Summer Fire Safety

summer fire safety - person holding a sparkler

Sweet summertime! Are you looking forward to lighting up the grill for some easy, delicious meals? Or, maybe you’re heading outdoors and ready for s’mores over a campfire. And 4th of July fireworks are right around the corner as well. While these seasonal pastimes sound even better after a long pandemic, it’s important to take summer fire safety seriously.

Campfire, grilling, and fireworks accidents cause thousands of burn injuries each year. Below, we provide fire safety tips to keep things safe, fun, and injury-free!

First things first: Make sure all members of your family know how to Stop, Drop, & Roll.

Campfire Safety

  • Check local regulations and always follow campfire rules.
  • Build campfires downwind and away from tents, chairs, hammocks, and shrubbery.
  • Prepare the site: clear away all vegetation, dig a pit, and surround it with rocks to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • Keep fires small and manageable. Skip using gasoline, liquid fire starter, or any other type of flammable liquid and store those items well away from the fire.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel nearby to use in an emergency.
  • Campfires should never be left unattended. When you’re done, put the campfire out with water and then use a shovel to bury the fire with dirt. Also wet down the area around the fire so it does not rekindle.

Grilling Safety

  • Move the grill away from siding, decking, and other things that can catch fire, such as overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill when it’s hot.
  • Stay with the grill the entire time you’re cooking.
  • Wear short sleeves (or roll them up) and use long mitts and long-handled grilling tools to avoid burns.
  • Keep your grill clean so leftover grease and fat won’t catch on fire.

Fireworks

Fireworks are best left to the professionals. Refrain from buying or lighting consumer fireworks. Instead, attend a public fireworks display to enjoy the spectacle safely.

Even sparklers require safety precautions. Never run with or throw a lit sparkler, and don’t hold more than one at a time. Hold the sparkler at arm’s length and wear closed toe shoes to prevent foot burns.

If you do suffer a minor burn this summer, follow these basic first aid steps.

Place the burn in cool water for three to five minutes, and loosely cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth. If the burn blisters or is bigger than your palm, visit our urgent care center. It’s important to see a doctor if a burn is showing any signs of infection. If a burn is life-threatening, call 9-1-1 or go straight to the ER.

Managing Arthritis Flares

hands against white background arthritis flares

Does your arthritis seem more noticeable in the summer? Do pain, swelling and stiffness make it difficult to move? Seasonal factors such as humidity, dehydration, and changes in barometric pressure can contribute to joint pain and intensify arthritis symptoms. While there’s nothing you can do about the weather, there are steps you can take to prevent and manage arthritis flares.

The Dos and Don’ts of Arthritis Flares

Do make a plan.

When your arthritis flares, your routine treatments may not be enough. Make a plan for possible flares with your doctor. You’ll also want to consider your responsibilities at home and work. Ask your loved ones for a little extra help around the house, and take time off work when your body needs it.

Don’t ignore early warning signs.

Treating a flare early is key. Pay attention to mild symptoms such as achy hands and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Do practice good hygiene.

Immunosuppressant medications can put you at higher risk for infection from viruses and bacteria. And infections subsequently trigger flares. Prevent both illness and arthritis pain by staying up-to-date on vaccines, washing your hands often, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

Don’t stress.

Stress, anxiety, depression, and poor sleep habits can all lead to inflammation and worsen joint pain. Try meditation and visualization techniques to manage stress and make an effort to get enough sleep. Gentle exercise and movement can help prevent joints from becoming stiff.

Do seek treatment when you need it.

Our urgent care is here to help with arthritis flares and any possible side effects of arthritis treatments. Come see us for symptoms, such as:

  • Flu or flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches
  • Rash
  • Acute joint pain and swelling not typical of a flare
  • Red, hot, swollen joints
  • Severe and sudden abdominal pain

Get treatment for arthritis flares, right when you need it. Walk into our clinic.

All About Allergy Triggers

spring tree blooms, allergy triggers

As the weather warms and the days lengthen, many are eager to get outdoors and enjoy the sun and spring blooms. However, if you’re one of more than 60 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you may feel less excited. Pollen and allergy triggers are everywhere.

Seasonal allergies can be a true misery, causing symptoms such as coughing, runny or stuffy nose, and itchy, watery eyes. In severe cases, the reaction can even trigger an asthma attack.

What prompts this aggressive immune response each spring?

As trees, and other seed-bearing plants, come back to life, they produce pollen as part of their reproductive process. The plants release high levels of pollen spores into the air that can be carried by the wind for miles. Pollen in itself is a harmless substance, but if you have seasonal allergies, your body mistakes the pollen for something dangerous and releases histamines to fight off the perceived threat. It’s this histamine response that causes your itchy, awful symptoms.

