As temperatures start to drop, parents know what may be coming: seasonal sickness. But of course, child illnesses occur throughout the year. In fact, the average toddler comes down with six to eight colds per year, and the average school-aged child may contract as many as 12 colds on an annual basis! Because children get sick anywhere from once a month to once every two months, it’s no wonder that nearly 22 million school days are lost every year due to the common cold.
Part of the problem, of course, is that germs can be found just about anywhere -- and young children are extremely likely to pick them up. The germs that cause colds and even the flu can survive on classroom surfaces for up to 72 hours! The National Public Health and Safety Foundation also found that the average classroom water fountain spigot was found to have 2.7 million colony forming units of aerobic bacteria per square inch. That’s far more than classroom computer keyboards, classroom animal cages, and bathroom toilet seats combined. To make matters worse, children touch and retouch more than 300 surfaces in a half-hour span -- and every three minutes, a child brings their hands up to their nose or mouth. It’s actually surprising that children don’t get sick more often than they already do.
While you obviously can’t prevent all illnesses, there are healthy habits parents can encourage in their children to cut down on the likelihood that they’ll get sick. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the best ways to safeguard your health is to wash your hands properly and frequently. As soon as your child comes home from school or comes indoors from playing outside, they should wash their hands. You should teach your child to lather their hands thoroughly with soap, scrub together for at least 20 seconds (e.g., the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice through), rinse, and dry. Be sure to remind your child in creative ways until hand-washing becomes an automatic activity.
Frequent colds cause enough concern as it is, but germs aren’t the only hazard children face at school. Recess can be a great thing for your child’s health, as it’s a good way to promote physical activity. However, playground equipment can actually be quite dangerous. U.S. emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children under the age of 14 every year for playground-related injuries. Many of these injuries can be serious; around 45% of playground injuries involve concussions, dislocations, severe fractures, internal injuries, and even amputations.
To make sure your child stays safe while on the playground, you should take a visual assessment of the equipment and the ground itself. The playground area should be covered with soft material and free of trip hazards. There should also be guardrails in place and all equipment should be in good working condition. Supervision during playtime is important too, as this can restrict activities to ones that are age-appropriate (and subsequently prevent physical injuries).
Your child’s school should always be a healthy and safe environment. Unfortunately, there are potential risks both in the classroom and outside on the playground. But if you’re proactive about establishing and maintaining healthy habits and smart decision-making, you can help your child stay well this season.
Though an oft-forgotten type of injury, burns are incredibly common. Over-exposure to the sun, touching hot surfaces, mishandling flames and chemicals, and friction against the skin cause thousands of burns every day.
While always painful, not all burns are medical emergencies. Before calling the doctor, use this guide to burn types and severities to know when to use the first aid kit, when to head to a walk in clinic or urgent care, and when to dial 911:
Burns by Severity
First Degree Burns are considered the least severe type of burn. First degree burns lead to reddening of the top, outermost layer of skin, and cause mild pain. Sunburns are one type of first degree burn. These burns can usually be treated at home using ice packs, skin care products like aloe vera, and over-the-counter pain medications.
Second Degree Burns are considered more serious than first degree burns. These burns go through the epidermis, or outermost layer of skin, to reach the inner dermis. These burns cause swelling, redness, blisters, and moderate to severe pain. This kind of burn warrants a doctor’s appointment or a trip to an urgent care clinic. A doctor will prescribe antibiotic ointment to prevent infections, and recommend pain management techniques.
Third Degree Burns are the most serious type of burn. Though often painful, some third degree burns penetrate so deeply that they numb the tissue. Third degree burns result in blackened, charred skin. Healing these burns requires emergency care and extended hospital treatments, which sometimes involve a skin graft. As the skin heals, aggressive pain management techniques are often necessary.
Do I Need a Doctor to Treat My Burn?
While serious burns obviously need immediate medical treatment, some types of burns and burn pain can leave patients unsure of how to proceed. Generally, contact a doctor or head to an urgent care clinic if the burn is:
If you’re still unsure, consider visiting urgent care to be safe. According to a recent study, 44% to 65% of all ER episodes could have been treated at urgent care clinics. If the wound isn’t serious enough for the emergency room but is still causing pain, urgent care might be a great choice.
Stay informed about burns to know when to treat them at home, and when to seek professional medical help. Quick action can prevent burns from worsening, causing infections, and can reduce patient pain for a more comfortable and speedy recovery.
The Urgent Care Association of America's 2016 Benchmarking Report found that the most common illnesses diagnosed at urgent care centers in 2015 were acute upper respiratory infection, acute sinusitis, acute pharyngitis, cough, and acute bronchitis. That being said, bronchitis isn't always easy to diagnose, as its symptoms are also related to other respiratory issues. While bronchitis is often caused by smoking, it's characterized as a worsening cough that persists for two to three months. Here's what you need to know about seeking treatment for bronchitis.
