Natural Solutions for Seasonal Allergies

Natural Solutions for Seasonal Allergies

As spring begins, unfortunately so does allergy season. Testing for what kind of allergies you have and seeking treatment is your best option to manage your allergies all together.

For people with mild allergies these remedies can give you some quick relief. Here are a few tips on how to suppress seasonal allergy symptoms.

Stay Hydrated

Seasonal allergies put a strain on your body’s ability to stay hydrated. If you keep up with the proper amount of water every day, then your body can react better to your allergens and fight them off. By staying hydrated, you’re essentially thinning out the mucus in your nasal passages and helping with sinus drainage. If you cut down on other fluids such as juice, soda, and coffee it will be very beneficial to your health.

Get Steamy

Allergies can make it difficult to breathe from all the congestion you’re experiencing. Inhaling steam is a simple trick to help you breathe easier. Taking a hot shower or holding your head over a warm bowl of water will definitely give you some fast relief. Showers also offer an added benefit for springtime allergy sufferers. A quick rinse after spending time outdoors can help remove allergens from your skin and hair.

Probiotics

Probiotics or “good bacteria” can help relieve your allergies by breaking down food for digestion. The purpose of taking a probiotic is to to help you contain a healthy gut. When our bodies take in this healthy bacterium, we’re able to develop a healthy immune system which is vital to the prevention and treatment of allergies.

Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Fiber has many health benefits because it works as an all-natural detox. It helps eliminate toxins from your body. Fiber can help food passing regularly through the digestive system. Also, increasing your daily intake of grains and vegetables improves detoxification and helps to prevent chronic disease later on in life.

Exercise Daily

Allergies often bring out congestion and sinus pressure. When you exercise, you’re naturally smoothing your body by helping to open the blood vessels in your nose and easing your congestion. Honestly, sweating is one of the best ways to exert toxins. Exercise will also help improve sleep quality, stamina, and mood—even when all that sniffling and sneezing has you drained.

Honey

Believe it or not eating honey produced in your local area can help relieve allergies. Taking a tablespoon of local, raw honey every day will help your body build a tolerance to the local pollen that is attacking your sinuses. The main reason honey is so powerful in fighting allergies is because it contains bee pollen, which is known to fight off infections, allergies and boost your immune system.

Get Allergy Tested Today

It’s important to know the safest way to fight your allergies is to get properly tested and figure out a treatment plan that works best for you. DOCS allergy test can provide a service to help you with your allergies such as allergy shots (immunotherapy). This is an effective treatment for a broad range of allergens. Call us today to schedule your appointment. In the meantime, use these quick tricks to give you some relief!

Fractures, Sprains and Strains: What Do I Have?

man grasping foot in hunched position at a running track

Fractures, Sprains and Strains: What Do I Have?

man grasping foot in hunched position at a running track

All types of injuries are painful, but the more serious your injury is the more extensive your treatment will be. It all depends on what’s happened inside your body. Have you torn a ligament? Have you fractured your ankle? The signs might not be as obvious as you may have thought. Depending on the severity of your injury, you might want to pay a visit to the Fairfield Urgent Care center to be checked out.

Defining the main differences between fractures, sprains, and strains isn’t an easy task. We’ll guide you through what each type of injury is, the symptoms pertaining to each and what treatment you should seek.

What Causes Breaks, Sprains & Strains?

Every now and then our bodies work overtime. We put pressure on ourselves in ways that we shouldn’t which can cause the occasional strain or sprain or the unfortunate fracture. Here are some common reasons for injuries:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Tripping or falling
  • Exercising (running or jogging)
  • Overexerting your body

The most obvious kind of broken bone or fracture is when a bone is protruding from the skin, which is called an open fracture or compound fracture. During your injury if you happen to hear a pop or grinding sound, this is also an indication.

This is not an easy injury to diagnosis just from looking at it. The best way to know if you have fractured a joint is to receive a proper x-ray.

Signs of a Fracture:

  • You may hear or feel a pop, snap or grinding noise during the injury
  • Swelling, bruising, tenderness of the area
  • Pain when pressure is applied. Either by walking, touching, or pressing
  • Deformity: A joint facing the wrong way

What Happens During a Sprain?

A sprain is basically the stretching and tearing of a ligament- bands of tissue that hold your ankle together. Most of us will confuse a sprain with a break because the pain level is comparable. More often than not, a sprain will occur in the ankle.

Symptoms of a Sprain:

  • Pain, Swelling, Bruising,
  • A possible “pop” during the injury
  • Limited range of motion

What Happens During a Strain?

A strain is an injury that occurs in a muscle or tendon (fibrous cords of tissues that connect bone and muscle). Strains come in three grades depending on the damage that has happened. A Grade 1 strain is the stretching of a few muscle fibers, Grade 2 is when more muscle fibers have been damaged or torn and Grade 3 is when the muscle completely ruptures.