How can I identify my allergy triggers?

A medical professional can help diagnose your seasonal allergies based on when symptoms develop. In general:

  • Trees pollinate in the spring.
  • Grasses release pollen in late spring and summer.
  • Ragweed produces pollen in the fall.
  • Mold spores can cause seasonal allergies during the spring, summer, and fall.

The timing and severity of allergy season will vary depending on your location, but certain conditions can worsen symptoms. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology notes the following factors:

  • Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.
  • Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity.
  • Tree and grass pollen levels typically peak in the evening.
  • Ragweed pollen levels are highest in the morning.
  • Rainfall can wash pollen away, but pollen counts rise afterwards.
  • Pollen counts surge on warm, windy days.

Knowing your allergy triggers and minimizing your exposure is a good first step to treating seasonal allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl and Claritin can also help block the body’s histamine-producing response and reduce symptoms.

If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, head to our clinic. Our friendly medical team will help you pinpoint your allergy triggers, and find relief.

Why We Still Need Masks

masks for COVID-19 protection

As states ramp up their distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, a return to normalcy feels within reach. But, how long will it take to achieve herd immunity in our communities? Will we still need masks and social distancing– and for how long? Below, we answer your questions surrounding life after vaccination.

How many people need to get a COVID- 19 vaccine to achieve herd immunity?

Herd immunity occurs when enough people in a community are protected from getting COVID-19 because they’ve either already had the disease or they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns. According to an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Fauchi “believes that it may take close to 90 percent immunity to bring the virus to a halt.”

Do we still need to wear masks and practice social distancing after getting vaccinated?

Short answer: yes.

More research is needed on whether the vaccine will keep you from spreading the virus to others. And because it will take time for our communities to achieve herd immunity, we need to continue using tried-and-true methods to help slow the spread. Use face masks to cover your mouth and nose when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often.​​

Why get the vaccine if I still need a mask?

The vaccines are incredibly effective in protecting you from serious illness. Two shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces your risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by about 95%. There’s no way of knowing how COVID-19 will affect you. Protect yourself and others by getting the vaccine as soon as it’s available to you.

The CDC is learning how the vaccines work in a real-world setting. For now, it’s important we all do our part in slowing the spread.

COVID-19 Vaccines Explained

covid-19 vaccines

With authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines now available in the US, we have real hope for stopping the pandemic. There are currently two FDA-authorized mRNA vaccines for COVID-19: the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine (for ages 16+) and the Moderna vaccine (for ages 18+). Below, we answer some common questions about these newly developed vaccines, and what they mean for you and your loved ones.

How do the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work?

mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. Rather than using a weakened or inactivated germ to trigger an immune response in the body, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a harmless protein—or even just a piece of a protein. Our immune system recognizes that this protein doesn’t belong, and will begin building an immune response and producing antibodies. These antibodies protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

You can visit CDC’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine webpage to learn more about this process.

What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?

COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and even death in some individuals, and there’s no way of knowing how the virus will affect you. The COVID-19 vaccine offers protection from the illness by creating an antibody response in your body. The vaccines available in the US are highly effective. On the off chance you do still get COVID-19, vaccination will help reduce the severity of your illness and lower the risk of serious complications.

By getting vaccinated, you also help the people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The vaccines being used under emergency use authorization have been shown to meet rigorous safety criteria and be effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. Take a look at an overview of safety and efficacy data here.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, the mRNA vaccines don’t use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

However, it’s important to remember that it takes several weeks, and 2 separate injections of the vaccine, for the body to build up immunity against COVID. This means it’s possible to become infected with COVID-19 just before or shortly after you receive your vaccination.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

You may feel flu-like symptoms in the first few days after receiving the vaccine. This is normal, and a sign that your body is building protection against COVID.

After getting the vaccine, you may experience:

  • Pain and swelling at site of injection
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for any pain and discomfort.

When will I be able to get the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccine supplies are limited, and each state has its own plan for deciding which groups of people will be vaccinated first. Contact your local health department for the latest information on how and when you can receive a vaccine.

CDC recommends that states allocate initial supplies of the vaccine to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. The next phase includes frontline essential workers, such as firefighters, police and correction officers, food and agricultural workers, postal workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, and public transit workers. It also includes adults 75 and older. Phase 3 includes people aged 65-74 years and individuals with underlying conditions.

The goal is for everyone to have access to the vaccine as soon as enough supplies are available.

We hope this information gives you some peace of mind in regards to vaccination. The CDC offers more Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination.