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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Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

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With 17.7 million (7.4%) Americans suffering from asthma, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Emergency room visits due to asthma-related incidents total 1.8 million, proving how truly horrendous it can be. However, by knowing a little more about asthma, you can better know how to respond to the disease, potentially preventing a hospital visit in the future.

What is it?

Considered a long-term, or chronic, inflammatory lung disease, asthma essentially narrows the airways of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

One of the worst side effects of asthma is the asthma attack, caused when the bands of the muscle surrounding the airways are triggered to tighten. An asthma attack can escalate quickly, so it’s essential to know the signs and to seek help immediately.

What are the symptoms?

When someone is suffering from asthma, they often experience symptoms when the airways constrict. The symptoms include coughing (specifically at night), wheezing, difficulty breathing and tightness or pain in the chest. Some people may experience all of the above symptoms, while others may have different symptoms. An asthma attack will usually include more severe symptoms like difficult talking, feelings of panic, a pale, sweaty face and blue lips or fingernails.

How do I treat an attack?

Immediate treatment, usually involves the use of an inhaler prescribed by a doctor. If trouble breathing continues, you should call 911 immediately or follow your doctor’s recommendations.

To learn more about health-related topics, check our blog frequently for up-to-date information! At Denton Regional Urgent Care Center, we offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it, even 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.

4 Common Work Place Hazards

Work Place Safety

Most often people are worried about hitting deadlines or getting their job done when at the office. However, it’s important to think about safety at the workplace from time to time. Many people believe you have to be at a construction zone or working somewhere with heavy machinery to be at risk of occupational hazards; however, every working environment has its own health and safety hazards.

  • Communicable Diseases: Most people don’t consider diseases such as the cold and flu as an occupational hazard, but an outbreak can quickly cut down the number of available employees. If you’ve been diagnosed with a contagious illness and your doctor has recommended you stay home, don’t put others at risk by going into the office. If you do have to go into the office, consider wearing a face mask to avoid spreading the illness
  • Slips and Falls: While slipping and falling can happen in your own home, it is also considered an occupational hazard as offices regularly have wet floors and liquid spills. Be aware of slick areas and make sure you wear appropriate shoes at all times when exposed to areas that may be slippery.
  • Ergonomic Injuries: Most people sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. If you are one of those people, it’s a good idea to use a wrist rest and have support on your lower back when sitting. You should also try to have your legs touching the ground when you sit to prevent aches and pains.
  • Transportation Accidents: Not all workplace incidents happen inside the office. Commuting to and from work, especially when exhausted, can be an occupational hazard. Avoid making business calls while you drive.

If you or one of your employees has suffered a workplace injury, consider visiting Denton Regional Urgent Care. We offer a wide range of occupational health services to keep employees healthy and productive. From workplace injuries to post-accident drug screenings, we provide a convenient, low-cost alternative for non-emergent healthcare services.

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 Treat a Minor Burn

iStock_64425093_LARGE.jpgIt’s easy to get a minor burn. Whether you’re grabbing something from the oven, straightening your hair or boiling water, there are numerous things inside your own home that can cause a minor burn. If you suffer from a minor burn, there are a few things you should do to ensure it heals quickly and does not get infected.

First off, it’s important to know what qualifies as a first-degree burn, second-degree burn and major burn. If you’ve received a first-degree burn, your skin will turn red, swell and be painful. Meanwhile, a second-degree burn will usually blister, turn red, swell and be abnormally painful. Finally, major burns are typically a result of a fire and are larger than 2 inches.

If you’ve received a first- or second-degree burn, you should remain calm and work quickly to cool the burn. Always use cool water, not ice, and keep the burned skin under the water for 10 to 15 minutes to alleviate the pain. If you are unable to use a steady flow of water, place a cool, clean cloth on the burn for 5 minutes.

Once the burn has cooled, the affected area should be cleaned with both soap and water. A thin layer of ointment, such as petroleum jelly or aloe vera, can sooth the wound and help heal the burn. Finally, an over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol, Advil or Aleve, can help alleviate pain.

A minor burn can take as many as 3 weeks to heal. While the burn is healing, it may begin to itch; however, it’s important to the healing process that you do not scratch the wounded area. Burns are also susceptible to tetanus, so you should make sure your latest tetanus shot was no more than five years ago. If you begin to experience increased pain, redness, swelling, oozing or fever, you should seek medical attention immediately.

