Why is the flu so bad this year?

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“Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza division, said during a Jan. 12 media briefing. On a map of the United States tracking flu activity, “this is the first year that we have had the entire continental U.S. be the same color,” he noted.

Only Hawaii and the District of Columbia have been spared widespread flu infection so far, according to the CDC.

Why is the flu so bad this year?

During each flu season, one or more specific types and strains of the influenza virus are responsible for causing the flu. When certain types and strains of the virus show up, it can make some flu seasons worse than others.

This flu season, H3N2 – a subtype of influenza A – has been the dominant strain. Health officials say we tend to see a worse flu season with more severe illness when H3 viruses are prominent. At this point, 80 percent of reported flu cases are this more severe strain, according to the CDC. The H3N2 strain combined with a long bout of cold, wintery weather has resulted in a very active flu season.

What about the flu shot?

While the flu vaccine isn’t perfect, it’s still the best protection against H3N2 flu and other flu strains, such as H1N1 and B viruses which have also shown up this season. And it’s not too late to get one! If you haven’t already gotten a flu shot, we recommend doing so as soon as possible (excluding children under 6 months).

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Is there anything else I can do to avoid the flu?

Washing or sanitizing your hands frequently can go a long way in preventing the flu. You should also take these general measures to reduce your risk:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may have respiratory infections.
  • Don’t share food, drinks or personal items (like lip balm) with anyone.
  • Don’t bite your nails or put your hands near your eyes, mouth or nose.
  • Wipe down surfaces with household disinfectant regularly.

If you do start to show symptoms, you can help others avoid getting infected by staying home from work or school.

More information

For more on the flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more healthy tips and medical information, continue to check in on the Denton Regional Urgent Care blog. At Denton Regional Urgent Care, we have physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine. We offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it, even after hours or on the weekend as well.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Family’s Health

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We all want our kids to grow up strong, smart, happy and healthy. But sometimes, guarding your family’s health can seem like you’re playing nutritionist, coach, germ-fighter, nurse and psychologist all at once.

Here are three tips for improving your family’s health:

Tip 1: Take back the kitchen

Do you want to cook healthier? With some simple tweaks, you can lighten up regular recipes for brownies, casseroles and other tastytreats. Plan healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner by learning about healthy food substitutions. For instance, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on cakes instead of using frosting. Reduce fat and calories in baked goods by cutting the fat ingredient such as butter or margarine by one-half and substituting a moist ingredient like applesauce, fat-free sour cream or orange juice. Search the web for more tips about healthy foods and in no time you will be cooking healthy recipes for you and your family.

Tip 2: Get up and move

Exercise benefits include low blood pressure, strong muscles, weight control and stress reduction. Walking, sports and aerobic classes are just a few of the exercises that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Tip 3: Develop relationships with your family’s healthcare providers

One of the most important decisions you will ever make — and you’ll probably make it more than once — is choosing the right doctor. Ask your friends, your coworkers and your neighbors who they like, and look for these names in the packet of options you get from your insurance provider. Make sure your doctor of choice has a healthy online reputation on common websites such as Vitals or Healthgrades.

Once you’ve picked your provider, get to know the entire office. Make an appointment to meet the office staff, nurses and provider. Ask questions about the style of care, availability and other important concerns you have.

These three tips can keep your family happy and healthy!

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This content originally appeared on the website of HCA partner sharecare.com.

This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.

For more healthy tips and medical information, continue to check in on the Denton Regional Urgent Care blog. At Denton Regional Urgent Care, we have physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine. We offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it, even after hours or on the weekend as well.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

20 Essentials for Your First-Aid Kit

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You should always keep a first-aid kit in your home. It should be kept within easy reach of an adult but should be stored away from children. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit is essential to ensuring the right supplies to deal with an emergency at a moment’s notice.

First-aid kits can be purchased at a local drugstore or you can put one together yourself. If you make the decision to make one yourself, chose a container that is spacious and easy to open and carry. Plastic tackle boxes, for example, make great homemade first-aid kit containers.

If you decide to make your own kit, here are 20 essential supplies you will need to make sure to include:

    • A first-aid manual
    • Different sized sterile gauze pads
    • Adhesive tape
    • Band-Aids in several sizes
    • Elastic bandage (like an Ace wrap)
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
    • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen
    • Tweezers
    • Scissors
    • Disposable instant cold packs
    • Alcohol wipes
    • Plastic non-latex gloves
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • A blanket
    • Mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be purchased at the drugstore)
    • Calamine lotion
    • A splint
    • Thermometer

 

iStock-483048153.jpgMake sure to read the entire first-aid manual to understand how to use the contents of your first-aid kit. Not doing this could put you in a tough situation if there ever came a time to use one of the supplies.

Check your first aid-kit regularly. Some things in your first-aid kit you might not ever use, but some might frequently run out like Band-Aids. Replace the missing items so you have them in the future. A well-kept first-aid kit is a necessity in every home to help you handle an emergency in your household.

For more healthy tips and medical information, continue to check in on the Denton Regional Urgent Care blog. At Denton Regional Urgent Care, we have physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine. We offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it, even after hours or on the weekend as well.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

Three Signs of Diabetes You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Because its symptoms can be difficult to identify, diabetes can cause a number of problems before it’s diagnosed. Your body’s cells rely on glucose to give them energy, but, if you’ve got diabetes, your body cannot handle high blood glucose.

As your body digests carbohydrates, fruits and other foods with high sugar content, it creates glucose. Once it’s created, glucose moves through your blood. Your body relies on insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) to turn glucose into energy. However, those with diabetes do not produce usable insulin, so they must rely on injections of the hormone.

