The Risks of Blood Thinners

There are few things that are as disheartening as finding out that you have a serious health condition. All of a sudden, new rules, medications, and lifestyle modifications become your new normal. And while at some point everything may become second nature, there’s a learning curve while you get used to it. Such is the case when you’re taking blood thinners. You may have a general idea of what they are and what they do, but how else can they impact your life?

What are Blood Thinners?

When you’re injured and experience a cut, platelets in your blood stick to the walls of your blood vessels to form a barrier and prevent you from bleeding to death. However, if these solid clumps of platelets form when they aren’t needed, they can obstruct blood flow within your veins or arteries, which can result in a stroke or heart attack. This is called a blood clot.

To prevent clots from happening, medical providers prescribe medication known as blood thinners (also known as anticoagulants). They can be administered by injection or as pills.

Blood thinners do not make your blood thinner nor break up formed clots. What they do is prevent your blood from forming new clots, as well as slowing down the growth of existing ones.

Reasons for Needing Blood Thinners

There are several types of people who are most likely to benefit from taking blood thinners. These include those who have any of the following in their medical history:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Heart attack
  3. Having to wear a heart valve
  4. Irregular heartbeats
  5. Recent surgery
  6. A history of blood clots in their lungs or legs
  7. Being overweight or obese
  8. Deep Vein Thrombosis
  9. Lupus

Risks of Blood Thinners

Blood thinners have several side effects, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nose bleeds
  • Bleeding gums
  • Heavy periods
  • Excessive bleeding from cuts
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in bowel movements

Due to the increased risk of bleeding, always tell your dentist you’re on blood thinners before undergoing dental cleanings or other oral treatments.

Foods To Limit Or Avoid When You’re On Blood Thinners

There are several foods that may interfere with the effectiveness of blood thinners. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor about any required modifications to your diet. Typically, foods to limit include:

  1. Foods Rich in Vitamin K. These include leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as asparagus and cabbage.
  2. Herbal Supplements. Common herbal supplements taken to help you sleep or as ingredients in tea include chamomile, ginseng, cloves, licorice, and echinacea.
  3. Alcohol. Your liver breaks down both alcohol as well as medications. If you drink while also taking blood thinners, the level of medication in your blood may be higher than it should be as your liver breaks down consumed alcohol.

Do Blood Thinners Increase The Risk of Cancer?

There are different types of blood thinners. Some of them, such as Warfarin, may protect against breast, lung, and prostate cancers. However, studies are somewhat inconclusive and you should not take thinners as a preventive measure, since it could lead to health complications.

When To Go To The ER

Since blood thinners are specifically designed to keep platelets from clumping up, any time you suffer from an injury, you have a higher risk than the average person from experiencing internal bleeding or prolonged bleeding from cuts. Therefore, seek emergency medical attention if you’ve experienced any kind of trauma.

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.

Most Common Causes of Summer Injuries

Summer is typically a time for relaxation. Kids are out of school, so there’s less rushing around in the mornings. There’s less traffic. It’s a time for slowing down, spending more time with loved ones, and enjoying leisurely days by the pool. It’s also the time of year where injuries are most common.

In order to prevent them, it’s good to be aware of what the are and what to do in the event of experiencing them.

The Top 5 Most Common Causes of Summer Injuries

1. Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke

It’s common for people to sweat profusely and feel more tired than usual when out in the sun. Some people with light sensitivity may also get migraines. But if your pulse quickens, you get muscle cramps, get dizzy, or are nauseous, chances are you are experiencing a heat stroke. If such is the case, move inside to an air conditioned room. If that’s not available, move to a shaded area and drink water. Failing to do so could lead to a heat stroke, which could be life-threatening.

2. Food Poisoning

Pools, beaches, barbecues, garden parties… all of them provide plenty of food to keep everyone happy. In many instances, they’re left outside for hours at a time, exposed to direct sunlight. Do this with perishables, and you’re asking for food poisoning. This is because heat causes bacteria to multiply at a much faster rate. The best word of advice is to only leave out items that don’t require refrigeration and only bring out those that do close to meal times. Never leave them exposed to heat for over an hour.

