Knee Sprains

The knees are one of the joints of the body that endure the highest amount of stress. In addition to allowing you to walk, go up and downstairs, and transport heavy items, for every pound of body weight, your knees receive four times the burden. And, when you add high-impact activities — such as jumping, running, and playing sports — the shock levels are increased. Therefore, you should always ease into these types of activities gradually. This ensures a lower risk of injury. But, what happens when you suddenly start feeling pain and discomfort? Is it a strain? How can you recognize this type of injury, and how is it treated?

Anatomy of the Knee

The knees are composed of the femur (the thigh bone), the tibia (the shin bone), and the patella (the ball of the knee). Holding all these bones together are four ligaments:

  1. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which runs from the front to the back of the knees.
  2. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which also runs from front to back, and forms a crisscross with the ACL.
  3. The medial collateral ligament (MCL), which runs along the inside of the knees.
  4. The lateral collateral ligament (LCL), which runs along the outside of the knees.

What is a knee sprain?

A knee sprain occurs when you injure the ligaments around the knee joint. This could be the result of overstretching or tearing. ACL sprains tend to occur more often from playing contact sports — such as basketball or football. PCL injuries are more likely to occur from falling hard on your knees. Meanwhile, MCL and LCL injuries are usually the result of a hard blow to the side of the knees. All of these injuries require care by a medical professional to prevent complications such as chronic pain and arthritis.

Symptoms of a Knee Sprain

The symptoms of a knee sprain will vary depending on which ligament you injured. ACL sprains are usually accompanied by a popping sound and an inability to carry your body weight. A PCL sprain may feel worse if you get down on your knees. If you injured one of the side ligaments — the MCL or LCL — the knee will buckle in the opposite direction from the sprained ligament. This being said, there are common denominators across all injuries. These include:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • A popping sensation
  • Diminished range of motion

It’s also possible to not experience too many symptoms if the sprain is minor. For example, if the sprain only caused overstretching of the ligaments (Grade I sprain), it may take a few hours or even a full day for symptoms to appear. On the other hand, a torn or ripped off ligament  (Grade II or III) will cause you to experience symptoms immediately.

Treating a Knee Sprain

If you’ve injured your knee, seek medical attention as soon as possible — especially if you’re having a hard time putting weight on it or if it’s swollen. Your medical provider will inspect the injured knee and test it for mobility, as well as take x-rays to determine whether the injury is a sprain or a fracture. For a Grade I or II sprain, your doctor will likely recommend pain relievers. Depending on the severity of the injury, these may be over-the-counter or prescribed. The doctor will then order the RICE method:

  1. Rest. Take a break from physical activities for the time period instructed by your doctor. Ask for recommendations about pillow positioning for easier sleep.
  2. Ice. Use an ice pack (or ice wrapped in cloth) for about 20 minutes several times a day. This will help reduce swelling as well as stop inside bleeding.
  3. Compression. You should wear a compression bandage, which can also help reduce swelling. Make sure not to wrap it around too tightly.
  4. Elevation. Keep your knee elevated at heart level as often as possible. This will help reduce swelling and pain. Prop it on pillows or blankets under your ankles.

Grade III sprains will likely require surgery to reattach a torn ligament. Once you heal from the operation, you’ll need physical therapy to strengthen the knee and to regain your full range of motion.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’ve injured your knee and the symptoms are not subsiding, 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.

Is My Thumb Broken or Sprained?

Anyone who’s lived long enough can attest to the fact that hurting your fingers or toes can be an excruciatingly painful experience. For such small body parts, stubbing them will make you yell out in pain. However, in many instances, waiting it out and icing the area will do the trick. But, what happens if you have a more serious injury? What if you’ve sprained or broken your thumb? What are the telltale signs of each type of injury, and what’s the best form of treatment?

Anatomy of a Thumb

The thumb is the finger with the greatest range of motion. It’s composed of the trapezium (at the base of the thumb, closest to the wrist), which connects to the carpometacarpal joint (the joint at the base), then to the first metacarpal (the joint that allows you to bend the joint at its halfway point). Finally, you have the proximal phalanx, which is the tip of the thumb. All of these bones are connected to muscles by ligaments. Whether you sprain or fracture a thumb depends on which part of the finger was injured.

Symptoms of a Sprained Thumb

One of the most common thumb injuries is a sprain — which is what happens when you injure one of the ligaments. This can occur when hitting your thumb forcefully against a hard surface causes the ligaments to get stretched beyond their normal range. Other common causes include playing sports, breaking a fall with outstretched arms, or bending your thumb too far back. There are three types of sprains:

  1. Grade 1 —This is a mild sprain, where the ligaments are stretched but have not experienced any tears.
  2. Grade 2 —This is when there is a partial tear to a ligament. A telltale sign is a limited range of motion.
  3. Grade 3 —This is when the ligament is completely torn or pulled off the bone. To repair, surgical care is necessary.

