Grilling Safety Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness

person grilling meat and veggies - food safety to prevent foodborne illnessFiring up the grill this summer? Follow these BBQ food safety tips to prevent foodborne illness.

As the weather warms up, many of us will take our dinner prep outdoors and enjoy food from the grill. But it’s important to remember that instances of food poisoning rise in the summer months, with bacteria multiplying more quickly in higher temps. Make sure you are taking the necessary precautions to protect against foodborne illness and all its unpleasant symptoms. Below, we highlight helpful grilling safety tips to minimize germs.

Grilling Safety Tips

  1. Wash your hands. Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling food. If there is no running water where you’re cooking, plan ahead and bring disposable wipes, hand sanitizer, or water, soap, and paper towels.
  2. Keep uncooked meat, poultry and seafood below 40°F. Leave your meat in the fridge until it’s time to grill. Or if you are on the go, use an insulated cooler.
  3. Avoid cross-contamination with marinades and utensils. If you plan on using a marinade as a dressing or sauce, save a separate portion in the fridge or cooler. Throw out marinades that have contacted raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Use clean utensils and a clean platter to serve cooked foods.
  4. Use a food thermometer. Cook your food thoroughly and ensure it reaches a safe temperature by using a food thermometer.
    • 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (let stand for 3 minutes before serving)
    • 145°F – fish
    • 160°F – hamburgers, ground beef
    • 165°F – poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
  5. Refrigerate. Don’t let food sit out too long. Food should be refrigerated after 2 hours — 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90° F.

Always follow these guidelines to reduce your risk of foodborne illness! Consuming contaminated food can lead to food poisoning, with mild to severe symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

If you develop severe symptoms after a cook-out, head into our clinic. Our friendly medical team is available to evaluate and treat instances of foodborne illness, with no appointment necessary.

Concussion Signs & Symptoms

football player in helmet at risk for concussionA concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when a sudden blow or jolt to the head causes your brain to slide back and forth against the walls of your inner skull. This forceful movement creates chemical changes in the brain and can stretch or damage brain cells. Concussions can occur during contact sports and motor vehicle/bicycle accidents, or from falling or physical abuse.

This type of injury can temporarily affect your brain function, and lead to serious long term complications. General symptoms include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination. You may have a concussion and not realize it.

Concussion symptoms

  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Confusion
  • Feeling foggy, dazed, groggy, in a haze
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Fatigue

Other symptoms may appear hours or days after the injury. You may experience issues with concentration, memory, and sleep. Irritability, personality changes, sensitivity to light and noise, and disorders of taste and smell are also common.


Signs of a concussion, as seen by others:

  • Amnesia or confusion surrounding the traumatic event
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appears dazed
  • Slurred speech
  • Forgets instructions, or is confused during simple tasks
  • Loss of consciousness

For any head injury, it’s important to seek an evaluation from a doctor, even if emergency care isn’t required.

As long as you did not experience a loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting as a result of your head injury, our urgent care center is a good place to seek care. Our providers are available to perform quick diagnostics and can ensure that the injury is not life-threatening or require emergency treatment. Always err on the safe side in regards to a brain injury! Walk into our clinic today for a fast, affordable evaluation and an expert treatment plan.

When to seek emergency treatment:
Call 911 or head straight to the emergency room for any head injury associated with a loss of consciousness, seizures, neck pain, vomiting or numbness, prolonged confusion or amnesia, or weakness in arms or legs.

When and Where to Seek Treatment for Burns

We run the risk of burns throughout our daily lives. A burn can occur during simple activities such as making dinner, curling your hair, ironing clothes, or making a pot of coffee. And while some burns can be safely treated at home, others require professional medical attention. Underestimating the severity of a burn can delay proper treatment, lead to infection, and in extreme cases, life-threatening conditions. Learn when and where to seek the appropriate treatment for burns.

Consider the following factors to determine the level of care your burn needs:

Depth

Superficial, or first-degree, burns are red and painful like a sunburn, affecting only the outer layer of the skin. These burns can usually be treated at home.

Deeper second-degree burns cause swelling and red, white or blotchy skin. Blisters can develop, pain may be severe, and scarring is possible.Head to an urgent care for this type of burn.

Full-thickness third-degree burns involve the entire epidermis and dermis layers of the skin, may have patches of black, brown or white, and appear leathery or charred. At this point, emergency care is necessary.

Location and Size

Most minor burns can be safely treated at our urgent care center. However, any burn involving the face or covering a large area of the body should be treated at a hospital.