Unfortunately, 9% of the United States population suffers from diabetes. If you’re one of the 29 million people that’s developed diabetes, but are unaware, there are three major signs you should not ignore.

  1. Frequent Urination: Anything more than 3 liters a day is considered abnormal and should be taken seriously. (Normal daily urine output is anywhere from one to two liters.)
  2. Increased Thirst: If you feel thirsty constantly despite taking in an adequate amount of water each day, it may be a sign of diabetes. It is recommended that if you experience increased thirst for a number of days, you should seek medical care to get tested for diabetes.
  3. Increased Appetite: Although increased appetite could be a result of intense exercise, it may also be a symptom of diabetes. When a heightened appetite is linked to diabetes, the feeling will not go away, even after you’ve eaten.

When left untreated, diabetes symptoms can lead to life-threatening metabolic crises. Complications from diabetes include nerve damage, kidney damage, poor blood circulation and even death.

If you’re concerned you may have diabetes, consider visiting Denton Regional Urgent Care. We have physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

 

 

 

Precautions to Take If Heart Disease Runs In Your Family

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If heart disease runs in your family, you may be worried you will develop it too. However, your family’s history doesn’t have to have an effect on you if you take initiative. While genetics are a large factor behind heart disease, so is lifestyle and not taking preventative measures. Below are a few precautions to take if heart disease is in your genes.

Tell Your Doctor

Fill your doctor in on any family members that have suffered a heart attack or stroke. It’s also a good idea to let your doctor know if you have a family member with a heart murmur or heart rhythm problem. Immediate family members such as parents, brothers or sisters matter the most.

See a Doctor Regularly

It’s essential that you see a doctor routinely. You should get basic screening tests such as blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol checks. Your doctor will also want to know basics such as your weight, your activity level and if you’re a smoker. Your doctor may also recommend some basic cardiology tests such as an EKG, stress test or echocardiogram.

Assess Your Lifestyle

While you can’t change your genetics, you can control your lifestyle choices. Take a step back and take a look at your diet, activity level, smoking habits, etc. Find out where you can clean things up and start small. Maybe you can cut down to one soda a day or start working out three days a week. Any improvements will help reduce your risk of heart disease.

If heart disease runs in your family, you should see a doctor for routine screening. Consider visiting Denton Regional Urgent Care–we have physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

 

How To Get Enough Protein When Eating Vegetarian

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According to a study done in 2016, there are 7.3 million Americans who practice a fully vegetarian diet. A vegetarian is defined as someone who doesn’t eat meat (and sometimes other animal products). Typically, vegetarians follow this diet for moral, religious or health reasons.

A common concern for vegetarians is how to get enough protein when not eating meat. Per day, women should get 46 grams of protein and men should be taking in 56 grams. When enough attention is paid to what is going into their body, vegetarians can certainly get enough protein. If you’re following a vegetarian diet, consider regularly incorporating the following sources of protein into your diet.

Green Peas

Anything within the legume family is considered a solid source of protein. In fact, one cup of peas contains 7.9 grams of protein–the equivalent of a cup of milk. Peas don’t have to be eaten as a side dish, they can also be blended into a pesto.

Quinoa

Technically a seed, quinoa contains more than 8 grams of protein per cup. This includes all nine essential amino acids that the body requires for growing and repairing. Quinoa is extremely versatile and can be added to soup or vegetarian chili.

Nut Butter

Nuts are considered a valuable part of a plant-based diet. Not only are they high in calories, they also contain 5 to 6 grams of protein per ounce. Raw or dry roasted nuts are typically the healthiest. Also, look for nut butters with only nuts and salt.

Beans

If you’re a vegetarian, beans should be part of your daily diet. Believe it or not, two cups of kidney beans contain 26 grams of protein (one gram more than a Big Mac!). Beans also come in a wide variety, including white, black, pinto, heirloom, etc.

For more healthy tips and medical information, continue to check in on the Denton Regional Urgent Care blog. At Denton Regional Urgent Care, we have physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine. We offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it, even after hours or on the weekend as well.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

What Cautions To Take When Exploring the Outdoors

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Whether you’re going solo or traveling with the whole family, exploring the outdoors can be a great way to relieve stress and get some exercise. But when proper precautions aren’t taken, exploring nature can come with a number of safety issues. Whether you’re mountain hiking or simply walking around a nature trail, it’s important that you learn how to stay safe when outside.

Preparing For a Hike

Before going on a hike, put together a survival pack that includes a compass, map, lighter, water, food and weather gear. In addition to the survival essentials, it’s smart to let a family member or friend know about the trip you’re about to take. You should always bring a cell phone when hiking a long distance as well in case of an emergency. Finally, try to research the area you’re going to be exploring. Learn if there are certain animals, hazards, etc. common to the area. Being prepared may save you should something happen.

During the Hike

Whenever you’re exploring the outdoors, it’s a good idea to bring a companion along with you. If you plan to camp, you should always set up your campsite farther than a half of a mile from the road. Also, try not to stray off marked trails if possible. If you spot a plant you don’t recognize, stay away from it. Any time you see an animal, do not approach it and stay calm. Most animals will continue moving on.

After the Hike

Because hiking can take a physical toll on you, you should always pay attention to your body afterwards. Make sure to take it easy and hydrate as much as possible.

For more health tips and medical information, continue to check in on the Denton Regional Urgent Care blog. At Denton Regional Urgent Care, we have physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine. We offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it, even after hours or on the weekend as well.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.