Symptoms of a sprained thumb can vary in intensity. They often include:

  • Pain and discomfort at the base of the thumb
  • Bruising at the base of the thumb
  • Swelling at the base of the thumb
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness of the thumb, towards the palm of your hand
  • If the ligament is completely torn, the end of the torn ligament may cause a lump on the thumb

Treatment for a Sprained Thumb

If the sprain is minor — you can still move your thumb and the pain and swelling subside with rest — you can use the RICE method at home: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Do not use your hand for two or three days. Ice it for 20 minutes at a time. When doing so, wrap the ice in cloth instead of placing it directly on the skin. Wear an elastic compression bandage, and keep your hand at chest level as often as possible. All of these practices will help minimize swelling.

Symptoms of a Broken Thumb

A fractured thumb can range from a hairline break to bone piercing the skin. If the environment around you was quiet enough when the injury occurred, it’s possible to actually hear the bone-cracking as it breaks. Some of the most common causes of a broken thumb include falling and landing on your thumb, playing sports, a car accident, or excessive twisting. It’s also possible to fracture your thumb if you have a history of bone disease. Symptoms of this type of injury include:

  • Intense pain
  • Immobility of the thumb
  • Deep bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tingling and/or numbness
  • Thumb looks misshapen
  • The thumb may feel cold to the touch

Treatment for a Broken Thumb

If you suspect a broken thumb, do not attempt to treat it exclusively at home. Some types of fractures may require surgery — especially if the injury was at the base of the thumb. In more severe injuries, it may be necessary to install screws to stabilize the thumb. If the injury was on another part of the finger, an orthopedic doctor may have to manipulate the thumb to correctly align bones. You may also need to wear a cast for up to six weeks to ensure proper healing. Depending on the type of injury, you may need physical therapy once the cast is removed — or you’ve healed from surgery — to restore your full range of motion and to strengthen the thumb.

When to go to the ER for a Sprained or Broken Thumb

Seek emergency care if signs of a Grade 3 sprain or a fracture are visible through the skin and/or if you’ve lost your range of motion. A bone fracture will need to be realigned and immobilized by a cast, while a torn ligament will require surgery for reattachment. Failing to do this could lead to complications such as deformity, chronic pain, arthritis, stiffness, and/or permanent disability.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’ve injured your thumb or other small appendage and the symptoms are not subsiding, 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.

When to Go to the ER for Mouth Injuries in Children

Having kids means being on high alert all the time. Why is the house so quiet? What are they up to now? Where did they hide the broom? While being mischievous and adventurous is part of childhood, such antics could also land your kids in the emergency room. What are the most common types of injuries seen in children who visit the ER? And, can some of them be treated at home?

4 Most Common Mouth Injuries in Children

1. Lips

These injuries are very common in children — and, since there are so many blood vessels in the area, they tend to look worse than they are. However, you should always monitor them to prevent infections.

2. Tongue

These can be due to your child biting their tongue while playing or during a fall. If the cut is minor, it will heal on its own. But, if you can see a visible gash and/or a lot of blood, your child will likely need stitches.

3. Teeth

These often happen during falls or playing contact sports. Minimize the risk by getting your child a mouthguard. However, if your child chips or loses a tooth, call their dentist right away.

4. Puncture Wounds

These often happen when a child is running with a pointed object — such as a pen, long toy, or toothbrush. They may cause serious injury on the palate or the back of the throat.

Home Treatment for Minor Mouth Injuries

If the injury is relatively minor, there are things you can do at home to treat it. Also, make sure to monitor the injury to verify whether healing is occurring or whether the injury is getting worse. You may also want to call your child’s pediatrician to describe the injury to ensure home care remedies are adequate.

Once you have your bases covered,  provide comfort for your child. Help them calm down by letting them know you’re there to help them and will make things better. Try not to act too alarmed. This could scare your child. Then, try some of the following:

If the Injury is Outside the Mouth

1. Apply Pressure

If there’s bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes. Wash your hands before doing so.

2. Wash the Injury

Since the injury is outside the mouth, wash it with soap and water. Do so gently and let the water run over the injury for a couple of seconds. Do not scrub.

3. Keep the Injury Clean

After washing it, pat it dry and cover with a topical antibacterial ointment. Do not blow on it to avoid spreading germs into it.

4. Use Cold Compresses

Applying ice to the injured area can help reduce pain and swelling. Do so for 10 minutes at a time, every one to two hours.

