Identifying Signs of a Broken Bone or Fracture

Sometimes it can be unclear whether your injury is severe or not; that’s why Complete Care created this guide to identifying the signs of a broken bone or fracture. But before we even begin, it’s important to note that fractures and bone breaks are not actually two different things: a fractured bone is a broken bone

A fracture alludes to any loss of continuity of the bone, whether it’s a hairline crack or a fully shattered bone. Again, both terms are used interchangeably, but your doctor might be more likely to refer to your injury as a fracture. 

It may seem unusual, but oftentimes, broken bones and fractures can go unnoticed or even be written off as lesser injuries. Ever been told to “walk it off?” Well, these injuries usually cannot be “walked off.” If you experience any of the signs of a broken bone discussed below, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Here at Complete Care, our emergency facilities cater to broken bones and fractures without the long wait times of a traditional hospital, so you can be treated within minutes, not hours.

How can you tell if a bone is fractured or sprained? 

Though there is no difference between a fracture and a break, there is a difference between a fracture and a sprain. A sprain is an injury, usually a tear, to the ligaments that attach the bones together. Regardless, both injuries deserve medical attention. 

Common signs of a sprain include:

  • Pain
  • Bruising, swelling, and tenderness around the injured area
  • Additional pain when pressure is applied 

The most common signs of a broken bone/fracture are:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness 
  • Swelling
  • Deformity 
  • Inability to move 
  • Protruding bone 

Can you fracture a bone and not know it? Actually, yes. In some cases, fractures can be minor accidents that go unnoticed. Here are common ways to tell if you have fractured a bone upon injury: 

  • The area looks deformed: This is the best indication that a fracture has occurred. If a limb bends in a way it is not supposed to, the bone may be out of alignment. 
  • You hear a snapping sound
  • There is bruising, tenderness, or swelling around the area
  • You may feel pain if you put weight on or apply pressure to an area

Types of fractures

The severity of a fracture typically depends on the amount of force applied to cause the break in the bone. These fractures can range from cracks in the bone to the bone shattering into pieces. Your doctor will decide your fracture treatment based on the type of fracture you’ve endured:

  • Stable fracture: The broken ends of the bone align and are only slightly out of place. This type of fracture doesn’t require any type of realignment but can take up to 6 weeks to heal completely.
  • Open, compound fracture: The skin may be ruptured by an impact that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture or by being pierced by the bone. This does not always mean the bone will be visible in the wound. Because this type of fracture is at risk of becoming infected, immediate treatment is necessary. You’ll likely be prescribed antibiotics to fight off infection.
  • Transverse fracture: The break goes in a straight line across the bone. A horizontal fracture line is common in this type of fracture. Transverse fractures can typically be healed with conservative care (bed rest, light walking, etc.) Anti-inflammatory medications can be prescribed to help with swelling.
  • Oblique fracture: An angled pattern or diagonal line is common in this type of fracture. Similar treatment to the transverse fracture can be done with medication and rest. However, in more severe cases, your doctor may need to reset the bone
  • Comminuted fracture: In this kind of fracture, the bone shatters into at least three pieces. This type of fracture will most likely require surgery.

Frequently broken bones

If you’re looks for signs of a broken bone for a particular bone, please also see our guides to  the most common broken bones below: 

Broken Bone? Head to a Complete Care Emergency Room ASAP!

Suffering from a broken bone or fracture? Our Complete Care emergency rooms are fully equipped to handle any broken bone treatment or fracture treatment in a timely manner. We have ER locations in both Texas and Colorado. Whether you have an emergency or just a simple health question, we will take complete care of you.

More Helpful Articles by Complete Care:

How to Spot Signs of an Oncoming Stroke

Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the country, so knowing how to spot signs of an oncoming stroke can save your or a loved one’s life. This article teaches techniques such as the Be FAST stroke assessment for spotting an oncoming stroke and what steps to take when an emergency does strike.

Some of the signs of a stroke discussed in this article are similar to those of a seizure. To better distinguish between a stroke vs. a seizure, read our blog for more information. 

What causes a stroke?

A stroke occurs when there is a disruption of blood flow to the brain causing the brain cells to die. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 19 people died from a stroke in the United States in 2018, making strokes a dangerous medical emergency to be taken seriously.

There are two types of strokes: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. An ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain due to a clot or blockage in the blood vessels. 

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by an accumulation of blood in the skull. As a result, the affected area of the brain will no longer function properly, which can lead to a loss of bodily function. If not treated immediately, your brain can suffer irreversible damage. 

Though strokes commonly affect the elderly, anyone of any age can have a stroke. Factors like your family’s health history and your own health habits can put you at higher risk for having a stroke. 

The faster you treat or take steps to avoid a stroke, the better your chances of being able to maintain a functional lifestyle.

What are the symptoms of pre-stroke? 

A pre-stroke, also known as transient ischemic attacks (TIA), occurs when there is a temporary clot or brief lack of blood flow to the brain. The symptoms of a pre-stroke are very similar to those of a regular stroke –– numbness, slurred speech, dizziness, headaches –– but typically resolve after 24 hours. 

However, because TIAs are one of the most common early signs of stroke, they deserve immediate medical attention. According to the American Stroke Association, about 9-17% of patients who have a TIA have a stroke within 90 days. Other sources state that symptoms can show up as early as seven days before the stroke occurs. Regardless, with strokes, time is always of the essence, so don’t delay seeking medical help.

Those who are more at risk for having a TIA are those who have a cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or those who smoke. The key to preventing a pre-stroke is to live a heart-healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat healthier and stay active 
  • Monitor your blood pressure 
  • Quit smoking

Spot signs using the Be FAST stroke assessment

One technique used to spot the more well-known warning signs of stroke is referred to as the Be FAST stroke assessment. This involves asking the affected person to perform a short series of actions with simple questions to see if they may be suffering from a stroke. Remember, you have to act FAST: 

F – Face is starting to droop downwards: Ask the person to smile and see if one side looks uneven.

