Stomach Flu vs Food Poisoning

Feeling sick is never fun — especially if it involves vomiting or diarrhea. At minimal, feeling this way can be exhausting and inconvenient. But, in severe cases, you could develop dehydration and become hospitalized. While there are many conditions that cause these symptoms, the most common are stomach flu and food poisoning. How can you tell the difference between these two illnesses, and when it is time to seek emergency care?

Causes of the Stomach Flu

Viral gastroenteritis — more commonly known as the stomach flu — is an intestinal virus caused by contamination from another individual or ingesting contaminated food and water. While most healthy individuals can overcome the flu in a few days, infants, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of complications — including death. Aside from potentially having vomiting and diarrhea, common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever

Causes of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning — as its name indicates — occurs from food that has been contaminated by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Contamination can occur at any point in processing or production. This includes improperly storing food at home. Food poisoning can occur in as little as a few hours after ingesting the contaminated food and can last a few days to a week. Like the stomach flu, the most common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Fever

Treatment Options

Whether you have the stomach flu or food poisoning, treatment for most may include drinking plenty of fluids and riding it out. But, depending on the severity of your illness, you may need additional treatment options. For the stomach flu, treatment may include:

  • Letting your stomach settle
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Easing into food — opting for crackers, toast, gelatine, and other easy to eat foods
  • Using medications — such as Advil or Tylenol — sparingly

While most medications don’t work for stomach flu, antibiotics can be used to treat some food poisoning. If your condition is caused by bacterial food poisoning and your symptoms are severe, you may be a good candidate for antibiotics. Otherwise, you’ll just need to continue to replenish any fluids you lose and wait for it to pass.

When to Visit the ER

While most healthy individuals can get over the stomach flu or food poisoning in a few days, there are some instances where your symptoms may be severe, and a trip to the emergency room may be necessary. For the stomach flu, warning signs include:

  • You’re not able to keep liquids down for 24 hours
  • You’ve been vomiting for more than two days
  • You’re vomiting blood
  • You’re dehydrated — including excessive thirst, dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • You notice blood in your bowel movements
  • You have a fever above 104 degrees F (102 for children or infants)

Similarly, if you have food poisoning, you’ll want to go to the ER if you’re experiencing dehydration. Other common warning signs include:

  • Frequent episodes of vomiting and inability to keep liquids down
  • Bloody vomit or stools
  • Diarrhea for more than three days
  • Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping
  • An oral temperature higher than 100.4 degrees F
  • Neurological symptoms — such as blurry vision, muscle weakness, and tingling in the arms

Related: Signs You Have Food Poisoning

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have the stomach flu or food poisoning, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

School Openings During COVID-19: How to Keep Children Safe

COVID-19 has flipped the world on its head, and as some businesses remain closed or at limited capacity, parents and teachers begin thinking about the next school year. Administrators are listening to local government officials and are determining the next steps, but there are still so many questions about what the fall school year will look like. Can your child return to school? Will they be safe? Regardless of your opinion on whether schools should reopen or not, there are a few things you can do to prepare your child in case their school decides to resume classes.

1. Practice Wearing Masks

No matter the age of your child, if they are not used to wearing a mask for extended periods of time, they will be less likely to commit to it when you aren’t there to remind them. Young children can be especially finicky and may play with their masks throughout the day — causing it to slip down, fall off, or stretch out. By practicing wearing a mask properly and for long periods of time at home, you can ensure that your child will think less of it if/when they return to school.

To help your child, wear a mask with them and begin by wearing them shorter periods at a time. This could be for 30 minutes, that turns into an hour, and then turns into several hours. Casually increase the amount of time that your child must wear their mask until they feel comfortable wearing it for about the time they would be in school.

2. Teach Handwashing Techniques

Washing their hands properly isn’t only a useful trait for preventing COVID-19. It can also be used to prevent the spread of other germs. Teach your child how to properly lather and rinse their hands.

  1. Turn on the hot water
  2. Get some soap
  3. Use a little bit of water to lather
  4. Sing a 20-second song while you lather — scrubbing between fingers and around nails
  5. Rinse your hands with warm water
  6. Thoroughly dry your hands using a clean towel
  7. Turn off the water using the towel or an elbow

By incorporating a song into the lathering step, you can make washing their hands fun. Singing Happy Birthday twice doesn’t have to be the only choice for a song. Choose your child’s favorite and pick out a 20-second verse to make the time more interesting.