If the Injury is Inside the Mouth

1. Rinse the Injury

Have your child rinse their mouth with cold water for several minutes to remove any dirt and foreign particles. They may need to use a toothbrush if dirt has become wedged between their teeth.

2. Give Your Child Something Cold

Provide them with an ice pop or crushed ice to reduce pain and swelling around the injury. If you don’t have any cold treats in the house, give them an ice pack to use to relieve discomfort.

3. Keep the Area Clean

Have your child rinse and gargle with salt water or hydrogen peroxide after every meal. This helps to reduce bacteria and food that can find its way into the wound.

4. Be Mindful of Meals

Do not feed them anything that may cause the injury to sting — such as citrus or spicy foods. You may also want to avoid pointy foods like chips.

When to Go to the ER for a Mouth Injury in a Child

There are certain instances when you should bypass trying to provide relief at home. Take your child to an emergency room immediately if the injury results in any of the following:

  • Bleeding that won’t stop after 10 minutes of applying pressure
  • Large cuts that may require stitches
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe pain
  • There are signs of infection — such as swelling, pus, warmth, and/or fever
  • Can’t fully open or close the mouth
  • Trouble swallowing

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, 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.

COVID-19: A Status Update on the Coronavirus Pandemic

Since March 2020, the entire country has been in a state of confusion about the coronavirus pandemic. Although news coverage originally started back in November 2019, it hadn’t hit our country yet, so it was easy to put it on the back burner. As the virus reached our shores and states started ordering restrictions and lockdowns, it was time to take notice. But, what exactly are concerned citizens supposed to do? Every day, there are new reports — some of them contradicting each other. Some government officials have given the green light to reopen businesses, while health experts are warning about a possible second wave. What is going on? And, how can you stay safe?

Why is COVID-19 so dangerous?

Let’s start with the basics. The term coronavirus refers to several different types of viruses that can affect animals and people. Their name derives from the Latin word corona — or crown. This is due to the spikes all over the surface of the virus.

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The illness is so contagious, that by mid-March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a worldwide pandemic. Soon after, the US declared it to be a national emergency — and currently, the United States has the highest number of cases than any other country in the world.

COVID-19 is dangerous because it may cause severe respiratory tract illnesses. While some people are asymptomatic or only develop symptoms of a common cold, others experience serious breathing difficulties that can result in death. People at higher risk are those who are 65 years of age or older, those who live in long-term care facilities, and those who have underlying medical conditions, including:

  • Moderate to severe asthma
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

People who are immunocompromised — such as those undergoing cancer treatment or have recently received a bone marrow or organ transplant — are also at risk of COVID-19 complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 42.4% of the US population is obese. Similarly, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, about 10.5% of Americans have diabetes — with approximately 7.3 million who are undiagnosed. The totality of these circumstances presents a dire reality for millions of Americans who are already predisposed to health complications.

Facts About Coronavirus

While there is a lot of misinformation, certain facts about COVID-19 have been acknowledged by the World Health Organization and the CDC. These include:

  • Everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Symptoms include a dry cough, fever, and fatigue.
  • COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person.
  • You can become infected by being in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 — close contact is defined as six feet (or two arms’ length).
  • The virus travels in respiratory droplets — from sneezes, coughs, and talking.
  • You can also become infected from touching a surface that has the virus on it, then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
  • There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19.
  • There are no medications licensed for the treatment of COVID-19.
  • Although there have been reports of hydroxychloroquine being helpful, the misuse of the medication can cause serious side effects that may include death.
  • 5G mobile networks do not spread COVID-19.
  • It is possible to recover from COVID-19.

How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

There are several ways to protect yourself and your loved ones to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. These include:

  1. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, for at least 30 seconds. Remember to also wash between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  2. If there’s no soap and water available, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your face afterward, as it can cause irritation.
  3. Avoid touching your face. This is a difficult habit to break, but try to be mindful. Touching an infected surface and then touching your face could expose you.
  4. Always wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food.
  5. Wash your hands more often if you’re taking care of a loved one.
  6. Avoid crowds. Large groups of people make it more difficult to maintain at least six feet of distance between you and the next person.
  7. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so on a tissue or on the crook of your elbow. Throw out the tissue immediately and wash your arm with soap and water.
  8. Self-isolate at the sign of even minor symptoms. Call your healthcare provider for self-care instructions. Going to see your doctor in person exposes others.
  9. Purchase groceries online, if possible. If going to the grocery store, wear a mask, sanitize the cart or basket, and wash your hands thoroughly when you get home.
  10. Wearing gloves won’t protect you — as you can spread the virus from touching an infected surface, then touching your face. Keep washing your hands regularly.

What is Complete Care doing to protect you?