A – Arm feels weak with inability to move it: Ask the person to raise both arms and see if one side feels weaker than the other.

S – Speech difficulty or slurring of words: Ask the person to speak a simple sentence and check for any slurring or difficulty pronouncing words.

T – Time to call 911: If any situations above occur, dial 911 immediately.

 

Additional signs of an oncoming stroke

There are other signs of an oncoming stroke to be aware of beyond FAST:

  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Confusion with understanding speech or speaking
  • Trouble walking or keeping balance
  • Severe headaches with no cause 

As mentioned above, if you notice any of these symptoms call 911 immediately or locate your nearest emergency room. A free-standing emergency room is often able to see the patient in a more timely manner than a hospital-based emergency room. 

Deciding between the ER and urgent care? Visit our website to learn about the difference between urgent care and ER.

Visit a Complete Care ER Immediately if You Spot the Signs of an Oncoming Stroke

Now that you have a better grasp on the signs of an oncoming stroke, Complete Care is here to help you or a loved one treat their stroke symptoms fast. Our 24 hr emergency walk-in clinic locations are fully equipped with hospital-grade medical staff and technology to treat any emergency at any time. 

We have ER locations in both Texas and Colorado. To hear why actual patients love our emergency services, peruse through real patients’ Complete Care testimonials. Whether you have an emergency or just a simple health question, we will take complete care of you. 

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Should I Go to the ER for Bleeding During Pregnancy?

At some point or another, many expecting women find themselves wondering, “Should I go to the ER for bleeding during pregnancy?” Frustratingly, the answer to this question is often less straightforward than many women would like. 

That’s because vaginal bleeding during pregnancy can be a sign of miscarriage or other pregnancy problems. But at the same time, bleeding during pregnancy (especially during the first trimester of pregnancy) is fairly common, with 15-25% of women experiencing light bleeding in that time, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

If you are confused about what to do if you start bleeding while pregnant, we have created a straightforward guide about when you should and shouldn’t go to the ER for bleeding during pregnancy. 

Should you decide your situation is an emergency, Complete Care’s 24-hr. emergency walk-in clinics are located across Texas and Colorado. We offer quality, award-winning care with minimal wait times. 

When to see a doctor for spotting during pregnancy: light bleeding

Pregnant women are constantly being told things to worry about while being pregnant. For that reason, we do want to stress that not all bleeding during pregnancy is a sign of an emergency. In other words, the answer to the question, “Should I go to the ER for bleeding during pregnancy?” is not always yes. 

There are many cases when light bleeding during pregnancy is perfectly normal. These include:

  • Egg implantation: When an egg becomes fertilized, it implants into the lining of your uterine wall. Light bleeding may occur after implantation, typically right before or around the same time as when you would expect your period.

  • Hormone changes: Your body experiences a lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy. Some of these changes may light to heavy bleeding (especially the luteal-placental shift, which occurs between weeks 7-9).

  • Bleeding after cervical irritation: Blood flow increases to your cervix during pregnancy, and hormonal shifts can also make your cervical lining more sensitive. Both of these changes make it more likely that you may experience bleeding after cervical irritation caused by sex or even a vaginal ultrasound. 

The bleeding caused by the aforementioned cases will likely be brown and should not be heavy. If you experience light bleeding or spotting (bleeding that does not soak through a pad) for less than 24 hours, this is likely not an emergency. We recommend that you tell your OB-GYN about this bleeding during your next prenatal appointment or, if you are worried, give them a call. 

However, if you experience light bleeding for more than 24 hours, call your OB-GYN within the day and request an appointment. 

Potential emergencies: Heavy bleeding or bleeding with additional symptoms 

Unfortunately, there are times when the answer to, “Should I go to the ER for bleeding during pregnancy?” is yes. If you experience any of the following while pregnant, contact your doctor immediately. They will advise you on whether or not to seek emergency treatment. If you cannot reach your provider, go to your nearest emergency room. 

  • Heavy bleeding: Period-like bleeding or heavier, particularly if you soak through a pad in less than an hour.

  • Bleeding with pain, cramping, fever, or chills: If you experience heavy or light bleeding in addition to pain, cramping, fever, or chills, this may be a sign that there are issues with the pregnancy.

  • Passing tissue: Seek immediate medical attention if you notice tissue in your blood, as this may be a sign of miscarriage. If possible, collect the tissue and bring it with you. 

During the first and second trimester of pregnancy, experiencing the aforementioned symptoms may be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized embryo implants itself outside of the uterus). During the third trimester, experiencing these symptoms may be a sign of miscarriage or placenta abruption (when the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before birth).

Not sure whether to go to the ER or urgent care? See our guide to the difference between urgent care and ER.

FAQ: When should I worry about miscarriage bleeding? 

Miscarriage occurs more than most people know, with an estimated 1 in 8 pregnancies ending in miscarriage. The chances of miscarriage are highest earlier in pregnancy (around 30% during the first week) and fall dramatically (down to 1%) after 14 weeks — roughly the end of your first trimester of pregnancy. To check your chances of miscarriage by week, please see this miscarriage probability chart

When you need to go to the ER during pregnancy, visit Complete Care for quality treatment

If you find yourself having to ask, “Should I go to the ER for bleeding during pregnancy?” the health experts at Complete Care recognize that you may be feeling anxious and afraid. Please know that we are here for you and your family 24/7 to address any emergency health concerns you may have. 

If you can’t get a hold of your OB-GYN or simply aren’t sure if you’re experiencing emergency pregnancy symptoms, give us a call or visit any of our many ER locations in both Texas and Colorado

We are known for our award-winning treatment (just check out our Complete Care testimonials!) and, as a freestanding emergency room, can see most of our patients in a matter of minutes, not hours. 