For more tips, check out our article: Food Safety Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning this Summer

3. Boating Accidents

Lakes and beaches are popular destinations during the summer. Between congested waterways, reckless behavior while boating, and a higher increase in alcohol consumption, it’s a recipe for accidents. Drinking and boating can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving.

4. Drownings

Just as with boating accidents, excessive alcohol consumption prior to swimming could lead to swimming injuries or drowning. And due to the social aspect of many summer activities, it’s easy to get distracted for a few minutes… enough time for children to drown. There are several things you can do to try to rescue a drowning person, but always make sure to take the appropriate safety measures to prevent yourself or someone else from being pulled underwater as well.

5. Lawn Mower Accidents

Hot weather means flip flop weather. But if you’re doing yard work like mowing the lawn, wear closed toed shoes for protection. In addition, turn off the blades if you have to cross an area of your yard that doesn’t have grass. Failing to do so could cause small rocks to be shot into your eyes. Also, remember that due to the lawnmower’s loud sounds, it may be possible for you to not hear children or pets playing nearby. Keep them inside while you’re using it.

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.

When to go to the Emergency Room for Dental Pain

In addition to being uncomfortable, dealing with dental pain affects many aspects of your daily life: Being able to brush your teeth, speak, and eat meals. If the pain is significant, it may also affect your sleep. Thankfully, there are plenty of dentists who can help alleviate symptoms, but they’re not always available at a moment’s notice; especially overnight, during a weekend, or over holidays.

How can you tell when dental pain is something you can “tough out” with an Ibuprofen until you can see a dentist in a day or two, and when are your symptoms a sign of a medical emergency?

When to Schedule a Dentist’s Appointment

Emergency rooms are not usually staffed with dentists. Therefore, if you’ve noticed you may have a cavity or have minor pain that can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers, it’s fine to schedule a dentist’s appointment, even if they can’t see you right away.

You can also wait to see a dentist if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold items, or if you have a cracked tooth… unless the crack is resulting in bleeding. If the crack is minor and it does not hurt, you can wait until a dental appointment.

Additionally, if you’ve lost a crown or filling, you can use over-the-counter dental cement to put it back in place until your dentist can see you.

When to go to the Emergency Room

Always visit the emergency room if you’ve experienced any of the following:

  • Trauma to the face
  • Cuts inside your mouth
  • Severe swelling
  • A broken jaw
  • A dislocated jaw
  • An abscess that’s affecting your ability to swallow
  • An untreated infection
  • Pain or swelling that radiates to the neck
  • If the condition is affecting your breathing
  • If you’re an adult and you have a loose tooth or teeth
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Severe pain

Do not try to wait and see if the injury gets better on its own, as left untreated, all of the conditions listed above could lead to life-threatening complications, such as necrosis of the pulpcellulitis, or septic shock.

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.

When to Go to the ER For Your Cough

At some point or another, everyone experiences the common cold. And yes, coughing is as disruptive as it is annoying. Coworkers may stare at you as if you have the plague, and sleep may elude you as you are overcome with coughing fits.

But how do you know if you should ride it out with cough drops and tissues or seek medical attention? To help determine whether you’ll be fine after a couple days of TLC or whether you might have a respiratory infection, let’s review the most common reasons for coughing.

Common Cold

The common cold is an infection that only affects the nose and throat. Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion

It’s relatively harmless and people generally recover within a week.

When to see a doctor for a common cold: See a doctor if symptoms persist for more than 10 days, or if the patient has a fever, ear pain, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

Influenza (the flu)

Influenza is a viral infection that affects both the upper respiratory tract as well as the lungs. Symptoms include:

  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion

When to see a doctor for influenza: While the flu can go away on its own, complications can be life-threatening. Therefore, see a doctor if the patient falls into any of these categories: Weakened immune system, pregnant, younger than five years of age, older than 65, or obese.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is the medical term used when your bronchial tubes become inflamed. It can develop from complications of the common cold or an upper respiratory infection.  A patient with bronchitis will cough up mucus, and the discomfort may last up to 10 days. Other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Phlegm
  • Chest congestion
  • Mild body aches

Once you heal from bronchitis, it’s common to have a lingering cough for several weeks. However, the rest of the symptoms should disappear.

