Though the flu virus can be detected all year-round, it usually starts in October and peaks between December and February. Every year, 5 to 20 percent of the population across the U.S are affected by the flu virus, presenting most severe repercussions in young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people who suffer from certain health conditions, like asthma and heart disease.
The summer sun is beaming down upon our Central Texas countryside, school has left the minds of our kids, and vacation plans are in full swing. There is not a better time of year to enjoy the blessings of family and friends than with celebration, being poolside, and relaxing in the midst of it all with a cold beer or a mouthwatering margarita.
Joshua Strommen MD, FACEP
Firework Related Injuries
Fireworks maintain a nostalgic part of our hearts. We all have grown old with wonderful memories of 4th of July fireworks alongside all its companion foods and drinks. However, we are also familiar with the dangers of fireworks if not careful. On a yearly basis, the Consumer Product Safety Commission accumulates data on firework-related deaths and injuries. The CPSC (https://www.cpsc.gov/Research--Statistics/Injury-Statistics) does this for many products to include ATV’s, appliances, pools, and nursery products to name just a few. As of 2016, the most recent report, here are some notable facts on firework injuries:
· There were 11,100 injuries and 4 deaths nationwide.
· Ages 20-24 had the highest incidence of injuries.
· Of the patients who came in -
- Hands and fingers were injured the most at 33% of the time
- Head/face/ears at 20%
- Eyes at 9% of the time
· Burns caused 69% of all injuries.
- Sparklers can burn at temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit!
· Sparklers and reloadable shells are most associated with injuries.
· Malfunction (tipping over, errant flight path, and short fuses) of the firework was more common as the cause of injury than misuse (improper placement, mischief, or holding in the hand).
· About 10% of the injuries will end up in hospitalization and/or a surgical procedure.
A few pointers to remember for safety:
· Never allow young children to ignite fireworks.
· Sparklers burn at blistering hot temperatures.
· Never place your body over a firework that is intended to shoot up or out.
· Never re-light a firework that didn’t ignite fully initially.
· Keep a bucket of water or a hose handy when you are shooting fireworks.
Thanksgiving is mostly synonymous with overindulgence and can be the bane of anyone trying to eat lean. However, the holidays should be a joyous occasion. Let’s try to focus on some positives of a traditional thanksgiving meal, and develop a little strategy to detour dietary dread.
Turkey has a lot of lean white meat, but its darker meat isn’t marginally worse for you either. Both are lower in saturated fat than red meat, however the darker has higher levels of zinc, iron, and B vitamins. Turkey also has an essential amino acid called L-tryptophan, which is incorrectly thought of as the reason for post-Thanksgiving drowsiness. L-tryptophan is important in the synthesis of serotonin, but Thanksgiving tiredness is generally from blood flowing to the digestive system and away from the brain.
Potatoes, especially dishes that include the skin, are quite high in potassium. Sweet potatoes have more beta carotene and vitamin C as well, though you should watch out for added sugars in most recipes involving them. Green beans and other vegetables not in casserole form could be your friend in fulfilling satiety.
MAC & CHEESE
Macaroni and cheese or cheese grits might require more moderation due to the sodium and saturated fat content. It can be a good source of calcium, however. Also, try to go with a true whole grain roll with little butter if possible.
Overindulgence on desserts and sweets may be the downfall for the health conscious. Just give yourself a bit of time after the main course to let satiety sink in before packing in the pie. If you’re especially nutritionally savvy, maybe use Thanksgiving as one of the days to carb-load for a later endurance event.
If you do go a little overboard, at least try to time the feast a little earlier than bedtime. Having a meal too late can lead to insulin spikes throughout the night that may disrupt restful sleep.
Joshua Strommen MD, FACEP
Influenza A and B are the two strands of virus that cause the coughing, aching, feverish, nauseating, head pounding constellation of symptoms we refer to as the “flu”. Influenza is a virus that infects the upper and lower airway and is predominately seen during the winter months from November to March.
Symptoms of Influenza
- Fever (Temp > 100.4 F)
- Sore Throat
- Nasal Discharge
- Muscle Aches
- Nausea & Vomiting
Is Influenza a dangerous illness?
- Typically, influenza is a self-limiting virus, which means you will improve in 5-7 days with no complications.
Influenza can be more dangerous if
- Age over 65
- Age < 2
- You have Asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes, or kidney problems
- You are pregnant
What is the potentially serious complication of Influenza?
How is Influenza treated?
- If diagnosed within 48 hours of symptom onset, you may be given Tamiflu. Tamiflu is known to shorten your duration of symptoms by 1 day.
- Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, oral fluids, and other symptomatic medicines are perfectly reasonable for treatment of flu symptoms.
2017-2018 Flu Facts
- It is impossible to predict how severe of a flu season we will have.
- The flu vaccine will protect against 3 or 4 different flu viruses, depending on the vaccine makeup itself.
- The antibodies made from receiving the flu vaccine will help fight any flu virus your body is exposed to, even if the vaccine isn’t a perfect match for the predominant flu strain that is circulating this year.
- It is possible to still get the flu even if you get a flu shot. This occurs because either the vaccine wasn’t specific for the predominant flu strain that is circulating, or you were exposed to the flu before your body made the antibodies to protect itself.
- We still recommend a flu shot even if you had one last year because your previous antibodies will have decreased effectiveness.
- The CDC is still not recommending the nasal flu spray because of its ineffectiveness. The injectable flu shots are the only option this season.
- You should have your flu vaccine by the end of October for optimal effectiveness. It takes 2 weeks for your body to make appropriate antibodies.
How can PremiER help you?
- We can test for Influenza easily and quickly!
- If your symptoms last longer than 5-7 days come see us for an evaluation.
- If you have progressively worsening shortness of breath, chest pain, or significant weakness, being seen sooner rather than later is best!