Simply walk in and let us take complete care of you today. 

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How to Help a Friend with Alcohol Poisoning

Knowing how to help a friend with alcohol poisoning can help save a life. An alcohol overdose –– also known as alcohol poisoning –– occurs when a substantial amount of alcohol is consumed in a short period of time (binge drinking), shutting down vital parts of the brain that control your breathing, heart rate, and body temperature. When this happens, the consequences can be irreversible or even fatal.

Though alcohol poisoning can seem like a common college illness, it can happen to anyone and is incredibly serious. Increased alcohol consumption can be one of the tell-tale signs of stress as a way to relieve those feelings of stress and sadness temporarily. In this article, we’ll be discussing the signs of alcohol poisoning to watch out for and the steps to take on how to help someone with alcohol poisoning.

If you notice a loved one consistently participating in unhealthy alcohol habits such as binge drinking, simply having a conversation about safe drinking can help reduce the risk of an alcohol overdose. 

What is the first thing you should do if you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning? 

Step 1: Seek medical help

Even if you don’t notice any of the common signs of alcohol poisoning listed below, if you suspect someone could be at risk for an alcohol overdose, call 911 immediately. 

Step 2: Do not leave the person alone

An intoxicated individual with potential alcohol poisoning is at serious risk of getting injured or choking. Stay with this person at all times until medical help arrives. Keep in mind that blood alcohol content (BAC) can continue to increase even after alcohol consumption has stopped. Never assume that a person can just “sleep it off” and seek medical help as soon as possible.

Step 3: Provide information

Be prepared to provide information to the medical staff about the patient including:

  • How much alcohol was consumed
  • The type of alcohol
  • The time frame of consumption
  • Any other substances that may have also been taken
  • Patient’s medical history

This way, the respondents will be able to treat the person properly and efficiently. The staff will likely administer oxygen, re-hydration, or other treatments meant to protect the vital organs that may have been damaged –– or are at risk for damage –– due to alcohol poisoning. 

If oral rehydration does not take immediately or isn’t possible, IV fluids for dehydration may be administered at the ER if necessary. 

What are the signs of alcohol poisoning?

Part of knowing how to help a friend with alcohol poisoning is being able to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning. To that end, the most common signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion
  • Low body temperature 
  • Slow or abnormal breathing 
  • Pale/clammy skin
  • The person is not responding, but still conscious 
  • The person is unconscious 
  • Vomiting*

*If your friend is unconscious, lie them on their side to prevent them from choking on their own vomit or inhaling the vomit into their lungs, causing a lung injury. Seek medical help immediately by calling 911 or heading to your nearest emergency room. 

In more serious cases of alcohol poisoning, the person may experience: 

  • Complete inability to breathe 
  • A heart attack 
  • Severe dehydration from excessive fluid loss
  • Choking 
  • Brain damage or death 

Complete Care is Open 24/7 for All of Life’s Dangerous Emergencies

Now that you’re informed on how to help a friend with alcohol poisoning, you can help save a person in need. Complete Care’s emergency facilities are here for you 24/7 for any medical emergency. Our state-of-the-art facilities and award-winning doctors and nurses are well equipped to give patients who are experiencing alcohol poisoning the professional, emergency medical treatment they need. 

We have ER locations in both Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, and Lubbock) and Colorado (Colorado Springs). Whether you have an emergency or just a simple health question, we will take complete care of you.

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Top 6 COVID Vaccine Myths Debunked & Fact Checked

COVID vaccine myths began spreading before the first vaccine was ever administered. While most people disregard some of the more “out-there” conspiracy theories, some COVID vaccine myths sound like they may have a basis in science, which makes them harder to ignore or dismiss. 

The medical professionals at Complete Care have decided to tackle this particular type of myth so that you have the information you need to make the right decisions regarding vaccinations for you and your loved ones.

For basic COVID-19 information, including updates regarding COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients and tips on sending your child to school during COVID, please visit our website or call your closest Complete Care location. 

Myth #1: The COVID vaccine causes infertility

Can the COVID-19 vaccine make me infertile? In short, no. But rumors have been started that might have made you think otherwise.

Myth Origin 1: A March 2021 article written by HealthGuard and published by Encyclopaedia Britannica attributes the start of this myth to a British YouTuber, Zed Phoenix, who claimed, among other things, “that an unnamed source at pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline told him that 61 of the 63 women tested with a COVID-19 vaccine became infertile… ” However,  Phoenix was likely drawing data from a completely unrelated 1989 study on vaccines created to decrease infertility. For a full fact-check report, please see this investigative Reuters article

Myth Origin 2: An article published by Health & Money News with the headline “Head of Pfizer Research: Covid Vaccine is Female Sterilization” began circulating on social media in late 2020. The article states that COVID vaccines contain a spike protein called syncytin-1, a spike protein associated with the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. Investigations have shown, firstly, that the head of Pfizer made no such statement (it was made by a Michael Yeadon, who left the company over a decade ago and who is regularly flagged for spreading misinformation), and also that the spike protein included in the COVID vaccine is very different from syncytin-1. For a full fact-check report, you can check out the AFP Fact Check article or a similar report by Snopes

The facts about COVID-19 vaccine, infertility, and pregnancy:  

  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 affects fertility in males or females. 
  • Women who wish to have children in the future should not be afraid to get the COVID-19 vaccine 
  • The effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on pregnant women are still being actively studied. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines “should not be withheld from pregnant individuals.” For more information, please read ACOG’s extensive Practice Advisory for pregnant and lactating patients.    

Myth #2: The COVID vaccine research was rushed, making the vaccine unsafe

The push to find a vaccine in 2020 was immense, and scientists answered the call. In a sad (but perhaps predictable) twist of fate, however, the relatively quick turnaround of the vaccine made people skeptical of its safety. The news and social media have played on that fear even though all the necessary precautions and required steps were taken to produce today’s vaccines. 

