Does my child have an ear infection?

Your toddler is tugging at their ear and acting extra fussy. Could it be an ear infection?

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents bring their child to the doctor. In fact, five out of six kids will experience at least one ear infection by their third birthday. The condition, also known as acute otitis media, is an inflammation of the middle ear that occurs when fluid builds up behind the eardrum and becomes infected by bacteria or a virus. Since your child may not yet have the language skills to communicate their pain, it’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of an ear infection, and when it’s time to see a medical provider.

Signs and Symptoms

child in bed with ear infection

  • Tugging or pulling at the ear(s)
  • Ear pain that’s worse when lying down
  • Irritable, fussier than usual
  • Crying more than usual
  • Difficulty hearing and/or failing to respond to sounds
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Fever (100 F or higher)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms can indicate a number of conditions, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment from a medical provider.

When To See A Doctor

Call your child’s doctor, or head right into our clinic if:

  • symptoms last for more than a day
  • ear pain is severe
  • your child is sleepless or irritable after a cold or upper respiratory infection
  • you observe a discharge of fluid, pus or blood from the ear

To diagnose ear pain, our provider will review your child’s symptoms, perform a physical exam, and use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to view the eardrum. The provider may also use a pneumatic otoscope to check for fluid behind the eardrum.

If symptoms indicate a bacterial infection, we may be prescribe a course of antibiotics. Other times, it’s best to simply monitor the situation and focus on symptom management. Some earaches are not caused by infection, and will get better on their own within 1-2 days. Ear drops and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can reduce fever and ease pain.

If your child is suffering from signs and symptoms of an ear infection, we are here for you. Simply walk in for quick, convenient, quality care for you child.

Flu Prevention and Treatment Techniques You Need to Know

mug on bedside table - flu prevention and treatmentFall is here, and flu season won’t be far behind. Learn the best flu prevention methods, and when it’s time to see a doctor.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and even death. In fact, flu-related illnesses claimed over 80,000 lives just last year! Here’s how to protect yourself and your family this flu season.

Flu Prevention

Flu viruses occur seasonally (October through May) and spread through droplets in the air when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Follow these simple preventative steps to avoid falling ill.

    • The most effective way to fight the flu is to get vaccinated. Flu vaccinations save lives, and the CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. The vaccine can lessen the severity of an illness –if not prevent it all together– and reduce your risk of serious complications.
    • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and moth, and disinfect surfaces.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. While this step isn’t always possible, it’s worth noting!

Flu Treatment

A sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue? You might have the flu. Here’s how to handle it.

See a doctor ASAP. Your doctor can run a rapid flu test and if indicated, prescribe an antiviral medication proven to lessen the severity and duration of your illness. When taken promptly, antiviral drugs can reduce the time you are sick by 1-2 days and also prevent serious complications, such as pneumonia.

Help stop the spread of flu. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, limit contact with other people and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except for necessities and to get medical care. When you sneeze and cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue out and wash your hands.

We treat cold and flu on a walk-in basis, at an affordable price. Visit our clinic today to feel better faster.

Prevent Scars with Proper Wound Care

Man having his wound treated and bandaged to prevent scarsCuts, scrapes, and minor wounds are a part of life, but lasting scars don’t have to be. Learn how to care for your wounds and prevent scars.

What Exactly Is A Scar?

When skin is injured, our body produces extra collagen in an effort to repair the wound as fast as possible. This fibrous healing tissue replaces normal skin, and becomes what we refer to as a scar. Most scars are flat and pale, though some may be raised (known as hypertrophic and keloid scars). The appearance of a scar depends on factors such as the size, shape, and location of the wound and the thickness and color of your skin. While some scarring is inevitable, there are some simple ways you can prevent and lessen lasting marks.

Follow These Wound Care Steps To Prevent Scars

  1. Know when to see a doctor. Wide-set or deep cuts may need stitches. If your wound is deep, painful, or becomes infected, head into our clinic as soon as possible. The key to preventing scars is treating wounds early. Our medical team can quickly evaluate and treat your injury to help you heal faster and minimize scarring. Make sure to follow your provider’s advice on follow-up care and when to get stitches removed.
  2. Keep the wound clean, moist, and covered. Wash your wound daily, using water, a soft wash cloth, and mild soap. After cleaning, apply petroleum jelly or Aquaphor, and a fresh bandage. This hydrates the wound to promote healing, and also protects it from germs and infection. Properly caring for your wound will allow your body to heal with less work and less scarring.
  3. Be patient. Wounds take many months to fully heal.  Avoid using hydrogen peroxide (it actually slows tissue growth), never pick scabs, and always wear sunscreen to prevent discoloration and further skin damage.  A simple, natural healing process is your best bet!