When to see a doctor for bronchitis: See a doctor if the illness is recurring, since chronic bronchitis may be a sign of a more serious infection. Seek medical attention if you have a fever higher than 100.4 F, or if you’re coughing up blood.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to become inflamed. It can range from mild to life-threatening, so it’s important to pay attention to symptoms. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain when coughing
  • Chest pain when taking deep breaths
  • Phlegm
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When to see a doctor for pneumonia: Go to the ER if you have a fever of over 102 F, are coughing up phlegm, or have difficulty breathing. See a doctor immediately if you’re undergoing chemotherapy or have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, such as cancer, lupus, or HIV.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

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

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

The 7 Most Common Sports Injuries

Playing sports is fun and it provides many benefits: discipline, sportsmanship, camaraderie, good health, endorphins, and seeing firsthand how the effort you put in yields results on the field, court, swimming pool, or race course.

That being said, being an athlete comes with the reality of a higher than average risk of injury. This doesn’t mean that you should shy away from sports, it’s simply an announcement to wear appropriate gear and consult a coach on form and how to safely increase your level of activity. This will help you minimize the likelihood of being injured. Note that we wrote minimize; not eliminate. Below is a list of the most common sports injuries and their treatment options. Learn how to recognize symptoms and the importance of taking a break when your body needs it.

The 7 Most Common Sports Injuries & Treatments

1. Concussion

Concussions are traumatic brain injuries that occur when a fall or hard hit causes the brain to move forward and back in a rapid motion. Sometimes, the hit is so severe, the person loses consciousness. However, there are many instances when a person has suffered a concussion and is not aware of it. This is why it’s essential to recognize symptoms: headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sensitivity to light or noise, ringing in the ears, nausea, and confusion, among others.

When a person is diagnosed with a concussion, they have to be monitored for 24 to 48 hours for any behavioral changes, slurred speech, or worsening of symptoms. The patient will also have to take both physical and mental breaks and completely rest for a specific timeframe as ordered by the rendering physician.

2. Shoulder Dislocation

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. When playing contact sports, a hard blow to the shoulder may cause the ball portion of the joint to come out of its socket. When this occurs, the patient will feel intense pain, there will be a bump on the back of the shoulder, and the joint will swell.

To treat it, a doctor will provide sedatives, then maneuver the ball back into its socket. The shoulder will be immobilized with a sling. The medical provider may prescribe muscle relaxers while the shoulder recovers from the trauma. Before returning to the sport of choice, the patient will likely have physical therapy and stretching exercises recommended by the doctor.

3. ACL or MCL Tear

ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament, while MCL stands for Medial Collateral Ligament. They both hold the patella (knee cap) in place. The ACL runs diagonally in front of the knee, while the MCL is located on the inner (medial) side of the knee. Injuring either one is extremely painful and will impair mobility. They both result in swelling, tenderness, an inability to fully extend the leg, and a feeling that the knee will “give out”.

Conservative treatment may include wearing a compression sleeve, icing the injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and keeping the knee elevated. However, an ACL tear may require surgery (especially when the patient is an athlete who wants to return to the playing field), while an MCL tear may heal on its own.

4. Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is the popular term for lateral epicondylitis. Being diagnosed with this condition means that the tendons around the elbows have experienced tears and are inflamed. As a result, the athlete experiences pain on the outside part of the elbow, as well as stiffness, tenderness to the touch, and a burning sensation.

Treatment includes icing the elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and wearing an arm brace. This serves two purposes: keeping the elbow elevated and immobilizing it, which are both necessary to fully heal. The patient may apply cortisone cream to reduce pain, and undergo physical therapy when the medical provider deems it appropriate.

5. Achilles Tendon Tear

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.  When injured, the patient will experience pain, difficulty walking, swelling, and an inability to stand on the toes. This type of injury occurs when there’s a sudden increase in activity, pushing the body too fast without adequate and gradual training, quickly starting and stopping, and not warming up properly before exercise.

If the tear is minor, it’ll heal on its own by simply taking a break from the activity. Over-the-counter ibuprofen should alleviate pain. If the tear is significant, your physician may recommend physical therapy. Surgery is a possibility, yet unlikely and only used as a last resort when conservative treatment doesn’t work.