The facts about COVID-19 vaccine safety:

COVID-19 vaccines were not rushed, and they are safe to receive. The speed with which the vaccines were created does not point to “skipped steps” on the part of vaccine developers. Each vaccine was subject to rigorous testing (including thousands of preclinical and clinical trials) before receiving FDA authorization. 

There are reasons why the vaccines’ speedy creation was possible, including the following:

  • The biggest roadblocks for scientific research tend to be funding and lack of public interests/awareness: the unusually high amounts of government funding and public interest invested in the development of these vaccines significantly smoothed the development of the COVID vaccines
  • The methods used to develop the vaccines were already well-established during research toward other vaccines; nobody had to reinvent the wheel to get started on a solution. 
  • The high profile of COVID-19 made it easier for companies to find the volunteers needed for studies and tests 
  • The widespread amount of sick individuals made it easier for researchers to measure the efficacy of their vaccines 

FAQ: Is the COVID vaccine FDA-approved? 

No. But at the time of writing, the 3 major vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) have Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The FDA continues to carefully monitor each vaccine and has been a vocal supporter of their use. You can learn more about the FDA authorization of the vaccines and the FDA’s required vaccine development process on their website. 

Myth #3: The COVID vaccine can cause COVID-19 

Another one of the more prominent COVID vaccine myths is that the COVID vaccines can actually give you COVID-19. This misconception is likely encouraged by the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines. Since the COVID vaccine does not contain a live SARS-CoV-2 virus, the vaccines can’t make you sick with COVID-19

The facts about how the COVID vaccine works: 

  • The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you COVID-19.
  • For a full overview of how the COVID-19 vaccine helps to immunize you from COVID-19, please see this CDC article on “Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work.”
  • Individuals who receive the COVID-19 vaccines may experience side effects such as pain, redness, and swelling near the injection site, and/or fatigue, nausea, chills, headache, muscle pains, and fever. These side effects are good signs that your body is building immunity to COVID-19 and should resolve within a day or two; they are not symptoms of COVID-19.
  • After you receive your shot, your body begins building antibodies to COVID-19 that will help reduce your likelihood of contracting the virus and protect you from getting a serious form of the coronavirus. However, if you were exposed to COVID-19 directly before or after you received the shot, your body may not have had enough time to build up antibodies to effectively fight the disease. You may still get sick. 
  • After you are vaccinated, you will not test positive for COVID-19 on a COVID as a result of getting the vaccine. The only reason you would test positive on a COVID test is that you have COVID-19. 

Myth #4: The COVID vaccine will alter your DNA

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the (messenger ribonucleic acid) mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna, including an increasingly popular COVID vaccine myth that mRNA vaccines can alter your DNA. The mRNA in these vaccines does enter your cells, causing the cells to build a protein, which your body then fights by creating antibodies — but the mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, where DNA resides, nor does it interact with your DNA at all.    

The facts about COVID vaccines and your DNA:

  • mRNA vaccines cannot and do not alter your DNA.
  • Please visit the CDC’s website for more information on how mRNA vaccines work.

Myth #5: You won’t need to wear a mask after receiving a COVID vaccine

After over a year of wearing masks, isolating, and quarantining, it’s natural to want everything to go back to normal. Unfortunately, the idea that you don’t need to wear a mask after receiving a vaccine is yet another COVID vaccine myth. For the time being, everyone — including individuals who have been vaccinated — is strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks as a means of protecting the more vulnerable members of our society. 

The facts about mask-wearing after immunization:

  • While we know that individuals who have been vaccinated are less likely to get a serious case of COVID-19, scientists are still learning about immunity after the COVID vaccine. 
    • For example, you may be wondering, “Can you still spread COVID with the vaccine?” But the extent to which the COVID vaccine helps prevent the spread of COVID is not yet fully understood. 
  • Since science still has much to learn regarding the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in regards to COVID variants, how long the vaccine protects individuals, etc., it is best to continue practicing standard pandemic safety measures when meeting with unvaccinated individuals or going out in public. These include: 
    • Wearing masks
    • Avoiding large groups
    • Standing at least 6 ft. apart
    • Regularly washing your hands. 

Myth #6: You don’t need a COVID vaccine if you’ve already had COVID-19

It’s true that if you were previously infected with COVID-19 that your immune system may temporarily be able to protect you from getting infected again — but it’s not true that getting infected and/or exposing yourself to future infection is the best way to immunize yourself against COVID-19.

The facts about getting a COVID vaccine after you’ve had COVID-19:

  • A COVID-19 vaccine is currently the best way to protect yourself against future infection. 
  • It is not known how long your body’s natural immune system can protect you from getting infected again via natural immunity.
  • According to the CDC, the risk of severe infection and death outweighs the benefits of natural immunity. 

How to protect yourself from COVID vaccine myths

If you are getting frustrated and confused by the prominence of COVID vaccine myths, there are resources out there that can help. Government bodies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are constantly updating their websites with current information, as well as information combating myths. The College of Staten Island in NY has compiled a list of COVID-19 fact-checking websites. There are also a growing number of applications such as HealthGuard, which purport to flag questionable COVID-19 resources online.

And of course, you can always rely on your Complete Care community for facts and honest answers. Complete Care’s state-of-the-art emergency facilities are open 24/7 and our award-winning doctors are nurses on standby to help you through any medical emergency.  Simply contact us at any of ER locations in both Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, and Lubbock) and Colorado (Colorado Springs).

 

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What to Do When Someone is in Anaphylactic Shock

Whether someone you love has severe allergies and you’re looking for general best safety practices or you are helping someone right now who is in a medical emergency, knowing what to do when someone is in anaphylactic shock can make all the difference. In case you’re reading this blog for the latter reason, let’s jump right to the instructions. 