Infection

It’s important to see a doctor if your burn is showing any signs of infection. Our urgent care can assess your burn, and provide antibiotics or referrals as necessary. Symptoms include:

  • Increasing pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Drainage
  • Odor

If you’re unsure of your burn’s severity, it’s best to seek professional care. Walk into our clinic for a fast, affordable evaluation and high quality treatment of minor burns.

Seek emergency care for:

  • Burns that:
    • cover the face or a large area of the body
    • cause the skin to look leathery
    • appear charred or have patches of black, brown or white
    • are caused by electricity
  • Deep burns, which means burns affecting all layers of the skin or even deeper tissues
  • Difficulty breathing or burns to the airway

Treating a Dislocated Joint

person at doctor office due to dislocated joint Dislocating a joint can be a frightening and painful experience; a sudden fall or awkward collision knocks your bone out of place, leaving your joint swollen and immobile. Learn the risk factors and symptoms of a dislocated joint, and why you should get treatment right way.

How Dislocations Happen

You can dislocate any joint in your body– your finger, knee, hip, elbow, shoulder, etc. The injury occurs when an abrupt impact causes your bone to slip out of its joint. You can suffer a dislocation bracing for a fall, in a motor vehicle accident, or playing sports. Dislocated joints are especially common among athletes in contact and high impact sports, such as football, hockey, wrestling, basketball, volleyball, skiing, and gymnastics. Another risk factor is hereditary. Some people have naturally loose ligaments, and consequently, are more prone to this type of injury.

A dislocated joint is generally easy to see. It may be:

  • Visibly deformed or out of place
  • Swollen, bruised, red or discolored
  • Intensely painful
  • Immovable
  • Numb and Tingling

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a broken bone and a dislocated joint. But for either injury, it’s important to seek immediate medical treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suffer a possible dislocation, head into our urgent care clinic for fast evaluation and treatment. Our provider will examine your joint, review your symptoms, and may perform an X-ray to confirm the dislocation and check for broken bones or other damage to the joint. For more severe dislocations, you may also need an MRI to assess soft tissue damage. We are happy to provide a referral in this instance.

Treatment of a dislocated joint depends on the area and severity of the injury. Sometimes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is enough to naturally heal the joint. Other times, the provider will need to gently maneuver your bones back into place. This method is called Manipulation. Depending on the level of pain and swelling, you may be given a sedative or anesthetic to help ease the procedure. Once your bones are back in position, the provider may ask you to wear a splint, sling, or cast for several weeks. Immobilization allows the joint to rest and fully heal.

Some dislocations may require surgery.

If you might have a dislocated joint, our urgent care center is a good starting point for fast, affordable treatment. Simply walk in when you need care!

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Allergies Vs. Sinus Infection

seasonal allergies man holding tissue to noseAs we head into hay fever season, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of your congestion– are your sniffles due to seasonal allergies or a sinus infection? The two conditions share similar symptoms, but are not the same thing.

Seasonal Allergies

Allergies occur when our body’s immune system mistakes a harmless, everyday substance for a dangerous one. The body releases histamines to fight the perceived intruder (the allergen), causing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat.

Pollen and mold are major allergens for millions of people, and during springtime, as plant species begin releasing pollen particles into the air and outdoor molds release their spores, cold-like, allergy symptoms abound. These seasonal allergies are sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Sinus Infection (Rhinosinusitis)

In contrast, a sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen and inflamed, usually due to a virus. Infected sinuses cause pain and pressure in the face, severe congestion, and nasal discharge that is cloudy, green, or yellow. Other possible symptoms include sore throat (due to post-nasal drip), fever, tooth pain, headache, and bad breath.

Evaluation and Treatment

While allergies and sinus infections are separate conditions, their treatments do share some overlap—if you are experiencing congestion with either, a decongestant medication can help to break up mucus in your nasal cavities.

Allergies can be treated with antihistamines, such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin. These medications block the body’s histamine-producing response and help to reduce symptoms. Allergies cannot be fully prevented, but you can minimize your exposure to known allergens.

For viral sinus infections, your best bet is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Antibiotics are not effective in treating viruses. Nasal irrigation can also help to clear your sinuses, relieve dryness, and flush allergens. With proper care, most sinus infections go away on their own within 1-2 weeks.

If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies or a possible sinus infection, head into our clinic today. Our friendly medical team can offer quick treatment and expert advice to help you feel better.

Where To Take Your Sick Child For Care

Where To Take Your Sick Child For Care Your toddler is running a fever and acting extra fussy… Do you rush to the emergency room, or simply set an appointment with the pediatrician for next week? How about a trip to the local urgent care center? Determining what level of care your little one needs is often a difficult and confusing task. While your first step should always be a call to your pediatrician or an after-hours answering service to discuss symptoms, below, we offer some general guidelines for when and where to take your sick child for care.