3. Introduce Personal Space

Teaching personal space is especially difficult for younger children, but the more you talk about it, the more they’ll come to understand the importance of boundaries. This is crucial for their development as well as preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other germs. Regardless of whether your school is able to position children six feet apart, there are still things your child can do to promote a safe personal space.

Show your child how far away they should stand to talk to another student. Show them that they don’t have to whisper in someone’s ear or stand too close to have a conversation. Practice keeping their hands to themselves and show them that they can be kind without the need for physical contact. Talk through the different scenarios that can occur during the day and how to react to them. If their friend asks to borrow a pencil, and they have multiple extra pairs and want to help their friend, suggest giving the pencil to their friend instead of letting their friend borrow it — since some children have a tendency to bite the ends of pencils.

4. Design Fun Masks

While disposable masks are great for single day use, you may save money by buying or making your own cloth masks. If you treat the mask-like an accessory, it may make them more fun to wear for your child. Show your child the different patterns and allow them to choose the ones they would like to wear — whether it’s a pattern online or at the store. If your child is a fashionista, choose patterns that match their favorite outfits. And, because they are cloth, you can wash and reuse them. For extra fun, consider making the masks together and teaching your child how to sew.

5. Monitor Their Temperature

Before sending your child to school, make a habit of taking their temperature. Include it in your morning routine — either right before breakfast or after they brush their teeth, whatever works best for your schedule. The average body temperature is 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. And, anything above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever. Since a fever is one of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should avoid sending your child to school if they are running hot. Other symptoms may include:

  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If your child is running a fever or has any other symptoms, you should keep your child home and schedule a telehealth appointment with their pediatrician. Their doctor will be able to determine the best next steps for your child. In some cases, your child may have severe symptoms, including:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

If your child is experiencing any of these severe symptoms, you should take them to an emergency care center as soon as possible. There, a doctor will be able to help your child breathe and get them the care they need in a timely manner.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have the coronavirus, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Why Does it Burn When I Pee?

For the average individual, using the bathroom is about as common as brushing your teeth or eating. Yet, despite its commonality, one’s bathroom habits aren’t typically the topic of conversation. That is until things don’t go as expected. Such is the case when a person goes to urinate and feels a burning sensation. Not only can this feel painful, but it’s a sure sign that something isn’t quite right. What causes painful urination, and what can you do if you’re experiencing the burning sensation?

5 Causes of Dysuria (Painful Urination)

Painful urination is also known as dysuria. The pain can originate from the bladder, urethra, or perineum. While dysuria is fairly common, it’s almost always a sign of other issues.

1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

As the name indicates, a UTI is a bacterial infection and typically impacts the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. While women are more likely to get UTIs than men, either gender can experience symptoms. Common signs aside from dysuria include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink, or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

In general, people are more likely to experience a UTI if they’ve had one before, have diabetes, use spermicides or a diaphragm, or you have kidney stones. But, there are ways to prevent or lower your risk — including wiping from the front to the back, urinating soon after intercourse, avoiding irritating feminine products, and changing birth control methods if they promote bacterial growth.

If you suspect you have a UTI, you should visit an emergency clinic for antibiotics to address the infection. Failure to do so can result in kidney infections and other complications. Those with a UTI can also find relief by drinking plenty of fluids — including cranberry juice — but this should not be the primary choice of care.

Related: UTI Dos and Dont’s

2. Other Infections

UTI isn’t the only infection that can cause painful urination. Other common causes include a yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis. Both types of infections impact the vagina, but why they occur is different. Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina, while bacterial vaginosis can occur from intercourse when the good and bad bacteria are imbalanced. Both cause dysuria, but yeast infection symptoms include:

  • An itchy or irritated vulva and vagina
  • A red or swollen vulva
  • A sore vagina
  • A rash in or around the vagina
  • Discharge that’s watery or looks like cottage cheese but doesn’t smell

Bacterial vaginosis has similar symptoms, but with one big difference — the discharge can smell foul or like fish. Both types of infections are fairly common and can be prevented with good hygiene, avoiding irritating products, and wearing cotton underwear for breathability.

Similar to other infections, if you suspect you have one of these conditions, you should seek medical care quickly to get the antibiotics you need. Failing to take antibiotics as directed can cause further complications and pain.

3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

In many cases, STDs won’t show any symptoms. But, when they do, painful urination is typically at the top of the list. While most sexually transmitted diseases are also considered bacterial infections, there are some that are caused by viruses and other parasites. In addition to dysuria, common symptoms — depending on the STD — include:

  • Sores on the mouth and genitals
  • Abnormal discharge — that’s yellow or green in color
  • Foul-smelling discharge
  • Itchy or painful bumps
  • Redness or soreness

STDs can be prevented by identifying if you or your partner has one, and using contraceptives — such as condoms — to prevent passing the disease to each other. You should also avoid having sex if you notice any open sores, which means you are experiencing a flareup.

If you suspect you or your partner may have an STD, you should get tested before having intercourse. Some STDs can be managed with prescription medicine or antibiotics to treat symptoms and reduce the risk of passing the disease to your partner. Your treatment option will vary and depend on the type of disease you have.

4. Vaginal Tears

Vaginal tears can occur through sexual or non-sexual activities — such as giving birth. If your dysuria is caused by these little abrasions, then you likely won’t have any other symptoms. But, while you heal, you can help reduce the pain by pouring warm water over your vaginal area while you urinate. For new moms, this may include purchasing a perineal irrigation bottle.

While it’s not easy to prevent a non-sexual vaginal tear, sex-related vaginal tears can be reduced or prevented entirely with the right amount of lubrication before intercourse. In almost all cases, vaginal tears are not typically severe enough for an emergency room visit and instead require rest to allow the tear to heal naturally.

5. Hygiene Products

In some cases, women may use deodorizers and perfumes to clean their vaginal area. This can throw off the pH balance and — in extreme cases — cause an irritation that leads to dysuria. If you have sensitive skin, this can occur by simply taking a bubble bath with scented soaps. In addition to painful urination, some unnecessary hygiene products may cause:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • A rash
  • Itchiness
  • Infections

The easiest way to prevent dysuria caused by hygiene products is to not use them in the first place. The vaginal area can be cleaned during a bath or shower with unscented soap and water. Otherwise, the inside of the vagina is able to clean itself.

Should you develop an infection from using unnecessary hygiene products, you should quit using the product immediately and seek medical care to determine the type of infection and receive antibiotics if applicable. If left untreated, infections can lead to life-threatening complications.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have dysuria, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Dysuria (Painful Urination)

One of the most mundane everyday activities is going to the bathroom. Everyone does it, every single day. At home, at work, while out shopping, it’s so commonplace, that it’s easy to overlook how great it is to do so without any issues. But, if you’ve suddenly started noticing a painful or burning sensation every time you urinate, you may be wondering what’s causing it. Why is it happening? What’s the best form of treatment? And, how do you know it’s time to go to an emergency room.

What is dysuria?

Dysuria is the medical term for painful urination. It is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Some individuals do not necessarily feel pain, but they are aware that something may be wrong, due to discomfort or a burning sensation every time they urinate. Symptoms of dysuria could vary in how long they last, depending on what’s causing it.

Causes of Dysuria

There are many reasons why a person may be experiencing painful or uncomfortable urination. Some are easier to diagnose than others. The most common ones include:

  • Urinary tract infections (cystitis)
  • Kidney infections (pyelonephritis)
  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Vaginitis
  • Prostatitis
  • Yeast infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases — gonorrhea, herpes, or chlamydia
  • Certain medications
  • Certain personal care products

Symptoms of Dysuria

Painful, burning, or otherwise uncomfortable urination isn’t the only telltale sign of dysuria. Other symptoms depend on the condition that’s causing them. The most common ones include:

Cystitis (Urinary Tract Infection)

If this is the ailment that’s causing your dysuria, you’ll also typically experience a frequent and intense urge to urinate, abdominal pain, cloudy urine, strong-smelling urine, loss of bladder control, and sometimes, blood in the urine.

Pyelonephritis (Kidney Infection)

This is an infection of the upper urinary tract. Other symptoms include a high fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, a frequent and intense urge to urinate, and in some cases, back pain.

Vaginitis

This is an inflammation of the vagina. Additional symptoms include pain, itching, light vaginal bleeding, and/or unusual vaginal discharge. The condition is more common in postmenopausal women.

Prostatitis

This is an inflammation of the prostate — the gland that produces semen, located right below the bladder. Additional signs include flu-like symptoms, difficulty urinating, pain of the penis or testicles, and/or cloudy urine.