Bronchitis affects approximately 8.7 million U.S. adults each year. It occurs when the bronchioles, the small tubes within main tubes, bronchi, in the lungs, become inflamed. Sometimes, a common cold can essentially turn into bronchitis. This is typically a result of the increased mucus production and irritants created and passed through your lungs and airway. Keep in mind that those who smoke or live with smokers are at a perpetually higher risk of developing the illness. This is also the case for those who may have been exposed to air irritants and toxins, like chemicals present in some work sites.
Bronchitis onsets in both acute and chronic forms. While acute bronchitis starts suddenly and persists for only a few weeks, chronic bronchitis is typically a result of smoking and can occur for as often as two to three months each year.
Could You Have Pneumonia?
Difficulty breathing is a common symptom of bronchitis, but it's sometimes confused with pneumonia, another serious illness. While pneumonia onsets as an infection in the lungs, it's considered to have worse symptoms than those associated with bronchitis. Fortunately, both can be treated quickly and conveniently. Just seek convenient medical treatment for a proper diagnosis and antibiotic prescription.
In the 2015 fiscal year, urgent care centers reported seeing an average of nearly 12,000 patients. That amounts to an average of three patient care visits per hour or 32 visits each day. Local emergency clinics like urgent care are designed to treat multiple types of respiratory issues, so if you feel as though you may have bronchitis or another respiratory illness, it's important to seek proper treatment immediately. For more information about local emergency clinics or urgent care clinics, contact LegacyER.
When you feel physically ill, you probably want nothing more than to be back to your normal self again. You might make an appointment with your doctor or try some home remedies. Maybe you head to your closest urgent care location if your doctor is unavailable or you feel particularly under the weather and want to be seen quickly. But when something is really wrong, you might start to panic. You might think you should make the pilgrimage to the ER; even though you don't feel your life is in danger, you feel like emergency staff will be in the best position to help you.
While it's certainly better to be safe than sorry, it's times like these when it's helpful to be able to recognize the emergency vs non-emergency signs. If you're able to differentiate a true medical emergency from a situation that requires urgent treatment, you can potentially save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration. In today's post, we'll discuss some of the most common examples of urgent medical situations and emergency scenarios. But of course, if you're ever unsure as to whether it's an emergency vs non-emergency, you should err on the side of caution and go to an emergency center (ideally, one that also has an urgent care clinic in-house!).
Emergency Vs Non-Emergency: Common Examples
Knowing the Difference Between Emergency Vs Non-Emergency is CriticalIn the midst of a health crisis, it can be tough to know where to go for treatment. After all, you don't want to make a costly mistake that could result in making matters worse. But if you're able to take an honest assessment of symptoms and determine whether it's truly a life-threatening scenario or can be treated at a walk-in clinic, you'll be more likely to receive the treatment you actually need in a shorter time frame.
That said, you don't always have to make that choice. If you opt for a unique treatment center that houses both an ER and an urgent care clinic, you'll be in good hands no matter what. This can make it substantially easier to receive the right treatment quickly and at an affordable price. To find out more about what makes our center special and how we can help you, please contact us today.
More than one quarter (27%) of U.S. patients reported in 2016 that they had visited an urgent care center in the last two years. That's because there is a wide range of reasons to go to urgent care as opposed to the emergency room. On the other hand, some symptoms that may seem minor could actually be emblematic of bigger underlying issues. Coughing is a great example of this: as a common side effect to cold and flu-related illnesses, coughs come in many types. Here's what you need to know about diagnosing your cough and figuring out when to go urgent care.
Diagnosing Your Cough
Chances are, you've had a cough before -- it's your body's natural defensive response against toxins like smoke, allergens, and mucus. But there are many ways to describe your cough, and the type of cough you have, as well as your other symptoms, will determine whether urgent care is necessary. When you first notice that you've developed a cough, take note of when it comes on most frequently during the day or night. Listen to the sound and think about the feel as well. Also, take note of whether or not it leads to vomiting, keeps you up during the night, or has another side effect that may be out of the ordinary. Finally, take note of how long it lasts. If it goes on for several weeks, chances are higher that it's something serious.
When to Visit Urgent Care
As mentioned, many coughs are a normal side effect of the average cold or flu. But keep an eye out for other unexpected or potentially severe symptoms: if you're coughing up blood, too weak to talk or walk, experiencing significant dehydration, or you have a fever above 100.4 degrees F, seek medical attention. Furthermore, if your cough lasts more than eight weeks, sounds like severe wheezing, or is generally atypical, it's best to err on the side of caution and keep yourself protected with convenient care treatment options.
Ultimately, it's up to you to notice when your cough is normal or whether it may be a sign of something more serious. If you're unsure, it's always best to stop in and visit and urgent care for a professional diagnosis. For more information about the reasons to go to urgent care, contact LegacyER.
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