Trick-or-Treat Tips for a Safe Halloween

Halloween Family

Trick-or-Treat Tips for a Safe Halloween

Halloween Family

Halloween is such an exciting time of year for kids, they get to stay up past their bedtimes, dress up as their favorite superhero or Disney princess and indulge on candy. Parents need to make sure throughout this exciting event that their kids stay visible, follow the rules of the road, and don’t eat anything strange from the candy bag. Read the following tips to ensure this Halloween doesn’t literally turn into a scary one.

Before you take your little ghosts and goblins out for Halloween, read these safety tips:

Keep it Bright

Darker costumes obviously make it harder to spot your child in a crowd so make sure you dress your child up in costumes that are bright colored, making them more visible to you as it gets dark outside. If your child’s costume is dark, make sure to add reflective accessories or light your kids up with glow sticks.

Face Paint Instead of Face-masks

Face-masks can be a great touch to a costume for a more realistic look, but they are dangerous as they can obstruct vision. Face paint is a much better option, but just make sure to try it out first making sure your child doesn’t have a reaction to the make up. Remember to completely wash it off before tucking them into bed!

Travel in a Group

Older kids should always travel together as a group, and make sure that it’s a neighborhood that has been approved by all the parents. Check-ins by phone should happen regularly and make sure that you have set a curfew for them to be home by.

Safely Approach Homes

Only go up to homes that are well lit with a porch light, outdoor lights, or Halloween decorations. Make sure to enforce the rule to never enter a home or a car for a treat candy.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Make sure to only cross the roads where there are established crosswalks and to always hold your child’s hand when crossing the road. If you are out driving that night be sure to drive slowly through residential areas as there will be small children running around from house to house.

Check the Candy

Before you let your children dig into their pile of candy dump it all out on a table and check each piece, discarding any candy that looks like it has been opened already or any homemade or repackaged candy.

Cold vs. Flu: Ways You Can Spot the Difference

Woman Blowing Her Nose On Couch

Cold vs. Flu: Ways You Can Spot the Difference

Woman Blowing Her Nose On Couch

Is it a cold or flu?

There are so many ways to describe your physical symptoms when you are sick to the doctor. Coughing, sneezing, shivering, hacking, wheezy dry cough, runny nose, and many more. While these all seem like ways to describe the common cold, it is important to spot the different signs between a cold and the seasonal flu.

Symptoms of Seasonal Flu

Influenza or also known as the common “flu” often hits fast and takes you by surprise. The flu begins with a sudden fever including other symptoms like chills, muscle aches, headaches, and tiredness. The important thing to understand is that with the flu you feel lousy and you feel lousy FAST. If you experience any of the fast symptoms included with a flu, contact your doctor right away to begin treatment as the flu can be dangerous if not treated properly and quickly.

Symptoms of Common Cold

The common cold, on the other hand, usually starts gradually and lasts much longer. It is important to understand that symptoms with a cold often creep up on you and can last anywhere from 2-3 weeks. Colds will rarely come with a significant fever, while the flu never fails with a fever of 100 degrees or higher for at least a few days.

This is a helpful chart that shows the difference in symptoms between the flu and cold:

Signs and Symptoms

Influenza

Common Cold

Onset

Sudden

Gradual

Fever

Temperature of 100 degrees and above for 3-4 days

Temperature less than 100 degrees

Cough

Dry, sometimes severe

Hacking

Headache

Prominent 

Rare

Muscle pain

Usual, often and severe

Uncommon or usually mild

Tiredness & weakness

Lasting about 2-3 weeks

Very mild and brief

Extreme exhaustion

Early & prominent

Never

Chest discomfort

Common

Uncommon or mild

Stuffy nose

Sometimes

Typical

Sneezing

Sometimes

Typical

Sore Throat

Sometimes

Common 

Treatment Options for the Flu

Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza are used to best treat cases of the flu which require a prescription and a treatment plan. These medications fight the flu by keeping the viruses from reproducing in your body and work best when started within 48 hours of your first symptoms.

At DOCS Urgent Care a variety of our convenient locations in Connecticut offer flu immunizations. Feel free to walk into one of our clinics today for a fast, wait-free way to get your flu shot. Find our more information about flu shots here.

What to Look for in a Primary Care Physician

What to Look for In a Primary Care Physician

There are many benefits to having a primary care provider including better patient-to-provider communication, referrals to other specialty doctors and management to chronic diseases. But, how do you go about choosing a primary care provider? 

The relationship you have with your primary care provider is one of the most important because this physician will learn your medical history, your medications, your possible health conditions, lifestyle and what treatment you prefer. To help you make the right choice when it comes to your health, we’ve listed out some of the top qualities and resources to look for in your PCP.  


Tips on How to Find Your Primary Care Provider 

 

Find Out If the Doctor is In Your “Network”

Many health plans have negotiated discounted rates for specific doctors or hospitals that are in your area. You’ll pay less out of pocket for a doctor that is in your “network.” The best way to find out what doctors are in your network is to call your insurance company to verify. You can do so by calling the 1-800 number on the back of your insurance card. 

At all 16 of our DOCS Urgent Care locations in Connecticut, we accept all major insurances. If you would like to confirm that we accept your insurance, please find your nearest DOCS location and call to verify.

Have Your Needs In Mind 

Every person has unique health needs that will often change as we get older. It’s important to find a primary care provider that you trust with your health conditions (or for your children). Start off by asking your doctor what they specialize in. Some specialize in pediatrics, while others might have a special interest in sports medicine. If you struggle with multiple complex medical issues or if you are an older individual, you’ll benefit more from seeing a geriatrician who specializes in the care of older patients. 

Consider the Location 

For some, quality healthcare has no distance too far. For others, you may value having local, convenient care right in your town. You’ll also want to also consider office hours – what days and times is the doctor available? Do they only visit one location or can you see them at other offices? 

At DOCS Urgent Care, we know that our patients want quality care in the most convenient locations. That’s why we have 16 different locations all across Fairfield, New Haven, and Hartford counties. We want to make sure that our patients don’t have to travel long distances to receive the care they deserve. All of our locations have compassionate doctors and nurses who are more than excited about offering primary care services to all of our patients. We also offer our services 365 days a year because we understand that things happen and walk-in care is an efficient way to assure that you’re seen the same day. 

Visit the Doctor 

Even if you go off referrals, you’ll get a more accurate reading of your potential doctor by visiting them for a wellness check-up. Make sure that during your visit, you feel comfortable with both the office, the nurses and the doctor. You should be able to talk confidently with your doctor and know that you can rely on them for your healthcare management. 

To know if you like the atmosphere in the doctor’s office, make note of a few different things. How is the demeanor of the people who answer the phones? Are the office assistants and nurses friendly? What is the wait like? There are many different factors that can conclude if you will enjoy making this your primary care location. 

Start Receiving Quality Care Today

At DOCS Urgent Care (throughout Connecticut), we offer both urgent care services and primary care services. Whether you need a general check-up, physical, or require a PCP that can help manage your chronic condition, we are here for you. We can offer you the same services as a primary care physician without the wait times or inconvenient schedules. Our doctors are trained and experienced in providing care for infants, adolescents, young adults and seniors. To start receiving care from DOCS, find out which location is closest to you!

Treating Fall Allergies

Fall Allergy Patient

Battling Fall Allergies?

Fall Allergy Patient

Treating Fall Allergies

Fall allergies are extremely common and can be detrimental to an individual’s everyday life. The symptoms that arise from allergies tend to interfere with one’s daily functions such as sleep and concentration. In order to effectively treat these fall allergies, we must understand what fall allergies really are and why they create such discomfort. Before treating yourself, it is important to understand your body and how it reacts to certain allergens or environmental triggers.

Symptoms of Common Fall Allergies

Allergens such as mold, pollen, animal hair, and dust can trigger fall allergies and cause moderate to severe symptoms. Common symptoms or signs of an allergic attack include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itchy throat, and headaches. When allergens invade your body, your immune system responds by releasing a surge of chemicals, including histamine, in order to flush them out of your system.

Questions to Reflect On

These are some helpful questions to ask yourself so you can distinguish your triggers and treat your fall allergies accordingly:

  • What symptoms occur?
  • Does being outdoors or indoors trigger your symptoms more?
  • What where you doing that triggered these symptoms?
    (I.e: cleaning, petting animals, smoking cigarettes, etc)
  • What relieves you of your symptoms?
  • What treatments have you tried that work?
  • What treatments have you tried that are ineffective or exacerbate allergic flare ups?

    By reflecting on these questions, you will better equip yourself with the knowledge to treat your fall allergies and take preventative actions.

Treatment Options for Fall Allergies

Depending on your personal experience with fall allergies, there are various ways to treat this discomfort. If the symptoms you are experiencing are severe, it is best to seek medical help at Docs Urgent Care or other healthcare facilities. A medical professional will evaluate your medical/medication history to determine what treatment is most effective for you.
Some control measures to consider are:

  • Buy a dehumidifier
  • Check pollen levels
  • Remove pollen from furniture and clothing
  • Wear protective clothing/allergen-free clothing
  • Keep pets off personal items & bed

    These helpful fall allergy tips can help provide needed relief. Take the time to experiment with these control measures and determine what alleviates your symptoms. If self-treatment is an appropriate option for you, it’s still recommended to see a professional in order to prevent contraindications and drug interactions.

Taking Action 

If you suffer with fall allergies and are seeking a personal treatment plan, schedule an appointment today at DOCS Urgent Care. We have 15 different Urgent Care locations in Connecticut that offer allergy testing, treatment services, and preventative methods. These clinics are run by allergists and healthcare professionals who ensure the highest standard of patient care. We accept most major insurances too!

Back to School Health Tips

teenagers going back to school

Back to School Health Tips

teenagers going back to school

Summer is coming to an end, which means all of those bad habits need to too. Back-to-school is always a hard period with getting your child ready and back on track with their sleeping and eating schedule. Want to make sure that this is their best school year yet? Let us help you get your child back on track this school year. Follow these recommended back-to-school tips:

Encourage Healthy Sleeping Habits

It’s important that your child gets a good night’s sleep in preparation for school the next day, so start setting that back-to-school bedtime! Spending less time on devices such as; computers, tablets, cell-phones and television contribute to a well rested child.

To ensure your child maintains their good health they should be getting around eight to ten hours of sleep each night. Some things to avoid right before bedtime are as follows; exercise, large meals, technology, warm showers/baths and most importantly caffeine.

Hygiene First

Summer tooth brushing routines are over, time to get your child back in the two-a-day brushing routine. In order to keep those pearly whites and healthy gums, your child should be brushing their teeth at least twice a day and keeping up with their flossing once a day as well. As much as they may cry about it, try some fun ways to brush!

Good hygiene leads to better health. In order to maintain good health and preventing illness and infections from growing, have your child get used to washing their hands and body regularly. This will keep all the yucky germs from spreading.

Annual Wellness Visits

Every child is required to have an updated physical for each school year. The reason for this importance is that physicals ensure your child’s health and checkups are up-to-date. Annual physicals also build up medical history which only benefits your child in the long run. 

Having an updated annual physical for your child also allows them to participate in physical activities within and outside the school. Sports for example, almost always require a physical in order to participate. This factor only benefits your child’s health.

Healthy Eating

According to the State of Obesity, 18.5% of children ages 2-19 in America have obesity. This percent continues to grow, and that’s why it’s important to instill healthy eating habits in your child’s mind. Some children can be picky eaters, so to work past this make sure you continue to introduce new healthy foods, avoid buying unhealthy home/school snacks, replace juice with the actual fruit, and most importantly- BE THE MODEL.

Continuing a regular healthy lunch box or school lunch for your child gets them into a healthy eating routine- that’s the goal! When it comes to food shopping, be sure to check out the nutritional facts on the packaging; stay away from snacks that have lots of calories, are high in trans fat, sodium and sugar. Cook your at home meals smart!

Make the Changes Today 

This new school season is just around the corner. Have you started to change your child’s diet, or sleep habits? There’s still time! There is also time to schedule their annual school physical before the new year! 

Importance of Back to School Physicals

The Importance of School Physicals

School Physical Importance

Did you know school physicals are required annually before the start of school each year? They are required for children and young adults of all ages. They ensure your child is healthy and have all their vaccinations up-to-date.

With physicals it allows your child to build their medical history so that their doctor can keep a record of your child’s development and progress over the course of time.  Not only does this keep on top of emerging problems but stay informed on past illnesses and immunizations.

When receiving a school physical form, it allows your child’s pediatrician to accurately fill out the form based on record from growth and development from immunizations as well as health check-up throughout the year. 

How can DOCS Urgent Care Help?

When coming to DOCS Urgent Care at any of our locations, one of our certified physicians will be happy to perform your child’s school physical exam. Walk-in or call and make an appointment with us. Once here, your child’s physical will include a review of health history, a performed exam, a signed form to bring back to school, and/or we will fax all applicable documents to specific institutions.  We also provide the following vaccinations: 

  • Tetanus Diphtheria (TD)
  • Tetanus Diphtheria Pertussis (TDAP)
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Varicella
  • Yellow Fever
  • Gardasil
  • Pneumococcal
  • Menactra
  • MMR
  • Hepatitis A (Pediatric)
  • Hepatitis B (Pediatric)
  • And More

As a leader in the industry of top quality medical care, we make sure you receive affordable and cost effective services from our trained professional staff. In addition to scheduling a school physical, you will ensure the wellbeing of your child to help them perform their best both mentally and physically. Call today to schedule your child’s school physical.