6. Sprained or Fractured Toe

If your toe is sprained, the injury is to the ligaments around the toe bones. If it’s fractured, a bone is broken. Both types of injury result in pain in the toe. However, a sprain will still allow you to move your toe, while a fracture significantly reduces the range of motion. They both cause throbbing, tenderness, and swelling. If the toe is broken, there will be a burning sensation.

Treating both requires taking time to rest from athletic events. Sprained toes can be treated with home remedies, such as icing the injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to alleviate pain. Meanwhile, a broken toe will require medical attention to prevent complications such as deformity or bone spurs. You may have to wear a cast and use crutches for several weeks.

7. Stress Fractures

Sometimes, a sports injury is not due to a hard fall or hit, but a result of repetitive movement over an extended period of time. Stress fractures are hairline cracks that occur in the bones of the foot. When a person is suffering from this type of injury, they’ll feel pain while doing physical activity; the pain subsides during rest periods. The affected area also feels tender and warm to the touch. Stress fractures can be prevented by wearing adequate shoes for the sport of choice, doing dynamic drills before exercising, and increasing the intensity of workouts in a very gradual manner, to allow the body to get used to the additional stress.

The only way to heal a stress fracture is to take an extended break from the sport. Yes, it’ll set back your endurance and fitness level, but so will competing with an injury.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have suffered a sports injury, 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.

Athlete Nutrition Tips

When you’re an athlete, your entire life revolves around your sport: Your bedtime, how many hours of sleep you get each night, your social calendar, work schedule, the clothes you buy, and the foods you eat.

It’s not just the time right before a game or event that’s important. Training is one thing that will help to ensure your success. However, just as important as the physical component; strength, and endurance, are the foods you use to fuel your body for optimum performance.

But how do you know what to eat? Are there any specific tips that apply to all athletes across the board?

10 Nutrition Tips for Athletes

1. Meal Prep

Most people live in a rush. Going from school to team practice, or from work to networking events, or from the grocery store, to picking the kids up from school, to the dry cleaners, to getting gas… No matter the stage of life, most people move from one item on their “To Do” list to the next. This means that planning ahead is crucial, especially for an athlete. Take some time in the evenings to plan what you’re going to eat the next day and do some meal prepping at home. The last thing you should do is eat fast food from a drive-thru because you feel that it’s the only viable option when you’re crunched for time.

2. Research Your Sport

A person who’s running a 5K has different nutritional needs as they prep for a race than a person who’s training for a marathon. Pace, weather, and duration of athletic activity all pose unique stresses on the body. By the same token, even if you qualify for Boston, Michael Phelps likely needs more calories than you do for another Olympic stint.

3. Eat Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates serve as the main source of fuel for endurance athletes. When you consume carbs, your body processes them and turns them into glucose, then stores them as glycogen in your muscles. When you’re physically exerting, your body turns the glycogen into energy. When engaging in a sporting event that lasts longer than 90 minutes, you’ll need additional carbs to carry you through.

4. If You Don’t Feel Like Eating, Opt for Liquid Nutrition

Spending months training for an athletic event often results in jittery nerves on game/race day. As a result, eating a full breakfast might not sound appealing. If this is the case for you, go for fruit and vegetable smoothies, or yogurt.

5. Don’t Try Anything New On Game/Race Day

Even if you decide to just mix a banana with oat milk in a blender, try this and any options several times during training. The last thing you need on your big day is an upset stomach or a sudden urge for a bathroom break.

6. Avoid Fiber and High-Fat Foods Before an Athletic Event

The former will send you to the restroom, while higher fat options take longer to digest and will slow you down. If you’re having pasta, opt for marinara sauce instead of alfredo or olive oil. If you’re having toast, spread jam or a little bit of peanut butter instead of butter. Skip baked beans, oatmeal, broccoli, fast foods, cheese, and ice cream.

7. Have a Snack

One or two hours before the event, eat a granola bar, half a bagel with peanut butter, or crackers for a last-minute energy store that won’t make your stomach feel heavy.

