Why Am I Coughing?

woman holding tissue over mouth while coughingA cough is a natural reflex that occurs when your body senses an irritation in your throat or airway. The muscles in your chest and abdomen contract to expel air and hopefully, the irritant. While coughing can be uncomfortable, it’s your body’s natural defense against things like mucus, dust, pollen, mold, and smoke.

There are many illnesses and conditions that can cause a cough reflex. If you’re “hacking up a lung” and wondering why, it’s important to consider the characteristics of your cough. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • When does my cough occur? At night, while exercising, after eating?
  • How long have I been coughing? When did it start?
  • How does my cough sound and feel?
  • Does my coughing cause other symptoms, such as sleeplessness, urinary incontinence, dizziness or fainting, headaches?
  • Does my cough produce mucus?

Your answers to these questions can help you and your doctor pinpoint the source of your cough. Acute coughs–those lasting less than 3 weeks–are usually associated with cold, flu, pneumonia, exposure to irritants, or whooping cough. If a cough lasts longer than 8 weeks (or 4 weeks for children), it is considered chronic. Chronic coughs are often attributed to allergies, asthma, bronchitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or postnasal drip.

It may be difficult to decide when to seek medical attention for a cough. Head to our clinic for a professional evaluation if you are experiencing:

  • a cough lasting more than a few weeks
  • shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • cough with symptoms of fever, chills, sweating, or ill appearance
  • painful cough
  • a cough that produces green, yellow, or foul smelling phlegm

We recommend that any cough associated with worsening symptoms, especially in children, be evaluated after 7 days.

Get prompt care for coughing at our clinic today!

Seek emergency care if you or your child has a cough with symptoms of blood-tinged phlegm, chest pain, difficulty breathing, choking or vomiting.

Deciding Where To Go For Flu Treatment

Flu can range from a minor inconvenience to a life-threatening illness, and it can be tough to know just when it’s time to seek professional care. Read up on our quick tips for deciding where to go for flu treatment.

First off, it’s important to recognize flu symptoms. Mild to moderate influenza causes symptoms such as:

women under bed covers deciding where to go for flu treatment

  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

For a mild case of influenza, you’ll likely only need a bit of rest and plenty of fluids to recover, but it’s still a good idea to get checked out– and sooner rather than later. Antiviral medications work best when taken promptly! If you’re having trouble booking an appointment with your Primary Care Provider, an urgent care center is a great option for immediate, comprehensive care.

Just walk into our clinic when it’s convenient for you and our medical team can provide a quick flu test to confirm influenza. We are also able to prescribe medication, perform X-rays, administer IV fluids, and complete blood work as needed.

If you or a loved one is exhibiting severe flu symptoms, you should head right to the Emergency Room. Severe symptoms include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory Distress or Difficulty Breathing

High-risk groups, such as infants, the elderly, women who are pregnant and individuals with medical conditions that affect their ability to fight infections, should also be treated in the ER.

Remember, the emergency room should be reserved for true emergencies. When you’re dealing with mild to moderate symptoms, check in with your Primary Care or try an urgent care. You’ll save time and money, and free up the ER for patients who truly need that level of care.

We hope this guide helps you in deciding where to go for flu treatment. Feel free to call us with any questions, and know we’re here when you need care!

How to Manage Your Child’s Case of Pink Eye

girl with hands covering face due to pinkeyeAs kids head back to school and communal settings, they face an increased risk of catching a contagious illness. Pink eye, in particular, spreads rapidly through classrooms and playgrounds. Learn what to do if infectious pink eye makes an appearance in your household.

Pink eye (AKA conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that lines the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes the blood vessels in your eye more noticeable, and gives the eye the telltale reddish pink appearance. According to the National Eye Institute, about 3 million cases of pink eye occur in the United States each year!

Symptoms may affect one or both eyes, and include:

  • Reddish or pink appearance of the eye
  • Eye discomfort, itchiness or grittiness (a feeling of sand in the eye)
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Swelling and/or crusting of the eyelid
  • Tearing
  • Sensitivity to light

If your child is suffering from any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to head to the doctor.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Pink eye can be caused by the same viruses responsible for common colds, sinus infections, and sore throats, and also by the bacteria behind chlamydia and gonorrhea. Allergies or environmental irritants can also cause conjunctivitis, and in these instances, the condition is not contagious.

Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the root cause. Get a fast diagnosis and proper care at our clinic today. Our medical team will perform an eye exam, review symptoms and go over recent health history to help determine an underlying cause. If the infection is due to a bacteria, your child may need antibiotic eye drops or ointment. If allergies are the culprit, the provider might prescribe an anti-allergy medication. Viral conjunctivitis will usually clear up on its own in a few days, but cool or warm compresses and acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve discomfort.

Kids with contagious conjunctivitis should be kept out of school and childcare until the contagious stage has passed (usually 3-5 day) . Be sure to wash your hands well after touching a child’s infected eye and avoid sharing items such as eye drops, tissues, washcloths, towels, and pillowcases. It’s also important to clean and sanitize common toys, table tops, drinking fountains, faucet handles, and other surfaces.

Visit our clinic when you need fast, affordable pink eye treatment and advice.

Know the Signs of Dehydration

The hot summer days of August are upon us, and as temps rise, so too does your risk of dehydration. Learn the signs and symptoms of this common condition, and when it’s time to seek professional medical care.

water glass - dehydration symptomsIn hot and humid weather, your body sweats as a means to cool itself down. But excess perspiration can reduce body water levels, and if you are not replacing those fluids at the same rate, you become dehydrated.

Water is essential for the body to function– it plays a role in nearly all its major systems. Regulation of body temperature, digestion, and joint health all depend on water. Not getting enough fluids can lead to dehydration symptoms that range from mild to severe.

Mild Dehydration Symptoms include:

  • Dry lips, tongue and mouth
  • Headache
  • Weakness, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Nausea

If you are a healthy adult, you can generally treat these symptoms on your own. Stop activity, drink water or a sports drink with electrolytes, and place a cold compress on your neck to cool off. However, since young children and older adults are at higher risk of serious complications , they should see a doctor for the above symptoms. It’s also important to seek treatment if you are experiencing severe dehydration symptoms, such as:

  • Diarrhea for 24 hours or more
  • Feeling irritable, disoriented, much more tired, or less active than usual
  • Can’t keep down fluids
  • Bloody or black stool

If your symptoms are not life-threatening, our urgent care center is a great option for dehydration treatment. Simply walk in for quick, high quality medical care from friendly doctors! We offer shorter wait times and more affordable prices than the ER.

Now you know the signs and symptoms of dehydration. This condition is easily preventable by drinking plenty of water, so be diligent about your fluid intake this summer. If you do need care, we’re here for you!

Grilling Safety Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness

person grilling meat and veggies - food safety to prevent foodborne illnessFiring up the grill this summer? Follow these BBQ food safety tips to prevent foodborne illness.

As the weather warms up, many of us will take our dinner prep outdoors and enjoy food from the grill. But it’s important to remember that instances of food poisoning rise in the summer months, with bacteria multiplying more quickly in higher temps. Make sure you are taking the necessary precautions to protect against foodborne illness and all its unpleasant symptoms. Below, we highlight helpful grilling safety tips to minimize germs.

Grilling Safety Tips

  1. Wash your hands. Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling food. If there is no running water where you’re cooking, plan ahead and bring disposable wipes, hand sanitizer, or water, soap, and paper towels.
  2. Keep uncooked meat, poultry and seafood below 40°F. Leave your meat in the fridge until it’s time to grill. Or if you are on the go, use an insulated cooler.
  3. Avoid cross-contamination with marinades and utensils. If you plan on using a marinade as a dressing or sauce, save a separate portion in the fridge or cooler. Throw out marinades that have contacted raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Use clean utensils and a clean platter to serve cooked foods.
  4. Use a food thermometer. Cook your food thoroughly and ensure it reaches a safe temperature by using a food thermometer.
    • 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (let stand for 3 minutes before serving)
    • 145°F – fish
    • 160°F – hamburgers, ground beef
    • 165°F – poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
  5. Refrigerate. Don’t let food sit out too long. Food should be refrigerated after 2 hours — 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90° F.

Always follow these guidelines to reduce your risk of foodborne illness! Consuming contaminated food can lead to food poisoning, with mild to severe symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

If you develop severe symptoms after a cook-out, head into our clinic. Our friendly medical team is available to evaluate and treat instances of foodborne illness, with no appointment necessary.