At Complete Care, we understand the worry that comes from having to visit an emergency room. However, this doesn’t eliminate the need to seek immediate medical attention when you’re not feeling well or if you’ve been injured. Although we have always prioritized sanitizing our facilities to ensure patient safety, we have implemented more stringent precautions to protect you and our staff during this pandemic. Some of our new policies include:

  • Thorough cleaning and sanitizing of our locations multiple times throughout the day
  • Short wait times to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Requiring patients with respiratory illnesses to wear a mask
  • Limiting family members from entering to reduce traffic
  • Patients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are required to call from their car to allow staff to put on protective equipment and guide them through a separate entrance
  • Anyone suspected of having COVID-19 is placed in specially designated rooms for further evaluation

In addition, we have always offered financial assistance to patients who are uninsured or underinsured. This is especially crucial in moments like these when so many people have lost their jobs or are receiving a reduced income. If this is your case, tell our team members at the front desk. You will be given a form to fill out, and in most cases, we are able to provide discounts.

Resources for More Information about Coronavirus

CDC

World Health Organization (WHO)

Texas Department of Health & Human Services

Broken Collarbone

May 2020 Update: In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, we know that people continue to need immediate medical attention for unrelated injuries and illnesses. As your neighborhood emergency room, we want you to know that your safety and well-being are top priorities for us. Armed with the area’s best emergency room physicians, we are open 24/7 for all of your emergency medical needs. We recognize the apprehension that many people have when visiting an emergency room for care. We want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to protect our patients and our staff. We have implemented strict protocols surrounding the use of protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitizing. Our wait times, as always, are minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

When you hear about bone fractures, it’s common for the first images to come to mind being of someone wearing a cast on an arm or a leg. And, while those injuries are prevalent, it’s also possible to break the collarbone — especially during a car accident or while playing contact sports. Yet, it’s common for people to wait things out to see if the pain will subside. How do you know if you’ve broken your collarbone? How is it treated? And, what’s the recovery time?

Overview of Collarbone Fractures

The clavicle — or collarbone — is a thin, long bone that connects your shoulder blades to your sternum (breastbone). Fractures on this bone can occur in three different areas:

  1. The third portion that’s closest to the breastbone. They usually occur by a hard blow directly to the chest.
  2. The middle portion. This type of fracture occurs when you fall on an outstretched arm, or by direct impact to this area of the bone.
  3. The portion that’s closest to the shoulder. This type of fracture usually occurs when you have a hard blow to the side or top of the shoulder.

Common Causes of a Broken Collarbone

Any type of hard blow can cause a broken clavicle — falling on your side or breaking a fall with your arms, being tackled, playing rugby, or being involved in a car crash. It’s a very common type of injury — especially in children, teenagers, and young adults. It is also possible for a baby to experience a broken collarbone during childbirth.

Symptoms of a Broken Collarbone

The symptoms of a broken collarbone are hard to miss. They may vary depending on the severity of the injury, but the most common ones include:

  • Intense pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising that can spread along the entire collarbone
  • Difficulty moving your shoulder and arm
  • A grinding sensation when you attempt to move your arm
  • A visible bulge at the site of injury

In the most severe injuries, it’s possible for the broken bone to impact nearby blood vessels, nerves, or your lungs. In very rare instances, you’d be able to see a portion of the bone piercing the skin.

Diagnosis and Treatment for a Broken Collarbone

Your doctor will examine the collarbone, shoulder, and chest for signs of deformity and bruising. While doing so, they will press lightly on different areas of the skin to determine if there are any loose bone fragments. They will also listen to your breathing through a stethoscope to find out whether the injury has damaged your lungs. After this physical examination, you’ll need x-rays to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment will depend on the extent of the injury. If the bone sections are widely separated, your doctor will carefully manipulate them to get them back into their original position. If this is necessary, you’ll receive numbing medications to ease the pain and relax the muscles around the clavicle. Once realigned, you’ll have to wear a bandage around your injured shoulder to support it until you fully heal — a process that could take between six and eight weeks. Once the bandage is removed, you’ll undergo physical therapy to regain your full range of motion. In a worst-case scenario, you may need surgery to realign the broken bones and hold them in place with screws.

If the injury was relatively minor — such as a crack on the bone — it may heal with anti-inflammatory pain relievers, resting, and icing the injury. You’ll also likely need physical therapy to ensure you maintain your range of motion.

Complications of a Broken Collarbone

Most collarbone fractures deal without any issues. However, always seek emergency medical attention to lower the risk of possible complications. These include:

  1. Damage to nearby nerves or blood vessels. Symptoms include tingling or numbness in your arm and/or hand.
  2. Bony lump. This can sometimes occur during the healing process where the cracked bone joins together.
  3. Shortened bone. This could occur when there is an inadequate union of the broken sections of the collarbone.
  4. Post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Any type of traumatic injury to the bone could increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, 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.