8. Replenish Glycogen and Fluids During Exercise

No matter how much you carb loaded prior to an event, if you’re out on the field or race course for several hours, you’ll need to replenish glycogen stores as well as electrolytes that were lost during exertion. Failing to do so can lead to decreased performance in a best case scenario, or a long list of health issues in the worst

9. Stay Hydrated

Sweating causes water loss as well as electrolyte loss. If not replenished, you could end up with muscle cramps, dizziness, and a headache. Fluid intake during an athletic event also helps regulate your body temperature, which is essential to stay healthy and to achieve your best performance.

10. Recover

Recovery is as important as fueling for an athletic event. Eating foods rich in protein will help your muscles to recover from the stress of the event. These foods include lean meats, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, potatoes, and rice and beans (together). If you opt for protein shakes, pay attention to the amount of added sugar. Going over the recommended daily amount may defeat the purpose of drinking protein powders for health reasons. Generally, this amount is 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men, but these numbers may vary depending on weight, height, body type, and any pre-existing health conditions. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new diet regimen.

How Many Hours Before a Game or Race Should You Eat?

If the athletic event will take longer than 90 minutes, start adding more carbohydrates to your meals three full days before the event. Keep in mind that while you should eat more carbs, this is not a free-for-all, “eat everything in sight” situation. You can keep eating the same amount of calories you eat on any given day. Just swap some of your usual foods for more carbohydrate-rich options. Aim for 8 to 12 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight (one kilogram equals 2.2 pounds).

On the day of the big game or race, have a meal around three hours before the event, to give your body enough time to digest. If the game or race is very early in the morning, some athletes get up in the middle of the night to fuel and then go back to bed.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you need immediate treatment for a medical condition, 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.

Should I Use Ice or Heat for an Injury?

When you’re injured, you want the pain to stop as soon as possible. Sometimes, that means resting and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory. Those are tried and true at-home remedies that anyone can do at a moment’s notice. But there’s also usually some contradictory information: A well-intentioned friend may recommend icing the injury, while a concerned neighbor may say that applying heat therapy would be best. Which one is it?

When to Use Ice For an Injury

If you’ve experienced an acute injury such as a fall, or were hit by a person or an object, or sprained a muscle, icing the injured body part will reduce pain and prevent swelling. If your injury caused the skin to open, wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth to avoid freeze burns at the injury site.

Anything cold will do: ice inside a bag, a frozen ice therapy pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables straight from the freezer. Keep the area iced for about 10 minutes. If the injury becomes numb before then, you may remove the ice pack. You can repeat the process.

Keep the injured area elevated while icing it. Repeat the process several times throughout the first 48 hours of injury.

When to Use Heat For an Injury

Heat therapy works best for chronic conditions, for instance, muscle soreness after physical activity or from the repetitive movements of job duties. Heat packs also work well for joint pain due to health conditions, such as bursitis. In addition to alleviating soreness and pain, heat can reduce stiffness.

Apply a heating pad for 15 minutes at a time, directly where you feel discomfort. It will stimulate blood flow and relaxation. If you opt for a plug-in heating pad, set an alarm for 10 minutes, in case you fall asleep.

If you have diabetes, consult your physician for instructions regarding heat therapy, since heat can affect your blood sugar level.

Never use heat packs for acute injuries or infected areas, as doing so promotes additional blood flow to the injury and could result in additional damage to the injured tissue.

When to See a Doctor

If you have an injury that requires ice or heat therapy, pain and swelling should subside within the first 24 to 48 hours. If that doesn’t happen, seek medical attention immediately.

If you’ve suffered from an acute injury (such as a fall, car accident, or a blow), inform your doctor to avoid complications such as post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’ve been injured and the pain is not subsiding, 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.

Proper Hydration for Athletes

If you’re an athlete, you know that your hydration needs differ greatly from those of the average person. Routinely participating in vigorous or prolonged physical activity has many benefits (such as improved mood, more energy, better sleep, and greater overall health). However, hydration is just as important as the discipline necessary to excel in your sport of choice.

Whether you’re working on perfecting that breaststroke, hitting that goal pace, or increasing your speed while riding a bike, staying hydrated is an essential element for success.

The Importance of Hydration

When you exercise, your body temperature increases. If not returned to its optimal level, this will interfere with performance. Water helps your body maintain its proper temperature, manage stress and regulate blood pressure. Finally, consuming the proper amount of fluids aids the body in transporting stored sources of energy, such as carbohydrates and other nutrients. In a nutshell, to perform your best, you need adequate hydration.

