One of the biggest illnesses inflicted on our veterans is PTSD. This disorder is a type of anxiety that occurs after a specific event or combination of traumatic events. It is very common in people who have a motor vehicle accident, lived through a disaster such as a house fire or earthquake, soldiers involved in war, or people been subjected to violence. This occurs in men and women of all ages. Even children can develop PTSD.
Many patients describe a flashback feeling where they see themselves in that scary event over and over again. People feel helpless and wish they could change the circumstances what happened. People become anxious and have difficulty talking to family, friends, or coworkers about it.
Patients with PTSD have a high rate of suicide and often try to hurt themselves. Many people will develop addictions to drugs or alcohol as a way to forget the pain of the events that they lived through.
However, PTSD can be managed in a step wise fashion to help reduce the severity of symptoms and help people to live quality lives again. This may include a combination of medications, outpatient counseling, group therapy, and coping mechanisms to deal with the violence or emotional feelings that occurred from being in the terrible event. Many churches, mosques, and temples offer training to religious leaders and community members to help identify people who may have PTSD. Teachers, school counselors, and healthcare professionals are also advised to ask questions that may help to identify PTSD in situations where students are performing poorly in class.
There is no way to eliminate all of the negative feelings associated with PTSD. However, PTSD that is not treated results in people developing other problems including anxiety, depression, insomnia, losing their jobs, or losing their family members.
Talk with your doctor or school counselor about PTSD and what treatments are available to help improve your symptoms today.
If you have warning signs of suicide, please call 911 or call a suicide hotline (1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255) now. Please remember and take care of our veterans today and always. PTSD is a real disease and should be taken seriously.
-Muhammad Emran MD
West Oaks Urgent Care
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s important to remember not to sacrifice safety for fun (although you and the kids can still easily have both!). Things can get colorful in the pediatric clinic, but following just a few safety tips can ensure that the costumes and decorations are the ONLY scary things you’ll deal with.
Five Halloween Safety Tips to Avoid a Trip to Pediatrician
Rule #1: Light Colored Costumes and Lights
Most Halloween festivities happen at night when visibility starts to become an issue. Children crossing the street during trick-or-treating are at risk of being hit by passing cars or other instances that might require a trip to the emergency room. Encourage your children to wear light-colored costumes to increase their visibility. If light cloth ruins the aesthetic of the costume, encourage them to use glow sticks or other self-illuminating sources. You can even get creative with reflective tape or other glow-in-the-dark accessories!
Rule #2: Fire Safety First!
Make sure you only purchase flame retardant costumes. Flame retardant materials naturally do not burn, or are treated to avoid igniting. With the number of candlelit jack-o-lanterns and other lighted props, kids might get closer to open flames than recommended on Halloween. Protect them first with the right costumes.
Rule #3: Mobility
Long sheets, masks, different shoes… any of one of these items can inhibit mobility and cause your child to trip. Add this to nighttime darkness, and you have potential trip hazards and a potential ride to the urgent care center! Unexpected falls in the darkness can result in some nasty injuries, especially if your child was running when they tripped. Make sure your child can move easily in whatever costume they chose.
Rule #4: No Weapons Allows
While some older children can be allowed to carry plastic swords and other play weapons, a child should never be allowed to carry real weapons when they go trick or treating. Real blades, even dull, can still cut the skin when the right amount of force is applied. Real weapons pose a danger to, not only your own child, but to the other children in the group.
Rule #5: Examine All Candy Before Eating It
We’re beyond the urban legend of finding razor blades in the Halloween candy, but this doesn’t mean that you, as the responsible parent, should not first check your children’s candy prior to letting them eat it. Sometimes, candy is not properly stored, or insects can creep into poorly wrapped candies. Examine all candy from that night’s Halloween loot prior to letting your children eat it. On top of that, moderate their intake.
Wishing You a Safe Halloween from West Oaks Urgent Care!
While we hope you’re enjoying your Halloween evening, if trouble happens, feel free to drop in! West Oaks Urgent Care serves the Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, and Bear Creek areas Sunday through Saturday, even after work hours.
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For every excuse you can give to avoid getting a flu shot, there is a rebuttal. The seasonal influenza shot (aka flu shot) delivers a milder form of the virus, forcing your body to develop antibodies within two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies actively protect you against any of the viruses included in the vaccine.
Five Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot or Mist Today
5) On average, between 5% to 20% of the US population will come down with the flu. (Source: WebMD)
According to Worldometers, there are about 325,778,385 people living in the United States as of their last 2015 live count. Doing the math, that’s about over sixteen million people at minimum who will contract the flu. Of those people, according to the CDC, “200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.” The flu is more serious, and much more present, than you’d think, and getting the flu vaccine can cut those numbers.
4) The incubation period for the influenza virus is typically one to four days long, but adults can be contagious even before they begin to show symptoms. (Source: WebMD)
Have you heard, or given, the argument that, “Well, the one time I DID get the shot, I got sick right afterwards!”? In actuality, you were probably already infected with the flu virus when you received the vaccine, and it was too late. Adults can spread the flu from a day before symptoms begin, and they remain contagious for up to ten days after the illness takes hold.
3) In 2013, the mortality rate due to flu-related complications was at 3,697. (Source: CDC)
Roughly translated, this means roughly one death in 100,000. Flu-related complications are no laughing matter, and the combination of high fevers, pneumonia, and other respiratory complications can have dire consequences.