Yeast Infections

Also known as candidiasis, this is a fungal infection of the vagina that causes irritation and intense itching of the vulva. Another common sign is a thick, white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The symptoms of STDs can vary depending on the type of disease. However, in addition to painful or burning urination, you may experience pain or discomfort during sex, painful or swollen genitalia, unusual discharge, and/or bumps, rashes, or sores in the genitals, anus, thighs, or mouth.

Treatment for Dysuria

Treatment for dysuria will depend on the underlying condition that’s causing it. Typically, it includes staying hydrated throughout the day and taking antibiotics. It may also include topical ointments or over-the-counter medications. However, if you’ve never experienced this feeling before and you know it’s not a mild UTI or yeast infection — or whenever you’re in doubt — seek medical attention. Doing so will help prevent complications, such as urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

When to go to the ER for Dysuria

Seek immediate emergency medical care if, in addition to a painful or burning urination, you are experiencing a fever, abdominal or back pain, or an abnormal discharge from the vagina or urethra. Failing to seek treatment could result in complications and sometimes death if the infection spreads.

How to Prevent Dysuria

There are several things you can do to prevent dysuria. These include:

  • If you’re a woman, wipe front to back after bowel movements.
  • Urinate as soon as possible after sexual intercourse.
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Avoid irritating soaps, laundry detergents, and personal care products.
  • Drink several glasses of water a day — this will flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have dysuria, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Sprained Foot vs Broken Foot

If you’ve recently injured your foot  — whether by playing sports, falling, or by dropping a heavy item on it — you may be tempted to tough it out. However, while the wait-and-see approach is common, it could result in complications of your injury if you’ve sprained or broken your foot. Symptoms of both injuries are similar and they both require resting to allow your body to heal. But, how can you tell whether any of these injuries applies to you? What are the symptoms of a sprained foot? What are the symptoms of a fracture? And, what’s the best way to ensure you heal properly?

What’s the difference between a sprain and a fracture?

Both a sprain and a fracture hurt — a lot. Yet, these injuries can be differentiated by the part of the foot that’s been damaged. Muscles are connected to bones by fibrous tissue called ligaments. If you’ve torn one of your ligaments (whether partially or completely), you’ve sprained your foot. On the other hand, if you’ve broken any of the bones of your foot, you’ve suffered a fracture.

Symptoms of a Sprained Foot

There are three different types of sprains. A grade I sprain means you’ve experienced small tears in the ligaments. Grade II sprains mean larger tears. A grade III sprain means the ligament is completely torn or detached from the bone. Because of these differences, symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the sprain. However, common denominators include:

  • Pain around the arch of the foot
  • Bruising, swelling, and tenderness
  • Limping and additional pain when you try to bear your body weight

Diagnosis and Treatment for a Sprained Foot

A foot sprain will be diagnosed by taking x-rays of the injured foot. This is done to confirm whether it’s a sprain or a fracture, as well as to determine the severity of the injury. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, treatment will depend on the type of sprain. For a grade I or grade II sprain, you’ll need crutches for anywhere between two and four weeks. For a grade III sprain, you may need surgery, as well as rest and to stay off your foot for up to eight weeks — or longer, if instructed by your doctor. You’ll also need crutches to stay off the injured foot while you heal.

During the healing process, your doctor will likely recommend an over-the-counter painkiller. The RICE method can also help relieve discomfort:

  1. Rest. Avoid any physical activity that causes pain on your foot.
  2. Ice. your foot two or three times a day, for about 20 minutes each time.
  3. Compression. Wrap your foot with a bandage to help reduce swelling.
  4. Elevation. Keep the injured foot propped up on a stool or pillow whenever you sit/lay down.

Symptoms of a Broken Foot

The symptoms in a foot fracture will also vary depending on the severity of the injury. These could range from a hairline fracture to bones being misaligned and piercing the skin. Overall, the telltale signs include:

  • Possibly hearing a cracking sound when the bone breaks
  • Intense pain that worsens with physical activity
  • Swelling, bruising, and tenderness
  • Inability to bear your body weight
  • Deformity around the injured area

Diagnosis and Treatment for a Fractured Foot

Just as with sprains, your doctor will take x-rays of your foot to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the injury. If the break is a stress or hairline fracture, you may need a CT scan to detect the break. The best form of treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture, and may include:

  • Pain medications
  • Manipulating the bones to align them properly
  • Wearing a cast
  • Using crutches or a wheelchair
  • Taking time off sports and other strenuous activities
  • Surgery — which is required only in the most severe cases

The recovery time will vary on the severity of the injury and whether you have any underlying health issues — such as diabetes, anemia, low vitamin D levels, or hypothyroidism. Generally, a mild to moderate fracture should heal in approximately eight weeks.