What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that aid in muscle function and keeping your body hydrated. They include sodium, magnesium, phosphate, bicarbonate, and potassium, among others. They are essential to regulate the body’s pH levels and metabolism. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes. Therefore, if you’re exercising for an extended period of time, plan ahead to replenish both elements. If you exercise in extreme heat, you need to increase water and electrolyte consumption.

When the body has an electrolyte imbalance, a patient will experience dehydration, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If the imbalance is severe, symptoms can include irregular heartbeat, muscle cramping, headache, numbness or tingling of the limbs and/or seizures.

When to Start Hydrating

Proper hydration starts well before you begin exercising. This is because when you start to sweat, your body is losing electrolytes.

How Much to Drink

How much water to drink depends on many factors, such as a person’s height, weight, gender, length of workout, perspiration rate, outside temperature, and environment humidity.

The American Council of Exercise (ACE) recommends the following guidelines:

  • 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before exercise
  • 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
  • 14 to 24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost after exercise

What About Sports Drinks?

If you’re exercising for an hour or less, water will suffice. There’s no need to add additional sugars and calories. However, if your training program requires that you hit the pool, court, field, or the pavement for longer than an hour, sports drinks provide electrolytes that will help reduce the stress on your body and help you to perform at your best. That said, make sure to pay attention to the serving size. A single bottle can contain several servings.

Signs of Dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration include the following:

Complications of Dehydration

Complications of dehydration include a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, seizures, loss of consciousness, and heat stroke. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention immediately.

When to See a Doctor for Dehydration

Seek medical attention if you feel symptoms of dehydration. If you’re in the middle of a race, get off the course and call a friend or family member from a medical tent. It’s important to keep in mind that many of the symptoms of dehydration are similar to hyponatremia (overhydration). This occurs when drinking too much water dilutes the amount of sodium in the body. In the most extreme cases, the condition can be fatal.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you think you are experiencing dehydration, 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.

Concussions (Traumatic Brain Injury)

While no injury is ever welcome, a brain injury takes worrying about trauma to a whole new level. After all, cognitive abilities originate in the brain, as well as memories, the capacity to comprehend simple concepts, and the dexterity needed to live independently.

The brain is not immune to injury, and it’s important to be armed with knowledge about concussions. While some people lose consciousness after experiencing a brain injury, others don’t even realize that their brain suffered trauma. Therefore, it’s crucial to recognize the symptoms. Doing so can help you obtain adequate treatment and prevent irreversible complications.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It occurs when the brain is jolted back and forth too quickly. This sudden movement can create chemical changes and damage to brain cells, blood vessels, and nerves. In some instances, a concussion may also cause the brain to bleed, which can be fatal.

Causes of Concussions

Concussions are caused by a hard blow to the head, as a result of a car crash for example, or violently shaking the head. It’s also possible to experience a traumatic brain injury from a hard blow to the upper body.

Risk Factors for Developing a Concussion

Any activity that could result in injury to the head poses a risk of concussion. Some of the most common risk factors include:

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the injury, signs may be obvious, such as a cut or bruise to the head, followed by any of the symptoms listed below. For some people, symptoms don’t start appearing until several days after the injury.

While some people do not experience any symptoms, those who do could experience them for several days or even weeks. These signs include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in personality
  • Sluggishness

Concussion Signs and Symptoms in Children

When concussions occur in a child, look for the following symptoms:

  • Loss of balance
  • Irritability
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Change in eating patterns
  • Loss of interest in playing and toys

If none are apparent immediately, monitor your child for 24 hours after a head injury to watch for any behavioral changes.

When to See a Doctor for a Concussion

Anything that looks or feels like cause for alarm, usually is. Therefore, if you notice that a loved one who recently experienced a head injury is slurring their speech, vomiting, having seizures, or loses consciousness, seek medical care immediately.

Even if symptoms seem minor (such as a headache or nausea), see a doctor as soon as possible if symptoms do not subside or if they worsen.

If a child is injured, seek medical attention if the child is less than one year old.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Concussions

The doctor will ask detailed questions about the type of injury the patient experienced, as well as evaluate their vision, hearing, speech, coordination, reflexes, and balance.