2) Flu activity usually peaks in in the first part of the year, January and February. (Source: CDC)
Since flu activity peaks in winter, it’s best to receive your flu vaccine, shot or otherwise, BEFORE peak season. Many flu shot campaigns will begin in the fall to encourage people to avoid the risk of getting the disease entirely. In January and February, hospitalizations and physician office visits spike with patients suffering from flu-like symptoms.
1) You have options when receiving your flu vaccine.
The vaccine can now be administered in three ways: into the muscle (IM), into the skin (ID), or via a nasal spray (also known as FluMist Quadrivalent). Even pediatric patients as young as two years old can receive the FluMist. Ask your local urgent care center in Houston which form of the vaccine they recommend based on your health condition. If you have an egg allergy, for example, you might not be eligible to receive one form of the vaccine.
Stay in Action – Get a Flu Shot at West Oaks Urgent Care
You now have five reasons to get your flu vaccine, so all you need now is a good time to visit the clinic. Stop by West Oaks Urgent Care any day, even after work hours or on the weekends, to get prepared for flu season today!
Summertime in the Bear Creek, Katy, Houston, and Sugar Land area signals the return of our “favorite” yearly visitors: biting insects. Our side of town gets to see the usual painful suspects:
- Fire Ants
If you’re “lucky,” you’ll get acquainted with ticks, centipedes, millipedes, chiggers, lice, bedbugs, and yellow jackets. While anyone who has had to deal with any kind of insect bite or sting can attest to how uncomfortable, even painful, they can be, when does an insect bite warrant a trip to the urgent care clinic near you?
As residents of Houston, we know to avoid large piles of dirt and the wax-like structures stuck to walls. We’ve been taught (whether through our own experience or through the experience of others) that stings from bees and wasps, as well as bites from multiple fire ants, hurt. However, this pain alone is usually not severe enough to warrant a trip to urgent care. However, if the pain from a bite is pulsing or stings excessively, you should play it safe and visit a board certified urgent care physician.
2. Signs of Infection
If the mysterious new insect bite that you got after spending a summer’s day in Bear Creek Park is starting to look red and swollen, you should get an urgent care doctor to look at it. Sometimes, untreated insect bites can lead to a problem called cellulitis. Mayo Clinic describes the condition as a, “common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection.” If you experience redness, swelling, pain, open skin, or any other sign of infection at the site, get medical attention.
3. Signs of Abscess
Abscesses can accompany an infection. However, deep abscesses can indicate a more severe condition, namely a spider bite. During summer, children may romp around in unfamiliar places. If you suspect that a new bite mark accompanied by an abscess could be from a spider, visit your local urgent care right away. Certain species of spiders, namely brown recluse spiders, can deteriorate human flesh with a single bite without quick medical attention.
4. Unknown Origin
This errs on the side of caution. While many people can remember if they’ve swiped away a few mosquitoes or accidentally stepped near an ant pile while wearing flip flop, any new bites of unknown origin are a candidate for a proper diagnosis. Ticks, for example, leave welts that can be difficult to diagnose. Ticks are renown carriers of potentially life-threatening Lyme disease. Additionally, children may not know what caused the bite in the first place. The collection of itchy, red welts on their legs might be from fire ants, chiggers, fleas, or another insect entirely. While unknown bites like these can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, parents can err on the safe side and bring young children to an urgent care physician for weekend misadventures.
When You SHOULD NOT Go to Urgent Care for Insect Bite
Patients who experience an anaphylactic allergic reaction to insect stings and bites should go to the ER immediately following an incident, based on the severity of the reaction. According to WebMD, “Approximately 50 deaths each year in the U.S. are attributed to insect sting allergies.” Patients who are severely allergic to bee stings, fire ant bites, etc. might experience difficulty breathing, face/throat swelling, dizziness, wheezing, and severe hives all over their body. Do not attempt to treat severe allergic reactions alone, and do NOT go to an urgent care center: go to the ER.
Quick Urgent Care in Houston for Insect Stings and Bites
Were you or your child the unfortunate victim of a bite this summer? There’s always a board certified physician on-site at West Oaks Urgent Care to answer your questions about mystery insect bites.
If you live Sugar Land, Katy, or southwest Houston, stop by West Oaks Urgent Care to speak with a board certified physician today.
The liver produces over 200 different types of enzymes that help in metabolism and digestion. Elevated liver enzymes may indicate damage to liver cells or inflammation. When there is injury to the liver, the enzymes will actually increase and show up in blood tests. Some of the common liver enzymes that are tested include ALT and AST.
There are many different causes of elevated liver enzymes. Prescription medications including cholesterol medicines, diabetes medicines, birth control pills, or antibiotics are known to cause elevations.
Medical conditions including hepatitis A, B, or C can also cause this. Alcohol abuse and being overweight are also risk factors for elevated liver enzymes. Other infections, heart failure, liver cancer, gallbladder disease, or pancreatitis are also linked with elevated liver enzymes.
Some people may have jaundice or yellowish discoloration in their skin or eyes. Other patients may have fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
Elevated liver enzymes must be followed over several weeks or months. Your doctor will advise the specific treatment based on the cause. Some patients may need to be hospitalized or consult with a liver specialist to determine the correct treatment.
Always talk with your doctor about your concerns, abnormal lab results, prescription medications you are taking, and any over-the-counter medicines.