Common Grilling Injuries

May 2020 Update: In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, we know that people continue to need immediate medical attention for unrelated injuries and illnesses. As your neighborhood emergency room, we want you to know that your safety and well-being are top priorities for us. Armed with the area’s best emergency room physicians, we are open 24/7 for all of your emergency medical needs. We recognize the apprehension that many people have when visiting an emergency room for care. We want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to protect our patients and our staff. We have implemented strict protocols surrounding the use of protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitizing. Our wait times, as always, are minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

One of the best parts of summer — and something that’s as American as apple pie — is getting together with friends and family for a cookout. Whether it’s at a park or by your pool, you get great food, loved ones, good music, and cocktails or other beverages. However, these idyllic comments can sometimes result in grilling injuries. What are the most common ones? And, how can you treat them?

What are the most common grilling injuries?

1. Burns

This includes burning your skin, flash burns from adding starter fluid after igniting the grill, and from an accumulation of grease — which is highly flammable. To lower the risk, add fluid before turning on the grill, and place the grill away from where there’s a high traffic of people — especially children. And, when you’re done grilling, wait until the coals are cool before cleaning up.

What to do if you get burned: If the burn is minor — meaning there is only reddening and small blisters — place the burned body part in cold water. This will help reduce the swelling. Do not apply ice directly on the skin, as this could cause freezer burning. Do not pop any blisters. Instead, apply an antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile pad. If you experience a second or third-degree burn, remove clothing close to the burn, cover the burn with a clean pad, and call 911. While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, stay with the burned person and watch for signs of shock — including rapid breathing and pulse, clammy skin, dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and/or a bluish or gray tinge to the lips.

2. Knife Cuts

Lacerations of the skin and cut fingers are common accidents while grilling — and they could happen from either a sharp or a dull knife. To lower the risk use knives only for their intended purposes. Don’t use a butter knife to cut vegetables. Don’t use a steak knife to cut fruit. When chopping items, curl your fingers under. Never use the palm of your hand as a cutting board — even if you’re cutting avocados or something small and you’re using a blunt knife. And always carry a knife with the tip pointing away from you.

What to do if you cut yourself: Clean the wound immediately to prevent infection. Once it’s clean and dry, apply antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile bandage. If the wound won’t stop bleeding even after applying pressure, go to the nearest emergency room.

3. Smoke Inhalation

Smoke contains pollutants and carcinogens. Barbecue smoke — specifically — contains high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which cause respiratory disease, among other health issues. To lower the risk of too much smoke inhalation, grill your food while keeping the hood open. This will prevent an accumulation of smoke from getting trapped in the grill.

What to do if you inhale too much smoke: Symptoms of inhaling too much smoke include headache, shortness of breath, coughing, hoarseness, and/or confusion. If you notice someone may have inhaled too much smoke, take them away from the smoke, and call 911. Monitor the person’s breathing, and start CPR if necessary.

4. Steakhouse Syndrome

Steakhouse syndrome occurs when you swallow food without chewing it adequately — and it gets stuck in your throat. It’s more common when eating solid foods — such as meat. Symptoms include chest pain, gagging, difficulty swallowing, and choking. Lower the risk by chewing your food well. And, if you have an underlying medical condition — such as acid reflux, esophageal stricture, or a hiatal hernia, cut the meat in smaller pieces and focus on chewing it until it’s almost at a puree consistency.

What to do if you experience steakhouse syndrome: Drink a carbonated beverage immediately — the carbon dioxide will help disintegrate the piece of food and help move it down faster. If you still have trouble breathing or are unable to talk, go to the emergency room immediately. If the piece stuck in your throat causes you to choke and restricts your airway entirely, you may need to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

5. Defective Grill

A defective barbecue grill could lead to a long list of injuries — including burns and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is more difficult to lower the risk of this type of accident. After all, when you purchase a product, you expect it to work well. However, a faulty appliance could result in fuel leaks, exploding propane tanks, or fires. Make sure to inspect the grill to ensure the burners aren’t blocked by grease, that none of the hoses are cracked, that the grill is at least 15 feet away from your house, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

What to do if you’re injured by a defective grill: If you experience a minor burn, follow the care instructions specified above. If anyone gets more serious burns or is getting dizzy or nauseous after standing around the grill, quit using the grill immediately, and seek emergency medical care.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, 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.