Everything to Know About Summer Allergies

girl sneezing due to summer allergies

Everything to Know About Summer Allergies

girl sneezing due to summer allergies

The Symptoms

Just because Spring is over does not mean your allergies are over. Many people experience severe allergy symptoms in the summer months. For some people the summer time allergies can be just as bad or worse than the spring and fall seasons. 

– Runny nose
– Water eyes
– Sneezing
– Coughing
– Itchy eyes and nose
– Itchy throat
– Dark circles
– Mouth breathing

 

The Causes

Mold

One of the primary culprits of your summer allergies, mold is most prevalent in hot and humid environments. Mold can spread through the air by the wind which makes it spread quickly. A spring with an above average amount of rain can lead to increased amount of mold in the summer months. 

 

Pollen

Pollen similar to Mold in the sense it is most prevalent in the summer months due to the warmth. The pollen comes off of trees, weeds, and grasses to fill the air and make your summer miserable. Trees such as birch, cedar, and oak all release high levels of pollen. Some common sources of weed pollen are sagebrush, pigweed, lamb’s quarters and tumbleweed. It is essential in the summer to look up the pollen count to see how much pollen is in the air at a specific time. Avoid going outside for extended periods of time on days with a high pollen count.

 

Summer Cold or Summer Allergies?

Are you worried that you could be coming down with a summer cold? First take a look at this list of differences between a summer cold and just summer allergies. 

 

 Typically with a cold you may experience general aches and pains which you wouldn’t experience with summer allergies.

 The duration of a summer cold is usually around a few days while summer allergies can last for weeks or potentially months.

 

Solving Summer Allergies

 It is imperative to check the mold and pollen counts to avoid outside contact on those days with high levels. This can help you limit your symptoms when the days are at their worst.

 Keep your home clean and potentially invest in an HVAC system instead of opening windows to let allergens into your home.

 Clean your furry friends when they come inside to stop them from bringing in any allergens.
 

DOCS Medical Group can provide you with the care you need. Contact us today to set up an appointment or visit our office.

3 Signs You Have Seasonal Allergies

women sneezing

3 Signs You Have Seasonal Allergies

women sneezing

Every year millions of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Some symptoms can include sneezing, congestion, and runny nose to name a few. Seasonal allergies can affect you year round, but most people find that their symptoms are more prevalent or intense at the turn of Spring. Whichever symptom may be bothering you, we have ways to help. Read on to learn more about allergy symptoms and seasonality.

1. Common Symptoms

Allergies can come in a variety of forms. You do not need to have every symptom to determine if you have a seasonal allergy. Here are some of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies: 

– Sneezing
– Congestion
– Runny nose
– Watery eyes
– Itchy eyes
– Itchy throat

 

2. Additional Symptoms

These symptoms are not as common as the ones above, yet many people suffer from the following during allergy season:

– Headache
– Wheezing
– Coughing

 

3. Allergy Sources During Certain Seasons

As mentioned previously, allergies can occur at any point in the year. Although Springtime is the most common time for seasonal allergies, different sources can give you allergies during other seasons. This list can give you a better idea of what may affect you during different seasons: 

Spring – Birch, Cedar, Alder, Horse Chestnut, Willow, and Poplar

Summer – Ryegrass, Timothy Grass, and Weeds

Fall – Ragweed, Nettles, Mugworts, Sorrels, Fat Hens, and Plantains

Winter – Mold, Pet Dander, Dust Mites, and Cockroaches

 

Solving Your Seasonal Allergies

Unfortunately, seasonal allergies cannot be completely cured, but most symptoms can be alleviated with certain medications. There are over-the-counter medicines that fall under categories such as antihistamines, decongestants, and saline spray. An antihistamine can help prevent sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. A decongestant can relieve sinus pressure and open up your sinuses for better breathing. The saline spray is perfect for cleaning out all the mucus in the nose. Use the saline spray once in the morning and again at night to ensure you are completely flushed out. 

These medications are the first step in addressing your seasonal allergies. However, if you find that over-the-counter medication is proving ineffective, then consult your doctor regarding prescription medications.

 

DOCS Medical Group can provide you with the care you need. Contact us today to set up an appointment or visit our office.

How to Identify and Treat Pink Eye

How to Identify and Treat Pink Eye

Pink eye is very common, especially for young children who go to summer camp. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is fairly easy to treat, especially if it is identified early. Read on to learn how to spot pink eye and find treatment options. 

What Does Pink Eye Look Like?

As the name suggests, pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, causing the eye to develop a reddish/pink color. This coloration is the easiest symptom to spot. However, it is important to learn about the other pink eye symptoms. These can include: crusty eyelids/lashes, clear, white, yellow, or green eye discharge, itchy eyes, and increased tearing. 

How Do I Prevent Pink Eye from Spreading? How Do I Avoid Pink Eye?

Pink Eye can spread easily as viruses or bacteria. Some major ways to avoid pink eye are washing your hands often with soap and water, disinfecting common areas (for example, the doorknobs), avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, and stay away from sharing things like eyeglasses, contact lens/contact lens containers, and makeup (ex: mascara). 

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Pink Eye?

  • According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are times when you should seek the help of a health provider if you have any of the following:
  • Moderate to severe pain in your eye(s)
  • Sensitivity to light or blurred vision
  • Intense redness in the eye(s)
  • A weakened immune system, for example from HIV or cancer treatment
  • Symptoms that get worse or don’t improve, including bacterial pink eye that does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
  • Pre-existing eye conditions that may put you at risk for complications or severe infection
  • An infant or newborn with symptoms of pink eye should see a healthcare provider immediately

If you need to see a physician for pink eye, DOCS Urgent Care can help you. DOCS Urgent Care is the #1 choice for CT families and is open 365 days a year with extended office hours. Contact us today! 

DOCS Medical Group can provide you with the care you need. Contact us today to set up an appointment or visit us in Fairfield, Bethel, New Milford, or any of our 12 other offices throughout CT!

The Risk of Food Poisoning in the Summer

The Risk of Food Poisoning in the Summer

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor picnics and late-night barbeques. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled veggies are summer staples. However, it is important to remember that warm weather can increase the risk of turning your fun food plans into a disastrous bacterial growth, leading to food poisoning. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), 48 million Americans get food poisoning every year. Follow these tips for food preparation and protection to ensure your summer picnics are memorable for the right reasons!

Keep Cool!

The heat of the summer is one of the major reasons why there is an uptick in food poisoning cases during these months. Bacteria can grow faster in warm climates, with the fastest growth in temperatures from 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Eating food that has been left out too long will make you sick. Prevent this possibility by keeping your foods cool. For instance, if you are hosting a BBQ, keep your raw meat, poultry, or seafood in a fridge or insulated cooler until you are ready to grill. Put your leftovers in a fridge or cooler as soon as possible. Keeping food out for over an hour or two could spell disaster. If you think your perishable food has been out too long, throw it out. Additionally, if you use a cooler, make sure you layer and replenish ice (when needed) to keep items properly cool.

 

Keep Clean!

Before any food preparation/cooking, you should always wash your hands with warm water and soap. You should also wash your hands after handling any raw meat, poultry, seafood. Unwashed or improperly washed hands can contribute to the spread of germs and bacteria. You should also wash/clean kitchen surfaces, grills, and utensils to decrease the chances of food poisoning. Additionally, fresh produce and vegetables, such as lettuce, should be rinsed. Therefore, it is important to have a source of safe drinking water to properly cleanse food, surfaces, and hands.

 

Keep Separate!

Cross-contamination is a serious contributor to food poisoning. Keep bacteria from traveling from raw meats or seafood to other areas. If you are packing, wrap and separate raw food in individual bags. This will prevent any juices or marinades to stay away from one another. After cooking food, place on a clean plate and away from uncooked food. It is also important to remember to use clean utensils and to never use the same utensils between cooked and uncooked foods.

 

Keep Cooking!

You will need to cook your food thoroughly to kill the harmful bacteria. Never partially grill meat to finish later because it allows the bacteria to survive and multiply, eventually reaching a point where the subsequent cooking would no longer destroy the germs. Use a food thermometer to ensure that your food is properly cooked. Sometimes, eyeballing food from the outside is not enough to determine that the food is safe to consume. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the following safe internal temperatures:

  • Poultry (whole, pieces & ground): 165 °F /74 °C
  • Ground meats: 160 °F /71 °C
  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts & chops): 145 °F /63 °C

 

Common Symptoms of Food Poisoning

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Weakness

 

Many cases of food poisoning only require rest and hydration. However, it may be necessary to get medical help. DOCS Urgent Care can provide many services to aid if you contract food poisoning. Contact medical help if you find you have any of the following:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea lasting more than three days
  • A high, persistent fever
  • Bloody vomit or diarrhea
  • Extreme abdominal pain
  • Inability to remain hydrated
  • Difficulty seeing, speaking, or standing

DOCS Medical Group can provide you with the care you need. Contact us today to set up an appointment or visit our office.