Always seek medical attention if you think your foot is broken. Failing to do so could lead to bone deformities and/or post-traumatic arthritis — and both of these conditions could result in life-long chronic pain.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have a foot sprain or fracture, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Broken Foot

Like most parts of the body, feet are often taken for granted. They allow you to get up from bed, walk, hold your body weight, and exercise. You may pay attention to them when purchasing new shoes, but other than that, it’s easy to not pay them much attention — until there’s an injury. Whether from an accident or a sports injury, foot fractures are painful and can severely limit your daily routine. But, how do you know if your foot’s broken? What are the most common symptoms? Are there any complications? And, is there anything you can do to prevent future injuries?

Overview of a Fractured Foot

Foot fractures occur when any of the bones in your foot break. The severity may range from a hairline fracture to misaligned bones that may require surgery to get back to their original position. For example, a person with a stress fracture may only require rest and possibly wearing a boot, while a person with a severe injury may need surgery to realign the bones or even to implant metal components to make the foot whole.

While minor breaks can heal on their own, you should always seek medical care if you think your foot may be broken. Failing to do so could increase the risk of developing serious health complications.

Symptoms of a Fractured Foot

Symptoms of a fractured foot will vary from person to person and on the severity of the injury. However, there are common denominators across the board. These include:

  • Intense pain that worsens with physical activity
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Difficulty or inability to bear weight
  • Deformity

Some people can actually hear the bone-breaking as the injury occurs. If you did not hear such a noise, it may be possible your foot is sprained instead of fractured. The only way to know for sure is to have an orthopedic doctor take x-rays. This also allows them to determine the extent of the injury.

Causes and Risk Factors of Foot Fractures

There are several causes and risk factors for foot fractures. These include:

  • Overuse
  • Trauma — such as an accident or fall
  • Dropping something heavy on the foot
  • Missteps
  • Participating in high impact sports — such as football or rugby
  • Failing to use protective equipment while playing sports
  • Working in high-risk occupations — such as construction
  • Certain underlying medical conditions

Diagnosis and Treatment of Foot Fractures

Foot fractures are diagnosed by imaging such as x-rays or CT scans. While x-rays are more common, CT scans allow medical professionals to detect smaller injuries that may not be visible in an x-ray — such as a stress or hairline fracture. Once your doctor confirms your injury is a fracture, treatment will depend on the type of injury. The most common forms of treatment include:

  • Pain medications
  • Manually setting bones back to their original position
  • Wearing a cast, splint, or boot
  • Having to use crutches or a wheelchair
  • Resting and taking time off sports
  • Surgery — only in the most severe cases

Recovery Time for a Foot Fracture

Recovery time varies from patient to patient. Things to consider are the severity and location of the bone break, as well as whether you have any underlying health conditions that may delay healing — such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia, or low vitamin D levels. That being said, for most patients, a foot fracture typically heals in about eight weeks. However, always follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure you’re doing what’s specifically best for you.

Complications of a Foot Fracture

Complications of bone fractures could lead to long-term pain in discomfort due to several factors. These include:

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

While it’s common to think of older patients when you hear the word arthritis, bone fractures could lead to wearing out of the cartilage on an injured joint. This could be the result of trauma — such as a car accident, fall, or sports injury. Symptoms include joint pain, fluid accumulation in the joint, swelling, and a decreased ability to do certain activities, such as walking or taking stairs.

Bone Deformities

In more serious fractures, the ends of the broken bones could end up misaligned. When this occurs, they need to be manually manipulated to their original position. Failing to do so will cause the body’s healing process to fill up the empty space with new bone. This is called a malunion. Additional issues with malunions include twisted or bent bones, resulting in deformities. This could affect your range of motion and result in chronic pain.

Infections

These are more likely to occur if the fracture was severe enough to break the skin. Signs of bone infection include fever, fatigue, pain in the site of injury, swelling, warmth, and redness over the injured area. It’s also common for pockets of puss to form over the injury. There may also be a risk of infection if the fracture requires surgery. However, the risk of infection in this scenario is relatively low.