Symptoms of a Strain:

  • Pain, swelling, muscle spasm
  • Limited mobility and flexibility in the injured area
  • Limited ability in moving the joint’s full range of motion

How Do I Tell A Sprain from a Strain?

If you experience a sprain or a strain, you will have pain and swelling. Both of these injuries will happen because your body is under physical stress. During this time, muscles and joints are performing movements they normally wouldn’t be.

The big difference between the two is that a sprain will have bruising while a strain will bring on muscle spasms. Both types of injury will also affect your mobility.

Treatment for Sprained or Strained Joints

If it turns out that you have a sprain or a strain, there’s a simple method you can followed called the RICE method, which can also be followed for any type of injury.

Start out by resting. Instead of putting weight (on an ankle) or the affected area, try not to move too much. Next, put some ice on the area to help with any swelling. Do this in 15 minute intervals and at least 3-4 times per day. You will also want to have compression on the area. The best way to do that is to wrap the affected area, but not too tightly. You don’t want to restrict any blood flow from the area causing further damage. Your last step is to elevate. If you raise the injured area above your heart, you can increase blood flow and minimize swelling.

Treatment for a Broken Joint

If you are concerned that you have broken or fractured a bone, you will have to meet with your doctor for an examination. The most common way to determine a fracture is by having an x-ray. This will show if your bone is still intact or if it is actually broken. Your doctor will also be able to tell what kind of fracture you have and how to prepare you for the next steps.

On average, a fracture will need several weeks to several months to heal. In order to properly heal, you must follow your doctor’s advice and keep pressure off of the affected joint. If you have a fractured ankle or leg, you will most likely need physical therapy to follow the removal of a cast.

Need To Be Seen Immediately?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms for fractures, sprains or strains, you should seek medical attention immediately. Here at DOCS Urgent Care (located in many towns including Fairfield, Bethel, and Norwalk) our walk-in clinic experts can help you with our x-ray imaging services. It’s best advised that you don’t leave any injury untreated. Seek help today to prevent further damage from occurring. Come in for a no-wait consultation or call us beforehand to schedule an appointment: 203-617-0319

Lyme Disease vs. “Mono”

zoomed up photo of tick on green leaf

Lyme Disease vs Mono

zoomed up photo of tick on green leaf

At one of our many locations (DOCS Urgent Care center in Fairfield, CT), we get a lot of questions about Lyme disease. We hope to resolve your concerns so that you can feel confident in treating whatever condition you have.

Many of you know the defeating side effects of contracting Lyme disease or mononucleosis (“mono”). Lyme disease is bacterial and spread through the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by ticks. Since Lyme is most common from April to September, it’s beneficial for you to inform yourself on the subject. Mono is viral and spread through direct contact with saliva. These two can often be diagnosed interchangeably by a doctor because of the difficulty differentiating them.

The Diagnosis

Mononucleosis:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Head and body aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
  • Swollen liver or spleen or both
  • Rash


Lyme:

Early symptoms of Lyme disease are exactly the same as mono. If untreated, symptoms may include:

  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat
  • Problems with short-term memory

Since the initial symptoms may present themselves anywhere from 3 to 30 days post tick bite, the diagnosis may often come back as mononucleosis when it is actually lyme, and vice versa. Misdiagnosing lyme or failure to treat lyme early, can result is debilitating and lasting effects on your body.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is often known as the bacterial disease that never truly leaves the human body and can present itself at the most inconvenient times. This is because ticks are so frequently found on our bodies and the odds that one actually carries the lyme disease bacteria is slim. Once infected, it could potentially take months or years to actually show any symptoms, and even after treatment, symptoms may linger.

How to Prevent Lyme:

      • Avoid Wooded Areas and High Grass
      • Walk in the Center of Trails
      • Wear long sleeves and pants when working with brush, wooded areas, tall grass and similar areas
      • Use repellents that contain 20-30% DEET
      • Use products that contain 0.5% permethrin on clothing
      • Examine clothes, backpacks and pets after coming back from any outdoor activities

 

Mononucleosis

The symptoms of mono and lyme disease may be very nearly identical, but the duration of mononucleosis isn’t usually as drastic. Most cases last 2 to 4 weeks with the occasional infection that incurs symptoms for months. Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and approximately 25% of all people infected with EBV will contract mononucleosis. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed by a false positive EBV test which is why the two are extremely difficult to differentiate.

How to Prevent Mono

      • Avoid sharing drinks, straws, food, food utensils, inhalers, and cigarettes.
      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      • Keeping your body healthy is very important; Healthy bodies are more likely to fight illness.
      • Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet are all parts of keeping your body healthy, and can be the determining factor if you contract mono or not.