When To Head Straight To The ER

A visit to the emergency room should be reserved for true medical emergencies, such as trauma, surgical procedures, and life-threatening situations.

Call 911 or go right to the ER if your child:

  • is under 2 months old and has a fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher
  • suffered a serious head or eye injury
  • suffered a serious burn or large cut
  • had a seizure
  • has a broken bone with visible swelling
  • shows signs of dehydration (dry lips and mouth, absence of urination for more than 12 hours, lethargy and confusion)
  • is having trouble breathing
  • ingested a poison, drug, or unknown substance

When To Use An Urgent Care

If your child is able to walk, talk, play and interact, it’s most likely not a medical emergency. For minor injuries and illnesses that require immediate attention, an urgent care center is a time- and cost-saving alternative to the ER.

Urgent care centers are able to treat a wide range of non life-threatening injuries and illnesses, and offer extended evening and weekend hours, usually with X-rays and lab testing on-site. Average waits are under an hour and the cost per visit is much less than the ER.

Common children’s medical issues that can be treated by an urgent care include:

  • Coughs/Stuffy Nose
  • Strep throat
  • Minor Cuts and Burns
  • Common Cold
  • The Flu
  • Pink Eye
  • Minor Broken Bones and Sprains
  • Ear Infections
  • Rashes
  • Asthma
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea

It’s also a good idea to call the urgent care ahead of your visit to verify what ages and conditions they treat. Based on your child’s symptoms, the clinic may direct you to the ER.

Now you know the basics of where to take your sick child for care. We’re here for you when an urgent care is the best choice.

Evaluating Your Low Back Pain

Almost every adult will deal with low back pain at some point in their life. In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons people head to the doctor. While most cases of acute low back pain will go away without intervention, a visit to an urgent care center can help rule out more serious conditions and ensure you’re on the quickest road to feeling better.

Symptoms of Low Back Pain:

  • Muscle aches in lower spinal region
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Pain that radiates down your leg
  • Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
  • Pain that improves with reclining

If you’re suffering from the symptoms above, head into our clinic whenever it’s convenient for you. Our providers can review your medical history and lifestyle for signs of systemic diseases, social and psychological stresses, and risk factors that may be contributing to your pain. We will perform a comprehensive physical exam to inspect the back, assess areas of tenderness, and evaluate your spinal mobility. Through this medical evaluation, we can help narrow down the cause of your low back pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Some common causes of lower back pain include:

Muscle and Ligament Strains

Lifting a heavy object or twisting suddenly can strain the muscles in your back or the ligaments of your spine and cause diffuse back pain.

Herniated Disc

The intervertebral discs that act as cushions in your spin can become compressed and bulge outward (herniation) or rupture, causing dull or sharp shooting low back pain.

Compression Fracture

Commonly caused by osteoporosis, a spinal compression fracture occurs when a bone in the spine collapses, leading to debilitating back pain.

Osteoarthritis (spondylosis)

A breakdown of the cartilage of the joints and discs in the lower back can make movement difficult and painful.

Skeletal irregularities

Scoliosis, a condition in which your spine curves to the side, can lead to back pain later in life.

Visit our clinic today to better understand your lower back pain. Our talented and friendly medical team can quickly evaluate your symptoms, and determine a treatment plan to help you find relief. Initial treatment for low back pain may include hot or cold packs, over-the-counter NSAIDs, cortisone injections, and physical therapy. Integrative medicines such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga and massage may be helpful.

Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Flu

Could your tummy trouble be viral gastroenteritis, AKA the “stomach flu”?

Viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as the “stomach flu”, is an intestinal infection with some seriously miserable symptoms–think nausea, stomach cramps, and frequent beelines to the bathroom. A number of viruses can cause the unpleasant illness, though norovirus is usually to blame. Rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus are also common.

These viruses are highly contagious, spread quickly from person to person, and are most active from October to April. You can catch a stomach bug simply from being near, shaking hands, or sharing personal items with someone who is sick. You can also develop the illness by consuming contaminated food or water (i.e. food poisoning). Anyone can get viral gastroenteritis, though young children, older adults, dormitory residents, and those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable.

It’s important to note that the so-called “stomach flu” is not the same as influenza. Real flu is a respiratory infection, whereas gastroenteritis attacks the intestines.

Viral Gastroenteritis symptoms include:

  • Watery, nonbloody diarrhea*
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever

*When you have an intestinal infection, your large intestine struggles to retain fluids, which leads to loose, watery stool, generally without smell or blood. Bloody diarrhea may indicate a more severe infection. Head straight to the ER if you notice this symptom.

Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis come on abruptly, and fortunately, don’t last long. The illness usually runs its course within 1-2 days. And since antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, the best treatment plan is plenty of rest and extra fluids. Dehydration as a result of diarrhea and vomiting can be a serious concern, so head into our urgent care center if:

  • You’re unable to keep liquids down for 24 hours
  • You experience vomiting that lasts more than two days
  • You’re dehydrated — signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • You’re vomiting blood
  • You have a fever above 104 F (40 C)

Our medical team is available 7 days a week to provide quick, quality treatment when you need it most!

Prevent Scars with Proper Wound Care

Cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds are a part of life, but lasting scars don’t have to be. Learn how to care for your wounds and prevent scars.

What Exactly Is A Scar?

When skin is injured, our body produces extra collagen in an effort to repair the wound as fast as possible. This fibrous healing tissue replaces normal skin, and becomes what we refer to as a scar. Most scars are flat and pale, though some may be raised (known as hypertrophic and keloid scars). The appearance of a scar depends on factors such as the size, shape, and location of the wound and the thickness and color of your skin. While some scarring is inevitable, there are some simple ways you can prevent and lessen lasting marks.

Follow These Wound Care Steps To Prevent Scars

  1. Know when to see a doctor. Wide-set or deep cuts may need stitches. If your wound is deep, painful, or becomes infected, head into our clinic as soon as possible. The key to preventing scars is treating wounds early. Our medical team can quickly evaluate and treat your injury to help you heal faster and minimize scarring. Make sure to follow your provider’s advice on follow-up care and when to get stitches removed.
  2. Keep the wound clean, moist, and covered. Wash your wound daily, using water, a soft wash cloth, and mild soap. After cleaning, apply petroleum jelly or Aquaphor, and a fresh bandage. This hydrates the wound to promote healing, and also protects it from germs and infection. Properly caring for your wound will allow your body to heal with less work and less scarring.
  3. Be patient. Wounds take many months to fully heal.  Avoid using hydrogen peroxide (it actually slows tissue growth), never pick scabs, and always wear sunscreen to prevent discoloration and further skin damage.  A simple, natural healing process is your best bet!

When you need fast treatment for minor cuts and wounds, head into our clinic. We can evaluate your injury and perform stitches, X-rays, and tetanus shots on-site, with no appointment necessary.

Back to School: Common Classroom Illnesses

The start of the school year brings with it new teachers, full backpacks, and plenty of homework. Unfortunately, it also brings an increased risk of illness for your children. Kids in school spend more time indoors, in close proximity to one another, sharing supplies, toys, — and infections. Learn about the common classroom illnesses that your kids might come home with, and how to care for them.

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis)

Pinkeye –or conjunctivitis– is one of the most common eye infections in children. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white of the eyeball. Pinkeye is most often the result of a virus, and can be very contagious; outbreaks sweep through schools and playgrounds.

Pinkeye symptoms include the hallmark pink or red appearance of the eye, along with eye itchiness, pain, swelling, and/or a feeling of sand in the eye. Discharge from the eye and tearing are also common. If you suspect your child has pinkeye, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the spread of the infection to others, and help ease symptoms. Visit our clinic at the first signs of symptoms of pinkeye.

Flu

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that occurs seasonally, usually from October through May (the bulk of the school year.) The flu is spread through tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Symptoms come on suddenly, can be mild to severe, and include fever, body aches, decreased appetite, headache, and severe exhaustion. The illness can lead to serious complications, especially in young children. If your little one develops symptoms, head into our clinic for a proper diagnosis and fast treatment.

To prevent flu, make sure your family receives the annual flu vaccine and teach your child good hygiene habits such as covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing.

Common Cold

The common cold is usually the result of rhinoviruses. These viruses spread through the air and close personal contact, and kids are more susceptible than adults. If your child comes down with a cold, they’ll likely be sneezy, and suffering from a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, and a headache. They may also develop a mild fever. There is no cure for a cold. Just make sure your little one gets some rest and drinks plenty of fluids.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a contagious infection of the throat and tonsils caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria spread easily through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Kids can get strep by breathing in these droplets, touching a surface where they are present, or by sharing food or drinks with someone who is sick.

Signs of strep include a sore and scratchy throat, difficulty swallowing, headache and fever. Your child’s tonsils may appear red and swollen, sometimes with white patches, along with tiny red spots at the back of the mouth and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck. If your child is suffering from any symptoms that may indicate strep, it’s important to see a medical provider. Untreated strep throat can cause serious complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever.

As a parent, it’s difficult to see your child not feeling well. But, childhood illnesses are inevitable. Teach your kids healthy habits, keep track of their symptoms, and remember that our medical team is here to care for your family!

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