Preventing Foot Fractures

There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of foot fractures. These include:

  • Wearing protective footwear: Whether you’re running, hiking, or working in a high-risk area, wear adequate shoes for each occasion. If you play sports, replace your shoes every several months or at around the 400-mile mark if you’re a runner.
  • Easing into exercise gradually: Doing too much, too fast, too soon increases the likelihood of getting injured. Any time you start a new fitness program or join a new sport, consult with your doctor and/or coach or fitness instructor as to the best approach to do so safely.
  • Increasing bone density: You can do this by doing weight-bearing exercises regularly, such as walking, dancing, jumping rope, or running. In addition, increase your calcium and vitamin D intake to promote better bone health.
  • Making your home safer: Some people have suffered fractures from bumping into items or experiencing falls in their own homes. Clearing clutter and installing night lights will make it easier to move around at night — especially for older individuals.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have a foot fracture, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Hip Fracture

Hip fractures are common injuries among senior individuals who’ve experienced a fall. Typically, when they occur to older patients, it’s due to a chronic health condition, muscle weakness, or impaired vision. It could also be the result of declining balance/coordination while walking, or difficulties getting in and out of the bathtub. On the other hand, hip fractures can also affect younger patients who’ve been involved in an accident or who’ve gotten injured while playing sports. Regardless of the circumstances, these types of injuries are extremely painful and affect every aspect of daily life. So, how can you learn to recognize symptoms? And, what are the best forms of treatment?

What is a hip fracture?

The hips include several bones. The pubic symphysis is located above a person’s genitalia. It is the area where the pubic bones connect. There are also two ball-and-socket joints where your femur (thigh bone) meets the pelvis, as well as the base of the lumbar vertebrae (the sacrum) and the tailbone (the coccyx), which is connected to the sacrum. All of these bones are held together with tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Hip fractures occur when a person breaks any of these bones.

After the knees, the hips are the largest joints in the body. They play a major role in your ability to sit, stand up, and walk. Therefore, hip fractures are serious injuries — and if the patient is older, they could also lead to life-threatening complications.

Symptoms of a Hip Fracture

There are several signs that you may have broken a bone on your hips. The most common ones include:

  • Hearing a cracking sound as the bone breaks
  • Intense pain at the point of injury
  • Pain that may radiate to the groin
  • The inability to get up from a fall
  • Bruising and swelling

Treatment Options for Hip Fractures

The best form of treatment for a hip fracture will depend on the severity of the bone break, whether the bones are aligned, the patient’s age, and any underlying medical conditions. The most common treatments include:

1. Medication and Crutches

Minor fractures may heal on their own. However, they still cause intense pain. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers, as well as order bed rest for several weeks and only move from one place of your home to another with the use of crutches.

2. Surgery

For misaligned bones or major fractures, your doctor may have to conduct either a partial or total hip replacement. In some cases, the surgeon may opt to hold the joint together with metal screws instead of replacing the joint.

3. Physical Therapy

After surgery, you will require physical therapy to regain your range of motion as well as to strengthen the muscles around the hip joints. You may also need an occupational therapist to assist you with activities of daily living — such as using the toilet, bathing, and dressing.

Complications of Hip Fractures

There are certain factors that can increase the risk of complications. Many of these include underlying health conditions, such as diabetes (Types 1 and 2), intestinal disorders, myocardial infarction, and neurological impairments. These can make recovery more difficult due to a higher risk of infection, lower bone density, difficulty producing clotting agents, or an increased risk of falls. The most common complications include:

Risk Factors for Hip Fractures

There are several circumstances that could increase a person’s risk of fractures. These include:

  1. Age: Hip fractures occur more often on older individuals due to decreased bone density. This is a double-edged sword that could also lead to balancing issues — which can increase the risk of falls.
  2. Trauma: While falls are considered trauma, in younger patients who do not have bone density issues, common causes of hip fractures include being involved in a car accident or receiving a hard hit.
  3. Sex: Hip fractures tend to occur more often in women. This is due to a decrease in estrogen after menopause, which often results in a lower bone density. That being said, men could also experience a hip fracture.
  4. Chronic health conditions: Osteoporosis, an overactive thyroid, endocrine disorders, or intestinal issues may cause weakened bones or malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D.
  5. A sedentary lifestyle: The less a person uses their bones and muscles, the weaker they become — especially weight-bearing joints such as the knees and the hips.
  6. Certain medications: Certain medications — such as cortisone — are known to reduce bone density when used long-term. In addition, other types of drugs may include dizziness as a side effect, which could result in falls.
  7. Smoking and alcohol: Consuming tobacco or drinking alcoholic beverages in excess often leads to accelerated bone loss, making you more susceptible to experiencing a fracture if you fall.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have a hip fracture, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

When to Go to the ER for an Allergic Reaction

If you’ve lived long enough, chances are you know someone who is allergic to something — peanuts, pollen, seafood, certain medications or chemicals in personal care products, to name a few. However, there are different types of allergic reactions that can range from mild — such as minor skin rash — to life-threatening. How can you learn to recognize them? How do you treat them? And, when is it time to go to the emergency room?

