Wednesday, May 14, 2014

FastMed offers tips for healthy, injury-free summer

With summer just around the corner, FastMed Urgent Care, the largest urgent care network in North Carolina, has released its 2014 summer injuries and illnesses list along with tips for enjoying a healthy, injury free summer. 

“FastMed sees patients visit our urgent cares for these common injuries and illnesses during the summer months in North Carolina,” said Melvin G. Lee, MD, Chief Medical Officer, North Carolina. “This list is designed to help individuals and families in the communities we serve to be proactive when planning their summer excursions.”

Whether you’re planning to spend time at the lake, hiking in the mountains, swimming at the pool or enjoying the park this summer, FastMed encourages everyone to plan ahead to avoid these most frequent injuries and illnesses that FastMed treats each summer:
  • Allergies and Allergic Reactions – Spring and early summer bring pollen, the most common allergen, but other causes of allergies include: weeds, grass, trees, dust and dust mites, bug bites and stings. Check your local area FastMed clinic for common allergens in your community that might affect you.
  • Athletic and Sports Injuries – Whether it's hiking, swimming, jogging, cycling, softball or basketball, any of these activities could give you an injury commonly seen at FastMed clinics.
    The most common summer sports injuries occur around the joints including the knee, ankle and elbow, but tendon tears and joint inflammation can occur with physical fatigue. Head injuries should be immediately evaluated by a FastMed provider to determine if you have a concussion.
  • Sunburn and Heat Injury - Sunburn is easily preventable by applying a UV (ultraviolet protection) sunscreen with a SPF of 45 or greater which blocks 98% of harmful sun rays, wearing a hat to protect the head and face and loose clothing to protect the arms, shoulders and legs, and finding shade when possible. Heat injuries have three levels of severity: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. If you have any fatigue from sun exposure, seek immediate medical attention at a FastMed clinic for heat illness as continued exposure could become life-threatening if not addressed. In addition to its immediate impact, long term sun exposure and damage to your skin can cause a number of preventable skin cancers. Exercising preparedness when enjoying the hot summer months will significantly lower your immediate and long term skin damage and possible skin cancers.
  • Dehydration - Up to 60% of a person's body weight is water, with only a 1 to 2% drop in water weight to cause dehydration. Three simple steps you can take to staying hydrated are: having a water bottle with you wherever you go, eating healthy fruits and vegetables which are made up of water, recognizing signs of dehydration (lightheadedness, nausea, weakness and fatigue are the most common) and acting quickly to drink water. Summer sports and athletic activities significantly increase your perspiration, draining the body of water and electrolytes and significantly increasing your chances for heat related injuries. Drinking water frequently and water retaining sports drinks (not energy drinks) such as Gatorade and PowerAde will help replace lost electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) when you sweat.
  • Scrapes - Landing in the sand playing beach volleyball, hitting the ground on the baseball field or falling off your bike when riding in the park could land you with moderate or severe scrapes and cuts. These wounds should be cared for immediately at your local FastMed so they don’t become infected. 
  • Wounds - Splinters, thistles and thorns are just a few outdoor puncture wounds seen at FastMed clinics that need immediate removal to prevent infection and discomfort. With little children, common foreign body removals are often in the eyes, noise, ears and mouth ranging from dirt, insects and food to plants and other small outside objects. These foreign bodies must be removed immediately by your local FastMed Urgent Care.
  • Bites - Fleas, mites, chiggers, ticks, parasites, snakes and many other insects and animals can take a bite out of you while you enjoy the outdoors. Insect repellent is a simple, hassle free deterrent and insect nets create an effective barrier when enjoying your porch or back yard. For small bites, there are a number of over-the-counter topical creams available to reduce skin itching and swelling. For more serious bites and stings, visit your local FastMed for immediate treatment. Prior to hiking, swimming in a lake or pond, or enjoying a local park in North Carolina, check the local parks and recreation department for the type of local wildlife you might encounter. 
  • Skin Rashes - Eczema is any skin irritation or inflammation such as itching, redness, blisters or cracking of the skin caused by an allergic reaction to the skin. Common causes of Eczema include heat, perspiration, allergic reactions, plant rashes (poison ivy or poison oak), insect bites or skin contact with chemicals (such as pesticides or weed killers) and products (such soaps, detergents and fabric softeners). Visit your local FastMed to diagnose your skin rash and the best treatment course to clear up the rash.

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