Lawn Mower Injuries in Children

May 2020 Update: In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, we know that people continue to need immediate medical attention for unrelated injuries and illnesses. As your neighborhood emergency room, we want you to know that your safety and well-being are top priorities for us. Armed with the area’s best emergency room physicians, we are open 24/7 for all of your emergency medical needs. We recognize the apprehension that many people have when visiting an emergency room for care. We want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to protect our patients and our staff. We have implemented strict protocols surrounding the use of protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitizing. Our wait times, as always, are minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Lawn mowers make taking care of the yard a lot easier. And, since they’re so easy to use, it’s common for pre-teens and teenagers to be in charge of mowing the lawn as part of their household chores. While it makes for a practical way for the kids to do their part in your household’s upkeep, it’s important to remember that lawnmowers could be dangerous if not handled properly. What are the most common types of lawnmower injuries? How do you treat them? How do you know if it’s time to seek emergency medical care? And, how can you prevent them in the first place?

Common Types of Lawn Mower Injuries in Children

There are several types of injuries that children could sustain while operating a lawn mower. While they could occur anywhere on the body, the hands and feet are the most vulnerable to these types of injuries. And, they could lead to dangerous complications — including amputations or death. The most common injuries include:

Eye Injuries

These occur when the lawn mower hits an object hidden in the grass — such as stones or other types of debris. This is more prone to happen when visibility is poor — such as tall grass or not enough daylight.

Deep Cuts

The blades of a lawnmower can cause serious damage since they are so sharp and rotate quickly. In addition to cutting skin and damaging soft tissue, they often sever fingers or toes.

Burns

These could occur from the exhaust from a gas-powered lawn mower or from a hot engine. Prior to delegating lawn mowing duties to your child, go over the safety measures included in the instructions manual — including which parts of the mower heat up.

Bone Fractures

The rotating blades of a lawn mower move fast enough to cause bones to break — particularly the smaller bones in hands and feet. They can also cause serious damage to the muscles and ligaments around the bones.

Treatment for Lawn Mower Injuries in Children

If your child gets injured by a lawnmower, always seek emergency care. Failing to do so could lead to disability, diminished range of motion, or bleeding to death.

The first thing to do is to keep them away from additional harm. Make sure the mower is turned off. Then, cover the wound with a bandage or cloth. If it’s still bleeding, apply pressure. If the injury is in their hand or arms, raise their arm above their head to minimize bleeding. If there is a severed finger or toe, look for it in the backyard — you will have to bring it with you to the emergency room. Place the amputated part in a clean bandage or cloth and keep it sealed in a plastic bag. Then place the bag in a container filled with ice. Take your child to the nearest ER. If you can’t move them due to broken bones or too much blood, call 911.

Preventing Lawn Mower Injuries in Children

There are several things you and your family can do to prevent lawn mower injuries in children. The most common preventive actions include:

  1. Removing debris from the lawn. This includes sticks, stones, and toys. Doing so eliminates the risk of having the lawn mower turn them into projectiles that could injure your child.
  2. Having them wear protective eyewear. While removing debris will greatly reduce the risk of injury, having them wear safety goggles will ensure they remain safe in the event of a missed item.
  3. Supervising kids and teens. If your kids are helping out with yard work, don’t assume they’ll take care of it because it’s an easy task. Supervise them several times to ensure they know how to operate the lawnmower.
  4. Keeping small children inside. Make sure the little ones stay indoors while you or any other family member is mowing the lawn. Once you’re done mowing, store the lawn mower in a garage or shed — away from their view — so that they’re not tempted to play with it.
  5. Minding the model you buy. Look for lawn mowers that have a control that makes it automatically stop if the handle is released. This will make it safer for kids or teenagers who are easily distracted.
  6. Taking safety precautions. These include never allowing children to be passengers on riding lawn mowers, wearing closed-toed shoes, never operating a lawn mower in reverse, and waiting until your child is at least 12 years of age — and mature enough — to take over lawn mowing duties. If you own a riding lawn mower, you’ll need to wait until your child weighs enough to keep the seat down.

Related: Most Common Causes of Summer Injuries

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, 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.

Wrist Sprains vs Fractures: How to Tell the Difference

May 2020 Update: In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, we know that people continue to need immediate medical attention for unrelated injuries and illnesses. As your neighborhood emergency room, we want you to know that your safety and well-being are top priorities for us. Armed with the area’s best emergency room physicians, we are open 24/7 for all of your emergency medical needs. We recognize the apprehension that many people have when visiting an emergency room for care. We want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to protect our patients and our staff. We have implemented strict protocols surrounding the use of protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitizing. Our wait times, as always, are minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

When you’re injured, pain can be unbearable. The discomfort could cause even simple tasks — such as walking or brushing your teeth — to require monumental efforts. You may wonder if it will get better if you just wait it out. But, what if it’s something more serious, such as a sprain or a fracture? What are the symptoms of each? And, how can you best treat them?

What is a wrist sprain?

Ligaments are bands of elastic tissue that connect bones together at the joints. They provide stability and limit joint movement. When you sprain your wrist, these ligaments stretch beyond their limit — on some occasions, they may even tear. The sprain could range from mild to severe, depending on the location and intensity of the injury. In fact, there are three different types of wrist sprains:

  1. Grade 1 wrist sprains: These are injuries where the sprain only caused the ligaments to stretch. There’s pain, but you can still move your joint.
  2. Grade 2 wrist sprains: When this type of injury occurs, the ligaments are partially torn — which causes a diminished function of the joint.
  3. Grade 3 wrist sprains: This is when the ligament is completely torn or detached from the bone. When this occurs, you’ll need surgical intervention to fix it.

Symptoms of a Wrist Sprain

Symptoms of a wrist sprain will vary, depending on which type of sprain you’ve experienced. However, you’ll notice:

  • A popping sensation inside the wrist
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • The skin feels warm to the touch

Treating a Wrist Sprain

If the sprain is mild, you can treat it with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Take some downtime and avoid using the injured wrist for a couple of days. When applying ice, do so for 20 minutes at a time. Make sure to cover the ice with a cloth or towel. Placing the ice directly on the skin could cause ice burns.

If the sprain is moderate, seek medical care for closer inspection. You’ll have to immobilize the wrist with a splint for a minimum of a week. Your doctor may also recommend stretching exercises to avoid stiffness.

If the sprain is severe, your doctor will take x-rays to determine the extent of the damage then schedule surgery to reconnect the ligament to the bone. After surgery, you’ll need to do physical therapy to restore the range of motion to your wrist.

What is a wrist fracture?

A fracture is when there’s a crack or break in the bone. It could be a hairline fracture or any type of break — including when bone pierces the skin. They could occur in one or several of the small bones in the wrist, and they often happen when a person extends their hands to break a fall, or while playing contact sports.

It’s crucial to obtain medical care if you’ve suffered a fracture. Failing to do so could lead to complications — such as the bones not healing in proper alignment. As a result, you may end up with a diminished range of motion and/or chronic stiffness. You may also end up with post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of a Wrist Fracture

The severity of your symptoms can vary on the location of your fracture. If you’ve fractured your wrist, you’ll experience the following symptoms:

  • Intense pain that gets worse when attempting to move your wrist
  • Diminished range of motion or inability to move your wrist
  • Significant swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Depending on the severity of the fracture, your wrist may look deformed

Treating a Wrist Fracture

Treating the fracture involves immobilizing it with a cast. Restricting movement is essential to ensure it heals properly. Your doctor will also recommend keeping the wrist at chest level as often as possible, as this reduces pain and swelling. Your medical provider may also recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve pain.

If the fracture was severe, your doctor will need to manually manipulate your wrist to realign the wrist bones. It may be necessary to apply local anesthesia prior to undergoing this procedure. Your doctor may also prescribe opioids to help you manage the pain as you heal. In a worst-case scenario, you may need surgery. This is only necessary if there are loose bone fragments, damage to surrounding tissue, or you need screws to restore functionality to the wrist. If you do need surgery, you’ll also need physical therapy as part of the healing process.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, 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.

Emergency Room IV Fluids for Dehydration

There are several things that come to mind when most people think about dehydration. These may include hot summer days, not drinking enough water, and over-exercising without replenishing electrolytes. But, do you know what happens to the body when it’s dehydrated? And, do you know how to recognize symptoms? When can it be relieved by drinking fluids, and how do you know if you need to go to the Emergency Room?

What is dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than what it needs to function properly. While it’s normal to lose fluids through sweating, spitting, urinating, and bowel movements, the body replaces lost fluids by drinking and eating foods that contain water.

Dehydration can happen to any age group, and it can be the result of not drinking enough water — especially when in hot weather — overexertion, increased urination, severe diarrhea, vomiting, or infections.

People at a higher risk of dehydration include infants and children — since they can’t often tell you when they’re thirsty — as well as people with chronic health conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes or kidney disease. And, if you live in a hot climate and exercise outside, dehydration is more likely if you fail to drink enough fluids.

Signs of Dehydration

While thirst is an indication that your body needs water, experiencing it occurs when you’re already dehydrated. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn to recognize symptoms that you need to increase your water intake. These include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Infrequent urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

When to go to the ER

You should seek immediate medical care if you experience symptoms of severe dehydration. In addition to the symptoms listed above, more serious dehydration cases include the following:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Lack of energy
  • Irritability
  • Poor skin elasticity — if you pinch it, it goes back to its original position slowly

Also, see your doctor if you’ve had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, can’t keep fluids down without vomiting, or if you have bloody or black bowel movements. Failing to do so may lead to complications such as heat stroke, hypovolemic shock, seizures, and/or kidney failure.

If the person experiencing severe dehydration was exercising outside in hot temperatures or has a high fever, seek treatment on an emergency basis. If the body temperature reaches 104 F (40C) or more, it could lead to permanent brain damage — or even death.

Does The Emergency Room give IV fluids?

Yes. Emergency rooms can provide IV fluids for patients experiencing severe dehydration. If you or a loved one are in this situation, an IV treatment will provide relief with the hydration being inserted directly into a vein. By doing so, the fluids, vitamins, and electrolytes go directly into the bloodstream instead of having to wait for your body to metabolize it through the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, vital organs such as the liver and kidneys receive an increased blood supply at a much faster rate.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you are dehydrated, our Emergency Rooms can provide you with the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care Emergency Room 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 Emergency Room location nearest you.

Ankle Sprains vs Fractures: How to Tell the Difference

Living life comes with fun times as well as responsibilities. And, whether you’re doing physically demanding work, participating in a sport that makes you happy, or you suffer an accident — sometimes — those experiences result in injury. But, how can you tell whether you’ve sprained or fractured an ankle? What can you do to treat it? And, is there any way of preventing it from happening again?

Ankle Sprains

Sprained ankles occur when you roll, twist, or turn your ankle suddenly. It can happen when power walking, running, or landing after a jump. If such a movement causes the ligaments that hold the ankle together to stretch or tear, the result is a sprained ankle. Symptoms often include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Inability to put your body weight on the injured ankle
  • Skin discoloration

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether you’ve suffered from a sprain or a fracture. The best way to find out is to go to a doctor for x-rays or an MRI. If the injury is mild, you can treat it at home by wrapping your ankle with an ACE bandage, wearing a brace, using crutches, or elevating your foot when laying down to reduce swelling. Your doctor will also likely recommend taking over-the-counter medications to manage pain. Icing your ankle can also help reduce pain and swelling.

Although sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether you’ve sprained or fractured your ankle, fractures occasionally have telltale signs that differentiate them from sprains. These include:

  • Hearing a cracking sound at the time of injury
  • Feeling numbness or tingling
  • The ankle looking misshapen
  • Pain is directly on your ankle bone

Ankle Fractures

It’s important to note that there are different types of fractures. Generally, when people think of broken bones, the image that comes to mind is the kind of injury that happens after blunt trauma — such as a fall or being hit hard by an object. While these types of injuries exist, one of the most common types of injuries among athletes are stress fractures. There are also instances where a person can experience a pathological fracture.

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is a hairline crack on the bone that occurs as a result of repetitive activities — such as running or jumping. They typically happen when a person increases the intensity of their workouts too soon and/or fails to take time to rest and recover. They occur gradually, and it takes time for a person to notice they are injuring themselves. Symptoms include pain when you start doing your activity of choice, swelling, and skin that feels warm to the touch. A unique characteristic of a stress fracture is that the pain often disappears when you stop doing the activity that caused it in the first place. If your doctor suspects a stress fracture, they will take an X-ray to confirm diagnosis, order rest for a specific timeframe, and recommend using crutches or a boot to prevent putting your entire body weight on your feet.

What is a pathological fracture?

A pathological fracture is one that occurs to a person whose bones are weakened due to an underlying medical condition, such as osteoporosisosteomyelitisosteosarcomaarthritis, or metabolic bone disease. In some cases, the person may not initially realize they have a broken bone, since the symptoms could be confused with those of their medical condition. Typically, the patient will feel numbness or tingling in the injured area, as well as mild to severe pain around the fracture. Although they may sometimes be unavoidable, you can lower the risk by receiving adequate treatment for the underlying condition, avoiding high-intensity activities, wearing supportive shoes or using a cane, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, and exercising on a regular basis — only doing exercises previously approved by your doctor.

Fractures From Blunt Trauma

Fractures from blunt trauma are the type of bone breaks that occur after a hard fall, violent event, or accident. There are several ways a bone can fracture — from a clean break or breaking at an angle to having bone fragments fall off and/or piercing the skin. Treatment depends on the type of fracture. In some cases, the patient only has to wear a cast to immobilize the ankle, while more severe cases require surgery and physical therapy. If the fracture is an avulsion fracture (a break at the site where the bone attaches to a tendon or ligament), your doctor may recommend doing range-of-motion exercises as part of the recovery process.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a strain or sprain, 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.