The doctor will also assess the patient’s ability to concentrate and recall memories, facts, and information. In addition, they will likely order imaging tests, such as X-Rays, CT scan or MRI to confirm diagnosis. There’s a chance that the patient will have to be hospitalized overnight for observation.

Once a concussion has been diagnosed, the patient will require extensive rest to allow the brain time to recover from the injury. This includes both physical and mental respite. The doctor will monitor symptoms and determine when regular activities may be resumed.

Complications for Concussions

Complications from a traumatic brain injury may include chronic headaches, recurring dizziness, and seizures. If the injury was catastrophic, the patient may also experience a marked decline in cognitive abilities, personality changes, trouble communicating, memory loss, and early onset of dementia. All of these factors can also lead to depression.

Prevention of Concussions

While accidents happen and are sometimes unavoidable, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a concussion.

  1. Exercise regularly. Exercise strengthens muscles, which is essential to maintain balance.
  2. Wear protective gear. Whether you’re riding a bicycle or playing contact sports such as hockey or football, wear adequate protective gear that’s (a) worn correctly, and (b) well-maintained.
  3. Wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts exist for reasons other than avoiding traffic tickets. While it is possible for the brain be jolted forward and backward quickly even while wearing a seatbelt, buckling up significantly reduces the risk of head injury.
  4. Keep your home and surrounding areas well lit. Even when you’re familiar with the layout, objects in the middle of the floor are accidents waiting to happen, especially when a room is too dark.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one has suffered from a concussion, 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.

Mononucleosis (Mono): The Kissing Disease

How much do you know about Mono? For most people, unless they work in the medical field or have experienced the illness themselves, their understanding of the condition is limited to hallway gossip from their high school days.

Fortunately, the age of information has made it significantly easier for us to research facts. While this is in no way intended to serve as a stand-in for a proper medical diagnosis, below is an overview of Mononucleosis, how to recognize its symptoms, and how to properly treat it.

What is Mononucleosis?

Mono is short for Mononucleosis; also known as the “kissing disease”. The reason for the moniker is that the illness is transmitted through saliva. While kissing is indeed one way of contracting Mono, it’s also possible to acquire it from a person with Mono who sneezes or coughs around you, or if you share drinks, food, utensils, or lipstick with someone who has the virus.

Mono can also be contracted through bodily fluids and blood transfusions.

Causes of Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Mononucleosis Symptoms

Symptoms of Mononucleosis could initially be confused with the common cold or flu. These include:

How Long Does Mono Last?

Typically, a strain of the Mononucleosis virus remains in the system for two to four weeks. However, even when the condition is no longer contagious, the patient can be left with symptoms for much longer; sometimes up to six months.

When to See a Doctor

You should see a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of Mono. This is because he or she will confirm whether what you’re experiencing is Mononucleosis or something more serious. For example, symptoms of strep throat are very similar to those of Mononucleosis, yet strep throat requires antibiotics, while Mono does not. In addition, Mono can result in complications (as described below) that require immediate medical attention.

Mononucleosis Diagnosis and Treatment

For the most part, medical providers are able to diagnose Mono based on the patient’s symptoms. The doctor may order blood tests to determine whether the virus has affected the spleen, liver or other body systems.

Once diagnosed, the doctor will likely recommend over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms and advise you to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Mononucleosis Complications

The most common complications of Mononucleosis include:

  1. Enlarged spleen. The concern here is that the spleen could rupture. This is why it’s especially important to take a break from strenuous activity, such as exercise and sports while you’re recovering from Mono.
  2. Jaundice. Mono can cause the skin to turn yellow. This is a result of excess bilirubin, which is a yellowish substance that’s typically filtered from the blood through the liver. Mononucleosis can make it difficult for the liver to adequately filter bilirubin.
  3. Hepatitis. Mononucleosis can result in inflammation of the liver.

Mononucleosis Prevention

Since there is no vaccine to prevent Mononucleosis, it’s up to you to decrease your chance of contagion. Avoid sharing food, drinks, and personal items. Practice safe sex (especially when engaging in oral sex), and wash your hands often.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you believe you may have Mononucleosis, 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.