 

Get Tested at DOCS Urgent Care

Here at DOCS Urgent Care, we offer 24/7 care for our walk in patients. If you have even the slightest suspicion that you may have Lyme disease or mono, visit our Urgent Care Center in Fairfield, or one of our many locations closest to you. It’s better to catch Lyme or mono early on, rather than suffer from long term symptoms in the ongoing years. Here is a link for more information on our Lyme disease services.

Fevers & Children

teddybear holding thermometer and tissues

A Parent’s Guide to Fevers and Children

teddybear holding thermometer and tissues

We’ve all experienced a fever at some point in our lives; they make us feel groggy and uncomfortable. But do you know how to handle a fever with your child? Are you a new parent that has no idea how a fever can affect your baby? These are questions you should be asking yourself to take the necessary steps in ensuring your child gets the proper care they need. Many of us at DOCS Urgent Care located in Fairfield, and various other locations in Connecticut, have been there too. With all that said, let’s start with the basics.

Fevers 101

People get fevers when their body temperature rises above what it should be (around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The reasoning behind this is usually because the body recognizes a potential virus so it wants to create an unfavorable environment to kill off that bacteria. It’s your body’s way of fighting infection.

Some of the symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Forehead is warm to the touch
  • Shivers
  • Cold sweats
  • Lack of appetite

When Is a Fever a Sign of Something Serious?

If you notice that your child may have a fever, it would be a good idea for you to act. Some of the symptoms for children normally include fussiness, high temperature, sore throat, coughing, vomiting, etc.

Here are some of the more severe signs you should look for:

  • Your child under 3 months old has a rectal temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Your child under 2 years old has a fever that lasts over 24 hours
  • Your child doesn’t seem like him/herself
  • Seizures occur
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea occur

If you notice any of these severe symptoms, call a doctor immediately. If left untreated, these symptoms could get worse and/or they could result in more medical problems down the road. Here is an article to read if you are wondering if your child is too sick for school.

How Can I Help?

Most fevers are easy to treat and won’t require any care from a doctor, unless your child is extremely uncomfortable. There are several ways that you can help treat a simple fever:

  • Medicine (ibuprofen or acetaminophen) if the child is over a certain age
  • Dress your child in lightweight clothing
  • Provide plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • Sleep, sleep, SLEEP

Unfortunately, some children may experience more intense fevers than normal. If this is the case with your child, call your doctor. They will be able to provide the right information and treatment based on your child’s symptoms.

How Can I Prevent Fevers in The Future?

Since fevers occur because of bacteria and viruses, the most effective thing to do would be to look at personal and household hygiene. Simple things such as washing your hands after going to the bathroom and cleaning the counter before and after cooking a meal can go a long way in preventing illness in your family.

Here are more tips on how to prevent fevers:

  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
  • Get the proper amount of sleep (around 8 hours)
  • Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing
  • Fully clean your house at least once a week
  • Make sure your child has had their flu vaccination

No one wants their child to end up in the emergency room because of a fever. Make sure you know and understand the symptoms of a severe fever and seek medical attention ASAP! The last thing we, Fairfield DOCS Urgent Care, want is for you to have to make a visit in the middle of the night to treat the flu.

How to Cure & Prevent Dry Skin

How to Cure & Prevent Dry Skin

The winter weather does more than making you wear an absurd amount of layers or letting your kids stay home from school occasionally. The combination of the cold weather and the dry environment do not make hands happy. And as you turn the temperature up indoors your skin starts to dry up weather you know it or not.

Keeping your skin in good condition is important as dry skin can flake and crack causing your skin to bleed. Here are several tips from DOCS Urgent Care of Fairfield, Norwalk, & Bridgeport on how to counteract the cold weather and keep your skin in top condition!

Use moisturizing lotions properly

Contrary to common belief, moisturizing lotions don’t actually make your hands moist. The lotion just provides a protective barrier to seal the moisture on your skin. So applying lotion to dry hands that are covered in dead dried up skin cells won’t do much good.

Instead, use lotion right after taking a shower or washing your hands well in warm water, your hands will be in the best condition to be protected. Feel free to apply lotion after washing dishes, it works miracles!

Wearing the right clothing

Hands and faces tend to be the most exposed body parts outdoors during winter but they have the least amount of skin covering those areas. That’s why it’s common for hands and faces to dry up so quickly during the winter.

Wearing the right gloves can be the best way to avoid skin cracking and flaking. Besides who would want to freeze their fingers off? Make sure to wear dry cloth including your gloves. The chafing from wet socks, gloves or jacket could cause irritation which leads to dried up skin, cracking or even eczema over time.

Ski & snowboard gear are a great choice as they keep you very warm and are water proof/resistant. If you can’t afford to get those, making your coats or leather gloves water proof  is the way to go.

