disorders, issues with the body’s adrenal glands, or complications of diabetes.

Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis & Treatment

A medical provider will examine your legs to look for signs of swelling and tenderness. In addition, the patient will undergo blood testing to measure the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Other possible tests include X-rays, an MRI, an echocardiogram, or a pulmonary angiography to determine how blood is flowing to the lungs.

The most common treatment for a pulmonary embolism is to prescribe blood thinners. These are essential to keep the body from producing additional clots and to prevent existing clots from getting larger.

A doctor may also recommend oxygen therapy, which can be administered either at a hospital or at the patient’s home.

Pulmonary Embolism Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that could increase the likelihood of developing a pulmonary embolism. The most common ones include:

  • Having a history of blood clots
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle
  • Long periods of inactivity
  • Undergoing surgery
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer; especially if it has metastasized

Complications of a Pulmonary Embolism

If the patient is prescribed blood thinners, it’s important to keep in mind that one of the side effects may include internal bleeding. This is why it’s crucial to follow all instructions.

As for the condition itself, the worst complications of a pulmonary embolism are the death of lung tissue (pulmonary or lung infarction), cardiac arrest (when a person’s heart stops beating), arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), or pleural effusion (when lungs fill up with fluid). This is why it’s crucial to seek medical care at the first sign of difficulties breathing.

Pulmonary Embolism Prevention

As with many other medical conditions, preventing a pulmonary embolism requires long-term lifestyle changes, such as incorporating regular exercise into the patient’s schedule. This may be low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming.

Staying hydrated and eating healthy is also essential to prevent blood clots from forming. This includes dark leafy greens, limiting animal fats (such as red meat, chicken skin, cow’s milk, cheese, butter, lard, or tallow), and adding certain spices such as turmeric and ginger to your meals.

If you’ve suffered from blood clots of the extremities before, wearing compression sleeves or socks around the affected areas will help your body reduce pooled blood.

Finally, if you’re a smoker, now would be an excellent time to stop. In addition to the long list of health ailments caused by tobacco, smoking also increases the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you have a history of blood clots or believe that you may have a pulmonary embolism, let us help you. 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.