When you need fast treatment for minor cuts and wounds, head into our clinic. We can evaluate your injury and perform stitches, X-rays, and tetanus shots on-site, with no appointment necessary.

Back to School: Common Classroom Illnesses

common classroom illnessesThe start of the school year brings with it new teachers, full backpacks, and plenty of homework. Unfortunately, it also brings an increased risk of illness for your children. Kids in school spend more time indoors, in close proximity to one another, sharing supplies, toys, — and infections. Learn about the common classroom illnesses that your kids might come home with this school year, and how best to care for them.

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis)

Pinkeye –or conjunctivitis– is one of the most common eye infections in children. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white of the eyeball. Pinkeye is most often the result of a virus, and can be very contagious; outbreaks sweep through schools and playgrounds.

Pinkeye symptoms include the hallmark pink or red appearance of the eye, along with eye itchiness, pain, swelling, and/or a feeling of sand in the eye. Discharge from the eye and tearing are also common. If you suspect your child has pinkeye, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the spread of the infection to others, and help ease symptoms. Visit our clinic at the first signs of symptoms of pinkeye.

Flu

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that occurs seasonally, usually from October through May (the bulk of the school year.) The flu is spread through tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Symptoms come on suddenly, can be mild to severe, and include fever, body aches, decreased appetite, headache, and severe exhaustion. The illness can lead to serious complications, especially in young children. If your little one develops symptoms, head into our clinic for a proper diagnosis and fast treatment.

To prevent flu, make sure your family receives the annual flu vaccine and teach your child good hygiene habits such as covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing.

Common Cold

The common cold is usually the result of rhinoviruses. These viruses spread through the air and close personal contact, and kids are more susceptible than adults. If your child comes down with a cold, they’ll likely be sneezy, and suffering from a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, and a headache. They may also develop a mild fever. There is no cure for a cold. Just make sure your little one gets some rest and drinks plenty of fluids.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a contagious infection of the throat and tonsils caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria spread easily through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Kids can get strep by breathing in these droplets, touching a surface where they are present, or by sharing food or drinks with someone who is sick.

Signs of strep include a sore and scratchy throat, difficulty swallowing, headache and fever. Your child’s tonsils may appear red and swollen, sometimes with white patches, along with tiny red spots at the back of the mouth and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck. If your child is suffering from any symptoms that may indicate strep, it’s important to see a medical provider. Untreated strep throat can cause serious complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever.

As a parent, it’s difficult to see your child not feeling well. But, childhood illnesses are inevitable. Teach your kids healthy habits, keep track of their symptoms, and remember that our medical team is here to care for your family!

How to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Sports are an amazing way to get exercise, be social, and improve your overall well-being. But every time you step onto the field, you run the risk of injury. Collisions, poor technique, overuse, or simply, bad luck can leave you with a serious medical issue.

common sports injuries, man holding tennis racket

Common sports injuries include:

  • Sprains: A sudden twist or fall can put too much stress on your joint, causing the ligaments to overextend or tear.
  • Muscle Strains: running, jumping, throwing, slips, and lifting heavy objects can all lead your muscle or tendon to stretch either suddenly or too much.
  • Fractures (Broken Bones): a collision in contact sports or landing wrong from a fall can lead to an acute fracture. Repetitive impact such as running or jumping can also cause stress fractures.
  • Knee Injuries: acute, sudden trauma, chronic overuse, or a combination of the two can lead to a variety of problems in the knee, the body’s most complex joint.
  • Shin Splints: improper shoes, high intensity workouts, or exercising without stretching can lead to aching shins due to too much stress on the shin bone and its connective tissues.
  • Dislocations: force from a hit or fall can push the bones in a joint out of alignment. Finger, hand, and shoulder dislocations are the most common bones affected.

While some sports injuries are bound to happen, many common sports injuries are preventable. Take the following steps to reduce your risk:

  1. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. Build up your endurance and increase the intensity as your fitness improves. A little pre-participation training can help build muscle and reduce overuse injuries.
  2. Always begin activity with a gentle warm-up to increase blood flow to the muscles and improve your flexibility. Cool-down with some light stretching.
  3. Make sure the playing field is safe and well-maintained. Watch for sprinklers, holes, and other tripping hazards.
  4. Wear protective gear that is appropriate to your sport – helmets, shin guards, knee pads, etc. Clothes and shoes that fit properly are also important!
  5. Learn the correct form and techniques involved in your sport.
  6. Ensure children in team sports are matched on skill level, weight and physical maturity. All children should have a sports physical before starting a new activity.

If you suffer a sports injury, know that our medical team is available to care for you 7 days a week.

Simply walk in to receive fast, affordable treatment for sprains, strains, fractures, pain, and dislocations. We can also refer you to a specialist if medically necessary and help coordinate your care.