What is the first aid treatment for anaphylaxis? 

  1. Call 911 immediately or send someone to call 911 immediately; don’t wait to see if the symptoms get better.
  2. Ask if the person has an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, etc.) and if they need help using it. Typically, the autoinjector is pressed into the person’s thigh.
  3. Have the person lay down and elevate their legs; if the person is vomiting, turn them on their side to help prevent choking. If breathing becomes difficult, allow the person to sit up (but not stand).    
  4. Monitor vital signs such as breathing and pulse.
  5. If the person stops breathing, begin CPR. 
  6. If vital signs remain stable, do what you can to keep the person comfortable until the paramedics arrive; loosen tight clothing, cover them with a blanket, etc. 

FAQs with regard to what to do when someone is in anaphylactic shock:

Q: If anaphylactic shock is the result of a bug bite, should I remove the stinger? 

A: Yes, flick out the sting if possible, but do not remove ticks. 

Q: What do you do if someone goes into anaphylactic shock without an EpiPen?

A: Make sure that you’ve called 911. If antihistamines are on-hand, these can be administered and may provide some relief, but antihistamines are never a suitable medication for fully treating anaphylactic shock. 

Q: If the person appears to be getting better, should we still go to the ER? 

A: Yes, almost all cases of anaphylactic shock are cases for when to go to the ER for an allergic reaction. In some cases of anaphylaxis, secondary reactions can occur. 

Q: How can I tell if my child is having an allergic reaction? 

A: Please check the symptoms for allergic reactions below. Especially in young children, individuals in anaphylactic shock may be pale and floppy in addition to other symptoms. 

For more information, please see our article: What to Do if a Child Has an Allergic Reaction

Anaphylactic shock symptoms

The signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction will vary depending on the type of reaction that occurs. For example, mild to moderate allergic reactions may involve swelling of the lips, face, and eyes, hives and welts, congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. 

However, individuals experiencing anaphylaxis — a severe allergic reaction — may or may not experience the above symptoms, but typically do exhibit:

  • Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing 
  • Swelling of the tongue 
  • Swelling and/or tightness in the throat 
  • Wheezing 
  • Persistent cough 
  • Difficulty talking 
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting or collapsing
  • Paleness and floppiness (in young children) 

Keep in mind that there are a wide variety of allergens out there that can trigger allergic reactions; doctors regularly see everything from allergic reaction to bug bites to lactose intolerance symptoms. It’s when the allergic reaction to these allergens becomes severe that an ER trip is necessary. 

Anaphylactic shock treatment at Complete Care 

Whether you know exactly what to do when someone is in anaphylactic shock or have never experienced one of these severe allergic reactions before, it’s critical that the person experiencing anaphylaxis gets emergency medical treatment. 

It is typical for patients who experience these types of reactions to need up to 4 hours of observation. Some patients may require additional adrenaline doses or other types of treatment. 

At Complete Care, our state-of-the-art facilities and award-winning doctors and nurses are well equipped to give patients who are experiencing anaphylactic shock the professional, emergency medical treatment they need. 

We have ER locations in both Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, and Lubbock) and Colorado (Colorado Springs). Whether you have an emergency or just a simple health question, we will take complete care of you.

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Top 10 Most Common Sports Injuries

Common sports injuries can happen to anyone from seasoned athletes to sports lovers, especially children. These injuries can often be treated with rest and pain medication, but some can result in a more intense recovery process. If you do experience any of these sports injuries, monitor your situation and head to the nearest emergency room if necessary. 

What causes sports injuries?

Common sports injuries are usually caused by inadequate stretching or warmups before an activity, not wearing the proper protective gear, improper training, or overtraining. 

Sports injuries can be separated into two categories: acute and chronic injuries

Acute injuries are caused by direct trauma to an area including a fall or a blow. Examples of acute injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, concussions, cuts. These injuries are typically manageable and can be treated at home.

Chronic injuries occur from an injury that has been developing over time, usually from repetitive training. These injuries usually develop from an acute injury that was ignored the first time. If you suspect that you have an injury, it’s best to play it safe and consult a doctor. 

What are the top 10 most common sports injuries?

1. Strains 

Strains are the most common sports injury. When we play sports, our bodies use muscles and tendons that may not move as much as we’re used to during regular activity. A strain occurs when the tissue tears or stretches. The most common muscles to strain are the hamstrings, hip flexors, the groin, the ACL (also known as a tear), and the quads. Luckily, strains are typically minor and heal within a few days, but if you are in severe pain, head to the ER.  

For more information on ACL tears, read our article on the difference between ACL vs. MCL tears.

2. Groin pull

As mentioned above, the groin is a common place to strain. A groin strain is commonly called a groin pull. When there is too much pressure in the muscles surrounding the groin –– the thighs –– the muscles can be overstretched or torn. A groin pull usually occurs in sports that require lots of running and jumping. 

If you do pull your groin, you’ll notice a tenderness in the groin or inside your thigh muscles where it will be hard to close your legs or lift your knees. With a mild tear, you’ll simply feel discomfort with weakened strength. However, more serious strains in the groin can result in severe pain with a loss of function in the muscles due to the severe tear. 

Treatment for a strained groin includes over-the-counter pain medications and icing the injured muscles. 

3. Sprains

Where strains occur in the muscles, sprains occur in the ligaments –– the bands of rough tissue that connect bones together. Sprains often result from landing awkwardly after jumping or from quick, pivotal movements that cause tearing. When a sprain occurs, you’ll likely hear a “pop” noise at the time of the injury and experience painful swelling accompanied with bruising in the injured area. The most common example of a sprain is an ankle sprain, in which the three ligaments on the outside of your ankle tear or stretch due to awkward movement. 

Though immediate medical help is not always needed when a mild sprain occurs, severe sprains may require surgery to repair the fully torn ligaments. 

4. Knee injuries

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 that burden. And when you play sports or do vigorous exercise, it can be even more shocking to the body. The symptoms of a knee injury, including a knee sprain, include:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • A popping sensation
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion

5. Fractures

A fracture is a complete or partial crack in a bone, typically caused by high-force impact in contact sports. Fractures most likely occur after a fall. With a fracture, you’ll notice the pain and swelling right away and likely won’t be able to move the injured area.

There are multiple different types of fractures including:

  • Closed fractures: where the break in the bone doesn’t damage the surrounding tissue or break through the skin 
  • Compound/Open fracture: where the damage does penetrate the skin and the bone is exposed. These are more serious as they’re prone to infection. 
  • Avulsion: where a muscle or ligament pulls on the bone  
  • Comminuted: the bone is shattered into many pieces 
  • Hairline: where the bone is only partially fractured

Our bones are meant to be able to withstand powerful forces of impact, but age can play a factor in that resilience. Children and the elderly are more susceptible to fractures due to their bones being weaker than the average adult. In this case, if you have children who play sports, make sure their organization maintains best practices for safe play during practice and on the court. 

6. Dislocations

A dislocation occurs when a joint is forced out of its normal position, immobilizing the joint. The most common dislocation injuries in sports happen to the shoulders and fingers, usually from a fall. You’ll likely notice the joint will be visibly out of place, swollen, and even discolored. 

Dislocations are most common in high-impact or contact sports like football, gymnastics, hockey, or basketball. After experiencing a dislocation once, you are more susceptible to injuring the area again with even further complications including pulled muscles or nerve damage around the joint. Try to seek medical help right away to start the recovery process.

7. Tennis elbow

Shockingly, you don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow. Tennis elbow, also referred to as golf elbow, occurs when there is repetitive motion in the wrist or arm that causes the tendons in your forearm to strain from being overused. Sports like tennis and golf require the player to use similar motions over and over again while playing that can stress the muscles and form tiny tears on the tendons.  

Tennis elbow can also happen to individuals who have occupations that require them to work vigorously with their hands doing repetitive tasks (like plumbing for example). Thankfully, tennis elbow is not a serious injury; but to avoid it, be sure to take breaks during your activities and pace yourself accordingly. 

8. Shin splints 

Shin splints refer to the pain in the lower legs, specifically the shin bone (tibia), caused by inflammation. Shin splints are most common in joggers, runners, or soccer and basketball players who have to do a lot of stop-and-start running. 

Pain, tenderness, and soreness are clear signs of a shin splint and can be treated with proper stretching and rest at the least. Contact a doctor if you notice the pain persisting for more than a few days and if ice and pain relief medication do not help with the discomfort.

9. Back injuries

Any time you decide to play a sport, you risk the chance of a back injury. Like your knees, your spine takes a fair amount of stress from the amount of physical activity, making back injuries very common amongst athletes and avid exercisers. Injuries occur when inflammation accumulates around the vertebrae and back muscles, which can injure the discs in your upper and lower back. 

About 90% of acute back injuries heal in under three months, but more severe cases may often require surgery and a more intense recovery process. Seek medical help if the pain travels down to the legs, the pain persists for more than two months, or you notice any changes in bowel movements or your balance. 

10. Concussions

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that impacts your brain function and affects your memory, balance, and coordination. A violent blow to the head can cause your brain to suddenly move back and forth inside the brain and hit the walls of your skull –– this intense motion is what causes the injury. Concussions are most common in contact sports like football or soccer.

Some of the symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Forgetfulness 

Though mild concussion symptoms can go away in one or two days, continue to monitor the injured party to see if any more issues occur. More serious concussions can cause someone to lose consciousness. If you or the injured party loses consciousness for more than 30 seconds, has persistent headaches or vomiting over the next few days, seek medical care immediately. 

The long-term effects of concussions are still being studied, but all signs point to repeated concussions causing health issues in the future

What sports cause the most injuries?

Basketball, to most people’s surprise, is the sport that causes the most injuries followed by soccer, football, and baseball –– all high-contact sports. Now, just because a sport has a higher injury rate doesn’t mean you have to avoid playing the sport. Be sure you’re taking all of the necessary precautions if you decide to participate. 

For more information on preventing certain sports injuries, check out our articles on winter sports injuries, gymnastics injuries, and trampoline injuries 

How to prevent common sports injuries

Though we can’t predict when common sports injuries will occur, we can do our best to prevent them. Most injuries occur because our bodies aren’t quite ready for the amount of stress playing a sport puts on our muscles. If you follow these tips below, you will be more prepared to play your favorite sports and less likely to get injured.

Here are some best practices to avoid an injury while playing sports:

  • Wear the proper protective gear (shin guards, helmets, padding, etc.)
  • Warm up and stretch before participating in any sport
  • Strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility 
  • Stop playing if you feel an injury 
  • See a doctor if you feel an injury getting worse 

Whether you’re an athlete or simply love playing sports, these tips are crucial to helping you avoid injury. If you are an athlete, be sure to follow a daily stretch routine as well as our athlete nutrition tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Visit Complete Care’s Emergency Facilities for Treatment of Sports Injuries

Though most common sports injuries can be treated at home, more serious injuries need to be handled with care. At Complete Care’s emergency facilities, we treat all of our patients like star athletes, meaning you’ll be seen within minutes, not hours. Under our care, you’ll be in, out, and back to playing your favorite sports. 

We have ER locations in both Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, and Lubbock) and Colorado (Colorado Springs). Whether you have an emergency or just a simple health question, we will take complete care of you.

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What is a Hypertensive Crisis?

What is a hypertensive crisis? A hypertensive crisis is a rapid spike in blood pressure (BP) that can result in a stroke. High blood pressure (hypertension) is very common in the United States, affecting one out every three adults. If not monitored properly, it can lead to many different health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, and dementia.  

Learn more about exactly what is a hypertensive crisis and get a stronger understanding of when to get help. 

Hypertensive crisis classification

There are two types of hypertensive crises: hypertensive urgency and hypertensive emergency. Both require immediate medical attention. The biggest differentiator between the two types of hypertensive crisis classification is whether or not there has been damage to your organs. 

Hypertensive urgency

A hypertensive urgency means that your blood pressure has spiked significantly, but there is no organ damage yet. Though your blood pressure could read 180/120, you’re not experiencing the symptoms of a crisis. With a hypertensive urgency, you can wait a few minutes and check your blood pressure again before seeking medical attention. You may be administered some medication, but hospitalization may not be necessary.

Hypertensive emergency

With a hypertensive emergency, you need to seek help fast. An emergency dictates that your BP has reached 180/120 and you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below. This is a sign that there has been organ damage and you should seek medical help immediately. If ignored, hypertensive emergencies can have life-threatening/altering complications.  

Think a hypertensive emergency may actually be a heart attack? Learn how to help someone having a heart attack in our blog. 

What is the most common cause of hypertensive crisis? 

A hypertensive crisis occurs when your blood pressure is extremely high. As seen in the chart below, this is indicated when your systolic BP (the top number) rises above 180 mmHg or a diastolic BP (the bottom number) above 120 mmHg. Physically, this can cause your blood vessels to become damaged and leak blood or fluid, making it harder for the heart to pump blood effectively. And when your heart can’t pump blood to the rest of your body, your organs begin to suffer. For example, the excess fluid could instead leak into your lungs, a phenomenon known as pulmonary edema. 

A hypertensive crisis can also occur if you have experienced the following conditions:

  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke
  • Heart and/or kidney failure 
  • Aorta rupture (your body’s main artery)
  • Neglecting or mixing blood pressure medications* 
  • Chronic hypertension 

*Blood thinners are a medication that can obstruct the blood flow between the veins and arteries in the heart, which can lead to heart attacks. Learn more by reading our article on the dangers of blood thinners.

What is a healthy blood pressure? 

Knowing what is a healthy and unhealthy blood pressure is crucial to understanding when to be concerned and consult a doctor.

A healthy BP is anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80. The number at the top (systolic BP) refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The number at the bottom (diastolic) refers to the pressure when your heart is resting between heartbeats. 

This chart below from the American Heart Association is a great source for knowing where you stand in terms of your blood pressure levels. 

 

When is blood pressure high enough to go to the hospital?

If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of a hypertensive crisis and your blood pressure is elevated to 180/120 or higher, go to the ER immediately for evaluation. For a deeper dive, read our article discussing when to go to the ER for high blood pressure. Delaying diagnosis could be fatal.  

Warning signs of a hypertensive crisis

The common warning signs of a hypertensive crisis include: 

  • Severe chest pain*
  • Severe headache 
  • Blurred vision

These are less common symptoms and are similar to heart attack warning signs:

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Leading an inactive lifestyle 
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

These symptoms are clear signs of organ damage as a result of a hypertensive crisis:

  • Chest and/or back pain
  • Seizures
  • Severe anxiety 
  • Heart failure 
  • Altered consciousness

*If your chest pain persists for more than a couple of hours, this may be an instance of when to go to the ER for chest pain

How do you treat a hypertensive crisis? 

If you experience a hypertensive urgency, your treatment may consist of oral medication designed to reduce your blood pressure.

If your doctor believes there may be organ damage as a result of a hypertensive emergency, he or she will most likely administer tests to check for damage to your vital organs (brain, heart, and lungs). Treatment for a hypertensive emergency will take place in an ER or hospital and may include intravenous therapy or oral medications –– such as sodium nitroprusside –– to quickly stabilize your blood pressure. 

If you do experience a hypertensive crisis, lifestyle adjustments will have to be made. We recommend a heart-healthy, active lifestyle combined with proper blood pressure management and diet as strong preventive measures against hypertensive crisis.

Complete Care Emergency Rooms are here to help during a hypertensive crisis

Now that we’ve discussed what is a hypertensive crisis and its warning signs, you can be more prepared by knowing when to seek medical attention. We understand the severity of a hypertensive crisis and how important it is that you’re examined by a doctor immediately. At Complete Care, you get hospital-quality patient care within minutes, not hours, with no appointment necessary and no surprise billing. 

We have ER locations in both Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, and Lubbock) and Colorado (Colorado Springs). Whether you have an emergency or just a simple health question, we will take complete care of you. 

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How to Help Someone Having a Heart Attack

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unsure what to do when someone is having a heart attack, Complete Care has created this guide for you. In this article we’ll be discussing how to help someone having a heart attack, symptoms and warning signs to look out for, and even what to do when having a heart attack alone. 

If you are helping someone who is in immediate medical crisis, click here to skip to our instructions for heart attack first aid treatment. 

A brief overview of heart attacks 

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked by buildup inside the arteries. If this buildup goes untreated, there is a larger risk of severe damage to the heart muscle or even death. Knowing how to spot a heart attack when it occurs can be key to the recovery process. 

Note that it is crucial to know the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack. With a heart attack, there are a few steps you can take to ease the situation while medical help arrives for the victim, but cardiac arrest requires medical attention immediately. 

How can you tell if someone is having a heart attack? 

Here are some of the common symptoms a person can experience before or while having a heart attack:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Jaw pain 
  • Lower abdomen pain
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting 
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea

Someone experiencing heart attack warning signs can usually feel them hours, days, or weeks before their heart attack occurs. 

Note that a heart attack usually causes chest pain for over 15 minutes. It can begin in the middle of the chest area, then spread to the person’s arms, neck, and jaw. Women, however, usually don’t experience this symptom as a warning sign. If you’re unsure if your chest pain requires medical attention, read our article on when to go to the ER for chest pain.