If you believe your burn needs medical attention, consider visiting Denton Regional Urgent Care Center. We offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it, even 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.

What to Expect From a Back-to-School Physical

iStock_74620519_LARGE.jpgWhile school physicals may not be at the top of the back-to-school checklist, it’s a crucial part of your child’s heath care. In fact, physicals are required by many school systems as a prerequisite for participating in certain activities. If your child has concerns about what their back-to-school physical will entail, it’s smart to fill them in on what they can expect to help calm their nerves.

  • Routine Physical: In order to document your child’s progress the past year, the nurse will measure their height and weight, blood pressure and pulse. Additionally, the provider will check your child’s heart, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin, eyes, ears, nose and throat.
  • Review of Medical History: Your child’s medical history will also be updated during the physical and the provider will usually want to discuss any medications he or she is taking or has previously taken. You will likely be asked about any illnesses, surgeries or hospital visits your child has experienced the past yeas as well.
  • Printed Assessment: Before you leave the doctor’s office or clinic, you should receive an updated report of your child’s stats and immunization records for yourself and the school to keep on file.

Physicals vary from school to school, but most local doctor’s offices will often have your school’s physical form on file. Open late into the evening and on the weekends, Denton Regional Urgent Care makes it easy to get a school physical at your convenience.

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.

4 Essentials For Your Next Summer Road Trip

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Summer is the perfect time to pack the car up and take off to a new destination–be it cross-country or just to grandma’s house. While road trips can be a relaxing, and often less expensive, way to travel, they can take much more time than flying somewhere. Whether you’re traveling solo or have the whole family with you, there are some things that you should definitely add to your road trip must-have list to make your trip more enjoyable.

Small Cooler

If you’re planning to be in the car for a long time, there’s a good chance you’ll get hungry at some point. Be sure to bring a variety of snacks that you can easily reach for when the snack attack hits you. A small, insulated cooler is perfect for drinks and perishables. Good-for-you snacks like almonds and fruit are a great alternative to typical gas station snacks like chips and candy.

Good Playlist

Music is key when it comes to road trips. Spend some time before you take off putting a playlist together so you have something to listen to when you drive. Not only will this help make your trip more enjoyable, but singing along is also a great way to wake up when you start to feel tired.

Emergency Kit

Before you head out, make sure you have your AAA card and an emergency kit in case you get stranded for any reason. An emergency kit should include comfortable shoes, bottles of water, a flashlight, flares and a blanket.

Chargers

Most people rely heavily on electronic devices. Whether you plan to use your phone or other electronic device for directions, music or simply as a way of entertaining a young child, it’s important to keep everything charged during your trip. Make a list of chargers you will need before you leave and check each one off the list before you go.

For more helpful tips this summer, check back in on the Denton Regional Urgent Care blog.

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.

3 Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease

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Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that by 2030, more than 23.6 million people globally will die each year from cardiovascular disease. With nearly 69% of adults in the U.S. overweight or obese, it’s unlikely we will see reprieve from this disease in the near future. However, there are signs and symptoms that you can watch for so you’ll know if you or someone you love may be suffering from heart disease.

There are several different types of heart problems – including coronary artery disease, heart attack and atrial fibrillation – with different treatments, but very similar symptoms.

Coronary Artery Disease

Angina, or chest pain, is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease. This symptom involves discomfort, pressure on the chest, burning and aching in the chest. Shortness of breath, palpitations, a quickened heartbeat and nausea or dizziness may also associated with coronary artery disease.

Heart Attack

Although some people may have a heart attack with no symptoms, typically symptoms will last 30 minutes or longer during a heart attack. These symptoms include discomfort and heaviness in the chest, chest pain radiating to the back, jaw, throat or arm. Other symptoms associated can be sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeats.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is found in an estimated 2.2 million Americans. For someone who has AF, electrical impulses do not travel in order through the atria; rather, they spread through the atria. Symptoms of AF include heart palpitations, fatigue, dizziness, chest discomfort and shortness of breath.

If you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms above, it’s crucial that medical attention is sought immediately. Consider visiting Denton Regional Urgent Care for convenient hours and online check-in that provide you a quick and easy experience. If you or someone you know may be having a heart attack, you should dial 911 immediately.

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.