Just as a general back to school health tip make sure to dress your child/children appropriately. Such a simple precautionary step can make a big difference and prevent irritated rashes and children.

Invest in a humidifier

As we mentioned before, the winter weather naturally causes the air to dry up quickly and does not give your skin a way to naturally moisten. That process only speeds up when we keep our homes warm throughout the season.

Humidifiers get more moisture in the air which our skin so desperately needs. Make it a habit to use a humidifier as often as possible. It’s pointless to only use it once in a while when your hands dry up, as dead skin cells will only get in the way of the parts that needs to be cared for.

Having a few small humidifiers throughout your house will keep the amount of moisture in the air consistent. Humidifiers are all around great and are good for your health. They help fight against the cold and the flu keeping a good environment for your house.

Drink water

It seems like this tip always ends up in any type of health article regardless what the issue is. Skin is no different, you need a way for your body to hydrate your skin from the inside out. If you don’t have enough water to sweat, your body will overheat at a rampant rate and you not be able to sweat.

Avoid face masks & facial cleaners

As tempting as it is to pull out those face masks during a cold winter day being indoors all day, it will cause more harm than help for your skin.

All the moisture’s and oils on your face protect the moisture on your face and keep it in place. And as you may have guessed using a face mask will rid your face of the essential oils keeping you from having a dry face.

Reject saunas

So you just finished shoveling or just came back from a freezing commute and the first thing you want to do is jump into a super hot bath or a sauna. As heartbreaking this may be, it is probably the worst thing you could do to your skin.

Your skin will already be dried up at that point and a hot bath or sauna will only further damage your dried skin, drying up the moisture in it even further. Opt for a warm bath which will do good for your skin and moisten it. On the other hand if a sauna is your only option, make sure to spend time in a room with a humidifier.

Choosing the right moisturizer

When looking for a lotion or moisturizer opt for an oil based product as it is more effective than a water based product. Oil based products hold the moisture in the skin better compared to water based lotions. Water based lotions may even dry your hands further overtime as it will only cover dry hands and not retain the moisture well.

If all fails seek a walk in office

Setting up habits and environments to keep your hands moist is important. There will be times where you may not be able to practice these habits because of work and as a result always end up with dry hands.

Leaving dry skin as it is can be dangerous because certain skin diseases can become permanent like eczema and cutaneous candidiasis if not treated immediately. The best option would be to seek an available physician as soon as you can.

Calling us at DOCS Urgent Care and asking a trained professional is sometimes the best course of action. There will be many suggestions we will be able to make so moistening your skin will be simple and become routine. Knowing all of these signs to these symptoms are a good way to steer clear from serious disease.

Stomach Bug vs Food Poisoning

Stomach Bug vs. Food Poisoning

We all know the horror of food poisoning: what looks like a delicious meal ends up sending you straight to bed for a day. Just the same, shaking the wrong hand can knock you down for a week with a “stomach bug”. But what’s the difference between the two? The answer seems pretty obvious, given their names… but when you’re bedridden and fighting waves of nausea, it can be hard to tell what your body is fighting.

What is a “Stomach Bug”?

“Stomach bug” is actually a nonspecific term we use to refer to any sort of condition involving vomiting or nausea. In reality, the “stomach bug” we’re dealing with is a common infection called Gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis involves the inflammation and irritation of the stomach and intestines, which causes its tell-tale symptoms.

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting or Nausea
  • Stomach Pains
  • Cramps
  • Fever
  • Headache

When suffering from a Stomach Bug, it’s common to find yourself dehydrated. As you can guess, this is due to the amount of purging your body is doing to fight the virus. If you experience symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, extreme thirst, lightheadedness, or dry skin, we advise you call a doctor or visit DOCS Urgent Care of Fairfield, Norwalk, or Bridgeport  for immediate attention.

What causes Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis can be caused by:

Contact with someone suffering from Gastroenteritis

Consumption of contaminated food or water

Unwashed hands after using the bathroom, or changing a diaper

There are three viruses known to cause Gastroenteritis, known as adenovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus. Rotavirus is known as the most common cause of Gastroenteritis in children. Infants can be vaccinated to prevent this particular strain.

How is Gastroenteritis treated?

Unfortunately, a viral strain of Gastroenteritis cannot be treated with common antibiotics. In the case of a viral infection, the sickness will typically pass within 10 days without medication. To help your body fight the virus:

Drink lots of fluids. The biggests danger of Gastroenteritis is dehydration. While vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, your body is disposing of fluids more frequently than it can take them in. The most important thing you can do to prevent dehydration is–as the name implies–hydrate. Drinking water is good but, however, will not supply your body the electrolytes it needs. To best hydrate, it is best to drink 

electrolyte solutions (oral rehydration solutions). These can be purchased at your local pharmacy. Pedialyte, Gatorade, or other common sports drinks are cost-effective alternatives.

Avoid acidic drinks and milk. Milk is known to exacerbate stomach problems, and acidic drinks such as orange juice or coffee can cause stomach aches.

Don’t drink too fast. Every hear of the saying “too much of a good thing”? When suffering from Gastroenteritis, drinking too much water can actually induce vomiting, as the body may reject too much liquid at a given time. For children, we recommend a teaspoon of your chosen beverage every 4 to 5 minutes. Or, advise them to take small sips over time.

Introduce food slowly. Once you are able to keep down liquid, you are able to introduce small portions of bland food. Bananas, bread, rice, applesauce, and toast are good options for beginning the introduction to food again. And, once you can keep those foods down, you are able to slowly introduce meats and cooked vegetables–but be sure to keep portions of these small, until you’re certain they will not cause problems

Avoid fatty foods. Foods with too much fat, acid, spice, or fried foods are known to exacerbate symptoms.

Avoid over-the-counter medications. Time is the best medicine. When you or your child are sick, your best bet is to avoid medications. OTC medications, despite what you may believe, are not effective in treating Gastroenteritis and may worsen symptoms. It may be hard or uncomfortable to purge your body during the course of the illness, but it is your body’s way of rejecting the virus, and medication will only impede that process.

Medication has one exception: to combat fever. If your temperature is rising, acetaminophen or ibuprofen are good for bringing it back down. Other than that, avoid medication.

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease and contract Gastroenteritis, or experience any of the following symptoms, please seek immediate medical help:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lightheadedness
  • Extreme thirst or dry mouth
  • Lack of normal skin elasticity
  • Fewer tears
  • Infrequent or less urination

How do I prevent Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is preventable in infants and children through two early Rotavirus vaccinations. In adults, it’s best to mind our habits to avoid getting ill:

Frequently wash your hands, especially after using the restroom and before handling food. If you are unable to access soap and water, hand sanitizer is a great substitution.

Don’t share utensils, plates, or towels. This one is sort of a no-brainer: if someone in your household is suffering from Gastroenteritis, avoid sharing common items with them. If necessary, wash and disinfect them before usage.

Don’t eat raw or undercooked food. Washing fruit and vegetables thoroughly also plays a part in preventing Gastroenteritis.

When traveling, avoid unbottled water. This includes tap water and ice cubes.

What is Food Poisoning?

While the symptoms may seem identical to Gastroenteritis, the condition itself is different. Food Poisoning is a food-borne disease caused by the ingestion of food containing a toxin, chemical, or infectious agent.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Mild fever

Like Gastroenteritis, sufferers of this disease are prone to dehydration. If you experience symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, extreme thirst, lightheadedness, or dry skin, we advise you call a doctor or visit DOCS Urgent Care for immediate attention.

What causes Food Poisoning?

Unlike Gastroenteritis, Food Poisoning is restricted to the ingestion of contagens. However, it can be caused by a wider range of sources. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are all known to cause Food Poisoning.

  • Ingestion of poorly cooked or stored fish (Scombroid or Ciguatera)
  • Poorly cooked or raw rice (Bacillus cereus)
  • Meat stored in an environment that is too warm (Clostridium perfringens)
  • Handling of food without washing hands (Shigella)
  • Poorly cooked chicken or eggs (Salmonella)
  • Contaminated saltwater shellfish (Vibrio parahaemolyticus)
  • Contact during travel (E.coli)
  • Contaminated drinking water (Vibrio cholerae)
  • Or any number of parasites (Giardiasis, Amoebiasis, Trichinosis, etc.)


Food Poisoning can occur due to the presence of Bacteria, a Parasite, Viruses, Protozoans, or Prions. You are least likely to contract Protozoans or Prions, but they are contagens to be aware of.

How is Food Poisoning treated?

Food Poisoning can usually be treated at home. Most cases will resolve themselves within 24 hours. Much of the treatment for Food Poisoning is the same as Gastroenteritis. The crucial difference, however, comes from when you’re best advised to visit your nearest DOCS Urgent Care or the ER.

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease and contract Food Poisoning, please seek immediate medical attention. Food poisoning can be considered life threatening and requires immediate treatment when:

  • Blood in stool or urine
  • Fever higher than 101.5°F
  • Diarrhea that lasts longer than 72 hours
  • Severe dehydration (dry mouth, passing little urine, etc.)
  • Difficulty speaking or seeing
  • Repeated vomiting preventing replacement of fluids


How do I prevent Food Poisoning?

The simplest answer is to be mindful of what you eat, and how you prepare your food.

Wash your hands often. Wash hands before cooking or cleaning, and always after handling raw meat.

Clean dishes and utensils frequently, especially if they have had contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.

Use a thermometer when cooking. It’s good to be mindful of the temperature you are cooking meat at, to avoid under-cooking. If you are using frozen foods, be sure to cook them for the full recommended time on the package.

Beef requires at least 160°F (71°C).

Poultry requires at least 165°F (73.8°C).

Fish requires at least 145°F (62.7°C).

Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours. Keep your fridge set to around 40°F (4.4°C), and your freezer at or below 0°F (-18°C).

Drink treated or chlorinated water. Do not drink water from streams or wells that are untreated.

Do not use foods that are: outdated, have a broken seal, unusual odor, or “bad” taste.

So what’s the difference?

The difference between the two is simple: time. Similar to a cold and flu, the major determining factor in what you’ve contracted lays in how long you have it. Typically, Food Poisoning will resolve itself within the span of 24 hours. Conversely, a “stomach bug” will span about 3 to 5 days.

In short, you’d be taking more time off of work from a stomach bug than food poisoning.

Test Yourself: The Importance of Lab Testing

Test Yourself: The Importance of Lab Testing

Medical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease in patients. If a patient routinely submits to lab testing, this may allow doctors to respond swiftly with preventative treatment, which could save the patient time, money, and possibly sickness in the future. In other words, lab testing is one of the first lines of defense to protect a patient’s general well-being.

An estimated 60 to 70 percent of all decisions regarding a patient’s diagnosis, treatment, hospital admission and discharge are based on laboratory results, and so much of a patient’s experience in the health care industry depends on these tests. In this article, laboratory testing procedure will be made clear to you, so that you may understand one of the most important parts of the health care industry, and why it is important to participate regularly in lab testing.

Lab Technicians

Medical Laboratory scientists, also known as clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists, perform most laboratory tests. These medical professionals analyze test results such as blood and urine tests, and relay them to physicians. They conduct chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic and bacteriological tests which require keen analytical and independent judgement.

The ASCLS, or the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, connects these scientists so that they may be regularly updated on new testing procedures, and techniques. They often hold free seminars and informational discussions regarding new developments in their field, some are even open to public participation. It is crucial to the integrity of the Lab Testing Industry, for these medical professionals to be regularly updated and supported by one another. 

Everyday Functions of a Lab Technician

Medical Laboratory Scientists perform a variety of duties which ensure accurate, timely results which are then relayed to your personal physician or doctor for interpretation. These duties include:

  • Make microscopic examination and analysis of blood, body fluids, tissues and cells
  • Identify fluids for chemical analytes, such as glucose and cholesterol
  • Cross match blood for blood transfusions
  • Monitor patient outcomes (how patients respond to treatment)
  • Perform cell counts looking for abnormal cells to aid in the diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and anemia
  • Utilize high-precision laboratory equipment such as microscopes and cell counters
  • Write standardized operating procedure, and establish quality assurance programs to monitor and ensure the accuracy of test results

The Life Cycle of a Lab Test

No matter which doctor you see, or which lab is utilized in the testing procedures, the same standardized system is used to test and provide results to the patient and the doctor:

  1. Patient goes to the doctor
  2.  Doctor orders the lab test
  3. Specimen is taken from the patient
  4. Specimen is transferred to a nearby clinical laboratory
  5. Tests analyze specimen and produce results
  6. Clinical lab provides results to doctor
  7. Doctor interprets results
  8. Doctor informs patient of results and implications
  9. Diagnosis and treatment decisions are made by doctor and patient

Types of Lab Testing

Although there are countless kinds of lab tests, such as DNA testing, breast cancer screens, pregnancy testing, drug screens, lab cultures, blood tests and so on, there are only 4 legitimate reasons to order a laboratory test:

  • Diagnosis (to rule in or rule out a diagnosis)
  • Monitoring (the efficacy of a drug or treatment)
  • Screening (to discover active substances/variables)
  • Research (to understand the pathophysiology of a particular disease)

In Conclusion

Lab Testing is the premier tool in a doctors toolkit to identifying, preventing and treating sickness and disease. That is why it is important to you, the patient, to understand what it is, who is performing it and why you should want it performed.

The laboratory testing procedure is a massive part of the healthcare industry, yet, because much of it is unseen, and highly complex, it draws little attention from the mainstream. The truth is, our doctors and physicians couldn’t function without these labs up and running. Every single day, doctors and patients deal with these results, and so laboratories across the nation are working constantly to research, monitor, diagnose and screen patients, keeping us healthy and informed. We offer laboratory testing in  Bethel and New Milford office. Contact us today to learn more about our diagnostic testing. 

How Having a Flu Shot Can Keep You Healthy this Flu Season

How Having a Flu Shot Can Keep You Healthy this Flu Season

Although it may sometimes go mistaken as a cold, the flu is a virus that, if left untreated, can result in fatality, especially among the elderly population. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) In the last few years, an estimated 12,000 – 52,000 people have died due to flu-related complications. 

The flu season, which normally lasts from October through May shouldn’t be thought of as dangerous to the elderly alone. Children and those with compromised immune systems are also extremely susceptible to the flu. That being said, with flu season still underway, it is recommended that you or your loved ones be vaccinated to fight against the flu. When you do so, you’re not only doing it for yourself, but in doing so you protect those you come in contact with as well.

Symptoms of the Flu

Let’s face it, no one likes being sick.  DOCS Urgent Care of Fairfield, Norwalk, & Bridgeport offer an everyday walk-in clinic, any number of patients are seen during flu season displaying the severest of symptoms commonly associated with the flu including:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • chills
  • tiredness
  • aches and pains
  • congestion
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

When many come in sick and are diagnosed with the flu in our office, they tell us that they thought they would be able to stave off the illness. Had they taken a flu shot, they might have been able to, but they didn’t. Once diagnosed, even the healthiest of patients with the most resilient immune systems will spend two weeks sick in bed.

Who Can Have a Flu Shot?

Taking the time to come to your nearest DOCS Urgent Care at the beginning of the flu season to get the flu vaccine. The flu shot can be administered to virtually anyone, including kids as young as six months. Getting a flu shot doesn’t generally hurt nor does it cause any reaction and again, it goes a long way in not only protecting yourself, but in protecting others as well.

The Effectiveness of the Flu Vaccine

When one gets a flu shot, they shouldn’t expect 100% protection. Because of the many different strains of the virus that exist each year, the vaccine that is developed annually only prevents against the most dominate strain that the CDC expects to be the most prevalent. That being said, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is placed at 50 to 60% each year as opposed to a full 100%.

Where Can I Get the Flu Shot?

While most county public health departments in every city will offer the flu shot in a clinic during flu season, these facilities are limited on staff, yet are responsible for providing government-sponsored healthcare to community residents that show up in masses. The demands placed on county health departments can cause them to operate slowly.

That being said, your best option for getting a flu shot is to visit a walk-in clinic where its staff can administer your dose of the flu vaccine and quickly send you on your way without a long wait. With flu season still in progress, if you’re looking to get a flu shot and don’t know where to turn, visit us at DOCS Urgent Care where you can receive one without even having an appointment. 

Is Your Child Too Sick for School?

Is Your Child Too Sick for School? 

Picture this: last night your child was running a slight fever. You took her temperature and it read 101.4 degrees. She went to bed early and woke up the next day feeling much better. She scarfed down her eggs, got on her school clothes and even chased the dog around the backyard. You took her temperature again it read 98.3 degrees. You’re a bit worried.

Many parents get flustered and impulsive sending their child into a DOCS urgent care facility when it turns out they only have a mild cold and can be treated with a good rest.

Should you keep her home from school just in case, or send her on her way?
Sometimes, making this decision is a no-brainer. The severity of her symptoms speak for themselves. Other times, you have to make a judgement call. Here is a list designed to help you make that decision, when the time comes.


Fever

Good To Go:

If your child is over 4 months old, has a temperature of 100.4, is receptive to drinking fluids and doesn’t appear to be acting distressed, you may be good to go.

Too Sick:

If your baby is 4 months old or younger, and shows even the slightest indication of fever (anything above 98.6 degrees), it is a good idea to bring them to the doctor. A child with a fever is not only considered contagious, but also will not be able to focus or participate in any kind of class or activity. Keep your child home until he or she has been fever-free for 24 hours.

Lastly, it is crucial to keep a first aid kit on you at all times. Travel companion kits usually contain this, and there are a large variety of commercially available first aid travel kits which are designed to be kept discretely in your vehicle, or in your carry-on luggage.


Vomiting

Good to go:

If your child has only heaved once in 24 hours, he or she is probably good to go. It’s likely that she’s choked on something or had a bad reaction to something she ate. It’s not very likely that she has an infection, nor is she dehydrated. Kids will sometimes vomit if mucus left over from a cold has drained into their stomach and this is making them sick. 

Too Sick:

If your child has vomited two or more times in 24 hours, she’s benched. Watch for signs of dehydration as well: She’s peeing less than usual and her urine is dark yellow; she doesn’t produce tears when she cries; or there are no bubbles between her lips and her gums.

To ward off dehydration, offer small amounts of fluid frequently, increasing the amount as tolerated. One more thing: Don’t automatically send your child back once the vomiting stops. If she’s not markedly better after a few days, call the doctor.

Diarrhea

Good to Go:

Your child’s stools are only slightly loose and she’s acting normally. Some kids develop “toddler’s diarrhea,” triggered by a juice OD; as long as the poop isn’t excessive, the child has the all-clear.

Too Sick:

Kids who have the runs more than three times a day and/or have poop so watery it leaks out of the diaper need to stay put. They likely have an infection that can spread. If you see blood or mucus in the stool, call the doctor; she may want to do a culture. As with vomiting, watch for signs of dehydration and follow the same prevention advice. 

Sore Throat

Good to Go:

A sore throat accompanied by a runny nose is often just due to simple irritation from the draining mucus; send him off as long as he’s fever-free.

Too Sick:

If the achy throat is accompanied by swollen glands, a fever, headache or stomach ache, bring him to the doctor for a strep test, especially if he’s 3 or older (the bacterial infection is unusual in younger kids). Children with strep should be on antibiotics for at least a full day before mixing in with the class.

Stomach Ache

Good to Go:

If this is your child’s only symptom and she’s active, send her off. It could signal constipation or even a case of nerves (in which case, a hug will go far).

Too Sick:

Any stomach ache associated with vomiting, diarrhea, fever or no interest in play warrants a trip to the M.D. Sharp stomach pain and a rigid belly can be signs of severe constipation, appendicitis, or a bowel obstruction.


Colds

Good to Go:

If your child is fever-free and isn’t hacking up a storm, he’s a go. After all, if children with snotty noses were excluded, schools would be empty!

Too Sick:

Junior is staying home if he has a persistent, phlegmy cough and seems cranky or lethargic. He’s also couch-bound if his cold symptoms are accompanied by a fever or wheezing.


What Should I Do If I Can’t Tell?

It’s always nerve racking deciding whether to keep your child at home or not. If you ever forget how to determine if your child should stay home or not, calling us at DOCS Urgent Care in Fairfield, Norwalk, or Bridgeport and asking a trained professional is sometimes the best course of action.

The scariest times are when you find out your child was actually too ill and the school tells them to go home. It means you have to get out of work early to bring them home. This tends to put a lot of stress on parents and the child and is why you should be aware and informed when you think they may be sick.

Knowing all of these signs to these symptoms are a good way to steer clear from serious illnesses. If they’ve had symptoms for over 24 hours or severe occurrences, more than we mentioned earlier, you should send your child to a DOCS Urgent Care in Fairfield to get them diagnosed quickly.

6 Ways to Achieve Better Health this New Years

6 Ways to Achieve Better Health this New Years

Want Better Health? Here’s 6 Ways To Achieve It This New Years

6 Ways to Achieve Better Health this New Years

Along with a New Year, comes new resolutions for many people. It is around this time that many set health goals heading into the new year. However, a lot of people set massive goals which at first may seem to be difficult to achieve and prove to be discouraging. Rigid day-to-day schedules and priorities also make it difficult for a lot of people to maintain these goals. In this article, we are going to share a few small achievable goals that will help you break that cycle.

Make Breakfast a Priority

Doctors and health specialists at DOCS Urgent Care in Fairfield, Norwalk, or Bridgeport understand stress and the importance of breakfast, yet 31 million Americans skip it. Breakfast provides you with a healthy diet of fiber, calcium, protein, and whole-grains. Breakfast enables you to have more energy, reduces the risk of type two diabetes, prevents heart disease, and keep colds and flus away.  

Try to Refrain from Eating a Lot of Sugar

Studies have repeatedly shown the dangers associated with consuming sugar. Sugar causes many health issues including heart disease, tooth decay, and an increase in weight. However, the scariest part is that it increases the likelihood of developing diabetes. It is difficult to refrain from sugar usage due to sugar being added in many food products out there. Sugar also comes in many alias including high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, molasses, sucrose. Being aware of these products and avoiding them will positively impact your health.

Take a More Proactive Role in Your Health

About 45 percent of Americans live with a chronic health issue. A visit to your primary care physician for an annual checkup may offset the development of a chronic disease. Any time an abnormal appearance or feeling occurs, proper examination and treatment plans can be made to prevent the condition from worsening. A comprehensive lab test from a urgent care provider will not only be inexpensive, but contribute to better health.

Get Plenty of Exercise

While recent studies have shown that exercise alone will not contribute to weight loss, however, the benefits of increased bone and muscle strength, a reduced risk of chronic disease, better mood, and mental health is more than enough reason to still exercise. Exercising does not have to be as daunting and physically overwhelming as people make it out to be. Simple tasks such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator or walking to the local shop instead of driving provide great health benefits in the long run. It is important to realize that making exercise part of your weekly routine will gradually lead to a healthier appearance and lifestyle.

Sleep Makes a Huge Difference

Neglecting sleep has been linked to increasing the risk of chronic disease. Conditions ranging from depression, mood disorders, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease increase in development