What is the first aid treatment for heart attack?

Here is what to do when someone is having a heart attack:

  • Call 911: Don’t hesitate, call 911 immediately. If they are able to tell you the name of their primary care physician, phone that doctor also. 
  • Have them chew and swallow an aspirin: Aspirin can help prevent heart attacks for those who have coronary artery diseases and can be useful if someone thinks they’re currently having one. Ignore this step if the person is allergic to aspirin. 
  • Keep the person as calm as possible: The less strain on the heart, the better the recovery process. 
  • If the person is unconscious and not breathing, begin CPR or use an AED:
    • For CPR: 
      •  Lay the person flat on their back, tilt their head back, and open their airway
      • Double-check for breathing listening and feeling for airflow
      • If the individual is not breathing, place one hand on top of the other, interlace your fingers, straighten your arms, and use your body weight to perform compressions below the breastbone (roughly the center of the chest)
      • Perform 30 chest compressions at least 2 inches deep, then provide 2 breaths
      • You should be performing about 100 to 120 compressions a minute.The dispatcher or doctor will take over once they arrive.
    • For AEDs:
      • AEDS are typically located in busy public areas on a visible wall 
      • If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is readily available, turn it on. It will provide you with instructions

Note that CPR compression rate is different for children and infants, but these populations experience heart attacks very rarely. 

What to do when having a heart attack alone 

The steps of what to do to do when having a heart attack alone are very similar to the ones listed above. 

  • Try –– or get someone near you –– to call 911
  • Chew and swallow an aspirin if you have one handy (unless you’re allergic or are advised to refrain from taking it)
  • Try to keep calm as best you can
  • If you’re in your home and conscious, try to unlock and be near your front door so responders can find you easily

Though the internet is littered with home remedies for stopping heart attacks, listen to your doctor for advice on heart attack prevention. You may be at greater risk if you’re an older male, have pre-existing heart conditions, and partake in unhealthy habits like smoking. 

Experiencing a medical emergency? Complete Care can help. 

If you’re still unsure of what to do when someone is having a heart attack, Complete Care is here to help. Our emergency care facilities are open 24/7 and provide hospital-grade care to patients within minutes, not hours, with no appointment necessary and no surprise billing.  

We have ER locations in both Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, and Lubbock) and Colorado (Colorado Springs). 

Visit your nearest Complete Care location today for quick, efficient, patient-centered care today.

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The Difference Between Cardiac Arrest & Heart Attack

Though people tend to use these terms interchangeably, there is a difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack. Cardiac arrest vs. a heart attack can be explained like this: if your body is a house, a heart attack is a plumbing issue while cardiac arrest is an electrical issue. 

Your heart valves (coronary arteries) pump blood to the heart like a pipe system, so if those pipes get clogged and can’t deliver blood, you may be at risk of a heart attack. Whereas your heart has a built-in “electrical” system to keep it beating at a regular pace. When that system “malfunctions” and starts beating at an incredibly fast rate, the heart stops beating altogether and it can no longer pump blood and oxygen to the rest of your body. This results in cardiac arrest. 

Cardiac arrest and heart attacks are both severe heart conditions, but knowing how to spot the symptoms and differences could save a life. 

Why does cardiac arrest occur? 

Cardiac arrest occurs when your heart has a rapid, irregular rhythm (arrhythmia) and stops beating, cutting off all of the blood flow to the rest of your organs. When your heart stops pumping blood to your brain, it can cause you to lose consciousness. 

Cardiac arrest is more likely to affect older people, but if you previously have had a heart attack or have other pre-existing heart conditions including high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you are more susceptible to going into cardiac arrest. Be sure to visit your doctor for routine checkups and preventative screenings. 

Cardiac arrest symptoms

Here are common cardiac arrest symptoms to look out for: 

  • Chest pain*
  • Shortness of breath/wheezing 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sudden collapsing
  • No pulse or breathing 
  • Loss of consciousness

Sudden collapsing, no breathing/pulse, and loss of consciousness are immediate signs of sudden cardiac arrest. If you notice any of these symptoms above, especially ones of sudden cardiac arrest, call 911 or get to an ER as soon as possible. 

*If your chest pain feels intense and seems to last for a long time, consider going to the ER. For more information, read our article When to go to the ER for Chest Pain.

Causes of a heart attack

What causes heart attacks? A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked by buildup inside the arteries. If this buildup goes untreated, there is a larger risk of severe damage to the heart or even death.

Leading a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack, but if you’ve suffered from one in the past, visiting your doctor regularly can help you catch symptoms early before they get too severe. In the event you witness someone showing these symptoms, it’s important to know how to help someone having a heart attack

Heart attack symptoms 

Here are common symptoms of a heart attack to look out for: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Jaw pain 
  • Lower abdomen pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea

Some of these are similar to symptoms of cardiac arrest, but tend to be more easily detected.  These symptoms can usually last for a few days or even a week. Read our blog for a more in-depth look at the heart attack warning signs.  

Which is worse, heart attack or cardiac arrest?

Though both of these conditions are severe and require an immediate trip to the ER, cardiac arrest is more serious. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, brain damage can occur in a matter of minutes due to the lack of oxygen and blood. Symptoms of cardiac arrest can be less easily detected, and if not treated immediately, can be fatal. If you feel you’re experiencing any heart attack symptoms, talk to a doctor. It is better to get a “false alarm” than to risk the possibility of permanent damage to your heart. 

Complete Care is Here for any Heart-Related Emergency

Though there are differences between cardiac arrest and a heart attack, heart-healthy habits are the key to preventing them from happening. For more tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates.

We pour our hearts into emergency care. No matter what day or time, the staff at Complete Care are ready to take care of you. We’re open 24/7 for any questions or concerns you may have regarding your heart health. Visit your nearest Complete Care location today for quick, efficient, patient-centered care today.

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