What is an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive when you’re exposed to certain substances — known, in the collective, as allergens. In some individuals, certain allergens trigger the body’s production of antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies release histamines to fight off the foreign substance. This causes blood vessels to expand and for the person to experience symptoms of an allergic reaction. Some of the most common types of allergens include:

  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Latex
  • Insect bites
  • Certain foods
  • Certain plants
  • Certain medications

What is anaphylaxis?

In some cases, an allergic reaction can become so severe, it could put the person’s life in danger. In addition to causing the immune system to become overactivated, anaphylaxis results in your body releasing an avalanche of chemicals that could cause you to go into shock. This includes narrowed airways — which make breathing difficult — and low blood pressure, which can result in vital organs not receiving enough oxygen. In a worst-case scenario, it could damage the heart and/or brain, or lead to death.

In some cases, once the symptoms have been controlled, a person may experience biphasic anaphylaxis. This is what happens when the symptoms return, even if you have not been re-exposed to the allergen that caused the original anaphylaxis episode. Biphasic anaphylaxis could occur only a few hours after the first episode, but has been known to surface up to a few days later.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

Since there are so many different types of allergic reactions, symptoms can vary from one person to the next. They can also range from mild to severe. However, the most common ones include:

  • Teary or irritated eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Hoarse throat
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Hives

If the person is experiencing anaphylaxis, symptoms become even more severe. And, while some people experience them within minutes from exposure, it’s also possible for them to occur much later. These include:

  • Constriction of the airways — causing breathing difficulties
  • A weak or fast pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Skin reactions — flushed or pale skin, itching, hives, skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Treating an Allergic Reaction

There are several forms of treatment for allergies. Which one would work best for you depends on the severity of the allergic reaction. The most common ones include:

1. Antihistamines

These could be topical creams or oral pills. They work by blocking histamines. As a result, you obtain relief from allergy symptoms. They are most commonly used to treat seasonal allergies and some food allergies.

2. Inhalers

These are provided to people for whom allergens are causing their airways to constrict — resulting in an asthma attack. They are also known as bronchodilators and they come in small devices you can carry with you and use when you experience symptoms.

3. Medications

These could be over-the-counter as well as allergy shots, steroids, or immunotherapy tablets that dissolve under your tongue. They are quick-relief options and are used to treat minor allergy symptoms.

4. Epinephrine autoinjectors

Commonly known as Epipens, they are used to treat severe asthma attacks and anaphylaxis. It works by constricting the blood vessels, increasing blood pressure, and decreasing swelling.

5. Avoiding the allergens

If you have recurring allergic reactions, your doctor can run tests to determine what’s triggering them. Once you have your answer, the best way to prevent them is to avoid the allergens as practically as possible. If it’s not realistic to avoid them all the time, carry antihistamines, inhalers, or an Epipen, per your doctor’s instructions.

When To Go To the ER for an Allergic Reaction

Call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately if you or a loved one is experiencing a severe allergic reaction (signs of anaphylaxis). Do not wait to see if they go away on their own. If you have an epinephrine autoinjector, use it as soon as possible. This is an urgent situation and waiting could be life-threatening. If the symptoms start to subside after using the Epipen, go to the emergency room anyway to prevent biphasic anaphylaxis.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have experienced allergic reactions and the symptoms are not subsiding, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Knee Sprains

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

Anatomy of the Knee

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

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

What is a knee sprain?

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

Symptoms of a Knee Sprain

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

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

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

Treating a Knee Sprain

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

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

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

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’ve injured your knee and the symptoms are not subsiding, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Is My Thumb Broken or Sprained?

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

Anatomy of a Thumb

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

Symptoms of a Sprained Thumb

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

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

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

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

Treatment for a Sprained Thumb

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

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

Symptoms of a Broken Thumb

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

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

Treatment for a Broken Thumb

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

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

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

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’ve injured your thumb or other small appendage and the symptoms are not subsiding, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.